Wednesday 3 July 2013

Analytics and the Ready-Made AdWords Audience

OK, it sounds a little like a Roald Dahl book but it's actually a great way for new advertisers to hit the ground running.

One of the toughest parts of a new AdWords Account is in building the structure and testing the performance.  It can be a costly period as to test effectively you really need to accept that many of the tests are going to be less than ideal.  When you have a big pot of cash you can dive into this isn't such a problem but when the margins are very tight it can make starting up a new AdWords Account very difficult as the advertiser is caught in a classic chicken and egg situation:  They need AdWords to generate cash from their business but they don't have the cash to get AdWords up and running properly (or to even know if it will be cost-effective).  My friend at IShopCandy is in this terrible position, so what can she do?

Enter Analytics to the rescue.  Assuming your website has been running Analytics for a decent period, and that you've enabled support for Display advertising (it's a setting in your profile - check here) you can build yourself a list of likely AdWords targets for free!

The problem with a new AdWords Account, as I've said above, is that a lot of the testing is about finding the right audience, the people that actually want to buy from your business.  The long slow way is to pick and choose Keywords, Placements, Topics and so on and then evaluate performance over time.  With Analytics though you can already see all the people who have expressed a strong interest in your site, who perhaps have already bought from you before (if repeated sales are likely with your product).

All you need do is set up a handful of simple Goals in Analytics and ensure your Account is linked to AdWords and a set of remarketing lists will magically appear in your AdWords Shared Library under "Audiences".  You can then use these lists as the target for a Remarketing Campaign in AdWords, safe in the knowledge that the people seeing your Ads have a definite interest in your site.

OK, it's not guaranteed wealth, but it's a better start than nothing.

What Goals could you use?  I tend to use three basic Goals - a certain number of pages visited, a certain time on site (measures of visitor engagement) and another simply based upon actual transactions (previous buyers).  You will also have access to the "Main List" - everyone who's visited your site but I wouldn't use this unless you have a very good conversion rate from organic & direct visits.  I'd use the engagement lists for one Campaign (trying to tempt a sale) and the previous buyers list for another Campaign tempting them back for more.

Of course, you still need some cash to put into AdWords and you need to create attractive and compelling Ads, and your site needs to be effective and user-friendly; Analytics can't do it all for you.  But it can perhaps give you a bit of a shove...

Read more about creating Goals


Unknown said...

Hi Jon,

Thanks for the article, surely an excellent way to hit the ground running for old advertisers.

But could you guide to a similar strategy for new accounts + new website + new business ?


Jack Gritton said...

Hi Ujjawal, not really, as this strategy does rely upon that organic history. However, you wouldn't necessarily have to have that long a history so even a few weeks with decent visits could provide you with a starting point.

Don't forget that remarketing lists update automatically so you can start a Campaign with just 2 people in the list and let it run. More people will be added over time automatically.