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The Lean Adwords Way

Written By: Bob 4 January 2011 Other Posts By: Bob

Many lean startup founders don’t know how to optimize google adwords correctly.

Whenever I start a new project, I put adwords up after I have an MVP ready. My goals are to spend the minimum amount per impression and to keep the price relatively low.

Google uses an algorithm with Adwords that helps maximize its revenues. It want Ads that are clicked on so they can bring in revenue. Because of this, they use an algorithm that forces advertisers to charge more per advertisement to get to a higher place in the rankings.

Here are a few tips to help optimize your campaign for lean purposes.

1.) Make sure you rank #1 or #2 for as many terms as possible. The more you rank #1, the better. If you’re number one, you have a much higher likelihood of getting clicked. The more you get your ad clicked, the more likely you are to pay less for the same position. It’s possible that some venture backed companies are paying $4 for a placement that you can attain for $.25 if you have a much better click-thru history. This is difficult when you’re trying to scale, but easy when you’re going through customer development.

2.) Use terms that are specific as possible. The more words the better.
This terms will get much less impressions, but it will increase the odds that you will be the only advertiser. With no competition, you have a higher likelihood of click-thrus and a higher likelihood of a $0.02 ad being number 1 in the listings. The more specific the term is to your product offering, the more likely your click-thrus will convert.

3.)  After you set up your account, check your account every 15 minutes for an hour.  If you didn’t research your keywords too much, it’s possible a few terms will be extremely popular and you won’t realize it.  If any term gets over 25 visits in 15 minutes, it’s a pretty popular keywords.  If that happens and you aren’t getting any clickthrus, make sure you monitor your ad position.  if you’re lower than 2.5, you may want to deactivate this search term to not destroy your payment per click value.  Check every term for your ranking position every 15 minutes for the first hour, and then every day after that.  You want to make sure you keep a high position in the rankings and you are getting click thrus.  Bad click-thru rates are common, but if you are in position 1 or 2 in most rankings, it probably won’t be much of an issue you can fix.

4.)  Optimize the actual ads.  Create a few different ads to use with your campaign.  Google will automatically show these ads and optimize them so the ads that get more click-thrus show up more often.  Long term, if you’re serious about scaling, you may want to match each ad with a keyword that it is created for or test ads to each keyword.  In the short term, we’re doing this “quick and dirty”, so you want to optimize the ads for the entire set of keywords to keep your time spent to a minimum.

Filter Out Users Who May Not Pay

5.)  This logic goes against helping your click thrus in the earlier points, but this will help make sure more of your click-thrus will convert visitors into users.  When I started my detail company, I tried to filter out users by price point.  Our most commonly order detail was $150.  Our ad title was “$150 car detail at your house”.  This helped us get upwards of a 20% conversion ratio as most visitors of our website were there because they were okay with paying $150 to get their car detailed.  This will slightly hurt your click-thru rate and can raise your cost per click rates over time, but will reduce your number of clicks by filtering out users not interested in your offering.


1.)  Be specific.  The more specific keywords, the more likely you are to get clickthrus.  The more specific your ad, the more likely you are to

2.)  Clicks don’t win.  Conversions win.  If you are getting a ton of clicks, that just means you have to pay more.  Use less popular keywords that are more likely to convert.

3.)  Top Links Get Clicked.  Most users are software developers or startup founders.  They’re like my mom and will click the first thing that shows up on Google.  Make sure you’re number one for your highly targeted keywords.

Bob Cavezza is a cofounder of Easy Unsubscriber and loves to read blog comments!

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