Regular readers know that my AdWords campaign, which I spent a great deal of time optimizing back when I started my business, has been not performing well for the last several months.  I have recently fixed this — amount spent is down 50%, CPA (cost per marginal trial download) is down 50%, and conversion to purchases is now measurable.  I get $2 in purchases for every $1 on AdWords, as opposed to $0.60-0.80 as of a month ago.  I might be jumping the gun, as this is just my results from one week, but tentatively I think my tweaks worked.

What I did:

  • reenabled position preference.  For queries like “make bingo card” which I practically own, Google was happy to give me the #1 ad spot.  They then charged me about 15 cents for it, and I have an extraordinarily high click rate (something like 8 to 10%, depending on query).  That can end up burning my $3 per day very fast.  Now,  folks looking to make a bingo card are good prospects for me but not GREAT ones, since they may well be looking to make numeric bingo cards and they can do that cheaper elsewhere.  (If they’re looking to make cards for class on Friday, on the other hand, I very well might be the best site on the Internet for them, if I do say so myself.)  So I said, you know, let someone ELSE have that #1 spot.  (Position preference #2 through #10)  This let one of my competitors for the spot have it, and they get to pay 15 cents (or more, probably, since they don’t have my CTR for that keyword — most of my competitors, incidentally, are folks like Amazon who mass bid on every keyword under the sun).  I get the #2 or #3 spot now, for 10 cents.  It also comes with customers who appear to be more likely to convert (30% vs. 22% for trial).  Savings per download: 50% (45 cents vs 22 (!!!) cents).
  • Killed underperforming keywords.  If they had a CPA greater than my expected profit per download (about 40-50 cents), no matter how good I thought they would be personally, I nixed them.  “How do I make bingo cards?”, etc, got voted off the island (CPA was over a buck!).  My only remaining keywords are my A-team, and I need to see if I can’t recruit a few members this week (since my total spend now is half of what I want to be able to budget every month — heck, as long as its actually sustainably profitable it makes sense to increase it, right?)