If you haven’t already, I suggest reading Part 1 of Building a PPC Search Funnel first, as this post will dive into more specifics on how to create search tiers within each stage of the funnel, and how to best prioritize your keywords and campaigns.
I am going to share one of my biggest secrets for building successful paid search campaigns.
With this secret, successful approach, I have increased conversion rates by up to 163% on campaigns (2.25% to 5.93%), and produced numbers north of 900% return on ad spend.
Step 1: Build Campaigns with Search Query Data
The strategy starts by building campaigns using search query data, rather than keyword data. To set this up correctly (in the easiest way possible), you will want to use Adwords conversion tracking. This will allow you to pull conversions down to the search query level.
When pulling this type of report, I usually pull about six months’ worth of data. Depending on the size of your account, this should give you approximately 100,000+ search query results, along with pre-click and post-click (conversion) data.
Step 2: Sort Your Data
Export this into Excel to organize the data. Do a multidimensional sort — sort by the dimensions that make the most sense for your program. This might be something like raw conversion volume, conversion rate, cost/conversion, etc. What I typically do is look at a combination of these metrics, and take each into consideration with a different weight. Take some time to think about how you want to do this for your own program because this will determine how you prioritize each search query.
Step 3: Prioritize Your Data
Take the top 10 to 20 keywords, and make each of these its very own campaign. In almost every account I have ever worked on, I have found these top 10 – 20 keywords typically make up about 50%+ of the program-wide conversions.
Because these keywords control 50%+ of the conversion volume, you want to have 100% control over them as a paid search marketer. This means giving them their very own single keyword campaign. You can then write perfect ads for each keyword, and control exactly how much budget each keyword receives.
A common mistake most paid search marketers make is to have one of the top keyword battling for budget with other less performing keywords in a bigger campaign. Since you know these keywords are top performers, you want to always maximize their spend potential and appropriately optimize their impression share.
Step 4: Create Keyword-Themed Campaign Tiers
This is done just like you would create normal campaigns around different keyword themes, but with the addition of a layer, creating different tiers. Your tier one campaigns should be the best-performing keywords for that category, with tier two next, and so on. This gives you far more control over how you allocate budget to these different tiers. Tier one campaigns might be funded as always on, while tier two and beyond only receive budget when extra budget is available. You can create the tiers to match however you want to manage the budget across the campaigns.
Step 5: Cut the Fat
In your Excel workbook, it’s likely that 80 – 90% of the search queries will have never resulted in a conversion. The simple thing to do is cut these out of your program in an intelligent way. Look for keywords that generated lots of clicks, but no conversions. These might make sense to add as negative keywords moving forward in order to prevent wasted budget. If you have an attribution model in place, this would be a good time to look at which keywords you should keep from an assist standpoint, and which ones just didn’t convert.
Once you have organized all your keywords you want to keep into your different tiered campaigns, you are ready build and launch the new structure. After launch, make sure to watch how keywords are performing in each campaign. Often, tier two campaign keywords will start to perform better in this new structure, and might require transfer into a tier one campaign.
Rinse and Repeat
As you start to adopt this methodology, you might find new ways to set up your account and “My Client Center” structure in Google’s Adwords to further increase your campaign control. Having the correct account structure is as important as having the correct campaign structure when managing a large program.
Give this strategy a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments below. I look forward to hearing about your results!