What are the Adwords account changes that will have the biggest impact on your performance?

If you're a small business owner managing your own PPC ads, you're probably doing many other things too and ending up very short on time. So how do you manage your Adwords account in as little time as possible?

By focussing on the changes that matter and that will have the biggest impact on your performance. Forget about daily bid changes, these are for PPC professionals who spend all their time in Adwords, not multi-tasking business owners.

Typically, the changes that have the biggest impact on your campaign are in the campaign settings.

Google Display Network (GDN)

Pay attention to the campaign type you've selected. Many people pick the wrong campaign type and are unaware that their ads are showing on the GDN! This is money down the drain if you are unaware of advertising there.

Best practice is to split Display into another campaign or even account but as long as you're aware that you're advertising on the GDN, you can keep an eye on costs and performance.

Location and device targeting

Are you targeting the correct country or city, if you are local? Are you targeting or excluding or bidding on devices appropriately?

There's plenty of mobile traffic available these days and often mobile cpcs are low, but conv rate is typically low. Of course, this varies by industry. Just be aware that performance by device may vary a lot and the Adwords interface unfortunately groups all device metrics together.

Bid strategy - automated bidding

No PPC Professional worth their salt would go for automated bidding if working in-house, especially one set by Google itself. It's like letting the fox in the hen house! But as a busy person, automated bid strategies are a life saver for you. Make full use of it to keep your account on autopilot.

You need some way to feed back to Google your performance which brings me to the next point:

Conversion tracking

Don't advertise blind. Enable conversion tracking, add the pixel to your site and make full use of the data it sends you. There's no reason not to use it.

Budget cap

Automated bidding saves you time, budget cap stops you from going bankrupt and a shared budget makes efficient use of your limited budget by funnelling the money into campaigns that need it the most. Use it to get Adwords to work by itself as much as possible.

Ad delivery

Another way to save money if either your target audience is not available at certain times of the day or week (B2B for e.g. over the weekend) or you are unable to take business at certain times (phone lines may be closed weekends). So don't forget to turn off your advertising automatically when it makes sense to do so.

We're now moving away from the campaign settings tab.

Ad extensions

This is one of the most important piece of your campaign, don't overlook this just because you can run an ad without it. Google uses ad extensions to calculate the expected performance of your ad and therefore how much to charge you. No ad extensions = high costs.

Calculations aside, why would you not want to take up more space at the top of the search results? Not only are you more visible, convey more info to searchers but you also push down all your competitors. Win, win, win on all fronts.

Of course, there's the hard work of setting up those ad extensions in the first place but as you know your business inside out, it should not be difficult to come up with selling points. And don't just add a couple of ad extensions. Fill in as many types as you qualify for, and at least 6 sitelinks. Just make sure everything is relevant.

Finally, a little more advanced that ticking and unticking boxes, we come to the strategy part.

Keyword match type

In general, you should have broad and exact match keywords, so the broad keywords pick up new search terms or those you may have missed out among your exact keywords.

However, running broad keywords is time consuming as you need to regularly keep an eye on your search terms since your keyword can be matched to almost anything. Broad-match modifier helps to cut down irrelevant traffic but if you restrict it too much, you might as well not use broad.

So use broad keywords wisely - if you are getting a lot of traffic from them and no time to sift through the search terms and add negative keywords, consider turning them off or reducing significantly your bids. You will save a lot of money that way and lose out on few sales. Your best keywords will already be exact match anyway.

Not all of these features of Adwords will apply to your account and business. But if you go through this list, you should save some time and money and allow your Adwords account to run almost by itself. It won't be running at optimum performance, but at minimal loss.

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