Are your hotel ads on AdWords targeting the right people? If you said yes, how can you be sure? If you are left scratching your head because you can't find an answer to that question, then you are in luck, because I have the answer. It is pretty simple to tell how you are doing too. It is no secret that there is tons of data in AdWords, you just need to know where to look first.
How to find out if AdWords ads are working
Truthfully, there are many places that you can look to see if your ads are hitting their mark. You could do the super-high-level analysis and look at your ROAS (return on ad spend). You could dive a little deeper and look at your CPA (cost-per-action/acquisition). High-level is good for owners, but if you are responsible for performance, then I urge you to look at two other metrics. Understanding them can help you increase your ROAS and decrease your CPA.
Impression Share Metrics & Quality Score Metrics
Looking at these metrics can shine light on why your ads are not hitting their mark, or why they are performing like all-stars. If you put keywords and ads that are performing similarly together for analysis, you might be able to uncover insights that could help the entire account. Why do these keywords have high Quality Scores? Why is this keyword/ad combination getting 80% of the impression share? Knowing what strategy is working and what isn’t could help ignite performance in your account. Before you can do this analysis though, you need to understand what these metrics are. We will start with the highest level of them all, impression share.
This metric tells you the percentage of times that your ad was served based on the number of times that you were eligible to be shown in the auction. I like to look at this number for my Campaigns, AdGroups, & Keywords. This gives me a quick high-level view of how often my campaigns are showing up. I then check to see if it is a keyword problem, or an adgroup + keyword problem
If your impression share percentage is low, then you need to drill down and find out what the issue is. If you are only getting 10% of the available impressions, than that means your competition is getting the other 90%. This is where the next-most granular step comes into play.
Search Lost IS (budget)
Since AdWords is an auction, you need to understand that a low impression share could be resolved by simply “throwing more money at it.” If this percentage is high, then that means that you are losing out on impressions because you are burning through your budget. If there is no more money to be spent, then your ad won't get shown.
If you find that this is the case, then I would recommend that you look at your search terms report ASAP. You could be wasting money on words that add no value to your business! If you find these types of words, add them as negatives. It will take time, especially if you have a big account, but saving money could increase profitability.
Search Lost IS (rank)
In my opinions this is more important when you are assessing whether or not you are targeting the right people. This number is the percentage of times that your ad was not shown because its overall quality was not good enough. This could be for a multitude of reasons (because of Ad Rank) but most likely it is because your bid is too low on the keyword in question or because the quality score for your keyword is low.
You might want to create a better keyword-to-ad relationship. Google determines how well your keyword matches with the ad when they are determining rank. If you find that this number is high, then I would suggest that you implement SKAG’s (single keyword ad groups) in the in the ad groups that are suffering from lost impression share due to rank. This is another one of those things, that will take some time (depending on the scope of your issues/size of your account), but it will be worth it in the end. The better your quality score, the cheaper that your CPC (cost-per-click) will be and the higher you ad placement will be.
Quality Score Metrics
This about AdWords as a hierarchy that looks something like this:
Campaigns > AdGroups > Ads > Keywords
I believe that the mark of a good, successful ppc campaign is a strong foundation. In the previous example the foundation would be the keywords. The better the match between the keywords and the ads, the better the quality score. As I stated before, the better the quality score, the lower the CPC and the better position for your ads.
Quality Score is a 1-10 scale of what Google thinks of the keywords, ads, and landing pages that are associated with the adgroup. The lower it is, the worse the keyword is performing, and the higher price you will pay to be shown - if you are even eligible. There are 3 (technically 6) columns that you can use to check why you are receiving the score that you have.
Ad Relevance is how closely your ads and keywords match. If you are getting a below average score then that could mean that you are not addressing the users needs. The keywords could be too general, or it might not be relevant to your business.
Landing Page Experience
This will let you know how useful your landing page is to people that are clicking on your ad.
Expected CTR lets you know how likely it is that your ad will be clicked on when it is shown. This score is based on past click through performance of your ads.
The reason that I mentioned that there are technically 6 factors that you should look at is because Google recently started showing you historical performance. What this means, is that you can now compare your current performance with historical performance to see where you are improving or where you are getting worse.
So, am I targeting the right people?
Once you get familiar with the impression share and quality score metrics, you can better answer this question. If you are not doing so hot right now, don't freak out! At the very least, you are in a better position to start fixing your account. Set small goals, and you will see that you can make modest improvements, one quarter at a time. Feel free to shoot us more direct questions on Facebook or Twitter.