ReTargeter Blog

Google AdWords Q&A with Phil Frost of Main Street ROI


This is a Google AdWords Q&A with Phil Frost, Founder and COO of Main Street ROI, an online marketing company based in New York City.

1. Tell us a bit about Main Street ROI. What types of businesses do you work with?

Main Street ROI provides online marketing services, consulting, and training for small businesses.  Our motto is “online marketing made simple” and as our name suggests, our primary goal is to provide return on investment (ROI) for our clients.

We work primarily with small, locally-focused businesses in both the B2C and B2B markets. But we also have a lot of experience with large, national online marketing campaigns.

2. What’s a reasonable budget for Google AdWords, if you’re just starting out?

This is one of the most common questions I hear from business owners.  Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.  For Google AdWords search campaigns, your budget depends on the keywords you’re going to advertise on because the cost per click for a given keyword can vary anywhere from $0.10 to over $20.

That means you could pay $0.10 every time a prospect clicks on your ad for one keyword, and then pay $20 every time a prospect clicks on a different keyword.  Clearly, you’ll need a bigger budget if you want to target the more expensive keywords.

So the first step to determine your budget is to identify the keywords you want to target.  Go to to use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.  The Keyword Planner Tool works like a thesaurus. You simply type in some of the keywords you think your prospects are searching in Google to find your product or service, and the tool provides additional phrases, along with how many times the phrases are searched each month (aka Monthly Search Volume) and the keyword’s estimated cost per click (or CPC).

Once you have your list of keywords and their respective CPCs, then you can use some basic math to estimate a reasonable budget.  In order to test a keyword I recommend you try to get at least 100 to 200 clicks.  So to calculate the low end of your test budget, multiple each of the CPCs by 100, and then add up all the estimated keyword costs.  To calculate the high end of your test budget, multiply by 200.  Now you have a range for how much it will cost you to test your target keywords in Google AdWords.

3. What are some common mistakes to avoid?

There are two mistakes I see over and over when I review AdWords campaigns.  The first mistake is using the wrong keyword Match Type.  Google by default will make all of your keywords Broad Match.  Broad match keywords allow Google to show your ads on any phrase that Google thinks is relevant to the keyword in your campaign. 

For example, you could be advertising on the keyword “plumber” and Google might show your ad when someone searches “how to get a plumbing license.”  Those two keywords are related, but the latter is clearly not a prospect for a plumbing company.  Any clicks on those ads would be a waste of money.

Instead of Broad Match, I always recommend Phrase and Exact Match.  Phrase match tells Google to only show your ads when the keyword is part of the phrase typed into Google.  Exact match tells Google to only show your ads when the exact word or phrase is typed into Google.  Those two Match Types will give you more control over your ad spend.

The second mistake is not using conversion tracking.  Google AdWords has built in conversion tracking to measure how many people use a contact form, make an online purchase, request information, or any other important action on your website.  Once conversion tracking is installed, then Google AdWords will automatically measure the conversions from your advertising and display the information in your reports. 

For example, you’ll instantly see which keywords are driving leads and sales and which keywords are simply wasting your ad budget.  WIthout conversion tracking, there’s no way to optimize your campaign to focus more of your budget on the top performing keywords and ads.

4. How has Google AdWords changed over the past couple years?

The most important change to Google AdWords was the migration to what are called “Enhanced Campaigns.”  Google overhauled their AdWords account structure in an effort to better handle the new multi-device world we live in.

When I started using AdWords, very few people were surfing online using their mobile devices, and tablets did not exist.  That changed very quickly and mobile internet traffic is predicted to overtake desktop internet traffic by 2015. 

With that in mind, Google changed their device targeting settings. Now there’s no way to avoid advertising to tablet devices and by default everyone is opted into targeting mobile devices.  If you’re not aware of this change, then you could easily be losing money every day.  Most business websites are not optimized for mobile and tablet devices.  That means prospect could be clicking on your ads, but then quickly bouncing because the website is unusable on a mobile or tablet.

Personally, I do not like how Google forces advertisers to target tablets and defaults the ads to target mobile.  However, the more important issue is that businesses need to make their websites mobile and tablet friendly.  That’s the direction in which internet marketing is moving and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.  Businesses that drag their feet will soon lose a big chunk of their traffic, leads, and sales from their website.

5. What are the keys to a profitable Google AdWords campaign?

The most important factor that will determine whether you’re successful with Google AdWords is congruence.  There must be a congruent message from the keyword, to the ad, to the landing page, and all the way through to the sale. 

This is basic marketing 101: match the message to the market.  However, you would be surprised how many businesses try to take shortcuts and use the same ad and landing page for every single keyword or website placement in an AdWords campaign.

To get my complete 10 step process for setting up a profitable AdWords campaign, read, How to Create a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign (From Scratch).

6. How can Google AdWords and retargeting work together?

If you’re using Google Adwords, then I recommend you also test retargeting to improve your overall conversion rates.  No matter what you’re selling, the majority of your website visitors are not going to buy from you right away.  Retargeting gives you an opportunity to stay top of mind, present more offers, counter objections, and bring prospects back into your sales funnel.  If you want to get up to speed on how retargeting can help your business, read Retargeting 101: Everything You Need to Know About Retargeting.  It’s a great comprehensive guide that can get you started.

For some reason Google AdWords uses different terminology.  They call this remarketing instead of retargeting, but it’s exactly the same thing.  A retargeting campaign gives you the ability to display ads (text or image) on Google’s Display network so that only prospects who previously visited your website will see the ads.  This is usually a very cost effective form of advertising because you’re targeting people who already expressed some interest in your product or service.

The drawback from using Google AdWords remarketing alone is that you’re going to miss out on showing your ads on websites that do not display AdWords ads.  So if you’re looking for ways to expand your retargeting, then I recommend using a different ad network like ReTargeter that has access to much more inventory outside of the Google Display Network. In fact, ReTargeter gives customers access to over 98% of ad inventory available across the Web, including sites like Yahoo!, the New York Times, and Facebook.

Want more Google AdWords tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.



Case Study – Watters

Watters Logo | ReTargeter

Watters is the brainchild of designer Vatana Watters. For over 30 years, it has been the leader in offering luxurious designer bridal gowns, innovative bridesmaids dresses, classic special occasion dresses for mothers of the wedding, and adorable dresses for flower girls and junior bridesmaids around the world. Selling primarily at trunk shows and in third-party […]

Read more