Google AdWords First Stage is characterized by either setting up your Google AdWords account campaigns and then populating them with ads and keywords or transitioning from someone else’s management of the AdWords account (whether that is your transitioning it to someone else or transitioning from one expert to another).
The thing you should know about this stage is that it is often characterized by wild swings in effectiveness. This is unavoidable because there are so many variables in an AdWords that just one variable can scuttle what otherwise seemed like a good start. Sometimes these simple settings and changes can cause other variables to not function correctly and it’s easy to think that the thing to change isn’t what it seems to be.
For example, when you are setting up your first campaign, you may opt to include the Google Content Network in addition to Google Search for use with your keywords and ads. How will you know that the problem is not with your ads or your keywords until you have had enough time to evaluate them? Perhaps the problem is with the your bids being too low or your daily budget not being high enough? What if the problem is that you have isolated your searches to a geographical area and you are paying for ads being shown around the world which are useless to you? How is it possible to know which problem is the true problem and not just “possibly” the problem?
Google AdWords has two major types of ads: Google Search and Google Content Network. Google Search is for placing your ads on the top and left of Google Search results. Google Content Network is for contexturally-placed ads on web pages such as online magazines, newspapers and blogs.
It’s important to begin with knowing two important considerations. Do people know who you are or not? This will determine whether or not you should be using the Google Content Network. With it, you are paying for essentially billboard ads on the freeway. People are reading an online magazine, newspaper or blog and your ad is there just as if you were cruising down the road and you either notice it or you don’t. Your goal may be only to expose people to who you are and that’s how Google Content Network is best utilized. For this reason, you aren’t really expecting a direct sale to happen with your billboard. You are just building awareness of your product like a movie that is about to come to theaters; you aren’t selling the ticket today but you are planting the seed for a purchase to happen on premiere day.
If your goal is not to get people to know who you are alone, then you should use Google Search and possibly add the Google Content Network. You may not want to use the Google Content Network at all if it is costing you too much to put up those billboards if they aren’t giving you the return you want. You may also want to focus on just Google Search at first until you are very sure which ads and keywords work really well. You can leave the Google Content Network for Third Stage if you like; it’s not essential to First Stage or Second Stage and may introduce too many variables in First Stage to clearly understand what to leave in and what to throw out.
You know that you are the end of First Stage when you are getting enough clicks on a day to day basis where you don’t get a bunch on one day and then 10% of the same number the next day. At a minimum you should get a decent number (let’s say 1,000 or 100 or 10) and then not less than half of that the next day (500/50/5) and then the day after it should either go down by 10% (400/40/4) and then up again or it will stay at that level (400/40/4) or go higher. If you’re satisfied with this level at 400/40/4, then you can count on building that up in AdWords Second Stage. You should be able to back up to the 1,000/100/10 over the next two to three weeks.