When it comes to setting up and managing PPC campaigns within Google AdWords there are now lots of different tools and features to help make the process easier.
Here are my top 10 tools and features, some that I use on a daily basis, others which I only call upon from from time to time:
1. AdWords Editor
AdWords Editor is a free application provided by Google for managing ad campaigns. It allows you to easily download your PPC account and make changes offline.
It allows you to make bulk changes such as increasing campaign budgets or CPC bids, copying or moving ad groups or keywords and quickly amending or replacing text in keyword phrases.
2. Keyword Tool
Google’s Keyword Tool is extremely useful when setting up PPC campaigns as it gives suggestions of related phrases that people are searching for, based on a given keyword or phrase.
Whilst the search volumes that the tool suggests should be taken with a large pinch of salt, the various phrases it generates can allow you to easily add a large number of closely related keyword phrases that may be searched for in relation to your products / services. This allows you to generate an extensive list of phrase match keyword phrases, rather than just adding a few broad match ones and hoping for the best.
Keyword Tool also allows you to identify negative keywords as it shows different phrases that people are searching for with your keyword(s) within them. Therefore if a particular phrase comes up that isn’t related to your product / service you can add that term as a negative keyword, and stop your ads showing for searches containing that term. For example if you are selling a top end product and do not want people looking for ‘cheap XXX’, you could add ‘cheap’ as a negative term.
3. Remarketing / Retargeting
Remarketing / retargeting allows you to display your ads in front of people browsing sites across the Google Display Network who have previously visited your website.
This targeting can be as detailed or as simple as you choose, from targeting those who have viewed a particular product / page on your site with a message about the product / service or simply showing those that have visited any page on your site a catch-all message about your brand, reminding them of your services – a very powerful tool.
4. Product Ads
Product listing ads allow advertisers to include images, prices and links for up to 5 products within their Google ads.
5. Automated Rules
This feature allows AdWords advertisers to automate processes such as pausing ads or adjusting CPC bids based on their performance, such as when the CTR or conversion rate drops below a set value, for example.
This is a particularly great feature for those managing multiple campaigns and ads, advertising a large number of products.
6. Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool
The now combined Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool allows advertisers to discover if and where their ads are being displayed, without incurring any impressions.
It is a really useful feature for advertisers that are targeting ads to a location that they are not in, as they can preview results from chosen locations and Google domains to see if their ads are appearing, and find out if not, why not.
7. Top vs. Other Segment
This data can be useful when analysing performance and optimising campaigns, as it shows how ads perform based on where they are placed on the page.
For instance it could show that your ads perform better when lower on the page and show that you are better off bidding lower and being at the side / bottom of the page for best ROI (although this is wishful thinking in most cases unfortunately).
The opportunities tab within Google AdWords gives a list of keywords that are currently missing from individual ad groups, and whilst the majority of the suggestions may be too broad, there could be opportunities listed that you are missing, so it is worth a look through.
9. Search Funnels
AdWords Search Funnels help advertisers to gain insight into the ads that their customers clicked on during their shopping process.
Within the conversions section of the Tools and Analysis tab in AdWords there is a Search Funnels section that provides insight into your customers’ conversion paths. Ordinarily AdWords assigns conversions to the last ad clicked on, but within the Search Funnels section you can see data for Assist Clicks and Impressions, Assisted Conversions, First-Click Analysis and Last Click Analysis.
You can also see stats such as Path Length (average number of impressions or clicks prior to conversion) and Time Lag (how long it takes the customer to convert after seeing or clicking on your ads for the first time)
This data can be used to help advertisers make strategic decisions when it comes to budgeting and help determine lead times for seasonal campaigns.
10. Search Query Reports
Search query reports allow advertisers to see the phrases people are actually using when clicking on their ads.
Whilst it would also be beneficial to see which phrases were used when the ads were seen but not clicked on, as that would give insight into how to improve CTR, this report can still be used to establish terms that could be added as negative or exact match phrases to try and reduce costs.