I've been running (mostly small) Google AdWords campaigns for years now. I've been tinkering and testing and largely getting good results - but Google changes things all the time. Plus there's always elements that I see and wonder what they are and never quite get around to learning about.
So I've been off at Google Engage Bootcamp for Agencies 101 - and it was well worth it. I've had many things reinforced but also learned quite a few things that I didn't know (or hadn't had the time to figure out!).
Here's the three top-line items that bear repeating. If you already knew them, big ticks to you. If not, I hope you find them useful!
1. Taking back control over which ads Google displays
When you set up a few ads within a campaign, Google automatically starts to display one more than others quite quickly, basically serving a lot more of one advert than another. This always annoyed me as I couldn't easily work out how to override it.
You can take back control within a campaign by looking at the bottom of ADVANCED SETTINGS, then scroll down to the bottom of the page look for "Ad Delivery" and then "Ad Rotation"...so it is quite tucked away!
This then gives you four options - one of which is automatic Google optimisation of your ads based on clicks which is the default setting. But you can also elect to have it rotate evenly so YOU can decide what you want to turn off and on, rather than rely on the overly enthusiastic Google algorithm.
2. Negative keywords
I knew they existed but hadn't ever used them. (If you don't know what they are, they're basically keywords you DON'T want to appear for). Turns out they are very simple to add. When you're "adding" keywords, you just add a negative keyword (or phrase matches) all in the same spot.
So your keyword list might look like this:
Low budget marketing tips
Creative marketing tips
[zero budget marketing]
(The top two are broad match keywords, the third is your negative keyword you don't want to appear for and the final one is an exact match).
3. You can track 'conversions' inside AdWords - and it reports different results to Analytics
I was of the mistaken belief that goals had to be tracked in Analytics - no, you can set up goals in AdWords too. And they will give you different results. AdWords will record a conversion for AdWords as the "conversion" is recorded within 30 days of the click, regardless of the LAST thing that was clicked to create the sale. Analytics will track up to a year but Analytics counts as the "converter" the LAST thing clicked prior to the sale.
To set up conversions, you click on the top menu "Tools and Analytics" and then "Conversions". You then click an "Add conversions" button and you'll usually be choosing "webpage". Basically you get some code to add to the page you are tracking as a conversion (like a thank you page) and then you can track your conversions.