One of the most effective platforms for online marketing is Google AdWords. The amount of information that technology allows us to extract and use to our benefit, has made this a popular option for many successful brands. Heavy Chef sat down with Declan Hollywood of Google South Africa to get to grips with Google AdWords and the favourable ways to use this brilliant product. And yes, that is his real surname (I asked. Some people are just born legendary.)
Hi Declan. So how would you best describe Google AdWords?
Essentially it’s a platform that helps marketers connect with customers at the moment that they are searching for their product. It is very effective in terms of connecting the marketer with the end consumer. That is really why search is so powerful, because you’re actually giving somebody a message at the moment that they search for your product.
What are some of the best practices for AdWords?
The first thing I would say is, again, make sure you get your account structure correct. They key to a good account is transparency. You want to understand at a glance, what the marketing channels are that are giving us the best ROI, or what the target market is. If it’s done correctly, you should be able to see that in a minute. Because you can see it so quickly, you’re able to make very sound investment decisions about where you should be re-allocating budget.
The second basic principle is that every time you buy a keyword, you’re buying an audience. At its most basic level, search advertising works based on people’s search queries. You need to target your ad against these queries. You want to serve the most relevant ad possible. In advertising you need to make sure you select highly relevant keywords that pertain to your business. Make sure the Ad text that you’re serving is extremely relevant, and that also means the most relevant landing page. The customer does not see the back end of adwords, so the only touch point you have with the consumer is the moment they complete the search and see your ad. Therefore it has to be the most effective ad that you can possibly give.
Assuming these two points are correct, the next step is measuring the ROI of each one of your keywords, so understanding the cost per acquisition of your keywords is crucial. You need to tweak your bids and strategy based on that tracking. Take action based on the data that you’re seeing.
The final major element is to optimise your landing page. At the end of the day, a lot of industries are quite competitive in South Africa and to drive traffic to the website via PPC within certain industries can be costly. If you want to improve your ROI, very often the best method is simply optimising your website. Making sure that the traffic you’re driving there converts at a more efficient rate. That is the bread and butter for online retailers. Use Google Analytics to understand what people are doing on your site, and then do A/B testing to improve conversion rate.
How can one target ads to specific mobile apps using AdWords?
We have a tool called the placement tool. It’s essentially a tool that shows you all of the publisher websites and also the apps that you can target through the AdWords interface. So if you go onto the placement tool and put in the word ‘app’, it will return a list of all the apps that are targetable for your AdWords and it will show you roughly how many impressions you’re looking at getting by targeting that app per month.
Between the display and search network, what are the conversion differences for AdWords?
They are two very different channels, and the consumer is in a very different mind set when they are conducting a search on Google, and when they are reading content on a publisher website. When conducting a search they are generally looking for a product or searching an interest or passion. The point with Google search is that as you do that, we serve them a relevant ad. They are really looking either to research or buy a product at that point. With Google display network it’s slightly different. The consumer is browsing and reading about content that interests them, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for an advertiser to serve an ad to the consumer that is engaged in reading content that relates to their product.
Typically the conversion rates on Google search are higher and the CPA is generally lower, if you just look at it from a last-click attribution model. But really it’s not that simple because at the end of the day, a lot of people will be exposed to the display ad and it will be the first time that they have ever been introduced to the brand. So if you don’t know about a brand, you’re not going to go to Google search and put the brand term in. So the display network can be very powerful in terms of blasting a message and building brand awareness, and that can influence people’s search behaviour later on in their research process.
Having said that, they are some really effective direct responses to display products, things like remarketing where you can target an ad to somebody when they are on the display network based on the fact that they visited your website previously but didn’t make a purchase. That is a really effective direct response product. As is interest category marketing which is just another method of targeting that I won’t go into now.
To sum up, search is the most effective tool in online marketing. But the advances that we have made in terms of our targeting technologies on the display network have been so significant, that it has become a very powerful acquisition channel for a lot of companies, as well as being a branding channel. At the end of the day, they both have a role to play in a marketing campaign and they both contribute. I don’t tend to look at them in isolation. All marketing activities are cohesive and holistic.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, Declan. I’m sure many people will draw valuable insight from this.