How to Create Successful AdWords Campaigns | WebReference

How to Create Successful AdWords Campaigns

How to Create Successful AdWords Campaigns

By Nathan Segal

In my quest to become a successful affiliate marketer, I’ve looked at several methods, such as Site Build It, the James Martell material and most recently, affiliate marketing using Google AdWords campaigns. This article looks into the methods of Chris Carpenter (author of Google Cash: How to earn thousands writing Google AdWords part-time) and Perry S. Marshall (author of The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords).

One of the attractive things about AdWords campaigns is that you don’t need a web page; you can refer potential customers to the merchant directly, saving you the time and effort of building a web site. Another plus is that if your ad creates a positive return, you can build a small web page with more information, which can be used to improve your click-through ratio (CTR).

When creating an AdWord campaign, you’re taking the tools of direct marketing and bringing them to an online audience, but unlike the traditional print audience, you’ll see results of your ads within days and in some cases, a few hours. Creating an AdWords campaign involves several steps and one of the most important steps is research. In other words, you need to find products and services that people want; then create a campaign to market them. As part of the resource materials in the Google Cash ebook, a couple of good starting points are the Lycos Top 50, where you get information about current trends and predictions of what will sell and Google Zeitgeist, which is a collection of search patterns, trends, and surprises according to Google.

Once you’ve settled on a topic, the next step is to look for affiliates. Some good sources for affiliate programs are Commission Junction, Linkshare, Amazon and eBay.

The next step is keyword research, which can be accomplished using a variety of methods. One option is to use free keyword search tools, such as the Overture Keyword Assistant and the Overture View Bids tool. These tools allow you to look for commonly searched keyword combinations and to see what people are bidding for those combinations, which is a vital step towards the success of an AdWords campaign. According to Chris Carter (author of Google Cash), you’re looking for keyword combinations that have few or no bids. As an example, let’s say you want to research on the keyword combination “affiliate program.” That search turns up 120 listings with bids ranging from 5 cents, all the way up to $3.75 per click. Not only are there way too many campaigns running, but in order to place in the number one spot, you’d have to bid higher than $3.75 per click. That’s a lot of money and isn’t a good place to start if you want to create a campaign. In actual practice, you want to be placed in the middle range of ads on the first page.

With the above campaign, even placing at spots 3 or 4, you’d still have to pay $3.16 and $3.02 per click. Unless you have deep pockets, that’s not the way to go.

The value of Overture’s View Bid tool is it allows you to check your keyword combinations before you build a campaign and to help find keywords that have few or no bids on them, meaning that you can bid on some keyword combinations for as little as 5 cents per click. If this sounds like pie-in-the-sky, I assure you it’s not. In my limited application with this book I’ve been amazed by the keyword combinations that show up.

There are other methods of doing keyword research. One of these is to use Wordtracker, which will generate a wide variety of keyword searches and to give you the number of times that those keyword combinations have been searched for. Another option is to use software programs such as AdWords Analyzer and KeyWord Analyzer, but this is the subject of another article, which will appear next week.

Once you have keyword combinations that appear promising, you’re ready to create a campaign, and this is where it gets challenging. Initially, I managed to do just about everything the wrong way. To elaborate, I had done a search on video poker, which turned up some excellent bidding results. I thought I’d hit a gold mine and enthusiastically began to create a campaign, only to discover that Google has banned online casino promotions. There are some ads on the subject, but the content appears to be severely restricted.

The next snag I ran into was when creating titles for a campaign. In one case, I wanted to use the title “Best Photo Shop Tips.” Attempting to save the ad brought up the screen below.

Essentially, I learned that my title contained “Unacceptable Superlatives.” According to Google: “Unless verified by a third party, your ad text cannot contain comparative or subjective phrases such as 'Best,' 'Cheapest,' 'Top-Rated,' or '#1.' This verification must be clearly displayed on your website. Please remove 'best' from your ad.”

The next problem I ran into was when I used “click here” in the body of my ad, which brought up another compliance issue, “Unacceptable Phrases.”

The accompanying note read: “Please remove 'click' from your ad. Your ad text cannot contain universal call-to-action phrases such as 'click here,' 'link here,' 'visit this link,' or other similar phrases that could apply to any ad, regardless of content.”

Once I sorted these problems out, I started my campaigns. The next day, I looked at my ads and discovered that one (about SpongeBob Squarepants) had an impressive number of impressions, but a low click-through rate. In addition, there was a note from Google in the Campaign Manager telling me that some of my keywords weren’t performing well and that they could be disabled entirely. As it turned out, many of the keywords were “in trial” or “on hold.”

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: December 23, 2004