Over the past month or so I’ve been experimenting with Google Adwords to figure out the best techniques for advertising art online. For the full story you should start from the beginning and read my first, second, or third adwords article before this one.
Finally. . . I’m getting some visitors through my ads!
If you’ve been following along in my Adwords for Artists series, you know that I hadn’t seen very good results from the first advertising campaign I tried. But, after revising my strategy, the last few weeks have gone a lot better.
As you can see in the image below, I kept my original ad campaign running so I could compare it to my new campaign. The original campaign got another 2 clicks (just like last time) while the new campaign got 29. Obviously I’m doing something right!
Interestingly enough, my intent for this new campaign was to target Google’s content network—in other words, to put my ads on other websites that are running Google ads, rather than Google itself. To that end, I wrote the ads a bit differently, and I even unchecked two boxes under “Edit Campaign Settings” to forbid Google from showing my ads on their search results, thinking that would do the trick.
Well guess what—that didn’t work at all. My ads weren’t showing up anywhere! So after a week I put check marks back in those boxes and allowed my ads to appear on the search network. They did OK there (all 29 clicks came from the search network) yet they still never really showed up on the content network.
It’s odd, but I guess I’ll take what I can get, and over the next few weeks I’ll see if I can figure out why that happened.
Now, even though I got more visitors through my ads this week than before, there was another bump in the road—see that sharp drop in clicks after I was doing so well?
My clicks went up after allowing Google to place my ads on their search results, but then a few days later Google placed a minimum bid on the keywords I was using and my clicks went back down to nothing.
Their new “minimum” was twice as high as my original bid, by the way, and since my bids no longer met the minimum, Google stopped showing my ads anywhere.
The did leave me this nice little message, however. . .
For new advertisers, this can be confusing (at least it was for me) since Google will apparently raise your minimum bid amount if your quality score isn’t high enough—see how they mention “improving quality through optimization”?
I didn’t know much about quality score before this week, but essentially it’s a ranking that Google gives you based on how relevant and helpful your ads are to searchers. Google can tell how “good” your ads are by looking at your website, so if your ads honestly represent your site, and your website is easy to navigate, your quality score should be high, and your minimum bid amount should be low.
I checked my quality score (there’s a link by my keywords) and found no problems. . .
. . . so the fact that my minimum bid amount went up just means that Google decided it wants more money for those keywords.
Ah well, what can you do, right?
Anyway, it seems like there’s an easy fix to get my ads running again. I’ll just bite the bullet and raise my bid to 10 cents per click.
I DID notice that one of my keyword phrases, “paintings a day,” was still active at 5 cents, while “painting a day” wasn’t, so if you’re looking for a way to get around those minimum bid issues, you might try making some of your keywords plural (or some of your plural keywords singular) and see if it helps.
OK, so based on these ad campaign results so far, here’s my plan for the coming weeks: One, figure out a way to make my ads show up more in Google’s content network. Two, increase the click-through rates on the ads I’m running now. And three, find new keywords that have lower minimum bids (using plurals or synonyms, etc).
And if there’s one tip to take away from this week’s update, it’s to keep checking in on your ad campaigns—you never know when Google will change something on you.
Stay tuned for another update next week. . .