Deadly Sins Tag

10 Mar 13 Deadly Sins of AdWords – #9 Foolishness

“Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” – Proverbs 9:6


Many would say that all of the 13 Deadly Sins arise from foolishness. However, the sin of Foolishness is manifested most clearly by AdWords accounts which allow the content network to go unmonitored. The content network gives you access to millions of users across the internet. Everywhere from to Gmail you can see the fruits of the content network. However, with great power comes great responsibility.

Bridle Your Content Settings

The reason that you must monitor the content network more closely than search is because the fundamental principles are different. Search ads appear when a user is searching a relevant term. Content impressions come when a user is reading a blog, updating their profile or reading an email. Your ad must interrupt them and take them off course. Therefore, content network ads often must be more in-your-face and attention grabbing.

Content impressions are also at the mercy of Google’s almighty algorithm. While an ad for the local deli is relevant to a recipe on a blog post it isn’t relevant for the news article about the local theater “hamming it up” on the stage. If you don’t pay attention, your ad could be showing all kinds of places you don’t want.

Repentance Is In The Settings

From the Campaign Summary view click a campaign that is running content network ads. Under the campaign name you will see “No site or category exclusions : Add”. Click Add. Here are four very important tabs for controlling the content network:

  • Sites: Here you can manually enter sites where you don’t want your ads to appear.
  • Topics: Google categorizes certain types of sites for your convenience. I recommend checking all 6 boxes.
  • Media Types: Only relevant if you have video ads.
  • Page Types: The effectiveness of these categories will depend on your market. Testing is the best way to determine what to keep and what to toss. Beware of the sins of Laziness or Negligence.

Now you may “go in the way of understanding” and harness the vast potential of the Google content network.

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06 Mar 13 Deadly Sins of AdWords – #8 Laziness

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18

Now that you have begun to repent of your most grievous sins I will warn you of another sin that lies at the door; the sin of laziness. The sin of laziness is when you fail to record your changes, why you made them, and the what you expect to accomplish with the change.

Knowledge Is Power

In heeding my counsel you have begun utilizing phrase and exact match for you keywords. You have begun testing your titles, your ad copy and your landing pages. Congratulations! Now you need to start recording your changes. It will be tempting to turn off the computer or move on to your next task after publishing out your changes in AdWords, but recording your changes will be crucial to your success.

How you record your changes is entirely up to you. You can write them down on paper or you can make a Word document with your changes. Keep them somewhere easy to find and make your notes as simple as possible.

Four things must be recorded with every change:

  • When – If you’re going to compare performance before the change to performance after the change, you need to know when you made the change.
  • What You Did – You’re making a lot of changes in a lot of places. This ensures you don’t forget any.
  • Why You Did It – There was a reason you made the change. Record it now because you may not remember a month later when you reevaluate your results.
  • What You Expect – This is straight Scientific Method. Record your hypothesis – what you think will happen because of the change. In time this will train your intuition and unexpected results are often the most telling.

PS AdWords logs all the changes you make to an account. Click Tools (under the Campaign Management tab) and My Change History. This tells you what changes were made but not why, so don’t rely on this log instead of logging your changes.

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03 Mar 13 Deadly Sins of AdWords – #7 Recklessness

Having repented of the 1st Deadly Sin by installing conversion code you may feel like you have a perfect knowledge. However, do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the three columns of conversion data this provides. You need to know much more about your visitors to avoid the 7th Deadly Sin of Recklessness.


The sin of Recklessness is committed when one does not use a separate web analytics system in addition to the AdWords conversion tracking. There are a lot of web analytics tools out there from the top-of-the-line Omniture suite to the free Google Analytics. For the purposes of this blog I’ll use Google Analytics as the example (it just happens to work well with AdWords and it’s free).

The main benefits you will get from Analytics are these:

  • Behavior – Implementing goal tracking and looking at statistics like time on site, page views and bounce rate will show you how your visitors navigate and use the site. You’ll see pages that lose visitors at high rates and you’ll see which step in the conversion funnel is leaking the most customers. Knowing this behavior will help you plug holes and increase your ROI.
  • ROI – For e-commerce sites I strongly recommend you borrow the tech guy/programmer to the AdWords team long enough to get E-commerce Tracking working properly. This allows you to capture revenue numbers and attribute them to their sources. This way you know which traffic sources are delivering sales, not just traffic.
  • Knowledge – With recent statistics showing that more and more searches are “unique”, meaning that it is the first time the search engine has received the query, the importance of tail terms is increasing. Analytics allows you to look at the exact search term that brought a visitor to your site. View this report often and feed the best performers into your keyword lists. If you get 15 visits/month from a #8 listing on “the importance of publicity in marketing”, imagine what you could get with the #1 paid listing (which would probably only cost a nickel anyway) at the top of the page.


If you’re already running AdWords and don’t have Analytics, you can be absolved with ease. Once logged in to AdWords, just click the Analytics tab at the top of the screen. Follow the instructions on the screen to create an Analytics account that is automatically linked to your existing Google account (make sure to check the box regarding cost data). You’ll get a piece of Javascript code. Simply paste this code into the footer of your website (or an other location that is persistent on every page) and you’re done.

P.S. If you need help configuring Goal Tracking in Analytics leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter: @robert_brady

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26 Feb 13 Deadly Sins of AdWords – #6 Inexperience

When your company finally made the leap and signed up for AdWords it was likely the decision of someone in marketing or on the executive team. We all hear the stories of people who sit at home in their pajamas and make thousand if not millions of dollars using AdWords. We see the ads of our competitors and think “I need to be here or I’m losing business.” So the decision is made and the initiative is given to 1) someone who used it a little one time or 2) the low man on the totem pole who can’t delegate it to someone else. Here lies the sin.

Inexperience in AdWords

Inexperience as a deadly sin has an extremely high mortality rate. Very few accounts will survive the next quarterly budget meeting with a newbie at the helm. The first reason, somewhat circular I know, is because this person will commit many other deadly sins and quickly kill the account. The second reason is that AdWords is a demanding mistress, easily as complicated and delicate as any woman. So how does one avoid this deadly sin?


Don’t interpret this as a suggestion to hire an Indian firm to handle your PPC. The nuances of the English language are tricky and can make or break an ad. However, I am suggesting you look seriously at a PPC agency. They specialize in this medium and will be able to make improvements much faster than your inexperienced person. Look for a firm or individual that is certified with Google, Yahoo and MSN to assure they’re knowledgeable and make sure they send you regular reports. Reporting is very robust in AdWords and if they don’t deliver results, cut them loose. This is one area of advertising where you should know exactly what your dollars are delivering.

One caveat I’ll mention here is billing at agencies. The industry standard is percentage of ad spend (6-10%). I personally don’t like this model because it incentivizes your manager to spend more and more to make more and more, not necessarily deliver better results. The agency I work for, Vizad Inc., favors a set monthly fee. This works into your budgets more easily and motivates me to be ever increasing your results or I know you’ll stop using me.

The Paradox of Learning

If you are critical like me, you’re probably thinking “But how do I train my new guy to be a good AdWords manager so I don’t have to continually pay an agency?” Great question. The most common answer is to have them read books, browse websites and learn by trial and error. This works (it’s how I learned) but will require your patience and $$$. There are services, like Clickable, that can assist you, but don’t help you learn since the whole process is a “black box.” However, I’ll make you an offer for reading my blog.

The Robert Hour

I will give you 1 hour of my time to help you get started on the right path/get back on the right path with your AdWords account. Simply email me,, to get started. You’ll need to grant me access to your account (I won’t make any changes, promise!) and then I’ll spend 1 hour of my time analyzing your account and making recommendations on how you can improve your AdWords account. I’ll send you my recommendations in an email and you implement as many or few as you deem valuable. I will do this for free as long as I can keep up with the amount of requests. You pay me what you feel the improvements are worth. I am confident they’ll save you hundreds of dollars.

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24 Feb 13 Deadly Sins of AdWords – #5 Stupidity

The sin of stupidity is committed when one only uses 1 ad in an ad group. This sin is particularly offensive as it retards growth and progress on a fundamental level. The time saved is minimal, yet the ramifications are colossal.

Use 2 Ads

If guilty of stupidity, your penance involves going into AdWords or Google’s AdWords Editor and writing a second ad for each and every ad group. This seems very easy, but remember that the 25 character title and 35 character lines of ad copy are the most valuable marketing copy you will write.

Possible alterations to consider when you write your new ads include a dynamic title vs. a title with your top-performing keyword. Perhaps one ad mentioning your current promotion vs. one ad discussing the primary benefit. The key is to vary the ads significantly enough to create a measurable difference.


Once you’ve written your ads and let them accumulate data you will then delete the underperforming ad and replace it with a new ad. Run this new ad against the old and repeat the iterative process. With each round of new ad copy you will increase your CTR and Quality Scores. Done successfully, you will have rid yourself of the sin of Stupidity.

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