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What is Google Adwords?

Google Adwords is a search engine marketing tactic that involves placing ads or sponsored listings related to keyword searches on Google’s results page. It can be a great tactic for schools that want to generate leads and traffic for specific programs. If your school is new to Google Adwords and it does not have an account, you’re not taking advantage of a tool that can really drive good quality traffic to your website and generate leads at an effective cost per lead.

Right now there are four major networks, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook. Of those, Google Adwords has the biggest market share. It is, then, absolutely essential to properly set up a Google Adwords account. If you just let it ride, you will not get the most out of Google Adwords and other Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click channels. Every keyword and ad – and it’s not uncommon for an account to have hundreds of keywords and ads in an account – has to be managed on a daily basis. It’s essential to look at the keyword bids, match types – broad phrase or exact – and the targeting.

Integrating Google Services

It is also important to remember that Google Adwords is actually set up and structured to work hand in hand with Google Place – formerly known as the Google Maps’ local listings – and Google Analytics. Adwords, after all, is the bread and butter of Google and every one of its products is designed to enrich that experience. Google Adwords and Google Analytics can be linked, with the cost data accrued in Google Adwords imported into Google Analytics for a richer ROI metric experience. Also, Google Place can be tied in with Google Adwords, so that when your ads appear on Google’s sponsored listings, the address closest to the person searching for programs gets listed with the ad. As an example, a multi-campus college that has 10-20 different campuses should have a unique Google Places listing for each location, so that the closest address to the searcher’s location is embedded within the Google Adwords ad.

Google Webmasters Tools, meanwhile, can also be integrated with the account setup, to monitor and optimize your website on the SEO front. These four Google services, then, all work hand in hand.

The Return on Investment

The critical component of Google Adwords is the Return on Investment (ROI). Existing Adwords users often have only one major campaign for all their programs, and that is not the best way to do things. Schools should always structure one campaign per program or per faculty for each of the markets that they operate in. In this way, schools can really target their ads and keywords and manage their bids to ensure the best possible ROI.

If a school is not tracking their ROI, they probably have not enabled conversion tracking, which means they are missing out on key information that Google Adwords can report, such as which keyword, campaign, ad, or landing page has actually driven a lead to the college. A typical lead would be when a prospective student fills out a form with their name, phone number, email, and which program they are interested in.

An improperly structured Google AdWords account is therefore unable to track conversions, which means schools are missing out on key marketing information that is very readily accessible.