At the head of Google: how to get the most out of contextual advertising

  • Tutorial
What to do if the money spent on contextual advertising flies into the pipe? How to deal with the fact that the traffic from Google AdWords cat cried? Why is conversion cost higher than product cost? What is the best way to start setting up contextual advertising campaigns? We decided to share our experience in this post. There are several main problems that most often prevent you from achieving good results from contextual advertising:

  • high click cost;
  • no clicks;
  • high conversion price;
  • low ad position
  • low clickthrough rate
  • poor traffic quality (no purchases, orders, subscriptions, etc.);
  • poor quality score (QS).

Alas, any of these indicators does not improve separately from the rest. Changing one, we inevitably affect the other, and not always for the better.

Therefore, we will not consider individual cases. We’ll better describe step by step how to create campaigns in Google AdWords that will be effective and competitive. Verified by Alconost .

Stage 0: Analytics Setup

The Google Analytics system should be put on the site before the launch of the campaigns. The correct setting of Analytics is important : setting up e-commerce tracking (for those who sell via the Internet), determining KPI, setting goals, events and reports for these indicators, etc. This will allow you to initially get accurate and relevant data, draw relevant conclusions and adjust campaigns.

It helps Google Tag Manager to work : by installing it on the site, all further changes to the analytics collection code can be done via the GTM interface - this is convenient.

Stage 1: Create Campaigns

Well, let's start creating campaigns.

1. Collection of requests . The semantic core will help us with this - a list of keywords that characterizes the subject of the site. Using the queries from this list, we select similar search queries by which users will search for the desired product or service. To do this, AdWords has a convenient Keyword Planner tool, which is sufficient for most campaigns. If this is not enough, you can use services like SemRush .

2. Breakdown of the collected queries into narrowly-related groups (we advise you to do this in the Excel tab using filters by column, an example document can be downloaded hereor use the AdWords Editor toolkit). For example, “sale of a product” and “purchase of a product” should be in separate groups, since the answers to these requests require different wording in the ads. And don’t worry, if there are a lot of groups, then you have done a good job.

3. Writing announcements for each group . Ads must be tailored to the unique needs of these groups. It is worth analyzing the competitors' announcements for these requests, highlighting their own competitive advantages and composing ads with their own unique offer.

4. Creating separate campaigns for each product. In turn, they are divided into campaigns by device type, location, language, type of campaign (search campaign or campaign for the Display Network).

5. Preparation of landing pages that respond to a specific request of the user and help him achieve his goal - whether it’s a purchase, registration, or something else. Here is a 50-item checklist to help you create your landing page.

In general, the campaign will bring more profit, the more it corresponds to the principle “Give the user exactly what he needs, exactly when he needs.”

Stage 2: Launch advertising and track the result

So, now you can run an advertising campaign and simultaneously monitor the statistics. To do this, we’ll first set up the Quality Score (QS) and Estimated First Page Bid columns in the AdWords web interface. These two parameters (in fact, like the others) have to be monitored regularly.

Recently launched and not yet optimized campaign. All requests have very different indicators, and without pre-defined KPIs, setting up a campaign is problematic.

The lower the Quality Score, the higher the Estimated First Page Bid. For example, in the campaigns entrusted to Alconost Ads , our specialists keep QS within 7/10 - 10/10. To improve the “Quality Score”, you need to work on the following three points:

1. Expected CTR. When launching a campaign, Google uses the “average hospital temperature” —the average CTR among all advertisers for this phrase. But as soon as statistics are accumulated for your keyword, it is your CTR that is already affecting QS. When it is below the campaign average, you need to do a minus one .

To do this, we select in the “Keyword Planner” all the “tails” that include this query (“tails” are refined versions of the search query. For example, the tail of a “good product” will be “a good product to sell to Moscow”) Then we put in a separate list all the words with which our ad is not worth showing - the so-called “list of negative keywords”. Add this list to the desired group. It is also desirable to “narrow down” the correspondence of the key query by setting the query matching parameter in the system (it can be wide, + modifier + wide, “phrase” and [exact] match). Most likely, this will raise your CTR.

2. Relevance of the announcement . If you have worked carefully at the first stage, then there may not be any problems. Our task is for the user to see his search query both in the ad and on the landing page. In this case, the system believes that we show the user relevant information, and for this we can pay less per click (by the way, herevideo with tips on how to pay less per click ). The conclusion is simple: do not be lazy to break requests into narrow groups and write unique announcements. Keep in mind that the system also takes into account the similarity of requests in the group.

3. Landing page quality . The average advertiser (online stores do not count) has one page of the product, on which users “land”. But it is not always relevant to all keywords in the campaign - which means that for those that are not found on the page, you will be forced to pay more. If you have a large advertising budget and a high click price, then even a slight reduction in its cost can save a considerable amount of money.

We recommend that you create separate pages for each ad group with a rewriting of text and meta descriptions, including the necessary queries in them. By the way, for these purposes we have developed our own solution that allows us to make the necessary number of pages from one page template. But you can do it yourself, for example, based on your content management system.

Stage 3: Optimization of campaigns, monitoring of changes and again optimization

In our experience, the campaign optimization process continues indefinitely. Contextual advertising systems are being developed, a product is being improved, new competitors are appearing and old ones are developing, the demand is changing ... In order not to disappear from the client’s eyes, your advertising campaign must constantly evolve.

Example data for queries from a campaign after three months of optimization. When the campaign started, the cost per click was approximately equal to the average transaction amount. Now, the cost of a click with a conversion, which is an e-commerce transaction, is several times less than the average amount of the transaction itself (€ 36.13). So now to increase revenue you only need to increase your advertising budget.

Here are some examples of how you can develop an advertising campaign:

- doSeparate campaigns for search and for the Display Network (Display Network). Moreover, actively experiment in the Display Network with targeting not only by words, but also by interests, sites and categories;

- Create separate campaigns for different regions, not only because there are different CPCs, but also in order to correctly distribute the budget. For example, so that after a show in the east of Russia there is enough money for a show in St. Petersburg;

- Experiment with remarketing lists . For example, the list “Those who spent more than 30 seconds on the site or looked at least 2 pages” for the same money can bring much more conversions than the several times larger list “All site visitors” ;

-test your ads and replace the worst ad in the group with a new one each month. Create ad extensions (sitelinks, phone numbers, addresses), all other things being equal, they will help you win a position with a competitor;

- if you are a retailer, use the new “Shopping campaigns” , they will allow you to see the assortment of your store in AdWords;

- Add banners to the Display Campaign . They increase clickability and work for your brand;

- Everything that users can search on the go, from gifts
to the hairdresser, can be advertised on mobile. Mobile targetingespecially useful when you are promoting a mobile application or want to receive more calls;

Is there a YouTube channel? It’s a sin not to use “Video Campaigns” to show your new video to those who watched the video on your channel;

- If you sell worldwide, translate the campaigns into other languages . To do this, it’s not even necessary to translate the site, just make a landing page in the desired language. By the way, we can help you with campaigns and landing pages in foreign languages;

- segment data, do end-to-end analytics of each request (evaluating click-through rate, conversion, CTR, revenue, ROI for each element of the campaign), work out queries with both high CTR and low.

Custom Report Setup in Analytics


Many of the above actions can be done well and quickly with the help of special tools, but most often they are paid. In one campaign, these costs will not be justified.

Moreover, it is often unclear to a layman how well or poorly contextual advertising in general works. You can order an audit to get an assessment of the current situation and an action plan for six months in advance. True, it’s still better to implement this plan by the efforts of a contextual advertising specialist.

Attracting professionals, it is important to understand that this work is not one-time. “Set up a campaign for me, and then I myself”, “For a week there is no result, so the context does not work” - this is how an inexperienced customer sometimes argues. This is where competitors who systematically engage in contextual advertising can jump over him.

And the last tip - work on your product or service, develop it and develop yourself. Then contextual advertising can bring maximum benefit to your project. Effective advertising campaigns for you!

About the author

Alconost localizes applications, games and sites in 60 languages. Native-language translators, linguistic testing, cloud platform with API, continuous localization, project managers 24/7, any format of string resources.

We also make advertising and training videos - for sites that sell, image, advertising, training, teasers, expliner, trailers for Google Play and the App Store.

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