Monday, August 27, 2007

Search Marketing Agency Mistakes on Google Adwords - Shocking!
Once again my team and I were totally shocked by a bad, bad implementation of an advertiser's search marketing strategy by their search marketing agency. Search is about keywords and creatives, yes, but ultimately it is about landing page conversions and optimization of the spend based on the ROI goals. To bid a high ($10) CPC on a keyword that has no relevancy and, not surprisingly, no conversions - but lots and lots of traffic - is really unconscionable. I don't hold the agency 100% responsible. The client should be watching the bottom line, and the media vendor should be paying more attention to their big spending clients.

The following items should be reviewed/considered when taking on a new client with an existing Adwords campaign. Note: All of these subjects can be discussed without knowing much about the client strategy or target audience; they are just common sense in the search marketing business.

1. Tracking - are they tracking? What tools are they using? Can you 'see' all the way through to sales? If B2B, can you at least see through to completion of a lead form? If not tracking, how do they measure ROI? Asking these questions will help the client either realize the campaigns are half-baked because no one was looking at ROI or give you the chance to review the value of the campaigns based on ROI.

2. Keyword Buckets/Groups - are all keywords in each bucket closely related to each, or are they too general? Keywords should be grouped so that the creatives and landing pages are directly related and relevant. This leads to better testing, thus better knowledge about how to optimize the campaigns.

3. Creative Testing - how many creatives are they testing per bucket? If there is only one text-based creative per bucket, you know that there is a ton of room for optimization and it wasn't being done in the past.

4. Broad Match - are there words that are being broad match that have nothing to do with the product/service represented by the advertiser. Classic example: your company name is Flower and Associates so you bid on the word Flower. Ok, really stupid example but I have seen it happen.

5. Budgets - what is the distribution of media money? If it is a B2B company a significant amount of money should be being spent on Google Adwords. Have the other engines been tested (the should be)? Is 'owning' the category important (ie: IBM may want to own the keyword computers whether it converts or not), then they should be buying on at least the top three vendors and not just Google. Is the daily spend being hit before the end of the day? What keywords are eating up the budget?

6. [And my favorite] Negative Keywords - are they using negates in their campaigns for words/phrases that may result in inappropriate search results to be associated with the advertiser? If you have a keyword like video or conferencing, the advertiser should be smart/mature/whatever enough to negate out words like xxx (fill in your favorite x).

So many more. Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts.


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