Google Adwords Tested

Section 2 (Analysis)


In SECTION 2, we move from data to analysis, from theory to practical. Here is a distillation of more than six months of research:

How do you setup an effective Google Adwords Select Program?

STEP 1: Begin with Google’s basic setup process. It requires a 5.00 Deposit.

STEP 2: Choose language and countries for your Campaign. CTR can drop if the ad is shown in too many countries.

STEP 3: Choose your syndication preference. AdWords gives you the option to syndicate to AOL.

STEP 4: «KEY POINT»: Choose core phrases and create a family of variations around each core phrase. You will need several hundred possible search phrases.

STEP 5: Set a high daily budget limit. You will most likely spend less than this limit.

STEP 6: Set up multiple campaigns and ad groups. Consider separate campaigns for each of your product categories. Consider creating a new campaign for each major product.

STEP 7: Create customized ad copy for each group so that it includes your key words. CTR are generally higher if the ads contain the actual terms with which the user searched. When Google returns the results of a search, it always highlights the words that match the search phrase. Since Google is an all text search engine, anything you can do to draw the users attention to your ad will increase your CTRs.


  1. Google’s traffic projections can be significantly higher than your actual results.
  2. Make sure that there are no pop-up on the page to which you link your ad. Google’s system will automatically disapprove your campaign.
  3. «KEY POINT»: In the beginning, you will need a budget that is high enough to generate sufficient test results.

How do you choose the best key words for the Adword Select Program?

This section shares some of the same insights mentioned in our recent Overture report, but it also contains recommendations that work specifically in the case of Google’s Adwords.

  1. Begin with your own web stats. Your log files should indicate which search terms are already being used to find your site. If you don’t have adequate stats, you might consider the hosted program offered by webtrends.
  2. We also recommend that you install a search function on your site. It provides a genuine service to your visitors; it also provides a tool for discovering which terms are being searched within your site itself. If you don’t have a rich programming budget, you may want to consider this option.
  3. Consider using these online tools to assist you in developing your search terms:
    1. COMPAREYOURCLICKS.COM – “ ‘levels’ the playing field by letting advertisers instantly compare keyword prices at multiple pay-per-click search engines.”
    3. JIMTOOLS.COM – This site “searches the Overture search engine for your keyword, then retrieves the top search results and builds a table showing who has which spot and how much they are paying per click. Then it goes on to find as many other relevant keywords and builds a chart on each one.”
    5. WORDTRACKER.COM – “We compile a database of terms that people search for. You enter some keywords, and we tell you how often people search for them, and also tell you how many competing sites use those keywords.”
  4. Consider the demographics of your users. Customers do NOT generally think like merchants… Often, advertisers war over terms that are valuable only to each other.
  5. «KEY POINT»: Use different forms of syntax. The use of “[ ]” square brackets is unpopular with most advertisers and you will want to take advantage of that fact. (See the table at the bottom of this section).
  6. Remember that over 25% of the search phrases typed into Google have never been used before. Be creative and anticipate the thought process of your potential customers.
SYNTAX for Developing Additional Keywords
Surfing Related words/forms surfer, surf
Surfer Plurals surfers
Surf State as question how to surf
Surfing Niche jargon stoked, wipeout
Surfboard Misspellings surfbord
Surfer Affective Adj. pro surfer
Surfing Descriptive Adj. contest surfing
Surfing Regional Adj. ESA surfing
Surfers Numbers-letters 1969 surfers
Tow-in hyphen vs no hyphen tow in
Surfboard One vs Two word surf board
Fin System Abbrev/Acronyms FCS

How can you lower your cost per click with the Adword Select Program?

  1. The first position is not always best. Often times, the first position will be $.30 to $1.70 cents and the 3rd and 4th position will be $.05 to $.10.
  2. Which is better, three terms at $1.82 per click or fifty terms at $0.25 per click? Think BROAD not DEEP. Test as many low cost keywords as possible.
  3. When you find a keyword that has a large amount of impressions and a good CTR, make sure that you use all possible combinations of that word. So if the term “antique phones” is performing well, you may also want to try “antique phone”, “antique telephones”, and “antique telephone”.
    1. Also try common spelling mistakes, different verb forms, and other adjectives. Remember, if other advertisers are not using a search phrase you can win a $.05 CPC.
  4. Learn how to use AdWords Automated Gap Manager to your advantage.
  5. Be cautious when lowering the minimum bid for an ad group. If you set the cost too low, you can accidentally disable your best performing key words. If you have several well performing phrases in your group you should consider moving them into a separate group.
  6. Carefully identify the “gems” that give you high CTR and low CPC. But remember, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars a day on AdWords to get good testing results. Use what the Journal calls, “micro-tests”.
  7. Avoid bidding wars. Resist the psychological need to play “king of the hill”. Let your competitors support Google with their unintentional philanthropy while you find a way to get the same results for less money.
  8. Try to find keywords that no other advertiser is using. These keywords have two benefits: (a) You only have to pay the minimum of .05 for first position; (b) you will be the only ad on the page
  9. Experiment with affinity phrases that relate to your product. Often, these phrases will be looked over by other advertisers.
  10. Google gives each individual ad group the ability to be paused at any time. If an ad group is not performing as you would like, you can simply pause it while you revaluate your strategy.
  11. «KEY POINT»: Consider hiring an expert. This work is tedious, and requires constant monitoring. Submitting to the pay search engines is a process not an event. It is a chess game, and you need to manage every detail. A true professional will not cost you money; they will make you money.

How can you achieve a high click through ratio and a strong ROI with the Adwords Select program?

A high clickthrough ratio can be “much ado about nothing”, unless you have a high enough conversion ratio. Traffic is a means to an end (the sale). It is NOT the end in itself (unless you are selling advertising).

  1. Use negative keywords to screen out customers looking for free items and bargain discounts.
  2. Calculate the annual value of your customers. The acquisition of a customer can be worth an expensive pay per click term, even if you only “break even” on the first transaction. Consider ancillary offers, and follow-up sales as part of your ROI equation. Look for ways to increase your customer value.
  3. Be selective. Test to determine how valuable your traffic is from any given source. These sources include the Google partners (like AOL), or even the market niche attracted by a particular key word combination.
  4. Make sure your ad copy contains the same search term that your prospect is using.
  5. Test several different versions of your ad copy. A small change can have a dramatic impact on your results.
  6. Use tracking links to determine how the conversion ratio of a specific term. Here is an example:
    1. This the the link:
    3. This is the part that helps you track:
    4. ?source=google
  7. Create a custom landing page – One of the keys to effective marketing is SPECIFICITY. The more specific your offer, the greater your likely yield. If you find a term is particularly valuable, give it a customized landing page.
  8. (Or) Create a custom (one-page) web site – If a term is exceptionally “hot”, build a domain name around that term. You will get more clickthroughs and you will often score higher in the traditional search engines.
    1. “Lace” this one-page website with key terms, and useful information, then link the product graphic back to your main store.
  9. Most emerchants, start with a business and then look for relevant search terms with which to promote their business. At MEC, we prefer to start with high opportunity search terms and then look for reliable suppliers to meet the existing demand.
  10. Include the search term in the headline of your landing page. This speaks directly to the question in your visitor’s mind, and it draws them into your offering.
  11. Review your landing page (and or your site) with MEC’s 16 point Site diagnostic. This 50 page diagnostic has helped consultants and merchants all over the Net dramatically increase their yield per visit.
    1. PART 1
    2. PART 2
    3. You can also request help from the research staff at the Lab. Sometimes we work with other Merchant’s like Roy White. To find out more, visit here.
  12. Test you site to make sure that it is compatible with the majority of browser/resolution/operating system combinations. To find out more, visit here.
  13. Create an aggressive (permission based) email capture program. It makes no sense to pay for the same clickthrough twice, yet that is what most Google advertisers are doing. If you can capture the email address of your visitors, you can continue to market to them after their initial visit. This can dramatically reduce your campaign cost and increase your (long-term) conversion ratio.

What are the 10 most important points of this report?

  1. Create ad groups based around families of keywords.
  2. Set the maximum bid for your ad group high enough to have all the positions for the ad group greater than or equal to three.
  3. «KEY POINT»: Go “broad and wide” to find as many relevant key phrases as you can. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE in this report.
  4. Keep your initial daily budget high enough to gather solid results and use tracking links with each term.
  5. Experiment with different forms of syntax.
  6. Create ads that are truly relevant to what you are offering, and include the key search term in your copy.
  7. Never get into bidding wars for keywords.
  8. Use isolation techniques to remove higher cost keywords from ad groups.
  9. Customize a specific landing page for your most productive keywords.
  10. «KEY POINT»: Create a permission based email capture program.

Find Resources to Help You Improve Results

Google AdWords Select

Google Introduces New Pricing

Up Close With Google AdWords

Pass Out the Cigars for Google’s New Baby: AdWords Select

SearchDay: Google Launches AdWords Select

Google’s Overtures at Overture’s Advertisers

Google Takes On Overture With Pay Per Click Ads

Google Changes the Pay-Per-Click Landscape with AdWords Select

Google AdWords: Sublime Poetry?

The Google AdWords Happening

Overview of Pay-For-Placement

Google AdWords Select Report

Review End Notes for this Report

(*1) Google is the source of this statistic.

(*2) Google is the source of this statistic.

(*3) There are several different versions of WebTrends, some that are hosted on your server, some that are resident on your server.

::Back to Section 1::

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