We recently started using Google Ads (formerly known as Google Ad Words). Our sales went up about 30% within a month. (I wish I knew exactly why sales went up, but that’s the nature of advertising.) I initially set the budget at $20 per day; we were paying about $1.30 per click and getting enough clicks to spend the $20 several days a week. Overall, our click rate was a little over 4%.
After another month, with sales remaining solid, I added some conversion tracking and variable bidding, limited the ads to run during business hours and changed the settings to run through my daily budget as soon as possible rather than evenly throughout the day. I also bumped up the daily budget for big days (i.e., holiday weekends), adjusted the bids on various search terms and increased bidding for placement. Our click-through rate more than doubled, to nearly 9%. Our cost-per-click went down to about 90 cents. And our average position is 1.3, which means we are mostly appearing at No. 1 and occasionally No. 2.
Here are five things I’ve learned so far:
- Limit the geographical reach of your ad, or you’ll generate useless clicks from customers who are too far away. Choose the setting for customers in your defined area, not those interested in your area.
- You can tell which search terms get used the most, but you still must choose the ones that work best for you. The click-through rate tells you how many people using that search term looked at your ad.
- If you and your competitors are using the same search terms, you will end up bidding against each other. Consider bidding on less commonly used terms if they land you at No. 1 in those searches and produce enough clicks.
- You must have a useful destination for customers who click on your ad. Otherwise, you’re just drawing clicks into a dead-end alley. Also, your website should be optimized for mobile users.
- Activate the phone link on your ad so people can simply touch the number and call you from their phones.
I’m presently spending $150 to $200 per week on this campaign. I suspect it’s a great tool for reaching tourists in our resort town. I plan to reduce or eliminate this campaign during the off-season.
Steve Hitchcock is the owner of Soda Creek Pizza in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and a member of PMQ's Think Tank forum.
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