Chasing After Customers Not Just Traffic With Adwords

Chasing After Customers Not Just Traffic With Adwords

These days when it comes to generating traffic the majority of “marketers” follow whatever shiny object seems to be leading the current trends. While these things can work their failure is made obvious by the fact that whenever a new ‘shiny object’ (latest trend) comes along… people jump ship and follow along, still seeking the traffic and answers they were missing in the first place.

Today, guest author Amanda McManus shares with us the simple facts of a tried and TRUE traffic method. It isn’t “dead”. It still works. And you do your homework right you’ll never need to seek some “new” traffic method again.


Whether you’re a brand new online business or have a fairly established website, getting more customers is always a goal. Using Google Adwords is a brilliant way of generating leads, interest and a greater online presence, but it can equally be an extremely easy way of over-spending and using up a huge proportion of your budget chasing extra clicks and traffic.

You can watch, head in hands, as your ads go offline early in the day as your daily budget is used up on big traffic generating key phrases and suffer the temptation of throwing a bit more money at your daily budget to create more traffic in the vain hope that some of those clicks turn into customers. At the end of the day, you can find yourself looking in horror at just how much you’ve spent for very little in terms of conversions.

The compulsive nature of desperately seeking out more and more traffic means you have to be extremely disciplined in analyzing your Adwords generated traffic on a regular basis, and culling key phrases which are bringing you nothing but short visit traffic and instead spending your money on those ever-elusive key phrases which convert. You’ve probably watched your budget go down the drain with a single word key phrase, and yes, we’d all like to achieve first place rankings for our own top key word, but whether paid or organic traffic, those key words tend to have an extremely low conversion rate.

If you owned a business insurance specialist website, bidding for the key phrase ‘insurance’ will bring you a massive influx of visitors, but an extremely small percentage will be looking for business insurance, so you will be buying a great deal of pointless traffic which will never convert. You can use the information you’ve ended up paying for by mistake via Adwords to your advantage however, by learning from it and honing your Adwords campaign to turn it into something profitable.

The first thing to do is to set up your conversion goals. Without conversion data, you’re not using the information provided to you in your Adwords account to its full potential, nor are you aware of which key phrases turn into conversions, whether that’s an email sign-up, sale or enquiry. You’ll need somewhere between 7-30 days worth of conversion data depending on your traffic levels to be able to start drawing conclusion on which key phrases work and which don’t, so set up your goals now! There’s a useful video with instructions here which will take you through how to set up your own conversation tracking in Adwords, or step by step instructions under the Tools & Analysis dark green tab.

Once your goals are providing information, it’s time to find out which clicks are the equivalent to money down the drain!

In your Adwords account, click on the dark green Campaigns tab in the top left hand corner, select the last 30 days in the timeline drop down box to the top right corner, then click on the grey Keyword tab in the top centre of the page.

Almost directly underneath the Keywords tab, you’ll see a grey tab with a drop-down arrow called ‘Columns’. Click on it, and select Customise Columns. You’ll then see 3 sub-headings, and the one you’re after is Attributes, so click on that and add the ‘Match Type’ option and then click Save below.

You’ll see the ‘Match Type’ column appear in your report to the far right, featuring one of three results for each of your key phrase – Exact, Phrase or Broad. If you’ve been using Broad Match key phrases, you’re probably wasting money on traffic you would never knowingly choose to pay for. For example, if you are a flower delivery company which operates nationwide on a next day delivery service, if you’re using Broad Match key phrases, you’ll find (in the next step) that you’re probably buying a lot of useless traffic which includes the phrase ‘same day delivery’ or similar – a service you don’t provide and a key phrase which is unlikely to lead to a sale. Because you are bidding on broad matches to your key phrases, you’ll find an awful lot of wastage.

Instead, to effectively trial keywords without wasting an enormous amount of money choose Phrase Match. This limits the search terms which will trigger your ads to be much more in line with your key phrases without making you miss out on some variations of your key phrases which you might not be bidding on. So for example, a gift company might be bidding on ‘get well gifts’ as a Phrase Match and be receiving traffic and conversions from ‘get well soon gifts’ or ‘get well soon gifts for men’ and so on.

Exact Match is another useful tool which we’ll look at in more detail at a later date. For the time being, ensure that all your key phrases are on Phrase Match. To change the match type, simply click on one of your key phrases and you’ll see a little box pop up with a drop down option next to your phrase where you can select Phrase Match. You’ll see inverted commas appear around your phrase, and that’s how you should input any new keywords you want to try out in the future. It will save you an awful lot of money, and provide you with significantly better information to base your decisions on.

Below the graph, almost directly below the Keywords tab you chose previously, you’ll see a drop-down tab called ‘See search terms…’. Click on this and select ‘all’. The screen you’re taken to shows you, the key phrases your visitors used to end up on your site. Now, just below the grey Campaigns tab towards the top left of the screen, you’ll see a ‘Columns’ drop down tab – click on that and select ‘Customize columns’. You’ll see two headings, Performance and Conversions – choose to show all the Performance columns, and in the Conversions select at least to show ‘Conv. (1-per-click)’ and ‘Cost / conv. (1-per-click)’. Click back to Keywords, and then ‘See search terms’, ‘All’ again.

Let’s start the tidy up and stop wasting money on those search terms which simply cost you and give nothing in return! Click on the ‘Cost’ text at the top of that column to sort your results by what is costing you the most money. To the right of the Cost column, you’ll see the conversion data, such as the number of conversions a key phrase has given and the cost per conversion. Each business will have a different target cost for a conversion, depending on what immediate and long terms benefits the business gets from gaining a customer or lead, and working out what your own maximum cost per conversion is means you can use the figures provided in this report to spot those which are too expensive, as well as those which simply aren’t converting.

For those which you can immediately see you no longer want to bid for in the future because they are a waste of money, click the check box to the left of the phrase and before moving onto the next page, click ‘add as negative keyword’ once you’ve got them all. (You will need to repeat this process for each page of key phrases in your report on a page by page basis).

You’ll see you can add the keywords as negatives either at Ad group or Campaign level (it’s advisable to choose Campaign Level), and that the keywords you have selected all appear with square brackets round them. This is because they are being added as Exact Match keywords, so only the exact phrase written as you see it will no longer trigger your ads in Google. And leave your budget being spent on the phrases which earn you customers, leads or whatever conversion you’re looking for!

To see what chasing traffic instead of conversions is costing you, try a simple sum for a minute. Click on the Conv. (1-per-click) column heading, and scroll down past any that have converted. Have a quick look at all those which haven’t converted in the time period you’re looking at. You’ll see some key phrases which you can’t understand the reasons as to why they’re not converting. In those cases, have a look at the landing page, the ad text, and your average position, and try adjusting all or one of those parameters and monitor whether you then start to make conversions following these adjustments.

For those non-converting phrases which you look at and you CAN see why they probably don’t convert – add up the total cost of all these phrases. Then multiply it to see what the annual cost would be. That’s what you’re spending on non-converting traffic and what you could be spending instead on ensuring your ads are triggered all day long for keywords which do convert!

These simple changes will help you stretch your budget to gain more conversions and while your traffic figures may drop, the time visitors spend on your site and percentage of visitors who convert should increase meaning your money is much, much better spent!

In the next article we’ll take a look at getting cheaper converting clicks, and ensuring your ads are running when converters are clicking!

About the author: Amanda McManus writes on behalf of Cocoon Corporate, a UK based company offering Corporate Gifts including a wide range of unique Goody Bags for businesses and events.