Ah, the wonderful abyss that is digital marketing, so many platforms and so many intricacies that can drain our time, energy and money.  Where oh where do we begin? Google Ads and Adwords!

This article will serve to outline a few of the many reasons that your AdWords campaigns and google ads may not be performing as well as they should.  Our intrigue with AdWords is obvious, with over 3.5 billion searches a day, who wouldn’t want a piece of that pie.  After setting up our website, soon after we find ourselves in a situation where we have the goods, the means to sell them and now all we need is customers.

Google AdWords is undoubtedly one of most popular platforms online for generating interest in products and services.  With a simple on and off switch you can immediately be exposed to thousands of interested customers –seems simple enough right? Well, not always.

The various complexities of Google AdWords often leave business owners or advertisers running campaigns with minor flaws leading to the major waste of precious advertising dollars.

For those interested, we will be running a workshop on setting up google analytics and your first campaigns and advertisements in a few weeks’ time.  If you would like to attend, see the event here.  And use the coupon code “EAS2018” for a 30% discount.

TLDR – Skip Ahead:


Broad keywords vs Longtail Keywords

The goal of an AdWords campaign is generally to drive traffic to your website for a specific product or service.  As a part of the process to creating your advertisement, each user must decide what keywords their ad should display for.


Initially it seems tempting to go for a broad search term, after all, look at the number of searches!?  Well, while volume of searches may be high, the attention may also lead to a high bounce rate or low conversion rate.

Let’s take an example, say I am trying to sell men’s business shirts via my website.

Some possible search terms could be:

Search Term Volume (searches p/month) CPC
Shirts 5400 $1.02
Mens Shirts 2900 $0.76
Mens business shirt 1000 $0.85
Mens business shirts online 320 $0.97


Without too much difficulty we can see clearly, that if I was to put $100.00 on the keyword “shirts” I would get around 100 clicks but on such a broad search term a rather high percentage of people looking for any other type of shirt will immediately bounce as soon as they arrive on my business shirt page.  Even more so, people that were looking for a local store and not to purchase online will also be deterred.

If we focus on more specific terms such as Mens Business Shirts, we will achieve 15% more clicks with likely a far higher return on investment as more of the visitors arriving at the site are finding what they are actually looking for.

While this example is simple and trivial, it illustrates the point, if you aren’t getting many customers from your clicks then perhaps you are getting the wrong clicks. Test and see if some long tail, more specific search terms garner better results.

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Proper Planning

Running a SEM campaign is often done in an adhoc manner.  You need to sell some things or draw some attention to your business, products and services, so you launch a campaign.  The results of this are often that PPC is approached in a rather directionless and unorganised manner and it’s hard to ascertain what is or isn’t working, why and which areas need improvement.

In order to overcome this its best to plan properly!

Planning your SEM can be a rather in-depth and sometimes confusing process, so we will aim to keep it simple here.

Understand the various different elements in your strategy:

  1. Your Funnel –Different campaigns should be targeted at different stages of the funnel –Top, Middle and Bottom. What does this mean?
    1. Your Top of funnel should be broad and raise awareness – This will have low conversion but will reach a lot of people.
    2. Your Middle of funnel should speak to the values and decision making factors of your audience – Getting closer to a conversion, this is referred to as the consideration stage.
    3. Your Bottom of funnel is aimed at getting your customers across the line and making them take action, often referred to as the decision stage.
  2. Be aware of the overall structure of your strategy
    1. Funnel Stage > Campaigns > Ad Groups (keyword variations) > Ads
  3. Focus on specific areas, test and iterate.


Lets give a quick example related to our shirt shop. Lets call our shop “Spurious Menswear”.  We specialise in Mens, High quality, ethically produced, designer business shirts.

*If you find this part confusing look to the link at the bottom of this section for the worksheet to help manage your campaign.

Top of funnel could be very broad, lets call the campaign “Shirts”.

In my shirts campaign, I may have 2 ad groups

  • Business Shirts
  • Dress Shirts

For each of these ad groups I would have various keyword variations relative to the ad groups, such as:

  • Top of Funnel
    • Shirts (Campaign Name)
      • Business Shirts (Ad Group)
        • Keywords
          • Business shirt
          • Cotton business shirt
          • Wrinkle free business shirt
          • Checkered business shirt
          • Linen business shirt
          • Fancy business shirt
            • Etc
      • Dress Shirts (Ad Group)

For this ad group I would then have my ad variations with various titles, urls and descriptions to test which ones are most effective.

As I move to middle of the funnel, my campaign would get more specific, what are the important considerations that my customers may be concerned about regarding my business, products and services.  These are things that will give value to my products.  As in, I’m selling shirts, what makes my shirts so great?   Are they high quality?  Ethical? Designer?  If so, a campaign might be:

  • Middle of Funnel
    • Shirt Brand Pillars (Campaign Name)
      • Quality (Ad Group)
      • Designer (Ad Group)
      • Ethical (Ad Group)
        • Ethical men’s business shirts (Keywords)
        • Ethical men’s business clothing
        • Ethically produced business shirts
        • Ethically sources business apparel
        • Organic business shirts
        • Ethical menswear
        • Fair Trade business shirts

And as we move on in to the bottom of sales funnel we are dealing with people that are already aware of the brand, product or service and need one final push across the line.  This could be with a discount, coupon, extras or anything else you can think of that will take them that final step of the way.

  • Bottom of Funnel
    • Offers (Campaign name)
      • Discount (Ad Group)
        • Spurious Menswear (Keywords)
        • Spurious ethical menswear
        • Spurious designer shirts
        • Spurious clothing


Information overload!?  The important thing to take away here is that there are various areas of your funnel that you need to focus on and you do so in a different way.  If you have good brand recognition and the search volume of your brand name is high, but you are not converting from these keywords it could be an area to focus on.  However, if your brand is unknown or new, you will have to build your brand recognition, most likely starting with your top of funnel and middle of funnel keywords.

I like to think of the various stages of the funnel like a text only shopping centre.  Walking through the shopping centre is like your top of funnel, the only way you will know what is inside the store is if it’s blaringly obvious. Once inside the store, you start looking at the features and comparing to other products and services you are familiar with, this is like your middle of funnel. Finally when you are thinking about buying and you look around the store, you see huge sign with a 2 for 1 special and this brings you over the line –bottom of funnel.

Identify which area you are currently lacking on, plan correctly and once you execute, continue to refine and improve each section of your PPC strategy.

Our friends at ebwaycreative have created a fantastic document to help plan your campaign, you can download it here.


Return on Investment (ROI) Calculation

So you may be familiar with the idea of ROI, or perhaps not. What it means is how much money do you make for every dollar you spend on advertising.  You may be tempted to calculate this by simply saying something along the lines of:

I spent on avg $1.00 p/click and for every 100 clicks I get a sale and the average profit from a sale is $150.00 so my ROI is $150.00 (Profit from sale) – $100 (Advertising Spend) = $50.00. So for every dollar I spend I make 50 cents.

Well that certainly seems logical, but is it fair?

It’s important to remember, that after a customer is your customer the ball is now in your court to turn them in to a returning customer.  This is done through a variety of different strategies but it’s important to remember that your ROI doesn’t finish after your first sale.

Think about what strategies you can implement for your customers that brings them value and keeps them engaged in a way that ensures that when they are next in the market for your product or service they immediately return to you.  If you can have your customer return once or even twice, that ROI goes from 50 cents to $2.00 or even $3.50.  That an increase ROI of 400% – 700%.

Some strategies even lose money on their first sale, knowing that their follow up will generate them plenty of profit in the long run.  Incorporate this in to your overall strategy to get a much higher ROI from your ad spend.


Click Through Rate (CTR)

Click through rate represents how frequently your ad is clicked when compared to how many times it is served.  If your ad is being serves a lot but no one is clicking it, it could mean that it isn’t performing as well as it should be.  Some of the most common ways to improve click through rate are the following:

  • Make sure that the keyword you are targeting is in the ad title, ad description and the URL
  • Use geotagging for local businesses to ensure that users seeing your ad are the right users
  • Consider using the exact match instead of broad match for your keywords. This will ensure that your users are definitely searching the right term relative to your ad
  • CTA’s in the ad copy, whether it is “Book Now”, “Enquire Now”, motivate your users to take action!

Optimisation of your AdWords strategy is a subject that could be talked about at length for a very long time, however I hope that this article gives you a starting point to begin getting far higher returns on your advertising spend. Just remember, like many other things digital, PPC & AdWord’s strategies and optimisation are an ongoing task.  Make sure you allocate some time on a regular basis to review performance, read articles and ultimately run more successful campaigns!

As mentioned previous in the article, we will be running a workshop at Aeona HQ in Surry Hills, Sydney in the coming weeks.  For anyone that wants a helping hand setting up their AdWords, Campaigns, Ads and the rest of it, then head on over here and RSVP.   Use the coupon code “EAS2018” for a 30% Discount”

I’d love you’re feedback and questions so feel free to get in touch or comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!



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