Need Help With One-shot Adwords Campaign
Q: I'm in the process of selling my house. Fortunately I'm in an area that's still a seller's market, bucking national trends. However, because my house is rather unique, the potential market is small. Forget about what everyone says about wanting to live in a rural setting on a large lot... when push comes to shove, those that really want it can't afford it, and those who can afford it would rather live on a golf course. Well, not everyone. Therein lies my market. Unfortunately, I'm under some pressure to find a buyer quickly. Rather than cutting my price (I've been advised my price is very reasonable), I'm looking for ways to dramatically increase exposure, having already done all the conventional things such as yard signs, newspaper ads, craigslist, and MLS listing. I also created a website to act as a landing place for those who see my newspaper ads or yard sign. I thought I'd throw a grand or so into a google adwords campaign over the next couple of weeks to drive traffic to my website. This is my first experience with adwords. Here's the ad: I set up about a dozen keyword phrases (broad match only). Since much of the region's growth comes from outside the area, I set didn't set a geographical restriction (other than U.S.) Instead, I included "charlotte" or "mecklenburg" (the county) in each keyword phrase. I started out with $1.05 max CPC across the board. After 4 days, the results are pretty bad -- only 700 search impressions and two clicks. The content network returned 5,000 impressions, but with only three clicks. So far, I've only spent a whopping $5!! (BTW, I turned off the content network option yesterday.) Unfortunately, with such a low click-through rate, I can hardly test alternate keywords or ad compositions. Over the past couple of days, I increased daily budget from $20 to $100 with accelerated distribution, and set position prefs to 4-7. I also tweaked my max CPC for each keyword to move the average positions toward desired range of 4 to 7. Currently my lowest max CPC is $0.30 and highest is $1.55. My impression rate picked up a bit but is still pretty dismal. I think the problem is that most ads appearing on real estate search pages are for real estate services and those darn 2nd and 3rd tier search engines. These types of ads ostensibly appeal to anyone looking for a home in a given market. However, an ad for a specific house is only going to attract a fraction of potential home buyers. And with my home listing for $500k, the potential market is a fraction of *that* fraction. Bottom line: my CTR will necessarily be significantly lower than competing ads. So be it. But I'm not convinced that google adwords can't be productive for me. What I DON'T want to do is write an ad that doesn't qualify the house (in terms of location, # of bedrooms, floor area, and price) just to increase my click-through rate. That would just be throwing money down the toilet. (Opps, I just realized I forgot to include price in my ad. I'll need to re-do the header. Hmm... that's going to make it all the more difficult to get those clicks!) What I REALLY need is to dramatically increase impressions. What about max CPC... have I set it high enough? As a point of reference, over the past 6 weeks I spent about $2.50 each to drive visitors to my website ($1500 on ads, yard sign, etc, divided by 600 unique hosts served). What if I increased my max CPC's so they average $2.50? If I understand correctly, this would only serve to move my ads higher on the page. Some of my keywords are already averaging better than 4th position. I'm not convinced that's a good way to spend my limited budget. More importantly, doesn't increasing max CPC without increasing daily budget actually *reduce* impressions? To wit, when google tries to protect my budget, it seems to ignore actual CTR. OTOH, does accelerated distribution essentially remove this issue? So the underlying question is how do I go about increasing my impressions by at least 50-fold. Of course, there's no way to know how many people might be searching google for homes or realtors in charlotte at any given time. But however many there are, I need to try to get my ad within the desired position on every relevant search. I also have questions about optimizing my keywords but it's late and I've already written waay more than I should.
A: To build a successful AdWords campaign, you need to optimize 3 aspects: 1) keywords 2) ad text 3) landing page I'll primarily address #1 in this post. If you don't get that right, it doesn't matter what you do for steps #2 and #3. You need a much bigger keyword list. Use keyword tools like WordTracker and KeywordDiscovery to identify the types of keywords that people search. Then, build comprehensive keyword lists. I'd recommend making extensive use of keyword matching and controlling the bids at the individual keyword level. Don't trust any of Google's features like position preference or budget optimizer. For example, consider these keyword searches reported by WordTracker (via Nichebot): There must be a Port Charlotte, FL and that's why I'd include 3 negatives. Set bids higher on the exact matches and lower on the broad matches. Use the broad matches to capture the searches you aren't aware of but don't risk paying too much for searches that are too broad. For example, maybe start out bidding $1.05 (from your previous post) for the exact matches (in s) and $0.55 for the broad matches. More details on this strategy here: I'd use that keyword list in a single ad group. I'd include the important keywords (charlotte + real estate) in the ad text itself. Note that it's often useful to split test ads. When you have an ad running, simply create another text ad in the same ad group. I usually edit the campaign setting to rotate ads evenly. This way, you can let Google rotate between the ads for a few days until you see if one is a clear winner. Then, delete the one that underperforms. If you're satisified with the results, keep that ad running by itself. If you think there's room for improvement, add another ad and let them go head-to-head. This is a good method for evolving the text of an ad. Let the system tell you what ad text appeals to searchers.
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