Optimizing Yourself into a Corner with Google AdWords
So you start an AdWords campaign and you start to get traffic. You're doing all the things they tell you to do - you've got Google Analytics installed and you've got conversion reporting configured. You know exactly which keywords and ads are working and which are not - so now you can start really optimizing your account. How long will it take you to paint yourself into a corner?
If you're not careful - it could be quicker than you might think.
Consider the optimization process. Run an A/B test on these ads and select that which performs best. Monitor the cost per click and the click through rates, the Quality Score and the conversion rates of your keywords and pause those which under-perform. Rinse and repeat.
Fast forward a few days, weeks, months. You have whittled and whittled, and you now have "the" keyword coupled with "the" ad - and conversion rates to die for. But, wait, what happened to all your traffic? As you have focused more and more, so the traffic volumes have dwindled, and now there simply isn't enough traffic to keep your sales (or lead) funnel full.
This is the end game of the core optimization process. Funnels within funnels which squeeze the budget into the most cost effective actions. And, just like the person painting themselves into the corner of a room - there's nowhere to go once you get there. Game over.
So how should we avoid this?
The key is in the account structure. We need to think about channels and levels. Big fish and small ponds..... And we need to think about how, at the same time as we are narrowing our target groups on the one hand, we are developing them on the other.
It is good to have your star performers, your big fish, each in their own pond (or campaign/ad group). Give them all the budget they can eat and fatten them up nicely. Let them gorge themselves. After all, these are the keywords that drive the traffic that give you your income. But at the same time, don't forget to keep your "feeder" campaigns well stocked.
These feeder campaigns can be small. They can target a small (yet, representative) geographical area and have a limited budget allocated to them. As you discover new keywords - using keyword tools or analyzing the search query reports from your main campaigns - so these can be added without too much risk to either your budget, or your benchmark numbers. As you find promising keywords within the feeder group, so these can be moved into development areas where more budget can be allocated and segmentation into ad groups and landing page development can be applied. Once they reach a certain performance level they can be promoted to the star performer group.
At the same time the star performers can be held to certain standards which, if not met, will lead to these keywords being relegated. Once moved back into the development area you can spend time testing and developing ad copy and landing pages so as to bring them back up to speed.
Markets and customers change. So does the competition. What is successful at one moment may not be the next. Adding layers to your account structure can enable you to better respond to these changes without disrupting the traffic flow and the lead/sales funnel.
Don't paint yourself into a corner, keep feeder activity high and busy - this keeps you and your competitors on their toes.