Author: Bud E. Smith
Publisher: Sams, 2011
Aimed at: Business owners, those with a product or service to publicise
Pros: Well structured
Cons: Screen-dumps hard to read
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
Can Google AdWords get you more customers? This practical guide aims to help you make a success of your ad campaign.
It gets off to a promising start by stating in the first paragraph of the Introduction:
Google Adwords is a huge opportunity for businesses and other organizations to improve their results from Google search, to increase sales, to try out new business ideas, and in general to make the web friendlier. However, its also a way to spend money without realizing much return.
This seems a fair summing up of the situation and so I was disposed to read on.
Like other books in this format it presents a series of practical lessons each designed to take about 10 minutes, many with step-by-step instructions and all of them including screen dumps. Many of these made me wish that Sam's could have used color which would have made them easy on the eyes - but if you are following along you'll have the benefit of full color anyway.
Lesson 1 explains what AdWords including where to find them in search results and how they work for users and sellers. The idea that the conversion process is like a funnel in introduced here. In other words a lot of people see an ad, a proportion of those click it and go to the landing page and then a proportion of those purchase the goods or services. It also introduces the idea that search engine optimization and AdWords work together.
Lesson 2 is called "Creating and AdWords Account" but in fact it has a wider remit. Smith advises that you use a Google account for this and so covers other advantages of having a Google account, including one for a business.
Lesson 3 is where we get started on creating an AdWords "campaign" - a group of adverts that has its own reporting and statistics. Follow through 14 steps to choose the campaign settings, then 12 steps to create an ad and its keywords and a further 6 to set up billing.There's a Caution box at the conclusion of the billing steps to the effect that "bills add up quickly".
The next chapters will be useful even if you already know about and use AdWords. Lesson 4 is on identifying your target market and asks you to consider how customers buy from your business and gives pointers according to what type of business you are in. Following this Lesson 5 goes through setting up a campaign that chooses networks and devices for you ad to display on and how to set high level options and geo-targeting is considered in Lesson 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads.
Lesson 7: Setting Your Bidding, Budget, and Delivery Options is a key one to get to grips with. It explains in more detail how AdWords works and how to use its advanced bidding options. Again it cautions that "charges add up in a hurry!"
The next two lessons are on Adding Extensions and Using Advanced Settings. Then we come to Lesson 10 Writing Great Ads with examples for an ad for a course and one for an online book store. It also looks at image ads and display ads before concluding with a 7-step exercise for Creating a Text Ad. Lesson 11 follows this up with a look at generating keywords and Lesson 12 goes back to placements and bids.
The remaining chapters are about monitoring and optimizing your ad campaign. Lesson 13:Managing Your Ad Group helps you understand the keyword related information that AdWords provides so that you can analyze the success of different keywords. Lesson 14: Updating Your Campaign looks at the reports that are available and creating alerts to help monitor performance. Lesson 15: Using Opportunities and Improving Landing Pages covers the tool that AdWords provides on its Opportunities tab together with the importance of the landing page or pages that those who click your ad get taken to. Finally Lesson 16: Using Additional Reports and Tools looks at options in the upper half of the Reporting and Tools menu in particular the Change History tool.
This slim volume is practical and realistic. It doesn't make extravagant claims - in fact the opposite it takes pains to make you realise you can expend effort and money without necessarily seeing as much return as you might have wanted.