Setting up your first AdWords account may seem deceptively simple… or totally overwhelming, depending on how you feel about numbers. As a writer, I know how hard going from essays to engaging blog posts can be. I know I threw out some clunkers in the beginning, I probably still do!

I’m consistently impressed with the quality and level of thought our paid media team puts into their accounts… but it made me wonder, was our team always like this? When I asked them what they wished they’d known, they detailed a few past mistakes, over complications, and conversion tracking complexities. While we’ve covered the FAQs, we wanted to go more in-depth this time.

Below, I’ve detailed some of those early errors they mentioned and their learnings.

Conversion Tracking

When I was first setting up accounts, I didn’t understand the multitude of ways to set up conversion tracking. While tracking contact form submission completions is a great starting point, there’s far more to be learned. For instance, following the status of leads over time and measuring which leads become customers through offline conversions is incredibly powerful. More importantly really thinking about what we are trying to achieve and making sure tracking helps us with that is key.  Learn more about conversion tracking on different platforms here.

Geo Targeting

One of the first mistakes that I made in setting up campaigns was not changing the Geo-targeting settings. Initially, I targeted searchers who were interested in the service for the region… but were outside of the applicable services area. Yikes. Always double check that first.

Campaign Segmentation

Another mistake I made early on was leaving all of the ad groups within one campaign. Now, I segment high-value terms into their own campaign. Since the budget is set at the campaign level, you can ensure you are maximizing your high performing keywords. It means they will have enough funds to be visible throughout the day.

Multiple campaigns allow you to separate budgets to control account spending across ad groups. Campaigns are also where you set location targeting and bidding strategies. Having all ad groups in one campaign can increase the likelihood that the ad group getting the most traffic will cannibalize the budget, leaving the remaining ad groups with nothing.

Keyword Match Types

Early in my career, I was experimenting with keyword match types. At first, I only used phrase match keywords, which made account maintenance simpler. However, exact match keywords help you lock into the specific terms you want to show up for. Additionally, broad match modified keywords help you discover new, valuable search terms for your account. By having a healthy mix of all three keyword types you can optimize the account for growth.

Keyword Research

Choosing keywords is an important part of setting up an AdWords account. However, without doing keyword research, you can make mistakes. You may drive the wrong traffic to your website and pay for it. The best way to know what keywords to target is to have a great understanding of your client’s business and target audience. We meet with our clients regularly so we know where to focus our time and energy, and can prioritize keywords. We also use Google’s keyword planner and do competitive research to see who is also bidding on similar keywords.

Duplicate Keywords

Targeting the same keywords in your ad groups or campaigns? If so, these keywords are bidding against themselves. This could negatively impact your own Quality Score and ads could be costing you more per click. Pay attention to where and how you’re using keywords to avoid paying more.

Fixing duplicate keywords is easy with AdWords editor. You can use this tool to double check you don’t have them. This will reduce the cost per click, improve the QS and ultimately generate a better CPA.

Automated Bidding Strategies

I started off only using the maximize clicks automated bidding strategy. However, now maximize clicks is a bidding strategy that I would never use. While there are use cases for this bidding method, it doesn’t allow for a lot of control over spending. It also doesn’t help ensure users who are likely to convert will see the ads. This bidding method makes it easy for spending to get out of hand. Additionally, it makes it hard to set limits on spending for specific keywords. This is because it doesn’t take broader account goals into consideration. If an account uses conversion tracking, then this is the last bidding strategy that I would use.

Want to learn more about our paid media team’s skills? Check out our process, explore our strategies, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions about how we get results for our clients.