Four Things I Learned Running My First Google AdWords Campaign

Google-Adwords-LessonsRecently I ran my first Google AdWords campaign. OK, well technically not my first campaign. I ran lots of campaigns while working with Marchex a few years ago. This was my first one directly on the Google AdWords platform and the first one with a conversion goal. I underestimated how different it would be, and boy did I learn a lot.

This campaign had a triple purpose. First, I wanted to brush up on Google AdWords. It’s an evolving tool and I knew I was out-of-date. Second, Nelle at Mornington Peninsula Cheap Fruit and Vegetables wanted to test a new marketing tactic. Third, modeling my final Masters class on the Google Online Marketing Challenge seemed like an easy way to finish off the degree.

What I Learned With Google AdWords

AdWords Certification – Being a Hermione, I spent my mid-year break completing the AdWords certification. I shouldn’t have. I learned lots of AdWords tools and tactics, and very few were relevant to the specific campaign and its goals. It was also very US-centric and not very relevant for this Australian campaign. Lesson: only study a quick overview and the bits you need. Then do fun stuff instead.

Research – I should have done more. I should have checked geo-targeting options specific to Australia. I should have checked more keyword volumes. These were two areas I had to change after the campaign was live. Lesson: The adage “Fail to plan is planning to fail” is true. I could have received better results with more planning.

Landing Pages – I still don’t know how I could have fixed this one on this campaign. I definitely underestimated how powerful a landing page is. The campaign had a great cost-per-click and a fairly good click-through-rate, so I assume the landing pages were why the conversion sucked. More time would have let me experiment more. Lesson: Never underestimate a landing page. It’s as, if not more, important than the ad copy.

Enjoyment – This last one is personal. From passing the Google AdWords certification and running this campaign, I learned that I don’t really enjoy it. Social media and content marketing are much more fun. I’ve taking Google AdWords off the skills on my resume and downplayed it on my LinkedIn profile. Lesson: focus on the digital marketing tools you enjoy. You’ll have a lot more fun and be better at it.

This list is very personal and your list may be very different. I actually hope it is. What’s your biggest learning from Google AdWords? Please share in the comments.

Bianca Smith

Bianca is a freelance digital marketer in Seattle. She works with clients big and small, in the US and Australia, on digital marketing, branding, event communications, social media and website content.

2 comments to “Four Things I Learned Running My First Google AdWords Campaign”

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  1. Gary Carr - October 29, 2015 Reply

    Hey Bianca, thanks for the good insights and sharing honestly what worked and what you would have liked to have worked out better. Too often I find people aren’t willing to share the “what I could have done better” info and I think those can often be the most powerful learnings for us all.

    Glad to hear you’re finished your Masters. I’m sure it was a tough slog at times.

    Remember to look us up if you’re ever back in Vancouver again soon.

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