• ellenfoley

    Dear Elizabeth, I am loving your column. We are a small shop. We just changed our keywords on a PPC campaign for a small college’s online graduate studies program. Our traffic dropped to zero. Is this keyword cannibalization and can you explain more? Do we delete the new keywords and go back to the old system in which we believe misdirected users are clicking on our ads at $20 a pop because the keywords are not quite right? We’d rather use our small buy on people who may really be interested in the online programs rather than the women’s basketball team. Thanks for your great work at sharing this.

  • http://twitter.com/SimplifiCRO James Moore

    Another great column Shelley.

  • Shelley Ellis

    The are so many reasons why your traffic could have dropped on the display network. Most of the time, it’s due to over optimization (too many excluded top level domains at the campaign level). When you do keyword targeting, it’s also fairly difficult to find the right mixture of words in your ads to appeal to and convert a fairly broad audience. A mistake I’ve made in the past is to try to match keyword specific ads with the keywords in my display campaigns and while in theory, it sounds like it should work well, in reality, it usually doesn’t due to the nature of ad distribution for keyword targeting. Those are just a couple of reasons. There are many more including landing page choices, settings, quality scores, competition and more. Wishing you the best of luck!

  • ellenfoley

    Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I’ll keep reading. The campaign that fizzled was in the search area. One of my suggestions to the team is to move the money into the display network. we haven’t bombed there yet.

    I do think we did some over optimization in the search keyword plan. Thanks again!

  • Shelley Ellis

    Couple of ideas to improve your search campaign:
    Use a keyword grouper (AdWords Editor has a free one built in) for any AdGroup with more than 5 or 6 keywords and write new ads that fit that group of keywords.
    Use all three match types for your keywords (broad, modified broad, phrase and exact) and keep Google’s new default setting that lets them show your ads for misspellings and close variations even for phrase or exact.
    Don’t use the setting to rotate ads. Use the setting to allow Google to optimize based on clicks.
    Ask Google to do a negative keyword report. Sometimes we over-do our negatives (kind of like overkill on placement exclusions in display) and we don’t even realize we have negatives that are the same as keywords we are trying to run. In the meantime, consider doing a negative keyword audit and separating out your exact keywords into their own AdGroups with NO negatives.