WordStream Uses AdWords To Monitor Campaign Effectiveness


How much is a paid-search click worth? How much of the company's budget is wasted per month? Search marketers at small and mid-size companies can now find answers through a new tool from WordStream that monitors changes, highlights how campaigns fit into the competitive landscape, and provides tips on improving results and scores.

AdWords Performance Grader, a free, educational tool, analyzes accounts within 30 seconds. It aims to support the millions of Google advertisers, mostly small and mid-size businesses, looking for help to optimize campaigns and improve performance.

"Even before I started WordStream, people would ask me to do an expert review of their AdWords account to figure out how they are doing and what they could do to improve, following up by contextualizing the result," said Larry Kim, WordStream founder and chief technology officer. "It's similar to hiring a search marketing agency or consultant to get an outside view that validates the progress or lack of progress."

The platform compares and grades AdWords accounts by comparing each to other companies with similar budgets. For each category, a comparative grade is assigned. For example, in the quality score category, the tool calculates the account's average quality score and then compares it with those of other advertisers that spend in the same range. The company with the highest quality score in the group gets 100%. A score of 51% means the company has been beaten by more than half of the other accounts in that spend range.

Data is downloaded from paid-search accounts to analyze the amount spent on campaign and the frequency with which the ads run. AdWords Performance Grader uses eight key performance metrics to grade campaigns. WordStream chose the key metrics based on feedback from marketers on topics that align most closely with Google AdWords best practices, such as quality score, use of negative keywords, impression share, click-through rate, long-tail keyword optimization, account activity, ad text optimization and landing page optimization.

Account activity metrics provides a policing option, which identifies when paid search marketers say they optimize accounts but don't. It monitors changes to accounts, such as when bids are altered or keywords are added or deleted. It counts the number of changes in specific accounts or ads added or deleted.

"You can't just leave a campaign," Kim said. "It's a way to gauge whether marketers do their job or identify if they are asleep at the switch."

A paid-search best practices chart helps to identify whether the campaign follows best practices. The platform will give each criterion thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Some guidelines include network targeting, geotargeting, language targeting, conversion tracking, multiple text ads running, modified broad match type, negative keywords and use of AdWords ad extensions. Individual charts provide detailed metrics and measurements for each.

"You would be surprised at how difficult some of these practices are to use for small and medium-size businesses," Kim said. "About 50% of the people I talk with don't use conversion tracking. Without conversion tracking you don't know whether the click is worth anything."


3 comments about "WordStream Uses AdWords To Monitor Campaign Effectiveness".
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  1. David Rothwell from AdWords Answers, August 18, 2011 at 5:46 a.m.

    Hi Laurie,

    Larry Kim may recall consulting with me for some hours a couple of years ago - I have been auditing and managing AdWords campaigns since 2005.

    I believe Wordstream's "Grader" to be missing some essential data and quite misrepresentative of other.

    Setting aside the branding activities and deep pockets of larger Corporates, the average small to medium Client AdWords advertiser really has only one question (or should have!): "Am I earning more from AdWords than I am spending?"

    That is what our service at www.adwordsanswers.com is about - performance, and what it means in Economic terms to the individual business website owner.

    This takes time, and how you will manage a campaign will change and evolve over it's lifecycle. There are things you will not do early on (Discover phase) until the controls are in place to make it safe to do so later (Optimization and Expansion phases). We assign a 60-90 days "Calibration period" to achieve that as you can see from graphs and case studies on our site.

    Our own version of the "Grader" has been under development for several months and will release this Fall.

    It will be wider in scope, and more accurate for individual clients, based on real data and not speculation that "other advertisers with this spend level are themselves getting everything right".

    The economic value of a click - even for the same keyword - is potentially completely different between advertisers buying the same traffic, but converting it on their website at different rates, and having different sales processes and economic overheads and metrics.

    I am happy to provide any other information you'd like.

  2. Elliot Mann from AC Lion, August 18, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.

    AdWords Performance Grader seems like an extremely helpful tool to help smaller businesses generate more traffic and a higher click through rate. However, with tools like these being implemented, what will separate sites from others from rising to the top of keywod search strings?

  3. David Rothwell from AdWords Answers, August 20, 2011 at 8:28 a.m.

    In a word - their profitability.

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