Pete Bowen's site

Pete Bowen here. I accidentally became an Google AdWords Google Ads lead generation specialist about 10 years ago. I co-founded MarketingMotor, a Google Ads agency, in 2010.

Enough about me...

Managing your own Google Ads campaign?

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Running a Google Ads agency or freelancing

Google Reps
You may get an email or call from someone claiming to work at Google. They’ll tell call themselves an account representative, strategist, advisor or account manager. You and I would call them salesmen.
Guaranteeing Google Ads.
It’s uncomfortable when a potential client asks me if I guarantee that they’ll make sales from their Google Ads. In the past my first instinct was to run away. I thought that asking for a guarantee was a sure sign that they’re going to be a toxic client. I was wrong.
How do you convince a potential client to trust you if you don’t have a track record?
How do you convince a potential client to trust you if you don’t have a track record? This happens a lot when people go out on their own after working in-house or for an agency. Read on to find out how I solved this problem.
How to make OK money from small clients
You have to work with the clients you can get, not the ones you hope for. Sometimes - especially in the beginning - you might not be able to attract big-budget clients. Here's a list of things I wish someone had told me in my first year of working with low-budget clients.
I've inherited a mess.
Crazy structure, gibberish naming convention and 22 conversion actions that might or might not mean anything. Here is a collection of principles, tips and ideas for when you inherit a messy Google Ads account.
Optimise your words
There are a handful of non-PPC tools I'd hate to run my Google Ads business without. Hemingway is one.
Resources for Google Ads agencies and freelancers.
Tools, reading lists and discussion groups for digital marketing agencies and freelancers offering Google Ads as a service.
How to take over an existing Google Ads account.
You’ve taken over a Google Ads account that’s in trouble. You're going to turn it around - more conversions, lower costs, 10 quality scores etc. There’s a lot riding on getting this right...
The AdLeg Google Ads Software Suite.
I interviewed Kyle Sulerud, creator of the AdLeg Software Suite about how he started in Google Ads (AdWords) and why he built his Google Ads creation and management software.

Automating Google Ads

Google AdWords: Automated vs manual bidding.
The question: "How much of a performance gain can I expect with good manual tuning?" I decided not to answer the exact question and suggest an alternative to manual tuning.
Should you use Target CPA bidding for lead generation campaigns?
Google wants you to use Target CPA bidding. Is it right for lead generation campaigns? Read on to find out.
Watch your back for centaurs.
Centaurs - human+computer teams will outperform and replace AdWords agencies that rely on human power alone. Here are four ways to enhance your AdWords powers with automation.

Building Google Ads campaigns

3 things you must do before you advertise on top of funnel keywords.
Top of funnel keywords can be cheaper to advertise on. But there are 3 things you must do before you enable them.
Google AdWords: Can I use capital letters in the Display URL?
AdWords question: Can I use capital letters in the Display URL? Is it ok to write it like example.com/ExampleLink ? Will Google allow this? Here is the answer with links to the relevant Google AdWords policies.
Can you market a home services company using PPC?
Can you market a home services company using PPC? Is AdWords suitable for small local service companies?
Do I need to put quotes around single negative keywords in AdWords?
Do I need to put quotes around single negative keywords in AdWords?
Google Adwords: Not DIY anymore?
The words "DIY" and "cheap" are like crack cocaine to us small business owners. Google figured this out long ago and sold the Adwords program as a self-service solution. I think that's overly optimistic.
How many keywords should I have in an ad group?
Grouping keywords into ad groups trips people up. This is one of the most confusing parts of building your first AdWords campaign. Getting it right almost always leads to higher CTR , better QS and a lower cost per click.
How to build a pilot campaign.
I know nothing when I take on a new client who’s never used Google Ads for lead generation. The only way to know for sure if Google Ads will work and if the relationship with the client will be comfortable is to test it. Here's how...
Rules for Writing Google AdWords Expanded Text Adverts
Here are the rules we use for writing Google AdWords expanded text ads at MarketingMotor. Feel free to copy them.
What makes a good keyword?
The better your keyword choice the better your AdWords campaign. So what makes a good keyword?

The business behind the adverts

Do I really need 7 websites?
Two groups of people visit your website: people who know what you sell and strangers who don't know you but want what you sell. One website can't serve both groups effectively.
Does PPC work for accountants?
The short answer is “Yes, but only sometimes”. Google suggests that AdWords will work for any business but this is not true in real life.
Google Ads for industries with long sales cycles
A client installs billboard size video screens. Here's how we used AdWords to get him in front of the decision makers early enough.
How do you test a business idea?
You don’t want to invest time and money on a business idea unless you’re sure that it’ll get traction. Read on to learn how to use Google Ads to test an idea before committing to it.
How much is a Facebook like worth?
I've just run a quick calculation and can confidently say that a Facebook like is worth $0.007. Let me explain
How we turned no-shows into $185 150 worth of new business every month
No-shows cost my client $283 328 a month. Here’s how we turned them into $185 150 worth of new business every month - without spending more on Google Ads.
Which are the specifically right targets for a small paper pallet company?
This question was asked on Quora. Saving my answer here.
How to turn leads into sales.
Two businesses in the same industry. One converts 5% of website leads into sales. The other converts 60%. Read on to find out why.
I can’t get to the decision maker.
"I‘ve got a great product but I can’t get to the decision maker." That’s a problem we smaller business owners face a lot. Can I tell you about how a former client of mine got the decision makers to come to her?
Is AdWords scaleable?
There are a finite number of people who want what you sell, can afford what you sell and are in an area you can reach. Some portion of those people will use Google. That number is the upper limit of AdWords scaleability.
Is AdWords worth it?
"Is Google AdWords really worth it? I have found that through tracking my CPC, I am not having that much success." was asked on Quora. My answer saved below.
Selling to strangers is different
Ask 100 small business owners how they find customers and 99 of us will say "word-of-mouth". What we won't tell you is that our word-of-mouth marketing is not well tuned engine that spits out a steady stream of great prospects. They arrive by luck or magic.
The cost of zero.
Every small business owner needs to understand the cost of zero before they next invest in marketing. It does not matter what medium it is: Google AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, magazines, radio, or anything else. The reason these campaigns fail so often is never as obvious as you might think.
Things you should never advertise on Google.
Making money advertising identical branded goods on Google is really hard.
Will Google Ads work?
Thinking about advertising on Google? There are thousands of people who've used Google Ads and never made a sale. You don't have to be one of them. Read on to learn how.
Zombie Hunting Wednesday 3pm. You in?
We’ve all got zombie leads. These are people we’ve quoted who haven't said yes. They haven’t said no either. Instead they’re ignoring us - our emails go unanswered and they’re always too busy to talk.

Using the Google Ads API to build custom Google Ads tools

AdWords API: Authorization for multiple users.
Here's how you handle authorization for multiple users of your AdWords API tool.
Building custom tools with the Google Ads API.
You run an digital marketing agency. You’re thinking about building a custom Google Ads tool using the API. Here are some of the things that trip people up.
Choosing a domain name for your Google Ads tool.
I bumped into an unexpected problem when I chose the Ad-Minister.app domain.
Death by alerts.
Will your custom AdWords tool monitor AdWords performance? It's surprisingly difficult to work out when your monitoring system should warn your users. Read on for guidelines on alerts and notifications.
Designing custom AdWords tools.
The AdWords interface is awful. You can fix this in your AdWords tool. Here are a handful of principles to guide you as you design your custom AdWords API based tool.
How to use the Google AdWords API to do keyword research.
You’re thinking of building a custom keyword research tool using the AdWords API. Read on to see where to start and what to watch out for.
Where can I find a programmer to help implement the Google AdWords API?
Good news is that you don’t a programmer who is an expert at the AdWords API because the programming constructs that the API uses are well known. For instance, the API uses OAuth for authentication which is very common.

Optimising lead generation landing pages

6 Critical Mistakes You're Making with Your Landing Page
Amy Hoy wrote a brilliant article titled 6 Critical Mistakes You're Making with Your Landing Page. She makes a really interesting observation which resonated with me: Landing page design is actually a usability exercise.
CAPTCHA is like putting barbed wire in front of your shop
Don't make it difficult for your customers to contact you. Businesses with the smoothest processes will attract (and keep) the best customers.
How I got landing page load time down from 0.8 seconds to 0.2 seconds.
Here’s a quick tip for improving landing page speed. As you know, nobody likes a slow website. Load speed is strongly correlated with the conversion rate: Fast website = more leads.
How to improve landing page experience.
Improving page speed helps improve landing page experience. Google's guidance is broad, not specific. That makes it hard to know what to do. Google does provide one specific set of instructions, following these will improve landing page experience and boost conversion rates.
How to craft high-converting headlines, even if you have the copywriting skills of a turnip.
If you’re anything like me, starting is the hardest part of writing. It's like I'm staring at the screen waiting for someone to unblock the idea pipe. That struggle is over.
Improve website conversion rates with autocomplete.
Here's a small tweak to the contact form on your website that'll make it easier for people to complete it. Adding autocomplete to your form fields is one of those 1% kaizen improvements. They all add up.
Landing pages: Click-to-call or contact form?
You get the highest conversion rates from landing pages that concentrate on convincing visitors to do just one thing. Offer visitors too many choices and they bounce. But what if there are two equally good things your visitor could do?
I’m paying for clicks but I'm not getting enough leads.
Read on to learn how your website could be sabotaging your advertising. And, what you can do to get more leads from your the clicks you've already paid for.
Honest conversion tracking when you've got live chat, click to call and a form
I took on an account with no useful conversion data. Here's how I started tracking calls, forms and live chat accurately.
Use HTTPS for your landing pages or kill your conversion rate.
The number of website enquiries you get is going to fall off a cliff after 24th of October if your website doesn't use HTTPS. After the 24th of October 2017, Google Chrome will warn people that web pages with forms are insecure unless they’re served over HTTPS. Here's how to fix this.

Managing Google Ads campaigns

6 Critical Mistakes You're Making with Your Landing Page
Amy Hoy wrote a brilliant article titled 6 Critical Mistakes You're Making with Your Landing Page. She makes a really interesting observation which resonated with me: Landing page design is actually a usability exercise.
CAPTCHA is like putting barbed wire in front of your shop
Don't make it difficult for your customers to contact you. Businesses with the smoothest processes will attract (and keep) the best customers.
How I got landing page load time down from 0.8 seconds to 0.2 seconds.
Here’s a quick tip for improving landing page speed. As you know, nobody likes a slow website. Load speed is strongly correlated with the conversion rate: Fast website = more leads.
How to improve landing page experience.
Improving page speed helps improve landing page experience. Google's guidance is broad, not specific. That makes it hard to know what to do. Google does provide one specific set of instructions, following these will improve landing page experience and boost conversion rates.
How to craft high-converting headlines, even if you have the copywriting skills of a turnip.
If you’re anything like me, starting is the hardest part of writing. It's like I'm staring at the screen waiting for someone to unblock the idea pipe. That struggle is over.
Improve website conversion rates with autocomplete.
Here's a small tweak to the contact form on your website that'll make it easier for people to complete it. Adding autocomplete to your form fields is one of those 1% kaizen improvements. They all add up.
Landing pages: Click-to-call or contact form?
You get the highest conversion rates from landing pages that concentrate on convincing visitors to do just one thing. Offer visitors too many choices and they bounce. But what if there are two equally good things your visitor could do?
I’m paying for clicks but I'm not getting enough leads.
Read on to learn how your website could be sabotaging your advertising. And, what you can do to get more leads from your the clicks you've already paid for.
Honest conversion tracking when you've got live chat, click to call and a form
I took on an account with no useful conversion data. Here's how I started tracking calls, forms and live chat accurately.
Use HTTPS for your landing pages or kill your conversion rate.
The number of website enquiries you get is going to fall off a cliff after 24th of October if your website doesn't use HTTPS. After the 24th of October 2017, Google Chrome will warn people that web pages with forms are insecure unless they’re served over HTTPS. Here's how to fix this.

Troublshooting Google Ads campaigns

Is your AdWords running at 100%?
Are you worried that it might be underperforming? Perhaps you've neglected your AdWords account. Maybe it used to do better but now it’s costing more and delivering less. Maybe you’re behind on some updates or not confident that everything is as it should be.
How long does AdWords take to work?
You’ve chosen good keywords, written decent ad copy, set up a landing page that should convert. You’re getting impressions and the CTR looks ok but you’ve still not had any conversions. Is this normal or should you worry?
How the distribution of clicks by device can look like a conversion rate problem.
We PPC people dream about the conversions graph going up up up to the right but sometimes the line looks like the side view of a cliff, with an account manager splattered at the bottom like Wile E. Coyote. I used to dread trying to figure out why a good campaign went bad. Then I learned a technique that lets me get to the real reason for a drop in conversions.
How the mix of people who see your ads affects Google Ads performance.
Learn how changes in searcher's intent, network, time of day etc affect Google Ads performance.
How the new search ad position metrics can help diagnose a drop in CTR.
You might be scratching your head wondering why your clickthrough rate plummeted even though your average position was 1.2. Google's new search position metrics shed some light.
How to find the real reason conversions dropped.
A sudden unexplained drop in conversions is terrifying. You’re paying for clicks but you’re not getting leads or sales. It’s bad when you’re spending your boss’s or client’s money. It’s even worse when it’s your business on the chopping block. Read on to find out how to get to the bottom of coversion problems.
How to Increase AdWords Impressions.
There are two ways to get more AdWords impressions. Increase the reach of your adverts and give Google more incentive to show your adverts. Here's how to do both.
My Google AdWords adverts are not showing.
Google AdWords not showing your ads? Here's how to find the reason why.
I ignored quality score for a year.
I used to think quality score was vital, but in the year I’ve ignored QS and focussed on other metrics: - our ads have been clicked more often. - Our landing pages are better at turning visitors into leads. - Our clients are getting superior leads from their Google Ads spend.