Last week, in three easy steps, you uploaded your keywords and ads into your engine accounts. If you did it correctly, you will now have everything posted inside the engine platforms. Now it’s time to check and tweak the settings to ensure that your paid search campaign will launch exactly as you planned. Today, we’ll focus on the settings available to you in Google AdWords, as Microsoft and Yahoo are merging their paid search platform solutions and it’s not entirely clear yet how that will all end up working.
But first, a couple of notes. Some of these settings can be handled from within the various engine desktop tools we discussed last week (such as Google AdWords Editor). Once you get comfortable with these platforms, you should try to use as many of those features as you can before you post your account—this will save you time. The other thing you need to understand is that the engines have defaults for all of the settings we’re going to talk about today. Even if you’re not going in and changing anything, you are still actually using these settings—just at a default level. It’s important for you to get a very thorough understanding of the options available so you can precisely control how your campaigns are delivered.
To access your campaign settings, simply click any of your campaigns within AdWords and then click edit on any of the options provided. As well, from the all online campaigns page, click the Settings tab. On this tab, you can edit the status of multiple campaigns or copy settings from one campaign to another.
Below is a list of the ways you can tweak your campaigns.
- Location.The location targeting for you campaigns is too big of a subject to discuss in this post and will be the subject of next week’s post. For now, just know that here is where you decide in what areas of the world your ads will be able to appear.
- Languages. You can select any of forty languages, and also target more than one at a time. How does this work? Well, the default language of a searcher is dictated by the version of Google that they’re using (a user in France will be on Google.fr so the default language is French). Users can override their language settings with their Preferences option so, for example, someone may be on Google.fr but choose only Spanish search results. If that’s the case, your French ads won’t show to those users. Remember: Google does not translate ads. If you want your ads to appear in different languages, you’ll need to write them in those languages.
- Network. Google offers two options for where your ads will be displayed: the search network (your ads are displayed on Google search result pages, and those of partner search engines) and the display network (publishers who agree to display your ads next to contextually relevant content). Right now, we’re just talking about the search network (though FYI: you can also buy display/banner ads from Google, and I’ll cover how to do this in future posts).
A deeper look at the search network
Google’s AdWords Help article says this about the Search Network:
“Ads are shown both on Google search results pages and the search results pages of other properties (Google’s search partners) within the Search Network. On our search partners, your ads may appear alongside or above search results, as part of a results page as a user navigates through a site’s directory, or on other relevant search pages.”
Who are these search partners? Google’s policy seems to be to not list them but just know that you can run a report after your ads run to see which of your ad impressions, clicks, conversions, etc. were from Google search and which ones were from Search partners.
Other bidding options
You can also modify your bids or target your ads in other ways, including:
- Devices. There are so many cool options here that I decided just to paste the screenshot.
- Bidding options. Sorry disappoint you, but as with location targeting, there are just too many nuances to setting bidding options to include in this post. This topic will be covered in future posts.
- Budget. How your daily budget will work may seem like an easy one to understand, but the topic does trip beginners up a bit. You’ll see there is a tiny note that tells you that your daily budget represents your average spend over the month; but actual spend on any given day may vary. Here’s the deal. There are just way too many ads being served every second for Google to be able to stop on a dime when your daily budget runs out. So, what they will promise you is that whatever dollar amount you choose for your daily budget, Google will not exceed that times thirty for the next thirty days. So, if you put in $20/day, you may see $24.65 the first day, $18.97 the next day, etc, but thirty days from now, you won’t have gone over $600.
- Position preference. This option lets you tell Google where you’d like your ad to appear among all the AdWords ads on a given page (you set the actual range at the keyword level, but this setting will either enable or pause those ranges to be used by the system). Furthermore, Google says that this is a preference, not a promise—they can’t guarantee you’ll always get the position you ask for. There’s a chance that they won’t be able to put you into the position range you set (for example, if your Quality Score or bids are too low), but they will try to get most of your impressions in that range if they can. Also note, if you set a range such as positions three or four, and due to lack of competition or other factors your ad was set to come up in second position, the system will lower your bid to get you into the range you requested and save you money. Sweet!
- Delivery method. This is a nice legacy setting that has been around for awhile. If you choose the accelerated setting, your ads will be shown every time they are able to be served until the spend level hits your daily budget and then your campaign will be paused until the next day. The standard setting, however, tasks the system to pause your campaign at various times so that you still are able serve ad impressions throughout the entire day. The platform is smart and knows how often (if ever) it needs to pause your ads.
- Ad extension. This is a relatively new feature that lets you add extra elements to your ads if applicable such as the address of your location, extra site or product links, and phone numbers. There are some restrictions to this feature which can you learn more about here.
- Schedule. Set the start and end date for a campaign as well as which days of the week/hours of the day you wish your ads to be shown. Choosing to the edit your ad schedule brings up a special screen where you can chose when your ads run and even click [the green] boxes to pause or enable specific hours of the day. For example, you could your set your ads to be displayed just between 11am and 3pm on Mondays if you’d like. In the advanced mode, instead of pausing your ads, you chose times of the day to either increase or decrease your bid.
- Ad rotation. Unless you tell the system otherwise, Google will rotate your ads in each ad group for a while until it determines which one has the highest clickthru rate and then will weight that one more heavily in the mix. In fact, the ad with the highest historical CTR (after a testing period) generally runs 80-95% of the time. It’s not hard to figure out why Google would want ads with the highest CTRs to run—it means more clicks and more revenue for them. And generally, you want the most clicked ad to run most of the time, right? As you advance to an SEM pro, you may want to start running ads with better conversion rates over just ones that get clicked more often.
That’s an overview of the campaign settings offered by AdWords. In the next few weeks, we’ll dig into ad group settings, location targeting and advanced bidding options. Once your accounts have been setup properly, it will almost time to launch!
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