You've been running Google Ads (Adwords) for months, but the performance has been... underwhelming. You've tried variations of ad copy and you're getting clicks, but none of these seem to be turning into conversions...
This article sets out a planned approach to answer all of the above and help you do your own Adwords audit.
So, pick up your hammer and keep reading.
** This guide is intermediate level so some basic concepts are not covered
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What is the HAMMER Method?
The HAMMER method is a sustainable long term Adwords strategy that focuses on improving the overall health and quality of Google Adwords account structure and campaign(s) performance to lower costs and increase conversions.
This is achieved by targeting better quality leads (and audiences) with ads and driving these down the path to conversion.
The HAMMER Method:
A client approached us with a common problem; their Adwords campaigns were getting a lot of ad clicks but not many of these clicks were converting into leads on their website.
Going under the hood, we found a mix of campaign types, mismatched targeting, lack of negative keywords, an inconsistent landing page experience and many more areas that could be improved for better Adwords performance.
Applying the HAMMER Method
1. High-level account housekeeping
Some of this might seem like common sense, but:
2. Analytics - connect and ensure conversion tracking is working
Link your Adwords account with your Google Analytics account to gain additional visibility both ways. Most importantly, get access to your conversion goals from Google Analytics to track them in Adwords, enable target CPA bidding and other useful features.
If you haven't set up conversion goals in Google Analytics yet, this is an important first step!
Tip: Google Tag Assistant is a simple Chrome extension that can help you see what code is/isn't working.
3. Macro account factors
Start by looking for LARGE problems that have the greatest bearing on your campaigns overall.
Or, think 'things that can destroy an entire Adwords campaign performance if they are not right'.
Some examples of Adwords 'macro factors':
4. Micro account factors
Once the big stuff is taken care of, then it's time to dig deeper into the detail and check on the SMALL things and bring it home.
Some examples of Adwords 'micro factors':
It's best to target a smaller group of quality, relevant keywords and do it really well than to target a large group of keywords and do it badly "
Also try custom audiences if you have a large pool of customer data that you can upload directly into Adwords and build similar audiences from.
Look for clues in Google Analytics on affinity or in-market audiences and see how these perform - look for any outliers and even consider custom ad copy / creative if any of them really stand out (e.g. 'Pet Lovers').
Also check out life event audiences such as 'moving house' which may be relevant to your brand or product.
Tip: As well as targeting audiences, also think about excluding them when appropriate.
E.g. People who have just submitted an enquiry form on your website.
5. Evaluate after 14 days
Armed with all of these tips, you've gone and made some changes. Now, it's best to wait at least 7-14 days to see the results of any changes to your campaigns (or even a little longer if you can afford the time).
Additionally - it might be tempting to keep making bulk changes. But once you've hit a good baseline, it's best to keep changes to one at a time so you can objectively see the results and effect without overlap and cross-contamination of your results.
6. Repeat steps 3 - 5 (also Report)
Keep working through steps 3 - 5 and as above, limit changes to one, or a few, at a time.
Finally the all-important bit comes... Report on your amazing results!
This article was originally titled '10X your Adwords CTR...' but we decided that was a little too click-batey...
As for the results we achieved with the HAMMER method... it was actually closer to an 11.5X improvement for one client, so 10X is still being conservative :)
Lead quality also improved, reducing Adwords spend, increasing conversion rate by 58% on lead forms and overall, improving Google Adwords campaign ROI for the client.
But "clicks were down!" we hear some of you say. And yes, clicks did reduce - but this was a good thing.
In Adwords (as with most PPC), clicks are what you pay for, so you want them to count.
Prior to the Adwords performance improvements we made, many of these clicks weren't converting into leads or enquiries and the client was simply blowing budget on vanity metrics that seemed impressive.
After the campaigns were optimised with the HAMMER method, this gave the client a solid base to work from. They could now either expand the existing campaigns, add new campaigns or increase budget with the extra available headroom they now had.
Or, they could sit back and enjoy the financial savings and spend less, of course... :)
The HAMMER method creates a custom, scalable solution that maximises the value of clicks to ensure that budget isn't wasted now or moving forward.
Final Thoughts and Tips
It might seem daunting at first, but if you take the time, there are almost always better ways to improve Google Adwords performance than spending more money or adding more keywords.
Take care dealing with Google support calls or suggestions from within the Adwords interface. Whilst these may seem helpful, Google is still a money-making business. The easiest 'solution' will often be to increase budget.
Similarly, the list of keywords you could potentially add is almost endless. But this isn't Pokemon and you don't need to add them all.
Keywords with higher search volume might seem better at face value, but ultimately you should focus on the keywords that are most relevant and specific to your business.
Have any of your own tips to add, or feedback on how some of these techniques worked for you? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.
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