Monday, February 06, 2006

Tracking Keywords on AdWords and Overture

Being like a kid.  Dave JacksonThere I go again. We visit the local amusement park here, King Richard's in Naples, FL and I'm turned into a little kid. It doesn't matter how, I just know I want to grab my daughter and ride every ride over and over.

With kids, it's expected. They want to ride the rides before they get the tickets. They want to eat it while still in the supermarket. They want to cut, color, and paste before they receive final instructions on making a puppet. They want it all - now!

One of my mentors releases a new ebook and I'm at the laptop trying to use some of the ideas before I'm even through with step four. It's a curse we all suffer - but one I for one pay for time and again: Being anxious.

But if we treat business the same way, we're bound to suffer. This ain't musical chairs. Yet, herein lies a dilemma; there is a sense of urgency in contextual advertising. The urgency is that for every moment you spend waiting, or hoping, you are that much further away from pay day.

On the other hand, without proper planning, and I mean sitting down and mapping out what you expect to happen with your contextual ad business, you will not be as successful as you would be - if you were to plan.

So, urgency - yet steady, time consuming planning. That is your M.O.

Setting up a successful AdWords or Overture (or any contextual ad campaign) is best left for another post. I am assuming you have that done and want to know what you should be watching day in and day out.

Here's what I track every single day:

First thing I log into AdWords and see the running totals of the Ad Groups. This gives me a good thumbnail of what is happening. Because I've been running these groups for weeks, I have a good idea of what my spending should be. If I see anything abnormal, too low or too high (by 25%), I check that Ad Group first.

Next, I check each individual Ad Group and see how the keywords are running. I check for inactive keywords. Keywords will go inactive for a number of reasons:
  1. The keyword has nothing or very little to do with your ad.
  2. Somebody else has a better performing (look at Click Through Rates) ad than yours and now you must pay more for your bid. This normally happens when your bid is at 5 cents, but can happen anywhere if you don't have a good "CTR".
So, I scan down the most active keywords - those getting lots of clicks - and note the CTR of each. If I see a word under performing, say under 1% CTR, that is cause for concern. I know I need to either improve the ad that is running or pay more for my bid. Does that make sense?

Here's what I do.

I start another Ad Group and move those keywords to that group. I don't move all under performers to one new group, no, I start groups and move similar keywords together. Here's an example:

Amazon ParrotThese keywords are under performing for my campaign:


So, I don't move them all into a new "parrot" Ad Group. I create new Ad Groups for each and create new "ads" for each. This way, I can be assured my ad will better match my keyword - and my CTR will increase and my bid price will go down.

And make sure you are using all three available ways to display a keyword:

keyword = broad match
[keyword] = exact match
"keyword" = phrase match

Don't forget about negative matches. For instance - I want parakeet trainers, but not parakeet food, so I make "food" a negative keyword. -food

-keyword = negative match

More help at AdWords Keyword Matching.

One of my favorite tools is Keyword Analyzer. Make sure to check it out. Next, I check my ads. What is working? Check the CTR for each one. If you're thinking about changing your low performing ad, check the performance of the past seven days, then make a decision. If it is below 2%, it's time for some freshening up.

I'll do this throughout the day, if I can. I also check my ads at Overture. Here, you won't be able to see updates like you do in AdWords, but you can run a Intraday Report and get an idea what is happening. One thing that is nice with Overture is that you can see what your fellow advertiser is bidding.

Don't play bidding wars. Make sure your clicks are converting. In other words, for each time someone clicks on your parakeet ad, and then going to your site, are they then buying something or somehow making you money?

And that leads us to the next area.

Say you are bidding 25 cents for an ad at AdWords and your methodology is to get visitors to your site that you are monetizing with YPN ads. You have a good idea from your reports that each click to a YPN ad on your parakeet page pays $1.00 to you. Stay with me here - it is vital.

Next, you figure that 20% of visitors from AdWords are actually clicking on your YPN ads. Two out of every ten. So, now figure out how much each click to your YPN ad is costing you.

Here's an example.

100 people click your AdWords ad at .25 a click. So, you now owe Google $25.00. Got that? Now, you know only two out of ten that get to your parakeet page further click a YPN ad at $1.00. So, 100 visitors come to your parakeet page - but only 20 will click an ad. (That's pretty reasonable.)

How much is that click costing? 20 visitors click - you make $20.00. But to get them there you had to pay Google $25.00! You are losing $5.00 a day on this scenario.

What do I expect? As I state, I look for a 3:1 return - in other words - pay one third for my traffic, be it AdWords or otherwise. And you should too. So, take that campaign and adjust the AdWords bid to 1/3 of your YPN gain. In this case it would be around 6 cents.

Will your CTR be as good down at 6 cents? Yes - if you can refine your keyword list to the point where you are matching what actually converts to YPN clicks. I cover how to do that step by step in my new ebook. It is in the finishing stages and people on the newsletter list will get it first.

If you are interested in continually learning about how to make money with contextual advertising, feel free to join our list. You can unsubscribe at any time and if you know me, you know I would never sell your e-mail address to anyone.

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Hey, you have some homework! Go through your ad campaigns and make sure you are making money. Track your expenditures and your conversions - don't leave out the money spent creating traffic - and then take a look at what is left. That's profit!

December's YPN check came in yesterday and it's right around $7000, so we're doing something right.

From Sunny Naples, FL
Dave Jackson

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