9 Things You Must Memorize About AdWords (If You Want To Work With Me)

My hero Tim Ferris said that he was blown away when he realized that you could fit 80% of Japanese language characters on one page — and thus simply memorize 80% of what you need to learn to pass for fluency in Japanese.  He said that this realization changed the way he approaches learning new things, because it told him that WHAT you study is more important than HOW MUCH you study.

Which inspired me to come up with this blog post of things you simply need to memorize about AdWords if you want to work with me.  These things are not up for debate.  They are signs that someone truly understands the basics of AdWords.  Yes, you can deviate from these bullet points below.  But you cannot do so accidentally.

Without further ado, you should keep reading this post if either of the two things applies to you: (a) you want to work with me, or (b) you know you need to master AdWords, and don’t know where to go.

Here are my essential AdWords tips:

  1. When someone mentions AdWords, 99.9% of the time they are thinking about keyword targeting, or retargeting. Don’t let yourself forget that even though there are a dozen different things in AdWords, most of the time it can be reduced to keywords + retargeting.
  2. You need to know how to separate keyword targeting from display targeting – never mix your campaigns up.
  3. Which brings me to a fundamental issue: there are only three big reasons to create a new campaign in AdWords: (a) you need to change your network targeting; (b) you need to control your budget, or (c) you need to change/control your geo-targeting.  I don’t want to see 100 campaigns that all target the same network, the same geography, and are drawing from the same budget.  If you are creating a new campaign simply because your client told you they want to target some new keywords, or because you want to test a new landing page, or blah blah blah…you are making a mistake.  Be intentional about creating new campaigns!  And don’t do it unless you need to!
  4. And now that you know that I don’t want you creating new campaigns for no reason, you need to understand that ad groups are the opposite of campaigns! You need more of them!  Do not stuff all your keywords into one ad group and expect to keep your job.  You need your ad groups to be homogenous.  If you are selling t-shirts, I do not want to see an ad group that has the following keywords mixed together: “blue t-shirt,” “red t-shirt,” and “white t-shirt.”  Absolutely not.  Those three keywords belong in separate ad groups from one another.  It’s better to have 100 ad groups with one keyword each than one ad group with 100 keywords. Why? B/c you’ll never achieve keyword–>ad text–>landing page NIRVANA with sloppy, diverse ad groups.
  5. Always Aim for “KAL Nirvana.” This is the key to why Google is a $700B company.  What is KAL Nirvana? Keyword –> Ad Text –> Landing Page.  Your #1 job with a keyword campaign can be summed up in one sentence: you need to align the keyword that someone searches for with the ad that they see, and the landing page that they visit. If you line those three elements up, you’ll have achieved KAL Nirvana, and you can retire happily to the French island of St. Martin in the Caribbean.
  6. It all comes down to data: if your client says, “Can we try…” the answer should (almost) always be “yes!” But then you need to say: “We’ll test anything, and if it doesn’t perform well, we’ll of course suggest that we pull it out of the rotation.”
  7. Which brings us to: conversion tracking is not optional.  Your client may not understand this, but you must.  You need to memorize all of the three most common types of conversion tracking: form completions, phone calls, and direct e-commerce sales, and know that the first one is where there is a lot of permutations:
    1. Phone call conversions – click to call (a): click-to-call directly from an ad (easy) – Google sets this up automatically with call extensions.
    2. Phone call conversions – click to call (b): click-to-call directly from landing page (easy) – you set this up as “event tracking” in Google Analytics.
    3. Phone call conversions – persistent call tracking (c): third party call-tracking via dedicated tracking line — this is the most complex type of call tracking, and should be used for any client that has made phone call generation a key part of the sales or lead pipeline.
    4. eCommerce transaction: This is easier than it sounds. If your client sells something online directly, and if they use Google Analytics, then they must have e-commerce tracking enabled, which requires a tiny bit of javascript adjustment.  As an AdWords pro, you do NOT need to do this yourself, and in fact you should probably avoid trying to do this in general. This is javascript work, not marketing.  You just need to verify that it is working by making test purchases that your client refunds to you.
    5. Form Fills: this category of conversion is huge. Here are some of the most common types of “form fill” conversions right off the top of my head that you should keep in mind, but I’m sure I’m leaving plenty off: (a) contact form. (b) e-Book download form. (c) Email subscription form. (d) Registration form. 
  8. You need to understand that conversions inside and out. Conversions are everywhere.  Think about the website you’re reading this one: willmarlowtraining.com. Here is a short list of conversions – you need to be able to help the client identify all the conversions that they didn’t think of, then you need to set them up to be tracked), like I did for WMT:
    1. Someone can register for free (form fill #1), thus giving me their name and email address.
    2. Someone can contact us (form fill #2) with questions about the benefits of paying for premium membership.
    3. Someone can purchase premium membership (e-commerce transaction) and pay online.
  9. Understand what conversions actually are: they are all the little moments that add up to a sale.  It is your job to figure out: what path is someone going to take to become a customer, and how can you track that path in a useful way?

So there you have it: nine things that you must know about Google AdWords.

Will Marlow is the founder of a Premier Google Partner agency, and has personally managed accounts that range from $1,000 to $1,000,000 per month in budget. You will make him happy if you register (for free) at this training site.