For some reason, this would seem to be the month for prospects to contact Permission seeking help with  their Google AdWords Campaign Management. In nearly all cases they have arrived after having had someone manage it before and do a less than perfect job. So much so that they are quite motivated to make a change.

Usually these motivations are driven by things going bad financially. Either they have ended up paying too much per click or their monthly budget has been sucked up with high management fees that they struggle to see the value in.

There’s a strong element of trust when you engage someone to take on the management of a solution you may know little about. It’s like dropping your car in for its annual service and not understanding a jot of what the mechanic tells you has been done – except that it cost you a lot more than you thought and took longer than expected.

Fortunately, there are some attributes of the poor set up of a Google AdWords account that are easy to spot for the new marketer. Here are a few that should be easy for the business owner to pick out and see if things are going awry.

Firstly, all the ‘optimizing’ work should be done on Your Google AdWords account. This is something I thought was pretty obvious until I realized that some management companies used their own Google AdWords account to manage campaigns for their clients. This may suit them but is a big problem for you.

Your account contains all your advertising history with Google. Do things properly by them and this history can help you reap some strong rewards in how Google treats your advertising spend, which would be hidden from those competitors who open their account years or even months after you.

Plus there are the benefits that accrue when you link your own Google AdWords account with your Google Analytics account (assuming you use this as your website’s analytics tool). Once the two accounts are linked you can receive click cost data, which makes it a relative breeze to produce your AdWords ROI down to a single keyword level.

Following on from the theme of tracking, I for one never like spending money without knowing what I will receive in return. Therefore, setting up your AdWords account without spending the 5 to 10 minutes to install its built-in Conversion tags on your website is as bad as sending Google a cheque each month with no idea what they are providing for your money. You should know how much Google ‘charges’ you per sale, newsletter registration, or webinar download – whatever the conversion options your AdWords traffic can deliver on.

The likelihood of you receiving any conversions is usually predicated on your account being established with the view of the searcher in mind. For example, let’s say you sold widgets. Blue, green, white and black were all available. As were fast, slow and medium speeds. Big and small were options you carried, too. Then along comes a Google searcher looking for a Big, Fast Black one. They type in that term and are met with your advertisement that says “Widgets for Sale” and a link that takes them to the home page of your website.

Now selling widgets is a competitive market. So with this ad they also see around it other ads – some say “Black Widgets for Sale” – then there is a “Big Widgets for Sale” ad. And then, near the top, is the one that captures their attention – “Big Fast Black Widgets” – exactly what they are looking for and ‘click’, they are gone from the page and directly onto the exact page that sells Big Fast Black Widgets. Bingo! Moments later a new widget is purchased.

A well set up Google AdWords account ‘wins’ this click by offering the advertiser the most relevant ad for the keyword they type in (Big Fast Black Widget). It achieves this by containing just the right number of AdGroups that in themselves contain the smallest number of keywords for the ad text(s) they can. This could be as simple as one keyword phrase (Big Fast Black Widget) per each ad text.

In contrast, a poorly established account has one AdGroup containing all possible keyword choices and just the one ad text. This single ad text has to account for all the different keywords being used to ‘fire it up’ so it does what it can and sends the visitor to the home page. On the other hand, the targeted ad text only has to allow for one keyword option so it can send the visitor to the most relevant page for that keyword.

Therefore, if you look at your account and see just one AdGroup chocker block with keywords then you have problems. But that’s nothing new – you probably already knew this from the low click volumes and high costs that this account structure frequently delivers.

So if you are not sure if your Google AdWords account is being managed the right way, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I easily access my account, see the work that is being done each month and track the resultant traffic in my Google Analytics account?
  • Can I quickly see the conversions this traffic is delivering within the AdWords account interface and/or my Google Analytics set up?
  • Do my AdGroups contain the lowest number of keywords they possibly could?

A ‘No’ answer to any of these questions points to some problems that warrant a bit more digging.