This is the ninth 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 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 7 
- AdWords Experts Share the Secrets of Their PPC Success, Part 8 
This week’s interview is with JoLyn Laney of J Interactive .
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an agency or an advertiser?
I am the owner of J Interactive, an Internet marketing agency that specializes in search engine marketing. I have been using Google AdWords for over six years. I have experience managing various accounts focusing on lead generation and e-commerce. I obtained my Google AdWords Certification  in September 2010 .
Although I’ve used AdWords in both capacities, I have used it more extensively on the agency side.
In addition to Internet marketing, I have over 19 years of traditional marketing experience – managing annual budgets exceeding $10 million.
What is your primary goal for AdWords marketing?
My goal for AdWords marketing is to help my clients develop comprehensive media strategies to meet their Internet marketing objectives. These objectives range from purchase and sales (e-commerce), lead generation, branding or simply driving qualified traffic to their site.
There are tons of metrics in AdWords – What are your top 3 Key Performance Metrics in AdWords and why?
There are so many valuable metrics within AdWords but if I had to choose the top three, I would select quality score, conversion rate, and the view-through conversion metric:
- Quality Score – One of the most important aspects of effectively managing an AdWords campaign is to know the quality score of each keyword within the ad group. After I use the keyword finder tool to discover relevant keywords, I review each keyword’s quality score and if the keyword score is 5 or less I either delete the keyword or I move it to another ad group where I can achieve a higher quality score. My goal is to only use keywords with a quality score of 6 or higher. The higher the quality score, the less an advertiser will pay and the higher their ad will rank.
- Conversion Rate – The single most important metric for any successful direct response AdWords campaign is the conversion rate. Optimizing to conversions  ensures that advertising dollars are being spent effectively. Knowing the conversion rate can significantly increase profitability. For example, if a particular keyword leads to more conversions than other words in that ad group then advertising dollars should be reallocated to that keyword to increase profitability.
- View-through Conversions – View-through conversions  provide data on consumers that were exposed to a display ad, didn’t click on it but visited the site at a later time and completed a conversion within a 30-day period. If you are advertising on the display network, this is an important metric to review because research shows that periodically a consumer is exposed to an ad doesn’t click on it but either visits the site directly or conducts a search for branded keywords at a later time. If an advertiser isn’t looking at view-through conversions they might be giving credit to the last click attribution (last ad seen), which could be another channel. Google Analytics just launched multi-channel funnels, which gives advertisers data on all channels that assisted in a conversion during the previous 30-days. Conversion path data could include many channels such as paid and organic traffic, social networks, and display ads. This is a very powerful tool that will assist search engine marketers in determining the channels that are the most effective and profitable for their campaigns.
Can you describe your AdWords management strategy? How do you set your campaign objectives, and how do you know what’s realistic or not?
Setting objectives: The first step is working with the client to determine their objectives. What are they trying to achieve? Do they want to increase sales, obtain additional leads, or create awareness of their product?
Developing a strategy: Once the objectives are determined, I develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve the desired objectives. Based on the goals, I decide which channels should be used to meet the objectives. Many complex campaigns use an effective mix of search, managed placement, behavioral, contextual, mobile, and remarketing.
Launch the campaign: It is important in this phase to allow the campaign to run for approximately 30-days after the initial launch before making any major adjustments. The campaigns need time to gather enough data for the search marketer to make intelligent decisions on which keywords and placements to exclude and where to reallocate funding. Campaigns can take anywhere from 30-45 days to be fully optimized but once they are optimized the return on investment should continue to increase if the account manager is effectively optimizing the campaigns.
Optimization: Optimization is key to running an effective and profitable Internet marketing campaign. Campaigns should be continually optimized to improve the return on investment. Some key components include adding negative keywords, identifying new long tail keywords, adding new placements in addition to testing new ads and refining landing pages.
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?
My management workflow depends on what the objectives are for each campaign. For example, if the objective is e-commerce then I begin with the conversion rate in AdWords but then I cross-reference the e-commerce data in Google Analytics that is linked to the AdWords account. I work backwards from the main objective looking at the most important data first and then slowly determine which aspects of the campaign need to be optimized in order to increase conversion rates.
Any advice or tips for AdWords marketers that didn’t score as well as you?
The key to running a successful campaign can be summarized into five distinct categories:
- Account activity,
- Campaign structure,
- High Quality Scores, and
- Effective use of negative keywords.
One of the most important aspects of running a successful AdWords campaign is account activity. An account manager must review various reports and make appropriate adjustments to the campaigns to effectively optimize the account.
Another tip is building well-structured campaigns. Try to keep ad groups very tightly themed, no more than 20-30 keywords per ad group and make sure that the ads and landing pages associated with each ad group are highly relevant. This will significantly help with the quality score and conversion rate.
Strive to only add highly relevant keywords to each ad group. If a keyword has a quality score of less than 6, it is a good indication that the keyword isn’t relevant to that ad group and should either be deleted or moved to another ad group that is more closely related.
Finally, run a search query report to identify negative keywords that should be added to the campaign. Irrelevant keywords can significantly drive up the cost of a campaign and result in lower conversion rates.
The search query report allows the advertiser to see which keyword phrases are driving quality traffic to their site. This tool is essential for adding new keyword phrases that were not identified when initially building the keyword list but more importantly it allows advertisers to exclude keywords that are not resulting in conversions to their site. When I review the search query report, I am making my decision to add or exclude keywords based on the conversion rate of each keyword. It is extremely important to add or exclude keywords based on conversions and not another metrics.