It was an eye-opening moment.
I'd been digging through the Search Query Report in a client's Google AdWords campaign. (This extremely useful report shows the exact search terms people type into Google before they click on your ads.)
I can’t use the actual keywords and location for this campaign so let’s just say one of the keywords we were bidding on was "underwater bowling lessons" and the ads were running in Miami.
In the report I noticed about 200 people a month saw our ads after they typed in the search query "underwater bowling lessons Coral Gables" (Coral Gables is an affluent suburb of Miami). That’s a lot more searches than I expected for a smallish suburb.
Curious, I went to Google’s Keyword Research Tool, typed in "underwater bowling lessons Coral Gables" and guess what?
According to Google no one was searching for that keyword!
Yet, because of the data from the AdWords campaign, I knew that wasn't true.
The thing is Google's been holding back more and more with the keyword data they've been sharing. And while their Keyword Research Tool is very useful, the data (especially when it comes to number of searches a keyword gets each month) can be suspect.
Getting a Leg Up on the Competition
The data we got from the Search Query Report was extremely valuable data most of our competitors didn't have (and any that did, probably didn't even know they had it).
Using this data, we did some Search Engine Optimization and got the client's site ranked at the top of Google for the term "underwater bowling lessons Coral Gables." It was fairly easy to do because the term had very little competition and the competition didn’t know how valuable a term it could be.
As the "underwater bowling" example shows, while Google AdWords is mostly thought of as way to drive traffic to a website, it's also the most powerful and accurate keyword research tool you have at your disposal.
AdWords As a Market Research Tool
But it doesn't stop there. AdWords is also a very powerful market research tool.
Many of you have probably heard of the bestselling Tim Ferriss book "The Four Hour Workweek.” What you may not know is the original title for that book was "Drug Testing for Fun and Profit" (Ferriss was in the pharmaceutical industry). But his publisher told him Walmart wouldn't sell the book with that title so he had to change it.
So Ferris turned to AdWords.
He ran about a dozen ads, each with a different book title in it. After about a week and spending just $200 on AdWords clicks, the ad with "The Four Hour Workweek" in it got the best response out of all the ads and became the book's title.
Here's one more example of the power of AdWords as a research tool...
When I first started using AdWords, I was running a drug testing company. Things weren't going well and I was looking for ways to right the ship.
I had a hunch there was an opportunity in the real estate market because of the Meth lab epidemic. (The manufacturing of Meth leaves behind a very toxic residue that can have harmful health effects for months or more after the lab shuts down.) The device we sold could quickly detect this invisible, toxic residue.
I set up an AdWords campaign and, within a week (and spending less than $50), discovered my hunch was correct. And it wasn’t long before the real estate market turned into the biggest source of revenue for our company.
There's no other way I could have discovered that as quickly, or cost-effectively, as with AdWords.
No doubt Google AdWords is at its best as a way to drive targeted traffic and leads. It doesn’t get much better than being able to drop $1 in the Google Gumball Machine and know you’re going to get $1.01, $1.50, $10 or more back in return.
But if that’s all you’re using AdWords for, you’re missing the boat.
- Use it to find keyword ideas your competition is missing.
- Use it to test different headlines, book titles, URLs, etc.
- Use it to find out what new products, services, offers, etc. your target audience most strongly responds to.
Google AdWords is likely the best research tool you have at your disposal. Use it wisely.
For help with all your online marketing needs and questions, contact me at Words that Click at email@example.com.