This is the seventh 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 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 3 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 4 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 5 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 6 
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser? What is your primary goal for AdWords marketing?
I’m an Online Marketing Consultant for Canada’s Web Shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Our AdWords clients are mostly of the lead-generation kind, as opposed to e-commerce, although we do service both. In addition to working in PPC, I also carry out search engine optimization and develop social media marketing plans for our clients. I’ve been using AdWords for several years, and am a Certified AdWords Qualified Individual in Search Advertising.
My primary goal with AdWords is to drive conversions for clients, whether they are sales or leads. A secondary goal would be to provide the client with market research data collected from AdWords and analytics, as even in a campaign that isn’t yet converting, there can always be value for clients with a PPC campaign.
There are tons of metrics in AdWords – what are your top 3 key performance metrics in AdWords and why?
My top three metrics are:
- CTR – The most important factor in determining Quality Score. Good CTR means you are targeting the right keywords, you have the right ad copy , your clicks will be (relatively) affordable, and you will be able to get conversions.
- (Good Quality) Conversions – The true mark of success in AdWords, conversions prove that AdWords is the right kind of advertising for a client. I put the emphasis on high-quality conversions, as bad leads that are generated for a client should not be counted as success.
- CPC – Getting the best advertising rate for clients. PPC advertising differs from other forms of advertising in that a PPC account that is well managed will cost less for the client. I agree strongly with PPC experts who advise PPC managers to treat client money as if it was their own personal cash.
Can you describe your AdWords management strategy? How do you set your campaign objectives, and how do you know what’s realistic or not?
In a nutshell, I would say that my strategy involves going big with lots of different tests in terms of keywords, ad groups and landing pages, then cutting back to what appears to be the best quality traffic of what was brought in from expanding, and then repeating this process until the best quality traffic is being driven and converted. Campaign objectives are always around eventually driving conversions for the client.
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 make sure to check in on accounts at least once a week. Being a WordStream user, my first task is usually to check for new negative keyword opportunities , in order to cut out traffic that isn’t useful. After all negative keyword opportunities are accepted or rejected, I usually go by any issues that are easily identifiable, such as an Ad Group that is receiving low CTR. I am also constantly looking for insight into what kinds of queries users are seeing my ads from, and from that, finding new opportunities to break down campaigns and Ad Groups to be more specific and have less keywords per ad. Obviously, priority goes to reworking poorly performing campaigns and to client requests.
Any advice or tips for AdWords marketers that didn’t score as well as you?
- Break down, break down, break down. I see the ultimate optimization of a campaign as having 2-3 [exact match] keywords  per Ad Group. Obviously when you are managing 300-400 keywords this can be a difficult goal to achieve, so dynamic keyword insertion can work in place of such small Ad Groups. Research proves that ads that are this specific to their keywords are the ones that perform the best, so it’s the way to go!
- Modify every aspect of your campaigns to make sure you are taking advantage of all the customization that using AdWords affords you. Change times your ads show, geographical locations they show to, networks they are displayed on, devices they are displayed on, and continue to watch the data to see what changes improve your results to help you in the future. Additionally, if you are showing the same content to multiple networks or devices, make sure to create separate campaigns for each type!
- Always use a “Brand” campaign. Going after keywords such as the name of your company/client can seem like a waste of money, but it is entirely possible to get clicks for as little as $0.01. The resulting high Quality Scores from having perfectly matched keywords will have a ripple effect throughout your campaign, helping your other keywords to achieve better Quality Scores themselves.
What did you think about the categories we included in the AdWords Grader? Anything missing?
Perhaps conversion performance? If AdWords users could be categorized by lead vs. e-commerce sale, type of product/service and then value of conversion, it would be interesting to see how accounts measured up against one another.