The measures taken in regards to COVID-19 continue to change daily. With that, we are also seeing changes within the digital marketing world.
This global pandemic has seen businesses halt campaigns and change their daily operations, however people are more than ever turning to online search for answers. As many companies swiftly put the brakes on media spend, it’s important to consider how this affects Google behaviours and trends as Coronavirus is shaping up to be the biggest story in Google Trends history. To put this in perspective, searches in relation to the virus are already twice as many as those of Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
Over the last few days we have seen a steady decline in cost per click for our clients across industries. This is an important metric for us as digital marketers. A lower CPC for our clients means higher ad positions and higher quality scores in turn, this allows the budgets go further.
So why are we seeing these changes in Avg. CPC?
Well, Usually CPC’s are determined by the bidding competition. But as more and more businesses pull the pin on their digital spend the competition diminishes meaning more visibility on SERP and higher ad relevance for remaining advertisers.
Cost-per-click is an important factor in determining the financial success of your campaigns. Since the overall ROI of your campaigns is determined by how much you’re paying for clicks and the quality of traffic they’re bringing in, it is important to think about cost per click in terms of both cost and value. You want to identify and target clicks that are both inexpensive and valuable.
Let’s first look at the Real Estate Industry. Over the last few days we have seen searches for the term “will real estate agents stay open” increase by 1,700% in the last 7 days (Correct as of 23rd March.) With the increase in searches we have seen a drop in Avg. CPC for our clients within this sector. At the start of March we recorded a CPC of $0.15, however as the month has progressed we have noticed a drop to a low of $0.06. What does this mean for the Real Estate Industry moving forward during this pandemic? As consumers become more hesitant to attend an open house, more will rely on a professional agent to schedule an appointment instead and therefore will turn to the internet for help.
The Travel and Transport industry has undoubtedly been affected by the COVID-19 breakout with restrictions put in place globally. However local taxi companies are still able to operate, an option in which increasingly more people are taking instead of the dreaded public transport. Over the past 7 days we have seen the CPC drop for our client within the private transport sector. A low of $2.62 was recorded (22nd March) where we saw this number at $2.88 a week prior. That’s a drop of $0.26 across 7 days!
The Education sector has been the topic of debate for many weeks now during the pandemic as we all understand the importance of school and further education for the workers of tomorrow. As schools begin to close their doors for the foreseeable future, online learning portals and educational material will now be available online. As can be seen below, the cost per click for our client within the Education Sector has decreased significantly over the month of March.
15th March Avg. CPC $5.35
22nd March Avg. CPC $4.28
During the Coronavirus outbreak, although many businesses will be affected, it’s important to note that some companies may see their business skyrocket with demand. Australian Manufacturing will be at the forefront of this surge. We have already recorded a decrease in CPC over the last few days for our clients within this industry.
16th March Avg. CPC $3.26
21st March Avg. CPC $2.76
So what does this mean for our clients? As we’re all aware the costs at some point will stop decreasing. Competitors will begin to restart their Google campaigns and Coronavirus will (hopefully) be a distant memory. But for the time being we are able to generate cost effective results to those who can still trade and are brave enough to play.
Although we are all currently going through a time of panic and uncertainty both online and off it’s important that we are able to focus on these small glimmers of hope. During this time, remember that it’s not all doom and gloom and whilst your business goes through changes so does digital marketing, and right now for our clients it’s for the better.
Google AdWords management isn’t easy. At the same time it is the most powerful advertising platform available today with over 160 billion searches on Google per month and Google’s display campaigns reaching 80% of the Internet population. Google even estimates that for every $1 a business spent on Adwords, $2 dollars was generated for that business. The importance of Adwords is undeniable, and it is why it plays such a vital role in generating quality leads, increasing your customer base, and growing your business. However, without the proper management, it will produce suboptimal results or even worse a negative ROI. If you’ve ever managed an Adwords campaign yourself, you’ll know how easy it is for your campaign to fall short of your expectations.
An ideal AdWords campaign uses both the best practice methodologies that exist industry-wide and ongoing optimisations for your specific business or campaign. It is easier said than done and a lot of your campaign improvements will require nuanced insight. But these insights won’t always come easily. In fact, it takes time and a practised eye to be able to draw out relevant insights and apply the optimisations needed to fine-tune your campaigns to achieve a lower CPC and a higher number of conversions. Whether you are an Adwords professional, someone entrusted with an Adwords account or a hands-on entrepreneur getting in the thick of it, avoiding the common missteps made when managing an Adwords account will give you a big leg up over the competition.
So, what are the most common Google AdWords issues which result in failed campaigns, and how can you avoid them?
Issue 1: Inadequate conversion tracking (or no conversion tracking!)
If you’re not measuring your conversions correctly (or at all!), it will be impossible to understand what’s working and what’s not, and optimise accordingly. This sounds like an obvious step, yet when trying to manage AdWords campaigns, 43% of businesses don’t have conversion tracking set up at all. Of those that do, less than half are actually tracking anything meaningful or tracking effectively. Proper tracking is a crucial part of trying to manage AdWords campaigns effectively.
How to avoid this: When you start to manage AdWords campaigns, ensure that you implement correct set up and tracking. Ideally, you should be tracking when there are purchases, additions to a user’s cart, newsletter sign-ups, and all other forms submissions.
With contact forms, ensure any details are easy to enter, and only ask for the information you need. Do you really need the user’s phone number, or address? Only ask for the information you need and ensure forms are easy to understand and quick to complete.
If you’re collecting leads, it’s important to find out (and quickly) how valuable those leads actually are. There’s no point continuing to collect leads in the same way if those leads aren’t going to result in an eventual conversion. If that’s the case, you might need to change your Google AdWords management strategy.
Issue 2: Failing to optimise your website for mobile
According to a Mantra poll, 62% of business owners do not have a website that is optimised for mobile. This represents a huge missed opportunity, with mobile users accounting for over 50% of overall web traffic. Mobile penetration is set to increase every year. Overlooking mobile optimisation can result in high bounce rates and missed conversions. Ensuring your site is optimised for mobile means Google will rank your site more favourably, and you’ll provide a better user experience, resulting in an increase in leads and conversions.
How to avoid this: Firstly, use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to see how compatible your site is on mobile devices. The tool will tell you if there are any issues that need to be resolved in order for your site to become more mobile-friendly, and provide solutions on how to fix these issues.
If an agency is doing your Google AdWords management, they’ll be able to check whether you’re using a reliable web host, and have a plan that guarantees consistent high performance, and strong site speeds, which are even more crucial on mobile than on desktop.
Issue 3: Poor landing pages
Before you even start to manage AdWords campaigns, you’ll need to set up clear and compelling landing pages to ensure your spend is worthwhile. Your landing pages should be fast-loading, relevant, and easy to understand.
Your landing page also needs to relate directly to your ad and flow directly from your ads to your landing page. It may use similar copy, or attempt to answer the questions or issues raised by the keywords in the ad.
How to avoid this: The PageSpeed Insights tool by Google can tell you how fast your page is loading to highlight any issues there.
Review other landing pages similar to yours, and assess how you could improve them. Your landing page or pages need to be as easy as possible for users to navigate and enter information on, and the purpose of your landing page should be immediately apparent when viewing the page.
Try not to overwhelm your user with information on your landing page. Ensure the information is all relevant to them and that there are minimal distractions on the page; don’t tell them about your amazing sneaker collection if they’re interested in stilettos. Keep it straight to the point, relevant and engaging.
If you’re trying to collect leads, you may want to use a lead magnet such as a discount code, e-book or guide to entice them to give you their data. Assets like e-books can take time to create but, once created, they can be used for months or even years to come.
The best thing about having an agency manage AdWords for you is that they can audit your existing AdWords tactics, your keywords and landing pages, and suggest improvements or tweaks to your campaigns, and make any necessary changes.
Issue 4: Not utilising Google Adwords features
You’d be surprised by how many Adwords campaigns aren’t utilising the features and enhancements that Google has provided. They are there to help you succeed, to not use them is setting your campaign up for failure before it has even begun.
A very common issue is a lack of ad extensions. Many ads today still just use standard text for their ads. The Google Adwords extension features will not only help improve your click-through rate, but will help your ad stand out among your competitors.
If you’re running a website with an app option, add an app extension.
If you’re running a campaign that requires people to call, add a call extension.
If you’re running a discount promotion, add an offer extension.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more ad extensions and features that if used correctly will generate higher click-through rates and ultimately more conversions. Some other important features that are neglected include geolocation, ad schedule, A/B testing of your ad copy, affinity groupings, and intent groupings.
How to avoid this: Continuing learning, never rest on your laurels. Google is constantly updating and improving. This October Google just added its latest update called BERT. This will affect 1 out of every 10 searches. This is one of many updates Google is constantly rolling out. Keeping up to date with the new features and updates Google implements will keep you ahead of your competition. If you are already up to date then you should clarify who your audience is, where they are located and a rough idea of how they would respond to your ad copy. This will allow you to set up a geolocation for your ads, your ad schedule and, in the case of display ads, your affinity and intent groups. You should also decide what ad extensions you think would be appropriate for your ad, and add them. This task is no small feat, but implementing and taking advantage of Adwords’ features will put your campaign in the best position to succeed.
Issue 5: No retargeting
A large proportion of users will click on your ad, but may not convert right away. If you’re not retargeting, or not retargeting correctly, you’re missing an opportunity to convert an audience who are already familiar with your business.
How to avoid this: It’s easy to setup retargeting, (or remarketing), when you manage AdWords campaigns, but it does take time.
Retargeting is most effective when you segment your audience into groups instead of just grouping them together. Some users may be interested in specific goods or services on your website. If you’re selling shoes, some users might be interested in sandals, whereas others may be interested in boots.
Also keep in mind that different products require retargeting within different time windows. For example, a non-essential luxury item or long-haul flight may have a longer possible window for retargeting, whereas a low-ticket item may have a shorter window in which to retarget users for a conversion.
Still need help with Google AdWords management? There are other issues which may be creating a lacklustre AdWords performance for your business. Luckily at Arrow Digital, we’re backed by over 10 years’ experience building and maintaining successful AdWords campaigns for our clients which consistently yield strong results and positive ROI. We are adept at efficiently recognising and resolving issues and fine-tuning your AdWords strategy for success.
To find out more, get our FREE guide, How to Set Up an Effective Google AdWords Plan in 8 Easy Steps or read more about our Google AdWords management services by clicking here.