Mapping starts with creating a spreadsheet that links the three most important elements of the campaign.
Those three elements are the keywords being sponsored, the ads that target those keywords and the landing pages that are linked within the ads.
The reason why this is so important is because you can tell at a glance if the keyword being sponsored is represented by the ad and the landing page.
If it does show up in the ad and landing page, it is much more likely to result in a click on the ad and less likely to result in a bounce when the visitor reaches the landing page.
(The bounce rate is defined as a visitor who comes to one page on the site and leave again, probably because the landing page isn’t relevant or doesn’t have prominent links that invite the next click.)
Building the AdWords Map
The map is easy to build with any spreadsheet software. Imagine a spreadsheet with three columns:
- Column A has the keyword and synonyms.
- Column B has headline, description and display URL of the ad (all required for an ad campaign).
- Column C has the title and/or meta description of the landing page.
The cell in column C could have something else such as the first paragraph of the article if it contains the keyword. Other items on the page containing the keyword include subheads and alt tags for images.
Either way, the point is to put some important element of the landing page in that cell to show that the keyword is well-represented on the landing page.
If the three are a strong match, the chances of a good performance are high. A good performance includes a:
- High quality scores, anywhere from 7 to 10
- Large or increasing number of ad impressions
- Lower costs per click
- More conversions
Altogether, these three measurements produce a higher return on investment.
If the three are a weak match, the chances of a poor performance are equally high. Likewise, a poor performance will lead Google AdWords to take some form of the following steps:
- Lower quality scores, usually anything 5 or less
- Fewer ad impressions
- Higher costs per click
- Fewer conversions
This reaction from AdWords will result in a low return on investment and wasted dollars.
Enhancing the AdWords Map
As the campaign develops a performance history, it’s useful to add more columns to the above spreadsheet to track performance for each ad group or individual ad.
For example, the spreadsheet can include some of the above metrics such as quality score, impression level and average clickthrough rate over a set period of time, such as a week or month.
A weekly view works best for short-term campaigns while a monthly view works better for ongoing campaign.
Then simply order the columns based on highs and lows to concentrate on the weaker performances or the ones that generate the higher impressions or clicks.
It also makes sense to delete ads and keywords that never seem to deliver the desired results and try others in their place. The campaign should have top-level goals; any ads that don’t contribute to those goals should be killed.
At some point, investing more time in the tracking process starts to run into a wall where it gets harder to produce better results. Then it’s time to put only enough effort into the campaign to maintain a certain level of performance.
Landing Page Metrics
The map can be expanded and enhanced in numerous ways. For a campaign that focuses on product performance and audience building, the simplest way is adding the core metrics of pages per visit, visit duration, new visits and bounce rate.
In Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources / Sources / All Traffic and click on Google CPC.
Click on Secondary Dimension / Traffic Sources / Keywords. The above metrics will be displayed.
Do campaign visitors come back to the site?
Click Audience / Behavior / New Versus Returning / Returning Visitor.
Then click Secondary Dimension / Traffic Sources / Campaign (or Keyword) to see how many original AdWords visitors are coming back to the site.