The Best Settings For Your AdWords Account

It’s fairly simple to set up a Google AdWords account. There’s a lot of information out there about how to do it, and the interface is easy to follow.

Where many beginners miss the mark is with the settings. Many people believe that the standard settings that Google sets for you are the best option. After all, it’s Google’s program. But this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, if you keep your campaign set to “standard,” you’re missing out on a lot of great settings that can help your campaign flourish. Here are some of the areas in which you shouldn’t follow Google’s recommendations.

1. Standard vs. All Features

When you set up a campaign, the option that’s selected is “Search & Display Networks – Standard.” When you’re first starting out, choosing the standard features can seem like a good idea. There are less options and it’s less overwhelming. But, you’re seriously limiting your campaign’s potential. Changing to “all features” allows you more control over where and when your ads are showing.

2. Search vs. Display Network

While both the search and display network have their advantages, it’s best to keep them separate. The best practices for the search network are not the same as the display network. You also can’t optimize for the display network in this setting. If you want your ads to show on both search and display, then create two separate campaigns that focus on each network individually.

3. Manual vs. Automatic Bidding

Automatic bidding can be tempting, especially if you’re a business owner trying to manage your AdWords account and all the other things you need to do to run a successful business. But automatic bidding takes the control away from you and gives to it Google. While Google isn’t some menacing bully trying to take all your money, they don’t necessarily have your best interest in mind when setting your bids. If nothing else, having more control is better, and manual bidding allows you to optimize your account once you get a better grasp on AdWords.

4. Ad Scheduling

Ad scheduling allows you to decide which days of the week and what times of day you want your ads to show. If you notice that you’re not getting any conversions between 1 pm and 3 pm and no conversions on Mondays, then you can create an ad schedule so your ads don’t show during those times. If you have an E-commerce site, ad scheduling might not be for you since people can buy products from you at two in the morning if they want to. However, it’s still good to check on when your ads are converting and exclude any times of day when your ads are losing you money and not making you any.

5. Ad Delivery

There are four options to choose from under ad delivery: optimize for clicks, optimize for conversions, rotate evenly, and rotate indefinitely. The default setting is “optimize for clicks,” which means Google shows the ads that are the most likely to get clicked on more frequently. While this seems great, it’s important to remember that a click does not equal a conversion. I always choose “rotate indefinitely,” which means all your ads show equally. This allows you to get a better idea of which ads are converting, not just which ads are getting clicked on the most. You can then pause or tweak any ads that aren’t converting.

6. Location Options

There are three location options: “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location” (this is the default setting), “People in my targeted location,” and “People searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location.” The settings for this one depend more on your type of business. A plumber based in St. Louis might set their target location to a 15 mile radius around their shop. They would then want to set their location options to “People in my targeted location.” That way, someone who is searching for a plumber in St. Louis, but is outside of their target location, won’t see the ad. A hotel in St. Louis would want their location options to be set to “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location.” Someone looking for a St. Louis hotel is probably coming from somewhere else.

While most of the default settings in AdWords will succeed in getting you clicks, clicks aren’t what matter—conversions are. Clicks lose you money, and conversions make you money.  While these recommendations can be applied to most campaigns, it’s always important to keep your own business goals in mind and choose the settings that will help you achieve them.