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The New AdWords Opportunities Tab - How to Get the Most Out Of It

Diane Pease
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Google announced an enhancement to the Opportunities tab in AdWords in November that aimed to help streamline paid search campaigns and make day-to-day management easier. The new graphical interface provides more in depth insights on ways to improve your campaign performance.

This tool is great because it's constantly checking for new areas of optimization that you can focus on. For example, if your ads aren't currently using sitelinks or call extensions, the Opportunities tab will provide estimates on the number of additional clicks and higher click-through rate for your campaign. It will also make recommendations to create new ads groups from existing keywords to provide more relevant ads to users.

If you are managing multiple accounts and adding new campaigns on a frequent basis, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of what to optimize. This tool can help identity those areas, and assist you in ensuring your accounts function at their highest capacity.

However, as with most tools, there are hidden "gotchas," and the Opportunities tool is no exception to the rule. While the tool provides a lot of benefits, it's important to review Google's recommendations carefully before making changes. Below are some guidelines and considerations to keep in mind when using the Opportunities tab.

Recommended Budget Increases

Google always lets us know when we're below our daily budgets on campaigns. The Opportunities tab provides a nice summary of what you can expect to gain if you increase your budget:

Raise your budgets

If I drill into this deeper, Google shows me that by tripling my budget from $15 to $45 triples by impressions and clicks. It also triples my overall spend (keep in mind set daily budgets can over spend as much as 15-20 percent over the limit). The "Current" budget below is based on last week's performance:

Daily budget per week

Last week was a holiday week, and the campaign was intentionally bid down. The client also has a new budget for January that is significantly lower than the December budget, so increasing the daily budget will result in pacing too high, and the monthly budget will expire before the end of the month. While more spend gets me additional impressions and clicks, it would result in spending my budget way before the month ended.

Guidelines

Ensure your daily spend limits take into consideration the overall monthly budget. If you have a campaign that is pacing behind, consider increasing the daily budget, but ideally, you want to flight your spend evenly during the month. Large fluctuations in your daily budget make it difficult to document trends over time.

Also take into consideration days of the week that your spend is higher/lower, and if day-parting is active. Adjust your daily budget on the days of the week that have the highest conversions and/or click-through rates, while ensuring that you keep your budget in line with the monthly target. If you are using a day-parting strategy, ensure your budget covers the time period and your ads are showing during that time.

Adding New Keywords

Getting fresh keyword ideas is essential to any AdWords campaign. Search behaviors change over time, and it's important to capture fresh and new keywords that are relevant to your client's business. The Opportunities tab provides you with a list of new keywords in your campaign's ad groups:

Add new keywords to account

In looking at the first recommended ad group opportunity, Google estimated that this new ad group would provide an additional 1,000 impressions, 18 clicks, and only $17 in cost per week.

In researching the 25 new keywords Google recommended, 5 were not relevant to the client's business. Several of the terms were also extremely broad, and had various meanings.

I ran the keywords through Google's Traffic Estimator tool to see if the impressions, clicks and cost estimates were the same as what was provided in the Opportunities tab:

5.04 – 6.09 clicks per week
978 – 1,190 impressions per week
$2.87 - $3.57 cost per week

While the number of impressions was about the same, the number of clicks and costs were significantly less.

Guidelines

While Google will provide you with keywords that it deems relevant, it's important to review these terms to ensure they are relevant to your client's business.

Know and understand what keywords are right for your client. Don't just add keywords because Google recommends adding them. Review the recommended keywords carefully to ensure they are the right keywords.

Also, it's important to note that the estimates for impressions, clicks, and costs may be somewhat different than what the Opportunities tab indicates.


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