Tucked away in the Google AdWords interface you will find a very important area that many people never even think to look at, let alone actually optimize: the Campaign Settings.
Locations in AdWords can be set at the national, state, and/or city level. If you’re a plumber in Omaha, you can show your ads only within a 50 mile radius of your offices.
Languages are pretty self explanatory.
Demographics are more of an advanced feature that I wouldn’t recommend for most small businesses. These settings apply only to the content network (a beast in its own right) and the system Google uses to determine demographics isn’t perfect. Leave a comment if you have questions about this area and I’ll help you one-on-one.
Networks, Devices and Extensions
You have the options of serving ads on any combination of Google search, search partners (other sites that have their search powered by Google), the content network and mobile phones. Unless you have experience and are confident in your knowledge of AdWords, I recommend you start with just Google search and search partners.
Bidding and Budget
There are a lot of options here, but I’ll keep it simple: set the daily budget you’re willing to spend and then leave these settings alone.
First, you can schedule your ads to run during a period of time (say you run your ads from June 25th to July 3rd for your fireworks site) or “dayparting”, which is showing ads only during certain parts of the day (if your product is a pure B2B play it might be wise to only show your ads during business hours on weekdays). Dayparting is most effective when used to weed out less productive times and should be based on web analytics or sales data that shows which times of day aren’t profitable.
Second, you can change the ad rotation. The default is for Google to optimize. Optimize = Google serving the ad with better click-through-rate (CTR) to maximize their revenue. Therefore I recommend you change from the default to “Rotate”. This will serve the ads more evenly and let’s you effectively conduct simple A/B tests on ad copy and landing pages.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Be smart!