If you’ve spent any time on Google’s help center for AdWords, you’ve come across the phrase, “tightly themed ad groups” at almost every turn. Well maybe not every turn, but it’s peppered throughout any article, blog post, video, or forum that has anything to do with optimizing your AdWords campaigns.
At almost every turn, Google implores you to construct your campaigns with the aforementioned “tightly themed ad groups” that contain a “few” keywords that are closely related to each other. Unfortunately, you won’t come across any definitions for a “tightly themed ad group”. So what is a “tightly themed ad group”, why is it important and how does it apply to your search marketing efforts?
Let’s start with a quick explanation of Quality Score, and a simple breakdown and explanation of how Google AdWords Accounts are structured:
Quality Score: Simply put, the more often your ad gets clicked, the higher your quality score and the less you have to pay for your bid position. (There are a couple of other factors to Quality Score, but click through rate is the most important.)
AdWords account structure:
AdWords Account: One account per company containing all of your campaigns, payment and billing information.
Campaigns: Up to 50 campaigns per account. Targeting, ad delivery method, bid types, budgets and effective date ranges are controlled by the campaign.
Ad Groups: Up to 100 ad groups per campaign. Ad groups are a collection of keywords that will trigger your ads; the amount you are willing to pay per click; the ads that will display when those keywords are used and the landing page on your website which will be displayed after your ad is clicked.
After digesting the above breakdown and reviewing the screen shot below of a Google search for “running shoes”; you may start to see the importance of ad groups that are organized with a few relevant keywords in each: Ads should reflect the keywords that are being used.
Got it yet? No? Remember Quality Score from above? Let me break it down: Take the keywords that you are targeting in the ad group and use them in your ad copy for that ad group. When you do, the keyword used in the Google search will be bold in your ads on the Google results page. The bold words will stand out. Searchers will be drawn to the bold words in your ads and more likely to click on your ads as the bold text appears to be more relevant. Your click-through-rate will increase; your quality score will increase and — most importantly — your cost-per-click will decrease and you will get more clicks for your budget! Isn’t that easy?
In the not so distant future, there will be a new search engine out there for you to try simply called Bing (www.bing.com). It’s the “next big thing” in search engine technology brought to you by Microsoft. With Bing, Microsoft will once again try to take a bite out of Google’s search market share, but will it succeed where others failed? I have my doubts of Bing’s success and it has nothing to do with its technology, or its performance. In my opinion, Google simply owns search like no other business in the world. When your very company name becomes a common verb in the English language, you have reached rarified air in gaining mindshare with your users. C’mon, you have never asked someone (or told someone) to “just Google it” to find an answer online? Will people one day say, “just Bing it”? If they do, and I have my reservations about this, then yes, Microsoft through its Bing search engine will be successful.
According to the slick video currently displayed on Bing.com — well the video is actually hosted on www.decisionengine.com, but you get to the video from the Find Out More button on the Bing homepage – Bing is more than a search engine, it’s a “decision engine”. Instead of sorting the search results based on popularity (is that a dig at Google), the Bing search engine sorts them by ‘logical categories”. Well, who decides what is logical? Anyway, I am not here to beat up the technology behind Bing, it was created and developed by people much smarter than myself. And it has some excellent features built in like Price Predictor, which actually tells you when to buy an airline ticket in order to help get you the best price. But will people actually use this “decision engine”?
According to the open letter on www.decisionengine.com/Letter.html from the Bing Team, Microsoft, “So far in 2009, there are four and a half websites created EVERY SECOND as the web continues to expand. While more searchable information is cool, nearly half of all searches don’t result in the answer that people are seeking… We took a new approach to go beyond search to build what we call a decision engine. With a powerful set of intuitive tools on top of a world class search service, Bing will help you make smarter, faster decisions. We included features that deliver the best results, presented in a more organized way to simplify key tasks and help you make important decisions faster.”
That sounds great and I will give it a try, but then again I am in the search marketing industry and it is in my best interest to give it a full test drive. But will the average person, sitting at home on their pc or laptop go to Bing instead of Google? I am sure Microsoft is going to pour millions into an aggressive marketing campaign…but will that message get through in the long run? It’s an interesting question and I will be following all of the hoopla. I remember a day when I would go to Yahoo.com to look something up. I don’t remember when I switched to Google for all my searches (but it happened) and now I don’t remember the last time I used a search engine other than Google (outside of work, of course)!
Think back to when you took your drivers license test. Remember how you had to first pass the written test, and then excel at the driving test? You couldn’t get your license without passing both. This happens a lot in life. In order to become a successful doctor, you not only have to complete undergraduate science requirements, but you also have to take the MCAT and get accepted into medical school. In order to successfully make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you have to have bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Most things in life require steps. First this, then that, etc – You get my point. The same methodology applies to the marketing arena. If you have a multi-media marketing plan, you must learn how to integrate and utilize each media channel in order to enhance the other.
In order to have a successful online marketing campaign, it must reflect and/or match what you are communicating offline. Search Engine Marketing professionals cannot expect to be a complete success, if they do not integrate their search marketing efforts with their efforts in offline media channels. As a client strategist, I have different types of clients. I have some that solely focus on online marketing where search makes up their entire marketing plan. I have other clients who not only advertise on search, but also through television, radio, direct mail, and newspapers. It is essential for me to know and understand the promotions that they are running through offline media channels, in order for me to be successful with their search marketing campaigns.
From my experience, there is often a big disconnect when integrating online and offline marketing efforts. Frequently, it has to do with budgets. A lot of companies have $xxx to spend on traditional media and a completely separate budget for online media. In addition, it’s typical that different departments work with separate efforts- one being assigned to broadcast media, one being assigned to print, one being assigned to online, etc. If this occurs, it is extremely important that all of those departments communicate in order to learn and understand the complete marketing picture. Integrating search with offline media should result in a healthier bottom line. Effective communication with other departments or agencies, if you have them, is critical. It is important for all members on board to fully understand the entire marketing plan. It will result in more success with your campaigns.