Monday, September 6, 2010

Google AdWords Lessons

When I worked at Google something we would always encourage our customers to do is to create specific Google AdWords campaigns to tie in with offline marketing activities. The theory is if people hear about your brand and product offline, they're going to go to Google and search for it, so you want to make sure they can find you.

When we heard A Current Affair were going to air the piece on us 2 weeks ago we decided we should follow that advice and we created a specific A Current Affair Google AdWords campaign. We chose keywords like:

  • A Current Affair
  • A Current Affair shoes
  • ACA
  • ACA shoes
  • ACA design your own shoes

In the 4 days after the piece went live on A Current Affair we received 451 clicks on those keywords at $0.07 per click, a cost of $33.28. Not bad. In our rush to get everything ready for the piece going to air we didn't consider how many people would have watched the story and missed our brand, so searched for things like 'design your own shoes' which are in our normal AdWords campaigns. We generally rank 3rd or 4th organically on 'design your own shoes' in Australia, so it's particularly important for us to advertise on that and related terms for when people have heard of our concept but forgotten our brand name. Unfortunately I hadn't increased the daily budget on our Australian AdWords campaign. With our low conversion rate we only bid around $0.10 or $0.15 per click and generally only spend about $12 or $13 per day on our Australian targeted AdWords campaign (which we get about 120-130 clicks for) and we have a daily budget of $30. When I logged into AdWords 2 days after the ACA piece we'd spent $36 on both the Wednesday and Thursday, we'd been hitting our daily budget and our ads weren't showing = big lost opportunity! (If you haven't been hitting your daily budget every day AdWords allows you to spend up to 20% more than your daily budget on days when you have reached your daily budget to make up for the lower days).

I immediately increased the daily budget to $100 and we spent nearly $50 on the Thursday for 500 clicks. If we hadn't been maxed out for part of the day we could well have received a lot more visitors. On the Friday and Saturday spend tapered off to $28 and $17 respectively.

While Google AdWords only makes up about 10% of our sales and a relatively small portion of our sales and marketing (at the moment), we average a spend of about $30 per day across all our campaigns, this was a great lesson in ensuring you have AdWords campaigns running to tie in with your offline activity, and that you have sufficient daily budget to make the most of people searching for you!

We've got big plans for AdWords in our business. At the moment we're building specific landing pages for things like 'wedding shoes' and 'bridesmaid shoes', so once those are live we'll start ramping up our spend on those keywords, as the landing pages should help increase our conversion rates compared with what we're getting just pointing people to our home page.


  1. Interesting insight. I'm toying with adwords now and have not much success. Click through rate is fine but no conversions so far. Do you have any thoughts on whether the landing page should be homepage, category page or product page?

  2. Hi Paul, that's good you're getting a strong click through rate but yes, conversions can be the challenge. That's our biggest issue too. Landing pages is one of the best things you can change to help with your conversion rate and which page you use depends on the ad you're targeting. The best thing to do is put yourself in the mind of the customer searching for a keyword in the ad group you're looking at, and think which landing page will be most relevant for them. If the ad group is about 'baby girls fashion' then take them to you baby girls fashion category page. If the ad group is about creating your own super hero cape, take them through to that product page. If the ad group is your brand keywords take them through to the home page. Hope that helps and good luck!

  3. Hi Michael - some logical and sensible suggestions, thanks. I will continue to test and iterate. People seem to be spending decent amount of time on the site, which I generally regards as a good thing, but purchasing is another thing altogether. Really appreciate the response by the way!

  4. I know this is an old post so not sure if you'll get this, but Thanks! We've just launched a custom design jewellery website, SoP was our inspiration. We're bootstrapping ourselves while still working other jobs and we were trying to decide what was reasonable to spend on SEM, obviously the sky is the limit, but having just launched with a $20 per day Adwords budget it's nice to have a comparison. I have been reading your blog since 2011, thanks for all the tips along the way, I've found it of great value.