Patience Is A Virtue

Launching new AdWords campaigns is exciting.  Presumably, you put a lot of effort into picking the right keywords, creating great ads, setting bids and budgets, choosing the perfect landing pages, etc. Now it’s time for all that hard work to pay off. So you launch!

…and then this happens:

You check back after a day (or more realistically, a few hours) and nothing’s working the way you thought it would. Your bids are below their first page estimates, you’re not getting enough traffic, and the traffic you are getting is not performing in the way you expected.

This can be annoying, even troubling, and often leads to a few common errors. Below are two of the most common post-launch mistakes I’ve seen, and some tips for how to correct them.

1)   Wait for accurate Quality Scores

When you add new keywords to your account, it takes a little while for Google to factor your account’s historical performance into those new Quality Scores. This means that there’s a short period of time when the Quality Scores for your new keywords are being based solely on the historical performance of those keywords across all AdWords accounts, system-wide. It usually takes Google a few hours to a day to factor in the historical performance of your account and adjust the Quality Scores for new keywords accordingly.

So, when you log back in after a few hours of launching new content and see your new keywords with low impressions due to bids being set below the first page bid estimate, you might want to hold off on adjusting those bids. It’s possible that Google simply hasn’t yet had a chance to consider all the factors involved in those Quality Score calculations. Once it does, you may find those keywords get a nice Quality Score bump, which, in combination with your original CPC bid, positions your ad right in the ballpark of where you want it.

2)   Don’t get your hands dirty too soon

Is a keyword with 10 clicks and 1 conversion a good keyword? How about a keyword with 20 clicks and no conversions? The answer to both questions is maybe. There’s simply not enough data to know yet.

Clicks cost money, and it can be tempting to get in there right away and start making adjustments. However, you must allow enough data to accrue before making changes. By making changes based on statistically insignificant amounts of data, you’re opening yourself up to the strong possibility that the performance trends will not remain consistent and you’ll just end up chasing your tail. Try to wait for keywords to accrue at least 100 clicks before adjusting their bids.

Conclusion

It’s natural to want to take immediate action on your new campaigns. Fight the urge! Remember, you put a lot of work into picking your keywords and writing your ads. Now give them a little time to prove themselves. This will ensure that you’re rewarding the right keywords over time, and bidding down or eliminating only those keywords that have reliably underperformed.