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What is your best advice for a beginner in AdWords?

[ Edited ]
Zee Community Manager
Community Manager
# 1
Zee Community Manager
Community Manager

For those who are successful at AdWords, what advice would you give someone just starting out? Is there anything you learned after a few months that you wish you would have known when you first started out?! Maybe something that helped you make your ads, CTR, etc. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

This popular discussion was copied from the former Help Forum.



Top Contributor, rball, replied:


If you're just starting out, I'd suggest 2 items:

1) Start with just Google search.  Opt out of both the display network and search partners until you have some experience.

2) Get familiar with the relationship between keyword match types and search queries.  Make changes on a regular basis to make sure your ads are being shown for very relevant searches.


Another Top Contributor, cobnut, added:

For me, the most important advice I can offer is to take it slow.  We see far too many posters here who set up new accounts and end up spending a large sum on a poorly run campaign that produces no sales, and who then walk away with a bad impression of Adwords.  Google insists on selling Adwords as something that is simple to run and an easy way to increase company profits and the real truth is it's nothing of the sort.  The very best Adwords campaigns take time, learning and effort to get the best results and it isdisturbingly easy to make simple mistakes.  I would add (before Google remove my TC status) that I do honestly believe Adwords can be an incredibly powerful tool for increasing sales; it just needs more effort and work than the sales pitch suggests.
The very first thing I always say to clients is "What do you want to achieve?".  Once they have provided an answer (and believe me, I've had clients that didn't really seem to know what they wanted), you then need to examine the path to that objective.  Often that path doesn't actually start with Adwords itself.  Adwords will direct Internet users to a website and it is the website that converts clicks into sales.  It's disturbingly common to find companies spending large sums on Adwords directing web users to a site that's poorly designed and which wastes the money spent on advertising.  So really the first step is to ensure your website is as good as it can be and is ready to receive Adwords.  So let's assume you've done that and your website is perfect...
Many new Adwords customers try to run before they can walk.  They attempt to advertise all the products they sell, all the services they offer and throw a random sum of money at Google.  This approach is almost always doomed to fail.   The better approach is to look at what you sell or what you do and choose one, justone aspect to advertise initially.  What should you choose?  Look for something that returns a good profit and which also has a good sign-up rate.  If you sell home entertainment hardware it might be that the latest, funkiest, 3D TV has the highest profit, but it might also be the hardest to sell; equally your low-priced TVs might sell well but return a low profit.  Choose something that sits in the middle.  Once chosen, design a campaign that targets that product or service in a very tightly focused manner.  Adwords works at its best when Ads are shown to the right people at the right time.  Advertising for a specific product range or service very closely will always perform better than trying to catch everyone who might, possibly, maybe, be interested in something you sell.
Start small.  Adwords will work quite happily with a low monthly budget.  $100 a month is often enough to gather data on how your keywords and Ads are performing.  Never increase your spend without good data to support that spend...
On that subject, it's vital to try and ensure that you have a method of tracking sales from Adwords.  If you have an e-commerce site that, before Adwords, sells 50 products a month, you must know that after you start an Adwords campaign those extra 20 sales came from Adwords and had a value of X.  It's not always possible, especially for businesses that aren't selling a physical product online, but you must try.
On a more direct level of advice, I'd offer the following:
- don't try to capture everyone and end up with 10,000 keywords.  Adwords can work very effectively with fewer than 10 keywords per group - sometimes just one.  Pick only the best keywords, and capture the best market.
- don't spend too much until you're happy you're getting a positive Return on Investment.  It can be very tempting to throw a large sum at Adwords in the belief you'll get instant sales; in truth you're more likely to just throw that money away.  Start small, learn, tune the account, then increase your budget when you can track and prove a real ROI.
- monitor.  Adwords needs constant monitoring.  You cannot set up an account one day and walk away to let it run for 12 months.  Create your first campaign and check it every day, then every other day, then every week, but probably no less often than that.  I review my client accounts every day.  OK, I may do nothing to them, but I check them...
- ASK!!  Don't get to a stage where Adwords is more of a pain than an asset.  As soon as you have a question, ask it here.  It's free, it's valuable advice, and hopefully we can keep you on track.  We see far too many posters here who start their first post with "I've had this problem for 6 months...".  Don't be scared, don't think any question is too dumb.  We like helping people...
Take a day or so to read the above (soon to be published in hardback) and come back with more questions.  Let's try and get Adwords working well for you!
1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: What is your best advice for a beginner in AdWords?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

All great ideas!

petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords