Google Adwords: For More Than Just Conversions

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Francis Pilon

Most businesses have given Google Adwords a try. I’ve seen a handful of instances where they don’t work and a few hundred where they do.

The easiest way to evaluate Adwords is by the cost per conversion ROI; this is where everyone should start. What most folks don’t realize is that there’s a list of things that Adwords can do for you outside of the ROI valued scope.

1) Market Opportunity for New Businesses

Pay per click ads will give you real keyword impressions. This is beneficial for both new and established companies. However, they’re especially helpful for new businesses looking to gauge opportunity.

If you’re looking for market research into a product or service, you can add a landing page and build an Adwords account. Let it run for 30 days and voila! You have real world business intelligence on the market size. Dicing up this data by segments in Adwords and Analytics will breathe even more air into your research.

If it is only market share you’re interested is in, try is to aim for a first position placement but never in a position that would allow a click. This might seem silly, but clicks cost money and impressions don’t.

2) Mining Opportunities

Mining opportunities can help with business growth. Knowing what people search for can allow you to develop a product, service, or tweak what you have to meet the market demand.

If you’re starting with the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, please be careful as those numbers can be inaccurate. They are broad generalizations as Google can’t release actual search data numbers.

3) Branding Yourself

Branding is difficult for new businesses as well as companies that have been around for 100 years. On one hand, while a new business is struggling to find a UVP within their target market, the other needs to keep up-to-date in order to stay relevant. This is where Adwords can help define your market message.

Oftentimes at my work–The Status Bureau–our client’s public perception is misaligned with what a googler will see. Our advice is to consistently optimize.

Using multiple ads with different text, urls, extensions and value propositions will tell you what your target audience likes and possibly redefine your organization’s character based on what your buyer personas want to see.

4) Competition

Auction Insights is a very valuable report in Adwords that enables you to see who else has advertising campaigns that run alongside yours. It explains how competitive you are and which competitors outrank you and how often.

The education information you acquire using auction insights not only lets you know where you sit in the marketplace but is also vital to your competitor intelligence. Personally, finding new competitors has been the biggest revelation for my use of it.

On another note, most times the larger brand advertisers will be well known, but sometimes a web-heavy company can slip under the public radar and quietly become a market leader. This is how to seek those organizations out.

5) Banner View Through Conversions on the Google Display Network

So few people click on display (banner ads) that it’s difficult to understand their effectiveness. Google states that the average click rate in Canada is 0.12% and it’s seldom there’s a strong cost per conversion number. This is where “View Through Conversions” should dominate your evaluation.

It measures an impression against a conversion rather than a click against a conversion. Considering the true value of banners might be awareness and influence, it’s a much stronger metric.

6) Phone Calls

Many businesses consider a phone call a stronger lead than an online one. With the phone ad extension it’s easy to direct people to call rather than visit your site. This isn’t counted as a typical conversion in Adwords but for many businesses it absolutely is.

Segment out “Click Type” and you’ll see your phone calls. It might be the best lead generating tool out there for your business and it’s hidden away under an extension.

Last year Google said more searches are now on mobile than desktop. This lends much more credence to phone extensions. The phone number is very prominent in the ad and not every site is easy to use on a mobile phone. Over time the “phone first, ask questions later” will become more and more common.

7) Master Your Elevator Pitch

Bypass the focus group testing and rewrite your elevator pitch by testing multiple ads. People will show you what works rather than telling you what works when you read your click through and bounce rate data.

Adwords only really works when you test multiple ads against each other. The top performing one will rise to the top. You can then create variations of that one and repeat the process. This process will eventually help you define your most effective value proposition.

Like Twitter, Adwords have limited space so they’re forcing you to be pithy. No good elevator pitch runs long anyway, so it’s a great exercise to go through.

8) Use Your PPC for Organic Search

Applying paid to your organic search strategy is a well used tactic, but SEO has changed. A better and modern use of paid to organic is to apply your succinct value prop to your unique page titles.

SEO rankings are influenced by the rate at which your result is clicked on. It’s the machine learning that Google has developed to understand which pages and website are better. By having a strong value proposition, you’re now able to attract a higher rate of clicks, which will often lead to a higher ranking by Google.

9) Youtube Video Campaigns

“All of the top 100 global brands have run TrueView ads over the past year, and 95% of TrueView advertisers have run campaigns across screens.”

Organizations run Youtube ads through the Adwords interface for a number of reasons. Reach is usually the first one. The second is focused on the idea of TrueView – that you’ll only pay when someone sees your ad. This is a slap in the face to television advertising and a really strong reason to try Youtube advertising out. Not only that, but Youtube Analytics are as deep as you’d need to get.

About the authorJosh Loewen has been active in SEO, PPC and Analytics for over a decade. He’s a partner in a data-driven digital marketing company in Vancouver and spends his non-professional time ensuring his two young children don’t run into traffic on Main Street.


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