Is it also normal to be losing some money in the beginning of campaigns while gathering data for optimal performance later down the road? If you are using Google AdWords or you've had success with it in the past, how long were you letting your campaigns mature for before you started seeing results you were happy or content with?
I actually do digital marketing for a living, but just came across your post, and just wanted to give you a little bit of insight.
I am not sure how familiar you are with AdWords, but AdWords can get out of control fast. I always recommend starting off with a small, highly relevant group of keywords even though traffic on that small set of terms might be low. Exact match keywords and Broad Match Modifier are definitely the way to go when you're first launching. This will only trigger search queries that match your actual keywords. Broad match is just that. Very broad. It can bring in a lot of irrelevant traffic, and waste a lot of your money. Using the most relevant group of terms will also give you a higher quality score, which in turn will lower your average cost per click.
I could rant about this all day, but hope that was at least a little helpful.
Vince, if you're adament on managing your AdWords yourself, you should at minimum get AdWords qualified (fundamentals, search, and shopping). This will open your eyes to what you at least should be doing as a minimum. If you're not willing to do that, an expert can apply the same concepts and more to your campaigns.
Don't bother even using adwords if your website does not have relevant rich SEO keywords and meta data. Spending money on adwords, ppc, and other online advertising is a waste of money. Save it for pop up shops, products and content for the site. If you must I would use adroll the minimum amount of $100/month for retargeting but unless you have thousands of dollars to compete with other companies adwords are a drain of cash. Try to get out there in person with your products and services and get them to go on your site. Organic traffic is the best way to go.
I'm not professionally trained in this but I've been manipulating my own AdWords account for a couple years with the assistance of AdWords reps- some good, some bad- and I've learned a few things about my AdWords account. Traffic quality is probably the most important thing for me and has improved since I adopted some technique.
Please note I'm not an expert, this is just what's finally working for me.
-Be specific when adding keywords. Modified broad match (using + before words), phrase match and exact match. Definitely do research on these. You will waste money on clicks if you are (for example) selling only iPhone accessories but adding broad keywords for phone accessories. As one rep explained, you may lower your impressions, but less money is wasted, the clicks will be higher quality with a higher chance of purchasing.
-Check your search terms in your keywords tab EVERY DAY and add unrelated search terms to your negative keyword list on a campaign level. Example: Someone searched for charcoal teeth whitening powder. I only sell teeth whitening gels; they won't find charcoal powder on my site and its unlikely that they will change what they are looking for just bc my product is better or proven to be more effective. So I added the search term charcoal as a negative keyword. When adding the search term to negative keywords, the whole term pops up, but you can manipulate it to whatever word(s) out of that search term you do or do not want. Seems simple but it was a revelation when this was explained to me. Terms like "review," "cost," "how," "instructions," etc. are low quality and represent people browsing the internet for info, not normally looking to buy. Add to negative keywords. Having the reviews is very important but advertising that you have reviews is not cost effective.
-Start a remarketing campaign with a lower budget than other campaigns, low max CPC (enhanced) and image ads. A rep explained it well to me: even if the remarketing isn't showing actual conversions, the ads are silent reminders of your online presence and, most likely, a shopper will see the ads and open a new tab on their phone with your website.
-Keep your max CPC high enough to keep your placement between 1 and 2.5. Don't over extend your daily budget just to be in 1st position, expecially if your competing with mega companies that have mega budgets.
-A competition-based ad group isn't for the financially unsound, so hold off until you've grasped your niche.
-Review your campaigns, ads and keywords every day to avoid wasted money. I prefer manual CPC for keywords because it allows me interpret the data over time and adjust my bids accordingly.
Not AdWords related:
-A modern, clean, streamlined website with clear pricing and a simple cart/checkout process is essential.
-Banners should be high resolution.
-Products should line up well on all screen sizes so when someone clicks your ad, they can see what's being sold immediately.
-Make sure all product images have consistent size, backgrounds, and resolution.
-Offer free shipping on orders orers over a certain amount.
-Get reviews up.
-Link social media accounts to your site.
-Take advantage of the various free apps Shopify offers that make the shopping experience easy.
I hope this helps. Happy selling!
I agree with waht has been sent before - and have successes and scars. I have been doing adwords for years in a highly competitive sector and have done google certified courses. It is a dynamic area to approach incrementally and learn as you go. When I moved to shopify I was exhausted and did not track my adwords for a while and a large amount of money was wasted.
Measure the ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) through your Google analytics Adwords section - especially if you have campaigns focussed on products at differnt price points and different margins where cost per conversion is not always the best measure of success. Don't be afraid to experiments - and to prune vigorously.
For me I find what has worked best:
Don't let it become a black box you don't understand - sure to go wrong!
On the google course there were others there who had let agencies manage the adwords account - when we looked at what had been happening some of the mismanagment was shocking. Not all agencies were good - indeed many sent staff on only the most basic adwords course before getting them to manage client accounts.