When it comes time to promote your product or service, one of the quickest ways to get results is with paid advertising. This is typically called pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine marketing (SEM).
There are a number of options to pick from for your paid advertising needs.
The most notable is Google Adwords.
But before you create an account and start advertising, you will need to lay some groundwork in order to get the most out of your Adwords campaign.
So let’s cover a few basics before you launch your SEM campaign.
Set Your Goal(s)
Depending on your business, you will have different goals.
For example, if you sell products online your goal will be to make a sale. If you offer a service, your goal could be a contact for more submission.
The important thing is to know the URL a user must visit in order to be a success.
Without knowing what success is, you can’t measure the effectiveness of your Adwords efforts.
In the case of an e-commerce site, this will be the URL a user gets to after successfully submitting their payment. For a service based website, the URL could be the “thank you” page they get after submitting a form.
Once you know the URL, in Google Adwords you will need to create a conversion tracking pixel.
Here’s how to do it…
In your Adwords account, click on “Tools > Conversions” – you will see a screen like this:
Click on “Select” for “Website”.
From here you will need to fill out some additional information such as:
- Name – This is where you will name the conversion. You will want to make it something that you can easily recognize and understand in your reports.
- Value – Here you will enter how much the conversion will be to your business. A few options will be provided like:
- Each time it happens (same value for all conversions)
- Value of conversion will differ (by purchase price)
- Don’t assign a value
- Count – Decide whether you want to count one or all conversions.
- Conversion Windows – This setting allows you to set options for tracking conversions.
- Conversion window – The default is 30 days and it sets the cookie on the visitors browser. If that user in that browser comes back to your site and completes the conversion within 30 days (or whatever you have set) it will be tracked in Adwords as a conversion.
- View-through conversion window – The default for this is also 30 days and it tracks the views of your ads. Particularly display ads on Google’s Display Network. If a user views the ad, but does not click and eventually converts on your website they will be tracked as a conversion.
- Include in “Conversions” – Enabling this setting will simply create a “conversion” column in your reporting. If you are just starting out, enabling this is preferred.
- Attribution model – Google Adwords gives you a handful of options to determine attribution.
- Last click – Using the last click attribution will credit the conversion to the last-clicked ad and corresponding keyword. (This is the most commonly used attribution model)
- First click – Choosing the first click attribution option will use the first-clicked ad and corresponding keyword for crediting the conversion.
- Linear -When you pick the linear attribution setting, it will distribute credit equally across all clicks.
- Time decay – Picking the time decay attribution model will give more credit to the clicks that occurred closer to the point of conversion
- Position-based – The way that position-based attribution works is that it allocates 40% of credit to both the first and last-clicked ads (including the corresponding keyword), and then uses the remaining 20% of attribution to spread out across the other clicks.
- Data-driven – While this option is currently in BETA, it will split the credit for the conversion based on previous data for this conversion action. Please note that this will only be available to accounts with enough data.
Once you have entered all of your choices, you will need to save and continue in order to get your tracking code.
On the following screen you will get a recap of your selections and an option to edit to make any last-minute changes.
Below that you will see the code for the tracking script that will need to be added to your “conversion” pages. These are essentially the “thank you” pages a user will get to after submitting a form or completing a purchase.
The code will look something like this:
You will need to copy the whole script and add it inside the <body> tags of your page template. If you are not sure how to do this, you can email the information to your web developer to implement.
After the code is installed, it will track your conversions moving forward.
Connect Google Analytics To Google Adwords
While tracking conversions is important, don’t underestimate the need to track all your website traffic.
Hopefully, you have Google Analytics installed on your site already. If not, I suggest you stop right here and get it set up ASAP.
If you are already setup with Google Analytics, you are good to go.
Once you have decided to use Google Adwords, linking your Adwords data into Google Analytics can be done in a few steps.
After implementation, you will have a better understanding of how your paid traffic interacts with your website.
But before we begin, you will need to make sure you have the following access:
- Google Analytics – Your account will need to have “edit” permissions that will allow you to make the necessary changes.
- Google Adwords – You will need to have admin access to the Adwords account.
Have the right access?
Cool, here’s what you will need to do in order to link Adwords to Analytics:
- Login to your Adwords account and click on the “gears” icon in the upper right
- Click on “Linked Accounts”
- Click the “view details” link under the Google Analytics section and then click the “set up” link next to the site you want to link to Adwords
- If you have multiple views, select what views you want to link. If you have one view, it will be the only one to select.
- Either way, click “Import Site Metrics”
- Click save
You have now connected Google Analytics and Google Adwords.
Virtual fist bump.
To view this data in Google Analytics, you will want to go to “Acquisition > Adwords > Campaigns”.
Here you will be able to view your campaigns and the data associated with it. You’ll notice to the right that you can see conversion data as well.
There is a ton of great insight to be had through Google Analytics.
Among some of my favorite reports are the “Keywords” report and the “Search Queries” report.
If you have been around long enough, you might know that Google Analytics used to show the keywords a user searched for to get to your site through organic search. However, a few years ago, Google removed this option and gave us the infamous (not provided).
However, if you connected Adwords to Analytics you can see the keywords you bid on that someone clicked to get to your site. While it is not organic searches, it can give you some nice insight into what people are actually searching for to get to your site.
The “Search Queries” report will show you what phrases (searches) someone ran in order to trigger your ad and click through on it.
Not only can this data help drive your decisions in Adwords, but it can also be used to influence content creation and other tweaks to your site in order to better serve the traffic your website gets.
Data Drives Decisions
By implementing these two approaches, you will have started to lay a solid foundation to more accurately track your Google Adwords efforts.
When you start to pay money, you will know that your data is being properly tracked so that you know what is or is not working by being able to analyze the data from your campaigns.
Without tracking traffic and conversions, how do you know if it is really working or not?
It’s really hard to know.
That’s why having the right data being measured and analyzed, you can confidently make decisions based on your data.
Have you implemented these two techniques for Adwords yet?
Let us know in the comments how you use this to drive decisions.