The world of paid search has always been a fast-moving, constantly evolving beast, with Google and Bing continually updating their processes in the eternal quest of delivering optimal user experience.
However, in the past couple of months, AdWords has seen more modifications than Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders) could possibly shake a stick at, with Expanded Text Ads dramatically changing the Pay-Per-Click game, side ads disappearing in favour of a ‘mobile-first’ layout, and the word ‘Ad’ even getting a green facelift, ensuring that paid listings blend into organic search results more naturally.
Likewise, Google Analytics – the free tool for tracking and reporting website traffic – has undergone recent developments, enhancing various aspects of data capture that have excited PPC managers the world over.
Anyone can set up an AdWords account and get a few quick clicks, but specialist Pay-Per-Click marketers know that thorough research and testing is key to generating serious returns, and this is where Analytics plays its part in successful PPC campaign management.
Search Console Integration
One of the new additions to Analytics is Search Console, the previously standalone tool designed to help website owners manage their appearance in organic search results. It’s long been possible to link the two and view Search Console data within Analytics, but reports were always displayed in isolation rather than next to each other. Now, though, you can view both metrics side-by-side, giving a much fuller picture of how people reach your site from organic searches and what they do once they land on your page.
This improved integration allows you to see which landing pages are performing well in organic searches, but aren’t getting enough engagement once people click-through, giving real clarity on what pages need attention to enhance the customer journey.
Similarly, at the other end of the scale, you can see which pages have high engagement rates, perhaps as a result of targeted AdWords marketing, but aren’t getting many impressions in organic search listings. As such, you can use this insight to optimise your page titles and snippets and, hopefully, your organic performance should improve.
You can also see what keywords or phrases are driving traffic to your site, giving AdWords managers real-time data that can be used to refine PPC campaigns, perhaps in the form of A/B testing, i.e. running different versions of the same ad in parallel to see which one performs better over time.
Location, location, location
If you have international ambitions, knowing how your website performs in different countries is critical, and the Country report gives you immediate visibility on how your pages are doing around the world. You can then use this information to see what’s working organically and ask yourself why, giving you an idea of where you should focus your attention.
You can then create bespoke landing pages targeted at individual nations, which should further improve engagement, and then set up paid search campaigns targeted at the markets you want to corner.
Mobile marketing has been the talk of the PPC town this year, as Google goes all-in on a mobile-first layout due to consumers accessing the web more frequently from mobiles than their desktops. The new Devices Report in Analytics allows you to segment and review your traffic from phones, tablets and desktops, providing a goldmine of data that can be used to ensure your mobile marketing is up to scratch
This added level of detail allows AdWords marketers to investigate which pages are ranking organically on separate devices, and look to replicate the copy on high-performing pages when composing ad text. If something is working well organically, there’s a surefire chance that following the same pattern will work wonders for your AdWords campaigns.
AdWords agencies have been gearing up for the recent announcement that bid adjustments can be split between different devices, so learning how and why your visitors behave differently according to how they’re accessing your site is becoming increasingly key to successful AdWords campaign management.
Google Analytics has traditionally been regarded as an SEO tool, but it’s a veritable treasure trove of information that should be central to the makeup of any self-respecting AdWords marketer, now more so than ever.