Every AdWords manager dreams about achieving conversion rates over 10%, especially when the average AdWords conversion rate runs about 2.5%. So, for me, any time I can push a campaign conversion rate over 10%, it is like hitting the AdWords jackpot!
So when I managed to achieve an incredible 45% conversion rate across an entire account, and managing it within 30 days of launching a brand new AdWords account, it made sense to detail exactly what I did in order to replicate it across other highly competitive industries too. Here is the case study with the campaign background, the challenges with the client and how I achieved that 45% conversion rate that first 30 days.
- It was a franchise company with a dozen “agents” who were eager to do “paid search” advertising.
- Each agent had approximately a $400 budget for the month (one a tiny bit lower budget for the month and one agent had about double the average) making this entire account’s paid strategy even more challenging because every penny counted.
- Each agent had a one-page landing page on the corporate website that included a form and a phone number.
- A call or a form fill were both considered conversions.
- There were NO corporate brand campaigns running in the first 30 days to help boost traffic to the agency campaigns or to build the “all site” remarketing audience (eventually that audience would be a big part of the paid search strategy). Also the 30 day all-site audience was not a very large audience as we were in the beginning stages of re-launching a new website design and fresh SEO strategy for this client.
What I learned:
- Geographic keywords convert really well. I knew this already but client restrictions on keywords really drove this strategy home for me.
- Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is a great way to convince a super conservative client to expand their keyword lists to include more “assist” keywords.
- Complicated call tracking created delays with reporting and made it difficult to set up call tracking correctly in Acquisio. In hindsight, since the landing pages were already on the main website, we might have been able to get away with our one dynamic number on the site and just one call extension number instead of individual numbers for each agent.
What clients don’t always understand about AdWords:
- The difference in priorities for improving Click Through Rates (CTR) compared to a focus on conversion rates.
- That expanding ad scheduling won’t get more form fills or phone calls for campaigns that are out of budget for the day.
- That Google doesn’t have an option for monthly budgets.
- That CTR’s for unknown franchise agencies will be MUCH lower than the CTR’s for a well-known brand name. **In this case the client was very pre-occupied by the fact that previous CTR’s had been much higher.
Have you ever had a client win that only felt like a win to you and your team?
This 45% conversion rate achievement was bittersweet because the client came into our relationship with such unrealistic expectations (in spite of many, many meetings, emails and conversations to try to reset those expectations):
- They thought they would start off with high traffic and conversions on day one. That didn’t happen. It actually took almost a week to ramp up the traffic, which honestly wasn’t bad considering the very limited keyword list I had to work with (close to 50% of my initial keyword recommendations were scratched by the client).
- They thought that CTR’s would be the same as they were from years ago for a branded campaign with a mixture of branded and high converting keywords.
- When the client decided to expand their ad scheduling, there was a tracking issue that delayed turning the new ad schedule on. As the client got frustrated with the delay, I knew that if I allowed the new ad scheduling to turn on, I would lose 50% of my call tracking.
Now that I’ve told you what I learned and my challenges…so how did I do it?
- Each agent had their own campaign (to manage budgets and geo targeting)
- Each agent had their own unique call tracking number for call extensions but we used one dynamic number for the landing pages.
- We focused on high conversion keywords (very specific industry keywords).
- We set up smaller AdGroups to allow very targeted ad copy and negatives for keyword sets.
- We used a lot of geographic keywords (these were expanded several times).
- We expanded our core keywords after reviewing one of their old agency accounts and some data from a very old branded corporate AdWords campaign.
- We did meticulous testing to make sure ALL the tracking was in place before we launched the campaign.
- We used Acquisio’s bid and budget management platform to help with juggling bids and monthly budgets for a dozen agents with very small budgets.
- We set up RLSA AdGroups for every agent with the hopes that we would boost their traffic from the corporate all-site audience for generic keywords. This didn’t work in the beginning but I truly believe it will play a significant role in the account’s success long term as the corporate website traffic increases.
- Although the client originally gave us a set of zip codes for each agent’s territory, we used a tool like this free tool for creating our geo targeted keyword sets and for setting up our geo targeting in AdWords.
Please share your experiences:
Have you had a similar bittersweet “win” in AdWords that you’d like to share?
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