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CPC Case Study: A Novel Use for Google Adwords Over the weekend, I was thinking about a novel and quick way I used Google Adwords to help fill a spot for a local child care center (and avoid being stuck with a $450 bill).

Pay Per Click Case Study: Micro-Targeted CPC Campaign

A Novel Approach to Using Google Adwords: One of the things I really like about an advertising platform like Google Adwords is the ability to micro-target campaigns. In the past, if you had a very specific item you wanted to sell or promote, the only avenues were direct mail, print advertising or TV / radio. But those are expensive, mass-marketing tools. About a year ago, I was on the hook for a day care spot for our daughter. We had signed up with this amazing place in north Boulder, but then a spot at a place two minutes away opened up. Instead of driving 30 minutes each way (back and forth) for a total of 1 hour each day, we found something a lot closer. But I was stuck with a committment for $450 per month to the other place, unless they were able to fill the spot. There’s high demand for quality daycare in Boulder, as there is in many towns. But I didn’t want to wait an entire month and be stuck with the bill. Local, Micro-Targeted Ad Campaign: So I leveraged the Google Adwords, and created a very basic campaign. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bit of an advantage: I’ve been working with the Google Adwords system since it first came out in 2002, and the system is second nature to me. However, this is a more compelling, easier-to-apply example than the 750,000 keywords we manage for a site like DiscountDecorating.com. And the campaign’s goal was not to drive a lot of signups for the center. It was to drive a single signup. So the strategy was a bit different than a normal campaign.


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1. Geo-Targeted to Boulder, Colorado: To get started, I first choose a geo-location target: 20 miles surrounding the 80304 zip code in Boulder, Colorado:

CPC Campaign Ad settings

2. Keyword Selection: Next, I selected broad keywords that would expand the reach. Here’s a list of some of the keywords I choose: preschool preschools preschool in Boulder preschool daycare child care service education preschool kids preschool preschool montessori day care Boulder day care Boulder CO preschool Boulder need preschool Here’s a graphical view of the keywords in the Google Adwords interface:

Keyword selection for CPC advertising

I created exact match, phrase match and broad match variations, with 85 keywords in total. Again, we do this quite a bit, so this is something I have a tool that can expand keywords quickly and easily. I also added in some of the common negative keywords (such as free) to prevent the ads from showing up when those keywords were displayed.

3. Wrote Ad Copy. Third, I created a couple of ads, based on previous experience of knowing what might work:

I like asking a question, as it’s engaging. I also like to include the phone number in the ad, too, as it allowed me to get more traffic, but not have to pay for a clickthrough through Google.

4. Set An Ad Budget & Let It Run. I then set a budget of $20 per day for three days (what I was willing to spend), and then let the campaign run. Campaign Results: From August 12 to August 15, the campaign had:

Advertising Impressions: 3,707

Clickthrough Rate: 0.19%

Number of Clickthroughs: 7

Average Cost Per Clickthrough: $0.20

Average Position of Ad: 3.8

Total Advertising Outlay: $1.41 (Plus my time, of course. It took me about an hour to get this set up. And then probably an extra hour of time watching it.) Within three days, the center had received many phone calls, and the spot had filled (getting me off the hook). It was the best $1.41 I’ve spent in quite a while. And I helped someone find the spot that they needed.

Summary: Even if you think Google Adwords won’t work for your overall sales budget, a micro-targeted campaign can often create significant impact.

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