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Low impressions/click even high QS and other issues

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# 1
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I am managing an Adwords campaing for specialized application for learning Russian. I've been tweaking our campaigns for the past few days and I feel like I am running out of options to improve the performance of our campaigns. I've searched around the web for general ideas and tips and I've spent a lot of time tweaking settings based on our past results and other research. I'd like to mention that we have a rather limited budget and due to issues that are outside of my control, I cannot enable converstion optimization. 


I would very thankful for some additional comments on how I can improve the performance of our campaign.


The setup 

I have two campaigns running, one focuses on Google Search (hits from search partners don't contribute to conversations) and another one that focuses on the Google content network. 75% of our budget is dedicated to the CN and 25% goes to GS. The settings for both campaigns are tweaked to avoid hits that don't result in conversations (geographical information, htis only from computers etc).


Google Search

This campaign has two adgroups with relatively high quality keywords (4-7 and 5-7 - the second adgroup has 7 for most keywords). Both these adgroups focus on a specific group of features of our software application. I've added a multiple negative keywords based on past data and the inherent limitations of our software product (e.g. we don't have audio pronunciation, so "audio" and "how to say" are in negative keywords). I've also added things like "free", "for mac" (we don't have a mac version) and so on. I've also used past data (at that point I only focused on GS) to find which ad copy seems to have a higher CTR/converstions. The CPC for this first page is relatively low for most keywords (about .20 cents).


Content Network

This campaign has three adgroups. Two of the adgroups use high quality keywords for both managed and unmanaged placements. The third adgroup uses low quality keywords (3-5) with less specialized "text ads" (e.g. "Learn Russian" vs text that focus on a specific feature of our software). I am getting most of our hits/converstions from the third adgroup. However, there is a lot of variation in bounce % and converstion # for this adgroup from day to day.


Managed placements are based on past data and the content of each individual placement (e.g. a site that features general information about Russian language learning gets a lower max CPC bid, sites that are likely to have visitors that are serious about learning Russian get high max CPC bids). 


Problem 1

The problem is that I am getting very few impressions (let alone clicks) from the GS campaign. I've tried to expand the list of keywords to include as many search queries as possible. By this point, almost any keyword I try to add results in a "low traffic warning". It doesn't help that our software has a lot of features that can described only using niche keywords.


Problem 2

If I disable the CN campaign and focus only on GS, the # of hits goes down, but CTR goes for up. However, the higher CTR is not enough to compensate for the reduction in converstions. So at this point, it makes more sense to focus on the third (low quality) adgroup from the CN campaign. I am not really sure if this is a problem per se, I am just confused about why a campaign with keywords with a high QS loses out to less focused adgroup with lower keyword QS.


Problem 3

I find it quite difficult to tweak the impact of the CN campaign. A lot of the hits come from low quality sites or sites that have minimal relevance to our industry (russian learning software). I've tried to remove error pages and parked domains (both via manual blacklisting and categories), but I still get hits from domainsponser and some other generic park domain template sites (although this seems to be improving).


Often the hits from CN campaign will come from pretty strange placement URLs. For instance, I am getting a lot of pages from download pages for software product that have a Russian translation. I have no idea how to how to systematically exclude such pages. Is there any way to figure out which keywords triggered a particular placement? 


You can take a look at our site over here:


It's well made and has a lot of keywords that are used in our adwords campaing. So I don't think the it's site content/design that hurting the performance of my campaigns.






1 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author grammatica
September 2015

Re: Low impressions/click even high QS and other issues

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Vlad,


Thanks for posting such good levels of detail.


I have a number of points and questions which may help:

  1. It will take more than a few days for you to establish whether or not your campaign is 'working'
  2. What keyword match types are you using on the GS campaigns? All exact? All broad? Mixture?
  3. I would recommend that you do one thing at a time. Launch and optimise the Search campaign first, and then look at the display (conent) network separately
  4. Just a general point that referring to 'hits' is a bit confusing. With AdWords you should refer to Searches (impressions) and clicks to be clear
  5. So you are actually in quite a good position becaus you are not suffering from a lack of search quality, but a lack of search quantity. I think this really hinges on a few things:what your match types are, what positions your keywords are showing in, what your campaign settings are (budget, time of day, etc...)
  6. The search partners network can be good and bad. See my wiki article on this here for more info, but if you are struggling for volume of impressions and clicks, enabling search partners will help:
  7. If your software is so niche that regardless of all of the above people just aren't searching for it then you need to apply the same principle to the search campaign as you did to the display campaign with keywords that are much more broad, but still loosely relevant. Things that people will search for which shows that they are interested in your product - they just haven't searched directly for it. So if it's all about learning Russian, then you may wish to target people searching for russian holidays, russian job, moving to russia, etc... 
  8. Whilst it's good that you have been thorough with your negative keywords you should make sure that none of them are inadvertently blocking relevant searches triggering your ads. Just make sure nothing is negative that should be. I once saw a campaign that sold checks on second hand cars. So a primary keyword for this campaign was 'car checks', yet when I looked in to it I discovered that they had 'car' as a negative keyword!

So consider all of the above and get back to me with more details and we can try to solve this.


Good luck

Jack Porter-Smith
Jack's G+

Re: Low impressions/click even high QS and other issues

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Jack,


Thank you for the detailed answers. 


1. True enough. 

2. I am using a mixture of match types based on the functionality of our software and other considerations. I feel that I've got a good mix of keywords. I'll try and see if I can add more relevant keywords.

3. That might be a good idea. Additional data from GS campaign would probably help in optimization. I'll leave the current setup (75/25) on a for a few more days and the I'll try and see if what happens when I focus only on GS.

4. My bad. My hits I meant clicks not impression. Smiley Happy

5. Position for the GS campaing are generally in the 1-1.x range. A few 2.x positions, but most are close to 1. The budet is very small - nothing I can do about this. The ads are shown evenly over time.   

6. I've decided to turn them on, just to see if I can get more search quantity - it might work who knows.

7. The problem is that if I try and target more general keywords, I'll be competing against advertisers for who those keywords make more sense - this will probably harm ROI for every dollar invested. But, I think it's something I should look into.

8. I'll double check to make sure that none of the negative keywords are having an impact on search.


Thanks for the comments!




Re: Low impressions/click even high QS and other issues

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

no probs Vlad, all the best!

Jack Porter-Smith
Jack's G+

Re: Low impressions/click even high QS and other issues

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

If anyone else, has a similar problem (high quality keywords/ads, low traffic), I would also recommend taking a look at this FAQ about broad match modifiers:


This will probably make be very helpful in optimizing my campaign.