Sarah Williams

New year, new approach: 5 AdWords resolutions to kick your campaigns into shape for 2018

Now we’ve made our way through the tins of Christmas chocolates and are back to work with the “New Year, New Me” mentality, it would be a great idea to also use this time to think of what we want to achieve in 2018 from our Paid Marketing campaigns, particularly in terms of better AdWords management.  

Let’s face it, you’ve broken your Dry January commitments already and the diet is looking questionable, so why not get some New Year’s resolutions in place that are a lot more realistic, and will be worth their weight in terms of ROI.

To help you do just that, we spoke to our Paid Search Pro Manager and all round AdWords aficionado, Sarah Williams, to share a few of hers…

Become more time efficient

Time spent on managing manual bidding can quickly get out of hand, depending on the size of the AdWords account. That’s time which could be better spent on tasks such as creating new campaigns, analysing data or running tests in AdWords, to name a few.

To free up this time, switch from manual CPC bidding to smart bidding. Depending on your campaign’s goal, you have the choice between Target ROAS, Target CPA, Target Search Page Location, Target Outranking Share, Maximise Conversions, Maximise Clicks or Enhanced CPC.

If you are new to smart bidding, we recommend trialling automated bidding by starting with Enhanced CPC, whereby you still have an element of control over the average CPC bid.

For Search and Display campaigns, you also have the option to run experiments to compare different bidding strategies, so you can also test how effective the new bidding strategy is against manual bids.

Reach new relevant users

Want to reach highly relevant potential customers, but still maintain the ROI of your account?

We suggest trialling Similar Audiences (if available) in your AdWords Shared Library. These user lists are similar to people in your existing remarketing lists, based on Google’s learning of the user’s online behaviour. Add positive bid adjustments against these audience lists and we bet you’ll begin to see them drive new traffic. That’s traffic your campaign may have previously missed out on due to a lower bid.

Even if these new site visitors don’t immediately convert, you will still collect highly relevant users in your remarketing list, to use in re-targeting exercises in the future.

Use more informed data

Consumer behaviour and expectation are constantly changing, so it is time to have a good (early!) spring-clean of what conversions you are tracking in AdWords. If your account is only tracking conversions for actual purchases or leads, you could be missing out on vital data, such as newsletter sign-ups, information downloads, booking an appointment, making a phone call or sending an email to the brand.

All of these micro-moments should be recorded, to measure which ads are creating these user actions and generating the first step of the users journey to making a purchase. A Google report specifies that 65% of online consumers look up more information online now versus a few years ago

Utilise alerts and rules to work as your PA

Another automation resolution of 2018 is to set up more rules in accounts and allow these to send you alerts. This will not only help free up your account management time, but also to keep you more informed as and when needed immediately, so you don’t miss a thing in your account.

Our favourite rules are:

Increasing keyword bids to first page CPC, which you can also set a max bid so these don’t go too crazy!

Send email for campaigns when impressions are 0 for the same day data: This is good to apply to all campaigns, so you are updated and can investigate when campaigns are receiving no impressions and therefore no traffic.

You can also set it for selected campaigns, e.g. all Shopping campaigns: Stay notified if there are any shopping issues (for example your Merchant Feed becoming disapproved).

To pause poor performing keywords – For example, if clicks are over 75 and the campaign has still not generated a conversion, the keyword will be paused. A good date range for this would be the last 60 days, which is a thorough amount of time to test whether a keyword will perform well.  

If you have moved away from last-click conversions within your account, the conversion column will also take into account assisted conversions too. This is also good to know, so you will only be pausing keywords which have generated absolutely no sales at all, direct or assisted in AdWords.  

Make the most of site visitors

A big focus for 2018 is audiences, and with Black Friday and a busy December just behind us, now is the perfect time to ensure we are using all of the users collected in our Remarketing Lists for Search Ads from this busy retail period.

All of this additional traffic over Q4 can now be used as a targeting method to promote January sales and new SS18 products to previous visitors who have engaged with your site.

These audiences can also be used to deliver customised ad text to, which will help them re-engage with your brand and encourage them back to your site.

Finally, these audiences can be added to your existing Search campaigns with an increased bid adjustment. Previous visitors to your site are typically more likely to convert than a brand new visitor, so it is key to add a weighted bid adjustment to these to ensure your ad is competitive as possible for returning visitors.


If our AdWords New Year’s resolutions are psyching you up for further changes, get in touch. We’re offering bespoke PPC audits at a reduced price over the course of this quarter, aimed at helping you identify deficiencies and seizing new opportunities for growth.  Contact us via [email protected] or on 01642 988 416.


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