7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time

PPC is rife with potential time sucks. Ad text optimization, keyword research, bid management, reporting, landing page optimization and other PPC tasks are all important facets of your paid search management. Even so, they can suck the life out of you if you’re wasting time on the elements that just don’t matter.

Larry Kim and I recently held a webinar on seven AdWords shortcuts that can save you time and simplify your PPC life. Here are our seven best tips for getting awesome AdWords results in way less time.

7. Delete Keyword Clutter

7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time | SEJ

Larry wrote about this epic time waster for Search Engine Watch last month because it’s such a widespread problem – and also completely unnecessary. You don’t need to have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of keywords in your account!

Sure, a few years ago you needed to make sure you hit on every variation of a keyword term, including the misspellings, plurals, stemmings, accents, etc. However, Google pretty much killed off the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords last year.

Take a look at this sample account: only 1.2% of keywords in the account are getting any impressions at all!

7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time | SEJ

Trying to maintain an account with over 98% junk keywords is just insane. You’re making campaign management and reporting more difficult and weighing down your account. Cut loose and get rid of the underperformers after each round of testing.

6. Delete Useless Ads

Why on earth would an advertiser need 7,000 ads in their account?!?

I have no idea, but that’s exactly what we found in one AdWords account. Looking around, it seems this is a common problem – advertisers have a ton of ads that just aren’t producing and are weighing down their account.

You don’t need them. In this particular account, the top 1% of ads are getting 99.5% of the impressions!

7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time | SEJ

Why are you trying to maintain all of these non-performing AdWords ads? It makes your account way more complex and intimidating than it needs to be. AdWords is definitely a game of quality over quantity; in fact, you really need only one awesome ad for PPC success.

Instead of trying to be everything to everyone with hundreds or thousands of ads, use Dynamic Keyword Insertion instead. DKI replaces specific words in your ad with terms that match exactly what the searcher was looking for. How well does it work? Check out this case study, where CTR rose 45% and conversions skyrocketed 228%, thanks to DKI.

5. Delete Useless Landing Pages

In the same way that useless keywords and ads waste your time, useless landing pages have got to go. Any improvement in Quality Score as a result of increasing your volume of landing pages is going to be marginal at best, and when you factor in the time spent creating them, you’re negating any benefit at all.

Another misconception is that having more landing pages will help improve conversion. However, we’ve found that’s not true, either. You’re better off investing time in testing and optimizing just a few landing pages and making them really, really awesome.

So how can you tell if your landing pages are converting as well as they could be? We’ve analyzed hundreds of AdWords accounts and found the best landing pages, across industries, are converting at 11.45% or higher. Low single-digit conversion rates are really just average and there’s a lot of room for you to improve.

Reduce the complexity of your account and save time by making meaningful changes to your landing pages instead of trying to reinvent the wheel with hundreds of versions of the same page.

4. Stop Obsessing About Mobile Landing Pages

Over the last couple of years, people have become obsessed with mobile landing pages, even though mobile conversions are pretty low.

7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time | SEJ

However, there are a lot of conversions happening that businesses just aren’t attributing to mobile.The biggest conversion people aren’t tracking is phone calls.

Calls are the hottest lead out there! On the phone, your agents can convince and compel your prospects to take action.

This explains why click-to-call on mobile is a total game changer.

7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time | SEJ

On mobile landing pages, on average, conversion rates are only about 3%, meaning 97% of people are just hightailing it out of there. Those people who do convert to leads, though, aren’t a guaranteed sale. You then have to track them down.

Click-to-call gives interested prospects the ability to instantly connect with a real, live person at your business, making them worth at least three times more than clicks to your website.

Just remove the link to your web landing page and direct people to call instead.

3. Try Out Ad Customizers

Sometimes you need repetitive ads, but man – can they be a time waster.

Say your boss or client wants a countdown for the number of days an item is on sale. Or worse, they want their ad to accurately reflect in near-real time the amount of a specific product that they still have in stock. Managing these repetitive ads manually is a nightmare.

Enter ad customizers:

7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time | SEJ

What this does is allows you to input a snippet of code connected to your informational spreadsheet, which then inputs the correct model, brand, price, or other parameter into your ad. Automating processes like this is a huge time saver, but also helps you run more effective, relevant ads. Of the hundreds of updates and new features in AdWords in 2014, we picked this as one of the top ten.

2. Use AdWords Scripts for Reporting

Reporting is one of the biggest PPC time sucks, especially if you’re dealing with some of the issues we’ve mentioned above. In a recent webinar, 20% of attendees identified reporting and analysis as their biggest PPC time suck.

Enter AdWords Scripts. These snippets of code can be used to create custom reports or make automated edits to your account.

Scripts can allow you to do just about anything, like tracking historical Quality Scores, tracking drastic increases in spend, identifying underperforming keywords and more.

It looks super complicated, but doesn’t have to be. The easiest way to harness the power of AdWords Scripts if you don’t do coding is to get someone else to do the dirty work for you. If you don’t have anyone capable in-house, check out the Google AdWords Scripts Community, Search Factory Roundup, FreeAdWordsScripts.com, or even a freelancer. People are developing all kinds of awesome scripts and you can find many options online.

1. Leverage Tools and Automation

The best way to stop wasting your time obsessing over PPC is to work with tools and platforms that help you better manage your account. With our 20-Minute Work Week, you can literally spend 20 minutes in your account at the beginning of the week and know it’s set up for success.


This post originally appeared on Wordstream, and is re-published with permission.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Mon’s Images/Shutterstock.com
All screenshots by Wordstream. Taken May 2015.
All illustrations by Wordstream. Taken May 2015.

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