9 Brilliant Ways To Optimise You Adwords Campaign Settings

camaing-settingsProbably one of the most overlooked areas of optimisation are the Adwords campaign settings, which can make them a great opportunity to find some quick wins.

This guide will teach you both the optional Adwords campaign settings configuration for your Adwords account based on the Google Search Network only.

 

1. Use the All features settings

When choosing your search network settings its always best to choose “all features” over standard campings, this gives you access to several other Adwords campaign settings such as the ad schedule and device based bidding.

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The only exception to this is if you were creating Mobile app engagement campaigns, Dynamic Search Ads campaigns or  call only campaigns, where you should use the corresponding settings.

2. Include search partners by default in your Adwords campaign settings but test this feature.

By default you should include search partners which allows your ads to appear on a group of search related websites such as Google Maps, Google Play and hundreds of other websites that partner with Google to display ads.

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To test if this is profitable to you should take the following steps.

STEP 1. Set the loopback window to as long as possible. We would suggest using at least 30 days worth of data.

STEP 2. View your campings at account level and navigate to the keywords tab as shown below.

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STEP 3. Click segment and then select “networks (with search partners)”

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STEP 4. Now select download and download the data into an excel spreadsheet. Once you have done this open it in Excel.

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STEP 5. In Excel go to the bottom of the sheet and then delete the total rows and then select all of the data. Once you have done this then click create pivot table. In the pivot table you want to use the following settings. Make sure that the search network is dragged into the rows column and the totals that you want to see such as number of conversions for each network is dragged into the columns box as shown below.

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STEP 6. Create any calculated fields that you would like, for example CTR by dividing click / impressions and displaying it as a percentage and you should end up with a table as follows.

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If the performance of search partners is particularly poor then you may want to pause this with your Adwords campaign settings.

3. Optimising your targeting settings

The location settings are fairly straight forwards, you can target countries, counties / states, cities / towns or postcodes. If you select the advanced settings you have the option of targeting within a radius of a city or postcode as shown below and also bulk add locations if you have a large list.

For more information on the setup of location settings I would suggest reading “A Complete Guide for AdWords Location Targeting: Setup, Use Cases, and Results” by .

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Optimising Radius targeting 

There have been several instances where I have been given an account with huge radius. For example I was given one recently with a radius of 50 miles from central London. However the venue that the advert was targeting was in central London and very few people are likely to travel the 50 miles to get there.

When we tested different radii and we found that the vast majority of the conversions were coming from within 20 miles of the city centre so we were able to reduce the radius and reduce the overall cost per lead considerably.

So if your account has a radius of 50 miles for instance add the following targeting options

  • 10 miles from the city centre
  • 20 miles from the city centre
  • 30 miles from the city centre
  • 40 miles from the city centre
  • 50 miles from the city centre

Then review the performance of each of these targeting options within the locations tab. This will then show you where your conversions are coming from and will allow you to reduce any wasted spend or apply bid modifiers to increase the bids within a certain distance of the city centre.

Optimising target location options (advanced)

When it comes to targeting there are some advanced settings that you will want to take into consideration. If you are a local business for example you may want to only advertiser to people within your target location (for example a 20 mile radius of your shop).

If you are advertising a hotel you may want to use the setting “people search for, or who show interest in my target location” as people nearby the hotel are unlikely to be checking in, however people who are searching for “hotels in London” from a computer in Edinburgh are much more likely to book a hotel

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As with everything you need to test the different settings to see which one provides the best performance.  The best way to do this is to duplicate the campaign and change the settings for a few days or hours (until you have a statistically significant results) and see which setting performs the best.

A good way to keep track of your test is to use this A/B split tester script that Brainlabs have kindly open sourced which you can download here. There is a full set of comprehensive instructions on how to use it included.

4. Set Your delivery method to accelerated

When it comes to delivery method in most cases you will want to use the “accelerated” option as shown in the settings below. The reason for this is because if you use standard you are likely to miss out on impressions in the morning which may be more profitable than those in the evening. Furthermore Googles algorithm will predict how much you will spend based on past performance so you may end up not spending budget and missing out on conversions.

If you are interested in reading more about the pros and cons of using accelerated vs standard ad delivery then I would suggest reading “Standard Vs. Accelerated Ad Delivery in Adwords” by Jenny Hatch.

Instead you are much better using the accelerated settings and changing your bids hourly using a simple Adwords script that I will talk about later on in this guide in section 10.  This way if your ads convert well between 12pm – 3pm you can allocate a large amount of budget to this time of the day to maximise your return on investment of your ads spend.

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The only occasion where you may want to opt for standard instead would be if you have a limited budget and are regularly exceeding it. In which case returning to using the standard option where your ads will be shown evenly over time would be the best option for your account.

5. Set your ad rotation setting to rotate indefinitely

When it comes to split testing ads within Adwords the best option to use in rotate indefinitely. However if you are going to be using this setting then you need to make sure that you are using some for of software to track when you have reached statistical significance.

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There are several good solutions that will allow you too effectively keep track of your split tests. If you have a larger PPC account with 50K+ adverts then using a tool such as Adalysis or Optmyzr is an effective way to keep track of your split tests, however if you have a smaller account you can use a script such as this one which will label your ads and email you once a test is complete.

6. Calculate and add location based bid modifiers

The performance of your ads is likely to vary widely in different locations. This will be due to a range of different factors such as the amount of disposable income in the area, the distance from your physical shop (if you have one) and many many other factors.

To compensate for this you need to change the bids in different areas to compensate for this to ensure that your budget is efficiently spent. The way to do this is by using what are known as bid modifiers.

The way to calculate these bid modifiers is to use the following formula

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Image credit: Periscopix

Here are the steps that you ned to take to calculate your bids modifiers:

STEP 1. Go into the locations tab within your main Adwords campaign settings as shown below.

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STEP 2. Set your look back window to at least 30 days, if you have a non seasonal account then you will want to set your look back window further to give you more data.

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STEP 3. Look at the average conversion rate for all of your locations within that campaign which can be found in the total row at the bottom and then make a note. For the campaign I’m analysis the average conversion rate is 4.25%. One of the target locations within the campaign is London where the conversion rate is above the average at 5.96%.

Now by doing the maths and dividing (5.96 / 4.25) -1 x 100 you end up with a bid modifier of 40.02%. Bid modifiers must be a whole number so I will round this to 40% and then add it to the location London as shown below.

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7. Calculate and apply departing and change bids hourly

Your cost per conversion will vary greatly during the day due to various different factors.

The most effective way to optimise your bids based on the time of the day and the day of the week is to use a 24 hour bidding script. This allows you to get around the limitations within the Adwords campaign settings that only allow 4 bidding windows.

This is a really simple, copy and paste job where you enter a piece of code that allows you to change the bids in Adwords based on a spreadsheet in Google Docs. Don’t worry if this sounds complex I will walk you through step by step how to do this.

STEP 1. Go to the main Adwords campaign settings tab and then to the Ad schedule tab as shown below.

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STEP 2. Now go to schedule details and then from the dropdown select hour of the day and day of the week as shown below. You should try to use as longer look back window as possible ti ensure you have enough data to make a statistically significant decision.

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STEP 3. Download this data into an excel spreadsheet by clicking the download report icon as shown below and then open this in Excel.

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STEP 4. You then need to work on the bid modifiers for each hours of the day and day of the week which should leave you with 168 bid modifiers. To save you time you can use this spreadsheet which will calculate them for you.

STEP 5. Once you have done them you will need to grab this template in Google docs and insert the bid modifiers that you have calculated in excel into it so it will look something like this.

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STEP 6. The final step is to copy and paste the piece of code into Adwords to tell it to look at this Google docs sheet and then change the bids in Adwords to the right modifier. Here are the full instructions on how to do that.

8. Calculate Apply device based bid modifiers

Device based bid modifiers present advertisers with yet another opportunity to improve the return on investment by changing their bids based on which device the user is browsing on, These settings can be found by going to the main Adwords campaign settings and then to devices as shown below.

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You will then want to use the same formula that I have shown you in the location based bid modifiers section of this article.

STEP 1. Set your look back window to at least 30 days, if you have a non seasonal account then you will want to set your look back window further to give you more data.

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STEP 2. Look at the total row at the bottom and look at the average conversion rate across all of the devices. On the account that I am analysing it it 4.01% The average conversion rate for mobile devices however is much lower at 2.54%. By entering these figures into the equation (2.54/4.01) -1 x 100 then I am left with a bid modifier of -36.65%. Once again it must be a whole number so I will round it up to 37%.

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9. Make sure you follow a consistent naming strategy

Although this will not help improve the performance of your Adwords accounts it will make life a lot easier when you are managing your PPC campaigns and save you an awful lot of time, we would suggest that you use the following naming convention.

{website category} | {website sub category} | {location} | {network} | {match type}

For example if you had an iPhone 4 case business that was targeting people on Googles search network in the UK your campaign name would be something like

iPhone cases | iPhone 4 cases | UK | Search | Exact

Conclusion

Adwords campaign settings are often a gold mine when it comes to finding quite optimisation wins your account as they are rarely properly setup. It is worrying the amount of accounts that I have analysed that spend £50K+ a month on Adwords but still don’t use location based bid modifiers or 24 hour bidding schedules.

Make sure that you won’t be one of them and implement these 9 strategies today! I can guarantee the 30 mins or so that it takes to properly set up your Adwords campaign settings will be well spent.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Search Engine Journal, Econsultancy and Certified Knowledge.

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