Running an AdWords campaign doesn’t seem to be so difficult. If you don’t want to spent (too much) time, Google may setup your campaign automatically in the Google AdWords Express. It is a nice solution for small companies with a small budget but if you are seriously spending on AdWords then I would recommend to manage your campaign seriously. Allthough Google introduces a lot of features to make it easier to manage a campaign, in the end it seems to make it more time consuming. Besides of that the world moved partly to mobile last years which means that you have to take care about mobile devices and tablets as well.

Now let’s make a good strategy with detailed steps to maintain your campaigns. We start with most important, the bidding.

AdWords

Let’s see what Google says about bidding:

Google’s advice:
Determine a bid strategy based on your goals

  • If you want to generate traffic to your website, focusing on clicks could be ideal for you. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding—manual or automatic—may be right for your campaign.
  • If you want to increase brand awareness—not drive traffic to your site—focusing on impressions may be your strategy. You can use cost per thousand impression (CPM) bidding to put your message in front of customers.
  • If you want customers to take a direct action on your site, and you’re using conversion tracking, then it may be best to focus on conversions. Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding lets you do that.

Nice advice but final you need to get a Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) that to earn your investment back (as soon as possible).

More advanced bidding possibility within Google AdWords
Using flexible bid strategies

  • Maximize clicks automatically sets bids to help you get the most clicks within a target spend amount that you choose.
  • Target search page location automatically adjusts bids to help you get your ads to the top of the page or the first page of search results.
  • Target outranking share automatically sets bids to help you outrank another domain’s ads in search results.
  • Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) automatically sets bids to help you get as many conversions as possible while reaching your average cost-per-acquisition goal.
  • Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) automatically adjusts your manual bid up or down based on each click’s likelihood to result in a conversion
  • Target return on ad spend (ROAS) automatically sets your bids to maximize your conversion value, while trying to reach an average return on ad spend.

Google AdWords nowadays provides advanced automated bidding with various focuses. We tested most of them but our conclusion is that manage the Cost Per Click to optimize the Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is a good (and probably) the best strategy, as we have the impressions that you spend with the automated bidding then control it on the lowest level, namely Cost Per Click.

Now we have some suggestions for bidding from Google but there is more work to do. Below I described quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily activities for AdWords maintenance based on own experience and the posts:
A Former Googler’s Routine For AdWords Management and Our Weekly AdWords Checks and Tasks
3 Advanced AdWords Features for a Smarter Keyword Bidding Strategy

What to do Quarterly:

  • Automate the bidding and review by Mobile Bid Modifiers (Set up automated rules): bid lower (or higher) for mobile clicks and make sure your ROI is similar
  • Setup and review AdWords Scripts (Set up automated reports): create and update custom reports, automate your secret sauce
  • Check Conversion Tracking (I assume you set this up already): if conversions happen offline, you can import the conversions
  • Get A Better Ad Rank With Ad Extensions: Quality Score is mostly a measure of CTR. Ad extensions like sitelinks improve CTR of ads by 30% on average. So test Ad Extensions to increase CTR
  • Check if your client or webmaster didn’t add new products or services (to their website) and promote them in different channels. This products needs to be added as keywords.

And then monthly tasks:

  • Ad Text Cleanup: Clean and improve up the ads that are not performing well.
  • Keyword Cleanup (with AdWords Editor) including:
    • Add New Keywords From The Search Terms Report
    • Find Negative Keywords In The Long Tail Of Queries
    • Deduplicate Keywords
    • Pause keywords without impressions
    • Sculpt Your Account To Drive Queries To The Right Ad Group
  • Bid Cleanup: Make sure bids are sensible and your bid management strategy hasn’t just killed off your best keyword.
  • Conversion Estimates and CPA Forecasting: Use Google Keyword Planner tool to estimate the total conversions and cost per acquisition (CPA) for your campaigns
  • Optimize and experiment with AdSchedules, Locations, Devices and Delivery methods
  • Check out Google Trends for main keywords
  • Check paid vs organic search
  • Check customer journey, preferable with all channels (for example stored in a CRM system), otherwise via Attribution (Search Funnels) in AdWords
  • Check keyword/placement in Ad Segmentation

Then weekly or better 2 times per week:

  • Analyze Y-O-Y and Last week Data: compare last year’s and last week’s top-performers to the top-performers now. Detecting trends in impressions, clicks and conversion. The Top-movers report in Dimension of AdWords should confirm your compare.
  • Adapt or re-organizing budget
  • Check your opportunities panel
  • Run at least dual ads on all ad groups, and check them once a week
  • Adjust your lowest-performing ad group (I suggest weekly too)
  • Know Your Enemy: If you only understand your own campaign, you can do decently well, but if you understand your campaign and your competitor’s campaigns, you’ll be much more successful. Use Google auction insights to reveal who you’re competing against for your keywords.
  • Use the bid Simulator to improve your bids: most powerful bidding strategy is the AdWords bid simulator
  • Check for negative keywords.
  • Exclude placements in Display Network
  • Check Intelligence Events overview in Google Analytics to monitor unexpected changes in traffic (from AdWords)

Daily:

  • Look for Anomalies: For example, are there keywords that are suddenly spending way more than usual and converting poorly
  • Bidding on keyword– and device level

Our ultimate goal is to create an actionable dashboard in which you can manage relative easy very advanced campaigns. Within ContentForces we are working on AdWords dashboards (see also AdWords treemap: actionable dashboard) but if you are interested to test our internal tools then please contact me by dropping a comment below.

As input for the actionable AdWords dashboard it is interesting to see features from a tools that should help you the maintain AdWords.

The first tool is Optmyzr. The tools seems to be created by ex-Googlers. Interesting features are

  • Data Insight Tools with:
  • Hour of the Week
  • Geo Heatmap
  • Search Term Word Cloud
  • Landing Page Analysis
  • Spend Projection
  • Maybe the Quality Score Tracker with Campaign, Ad Group, and Keyword level tracking.
  • AdWords Scripts
  • Monitor Landing Page 404 / out of stock
  • Account Quality Score Email
  • MCC Anomaly Detector
  • If you like shopping, Shopping Campaign Tools, Shopping Bidder and Shopping Campaign Builder
  • Add comments to reports
  • Save report snapshots


The second tool we checked is Wordstream.com. The company seems to be very professional and the interesting features are:

  • 20 Minute Dashboard: Smart alerts remove the guesswork from PPC.
  • Landing Pages: Landing page tools take you all the way from keyword to conversion.
  • Call Tracking: Call tracking tools provide the missing link to understanding ROI.
  • Cross-Platform: Manage your AdWords & Bing accounts in one easy-to-use platform.

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