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Google AdWords Rules

  |  December 10, 2010   |  Comments

And 10 other reasons to revisit your search campaign.

Your Google AdWords account may not yet have the new "Automated Rules" function, which Google announced this week. When this option shows up in your keyword management interface of AdWords, you may have some reasons to experiment with it, because there can be instances where rules make sense. This is especially true for marketers who aren't using a sophisticated campaign management or bid management platform.

Even if you are using campaign management or bid management technology, there are still some instances where it may make sense to empower Google to trigger a change in your account automatically, based on a set of criteria being met. However, I'll reserve judgment on the full applicability of Google AdWords Rules until I've had a chance to experiment with them more fully, in particular because the interface currently says: "Rules aren't guaranteed to run in some cases, so we recommend regularly monitoring the rules you set up." So, if rule executing is really important, perhaps an external automated campaign management system and/or human oversight is better.

However, there are at least 10 other reasons you may want to revisit your campaign as the new year approaches. Many of these reasons have to do with the fact that many campaigns were set up a long time ago, often by people other than you (or other than the ones currently responsible for maintaining accounts). A lot has changed in the last 100 years, but your campaign structure and settings may not be optimal if they haven't changed with the times. Without further ado, here are settings or structural issues you should revisit as part of a New Year's resolution (or perhaps over the winter break).

  1. Revisit syndication settings: Are you opted into Google only, or into Google plus search partners? How about the contextual side (now called the display advertising network)? If you are opted into display, should you be managing placements or running ads across the entire network?
  2. Consider a new Ad Group structure specifically for the display network: The best Ad Group structure for search may not be the best structure for display. The display ad server matches relevance against the entire Ad Group, not specific keywords.
  3. Revisit device settings: Mobile search query volume is rising. This means that you may be getting more mobile site visitors than you expected. Do you want those visitors? Do they convert to leads or sales, and if not, are the site visits definitely influencing them positively toward your product or service? Within the Networks and Devices settings area one can select "Desktop and Laptop" only or enable "iPhones and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers," or drill even further into "Advanced device and carrier options." Mobile users behave differently than desktop and laptop users, but you could, for example, opt in specifically to iPad users who behave more like a desktop user than a typical smartphone.
  4. Should you change audiences and enable remarketing? If you've enabled the Display Network, site-specific targeting is only the beginning. You can create and add a remarketing list to your campaign which adds a behavioral element to targeting.
  5. When is the last time you tested different ads? Ads don't get nearly as stale in SEM as they do in display media, but for both search and display, the performance of ads may change over time. Also, the ad that works well in a SERP may fail in a contextual or behavioral campaign. One more reason to also revisit campaign structure.
  6. Match types: People use longer search queries than they used to. This means you may want a change in mix of exact, phrase, and broad matches.
  7. Negative match keywords: Do you need more negative match keywords? Should you consider removing some prior negatives?
  8. Geo-targeting and dayparting: Even regional marketers who have already selected a particular service area or reasonable radius form their location(s) might want to consider running even narrower geographic campaigns in tandem with a broader coverage area. Similarly, rerun your dayparting analysis by time zone and determine if you should make settings changes.
  9. Languages: just check it: You never know unless you do.
  10. Budgets: Make sure you aren't in a situation where your most profitable keywords are not running due to budget constraints. A budget setting that was sufficient years ago may not be sufficient now.

Rather than doing a campaign spring cleaning, why not get a jump on next year's performance gains by checking your campaigns now?


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Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.

Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.

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