How to Get More Conversions on AdWords

Five quick and simple ways to boost your AdWords conversions, conversion rate and ROI.


Today is about increasing your conversions but before we get into the five tips... if you don't already have conversion tracking set up, then you please do that before you do anything else, because if you can't count your conversions and see what's driving them then you'll really be flying blind when it comes to trying to increase them.

Okay you've still got five left; here's the first one:

Check your search partners traffic.

This is a segment of your AdWords traffic that can lie pretty well hidden if you don't know where to look for it. By default your ads are opted in to show not just on Google search results, but also on Google's search partner sites.

This is fine if you want to maximize traffic, but if you want to optimize your conversion rate then it's not usually good news. Typically search partner traffic is cheaper but converts at a lower rate and the two don't normally balance out in your favour.

The way to check your search partners traffic is to choose segment from this icon - go down to 'network with search partners', then you'll see a breakdown of your stats for each item in whatever view you're in (i.e. campaigns / ad groups etc) showing how it's performed on Google search and search partners.

The differences that you can see between these two sets of stats are quite typical, and most importantly here, cost per conversion for search partners traffic is considerably higher, so let's remove search partners to improve overall cost per conversion.

You do that at the campaign level: go into campaign settings and down to 'networks', then just make sure that the check box 'include Google search partners' is not selected, and make sure you save.

Number 2: make sure you check your search term reports

You can find the search terms report from the keywords view by selecting 'search terms' from this drop-down, and within the search terms report you'll see a list of the actual phrases that people have typed into Google to bring up your ads.

Often in this report you'll find some phrases that are overly broad, or otherwise irrelevant to what you're trying to promote, and what you want to do is eliminate the wasted spend on those less relevant terms.

This example is from an ad group that's about kitchen sales. If the search 'Homebase sale' brought up the ad, that's something we don't want. We want to get rid of this kind of wasted spend, and if we go down the list we'll see some other examples of funky phrases that we really don't want to be spending money on. There are two ways to eliminate this kind of waste:

One is with your match typing, by making sure that you're using chiefly refined match types like exact match and phrase match and, at the broadest, modified board match.

The other way is by filtering out these phrases and these kinds of phrases with negative keywords.

Quick bonus tip: if you want a head start on a negative keyword list then head over to my site at PPC Strategist for a free list of negatives that are useful for almost all campaigns.

Number 3: advanced location settings

This one is really useful, and when I look at existing accounts for the first time, at least nine times out of ten there's room for improvement here.

When you set your location targeting, you might expect ads only to show in the places that you've selected, but actually unless you specify otherwise you'll tend to find that your ads show in a much wider geography than you expect.

Here we are in the locations report for a campaign that is targeting a few areas around London. If we check the user locations report from this drop-down, we'll see where ads were actually shown and clicked on...

and you'll see that it's not just about London but all around the world, so a significant amount of money was spent on clicks that came from places where we didn't ask to show our ads at all.

The way that you deal with that is under the campaign settings and 'additional settings'. Under 'location options', make sure that you've selected 'people in your targeted locations' not to target the default option which is 'people in or [people] who show interest in' your targeted locations.

Number 4: the device type report.

So there are quite a few different variables beyond just keywords and ads that you can adjust to improve performance. You've got demographic groupings; ad scheduling (so what hours of the day and days of the week your ads show); locations; audiences, and some are more useful than others generally - although it's worth looking at all of them - but if you only look at one, it definitely be the device type report.

The devices report is over here and when you look at this which shows performance by device category you will almost always see quite a significant difference in conversion rate or cost per conversion by device.

Typically mobile traffic converts at a lower rate, but it varies massively from campaign to campaign, and you can make use of whatever patterns you see by making bid adjustments by device category, so that people who are on a certain type of device will be given a higher or lower bid depending on how much their traffic proves to be worth to you.

You can also set a minus 100% bid for clicks that you don't want at all.

Number five is Language Settings.

Now the first four have all been more or less defensive strategies that is they aim to cut out wasted spend, so that you can direct more of your budget to areas of activity that work.

This one is more of an expansion, so if you're already getting conversions at an acceptable rate and you just want more traffic to do the same thing, then this is a good one to try.

Simply change the language targeting setting from the default language to 'all languages'.

This might look risk but it's not, because your keywords still have the final say on whether users see you ads or not so provided your keywords are properly targeted that's enough to make sure that you're only going to show out to people who are searching in your primary language.

Selecting 'all languages' just allows ads to show to people whose first language might not be English (or your primary targeted language is) but if they're still searching in your language than that should be enough to make sure they're relevant so this just expands your market by a few percent depending how cosmopolitan your targeted area is.

Quick recap then: number 1 was check your search partners activity. If it's weighing down your conversion rate than uncheck it in your settings.

Number 2: make sure that your search term reports are being checked regularly so you can find unwanted phrases that are triggering your ads. Cut them out with better match types or negative keywords and find your starter negative keyword list in the description.

Number 3 is advanced location settings. Unless you have a good reason not to, you want to change this to only show ads to 'people in your targeted locations'.

Number 4: device reports. Check these to see whether you need to change your bids or exclude any devices. Increase bids to get more traffic on better performing device types... raise your overall conversion rate.

Number 5: expand your market and get more traffic by changing your language setting to 'all languages'.

That's it for these five quick ways to increase conversions. Share your own conversion optimization tips in the comments, and there are plenty more where these came from, so don't forget to subscribe, but for now this is Phil Taylor, PPC Strategist, until next time!