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Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi all, I'm a commercial photographer, one of the key challenges faced by photographers using adwords is discouraging clicks from people who are interested in just browsing pretty pictures, especially as I live close to a national park and people searching the name of my county are as likely to be tourists as they are locals. I'm a commercial photographer, I work with businesses for their advertising purposes, these are the only people I want clicking my ads.


The ad which is getting far and away the majority of clicks (19 of a total 30 in the last month) goes as follows:


Browse my Portfolio

Commercial Photographer,

Will McAllister, based in Cumbria

and links straight to my portfolio. I thought it was a good idea at the time, taking people straight to the main thing they will want to see before making a decision on who to hire and hitting potential customers with the attractive side of my business before they get to the pages with more text on them.


I was careful to place the word 'Commercial Photographer' prominently on the second line, thinking that this would be enough to stop tourists who are just looking for some nice scenery photos to ogle from clicking... you know sort of a 'here be photos of products, corporate portraits and commercial premises, not what you're looking for'


It also gets far more impressions,1284 of a total 1388 (although another ad has a higher click-through%), and the top performing keywords in that adgroup are:

  • whitehaven photography
  • photography in cumbria
  • cumbria photographer
  • photographer cumbria

in that order. I have keywords in this adgroup with the word commercial in but these four outperform them.


I also created another campaign where all keywords contain the word commercial, and copied and pasted this ad, along with all the other ads into this campaign. I set the budget a little higher for that campaign to see if it would help.


Browse my Portfolio is also the highest performing ad in the new campaign (although with only 1 click in the past month compared to 0 for the other ads the statistical significance is doubtful).


It's far and away costing me the most money of any other ad I have and this combined with the top performing keywords is making me wonder if my plan isn't working and most of these clickers are tourists looking for pretty pictures. The bounce rate for this ad is about 46%, in fact lower than the 80% bounce rate I get for a third campaign which doesn't contain this ad, so clearly at least half of people aren't arriving and immediately thinking 'these aren't the pretty pictures I'm looking for'.


So I'm not sure what to do next. I could pause the ad and see what happens, but then I wouldn't know how to assess whether it was benefiting me or not. I've only been in business for 8 months and sale volumes are pretty low at the moment so I probably wouldn't know whether or not any increase in sales (or at the very least, no decrease in sales) is down to the action I've taken. There's bounce rate but if I assume that people who don't bounce are potential customers and people who do are tourists then I would have drawn the conclusion that this ad was working after all. The other thought is to set up some kind of goal to see how many people are progressing from my portfolio to my 'hire me' page, but I've not done this before and would need some advice on how to get the best from this.


Sorry for rambling on a bit, any advice would be hugely appreciated.





2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
and I'm sorry about the link in my post, I was just trying to show what my ad looked like. It was not my intention to make it a link, it just automatically made it a link, I'm not trying to spam this forum.

Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi Will,


Being in the photography business, it's pretty difficult to keep the online users away from your website, who only want to see the pictures, portraits etc...


In my opinion, what you can really do about that is to write the ad copies which clearly define the objective of your business. I am afraid, but the ad copy which you shared here is not very appealing. This ad copy is clearly attracting the online users to browse your portfolio. You should use some good call to action in the end. These are purely my thoughts and could differ from others. You can read this article for details.


Another point I noticed about is the keywords which you are using for your Adwords. Being into this niche industry, keyword selection does play a very important role. On top of it, it also depends upon what match type are you using and how online users are finding your ad. I would suggest you to review your search terms for that and find whether the queries are relevant to your business or not. On finding irrelevant terms, add them as negative keywords at ad group/ keyword level.


You said you don't have any goal to measure. I am assuming that you are not using Conversion Tracking script to see the real benefits of your Adwords campaigns. Let me know if that's not the case.


I would strongly encourage you to install Conversion Tracking script on goal conversion pages ( contact thanks page in your case). By doing this, you would get to see which ads, keywords are drawing more conversions for you. How many users are contacing you. Honestly, this could be a real game changer for you once you have the script and data is accumulating in your account. Read this for details on Conversion Tracking set up.


Hope that helps somewhere!


Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for your response Pankaj


Unfortunately I can't use conversion tracking as I don't control the code of my site directly. I use a service which lets you modify your site with a number of editing tools rather than upload the code yourself. The advantage is you can get a very good looking site, exactly how you want it to be for a fraction of the price it would cost to hire a web designer, the disadvantage is no ability to add bits of code like this, unless the company running the site decide to include it as an option like they have done with adwords.


However in all my time in business I have never had a customer use the contact-me page to contact me, they all either e-mail me or phone me, and since my e-mail address and phone number are on every page it would be difficult to track.


I shall investigate the keywords which people are using to get my ad. I already have negative keywords such as 'wedding' and 'landscape' but it may be there are other irrelevant bits in there. I'll see if I can make the ad a bit more hard-edged as well to make it absolutely explicit that this is not a place that tourists looking for pretty landscape pictures want to be wasting their time on.


Happily Google Analytics seems to have undergone something of a make-over and I was able to get the information I wanted right away without having to set up a goal first and wait. Since June 1st, 27 people have come from adwords straight to my photos page, about half dropped off straight away and half viewed other parts of my portfolio, of which 3 made it as far as my hire-me page. I would assume then that the people who continued browsing were interested commercial customers as they looked at pages about events and corporate portraits.


Maybe if I put a gallery in my porfolio containing the sort of photos tourists might look at, then I will instantly know through analytics which of the visitors are just tourists and can assess whether or not I'm keeping their numbers down.


Also as an aside I'll accept to an extent that my photos page is a top landing page and redesign it a bit to have some of the features of a landing page in the hope of driving more people from there to my hire-me page. But this is a seperate issue that is only relevant once I have the right people landing on it.


Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

Hello again Will,


If conversion tracking is not feasible, at least you could try call extensions for your ads. It's a good way of attracting online users to give you a phone call and based on it, you can attribute the lead/conversion for your business. You can read about call extensions here.


In case you are in US or UK, you can also enjoy the facility of Google forwarding number for your text ads, where Google can automatically allocate a forwarding number to your ad for desktop users and you can receive the phone call at your end. On top of it, you will also get to see the call details from Dimensions Tab to get more insights. Read this for details.


Just a thought!


Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks again, from what I've read about call extensions, it will allow customers to click a number to call me as soon as they see my ad, however there are a couple of issues where I'm not sure it would work for me:


  • It only works for customers browsing on mobile phones, the phone number won't show on computers. My clients are all businesses, with many people calling from an office where it is likely they're using a computer rather than a phone. Also, while you can view my site on a phone, I'm not sure people would as I doubt you'd want to hire a photographer on the back of a photo you'd seen on a tiny phone screen.
  • I think it's unlikely in any case that someone would decide to contact me straight away when they see the ad, without bothering to look into my site first. I've certainly never come accross a customer who knew nothing about me before they called me.

So it looks like call forwarding is the option tailored for businesses who need customers to actually visit the website, not just call straight off the ad, and it says these numbers will appear on laptops. I'm just struggling to see what the benefit is as opposed to the customer visits my website, gets my number off there and calls it, unless Google are then providing me with information about which ad the person clicked on. But then I wouldn't be able to plaster my phone number all over my site as I currently do so easily.


With regards the keywords entered by people who go on to click the Browse My Portfolio ad, the top search term (in fact the only significant search term) is 'photography west cumbria'. There's nothing to suggest irrelevant words are being used very often though I have identified a few terms such as 'news' 'old photos' 'shops' and 'lake district' I could exclude. Oddly the search term 'landscape' appears once, so I might not have excluded it from every single campaign.


A big issue I had when selecting keywords is the difference between the words photographer and photography. Someone searching for a photographer is definitely looking to hire a photographer, but I can't be sure that someone searching for photography is just looking to gawp at pretty pictures. I might actually start a new thread about this one issue as I'm sure a few photographers will have opinions on this.


Unfortunately it seems (as I would expect) that whether they're looking for a weddding photographer, a portrait photographer or a commercial photographer, most people just type 'photographer' into the search, so only a well written ad can filter out those looking for wedding and portrait photographers. I think a number of couples would contact me anyway, because wedding photographers have quoted high prices and they hope I'll be cheaper. I mean I know my ad isn't particularly well written but it does clearly state 'Commercial Photographer' I can make the ad more appealing but I don't know how I can make it clearer that you should not click this ad if you want someone to do your wedding or are looking for pretty photos of the lakes.

Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

Hello again,


Call extension with Google forwarding number is meant for desktop, laptop users primarily. Most importantly, it is only available in US and UK till date. I believe you are in UK.


So, it could be a good business opportunity for you to try this call extension because honestly I have seen online users seeing the ad and calling in directly from there, without visiting the website many times because they need immediate quote, estimate and some human to talk. Another advantage of this is may be the user notes down the number assigned to your ad and decide later to give you a phone call. These are couple of benefits I could think of right now.


As always these are only few of my thoughts and many would agree/disagree with them.



Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Zee Community Manager
Community Manager
# 8
Zee Community Manager
Community Manager
Hi wmphoto-co-uk,

Just to add, do you use negative keywords? You could eliminate some of the unwanted searched by adding them into your campaign.

More on negative keywords:

Or you can read an article that was written by our Community member, Neha:


Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Google Employee
# 9
Google Employee

Hi there, 


Just to build on Zee's post, there's a helpful report you can run in your account called the "Search Terms Report", which will tell you the exact terms people typed into Google when they saw your ad and clicked on it. This might help you find some good negative keywords. If you see people typing in terms that indicate they are only looking to browse your website for tourist photos these will be good ones to add as negative keywords. 


This link here explains the "Search Terms Report" in more detail. 


Hope this helps.



Re: Not sure whether certain keywords and ads are doing me any good.

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks, yes Pankaj had suggested I use this method to find possible negative keywords. And Google Analytics seems very powerful now so I was able to view the search terms used by people who clicked that ad and then went no further.

Nothing jumped out at me though, there were a few clearly irrelevant search terms but these were only one offs, obscure terms used by single searcher, I was already using landscape and wedding and their variants as negative keywords and have added a few more.

I have also removed the keywords including 'photography' while keeping 'photographer' and my impressions have drastically gone down. However I'm not sure if this a particularly good idea as looking at their activity on my site I can't be certain that the 'photography' searchers aren't actually looking for a photographer. To most people I think, when typing search terms and looking for a photographer, the difference between 'photography' and 'photographer' is too subtle to care about.

So I might start a new campaign and initially only bid low for people searching photography so I can see what those people are doing.

Also, one idea to help track these people I had was to link to the flickr page of a local amateur photography group that I'm part of. I would have have the link go to the flickr page via a redirect page, so I could track it, then try and direct people looking for pretty pictures to click the link. That might help me identify the keywords and ads that aren't working better