Pete Bowen's site

Pete Bowen here. I accidentally became an Google AdWords Google Ads lead generation specialist in 2007. I co-founded MarketingMotor, a Google Ads agency, in 2010.

Enough about me...

Topics you'll find on this site

How to build Google Ads campaigns for lead generation.

How to increase the bid for a specific keyword when using the Maximise Clicks bidding strategy
How do you make the most of a high-converting keyword in a campaign where you're using the Maximise Clicks bidding strategy?
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 Ads: 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 Ads policies.
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 Ads Expanded Text Adverts
Here are the rules we use for writing Google Ads expanded text ads at MarketingMotor. Feel free to copy them.
What is the lowest amount of traffic needed for a campaign?
The smallest estimated search volume I'd be comfortable with depends on if the campaign is for a new or existing client.
Writing Callout Extensions
Coming up with callout extensions has always been hard. No more...

How to manage lead generation Google Ads campaigns.

A love letter to statistics
This is for you if you’re interested in making data-driven decisions about your Google Ads. Amy Hebdon, founder at Paid Search Magic, wrote a fantastic article she described a love letter disguised as a how to about PPC data interpretation.
Allocating budget
How do you know the best way to split your ad budget between search and display, between Facebook and Google, between one keyword and another?
Does Google rip advertisers off?
I'm not saying that everyone who's paid for Google ads has turned a profit. That's definitely not the case. But, when people lose money on Google ads its likely to be because Google Ads was a poor fit for their business, or because of the way they did Google Ads. I can't see Google risking their future to steal your advertising budget
Don't believe my writing
I'm not trying to bamboozle you, it's just that my - and everyone else's - writing isn't always right for your circumstances. Read on to find out more...
Don’t believe every recommendation from Google.
The optimisation score is Google’s newest way of telling you how to run your Google Ads account. Read on to see how following it blindly can hurt your business.
Google showed your ads to the wrong people today.
Google showed your some of your adverts to the wrong people today. You (or someone you hire) must deal with this or your ads are going to start costing more and generating fewer leads. Here's how.
Has Google jumped the gun on mobile?
How much commercial activity happens on mobile phones? Is it enough to justify a mobile-first approach to development? Case study with mobile vs desktop AdWords generated leads across 7 industries.
How do you get more leads from Google Ads when you’ve maxed out impression share?
How do you get more leads from Google Ads when you’ve maxed out impression share? Here's how we solved this problem...
How to get fast traction on a brand new Google Ads campaign.
I worked out a process for getting fast results from new AdWords campaigns so I didn't have to worry as much. You're welcome to copy (and improve) my process.
I'm scared I'll break my campaign
If you don't feel confident making changes to Google Ads campaigns this might help...
I’m getting too many B2C leads. I want only B2B.
I’ve bumped into this problem with almost every client who sells to other businesses (B2B) not to consumers (B2C). Here are some options ..
Improve conversion rates by adding extra calls to action.
Need to improve your conversion rate? Here's a tested approach that takes only a few minutes.
Putting a little science into AdWords
In the past I relied on a combination of the change history in AdWords, some rough notes and my memory to keep track of my testing. It worked but it wasn't great. It became more difficult as my business grew. I started to feel like I was losing control. I couldn't answer questions about an account without having to root around in Google docs, AdWords and email. Read on to see how I fixed this.
Should you advertise on Search Partners?
We check the campaigns we manage regularly to see how much it costs to generate an enquiry on Google search versus search partners. Most of the time it costs more or less the same. Sometimes the difference is huge.
Should you show ads to people on their phones?
It is a fact that more people use the internet on their phones than they do on computers these days. But are these glued-to-their-phone types going to buy from you?
The hidden trade-offs of automated bidding
I like automated bidding. But, there are some trade offs with automated bidding that are not well documented.
Using the Search Terms Report to find negative keywords.
The Search Terms Report is a great place to find negative keywords to add to your AdWords campaign. It shows (some of) the actual words and phrases that triggered your ads.
You don't have enough data to be confident that you're making the right decisions.
Here are 3 rules of thumb I use to to help me make more of the right decisions when data is scarce.

How to turn more clicks into leads.

Improve conversion rates with visitor-focussed headlines
High-converting headlines are about what the visitor cares for, not about the characteristics of the business. Here's how to check your headline for visitor focus.
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.
Do long enquiry forms get more qualified leads?
If your enquiry form asks for much more than contact details you're losing qualified sales leads. Read on to learn why...
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.
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 long should your landing page be?
How long should your landing page be? The answer isn't a number.
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.
How to improve landing page conversion rates by increasing visitor motivation
Here's how I doubled the conversion rate on some Google Ads lead generation landing pages by improving visitor's motivation.
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.
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.
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?
Length is a liability; value per page is an asset.
This is a quote from Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick. His advice is perfect for lead-generation landing pages.
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.
We read websites like we did 100 years ago
Even though the internet is infinitely more ubiquitous now. Even though we've had a generation grow up with Google. Even though 2-year olds have iPads
. The way people read websites hasn't changed...
What's your landing page's first job?
It’s not to convince someone to buy from you, establish trust, build your brand or educate your customer. Those things are important but they're not the first job. The first job is ...

How to turn more leads into customers.

Google Ads delivers leads not sales
What’s the most important problem in your industry? In my industry the most important problem is that Google Ads delivers leads but doesn’t deliver sales. Here's what I've been doing about that...
How to get leads from different sources into your CRM automatically
I’ve got a client in the motor trade who gets about 2 000 leads a month from 22 different online sources. Here's how we put them into his sales engine automatically without expensive computer code.

How to diagnose and fix Google Ads performance problems.

How long does Google Ads 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.
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.

How to freelance or run a Google Ads agency.

How to handle your client's terrible ideas.
Your client has a terrible idea for "improving" the campaign. If you push back you're going to lose the client. Here's how to keep the client without killing the campaign.
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.
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...
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.
Should I specialise or be a generalist?
I often get asked whether it’s best to specialise or be a generalist. I understand why but I think it's the wrong question. I think a better question is ...
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.

How to build custom tools using the Google Ads API.

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.
How to use the Google Ads 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 Ads 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.

What business owners need to know about Google Ads.

Ever get to Friday and feel like you’ve accomplished nothing?
That's been me for many months. I’ve been busy but not productive. I've felt burned out, tired and bored. This all changed after I implemented time blocking.
How do you get value from "low quality" Google Ads leads?
One kind of "low quality" Google Ads lead is a genuine enquiry for something adjacent to what you offer. Here's how I helped one client make sales to them.
"I have no idea if his recommendations will increase my conversions..."
A friend is trying to hire someone to manage her Google Ads. She's worried that they'll cost more than they bring in. Or, worse, they'll kill the flow of leads her business depends on. Here's how to reduce that risk.
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 I know which of my leads came from Google Ads?
Here's the problem... Conversion tracking or analytics can tell you how many leads you got, but not who they are. Read on to see how to fix this.
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 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.
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.
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 Ads 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.
Make more sales from PPC leads by understanding why people enquire.
Understanding why people buy is key to making more sales. Here's how you can get started right away.
Marketing Lessons from a Chimney Sweep
There was nothing special about his customer-finding system. But, his customer-keeping system was the best I've ever seen for a small business.
Nobody is buying! Can’t you write better ads?
Nobody is buying! Can’t you write better ads? That's the last thing you want to hear in a meeting with a new client...
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.
Should I use my competitors' names as keywords in Google Ads?
Should I use my competitors' names as keywords in Google Ads? The answer is, it depends. Read on to find out how to make the right decision for your business.
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 Ads, 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.
Which are the specifically right targets for a small paper pallet company?
This question was asked on Quora. Saving my answer here.
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.

Want to increase your conversion rate? For free?

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