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5 Adwords Tips for New PPC Advertisers

You’re fresh out of your post secondary marketing program and some company hires you to manage their Adwords account to eventually take on their clients’ Adwords accounts. You’ve started Google Adwords certification, been poking around your company’s accounts, and been listening to some podcasts. It seems relatively simple: you’ve got your campaigns organized by themed ad groups, broken down into keywords and their associated ads. You grasp the concepts of clickthrough rate, maximum cost per click bids, and total cost – makes sense! You’ve got this. But do you really?


Now I don’t want to rain on your parade, but there’s much more to mastering Adwords than you think! It takes at least a few months of training and dabbling with your own clients before you can expertly tweak and adjust settings & bids to gain the most performance out of your campaigns.

Until then, here are my top five areas to look at for new Adwords advertisers to diagnose the state and quality of their accounts and determine where changes can be made to easily and quickly improve performance:

1. Negative Keywords

Is your account using campaign and ad group level negative keywords to ensure you’re excluding irrelevant search terms and triggering the right ones? If not, you could be wasting a lot of money on competitors or your ad groups could even be competing with each other.

For example, without ad group level negatives, my modified broad match keyword +dentist +edmonton could be triggered by the search term dental clinic edmonton even though I have another ad group for all my dental clinic keywords. Ideally, those dental clinic keywords would trigger my dental clinic specific ads.

2. Search Term Report

Check this section of your campaign often to ensure your ad is showing up for relevant search terms. This is where you’ll find keywords to add as negative keywords as well as productive keywords you may want to add back into your campaign.


3. Keyword Match Types & Associated Bids

Where have all the dolla billz gone? Are you spending too much money on a broad match or modified broad match keyword that are triggering irrelevant clicks? If so, consider pausing broad match keywords and using modified phrase or exact match keywords instead. However, if you still want to allow for a bit of market research using your broad match keyword, bid them down so you’re not squandering your budget on expensive irrelevant search terms. Don’t know the difference between match types? Don’t worry, we wrote a blog post about using Adwords keyword match types to your advantage.

4. Quality Score

Google will make you pay more for your keywords with low quality scores and show them less often. Deal with your keywords with quality scores of 1-3 by ensuring they are in the right ad groups, improving your ad copy to match your keywords, and directing your ads to relevant landing pages.

5. Search Impression Share

Looking into your search impression share will give you an excellent idea of the current state of your account. If your ads are only showing up for less than 10% of the occasions you could have shown up for, you’ve got major issues.

If you’re losing the majority of search impression share to rank, you will need to address quality score issues and/or increase bids for your keywords.

If you’re losing the majority of search impression share due to budget, you can start by making modifications to your campaign settings (geo targeting & ad schedule). The campaign is probably spread out too thinly!

Note: This does not apply to Display campaigns where we regularly see a Display Impression Share of less than 10%.


There is of course much more we would look at, but taking a look at these five areas will quickly give you a diagnostic of how your account is doing. If anyone else has any other tips for our Adwords newbies, please feel free to throw them down in the comments.