Wonderful Machine uses Google Ads to promote member photographers. Some months both of our ad groups (one of which is “standard” and the other “dynamic”) see improvements in their success rate (more clicks or conversions, for example). In other months one might improve while the other begins to decline (theoretically, some months, they will both see decreases, but this has yet to happen). During September 2021, our dynamic ad group saw improvements, but our standard ad group did not.
Let’s say you’re a business owner (as you probably are), and you want to advertise both your lifestyle photography and your food photography. You would create a separate ad group for each of those targets with a distinct set of keywords.
At Wonderful Machine, our standard ad group is called “Specialties” and includes 26 of our 41 keywords that we use to identify the different specialties in which our photographers… specialize: ie., food photography, lifestyle photography, adventure photography, etc.
During September 2021 (in comparison with August), the “Specialities” ad group saw a -20.1% decrease in the number of clicks, -15.7% drop in users, -14.2% decline in the amount of sessions.
By contrast, our dynamic ad group, called “Commercial Photographer,” saw a +12.7% increase in clicks, a +5.7% improvement in number of users, and a +13.7% gain in sessions.
A dynamic ad group creates advertisements based on pages from your website. So instead of making your advertisement based on keywords, you provide Google with a series of pages that you want to draw traffic.
I used to play this game with my students when I taught philosophy. If they weren’t asking the questions I wanted them to, I would pose them myself: “Does Descartes really think someone doesn’t exist when they are not thinking?” (Skip to the end for the answer to this question.)
The click-through rate measures the number of clicks on a specific advertisement divided by the number of impressions, which is the number of times these advertisements were made visible to a search user. The CTR is an index of how effective the advertisement is. A high CTR means the advertisement is reaching more of the people that it targets, whereas a lower CTR means that it’s reaching fewer.
Our campaign’s highest CTR was back in late October 2020, when it reached nearly 13%; its lowest was in early April 2021 at 1.3% (ouch!). The above graph plots the click-through rate (CTR) for September 2021, which has fallen by -1.6% compared to August.
One of the questions every advertiser has to ask is if they should strive to saturate the internet with their ads, assuming that the largest number of possible consumers will bring the greatest return, or if they would aim their ads to a select audience, assuming that a select audience is a better judge of potential returns.
To provide an analogy, consider those annoying telemarketers who blanket your voicemail with pleas to extend your automobile warranty. The number of calls made during this campaign is remarkably high, whereas the success rate for those calls is very, very low. Yet even this tiny success rate results in an adequate return, otherwise the telemarketers would not continue their efforts.
Thus, to return our analogy to Wonderful Machine’s Google Ads campaign, should we aim at all possible consumers of photography or just those that seek the types of commercial photographers we represent?
When we began our Google Ads campaign, we mainly favored the telemarketers’ methods, adopting the broader suggestions of Google’s algorithm. More recently, we have made our ads more targeted, a crucial element of which involved implementing the dynamic ad group mentioned above.
If you look at the graph above, you’ll see the conversion rate for each of the two ad groups charted against that of Wonderful Machine’s Google Ad campaign altogether, from May–September 2021. We began using the dynamic ad group in July, resulting in a significant increase in users searching for photographers. The dynamic ad group’s conversion rate is between 55-65%, while the standard ad groups rate remains around 35%.
So this month, we’re going to throw all our eggs into the dynamic ad groups basket and see what happens. Check back in early November for all of the salacious details!
P.S. Descartes does not think a person ceases to exist when they stop thinking. It’s an epistemological inquiry, folks!