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5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own AdWords Account

[highlight color=”#FCD770″ font=”black”]You’re likely spending a decent chuck of change each month on PPC at your dealership. Wouldn’t it be great to know you’re doing it correctly? Of course, it would be. I’m extremely excited to welcome Michael Pistell as our newest contributor to DealerRefresh as he has awesome information to share with our community. – Kershner[/highlight]

How many features are you NOT taking advantage of with your dealers Paid Search / Adwords Account – that’s COSTING YOU every day?

Over the last few years, I have worked with hundreds of dealers that are sabotaging their own Paid Search. Here are 5 Best Practices you NEED to employ right away to maximize your campaigns…

#5 Your Display ads annoy your potential customers

Limiting the amount of impressions a users sees per day will keep your CTR under control and your targeted audience happy.

Have you ever been browsing the internet and noticed the same graphic ad being shown to you many times per day across multiple sites? That’s a Re-marketing campaign created by a PPC manager who forgot to set frequency capping. While being shown an ad multiple times per day does have an effect, there’s a diminishing return with each impression you serve to the same user. Those diminishing returns will inflate your impression count and cost you money at the end of the day.

Frequency capping should be done on all campaigns running in the Display network, here’s how we fix this:

  1. Select the settings tab at the top.
  2. Select the Display campaign you want to affect.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and select “Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping”
  4. Hit “Edit” on the Frequency capping” subsetting.
  5. Enter in the maximum amount of impressions you want a potential customer to see per day, week, or month.

#4 You let your text ads go unnoticed

Using Call, Sitelink, and Location extensions will increase the size of your ad text real-estate and distinguish you from the competition.

AdWords allows you to choose from five different extensions to supplement your text ads and increase your ad space real estate on Google search. You should be using at least three of the five extensions: call, location, and sitelinks. These will be especially useful on your dealership name campaign where clicks are cheap and competition is minimal.  Google gives individual statistics on how each of your extensions are performing so you can make strategic choices with confidence.

Sitelink extensions displays additional links that you choose beneath the text ad to the potential customer. Call extensions displays your store number below the ad, and users on mobile devices can 1-click to call. Location extensions gives the address of your store below the ad, and users have the option to click on to get a detailed map of the store.

For all their usefulness, I’ve found a majority of dealerships rarely employe a single extension on any of their campaigns. Here’s how we fix this:

  1. Select the Ad extensions tab at the top.
  2. Select the type of extension that you want to add or modify.
  3. Click the red “+ Extension” button and select the campaign you want to add extensions to.
  4. If you haven’t created any yet, you can add and edit any extension to the campaign you selected.


#3 Your AdWords and Analytics don’t talk to each other

Linking AdWords and Analytics together will help you make more informed decisions about about your digital marketing efforts.

I’ve managed hundreds of dealership accounts over the last four years and this situation happens a lot more than it should. It’s often overlooked because many think that by setting up AdWords the data will automatically be linked in Google Analytics. Not so. Then when they check their Analytics to see how their paid visitors are behaving they end up with a big ugly “(not set)” in their AdWords tab. Without this simple link pairing you won’t have any actionable intelligence on your AdWords traffic.

Your Internet Marketing Manager is a numbers guy, they can’t make a good decision based on (not set), they need numbers, and here’s how you get that:

  1. Log into your Analytics account.
  2. Select the property you would like to link to AdWords
  3. Click “Admin” at the top
  4. Select “AdWords Linking” under the Property column
  5. Select the checkbox next to any AdWords accounts you want to link with your Analytics property.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. In the Link configuration section, select the Analytics views in which you want the AdWords data to be available.
  8. Click Link accounts.


Next, you should import Analytics metrics into AdWords to gain a better understanding of how users behave on your site after they’ve clicked your ad:

  1. Go into your AdWords account and click on the gear icon next to your Manager ID.
  2. Select Account Settings.
  3. Select “Linked Accounts” in the sidebar.
  4. Select the “Google Analytics” subcategory.
  5. Add your linked Analytics account and hit save


#2 Your “one size fits all” bidding strategy is costing you money

Different days of the week yield different results. Bid accordingly to save money and win more customers.

Your AdWords account will tell you how your campaigns perform by hour of day or by day of the week. People behave differently and have different goals on, for example, Mondays and Saturdays, and your bidding on those days should reflect that.

After your account has ran for a few months, you’ll begin to notice patterns. You might notice the days that you had your best conversion-rates, CTRs, and CPCs were on Fridays and Sundays. Knowing that you could choose to bid higher with confidence on those days because you statistically have a better chance at a conversion. Similarly, you could choose to decrease your bids on days that have low conversion rates and low CTRs to save money that would be better spent on another day.

Here’s how you find that information in AdWords:

  1. Go to the AdWords account you want to investigate.
  2. Select the “Dimensions” tab up top.
  3. Click the View subcategory and mouseover Time.
  4. Select “Day of the week”.


From here you can see which days of the week are, on average, the best performing. A good PPC manager will use this to determine how they will bid on each day.

After running this report for one of my campaigns I was able to determine that my best days for conversion rate, CTR, and CPC were on Friday and Sunday, and my worst days were Thursday and Wednesday. I took this information and used it to my advantage by bidding higher on Fridays and Sunday and also bidding lower on Thursdays and Wednesdays.

#1 You don’t pay enough attention to customers on mobile

Targeting the research driven mobile device users will assist more conversions down the funnel.

I’ll admit that I haven’t appreciated the power of mobile advertisements until recently. It’s no secret that mobile devices across the board will have lower conversion rates than tablets or desktops, and being a conversion-minded PPC manager I all but wrote it off. For too long I thought mobile’s lack of muscle in the conversion game was a fault of technology, whether in the device itself or landing page, and that we’d have to wait a few more years until we saw mobile’s conversion rates catch up to the desktop and tablets.

Mobile devices were an unfortunate casualty of my conversion-rate tunnel vision, and it took a phone call from a Google account manager to help me see its power. He explained that mobile devices will usually have a lower conversion rate, especially in the car industry, because mobile visitors are often doing research and are not yet ready to make a conversion. In other words, a good portion of mobile visitors are at the top of the shopping funnel.

These mobile visitors are in the information gathering phase, and once they get access to their desktop they’ll be even more likely to make a conversion. Simply put, mobile assist conversions that happen later in the day on desktops.

Last year Google rolled out Enhanced Campaigns which automatically opts you into bidding on mobile devices. But, if you’re like me and want to bid differently on mobile to boost your clicks or conversions, then follow these steps:

Go into your AdWords account and select the campaign you’d like to affect.

  1. Click the “Settings” tab.
  2. Click the “Devices” subcategory.
  3. Go to the “Mobile devices […]” field and select the “–” in the Bid Adjustment column.


From there you can choose to increase or decrease your mobile bids based on a percentage. Use your Google Analytics to see how mobile visitors react on your site before you modify your bid.

Now, get to work!

[highlight color=”#FCD770″ font=”black”]Let’s give Mike a BIG WELCOME to the DealerRefresh community. If you’ve found Mikes list useful, bookmark it, share it, and use the “print” feature while giving him a shout-out in the comments below![/highlight]

Known to watch college sports with an IPA in one hand while flawlessly managing a PPC campaign or two with the other, Michael has been helping car dea...