This is the third in a series of interviews we're conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader . We're reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 1 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 2 
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser?
I’ve been using AdWords for about 10 years. I also work with adCenter, and I used to play with smaller networks as well.
I’m an SEO and PPC consultant, currently working with 20 to 25 clients. My biggest client has a ~$7000 monthly spend; the typical client spends about $300 per month.
What is your primary goal for AdWords marketing?
My goals are on behalf of my clients – I work to meet their goals.
There are tons of metrics in AdWords – what are your top three key performance metrics in AdWords and why?
I pay a lot of attention to the search query  report – that shows you what keywords people use to find you, and it’s invaluable for finding negative keywords . I also keep an eye on Quality Score. Every once in a while I will cull out campaigns with low Quality Scores . I also check geographic reports. I don’t measure conversions for all my clients – not all of them are e-commerce, for some “conversions” are phone calls.
Can you describe your AdWords management strategy?
Here are some of my main strategies:
- Make ad groups as granular as possible.
- Pay a lot of attention to negative keywords, looking at the search query report for opportunities there.
- Keyword research – I used to use Wordtracker, now I just use Google’s keyword tool.
- Look at keywords that are extensions for existing campaign keywords and expand there.
- When it comes to match types  I use phrase match most often.
How do you set your campaign objectives, and how do you know what’s realistic or not?
I make sure my clients understand that conversions are only going to be a fraction of total clicks.
Describe your AdWords management workflow. When you’re doing your account optimization work, how do you decide what to do next in your account? How do you prioritize your work?
I just dig in – I have no specific workflow. If anything I start with the search query report and identifying negative keywords. For landing pages, I advise on content, and encourage clients to make them more keyword-rich. Sometimes I’ll use prices to scare away non-qualified clicks.
Any advice or tips for AdWords marketers that didn’t score as well as you?
Don’t set up an account and expect it to just run on auto-pilot and do well. PPC is kind of like driving a car – you have to keep steering. The work of fine-tuning never stops, and there is always going to be something that crops up that you’ll need to tweak to keep your account running as well as possible.