Why AdWords Alone Is not Enough Anymore

Ian O'Rourke Posted by Ian O'Rourke

Simply using Google AdWords to monitor your advertising campaign is not enough anymore.

The solution provides you with the auction clearing house and tools to track your performance, but as convenient as it is to use AdWords, it does not provide enough information to allow complete control of your campaign or monitor your competitors throughout. Using other tools to maximise your ad budget and performance is essential.

AdWords’ Shortcomings

Let’s be honest: nobody relies on AdWords alone, at least no one but the smallest PPC spenders. AdWords cannot perform all the functions a digital advertiser needs today. The question remains then, what other tools are there to help you do a better job, and why do you need them?

Here are some of the most important factors:

Competitive Analysis

In any market and in any area of your business, you need to optimise and streamline your operations to gain market share. Whether your business provides digital marketing services to others, or in-houses its needs, optimising your campaigns entails monitoring both your and your competition’s performance very closely.

Failure to monitor the competition will result in running blind into many obstacles and a solution like Adthena’s can provide the following:

  • Budgets
  • Keywords
  • Share of Voice
  • Ad Copy Analysis
  • Bid settings
  • Reports

Competitor Insights: Budgets

Your competitor’s bids and total advertising spend are not available from within AdWords: Google could give you the data but that would be a violation of their customers’ privacy. You need a third party piece of software to estimate these using their own algorithms, some of which are better than others, and some of which are no good at all.

Competitor Insights: Keywords

Analysing how your competitors bid on keywords is essential. You can track their actions (indirectly, but very accurately) using various paid services, including Adthena’s monitoring platform, to discover what keywords they use and how they perform. Knowing this is clearly important in order to outperform them in search rankings.

Competitor Insights: Share of Voice

Share of voice (SOV), in terms of search engine marketing, refers to your share of clicks versus all known competitors targeting the same keyword(s). It is measured across a defined scope of keywords (or all keywords) related to the product or service that you are trying to advertise.

You can also use SOV to gauge your ads’ visibility on an affiliate’s website, where they may have several other advertisers using the same ad space at different times, or different ad spaces at the same time.

This certainly doesn’t help if you want maximum exposure for an advertisement in a timely manner, and your SOV on these websites can be used to help measure their value to your campaign.

Knowing how much exposure your brand gets compared to the competition will enable you to gauge how much you need to improve your search performance. It is an important high level indicator as to how successful your campaign is at any given moment.

Competitor Insights: Ad Copy Analysis

Tracking your competitors’ ad copy enables you to identify their best and worst performers, and learn from them, thereby making your ad copy as attractive as it can be and capturing as many customers as possible.

Bid Settings

Setting your bid prices automatically within AdWords is a notoriously inaccurate and lazy way of bidding for your keywords, and Google makes you pay for it when you reach a certain size in your account. You should instead use a tool that isn’t designed to squeeze you for cash, but listens to your needs and ensures you have the most efficient solution.

One crucial feature of some third party tools is their ability to estimate competitor bids and spending budgets.The tools determine just how far you are being outbid by, and automatically adjust your bids to win by the lowest possible margin.

Adobe Media Optimizer (AdLens) and Marin offer effective and easy-to-use bid management solutions that allow you maximise the efficiency of your spend. Both are well-respected platforms in the industry, working to get you the best ROI possible.

Competitive Intelligence Insights: Reporting

Using a competitive intelligence tool or service to provide you with timely data as accurately as possible is essential in maintaining your competitive advantage.

Not only do most of these tools utilize proprietary algorithms to analyse available data and make predictions, they also constantly adapt to changes in the search world, such as search volumes, keyword bids, and updates to Google’s algorithms (which is more than just a guessing game!).

Organic vs Paid Search

Since Google allows us, so generously, to pay for visibility in searches via its SEM platform, paying other companies and websites for links in order to increase your PageRank, and thereby possibly increase your organic rankings, is against Google policy. It will earn your site a search penalty in the end.

Although many people think the easiest and best way to maintain organic search rankings is by running a blog and maintaining an interesting and engaging site, the process is not that easy and will take a lot of time and effort.

Research has shown that organic results alongside paid search results drive a higher number of clicks than they do when presented separately and summed.
Now more than ever it is crucial to adopt a larger range of tools in order stay competitive in an increasingly competitive digital marketing field.

(Stephan Mosel/Flickr)

About the author

Ian O'Rourke
Ian O'Rourke
Ian is the CEO and Founder of Adthena. After 22 years being involved in technology businesses and start-ups, he has driven Adthena forward since 2012 and it is now experiencing rapid growth. Ian likes to foster a culture of common sense and self-reliance at Adthena, and ensures everyone has the tools they need to succeed, His flair for innovation and business has been recognised with the Developing Entrepreneur Award at the WCIT Enterprise Awards – commonly regarded as the Oscars for technology entrepreneurs. A graduate of the University of Queensland, Ian is also a fluent Chinese speaker having lived and studied in Taiwan. He is married with two children and is an avid rock climber in his spare time.