Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tips to Increase CTR for AdWords

If you have been using AdWords for very long, you know that Google rewards advertisers for high click-through rate, as well as punishes advertisers for low click-through rate. I mentioned this in the previous post.

Discovering the click-through benefits of the Google Checkout icon got me thinking of some of the other less obvious techniques that may increase CTR and save advertisers money.

These tips are targeted more toward the seasoned AdWords junkie that has mastered ad copy and call-to-action, but needs that extra edge over their competition. Using these techniques will not replace a well-written A/B split tested ad. These are merely suggestions that could increase CTRs, on a normalized scale. As with any changes, all should be tested before taken as a hard and fast rule for your specific ads.

1. Separate Ad Groups & Keyword Lists for Plurals

When I typed in the word “desk” without quotes, these commercial ads were in the top positions. It’s common knowledge that Google bolds the keyword(s) that match the search query. Many might assume Google takes into account plurals in bolding, similar to Yahoo! Search Marketing, but Google does not. As you can see in Figure 1-1, the and Office copywriters were in the correct line of thinking to put the keyword in the title (headline), but he/she did not take it far enough.

It can be assumed made the right distinction by pairing the exact title with the exact keyword in at least two separate ads, one for “desk” and one for “desks.”

As you can see below, Yahoo! Search Marketing does not discriminate with plurals in Yahoo! Search, at least where only adding an “s” is the concern. “Desks” is bold when the search query was “desk” without quotes.

Bonus Benefit

Did you know separating plurals and singulars into separate ad groups could also lower your cost-per-click (cpc) for at least one particular keyword? Google’s broad match system will show either the singular or plural keyword when one is not present on your list, but the singular keyword may actually require a lower bid. By separating the bids, advertisers save money on clicks by not having to pay the same price for both singular and plural. Advertisers would only pay for the singular term when the search query was singular and the plural bid when the query was plural. Plural terms typically have a higher bid rate.

2. Relevant Display URLs

Google AdWords allows advertisers to display a different URL than the actual landing page URL. Most of the time this benefits the user experience, when long, messy, URLs are the landing pages. Many advertisers do not take advantage of this as much as they could. For a user looking for a specific item that may be one of 1000s of items sold by a company, finding the quickest route from A to B without a lot of clicking and searching is usually the most preferable.

Example: When searching for “green toys” (no quotes), which URL seems the most relevant and may receive a higher click through rate?


The second display URL gives the user the impression that he or she will find what they are looking for faster. Below is a real world example ad. My suggestion to this advertiser is to show the “www”on his or her diplay URL. I’ll save that tip for another entry.