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Why Family Law Firms Need to Implement Internet Marketing

Millions of Americans use the Internet every single day. They search for information, they seek entertainment, and they look for the services and products they need. While there is still a decent amount of people who watch television, most prefer to pick up their phone, search for what they want to watch and tap Play. The reason we are telling you this is because family law firm marketing is changing. Gone are the days of newspaper and Yellow Book ads. Now, the focus needs to be online. Law firm Internet marketing is here and it’s here to stay. 

Reasons Family Law Firms Should Focus on Internet Marketing

law firm internet marketing

What does someone do when faced with one of life’s challenges? Depending on how private he/she wants to keep it, the person may turn to a good friend OR a search engine, like Google. With the ability to search for any topic, people can seek support from those who have gone through a similar situation or are currently dealing with one. 

Even when someone turns to a friend first, the chances are high that person will end up online at some point to collect information. This means that at some point in a person’s struggles, he/she will be looking for help online. 

The enormous amount of information and resources online make people turn to the Internet. What many businesses, including family law firms, don’t know is that Internet marketing is what makes them visible to the ones who are online. 

Internet marketing is what brings family law firms out of the darkness in the online world into the limelight. It’s what gets them exposure when people are looking for and yearning for guidance during a living nightmare. They are looking for something or someone to cling to for help and Internet marketing is what brings those people the lawyers and law services they seek. 

Boost Online Visibility

No matter where you live, there is competition to be seen online. Even if you’re a local law firm serving area residents, your site still competes with other law firm sites throughout the country. How do you stand out from your competitors locally and nationally? 

Content marketing – a part of Internet marketing – puts out the information people are searching for in their times of need. Knowledge is contained in articles, pictures and videos that live on your website. This knowledge is what ends up being placed on search engines and comes up as an option to those who may be looking for it. 

Establishes and Develops Trust

Internet marketing not only attracts people to your site to gain information from your content, but it also establishes and then develops trust. People who feel as though you’ve helped them will feel as though they can trust you and will want to see what else you can offer them. This is when your services may be the perfect remedy to their situation. 

Promotes Services

As mentioned above, when people find what they need, feel as though your family law firm marketing gives them the help they need, they will be more likely to convert (as in reach out for your services). 

Content on a website isn’t the only way to utilize family law firm Internet marketing. There’s also:

  • SEO
  • Google Ads
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing

SEO Increases a Family Law Firm’s Visibility on Search Engines

seo for law firm marketing

SEO, which is Search Engine Optimization, is the act of optimizing a website for search engines. Since search engines function based on codes, they look for keyword phrases to understand what a website is about, and then they look for other factors to know how valuable the site is to search engine users. 

Internet marketing includes working on your website to ensure that it is properly optimized for your target audience. In other words, it contains the information people interested in your services seek and it is on the site in a way that search engines will be able to understand, so they will display it to people searching for what you’re providing. 

First Place Ranking on Search Results with Google Ads

Google Ads, also known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, is a great way to get your site in front of your target audience on Google’s search engine. The process is quite simple, but setting it up to be effective can be quite complex. Ads are created based on keyword phrases chosen that people who need your services use on the search engine. The ads need to be enticing to elicit clicks. Those clicks on the ad go to a landing page, which if designed well, converts people. A conversion includes calling or completing a form for additional information or a consultation. 

This is an example of a Google Ad for two family law firms:

The cost of Google Ads is determined by the number of clicks an ad receives. Some keyword phrases used in the ads cost more than others. The phrases that have a higher chance of converting someone who clicks on an ad will cost more. The number of other family law firms trying to use the same keyword phrases in their ads also influences the cost of ad clicks. 

Google Ads can generate a great ROI or go through your budget quickly without a single lead. This is why for this form of family law firm Internet marketing, it’s best to go with a professional. 

Social Media Is a Source for Support

social media for law firm marketing

Most Americans are on at least one social networking site on a daily basis. They use it for two reasons:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Information/Support

When promoting a family law firm on social media, it has to be done in a way that not only lets people know it’s a reputable, trustworthy, and highly knowledgeable practice but also one that is available. People who are struggling with a family matter are not seeking entertainment on social media, but 

rather support. They may turn to friends or strangers who have experienced a similar situation. The goal of social media for family law firms is providing information that other people can use as a resource to help those who are struggling. 

Resources can be:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Infographics (images with information)

As you can see in the below Facebook post, this law firm presented a story to share information:

Those who have a similar situation will feel instantly comfortable to reach for help. You can see more examples of this on their Facebook page. 

Social media marketing is a combination of promotion and information sharing. Usually, this happens seamlessly in one post while other times it can be in separate posts. Knowing how to balance it just right is how to succeed with this part of family law firm Internet marketing.

People Need Time – Email Marketing Gives Them That

email marketing for family law firm internet marketing

Email marketing is another part of family law firm Internet marketing. It is one that helps people who need a bit more time to decide whether your law firm is the right one for them. Email marketing is effective – the return on investment is $42 per $1 spent on it. Why is it effective? Mostly, it has to do with The Marketing Rule of 7. This rule says that prospects need to be exposed to the marketer’s message at least 7 times before taking action to buy a product or service. 

Email marketing consists of sending emails to subscribers on a particular topic. These people have signed up for emails, so they are warm leads. When a family law firm sends valuable emails, the recipients will react similarly as they would to good content on a website or social network. 

Promotional emails that don’t meet the needs of recipients will not work. The emails need to be highly targeted and useful for them to be effective. For instance, an email that offers advice on how to navigate a divorce can engage recipients greatly and make them want them to reach out for further legal assistance through the process. 

Many email marketing tools exist to create attractive looking emails that spark people’s attention:

These are affordable options that are user friendly depending on how much time you have to invest in this part of your family law firm Internet marketing. 

Family Law Firm Internet Marketing Services 

family law firm marketing services

Family law firm Internet marketing is more necessary than ever before. Law firms cannot rely on offline marketing tactics any longer. People immediately turn to the Internet when they are struggling with family issues. They search for answers to their questions on search engines and they turn to social media for support. When they find a website that has information they need to either work on their issues or feel better about their situation, they are more likely to reach out for services. This is especially true if they sign up for email marketing, which takes them from not knowing if they should move forward to knowing for sure that your law firm is the one for them. 

Family law firms that struggle to bring in new clients usually do not have enough of an online presence to capture all of the people who turn to the Internet for help, which as you can see is a lot. If you’re not utilizing family law Internet marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, you’re missing out on clients to competitors who are using it. 

Now is the time to get ahead of the competition when it comes to marketing your family law firm on the Internet. We understand that you may not have the time to learn the ins and outs of it or implement best practices, which is why as a digital marketing company, we can help. 

We offer website design and development, SEO, PPC, social media, and email marketing services to help improve your family law firm’s presence online. This will help your target audience find your website easier, increasing the chances of them contacting you for your legal services. 

GoBeyondSEO has a team of professionals ready to take care of all your family law firm’s Internet marketing needs. Contact us today for more information.

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GoBeyond Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation Marketing PPC SEO Services

GoBeyond SEO is a 5-Star PPC & SEO Agency on Clutch

The shift of the customer journey to digital platforms has irreversibly changed the way that firms interact with their clients. Mobile traffic drives most markets, and many companies are resistant to this change, lacking an understanding of how important it really is to have a strong SEO and online strategy. Having positive interactions with clients on their preferred platform not only grants a competitive edge to businesses willing to take the time, but it also demonstrates a level of care that can’t be found with most firms.

Armed with this knowledge, a wealth of experience, and a commitment to our clients, we have set out to establish ourselves as a trusted digital partner. We are always taking steps to improve our work and better serve our clients, and we are excited to share one of those steps with you. We are featured on the B2B ratings and reviews platform, Clutch. Clutch conducts in depth research on firms, considering factors such as marketing presence, social media efforts, and verified client reviews to identify top service providers around the world. We can be found on their directory of SEO companies in Charlotte, keeping company with some of the best B2B service providers in the country.

SEO Companies on Clutch

Our presence on Clutch grants us the opportunity to be evaluated by industry analysts, but it also provides us with an even greater source of feedback. Clutch’s main function is to collect verified client reviews and help firms find the best service providers to fit their needs. The first review we have on our profile has been tremendously helpful for our team to learn more about what we do well and where we can grow. Take a look at a quote from that review:

Charlotte PPC Clutch Review

In addition to our presence on Clutch, we have also been recognized as one of the best social media marketing agencies in 2019 by The Manifest. The Manifest is a resource for small to midsize firms, offering industry insights, how-to guides, and recommendations of top service providers. Our presence and high ratings on both Clutch and The Manifest help cement our reputation as a top digital service provider. Although our reputation has been bolstered by industry praise, we believe in letting our work speak for itself. We have submitted a portfolio of some of our best work to Visual Objects, a space for web designers and digital marketing agencies to showcase their work to prospective clients. Online presence is everything, and we are grateful for the recent opportunities we had to bolster ours.

We are proud of everything that we have achieved, but more than anything we are thankful. Thank you to all of our amazing clients; we could not have done this without you. It has been a pleasure working with you, and we cannot wait to see what else is in store for the GoBeyond SEO team.

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Charlotte Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation Local SEO PPC Search Engine Optimization Tips SEO Tips Small Business Marketing Social Media Marketing

Law Firm Marketing 101: An Essential Guide for Family Lawyers

These days, it’s not enough that you have an office to meet clients. You have to have a strong online presence. Check out this guide on law firm marketing.

Every lawyer who ventures out on their own has a vision of a bustling practice and nailing one case after another. In reality, most find themselves with less action and more thumb-twiddling, than they’d like to admit.

The field of law, including family law, is a saturated and competitive industry. Why are your competitors getting more business than you are? What are they doing that you aren’t?

One of the most effective ways to build your practice is to have the right digital marketing strategy. After all, 85% of people hit the internet when they’re looking for local businesses, so a strong online presence goes a long way.

For a more effective and revenue-boosting strategy, check out these law firm marketing tips.

Family Law Firm Marketing Tips for Your Digital Strategy

Using the online world to gain business requires a few elements. You need people to know who you are. You need them to find you. And you need to be able to convert them to clients. Start with these steps.

1. Make It Easy

Before you jump headfirst into trying to get more visitors to your site, make sure your site has what it takes to convert those visitors into clients. Your key goal should be to make it easy for clients to make that conversion.

First, you need to guide clients toward taking the next step. Every page of your site should have a call-to-action. For instance, maybe you have a page about custody arrangements in divorce. At the end of the page’s content, invite users to contact you about their own custody case. Display a button they can click to do this.

Next, make it as convenient as possible for them to get in touch with you. The days of instructing clients to call you during hours of your convenience are over. Offer a way for them to contact you online with their questions. With that information, you or your staff can call them when you’re in the office.

2. Know How to Use Social Media

Every marketer talks about the importance of social media marketing today. They’re right, it is important, but it’s not just about whether you have it: it’s about how you use it.

On your social media pages, you should focus on spreading information. Your posts shouldn’t sound like sales pitches, because readers will tune out in a heartbeat.

Instead, your goal on social media should be to establish yourself as a trusted expert in your field. If you do this, you’ll be the one people will turn to when they need a lawyer.

3. Get Your Speed Up

It’s not just the content of your website that matters but the technical performance as well. After all, do you stay on a site that isn’t loading or one that doesn’t work well? Neither will your clients.

One of the key statistics you need to check is your website speed. If your site doesn’t load within two or three seconds, about half of users will head elsewhere.

When users leave your site so quickly, it raises your bounce rate which hurts your search engine optimization, or SEO. Even those users who stay are already starting to get frustrated, so they won’t have the best impression of your site.

4. Blog and Blog Well

Blogging is an important way to improve your digital marketing. The frequent updates and valuable content will improve your search engine optimization, and each blog post is providing content for your social media pages.

Those are just the benefits you get from posting each blog. When people actually read them, your articles will display your knowledge as an expert and will establish a connection with the reader and a growing trust.

Of course, not all blogging practices will give you the same benefits. Make sure you post blogs on a consistent basis and that the content is valuable and well-written. Focus on topics your clients really want, like tips for negotiating a custody agreement.

6. Get On Camera

If you don’t already use videos in your digital marketing strategy, now is the time to start. Videos are an engaging medium that users love, and there are so many ways to use them to market your firm.

You can start with simple “talking head videos,” in which you’re sharing your knowledge about a particular subject. You could also use videos to share a tour of your office or to discuss your recent interesting cases (with confidentiality of course).

After you have a video ready, post it everywhere. We’re talking about YouTube, your own website, and your social media pages as well.

7. Get Help from the Past

There’s a lot of trust involved when a client chooses a lawyer, and especially a family lawyer. One of the best ways for new clients to see that you’re trustworthy is to hear it from your past clients.

Encourage your happy clients to post reviews for you on Google, Yelp, and other sites. You can even ask them for a brief testimonial that you can post online. In many cases, reviews and testimonials are a client’s deciding factor when they choose their lawyer.

8. Prioritize Local Search Engine Optimization

One of the most common mistakes local businesses make is forgetting about local SEO. For instance, they optimize their site for keywords like “family lawyer” and “family law firm” rather than “Charlotte family lawyer” or “family law in Charlotte.”

As a law firm, attracting site visitors in California might help your statistics but it won’t bring you clients. Be sure to incorporate local SEO into your digital marketing strategy.

Building Your Client Base

Many lawyers think that if they do good work, the clients will follow. That’s not often the case. As you build your reputation as a great lawyer, you still need to spread the word about your business. The law firm marketing tips above are a great start.

If you’re ready to really jumpstart your growth, contact our digital marketing experts for a more comprehensive plan.

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Charlotte Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation Local SEO Search Engine Optimization Tips SEO Services SEO Tips Small Business SEO

Why SEO for Lawyers Can Make or Break Your Case

As an attorney, you’re well aware that the legal market in the digital age is more competitive than ever before.

You’ve created what you thought was a strong website for your Charlotte-based law firm, but your traffic hasn’t increased — and neither has your client volume.

In this post, we’ll tell you why SEO for lawyers is something that your firm can no longer afford to do without.

We’ll also let you know where you can connect with attorney SEO services that will increase your conversions and give you the kind of results your firm deserves.

Poor SEO Will Cost You in the Rankings

One of the biggest reasons why you need to take legal SEO as seriously as your next client’s case, is because it directly affects where your website will land when it comes to the search engine result pages, or SERPs for short. About 75% of online consumers say they never bother to go past the first page of search engine results.

Even if you’ve worked hard to create a website that’s easy to navigate and informative, if it’s not designed with SEO in mind, all of your hard work will be for nothing. Additionally, SEO for law firms is all about outranking your competitors. You want to be certain that your law firm’s website shows up in the SERPs before your biggest competitor’s site does.

But it’s not just about choosing the right keywords and hacking your way to the top of the first page of Google. Remember that a strong SEO strategy is also influenced by your website’s loading speed and design.

It’s obvious that a user won’t bother to spend much time — less than three seconds, to be exact — on a website that’s slow to load. A potential client also won’t think much of a law firm website that’s full of spammy pop-ups, broken links, and aggressive, unprofessional graphics.

You won’t just lose a client — a poorly-designed website also impacts your site’s dwell time. This is the average length of time that a user stays on your site.

Sites with higher dwell times are recognized by Google and other search engines as providing useful, relevant information. So, they rank higher than those that have lower dwell times.

Remember, it’s not just your law firm’s reputation that’s on the line. It’s also about how SEO affects your site’s overall visibility.

The Right SEO Strategy Puts You in Front of Your Target Market

Another reason why SEO for lawyers directly affects your firm’s success?

Because the right keywords and link strategies can shorten the time it takes for your target market to find you online, and without a proper legal SEO strategy that target market might not be able to find you online.

There are currently more than 1.5 billion websites on the Internet — and that number is increasing every minute. And while all 1.5 billion of them might not be related to the legal industry, a good portion of them will be.

Keywords, or what people type into search engines to help them find what they’re looking for online, are an essential part of SEO for law firms.

First of all, your keywords should include references to the specific type of legal work that you do. For example, if you specialize in divorce law, you might choose a high-ranking keyword like “divorce attorney” or “hiring a divorce lawyer.”

But something is missing from those keywords — your location. Location-based keywords are the bread and butter of legal SEO. They don’t just help you find people who need your services. They ensure that the people who need your legal services and live within your practice area end up on your website.

Including location-based keywords like “Charlotte NC divorce attorney” or “Divorce attorney Myers Park” will get you exactly the kind of traffic you’re looking for.

SEO Establishes You as an Authority in the Legal Industry

As a legal professional, you’ve spent years earning your degrees, creating your network, and establishing a reputation in the courtroom.

Now, you need to make sure that your SEO strategy is working to effectively translate that reputation and work to the digital world. Superior legal SEO helps you to establish yourself as the go-to legal authority within your niche and service area.

It does this by allowing you to join the digital conversion, whether that conversation is taking place on your blog, your YouTube channel, or even on a third-party site.

Remember that an effective SEO strategy isn’t just about what’s on your website.

It also includes your social media profiles, any guest posts that you write for legal websites and online journals, and even third-party review sites where past clients can discuss their experience with you.

In other words, to get attorney SEO done right, you need seamless integration between all of your different online accounts and presences.

Looking for Professional Guidance on SEO for Lawyers?

We hope that this post has helped you to understand why SEO for lawyers is such an important part of your overall marketing strategy.

Remember that SEO doesn’t just help you to outrank your competitors and show up in front of the right people. It also creates a sense of authority and trust between your firm and your target market.

To get an even better understanding of how not just SEO, but our services can help your law firm to grow, check out our case study.

When you’re ready to put the right kind of legal SEO strategy into place for your firm, reach out to us to chat.

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Charlotte GoBeyond Law Firm Marketing Lead Generation PPC Search Engine Optimization Tips

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Tips Part 3 – Everything Else

If you’ve made it through Parts 1 and 2 of this series and you’re here, chances are you’re definitely convinced how PPC can be a valuable marketing tool for your business.  We’ve covered a lot so far, and in this final part we’ll cover Search Campaign Structure, Ad Groups, Ad Extensions, Setting up a Search Campaign, Ads Automation and finally, Additional Targeting Capabilities.

Adwords Search Campaign Structure

Below is an example of a PPC account structure and its content.  You could have multiple campaigns running, depending on your business goals and objectives. For example, multiples for different locations or different products and services, perhaps. Each campaign could have multiple ad groups and then finally, the ad group level where the keywords and ads are organized.

The Search Campaign Structure is one of the most important elements to the success of a PPC campaign. There are a ton of ways you could ultimately structure your campaigns, but of course, there are some best practices to consider:

  1. Create separate Search Campaigns for your brand keywords. Brand campaigns will perform in a much different manner than non-brand campaigns since users would already have some familiarity with your business.  It’s also important you can budget, manage and report on brand versus non-brand as well. Make sure to add your brand keywords as negative keywords in your non-brand campaigns to be certain all brand traffic goes through your brand campaign
  2. Don’t target more than one network in one campaign and keep Search and Display Network campaigns separate.
  3. Structure the campaign based on your goals. Your non-brand campaigns might be organized by conversion action type, stages of the buying cycle, product or service type, geographic targeting and more. The key is to create a structure that aligns with your business goals and objectives.

Be ready to budget adequately for each of your campaigns and goals or, at least in the beginning, think about either reducing or condensing the number of campaigns.

  1. Consider the resources you have available for ongoing management of your campaigns as the more campaigns you have, the more time-consuming to manage them.
  2. Settle on a naming convention that will be easy for anyone managing the campaigns now or in the future. Keep this information in a spreadsheet that is readily available to everyone who will need it.

PPC Keywords: Research & Match Types

When you’re just starting out, it’s typically not necessary to do extensive keyword research. Think back to your campaign goals and consider the ways in which users will search for your products or services.  Also consider where they may be in the buying cycle and then group these into themes, which will then become your ad groups.

Negative keywords:

Negative keywords are words you don’t want your ads to show for or your budget to be spent on. Negative keywords can be set at the account, campaign or ad group level.

PPC Keyword research tools:

AdWords has a Keyword Planner for conducting keyword research providing search volume, cost per click and conversion estimates. There are also many other free and paid keyword research tools, as well as many other places to get ideas, such as the related searches shown on Google search results, Amazon, customer reviews and more. Ask those in other departments of your company for their input, ask sales reps what they hear from prospective customers, ask account managers what words they hear from customers and last, but not least, what words are the competition using?

Match types:

A great way to manage your budget and qualify traffic in Search campaigns is by using keyword match types. Search engines give advertisers even more control over when their ads will be triggered by a search query with keyword match types. Her are the four match types, in the order of most to least restrictive:

Exact:

Exact match keywords are represented with brackets around them: [women’s shoes].  They are not however, not really exact. Google allows for close variations, such as reordering of words (if it doesn’t change the meaning), and removal or addition of words such as prepositions, articles, conjunctions, etc. that aren’t impactful to the intent of the search.  Given all of this, the priority is still put on identical or “exact” match keywords.

Example keyword: [women’s shoes]

Example search: shoes for women

Phrase:

Phrase match keywords are represented within quotation marks: “women’s shoes”.  The order of the words does count with phrase match keywords, but only if the search uses the same order as the keyword.  Phrase match keywords can also trigger your ads if there are words before or after the phrase keyword used in the search.

Example keyword: “women’s shoes”

Example search: women’s shoes size 8

Broad Match Modifier (BMM):

Broad Match Modifiers are represented by adding a plus sign in front of the keyword: +women’s shoes.  These are a good match choice for trying out new keywords, but still having some control over what searches trigger your ads to show. BMM will show the broad match modifier keyword or close variations, but not synonyms, and the order doesn’t matter.

Example keyword: +women’s +shoes

Example search: shoes for women

Broad:

Broad match keywords are the default type in AdWords. There are no symbols associated with broad match.  They can trigger your ads to show on search queries that Google views as relevant, even if they aren’t keywords in the ad group. This option can provide a lot of good insight and data on how users are searching for your product or service, but it can also create some bizarre matching, requiring that you to keep a close eye on your search term reports. However, in addition to keyword research, broad match can be useful if your keywords have low search volume because the product or service serves a small audience or you’re targeting a limited geography.  Another key thing to note is ads may show in searches that include common misspellings, related searches, synonyms and other relevant variations.

Example keyword: women’s shoe

Example search: ladies shoes size 8

How to use match types: You can use any and all of the four match types available for the same keyword, even within the same ad group. Google will show the keyword with the highest Ad Rank, so you want to structure your bids accordingly, by setting exact match highest, then phrase, then BMM and finally broad.

Use exact match more heavily if you’re running on a tight budget since BMM and broad match keywords will trigger for more search queries, costing more. When thinking about what keyword match types to use, always consider your budget.

Ad groups

Campaigns consist of one or more ad groups. Ad groups are simply that: groups of ads that are aimed at a set of related keywords. This structure helps in grouping related keywords and writing ad text around a common theme. Each ad also includes the landing page you want users to be directed to after they’ve clicked on your ad.

Just like mapping out your campaign structure is important, it’s critical to do the same with your ad group structure with the keywords you want to target and exclude, several variations of ad copy and the landing pages that best relate to the keywords. Each ad group should be tied to the goal of the campaign. The keywords should share a common theme and the ad copy should be closely related to the keywords in the ad group and properly reflect the intent of those search queries. This is super important for earning high Quality Scores.

For example, if you’re a retailer selling many different types of shoes you wouldn’t want to have “high heels” and “running shoes” in the same ad group. You would need to write completely different ad copy tailored to each of these products. Additionally, you’ll need your high heels ads to direct to your landing page for high heels and your running shoes ads to direct to your landing page for running shoes.

Adwords Search Query Report

Once your campaigns have run for a time, you’ll be able to see exactly which search terms triggered your ads. Search query reports help determine whether your keywords are grouped properly, if there are keywords you can add to the group (or add as negative keywords), and if you should further segment keywords into multiple ad groups and write ad copy more tailored to those groups.

Text Ad Copy

As shown in the image below, Text Ads consist of two headlines, a description, a display path, a destination URL and ad extensions.

Final URL:

This is the landing page users will come to after clicking on your ad. Be sure the landing page is relevant to the ad and keywords and provides a good user experience. Refer back to Part 2 for a refresher on landing pages.

Adwords Headlines:

Each headline can have up to 30 characters (including spaces). They appear on one line at the top of the ad, separated by a vertical dash. This is the most prominent part of your ad and your key opportunity to catch a user’s attention. You’ll want your headline to reflect the search intent and set it apart from the other ads with an offer, benefit or feature.  Use the ad groups keywords in the headlines.

PPC Description:

The description can be up to 80 characters long. You can experiment with length and content, but be sure the description reflects the purpose of the search.

Display path:

The display URL will automatically be set to the domain from the final URL and is the URL shown in green under the headlines. You can then set up to two paths of 15 characters each that show after the URL. These give potential customers an idea about the content of the landing page so an ad showing for the search term “women’s shoes” could use two paths /womens/shoes.

PPC Ad Copy Testing & Best Practices

The ad with the best CTR may not necessarily have the best conversion rate, however, ads with better than average click-through-rates will cost less and rank higher in search engine results.  Ad testing is an important element of search marketing, but inherently changes as search engines rely more and more on artificial intelligence to determine which ads to serve.

Google recommends at least three ads per ad group. You’ll want two versions of each ad at a minimum to allow for adequate testing.  Even with Google’s guidance though, ad testing continues to be an important and progressive part of PPC.

Ad Extensions

Ad extensions enhance the appearance of your ads by providing additional information, making your ad stand out more, thus giving the user more of a reason to click on it.  Ad extensions are served dynamically based on context such as device and location and in combinations predicted to improve click-through-rates. Ads in the top position are eligible for more ad extensions to be shown with the ad.

In 2013, Google added ad extensions into its calculations for Ad Rank indicating the price paid per click and the position of your ads are directly related to the extensions you use.  Ad Rank also decides if ad extensions will show with your ads or not. Highly relevant extensions can lead to lower CPCs and a higher position on the page. Advertisers are encouraged to use every relevant ad extension in their campaigns because they can result in higher positions in search results and lower cost-per-clicks. Google creates some extensions automatically if they aren’t already implemented in your campaigns, such as Sitelink extensions.

The biggest benefit of extensions is allowing you to add additional information to your ads like special offers, discounts or sales, events and more without having to create separate ads for these.  Also, naturally, the more information in and attached to the ad will make it stand out more.

Types of Ad Extensions:

Sitelink extensions:

Sitelink extensions are clickable extensions that link to other pages on your website. The exact number of sitelinks shown with your ads will differ whether your ad is shown on mobile or desktop.  Sitelinks can also show in a list format for ads in the top position. They can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level and adding a description is optional. Google may also create descriptions automatically based on the content of your landing page. There is the option to create sitelinks specifically for mobile devices as well as to incorporate custom scheduling.

Callout extensions:

Callout extensions are not clickable. The purpose of these extensions is to call attention to users about certain benefits or offers.  For example, “Free Shipping and Returns,” “Shop New Arrivals,” “Free Consultations,” “Authorized Dealer,” “Family Owned and Operated,” “Money-back Guarantee” and “24 Hour Emergency Service.”  Between two and six callout extensions can display with your ad on desktop or mobile devices. They can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level and can be custom scheduled.

Call extension:

Call extensions attach a phone number to your ad. On mobile, users can click to call directly from the extension on mobile devices.  Google could possibly display an automated call extension using the number on your website or landing page if you don’t already have the extension set up.  Call extensions settings offer custom scheduling to ensure you’ll receive calls when you’re available to answer them. Call extensions can be set at the account, campaign or ad group level and can be counted as conversions if you have turned on the call reporting feature within your account.

Promotion extension:

Promotion extensions are great if you’re promoting a sale or special offer. Promotion extensions are clickable and can appear with a price tag icon as well as include up to two lines of text about the promotion.

Structured snippet extension:

Structured snippet extensions are not clickable. Their purpose is to display additional information about the products and services you offer.  Structured snippet extensions are listed with a header you choose from a list within the AdWords platform and include options such as “Brands,” “Models” and “Types” as well as a list of values that correspond to the header you choose. One header will show on mobile, but two headers may show on desktop. Google recommends having at least four values per header and setting up at least two sets.  Structured snippets can be setup at the account, campaign or ad group level and can be custom scheduled.

Message extension:

Message extensions only display in ads on mobile devices that can send and receive text messages; similarly, the business number also has to be able to send and receive text messages. When a user clicks on the message extensions, a message you’ve created pops up, such as “I’d like to schedule an appointment”or “I’d like to learn more about your special offer”.  You do get charged when someone clicks on the message icon within your ad, but not when they actually send the text. Message extensions can be setup at the account, campaign and ad group level.

Location extension:

If your business has physical locations, you’ll definitely want to use location extensions.  First you have to link your Google My Business account to your AdWords account. Location extensions can potentially appear in Search results and Google Maps, as well as in display and video ads. In Search results, location extensions can show the location and phone number or a click to call button on mobile devices, which users will also see the distance to the location in relation to their current location.  There is also a details page users can click on to view additional details such as that location’s hours, ratings and reviews, photos and directions.

Affiliate location extension:

Brands and manufacturers that sell products in retail chains can enable affiliate location extensions to help users find their products at nearby locations. In the United States, there are currently more than 80 chains to choose from for affiliate location extensions.

App extension:

App extensions are clickable links providing users a way to access your mobile app listing in the Google Play or Apple App Store from a text ad , however, the ad headline still directs the click to your website.  The App extension isn’t meant to replace app promotion ads for driving app downloads. Google automatically detects the user’s device type and only shows app extensions on the compatible devices. App extensions can be setup at the account, campaign or ad group level and only one app extension can display with an ad.

Price extension:

Price extensions are clickable extensions highlighting prices for products or services. Each price extension includes the option to customize the header and add a 25 character description to each.  Google recommends having at least five price extension items and on mobile devices, up to eight price extensions can show.

Setting up an Adwords  Search Campaign

Campaign Types

When you add a new campaign in AdWords, you’ll see the following menu to choose Search, Display, Shopping, Video or Universal App.  Click on the Search option.

Search campaign settings:

The primary settings at the campaign level include:

  • Campaign type.
  • Daily budget.
  • Location targeting.
  • Bidding method.
  • Ad rotation & scheduling.

When you create a new Search campaign in AdWords, you’ll be asked to select a goal of sales, leads or website traffic.  When you select a goal, Google will show recommended settings and features. However, you can also opt to set up a campaign without a goal and without seeing step-by-step recommendations. No matter which option you choose, Google will ask if the goal is to get website visits, phone calls or app downloads.

Here are the steps of the Search campaign settings when you choose not to set a goal:

Network selection:

Search and Display advertising campaigns are completely different making it best to separate the two, so the first step is to check ‘No’ under “Add Display Network.”

Location targeting:

The next setting is Location, indicating where you want your ads to show. If you sell your products and services all over the United States, for example, you could select that option.

Location targeting can be much more fine tuned, however. You can hone in on a state or province, a city or cities, neighborhoods, zip codes and more.  Additionally, if there are areas within your chosen target locations you don’t want ads to appear, you can also choose to exclude those areas.

The “Advanced search” feature allows you to to add multiple locations or target a radius around a specific area. If you have physical locations and have linked your Google My Business account to your AdWords account, you can set your campaign to show ads within a specific distance surrounding each of your locations.

Once the location targeting is complete, you can modify the bids in specific areas based on how much you want to pay for clicks within your target locations.

Next, choose the languages your customers speak. With language settings, you can restrict where your ads can appear based on the user’s language settings and the language of the site.

Daily budgeting:

Daily Budgeting is an average, not a maximum.  Some days the daily budget may not be met and other days it may be exceeded.  To account for lows and spikes in daily search activity, Google balances out the daily budget so you don’t spend more than your daily budget times the number of days in a given month.

If for some reason you see the notice “Limited by Budget” in your campaigns, this is not good and should be avoided.  When you manage your spend by limiting your budget, your ads won’t show all day and Google will let you know because you’re missing out on impressions and clicks they deem as valuable to your campaign.

Shared Budgets:

The Shared Budget option is located under the Shared Library and allows you to spread your budget across multiple campaigns.  AdWords controls how the budget is allocated and if one campaign is under its daily budget, the remainder will be used in your other campaigns.

Delivery method:

The Delivery method within the budget setting gives you two options: Standard or Accelerated.

The Standard delivery method is the default option in AdWords.  The objective is to deliver your ads, distributing the daily budget evenly throughout the day.  Although your ads can be seen throughout the day, they may not show at every opportunity possible as Google is holding out to make sure your budget lasts throughout that day.  Alternatively, your entire budget may not be used entirely since the algorithm used to determine the ad impressions and the cost-per-click uses historical data to make these predictions.

The Accelerated delivery method doesn’t aim to help your budget last throughout the day, but instead will show ads as often as the auction allows, resulting in the likelihood your whole budget will be used and fairly quickly.

The disadvantage of the Accelerated delivery method is if you have a limited budget, your ads could possibly stop being delivered earlier in the day, missing opportunities for search traffic later in the day. Also, your ads won’t start showing again until the next day when your daily budget resets.

The advantage of the Accelerated delivery method is it allows you to account for the highs and lows of daily search volumes and your ads will show more often; ads that show more often likely result in more clicks.

Bidding method:

Bidding is the next campaign setting, but essentially it’s setting the type of bidding you’ll use in the campaign based on your goals.  The Bidding section defaults to a guided walk-through based on your other campaign settings.

Google is rather intent on getting advertisers to choose an automated bidding strategy versus setting bids manually.

To see all of the bid strategy options available, click “Select a bid strategy directly” and you can view all of the automated options available to you.

Smart Adwords Bidding strategies:

Smart Bidding strategies are subsets within the group of automated bid strategies.  They each rely on machine learning algorithms, meaning they use historical data to predict conversion outcomes.  They require a sizeable amount of historical data to optimize for conversions and conversion value. The bids are made in real time at each auction, known as “auction-time bidding” and are based on many signals, including the user’s device, browser, location and location intent and demographics, whether they are on a remarketing list, the day and the time of day and even more. AdWords conversion tracking must be set up for Smart Bidding strategies to work for Search campaigns.

Smart Bidding strategies:

  • Target CPA (cost per acquisition): Target CPA sets bids with the goal of getting the most conversions possible while reaching your average cost-per-acquisition (CPA) goal. This strategy is best for advertisers that have had at least 30 conversions over the past 30 days.
  • Target ROAS (return on ad spend): Target ROAS aims to maximize revenue or conversion value based on the target return on ad spend you set. The ROAS formula is: Conversion value/ ad spend x 100%. It works best for accounts that have had at least 50 conversions within the past 30 days.
  • Maximize Conversions: Maximize Conversions automatically sets your bids to help you achieve the most conversions for your budget.
  • Enhanced CPC (ECPC): This strategy raises the max CPC bid in auctions that the algorithm predicts are more likely to convert and lowers the bid in auctions deemed less likely to convert.  Google aims to achieve an average CPC that is below the max CPC over time. This strategy works best for advertisers that have had at least 30 conversions within the past 30 days.

Portfolio strategy:

You may have several campaigns using the same target CPA or ROAS settings. With a portfolio strategy, a single strategy can be applied across multiple campaigns.

You can create a portfolio strategy when creating a new campaign, in campaign settings or in the Shared Library.

Next, choose a start and end date if you’d like. If you don’t indicate a start date, the campaign will begin when you hit “Save” at the end of the setup process. If you do not choose an end date, the campaign will run indefinitely.

After that step, be sure to click “Additional Settings”.

Ad rotation: This setting provides two options: Optimize or Do not Optimize.

Optimize: This option uses machine learning to determine which ad shows.

Do not optimize: With this setting, the ads show in even rotation for as long as the campaign runs.

With “Optimize,” the default is for Google to optimize for clicks. If you want to optimize for conversions, you’ll need to use one of the Smart Bidding strategies discussed above.

By choosing the “Do not optimize” setting, advertisers are able to manually run A/B ad testing and measure performance against whichever metrics they choose.  Google, however, has strongly encouraged advertisers to select the “Optimize” option and has moved away from A/B testing in which two ads run in each ad group. Instead, Google recommends advertisers run at least three ads per ad group and gauge success by looking at ad group-level metrics rather than those of individual ads. This is a big shift from the A/B testing best practices most advertisers have used since PPC’s earliest days.

If you want to manually run your own ad tests (and many advertisers do), rather than rely on Google’s algorithms to get it right, you can choose “Do not optimize,” but you won’t have access to other functionalities, such as Smart Bidding strategies.

Campaign URL options:

Tracking template is the URL you want the ad click to go to for tracking.  Tracking was covered in more detail in Part 2.

Dynamic Search Ads:

Dynamic Search Ads target relevant searches automatically based on information from your website, then use headlines automatically customized to people’s actual searches.  Google automatically generates headlines for your ads matching what it determines to be the most relevant landing page on your site to the search query. You have control over the description in the ads. These ads can help expand the world of keywords that trigger your ads to show. You can then use keywords found in the search terms report for your DSA campaigns as positive or negative keywords in your other Search campaigns.

If your site content changes often or is dynamically generated, DSAs are not recommended.

Additional Targeting Capabilities

Aside from keyword and targeting there are several other useful targeting options available (navigate to the left side column in the platform).

Audience targeting:

Audience targeting has continued to play a greater role in Search campaigns in the past few years. Ads can be targeted based on behavioral signals rather than just keyword intent signals

Demographics:

Reporting and targeting by age range, gender and household income percentiles are available here, but you’ll often see a higher percentage of data categorized as “Unknown” where Google doesn’t have enough information about the user.

Location targeting:

Advertisers can set campaigns to run in specific locations. Location bid modifiers allow you to increase or decrease the maximum CPC you’re willing to pay for clicks from target locations. It’s also possible to exclude locations within a target area.

Ad schedule:

At the campaign level, you can set the days and times you want your ads to show. Times are based on the time zone of your account so you’ll need to consider the span of time zones in the regions you are targeting in your campaigns.

Device targeting:

It used to be common for advertisers to separate campaigns out by device so they could control the budgets and format ads and landing pages according to device, but since Google introduced bid modifiers there are not near as many situations where separating campaigns is necessary. In Search campaigns, device targeting is managed entirely with bid adjustments.

Adwords Bidding & Bid Adjustments

Bidding and bid adjustments let you to manage your budgets and optimize paid search campaigns based on your targeting objectives. The following details how bidding and bid adjustments function in PPC campaigns.

Ad group & keyword level bidding

Smart bidding strategies are set and automated at the campaign level based on the bidding goal, but you aren’t allowed to adjust those bids manually. When you’re using manual bidding or Enhanced CPC bidding, individual bids can be set and adjusted at the ad group or keyword level.

If you’re just starting out and don’t have the same keyword with different match types in an ad group yet, you could begin with setting bids at the ad group level only until your campaigns are up and running for some time so you can accumulate CPC and performance data on the individual keywords.

Once you have some data to work with, you’ll want to start setting bids at the keyword level. Keyword bids take precedence over ad group bids allowing you to have more control and giving you the ability to prioritize keywords based on performance.

PPC Bid simulators

When Google has enough data on a keyword, Bid Simulators (enabled from the columns option at the keyword level) will provide estimates for how your ads could have performed with different bids based on historical data. They’ll show the potential impact bid changes would have had on impressions, clicks, conversions and conversion value. Simulation data may not be available if your campaign regularly hits its daily budget before the end of the day or if you changed your bid recently.

Adwords Bid adjustments

Regardless of what bidding strategy you’re using, bid adjustments can be set at various levels of a campaign. Bid adjustments are percentage multipliers you set to automatically adjust bids depending on factors such as device, location, demographics, time, audience and more. Google continues to add more bid adjustment options.

Bid adjustments can offer a lot of flexibility when used, but they can also add significant complexity to account management when you use more than one bid adjustment in a campaign. Bid adjustments are usually multiplied together when determining your final bid.

Bid adjustment ranges (and where they can be applied) are as follows:

  • Device:  -100% to +900% (campaign and ad group level).

Note:

– If a -100% bid adjustment factors into the mix, the final bid will be zeroed out. If you don’t want your ads to show on desktop, for example, you can decrease the desktop bid adjustment by 100%.

– If you’re using Target ROAS bid strategy, the only device bid adjustment available is -100%.

– If you’re using Target CPA, device bid adjustments change the CPA target, not your bid.

  • Location: -90% to +900% (campaign level).
  • Ad scheduling: -90% to +900% (campaign level).

Note:  – Maximize clicks is the only automated bidding strategy that works with ad scheduling bid adjustments.

  • Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA): -90% to +900% (campaign and ad group level).
  • Call adjustments/Interactions: -90% to +900% (campaign level).

Conclusion

Remember, this is just the beginning of your adventure with pay-per-click campaigns. There is constantly more to explore and more learning and testing. Understanding the basics from the start will help to ensure you don’t spend a lot of money with nothing to show for it.  In order to maximize efficiency in PPC, it takes a lot of practice, patience and high attention to detail to understand how all the various levels work together to achieve your ultimate goals.

The key to success with PPC is to consistently tie your efforts back to the objectives of the business and understand its part in your company’s marketing as a whole and how it can benefit and support your other means of marketing.

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Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Part 2 – Before You Begin: Measurement, Tracking and Setting Up Your Account

Although PPC has been a very successful and profitable means of online marketing for a wide range of industries and business sizes, it can also be very costly and have zero results. Prior to beginning your first PPC campaign, here are a few things to help with your preparation:

PPC Campaign Goals

All marketing efforts begin with some type of goal in mind and PPC is no different. Actually, goals are directly related to the structure of your PPC campaigns, making them especially important. For example, you can structure your campaigns to target your ideal audience based on where they are in the buying cycle. What is it you want to achieve?  Are you a new business wanting to build awareness or drive traffic to your website? Are you trying to generate leads or increase revenue? Perhaps you want to increase in-store visits or get the phone ringing. Whatever your goals are, be sure to define them first before beginning your PPC Campaign.

Sufficient PPC Budget

Without a sufficient budget, your ads won’t show often. There are many ways to control spend in AdWords, but doing it by limiting budget is just about the worst way to do so. It also means you won’t get enough clicks or conversion data to learn from and to optimize your campaigns, let alone meet your business goals.

Landing Pages

No matter how good your ads are, how you structure your Adwords campaigns or how many optimization tools you utilize through the Adwords platform, if your landing page isn’t great, your campaign can’t be. With mobile devices accounting for the majority of searches and clicks, the mobile version of your landing page has to load fast, provide the user with results relevant to their query and give a clear call to action.

In the new Google Adwords interface, there is now a Landing Pages report providing a “mobile-friendly click rate” and “valid AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) click rate” to give advertisers more insight on how their landing pages perform on mobile devices. Google’s test tool also lets you check how mobile-friendly your landing pages are.

If your advertising goal is to generate leads, but your landing page doesn’t have a clear call to action or even a lead form, you’re probably not going to achieve good campaign results, not to mention, you’ll be sending unfavorable signals to the search engines based on user behavior and experience.

Let’s say you sell shoes and your ad for a search query “men’s shoes” directs that user to your home page versus the men’s shoes page.  Most people aren’t going to navigate around your site to find what they wanted in the first place, but instead, hit the back button and click elsewhere.  This is one of those factors from the first part of this series about Ad Quality Score, which will certainly suffer if your landing page doesn’t provide a good user experience.

An Experimental Mentality

Your AdWords campaigns may not immediately deliver optimal results. The most successful search campaigns require constant testing, analyzing and optimizing.  Performance relies on many strategic factors from bidding to targeting to ad copies to landing pages. Additionally, search engines are always testing and making changes so the learning curve is constant and there will always be an opportunity to try something new.

Resources

Since it’s easy to waste money on an Adwords campaign, making sure you have dedicated people and resources in place is essential.  Your budget size and how complex your campaigns are will help determine how much time and talent you should expect to devote to managing, testing, analyzing and optimizing your paid search efforts.

Measuring and Tracking

All you need is a primary contact and a credit card to create a new AdWords account, but prior to starting a campaign, it’s imperative you take some essential steps first, making sure you get all the reporting and tracking needed in order to measure and optimize your campaigns.

There are several metrics you’ll need to understand when running and analyzing PPC campaigns.

Impressions: The number of times your ads were served in the search results.

Clicks: The number of times users clicked on or engaged with your ads.

Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who clicked on your ad. It is calculated by dividing clicks by impressions. CTR is a very important indicator of how well your ads are performing.

Average CPC: The average cost per click paid for the clicks received.

Average position: Where your ads appeared on the search engine results page (SERP.) The higher the position, the greater the visibility you’ll have. Average position also indicates how your Ad Rank compares with other ads.

Conversions: The number of conversion actions your ads have generated. The actions to be tracked are set up at the account level.

Conversion rate: The percentage of people who clicked on your ads and ended up converting.

Quality Score: Reported at the keyword level on a scale of 1 to 10, Quality Score is an indicator of how relevant your ads, keywords and landing pages are to the user. A higher Quality Score can mean lower CPCs and better ad positions.

There are literally dozens of additional reporting metrics available in AdWords and you can even create your reports with custom columns.

Conversion tracking: What can you measure?

Conversion tracking allows you to understand how effective your ads are in resulting in valuable customer activity.  The setup process is different, depending on what type of conversion you want to track, so first, you must choose a conversion source.  A conversion source is where your conversions come from like phone calls, app downloads, newsletter sign-ups, website purchases, etc. There are four main types of conversions you can track in AdWords:

  1. Website Actions: This is the most common type of conversion tracking, so it will be covered in more detail below. Google provides these five categories for types of website actions you can track: Purchase/Sale, Sign-up, Lead, View of a key page, and Other.
  2. App installs and in-app actions: If you are promoting an app, you can track app conversions through your app analytics platform.  Additionally, AdWords integrates intrinsically with its own Firebase app analytics platform, the Google Play app store or from third-party analytics platform.
  3. Phone calls: If you’re a business whose goal is to generate phone calls, there are multiple ways search engines have developed to drive phone calls from search ads. On mobile devices, there is even an option to create a “Call-only” ad where the number pops up when the ad is clicked, versus redirecting the user to a website or landing page.  AdWords gives three options for setting up phone call conversion tracking:a) Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads.  This tracks when someone calls you directly from an ad. This option requires you to use Google forwarding numbers.b) Calls to a phone number on your website.  This tracks when someone clicks on one of your ads, then calls your business from a phone number on your landing page or website.  This option also requires you to use Google forwarding numbers as well as adding a tag to your landing page or website.c)  Clicks on your phone number on your mobile website.  This tracks when someone clicks a phone number link on your mobile website.  This option does not require the use of a Google forwarding number, but does require you to add a tag to your mobile website.

What’s a Google forwarding number?   A unique phone number provided by Google displayed in your ads.  If a potential customer calls or messages this phone number, AdWords will route the call or message to your business phone number. With this information, you’ll have detailed reports about calls or messages generated from your ads.

  1. Import: This option allows you import conversion data from another source.  AdWords integrations options are Google Analytics, Firebase, Third-party app analytics and Salesforce. Aside from these four options you can also upload conversions in a file or with the API by choosing the fifth option: Other data sources or CRMs.  Under this option you choose whether to track conversions from clicks or calls.

Step-by-step: Setting up website conversion action tracking:

Here is what the setup screen looks like for tracking website conversion actions. To access within the AdWords platform, click on ‘Tools’, indicated by a wrench in the upper right hand corner.  Under ‘Measurement’, click ‘Conversions’ and choose ‘Website’.

Follow these steps:

  1. Name the action.  Choose something as relevant as possible so anyone using reporting will easily be able to recognize it.  For example, website clicks lead forms.
  2. Choose a category.  As mentioned above, your choices are Purchase/Sale, Sign-up, Lead, View of a key page, and Other.
  3. Choose a value. The value depends on the kind of conversion you’re tracking. If your business or client has designated a specific value for an ebook download, for example, you can choose “Use the same value for each conversion” and enter that value. An e-commerce site, however, will usually want to use the value of the total sale value, which typically will vary by customer. In this situation, choose “Use different values for each conversion.” Keep in mind you’ll need to edit the conversion tag to track transaction-specific values. Third, you can choose not to assign a monetary value to a conversion at all, in which case you would choose “Don’t use a value”.
  4. Choose a count.  “Every” is recommended for purchases, where every conversion adds value.  If your business wants to count three ebook downloads by the same user only once, choose “One”.
  5. Choose a conversion window. This is how long you want to track the conversion after your ad receives a click.  For example, an insurance salesman may want to track a conversion for 5 days for a quote request, but 60 days for a policy sale.  If you’re not sure how long it takes for your customers to convert, you can segment your reports by “Days to conversion” to find out.
  6. View-through conversion window.  This is only for video and display ads, not search.  It counts a conversion when it occurs after a video or display ad impression, but is clicked on later.  The default is one day for this and in search you won’t need to change it.
  7. Include in “Conversions”. This lets you decide if these conversions should be included in your “Conversions” and “Conversion value” columns. If you uncheck it, data will still appear in the “All conv.” column.  AdWords uses the Conversions column for its Smart Bidding or automated bidding (which will be covered in part 3). If you want to measure an action, but not have your bids optimized against that action you can uncheck this box.  For example, visits to a specific page on your website.
  8. Attribution model. This setting determines how much credit each click receives for your conversions.  In the Adwords platform, you can set an attribution model for each conversion event you create. Currently the default is set to “Last Click”.  There is an attribution modeling report you can use to compare the different models to one another. Attribution models are covered in more detail next.

AdWords Attribution Models

Attribution models were created to help advertisers understand how their search marketing efforts directly relate to a user converting. How do you know exactly what keywords and ads contributed to a conversion?  Knowing this data is especially important as users perform research and make purchases across multiple devices and channels.

AdWords Attribution models only reference ad clicks and engagements for Search and Shopping Ads on google.com and are not available for app and in-store conversions.

Attribution models provide you with more control over how much credit each ad and keyword receives for your conversions, providing these benefits:

  1. a) Reach potential customers earlier in the buying cycle by discovering opportunities to influence them earlier on the path to converting.
  2. b) Match to your business by using a model that is best suited for how your target audience searches for your product or service.
  3. c) Improve your bidding by optimizing bids according to a better understanding of ad performance.

Example:

You own Simply Elegant Restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ.  A customer is directed to your website after clicking on your AdWords ads after the search queries “restaurant phoenix”, “restaurant scottsdale”, “5 star restaurant scottsdale” and lastly, “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale”.

  • In the “Last click” attribution model, the last keyword, “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale” would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
  • In the “First click” attribution model, the first keyword, “restaurant phoenix”, would receive 100% of the credit for the conversion.
  • In the “Linear” attribution model, each keyword would share equal credit of 25% each for the conversion.
  • In the “Time decay” attribution model, the keyword “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale” would receive the most credit since it was searched closest to the conversion.  The “restaurant phoenix” keyword would receive the least amount of credit because it was the earliest search.
  • In the “Position-based” attribution model, “restaurant phoenix” and “5 star simply elegant restaurant scottsdale” would each receive 40% credit and  “restaurant scottsdale” and “5 star restaurant scottsdale” would each receive 10%.
  • In the “Data-driven” attribution model, each keyword would receive partial credit, depending on how much it contributed to driving the conversion.  You would only see this option if you had sufficient data in your account. Find out more about data-driven attribution here.

Setting Up Your Adwords Account

Each individual business or client will need to have its own account when you’re setting up AdWords. Within each is where important contact details, payment information and account access permissions are kept.

Google only allows one ad per website to appear in search results for text ads; this is to provide a better user experience.  Shopping ads are the exception because several related products from the same seller may appear in the results.

To set up your account, click on the “Tools”/wrench icon in the upper right-hand corner:

In Billing and payments, you’ll set up your contact and payment information.  Invoicing is available, but you have to contact Google directly to initiate this.

Under Business data is ad customizer data, ad extension, dynamic ad and page feeds.  Don’t worry about this in the beginning; you’ll return here after your setup is complete.

Account access is simply that; add users to your account and choose their levels of access.

Linked Accounts

Before you launch your first campaigns, you’ll want to link your accounts from other Google services in order to transfer data back and forth between them.

Currently, you can link to these Google services:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Firebase
  • Google Play
  • Salesforce
  • Third-party app analytics
  • Google Hotel Ads Center
  • Google Merchant Center
  • YouTube
  • Search Console
  • Ads Data Hub

Utilizing Google Analytics is extremely valuable as it allows for importing conversion goals and audiences from Analytics into AdWords. Through Google Analytics, you can analyze your AdWords campaign performance, compare it to other channels and most importantly, understand how users behave on your website after clicking your ads.

Google Firebase is great if you have Android and iOS apps.  Firebase shows you how your campaigns relate to app installs and in-app actions. You can create mobile app remarketing lists with Firebase audiences and view AdWords cost data in Firebase.

Also app related, with Google Play, you can learn what ads are driving action by tracking in-app purchases and can also create remarketing lists based on current users.

If you use Salesforce, link so you can import sales leads and funnel that data into AdWords.  After a lead comes from a click on your ad, you can use this data to optimize your campaigns.

Google shares signed-in user data across its services. Linking your YouTube channel to AdWords will not only allow you to run video campaigns on YouTube, but you’ll also be able to build retargeting lists of people who’ve watched your videos and measure engagement on your video ads.

Linking Google Search Console will enable you to import organic search results, compare your organic and paid coverage and see how your ads and organic listings perform together and alone.

Ads Data Hub is not available to all advertisers.  Linking to this makes campaign data available in a secure, cloud-based environment, to third party vendors and agencies for verification and/or analysis

Account Settings

After the account setup process is completed, it’s important you navigate to another Account settings tab.  Click “Settings” on the bottom left hand side and then click “Account Settings.”

Tracking:  If you’re using a third-party platform for analytics, this is where you can add tracking parameters that will apply to the account level, campaign level, ad group level, ad level or the most specific, the keyword level. You can also add Parallel Tracking which helps in loading your landing page quicker.  It sends users directly from your ad to the final URL while the click measurement occurs in the background. This can help improve ad performance and increase conversions.

Auto-tagging: Enabling this feature is necessary to import conversion data into Analytics or a third-party analytics platform, for example, your CRM.

Message Reporting: This must be on if you are using a messaging extension or the data collected from it cannot be captured in the reporting insights.  Extensions will be covered in more detail in the third and final part of this series.

Inventory Type: For video campaigns only.

Content Exclusions: This allows you to opt out of showing your ads on content that is not suited for your brand.  Digital content labels pertain to audience maturity; Sensitive content lets you choose specific websites, videos or apps, for example, that may not fit your brand; and Content type refers to excluding your ads from certain categories of content.

Ad Suggestions: New as of March 2018, Google automatically creates and applies ad suggestions in your ad groups, especially in ad groups that may only have one ad.  This setting is on by default and Google will automatically apply the changes after 14 days if you don’t dismiss them or apply them yourself sooner from the Recommendations page.

Conclusion

Hopefully at this point you’re more than convinced of the value of PPC as a means of online marketing.  It truly is transparent as you can see with all of the measuring and tracking options available through the AdWords platform.  Remember the importance of the steps before getting started as they are vital to a successful start of your campaigns. Next, in part 3, we’ll wrap up this series by covering campaign structure, ad groups, ad extensions, setting up your search campaign, ads automation and additional targeting capabilities.

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.

5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT KRISTY

  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
Kristy Elias