I started as a copywriter and then I got obsessed with SEO, particularly onpage and onsite SEO. I still am because I still believe onsite SEO is where all marketing starts. Onpage copy and onsite SEO is more important than ever as Adwords becomes more important if you are interested in driving traffic, increasing awareness and getting sales from Google Search. I’m coining the term SAO (Search Advertising Optimisation) – another way to look at onsite SEO for the Adwords investor.
Adwords Express lets Google do everything for you. If anyone is using it, I’d like to hear about it. I read somewhere in Adwords documentation that only an hour a week is required to use Adwords. That made me chuckle on the inside. An hour? A week? Even if it was my own money I was in control of spending, there is no way I would spend less than an hour a day on Adwords for one account. Being responsible for other people’s money (pfft) this is serious business!
Adwords can give you better results than you would expect. This happens with SEO too. We’ve had situations where we nearly disabled a few distribution centres because the results of our work were too good – read that again because it is very true.
Getting back to Adwords, I want to share some left-field reasons why you might want to pause a campaign:
1. Too Successful
I mentioned this above. There are times when you might want to pause or at least slow down a campaign because it is driving too many conversions. It might be hard to believe because everyone with an ecommerce site wants more sales but are you ready to deal with that work? Consultants really need to stay in tight communication with clients on this one. While rare, a client that cannot meet orders may end up being disastrous.
2. Getting Really Bad Results
If your Adwords adverts are not working and you’re not getting results, it is time to stop. The new Adwords experience makes it very easy to signup and get involved. It’s pretty good at helping anyone, even those without experience, to do the basic things right with Search Network and Shopping campaigns. You can even add conversion tracking (except for individual sale conversion value) without any website coding experience. In most cases, if Adwords is not working, it’s your website that’s the cause – you need some onsite SEO (or my new “SAO”).
3. You Don’t Have the Time
I’ve done this one myself with my own money. I went on a long weekend holiday and Adwords blew up on me and I’d left a huge daily budget. I got a shock when I saw the bill I came back to. Adwords doesn’t stop just because you have. If you don’t have the time to check it daily, it’s time to pause, stop or get someone else to be monitoring it for you.
4. Click Fraud
This one is scary. It doesn’t cost much to hire freelancers from a third world country and pay them very low rates to click on something. If you spend any time on freelancer-hire type sites, you will see clients look for people to do this kind of job. It all looks like it is on the up and up at first glance. But come to think of it, how could it be? Are they trying to drive fake traffic, or even worse, are they driving fake traffic on your adverts so your budget gets blown out of the water. Why are you getting so many clicks and no conversions? Google has established the most robust anti-click fraud systems (and even teams to investigate) of all search engines but that doesn’t mean that they stop it. As long as those managing the click fraud are using their head, they can get around it. If you really suspect it, it is a good time to pause and find out if it is the case because there are ways to track it down, and even get one of Google crack teams on your case.
From events to holidays, anything that influences society can have a huge impact on your Adwords just like it does on your business. Easter holidays are a great example. Let’s say you are in the business of something travel related. You might want to be advertising hard several weeks before but give it a pause just before the holidays start until they are well done with.
In marketing terms, seasonality goes well beyond events, times of year and the like. Let’s not forget that sometimes “sh%t happens”. In Australia, we are pretty lucky that our country is far away from the rest of the world. But we still need to be aware that current affairs can have a sudden and drastic impact. I remember watching 9/11 unfold on TV right when we were about to officially launch a startup on October 1 that year – it had an impact and it took a while before our clients went back to normal behaviour. It was too late to stop, but looking back, I’d have to say we lost a good 6 months of revenue.
6. Deaths – Yes a Shocker!
I’ve been around when this one happened and it is a shocker. Adwords campaigns don’t stop by themselves unless the credit card connected rejects payment.
7. Crazy CPC Rates
Watch out for this one all the time. Adwords advertising rates are driven by competition. It’s very easy for an idiot competitor to cause a crazy rise in CPC rates very fast. I say idiot because they are being idiots, but it is important to remember that some competitors just have deep pockets and are driving up the price of CPC on purpose.
We see this a lot with particular accounts and particular product types. Not long after adverts are doing well, those huge prices come back again. In this type of situation, we just pause and watch those prices tumble again. Sometimes, you might just have a new competitor who bidding based on ego rather than results. Sometimes, something hot on social media drives a sudden “fad” and CPC rises like a rocket.
We often see ridiculous CPC rates for products that don’t cost much. This is hard to take for some clients because they are selling products that cost less than $30 but the CPC bid estimate is over $2 and to be on the top of the first page can start at over $3 (and keep rising). If they are only making $10 profit after all is said and done, it’s really hard to keep that campaign going. Obviously, there are those who can afford to do it, otherwise, those rates would not exist on any of the keywords associated with those products. It doesn’t make sense because they have to be generating at least one sale every few clicks for the adverts to be profitable themselves.
There has something else behind crazy CPC rates and it is time to stop and do a rethink; a content marketing strategy to get closer to your potential customers might be in order.
That’s just some of the reasons that I’ve learnt and stick out in my mind even if it is midnight as I wrap up.
If you’d like a quick review of your Adwords account, all we need is access and a couple of days to check it out (while we have a good look at your website). Just give RD a shout.