The 10% Clicks Rule Part 3: Does It Work?


Welcome to the final part of the Clicks Rule special.

You may remember the 10% Clicks Rule is a technique to help identify the areas of your Google AdWords account which could benefit most from your time and effort (if not, you may want track back to Part 1: Overview and Part 2: Process).

What I want to do now is evaluate the rule using a real AdWords campaign data to assess its viability. Does it work? Does it help PPC management? Does it actually help improve results? Is 10% the right figure?

Example

Let’s start with the example I worked through in Part 2: Process.

As you may remember, we identified the ad groups which were receiving a large percentage of total broad and phrase-match clicks. In the example I used, 4 ad groups received at least 10% of broad and phrase clicks.Google AdWords ad groupsI then suggested looking at the search queries for these ad groups.Search query report Google AdWordsThis gave me some great insight. Although search queries 54, 183, 55, 56 and 150 were relevant to my products and services, they were being broad matched to ad groups which were not relevant. Looking down the list, I found many similar examples of relevant searches being matched irrelevantly.

So I decided to create 16 new ad groups with 288 new keywords. Doing so gave me ideas of other new types of keywords, so I added them too, some in new ad groups. With these new keywords having their their own tailored ads, I could now be more sure than whenever someone searched for these search queries again, relevant ads would show.

Effects on click distribution

Let’s have a look at the before and after in terms of click distribution:

  • The percentage of broad and phrase clicks going to ad group 17 fell from 22.8% to 12.4%
  • The percentage of broad and phrase clicks going to ad group 27 fell from 15.8% to 11.3%
  • Ad groups 30 and 26 dropped out of the top 5
  • Ad group 36 (one of the new ad groups I added with new keyword ideas) moved into the top spot
  • The number of ad groups receiving at least 10% of broad and phrase clicks fell from 4 last month to 3 this month
  • The amount of broad and phrase clicks going to top 5 ads groups fell from 69% last month to 59% this month

example 1 before and after

(A more comprehensive comparison of ad group click percentages for both months can be found here).

So although most of last month’s ad groups are receiving a smaller share of broad and phrase clicks, one ad group (36) is now receiving more.

Not ideal, but it’s a step in the right direction. Next month, the search queries for ad group 36 can be analysed and split out into separate ad groups. If we repeat the process a few more times, what we’ll hopefully see is the broad and phrase click distribution spread over a greater number of ad groups.

Effects on actual results

Now let’s look at how overall AdWords results have changed:

  • CTR increased by 22.5%
  • Click volume increased by 43.2%
  • CPCs stayed relatively constant (variation of $0.01)
  • Average position of ads rose by 0.6
  • Quality Score (weighted average) increased from 7.62 to 7.98
  • Conversion rate increased by 33.8%

It seems like the improved ad group granularity, better tailoring of ads and 288 new keywords had a positive effect on CTR, Quality Score and conversion rate. Click volume also rose significantly for the same average CPC.

So great results all round.

More examples

We’ve only looked at one example so far. Let’s repeat the process for few more campaigns to see how the 10% Clicks Rule works on other campaigns.

Highlighted in red are the ad groups which are over 10% and could benefit from some insight.Improve Google AdWords CTRIn examples 2 and 3, just looking at the search queries for these highlighted ad groups I found over 300 new keywords that could be added. Most were relevant to my products and services but were being matched irrelevantly.

Although examples 4 and 5 had fewer ad groups over 10%, just looking at the top ad groups helped me uncover some unnecessary broad-matching, suggesting maybe a ‘top 5 rule’ would be better to keep it relative.

Although no before and after results are yet available for these campaigns, it would be interesting to see how CTR, Quality Score and conversion rate improve over time with these ad group improvements.

Conclusions

So what can we conclude from all of this?

  • The 10% Clicks Rule made it easy to identify ad groups where time and effort should be focused
  • There is evidence to suggest he 10% Clicks Rule successfully helped spread the share of broad and phrase clicks across a greater number of ad groups
  • There is evidence to suggest the 10% Clicks Rule helped significantly increase CTR, click volume, average position, Quality Score and conversion rate while keeping CPCs constant

So…if you are worried that too much of your traffic is being broad or phrase-matched, or worried that you are losing control over where your ads are being show, or just want to improve CTR, click volume and conversion rate, this technique could be for you.

I’m convinced of it’s use in helping to improve AdWords campaigns. I use it regularly and it really does help to quickly and easily get to the heart of broad and phrase matching. It saves sifting through mountains of data and becoming overwhelmed with analysis paralysis. That’s just me though – if you’ve tried it out for yourself and have any suggestions, good or bad, I’d love to hear your comments.

Happy optimising!

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Alan Mitchell is an experienced Google AdWords consultant helping businesses in Australia increase their return on investment from PPC marketing. For more information on how efficient search query optimisation can benefit your business, get in touch today for a free consultation.

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  1. #1 by Dan PPCPROZ on July 25th, 2009

    Great post.

    I’m horrible at pivot tables, but I loved the theory!

    I do this naturally, without the stats, just a lot of grunt work, but now more fun as the search reports can be done inline.

    thanks for a fascinating post.

    Dan

  2. #2 by ProactiveSEO on August 3rd, 2009

    Great post and useful insights. BTW, I also love Pivot tables – they are wonderful.

  3. #3 by Mats on April 23rd, 2012

    Very interesting & useful post, thx!

    As a AdWords beginner, I wonder whether this applies only to keyword lists that do not use the “+”-modifier…? Or doesn’t that matter?

  4. #4 by Alan Mitchell on April 25th, 2012

    @ Mats

    Since modified broad match gives the advertiser greater control than standard broad match, it can help to restrict the types of searches which match to your keywords.

    That said, there is still considerable benefits to making sure your clicks and impressions are spread over a wide range of different keywords and ad groups. No single keyword should receive a large number of your clicks and impressions (i.e. over 10%). Going for a more targeted long-tail strategy is always more beneficial than a generic strategy with only a handful of keywords.

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