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Summary: Last year, we achieved a 10.68% average conversion rate for our clients using Google AdWords. Here are the top five factors that contributed to this success, which you can implement in your own AdWords campaign.
According to our dedicated reps at Google, the average AdWords conversion rate is 2%. Last year, the average conversion rate for our clients was 10.68% — more than 5x the average:
And this year, our average client’s AdWords conversion rate is right around 10%, as well. (Some of our clients are getting 15%+ conversion rates!) So, what factors go into a high converting AdWords account? Let’s dive into that.
Google AdWords Tips: Five Steps to a 10.68% Conversion Rate
Google AdWords is an incredibly effective tool, that allows you to get in front of potential buyers with the right message and offer at the right time. However, it’s also easy to make costly mistakes without knowing it. With some knowledge and practice, you can avoid these pitfalls ahead of time and set yourself up for success.
Conversion rate = The percentage of visitors that turn into leads.
1. Proper Account Structure
Your AdWords account structure — how you organize your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords — is the foundation of a high-converting AdWords account. If the foundation isn’t built properly, the whole thing can come tumbling down and you may end up wasting a lot of money.
AdWords account structure can be confusing at first, which throws many people off. However, getting it right will have a HUGE impact on your click-through rate, conversion rate, and return on investment. We’ve seen clients save thousands of dollars a month — while drastically improving their conversion rate and return on ad spend — with just this step.
So, how do you properly organization your AdWords account? We suggest the following:
- Campaigns: Ad format and location.
- Ad Groups: A group of related words and phrases (keywords) around a specific theme.
So, an example could be something like this:
For each ad group, pick a narrow theme and create ad groups around that theme. For each ad group, use keywords related to that theme. Consider also having your ads mention at least one of your keywords in its headline. This is because when someone searches for a term that matches your keyword, and they see one ad that mentions the keyword and another ad that doesn’t mention the keyword, they are more likely to think that the first ad is more relevant to what they’re searching for.” – Google
Action step: Take out a sheet of paper or open an Excel Spreadsheet, and create a grid like the one above. You can also download the AdWords Resource Bundle above which includes a free Excel spreadsheet for you to customize.
2. Track ALL conversion points
Whenever we audit or take over management of an existing AdWords account, conversion tracking not being configured correctly is still the #1 most common problem we see.
Without conversion tracking properly configured, it is almost impossible to measure your AdWords return on investment (ROI).
For example, let’s say you run a plumbing business. How would visitors to your website convert? These could be your potential conversion points:
- Phone Number
- Contact Form
- Quote Request Form
- Live Chat
- Lead Magnet (Free PDF, etc.)
This means that you need to track all five possible conversion points to know if your AdWords campaign(s) are working or not.
One thing we do when working with new clients is write out their goals, conversion points, and how we will track their conversions on a grid. It looks like this:
What are all the possible conversion points on your company’s website? Are you tracking all of these conversions points? Properly setting up conversion tracking is essential to measuring your Google AdWords ROI.
Pro tip: DO NOT use smart goals. Although they are easy to setup, they do not show you any true ROI. They are simply Google’s way of attributing value to page visits they think are valuable.
Action step: Go to your company’s website right now and determine all the possible conversion points. Then, make sure each of these conversion points is being tracked in your Google AdWords account.
3. In-depth Keyword Research
A good paid search strategy begins with strong, in-depth keyword research. In order to show up at the top of search engine results page (SERPs) in front of your ideal customers, you have to know what your ideal customers are searching for online.
Sometimes, the words and phrases your customers use will be different than the way you and your employees talk about your business. This is why the best keyword research starts with talking to your customers to learn how they talk about their problems and needs. Then, you can use online keyword research tools to refine your initial research and keyword lists.
It’s also important to continually optimize and improve your keyword lists. A few ways to do this are:
- Find new keywords with the Keyword Planner.
- Improve your click-through rate with negative keywords.
- Use the Search Terms Report.
- Use keyword match types to control who sees your ads.
Action step: Ask yourself, “what words and phrases would my target market use if they were searching Google for a solution to their problem?” (A solution that your company solves.) Talk to your customers who have found you online already, and ask what words they used to find your company online. Then, run your keyword lists through some keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Explorer to find new keywords and finalize your lists.
4. Appropriate Keyword Match Types
Keyword match types are another hidden gem most AdWords advertisers don’t utilize. According to Google: “Keyword match types help control which searches on Google can trigger your ad. So you could use broad match to show your ad to a wide audience or you could use exact match to hone in on specific groups of customers.”
There are five keyword match types you can use inside AdWords:
- Broad match
- Broad match modifier
- Phrase match
- Exact match
- Negative (words and phrases you do not want your ads to show for.)
Action step: Go into your AdWords account and export your search terms report. This will show you what keywords and match types are converting best, and which ones are costing you money without driving conversions. Refine your keywords by using the appropriate match types above.
5. Gradually improving the components of Ad Rank over time
According to Google, Ad Rank is:
[Ad Rank is] a value that’s used to determine your ad position (where ads are shown on a page) and whether your ads will show at all. Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, the components of Quality Score (expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats” – Google
So, there are basically five key factors we can influence to improve our position of our ads:
- Bid Amount
- The components of Quality Score
- Expected click-through rate
- Ad relevance
- Landing page experience
- Expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.
Your goal when managing an AdWords campaign is to gradually improve these ad rank components over time. Continual tweaking, adjusting, and improving these factors, and measuring results to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
You’ll know if you’re doing things right if your ads become more relevant (higher click-through rate) and landing pages convert better (conversion rate) over time.
Action step: Continually optimize your ads and landing pages by putting together a process you can use and refine over time. We use our SKATE methodology when working with clients, and have processes for weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and 90-day optimizations.