AdWords Success Tip: Prioritize Your Campaigns

AdWords Success Tip: Prioritize Your Campaigns


Working with Google AdWords you quickly learn: It is one thing to create and monitor the activity of a campaign. It’s another thing to know what actions to take based on the data you collect. You’ll see AdWords Success when you learn to Prioritize your Campaigns.

Out of my own frustration, I researched and came across a system to analyze and improve campaigns, turning what used to be a drudgery into a relatively easy and enjoyable task.

It’s called the Growth-Share Matrix, created by the Boston Consulting Group in the early 1970s. Applying their matrix, I came to understand that all AdWords campaigns fall into one of four categories:

Stars:  The campaigns that are both profitable and popular.

Workhorses: The campaigns that are very popular, but generating little money – or you’re losing money on them.

Puzzles:  The campaign with a low cost-per-click for one of your most profitable products, on which you get to the first spot with little trouble, but after weeks, there are zero impressions.

Dogs: This campaign is unpopular, and on the rare occasion that you do get a click, it’s at such a high cost you don’t make any money on the conversion.

AdWords Success Tips

Click here to download a PDF of the chart

How to Prioritize your AdWords Campaigns

In the end, you want a portfolio of Star campaigns. Here is a step-by-step process to follow:

First, identify your Star campaigns.

  • What aspects of this campaign are working? The URL?  The Headline?  Is it easy to show up in the first position? Take the best elements of your Star campaigns and apply them to poor performers.

Next, let’s tackle the Workhorses.

  • If you are on “Automatic bidding,” switch to Manual Bids and lower them.  With all other aspects of the campaign being equal, you may have a good click-through volume at a lower cost.
  • Look at the quality score.  If it’s below 6/10, you could likely raise it for a lower CPC.
  • Cut Bad Keywords!  If you’re using a keyword with high cost-per-click, consider cutting it completely.

 Time to solve the Puzzles.

  • People like what they see when they actually SEE this ad.  Is there an opportunity to increase impressions by adding more keywords & ads?  Think about other search terms being used for this product or service and consider them.

 Consider Letting the Dogs out.

  • Can anything be changed to save this campaign?  Is it worth saving?  If the low performance is impacting the account overall quality score, consider pausing it indefinitely or deleting it altogether.

Once you have sanitized your campaign portfolio using this method, you’ll need a plan to monitor, evaluate and improve campaign performance going forward.  We recommend categorizing campaigns by their performance at least once a week.  Over time, you’ll find it’s very easy to identify the campaigns in seconds!  If your time is limited, always attack campaign improvements in this order:

  1. Dogs
  2. Workhorses
  3. Puzzles
  4. Stars


 Keep at it and within weeks you should see better performance on all your campaigns. Little by little, you’ll end up with a portfolio of Star Campaigns!

Lucid Business Strategies

 Lucid Business Strategies helps people like you build and grow a revenue stream throug Google AdWords.

email for info or call (586) 254-0095.

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The Flip Side of Google AdWords “Automated Intelligence”

The Flip Side of Google AdWords “Automated Intelligence”

AdWords Pay-Per-Click ServicesBe careful when you let Google do the thinking for you in pay-per-click!

Last week, one of my Google AdWords clients ran through their entire ad budget within a few of days. That might be fine for some campaigns, but in this case, the plan was for those dollars to take them through the entire month.

When I received the “low balance” notice from their AdWords pay-per-click account, I had one question:

What is Going on Here?

The first thing I do when there is unusual activity in an AdWords account is check the account balance. The best information about what’s happening with an under-performing, over-performing, or just downright confusing AdWords campaign is right there, under the Billing tab.  And sure enough, the balance had fallen to a whopping $0.01!

What keywords were costing my client so much money?

I headed over to the Search Terms Report – the place in AdWords that shows you the exact search terms people entered that caused Google to show them an ad.

The client was advertising for participants in an study about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), but much to my surprise, the keywords driving clicks to the site were things like, “add songs to your ipod,” “adding lawn seed to soil,” “add reminder,” and just plain “add” – all ranging from $5 to $36 per click.

Why people searching for how to add songs to an ipod would click on a link to an ADHD Study is a question for another day. Suffice it to say that the monstrous costs per click and the number of clicks from these bad search terms wiped out my client’s budget in a heartbeat, all because Google decided that “ADD” was a suitable synonym for ADHD, and showed my client’s ads to people searching with those terms.

As a Google AdWords Certified Professional, I know when it’s the right time to call Google directly, and this was clearly it.

I knew exactly what the problem was – my campaigns were set to “use close variants” of my keywords. Google is pretty forgiving and willing to return credits for these types of mistakes, so long as you take the steps necessary to avoid it happening again. Realizing the potential of more ADHD-related keywords improperly attracting searches including the word “add,” I changed the settings so that the campaigns run only for the exact spelling of my keywords – no close variants. Google agreed to credit the client’s account.

The Lesson Learned: Think about & research what words Google might consider as a synonym or “variant” of your keyword before starting, or you might be out of cash before you know it!

Lucid Business Strategies


 Lucid Business Strategies helps people like you SPEND LESS and EARN MORE through pay-per-click marketing programs.
email for info or call (586) 254-0095.

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