flowing motion

4 things I learned in 24 hours with Google Adwords

Posted on: July 1, 2009

Do you used Google Adwords? And does it bring you the traffic you want?

I think all ‘noobes’ to the internet struggle with Google keywords and experienced geeks around us don’t want to come clean and say simply how the system works.

Well there is a chicken-and-egg system here.  You don’t know which keywords to use until you know!  Maybe you may learn something from my this little experiment of mine.

My 24 hour Google Adword Experiment

On Monday afternoon, I found a Googles Voucher in my ‘maybe sometime’ box and it was about to expire on Tuesday.  So I decided to run a Googles Ad and see what 30 pounds could buy me in 24 hours.

Seven steps to running your first Google Adword

  • Log on to Google Adwords and set up your account
  • Write your ad and link it back to your website (they have a handy system on screen)
  • On the basis of your website, Google will suggest some key words
  • Edit your keywords
  • Put in your bank details & your promo code if you have one.  They will charge you 5 pounds for this entertainment.
  • Set your monthly budget at 30 pounds.
  • Sit back and watch comfortably knowing you can switch all this off at anytime at the cost of whatever bill you have run up – capped at 30 pounds.

My entertainment

  • What I am going to sell.  I wrote a special blog post for this game: I offered to set up interview questions to match a job description and let someone practice with me over Skype (with webcams).  The nature of my product didn’t really matter. What mattered was that it was offered on the landing page of my blog.  Google does limit the length of url that goes in the advert so I couldn’t direct to any post or page.
  • My ad.  I wrote a simple ad saying “Practice for your job interview over the internet with webcam with an experienced coach”.  (The word Skype was disallowed).
  • First impressions.  There was an immediate flurry of activity with impressions from Search (that is the keywords I had chosen) and 3 Click Throughs.  My CTR or CTR was well above 0.5% at that stage.  As we only pay for the Click Throughs and Google is setting the price on a rolling auction, the price varies.  I paid 133p for 3 clicks on my blog.  No one contacted me so I had 0 conversions but I had set my prices rather high.  I was interested in the Google-end of this experiment.
  • Frills. I had left the ‘Content Network’ on.  Google puts the ad on Content partners too.  It advises to leave that option on.  The impressions from Content Partners were slow at first but rose dramatically on the second day.  The CTR was rubbish though.  After 36 hours, my ad was delivered (impressions) to just under 1500 partners with 1 click through.
  • Results.
    • From search traffic, “interview questions” drew 350 or so impressions with 3 click throughs – just under 1% and above the 0.5% which makes Google frown and say you are wasting our time.
    • “Interview tips” drew around 100 impressions and 3 impressions – so 3% click through.
    • “practice your interview” drew no impressions and of course, no click throughs.
    • All my ads appeared on the first page of Google search, but rarely at No 1.  The exception was “behavioral interview”.  (Remember these are ads we are talking about not the list of websites on the left.)
  • Cost.
    • This all came to 313p for 7 click throughs and an average price of 21p per person who arrived at my blog.
    • That might be meangingful in an advertising world.  Can you imagine though attracting 50 000 people a month at that price?  That would be 10 000 pounds a month.  I would need to be selling an awful lot.
    • The real issue though is the conversion rate.  Obviously of the 7 people who arrived – I had made one sale with a profit exceeding 313p, I would be ahead.

What did I learn?

  • Advertise in 10 minutes. Now, at any time, I can log in, write an ad,d and spend down the 30 pounds in my Google Account.  I know I can do it in 10 minutes. I recommend giving it whirl just for the pleasure of being clearer about how Google works.
  • Writing Ads is hard.  Do you remember all those Marketing types at Uni who we wrote off for being flibbety-gidgets?  Start buying them a lot of drinks.  And get them to write a whole lot of boiler plate ads to keep in a notebook when you need them fast!
  • Start early. Google is a chicken-and-egg system but you can break that vicious cycle by beginning.  I learned two important things from this experiment which had no purpose but to spend a Googles Voucher.
    • People are out there looking for interview questons and tips.  The click through rate was better on tips.  There is a market there.
    • No one is looking to practice their interviews.  No market.  Or is it a market waiting to be made!
  • Marketing.  How many of us have an explicit marketing budget?  How many of us have costed how many people we have to wave our product at (impressisons).  How many of us know our CTR (how many people we meet and how that translates into meaningful contacts?).  How many of us know how much each CT has cost us?  How many of us check the check our conversion rate to sales?  Have we budgeted adequately the time we need to spend, the time we need to wait and the money we must spend to achieve the conversions we want and need?

Good luck with your experiment.  Buzz me if you need help.

And sorry about the ad yesterday.  I wasn’t trying to sell you anything.  If you are a friend of mine, I helped you practice your interview for free!

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4 Responses to "4 things I learned in 24 hours with Google Adwords"

Very very very interesting stuff! I’ve never played around with Google Adwords (though I have a rough idea of how it works), and seeing such results is really helpful!

I am especially curious about the “practice your interview” portion, specifically what if the search term was “how to practice for an interview” instead? I like how you see it as a market waiting to be made too!

Thanks a lot for this. The point about how costly it is to just generate 50,000 people without enough conversion is a big point to think about. Definitely a resource I am going to bookmark and refer to a lot in the future.

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