This is the latest in a series of interviews we’re conducting with AdWords advertisers who got unusually high scores using our AdWords Performance Grader. We’re reaching out to high scorers to find out what strategies contribute to their strong AdWords performance. For more in this series, see:
This week’s interview is with Caroline Hwang, the search engine marketing manager for Blinds.com.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been using AdWords? Are you an Agency or an Advertiser? What is your primary goal for AdWords marketing?
I have been using AdWords since 2007. I started out on the agency side and have since moved to the advertiser side, ultimately ending up at Blinds.com. At the end of the day, the primary goal of PPC here is definitely profitability. We acquired Blinds.com around 2007. Unlike newer websites, we have a well established customer base and natural search presence. That being said, revenue and visits are still important goals for PPC. In a nutshell, we want to drive as much traffic and make as much revenue as we can while remaining profitable.
I also want to point out that our definition of profitability is not the traditional Revenue/Spend ROAS model. Having tools for analytics allows us to make decisions based on Profit/Spend, which I feel is a better indicator of PPC performance.
There are tons of metrics in AdWords – What are your top 3 key performance metrics in AdWords and why?
The top three metrics in AdWords are Cost, Clicks and Profit. A close 4th would be Impressions. Those three metrics alone are sufficient for me to assess whether the campaigns are hitting top-level goals: Profitability, Revenue and Visits. With Impression data you can calculate CTR, which gives insight to the quality of your ads and ad groups. CTR is an important metric when it comes to optimizing the campaign.
Can you describe your AdWords management strategy? How do you set your campaign objectives, and how do you know what’s realistic or not?
Here’s our process:
Describe your AdWords management workflow. When you’re doing your account optimization work, how do you decide what to do next in your account? How do you prioritize your work?
As far as deciding what to do next and prioritization of work, we use a mixed approach. Our departmental goals help us determine our editorial, testing, promo, product and SEO calendars. Our PPC calendar is generally created at the beginning of the year. New campaigns and ad tests mirror all our marketing plans for the year (sales, new product lines, etc.). This calendar gets reevaluated every ~3 months or so.
In addition to that calendar, I evaluate groups of keywords (all-time performance, quality score, ad performance, CTRs) in a set rotation. We monitor top-level PPC performance daily. Any abnormalities on key PPC metrics (cost, clicks, impressions, conversions, revenue, profit, CTR, conversion rate) get first priority. We use a third-party bid management tool to manage our bids based on rules we created. We use this tool to create alerts on our top-level metrics as well. Bid rules are reevaluated once every two weeks or as company strategy changes.
Any advice or tips for AdWords marketers that didn’t score as well as you?
Here are my tips:
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