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What's Best - A DIY or Managed AdWords Campaign?

26 Nov 2015
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Sick of throwing away good money after bad? Well often or not, that is what is happening when you’re operating a Google AdWords campaign on your own or using unqualified AdWords specialists.

Google has made it super easy for anyone with the time to pick up AdWords and run with it. But let’s be realistic, Google is a business – they’ve made it easy to spend money but not necessarily ensure that it is spent in the best way it could be!

We’re not advocating completely moving away from the DIY model, quite the opposite. What we are advocating for is for you to upskill and gain the necessary knowledge to run an EFFECTIVE campaign rather than just run a campaign and cease it when you don’t believe it’s actually doing any good.

Mark, our Online Marketing Manager and AdWords qualified consultant, has previously written some posts over at our parent company Apex Digital that are well worth visiting if you’re about to embark on a new AdWords campaign. He gives away some significant advice on basic AdWords management tasks and we highly recommend his article AdWords Management Basics for the DIYer.

The top three tasks he discusses (keywords, quality scores and ad position) is a guide to the minimum understanding anyone needs before committing any serious investment into AdWords. As you get a little more involved and the return on investment becomes the key driver (rather than brand awareness and positioning), be sure to read another of Mark’s articles, 3 Must Do AdWords Tips for the Do-It-Yourselfer.

Here Mark provides the following three tips and discusses these in more depth. Be sure to check out the article.

  1. Run regular search query reports - the Search Query report shows the keywords that people searched on which lead to them clicking your ad.
  2. Check your costly keywords - identify your high cost per click (CPC) keywords and those responsible for the majority of your daily spend.
  3. Watch your click through rates (CTR) – the CTR is an indicator of the relevance of your keywords to your text ads. It’s also a good reflection of the quality of your AdWords account structure.

We know that inexperience, time and a lack of understanding of Google AdWords can be the significant Achilles heel to a successful AdWords campaign. In our experience there are three general outcomes that will occur when you embark on a Google AdWords campaign. Let’s look at these in a bit more depth.

 

Scenario 1:

You set-up and manage a Google AdWords campaign yourself.

In typical Kiwi DIY style, in the face of adversity (inexperience, time and lack of knowledge) you dive right in. As stated earlier, Google has made it super easy to spend money, so you’ll have a campaign up and running in no time. And you’ll start spending money, and more money, and more money. You may have a positive result first up, but then what you deem as important (or of value) starts to decline. After your first few invoices come in and you begin to question how much you’re spending versus the return on your investment, you stop Google AdWords with a bad taste in your mouth.

 

Scenario 2:

You’re a little more business savvy – aware that there is a discrepancy between what is required (time, experience and knowledge) and what you’re able to commit to the project, so you call your brother’s best friend’s little brother, or the poor unassuming administrator on the front desk, who knows a little bit about computers.

He manages to set-up your campaign, start spending money and may get a little more success as he has the opportunity to delve a little more into the analytics and statistics provided by Google. But then he gets bored or busy with other work and the ‘management’ of the campaign becomes sporadic, money is still being spent and there is no report or reference to any return on investment. And then you stop Google AdWords with a bad taste in your mouth.

 

Scenario 3:

You realise it is time to get the specialists in. An agency will take the stress off you and will set up an effective AdWords campaign that is destined to provide a return. They’ll research your business and industry, keywords (both short and long-tail) and advise on how best to utilise your spend. They’ll provide the necessary advice and recommendations to ensure that from day one the right market for your products/services is being targeted.

You can expect that an experienced agency, like Limelight Online, will actively manage your campaign – not just let it run. With best practice knowledge, benchmarking and experience, they’ll know the difference between a good, average and poor campaign and can adjust the campaign on the fly to ensure no unnecessary money is being sent down the plug hole.

You can also expect ongoing communication and recommendations for even greater outcomes. There’ll be plenty of checking of the campaign but also the ongoing analysis to identify further areas of opportunity.

And with any agency skilled in online marketing, like Limelight Online, you’re not just receiving advice and recommendations on your Google AdWords campaign. Your account manager will be looking at the wider picture of your online presence and the complete user experience when someone searches for your products and services, and then visits your site off the back of an advert. What we often find is that campaigns can be extremely good at driving traffic to a site through targeted, high ROI adverts, but then the next question becomes “how can we do a better job of converting more of that additional traffic coming to the site?” The experience of the team then becomes paramount around recommending user experience (UX), conversion optimisation and landing page improvements to the site to ensure that the traffic is captured and a sale more likely.

 
So why Limelight Online?
Apart from our skills, knowledge and years of experience in our field, our mission is to rid the industry of the numerous cowboy operators in NZ that have a well-tuned sales patter that hooks people in with a fear of missing out (on all that traffic!) and empty promises. When it comes to the crunch, these operators fall down majorly at the point it matters most - getting an ROI for their customer's businesses. Not to mention the anecdotal feeling of been dropped like a hot potato as soon as the contract is signed.

“Seldom do we see a campaign that we couldn’t save money”

Having the right campaign structure gives the flexibility to expand or change campaigns easily at a later date, while also giving more detailed control over settings and making campaign performance more transparent. AdWords is not a 'set and forget' advertising platform - but is often treated as such. Achieving maximum return and preventing wasted budget on irrelevant clicks from untargeted traffic requires constant monitoring and management of a number of elements of the campaign. An effective campaign is monitored every working day (with regular results fed back to the client) to ensure it continues to meet business objectives and goals. Unfortunately, seldom do we see other operators delivering this level of attention.

Another pet peeve of ours is the display of Google accreditation badges such as the AdWords Qualified Individual badge on websites (this programme is defunct and was replaced by the AdWords Certified Partner programme) or those that display the Google Partner badge without linking to their Google accreditation - not surprisingly they can be nowhere to be found in a search of partner companies. Smoke and mirrors....

 

Our Google certified Online Marketers - of which we have three - work really hard to maintain their certifications which indicate that they have met the strict qualification criteria set by Google. Registered under our parent company Apex Digital, through their hard work the company has also achieved and maintained our Google AdWords Certified Partner status for many years. It speaks volumes of our commitment and expertise.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve always been proponents of hiring the specialists – those competent in actually doing what they were trained to do. It reminds us of a recent Botched episode where a girl’s dentist carried out her nose job. You can only imagine the results, similar to that of a poor Google AdWords campaign - expensive, money down the drain, dissatisfaction and a poor taste in your mouth.

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