Are you getting the most out of your AdWords campaigns?

Posted by on in Members
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 2117
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Just recently there have been some significant changes to the way Google AdWords display their adverts, which may be having a significant impact on the traffic you receive from your campaigns.

In this article, I'll cover three important changes introduced by AdWords with some quick tips for you to check whether your campaigns need a bit of attention to ensure that they are bringing in the best return on investment.

What has changed?

Removal of the sidebar position in search results

Perhaps the most significant change has been that Google has removed the 'sidebar' position which used to run down the right of search results.  Nowadays, paid advertising on Google can only show above and below the organic search results - at the top and bottom of the page.  The only exception to this is with adverts which feature shopping cart items - these are called Product Listing Ads or PLA's - which still show on the right.

This means that there are less positions for your adverts to display in - so you need to check that your adverts are still doing as well as they were before the update.  Key factors to compare are:

  • Impressions - have they changed significantly in the past month?  If your ads were mostly being displayed on the sidebar, it's likely you will now be seeing a change in this metric

  • Click-through rate - has it gone up or down significantly?  If your ads are no longer appearing on the first page of search results, it's likely that your click through rate would be affected - this means less people coming through to your website.

  • Average position - has this increased (e.g. gone from position 2 to position 7)?  If you used to be in the top 11 but still show on the first page of search results, you might find that now you are only on the second page or worse.

  • Cost per click - has this changed significantly?  If you are using bid strategies to achieve first place, you might find that the cost per click has increased as the positions are becoming more competitive.

Reviewing these metrics regularly ensures that you can keep on top of any potential changes and maximise your return on investment - often small tweaks can yield large returns.

If you notice any of these metrics have changed significantly or you are concerned, feel free to drop me a line - as an ISSBA member you can access half an hour of free business support through the ISSBA Assist scheme.

Expansion of extensions available

Google AdWords have significantly increased the number of extensions you can add to your basic AdWords advertisement over the years.  Many businesses advertising on Google do not realise this, and as a result are missing out on valuable advertising space!

Key extensions we often find are not in use include:

  • Call extensions - create a click to call button on your advert where calls can be tracked as a conversion
  • Sitelink extensions - allowing you to link to other pages within your website
  • Location extensions - add a link to your location page on Google Maps
  • Review extensions - show reviews of your products or services on your adverts
  • Callout extensions - add descriptive text such as 'free delivery' or 'Excellent customer service'

These not only allow you to provide more information on the search listings, but they also have the effect of making your listing take up more space on the page - hence gaining a competitive advantage over other advertisers and organic search listings.

Mobile-targeted adverts

For some time, Google AdWords has allowed you to create mobile versions of your ads, specifically targeted to show on mobile devices.  The quickest and easiest way to get started with this is simply to copy all your ads and then set them to mobile - the AdWords Editor is the best interface to use for this.  Then you can customise the ads as appropriate for a mobile audience.

We are noticing a higher incidence of mobile adverts bringing in more enquiries and conversions - particularly outside of office hours when people may be at home on their mobile or tablet rather than in the office on their computer.  In many cases, the conversion rate and cost per acquisition is much better than desktop ads as well!


I hope that gives you some useful pointers on things to check with your AdWords campaigns - like many SEO and marketing things an AdWords campaign isn't something you can set once and leave, it requires regular attention to ensure you are getting the best return on investment for your spend.  If you're considering getting started with AdWords or you need some help with your campaigns, do get in touch, I'd love to help!  Contact me here

Ruth Cheesley is a Joomla! Specialist, CEO and co-founder of Virya Group.




She regularly speaks at conferences around the world on a range of issues from Community Management and Marketing to SEO and women in technology.


  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Thursday, 06 August 2020