How to Launch a Successful AdWords Campaign

How hard could pay-per-click ads be? The truth is that although setting up an AdWords can be done quickly, they are not as easy to manage as they appear. has a great article about how to set up an AdWords campaign in ten minutes, but we’re taking you for a deep dive into the lesser-known components of a wildly successful campaign.

What Do Your Customers Want?

If your customers aren’t searching for your product or service in Google, AdWords search advertising is not going to work for you. Verify that there actually is search volume for what you’re going to offer.

Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool behaves like a thesaurus. Input phrases you think your prospects are searching, and Google will give you similar, relevant phrases.

Google will tell you how often people search these phrases, how competitive the keywords are in AdWords, and how much it costs to advertise on each keyword. All of this data can help you choose the keywords you want to use.

There are three questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not to advertise on a particular keyword:

  1. Is the keyword searched in Google? If there is no search volume, then that tells you no one is typing that phrase into Google. There is no point in advertising on keywords no one is searching.

  2. Is the person searching this keyword likely to buy my product or service? Or is the person more likely just doing research with no intention of making a purchase? In other words, what is the intent of the keyword? When starting out, you’ll want to advertise on what I call “buying intent” keywords where the person is clearly looking to buy.

  3. Can I afford to advertise on the keyword? This question is important, but it requires a bit of math.

Do the Math

Before you can finalize your keyword list, do some basic math. This will prevent you from going after keywords where there’s no chance of being profitable. It’s better to run these numbers now before you’ve sunk time and money into a campaign destined to fail.

To answer the question “Can I afford to advertise on this keyword?” you need to calculate your maximum cost per click (Max CPC). Compare your business’s max CPC to the estimated keyword CPC in the Keyword Tool to see if you can afford to advertise.

For example, if your max CPC is $5 and the estimated CPC is $4, there’s a good chance you can profit on that particular keyword.

If you don’t know your max CPC, you’ll need to guesstimate, or set up tracking to more accurately calculate them. Max CPC is determined by your website conversion rate, your profit per customer, and your target advertising profit.

Your Max CPC should be in the neighborhood of the estimated CPC in Google’s Keyword Tool. For example, if your Max CPC is $3.50 and the estimated CPC for a keyword is $10, increase either your profit per customer or your conversion rate.

What are Your Competitors Doing?

Once you have a list of “buying intent” keywords you know you can afford, reduce your risk by leveraging competitor intelligence.

In an easy-to-use, organized format, KeywordSpy collects, organizes, and provides easy access to all of your competitors’ historical advertising information. It’s the legal version of hacking into your competitor’s database!

To set up your account, go to and click on the free trial button in the upper right corner.

Why Should Customers Choose You?

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what differentiates your business from your competitors and gives your prospects a compelling reason to choose you.

Your USP answers the question, “Why should I choose to do business with you, versus all other options?”

With AdWords, there are 3 important reasons to create a powerful USP:

   1. A strong USP will generate more traffic from qualified prospects (encourage clicks on your ads) and repel unwanted leads (prevent clicks on your ads).

   2. A strong USP will skyrocket your sales conversion rates. So, not only will you generate more traffic because you’ll get more clicks on your ads, you’ll also convert more of your traffic into paying customers.

   3. A strong USP can eliminate price comparison shopping. This can be a game changer for your business because you’re no longer seen as a commodity. If you give your prospects a compelling reason to do business with you versus your competition, then price becomes a secondary issue, and you’ll be able to demand higher prices than your competition without hurting your sales.

To create a strong USP, focus on your strengths. What are you better at than your competitors? Next, talk with and listen to your customers.

Ask your customers why they do business with you. Ask deeper questions to determine what your customers dislike about your industry and what your customers wish you were able to provide in addition to your core products or services.

Lastly, scope out your competition. The most important word in unique selling proposition is unique. In order to create a really strong USP, study your competitors’ ads, websites, and marketing materials.

How Are You Tracking Conversion?

Hold up before running out to the races! If you skip this step, you’ll never know which keywords and ads are generating sales and which ones are costing you hard-earned dollars. In other words, you will not be able to optimize your campaign once it’s up and running.

If some or all of your sales occur online with an e-commerce shopping cart, conversion tracking is thankfully a simple process. Use the built-in Google AdWords conversion tracking. The tracking code can be found in your AdWords account under “Tools and Analysis > Conversions.

To create a new conversion, simply click on the [+ Conversion] button and follow the steps to define your conversion. Add the small snippet of code to your order form thank you page or receipt page. This code is similar to Google Analytics code if you have that installed on your website, but it should be on only the final page after a customer completes her order.

When a customer lands on your receipt page or thank you page, Google will track the conversions in your AdWords account automatically. It’s so simple that there’s no reason not to install this before launching your ads.

If you have an offline sales process, here are three tactics for tracking your sales:

  1.  Create a conversion page in your sales process. For example, send all of your customers to a special page to get their receipt, create an account online, or download an important document. Think of some way to get your customers to go to a webpage and add the AdWords code to that page. Now you can track the sales.

  2.  Use unique coupon codes in your ads and landing pages. If you use unique coupon codes in your ads and landing pages, then you can match the codes back to the ad and keyword that generated the sale.

  3.  Use tracking phone numbers in your ads and landing pages. Again, if you use unique tracking phone numbers, then you can match the calls and subsequent sales to the ads and keywords that generated the sale.

Are You Optimizing?

As soon as you enable your campaign and Google approves your ads, you can recline your chair and relax! Just kidding, you can’t relax yet.

Most campaigns are not profitable from the start and each of them require optimization steps such as the following to stay profitable:

   1.  Your keyword bids. Once you start generating clicks and sales, adjust your bids accordingly. If your keywords are generating sales profitably and you’re not ranked #1, raise your bids. If your keywords are not generating sales profitably, you should obviously lower your bids or pause the keyword entirely.

   2.  Your ad click-through rate (CTR). As I mentioned earlier, your ad CTR directly affects your quality score, which in turn determines how much you pay per click. To optimize your CTR, test different ads to see which version gets the most clicks.

   3.  Your landing page conversion rate. The final area to optimize is your landing page. There are many tools to help you test different landing page versions, but if you’re just starting out, I recommend you use Google Analytics Experiments (formerly known as Google’s Website Optimizer). It’s easy and free to get started. Go to to set up your free account. Then create an experiment to test two different versions of your landing page and measure to see which one generates the most conversions.

Does your company not have enough time to run a successful Adwords campaign? 10twelve can help your company launch a successful Adwords campaign.