Marketing is Changing and Kissmetrics is Here to Help

It’s a great time to be a marketer. Never before have we had access to so much customer and behavioral data. We know which campaigns turn prospects into paying customers. We know the content customers prefer, their buying patterns, and the reasons they stop doing business with us.

But just when we thought we had it all, customers are changing even faster than ever, and the way we market to them must adapt. So, that’s what we’re doing – and we’re making tools to do just that.

Our Big Changes

In a strategic move, Kissmetrics has released a new product called Engage, which fills a huge market need. It gives marketers a powerful new tool to improve their performance. (More on that in a bit).

Also, as you may have noticed, we’ve updated our brand, logo, and website.


Our new look is more in line with our market and our company. It’s modern, strong, helpful, committed, smart, confident, and trustworthy. Also, our website is more informative, clear, and concise about the products we provide and the value they bring to the market.

The Market’s Big Changes

The market is changing rapidly. If marketers don’t change their approach, their companies won’t be able to compete or survive. Now that’s an extreme statement, but here’s what I mean and why I truly believe it:

Buyers are in control and have amazing power at their fingertips. They can shop, compare, review, search, and ultimately purchase at any time, from anywhere. Their expectations are high and their attention spans are short. They expect to find answers, information, and guidance quickly and easily. They are going through the buying process on their own, according to their own terms, and in their own time frames.

It’s their journey, and if you’re not on hand to guide them at key moments, you are likely to lose. You may have heard, and even said, all this before. But now, it’s a business requirement to live it.

Change Brings Opportunity

As a result of all these changes, marketing has to go way beyond the top of the funnel to fuel growth. Marketers have to generate interest and be there all the way through the customer lifecycle, providing the information and guidance required to keep buyers on the path to the targeted conversion, be it a sign-up, download, registration, or purchase.

This is easier said than done because every journey is different. So, we need a new approach to marketing. The static, pre-defined campaigns won’t cut it. We must provide continuous, dynamic, behavior-based messaging to a segment of 1 – the holy grail of marketing.

The key ingredients for making this a reality are:

  1. Understand your buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle.
  2. Monitor digital interactions and activity.
  3. Deliver timely, relevant interactions based on behavior.

Kissmetrics is Here to Help

Our flagship product, Kissmetrics Analyze, was built to help marketers understand interactions between people and their companies. It shows marketers how people respond to campaigns and pages and how they move through the buying cycle, from their very first visit, through purchase, and back again.

The next step is to act upon that valuable insight. In order to do exactly that, Kissmetrics has released a new product – Engage.

Engage lets marketers easily create interactions that are timely, relevant, and based on behavior. Marketers can go along on each and every buyer’s journey as they proceed at their own pace, choose their own process, and follow their own rules. The buyer is still in charge, but now you can respond based on their behavior at just the right moment, to a segment of 1.

Analyze + Engage gives you the ability to measure and optimize interactions with your audience. So, to fully understand the buyer’s journey, monitor that journey. Then respond with timely, relevant messages to increase conversions.

Time to Shine

Now marketers can have amazing power at their fingertips, just as buyers do. The buyers are in control, but they’re ready and willing to be won over with timely guidance and information that makes your company shine. Here’s to marketing! It’s awesome.

We invite you to start a free trial of Kissmetrics. You’ll get access to both Engage and Analyze. Our support team will be available during your trial to ensure your setup success. Get started by clicking the button below.



About the Author: Brian Kelly is the CEO of Kissmetrics.

Marketing is Changing and Kissmetrics is Here to Help

How to Find Which Subscription Plans Are The Most Valuable Using Kissmetrics

If you’re in the SaaS business, you probably have a few subscription plans. It’s probably something like this:

  • Freemium
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Enterprise

All these plans are separated by cost, capability, and some miscellaneous details, such as what kind of support each plan will receive.

But if you’re a marketer, and it’s your job to market the product with these plans, how do you know which one delivers the best ROI? Or which plan leads to the highest churn rate?

Does the small plan have the best ROI? Or is it the enterprise? And which plan has the highest cancellation rate?

The Kissmetrics Revenue Report can help you answer all these questions.

Segmenting Your Revenue

Viewed as a whole, your revenue is like traffic. It’s just one (hopefully, big) number. If you don’t segment (or, put another way, group) it, you won’t know who is sending you revenue, which segments are the most valuable, etc.

The Revenue Report allows you to segment your revenue, which can deliver important insights. Let’s see how.

Here we’re segmenting revenue by subscription plan type (small, medium, enterprise). So all the customers who are in the small plan are put in the small segment, medium are in the medium segment, etc. Since freemium doesn’t deliver any revenue, it is not included in the Revenue Report.




We have 5 metrics for each segment.

Total Revenue is the total amount of revenue that has been received for that segment.

Average Revenue/Person is the average amount of revenue we’ve received from each customer in that segment. It’s simply the total revenue divided by the number of paying customers.

Lifetime Value is the estimated amount of revenue we can expect to receive from each customer in each segment. It’s a calculation of average revenue/person divided by churn rate.

Paying Customers is the number of “active” customers. These are the people we have recorded revenue from who have not churned.

Total Churn is the cancellation rate, or the percentage of customers who stopped paying.

We can see that our medium plan is the segment with the largest revenue. It sends us the most revenue, has the most customers, and has a solid lifetime value. The only downside is its fairly high churn rate.

The small plan is causing problems for our business. While it brings a lot of revenue, it has a high churn rate. We’ll need to investigate ASAP to determine why 15% of the customers in this plan end up canceling.

The enterprise plan excels in nearly every category. While it doesn’t bring us the most revenue, it does have a low churn rate, the highest average revenue/person, and a great lifetime value. Given this data, we should invest more effort in getting customers into our enterprise plan.

Making Decisions with Actionable Data

Kissmetrics reports allow marketers to make data-informed decisions that help guide growth. Let’s see what actions we can take based off the data above.

  • The first step is to identify why so many customers in the small plan are canceling. If we don’t already request a reason for cancellation when a customer cancels, we should set that up. If this doesn’t provide any good intel, we can go back to look at the support tickets those customers submitted to see if we can find patterns in the troubles they had.
  • Enterprise is a great performing segment. If we can get more enterprise customers, it will quickly become the highest “total revenue” segment. We can use the Kissmetrics People Search to find which channels we acquired our enterprise customers from. (More on that later.)
  • We’ll need to do some math (if we haven’t already) and figure out what we’re spending to acquire a customer. We can come up with a rough number by dividing the sum of all sales and marketing expenses by the number of new customers added (David Skok has more on this). The general rule is that “lifetime value” should be at least 3x the cost to acquire a customer.
  • If we have a freemium plan, we can use the Kissmetrics Cohort Report to discover whether people upgrade to a paid plan, when they do so, when they refer others, etc.

Using People Search to Get More Actionable Data

We know we want to acquire more enterprise customers, so let’s find out how the ones we currently have found us. We don’t have to leave Kissmetrics to get this data. It’s all in the People Search.

People Search allows us to find specific people based on criteria we set. Here our criteria looks like this:

  • We want to find the people in the enterprise plan
  • We want to make sure they have not canceled
  • We want to know how they first heard about us

This is how our criteria looks in People Search. If we’re using UTM’s, we’ll use the “campaign medium” parameter.




We’ll click Search and get the list of customers that match this criteria:




And we get a list of customers in the enterprise plan. We’re looking at only 10 of the 73 customers. We can export this data to a CSV or just expand our view to get the full list. From viewing the first 10, we can see that many of them came from AdWords. We’ll have to look at the full list to know if AdWords represents the majority. If it does, we know that our AdWords campaigns are working, and we can ramp those up by increasing our budget.

How You Can Get Data like This

All this data came from Kissmetrics reports. When you use Kissmetrics, you can get data like this that can deliver actionable insights. You’ll just need a couple of things:

  • We certainly don’t require it, but it’s a good idea to start using UTMs to track your campaigns. Kissmetrics tracks channels out of the box, allowing you to see how each is performing. If you use UTMs, Kissmetrics will automatically pick those up, and you can segment your data with any UTM parameter.
  • Kissmetrics uses events and properties to track data. Events are actions a person performs on your site (e.g., visiting your site, submitting a form, signing up, using a feature, etc). Properties are characteristics about a person, such as when they signed up (e.g., what day & time), how many times they’ve visited your site, UTMs they’ve been tagged with, etc. When first setting up Kissmetrics, you’ll have to install the JavaScript tracking snippet. You can get help from a developer if you’re unfamiliar with this. Our Customer Success team is here to help you every step of the way, as well.

That’s it! Once you get these things, you’ll be on your way to making better marketing and product decisions.

Two Quick Demos

We used two Kissmetrics reports to get this data – the Revenue Report and the People Search. Wanna learn (and see) more about them? Just click the Play buttons below. We’ll start with the Revenue Report.




Our customers love using People Search. Here’s a video explaining how it works:




To start using Revenue Report, People Search, and the others in our suite of reports, sign up for a 14-day free trial of Kissmetrics. You can also request a personal demo to see how Kissmetrics can work for you.


Not ready to sign up or experience a personal demo? No worries, we have a Demo site set up where you can get an overview of how Kissmetrics works.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

How to Find Which Subscription Plans Are The Most Valuable Using Kissmetrics

How to Start Using Explainer Videos (Infographic)

Tell me if you’ve experienced this problem. After sitting at your computer for a couple of hours writing copy for your product/service, you have your first draft complete. Then you realize it’s over 1,000 words long, and no one is going to read it.

For many companies, explaining a product/service through text can seem like writing a book. That’s why video has become so appealing, and why it has been widely adopted as a means of explaining an offering.

There are a few advantages video has over text-based copy:

  • Visuals help people understand
  • You can convey more information in the same amount of time
  • In general, people are more likely to watch video than read text

Given these benefits, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many marketers achieve a conversion boost after implementing an explainer video. Tech products like Slack, Salesforce, Crazy Egg, and Help Scout are all currently running videos on their homepages for a reason. Why not give it a try?

Today’s infographic provides guidance on why videos work so well, the different types of videos (along with how much they cost), and tips for producing a great video.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Killer Explainer Video
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

If you don’t produce in-house, check out firms like Demo Duck, Grain and Mortar, Switch Video, or Sean Duran. All are quality producers and will deliver excellent work.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

How to Start Using Explainer Videos (Infographic)

The Top 7 User Onboarding Tools to Grow Your Business and Improve Your Conversion Rate

Now that you’re acquainted with the user onboarding process, you may be wondering just how to get the most traction out of it. “Improving the signup process” is a tall order to fill, and you may feel overwhelmed when trying to juggle all the little pieces that make up the whole experience. Thankfully, there are a variety of tools to help you help users get more comfortable with your offer. Here are some of our favorite onboarding tools that span a variety of uses, ranging from email to demos:

Tutorial-Based User Onboarding

Sometimes, your prospective users need a little extra help getting to know your system and how it can work for them. A simple FAQ may not be detailed enough, but a video walkthrough may be too much to sit through and try to understand. Tutorial based onboarding can be used to provide users with contextual help.


Tutorialize lets you add tooltip-style actions to your site or web based service. You can show the number of tooltips in the tutorial or stop it early. As part of the interactive demo, you can highlight certain parts of your site or service while other parts remain shaded, similar to a lightbox effect. Try the on-site demo for an example or start a 20-day free trial. Pricing starts at $14/month but includes company branding on the last slide. A non-branded version is available for $34/month.

tutorializeAdd custom tooltips to create a tour of your site or system


If you need something a bit more robust to guide your users through your site or SaaS, consider AppCues. Similar to Tutorialize in that you can put sticky tooltips on your site, AppCues goes a bit farther in terms of customization. You can also include a full-screen “Welcome” page, a slide out or an in-app alert.

AppCues also offers the ability to segment users, so only certain groups see the announcement or tooltip, so you can track how well your new demo walkthrough is performing in terms of converting customers. AppCues starts at $45/month for up to 250 active users. The number of users goes up significantly with higher pricing tiers.

Oh, and did we mention that AppCues works beautifully with KISSmetrics too?


AppCues lets you segment users according to behavior and deliver custom styles of instruction

Email-Based User Onboarding

Sometimes you don’t need an on-screen tutorial so much as a way to guide users to get help when and where they need it. Traditionally, this involved a variety of solutions, including live help, a helpdesk/knowledgebase system, email-based support and so on. These outdated methods mean that you could lose a customer at any one of those steps. With email based user onboarding, you can prevent these losses while unifying your support into a more streamlined, analytics-based system.

Intercom is a multi-pronged support platform that lets you observe what’s happening on your site, as its happening.   Where it truly shines, however, is in its email and in-app-based engagement system. For example, if you just released a new version of your software program, and wanted to update users who downloaded the previous version just a day ago, you can simply create a filter through the Intercom dashboard, and those users will be immediately visible. Then, just type in your announcement, and they’ll see it the next time they log in. This process works via email as well as in the app itself.


A video explaining’s “customer engagement” features

A simple slider-based pricing system lets you customize how much you pay for Intercom based on the number of users you have, and the end goal you want to achieve. For example, observing customers costs you nothing, while engagement, the package in the above video, has both a basic and pro plan with various integrations and features depending on your needs.


Autosend’s main focus is to help you avoid losing customers at various stages of the product acquisition lifecycle. Autosend is driven by a customer’s behavior, so if it looks like they’re about to drop off due to lack of interaction with your product, you can send a gentle email, SMS or in-app message to guide them into the action you want them to take.


Perhaps one of Autosend’s best features is that so much of the system is already built from the ground up to perform. It has split testing capabilities and takes just a few minutes to set up with no coding know-how whatsoever. It also integrates with a variety of systems to help you create filters based on your best customers, your at-risk customers and more. You can also craft up-sells, down-sells and a variety of other options through the intelligent dashboard system.

Autosend starts at $199/month for up to 3,000 customers and comes with a free trial.

In-App Messaging

Many of these tools offer in-app messaging as one of the many features to their systems. But if you don’t need all the extra features and only want the instructional guidance of an onboarding system for your app, you’re in luck. There are several services on the market that are targeted to just apps and app developers, including:

Tour My App

Tour My App is a simple tool-tip system similar to Tutorialize. You can customize every aspect of the sticky note and see precisely how and when users interact with the tour. You have full control over how the tour appears, so users can’t simply click “Next” to skip through it. Rather they’ll need to complete a certain action, like typing or clicking, to continue. Tour My App also has some advanced features in that it supports dynamic elements and AJAX. It also tracks who has seen the tour so that they don’t see it again (unless you have an update).


Of course, if you need to make changes and update your tour for a new release, that’s easy as well. The finished product is a few lines of JavaScript that go effortlessly into your app.

The starter package is just $14/month, but the more advanced pricing tiers support features such as multilingual tours and funnel based analytics.

Miscellaneous Onboarding Tools

There are times when you really wish you had just a bit more precision in your onboarding process or the ability to create more of a training system that brings all the benefits of a good user experience to your employees. We’ve got you covered too!

What if you had an onboarding system that would display landing pages based on smart segmentation? With, you can. On-screen tooltips can be delivered to just about anyone that fits just about any criteria. Want to display tooltips to users from a certain city? Want to show tips to only people who visited your pricing page? Done and done.


It comes with robust analytics too, so you can see just what effect your guided tour has on your users. And did we mention it happens to integrate beautifully with KISSmetrics? has a free package for up to 5,000 unique users and 3 tutorials/tooltips. Paid packages start at $59/month for up to 25,000 users and unlimited tutorials/tooltips as well as analytics.


What if you had all the benefits of a detailed employee or user manual, but could see precisely how your employees or users interacted with it from an educational-based standpoint? You can embed nearly any type of content into Trainual, then add your team, and see where they may be struggling with material. You can also segment users so that they only see the training they need to, and are gated off from the rest.


In addition, Trainual will show you who completed what and when. See how far users or employees progressed in their training and email them a gentle reminder that there are new documents, videos or other files to learn from.   There’s an internal knowledge base too, so if they get stuck, they can always reach out and ask questions while other employees step in and lend a hand.

As with any effort, tools aren’t meant to replace testing or insights. When used together as part of your overall campaign and marketing strategy they can augment your existing work and help you learn valuable details about the very groups you’re working hard to attract.  With that being said, have you used onboarding in your marketing? What are some of your favorite tutorial and documentation tools? Share with us in the comments below!

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

The Top 7 User Onboarding Tools to Grow Your Business and Improve Your Conversion Rate

How to Retain Your Customers in an Age of Free SaaS

It seems like everyone is creating free software right now. This trend is only continuing to grow as time goes on.

I understand. In fact, I’ve done it myself — several times. Free SaaS turns companies into traffic-generating machines. But it also does something to the not-so-free SaaS providers. It makes them worried — with good cause — that no one is going to spend money on their service.

Look at it from a practical point of view. Which would you rather do — pay for software or get it for free? It’s kind of a stupid question, but it brings up an important point: What should a paid SaaS providers do in an age of free SaaS?



The simplest answer is kind of a non-answer: You’ve got to restrategize.

Free software is a trend right now, and it’s not going away. (In fact, it’s getting bigger.) You can either adapt to the shift or risk getting marginalized. The fact is, few people are willing to pay something that they can get for free somewhere else.

When you start restrategizing, you’ve got to think way outside the box. Making superficial tweaks to your existing SaaS or providing discounts to your current customers probably won’t keep you afloat for the long haul.

I’ve jotted down a few forward-thinking ideas in this post, but I challenge you to come up with your own set of strategies to succeed in your niche.


The most direct way to respond to the crisis in free SaaS is to do a teardown and build-up of your existing marketing methodology.

I made the blanket statement above that “no one is going to pay for something that they can get for free somewhere else.” Now, I want to clarify that statement.

If your target audience doesn’t know about free SaaS or is skeptical of free SaaS, then they will pay for your service. Find customers who pay — those who are unaware that free versions exist. It all depends on the target audience. Some markets are more amenable to paid services than others.


We highly recommend watching our webinar with Lincoln Murphy: Distribution Hacks – 5 Simple Steps to Get In Front of Your Ideal Customer

The alternative approach is to create a marketing strategy that establishes the superiority and/or security of a paid service. Find your customer’s pain points. Then market directly to those needs, promising the very thing that they’re craving.

Make your SaaS better than anything else available.

You’ve heard the saying, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”

This principle holds true in SaaS development. If you have a better product, people will be willing to pony up the extra cash.

Development is, of course, very expensive. You may have the advantage of an existing paying customer base. Yet at the same time, you must compete with free SaaS providers who often have deep investment pockets or some other form of funding.

Provide something that the free service can’t or won’t.

The biggest thing that a free SaaS provider has going for them is that their product is free.

That, of course, is a huge selling point, but it’s not the only selling point. There are other features of a SaaS that are compelling, rather than just the price point. Determine what your single most valuable perk is, and promote it.

Here are some examples:


You can’t really guarantee something that’s free. If you have a paid service, then you can increase the value of a guarantee for your customers. Such guarantees may cover issues like data loss, downtimes, etc.


Some customers may want more than your software. They may also want your no-strings-attached advice. You don’t have to provide a sales gimmick where a 30 minute “consultation” call turns into a full-fledged hard sell. They’re already a customer! You simply provide some free consultation.

Providing consultation has an extra benefit. You get to establish a relationship with the customer that goes beyond surface level acquaintances.

Give your prospects the royal treatment.


Rackspace has centered its brand around “fanatical support”.

If you’re selling software, then you’ve given a lot of thought to the conversion funnel.

There is one aspect of the funnel, that some marketers don’t think about enough — lead nurturing.

Notice I said lead nurturing, and not lead generation. There’s a difference! “Lead generation” sounds more like assembly line production, whereas lead nurturing is about giving your potential customers specific, individualized, and careful attention.

Marketers who engage in lead nurturing experience 50% more leads and 33% lower customer acquisition costs. The whole idea behind lead nurturing isn’t that complicated. It’s simply about giving your prospects and existing customers the royal treatment.

Focus on your existing customers.

Your most profitable group of customers are your existing customers. Existing customers produce 75% or more of your revenue. They are your greatest source of value.

Rather than throwing all your effort into gaining new customers (and trying to peel them away from free services), focus on cultivating and caring for your existing customers.

The Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. In productivity, it means that 20% of your time creates 80% of your results. In marketing, it suggests that 20% of your customers represent 80% of your sales.

The Pareto guru, Perry Marshall, wrote this:

If you have 1,000 customers, 80% of your business comes from 200 of them. But if we ignore the bottom 800 and just look at the 200 best ones, 80/20 is still true of the ones that are left. 80% of your business will come from 20% of the 200, which is 40.

With just a few minutes of digging into your numbers, you can figure out your most profitable slice of customers. It might be just a handful — 40, 20, or even fewer.

Since these are your most valuable customers then you should expend more of your time and effort giving them what they need.

Provide them with perks.

Your loyal customers deserve the best you can give them. What can you give them? A free upgrade? More storage? Tickets to a local event? Free catered lunch for their office? Think about it, then deliver.

If you spend a few hundred dollars to reward and give back to a loyal customer, you can earn their respect and continued relationship for a long time.

Personally contact them.

The most powerful form of customer relationship is customer contact. Think of a way that you can stay in touch with your loyal customers on a regular basis. Phone calls from sales representatives or client managers are great, but do what you can to let someone in leadership talk to the customer — the founder, president, or owner.

Listen to them.

Most importantly, listen and respond to what they have to say. If you go to the effort of reaching out to them, then go to the next logical level of responding to their concerns. Just contacting them isn’t going to do anything if you don’t do anything about it after you hang up the phone.


Paid SaaS is not going away. Just because there is a proliferation of free services does not mean that all other SaaS will shrivel and die. The industry is changing, however, and forward-thinking SaaS providers will need to adapt. What is your best adaptation strategy?

What ideas do you have for staying profitable in an age of free SaaS?

About the Author: is a lifelong evangelist of KISSmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

How to Retain Your Customers in an Age of Free SaaS

The 10-Minute AdWords Management Workout


As a busy marketer, you don’t have a ton of time to manage your AdWords account.

It’s not that you don’t care, you just have other things to work on. Like actually running a business.

Besides, why should you spend time in your dashboard when your efforts to date haven’t shown much success?

You’re doing work, but are you getting anywhere? GIF source.

Improving your AdWords account is much like building your muscles at the gym. It isn’t about working longer or harder. It’s about working smarter.

Just like your frequency of squats, there’s a point of diminishing returns where your muscles won’t continue to grow bigger or stronger.

But there are certain workouts that will bring you gains, you just have to know how to effectively use your time and how to make the biggest and most positive impacts on your AdWords performance.

Let me introduce you to the weekly 10-minute AdWords management workout.

(Psst. For an overview of the workout, check out the gifographics that KlientBoost has prepared for you over on their blog.)

1. Speed-add negative keywords (3 minutes)

Expected results? Your gluteus maximus of a click-through rate will increase and wasted ad dollars will be spared.

You already know that adding negative keywords on a regular basis helps you reduce wasteful spend (if not, read this super quick post by AdStage).

But did you know you can add negative keywords in just a snap?

You’ll want to look for search terms that don’t have your most common root keyword in them.

For example, let’s say you sell ice cream online and you want to quickly scan if some of your search terms don’t include the word “ice cream.”

To do so, go to your search term report inside your AdWords account, and quickly use the on-page search function of Command + F if you’re on a Mac, or Control + F if you’re on a PC. Then type in “ice cream” in the search bar.

You’ll want to sort your impressions column in descending order so you tackle the biggest performance killers first.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 6.09.09 PM
If something isn’t highlighted yellow, then take a closer look.

Then scan your entire search term report, while paying extra close attention to the non-highlighted search terms. These are usually the ones you will be adding as negative keywords since they fall outside of your root keywords.

As you’re scanning your search term report, add negative keywords to a spreadsheet and keep it on hand for our next workout.

Over time, you’ll start seeing fewer and fewer negative keywords that need to be added because you’re continually pruning and trimming.

Have multiple root keywords? Then use this approach on the different keywords you’re bidding on.

But be careful.

As you do this once a week, you may neglect what I call “search term creepers.”

These are search terms that get such few impressions and clicks week by week that they may go unnoticed as you scan through your search term report, but add up in the long run.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 6.42.12 PM
Search term creepers are usually pretty good at hiding. Image source.

To combat them, change your AdWords date range once in a while to the last 30 days instead of just the last seven days. See if they’re adding up impressions and clicks that you don’t want to pay for.

Quickly add #AdWords negative keywords with this 3-minute campaign management workout.


Click To Tweet


2. Negative keyword list adding (10 seconds)

Expected results? You’ll be saving time on the AdWords treadmill and saving money on clicks that are wasteful.

If you have multiple AdWords campaigns that share common negative keywords, then a negative keyword list will be your best friend.

Negative keyword lists help you save time by not having to copy and paste your new negative keywords across all your campaigns. Instead, you can keep them all in one hub and apply that negative keyword list to all or just a few of your campaigns.

If you followed my advice from the previous workout and have your spreadsheet filled with new negative keywords, you can now take that list and add it to your negative keyword list.

To find your negative keyword lists, simply go to the “Shared library” on the left hand side of your AdWords interface and then to “Campaign negative keywords.”


Your negative keyword lists are found through here. Specifically right here:


3. Bad ad pausing (1 minute)

Expected results? Better overall account well-being and improved average ad positions, average conversion rates and average cost per conversions. In short, you’ll sleep better at night.

Just like a horrible tasting protein shake, horrible ads have to be dealt with in order to make your workout more enjoyable and your AdWords performance stronger.

The idea here is to pause under-performing ads in the ad groups that have the most clicks and highest costs.

The reason why we want to make changes in the ad groups with the most clicks and highest costs is because it’ll have the biggest positive impact on your account, compared to just randomly making changes in different ad groups.

Think of it as doing bench presses (that can strengthen your entire upper body), compared to just regular dumbbell curls that just strengthen your biceps.

For this workout, you’ll want to go to “All online campaigns” and be on the “Ad groups” tab.

This is where you’ll find it.

Then, make sure you’ve clicked on the “Clicks” column for descending order (highest to lowest) and that your date range is around two to three months back.

Once you’re there, you’ll want to right-click on the top 10 ad groups with the most clicks and open each of them in new browser tabs.


This also prevents slow browser loading of going back and forth between ad groups.

Now to the fun part.

Go to each of the new browser tabs and pause the ads in each ad group that are performing worse when comparing cost per conversion, conversion rate, and click-through-rate (in that order) between the ads.

Here’s a look at two competing ads in which one got the axe. Can you guess which?

Make sure you have at least two ads running in each ad group for continuous A/B testing purposes. This will help take us to the next AdWords management workout.

4. New champion ad creations (1.5 minutes)

Expected results? You’re taking what’s already working and making it better. Building off your past success only makes you stronger.

Now that you’ve paused lower performing ads in the top 10 ad groups based on click volume and costs, it’s time to make new variations of the champion ads (the better performing ads you left running).

If you don’t, then you’re missing an opportunity to be constantly improving.

If your champion ads have similar ad copy in the top 10 ad groups (or even if they’re wildly different), then I’d recommend isolating one section of the ads (like description line 1) as the part that you’re testing.

Pick an ad section to isolate and test.

When you create multiple ads that share similar ad sections, then it’ll be easier and faster to see if ad performance has improved since you’re now gathering data faster than you would with just one ad test in one ad group.

Once you’ve decided which part of the ad you want to isolate and test, use AdWords labels so you can filter to see those ads later on after they’ve gotten enough data and clicks and compare them to the rest of your campaign or account.

You can highlight the new ads you’ve created and create a new AdWords label called “New Ad Test,” or whatever makes it easier for you to keep things organized.

Depending on your traffic volumes, you can quickly get an ad data snapshot like the one below (the yellow line is from your filtered ads from your AdWords label).

Those are some sweet, sweet numbers 🙂

To see if your ad testing has statistically significant results, you can jump over to KISSmetrics’ A/B calculator here and type in your clicks and conversions to see your confidence levels.

Run similar #AdWords ad tests across multiple ad groups for faster results.


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5. Bad keyword bid lowering (1.5 Minutes)

Expected results? Just as there are 17 different ways you can perform a squat, all keywords perform differently when it comes to CTR, CPC and conversion rates. This’ll help you ditch expensive ones that increase costs and keep you out of shape.

If you have AdWords conversion tracking set up (I sincerely hope you do but if not, read this), then there’s a really good chance you know your average conversion rate and average cost per conversion across your entire AdWords account.

Think of these as your AdWords Body Mass Index (BMI) scores that you’re trying to improve so that you can finally get in that 80s aerobics video you always dreamed about.

Colors and fashion were so on point. Image source.

You have some keywords that are performing great, and then you have some that are, ehh, not so great (maybe the CTR is low, Quality Scores suck or the costs per conversion are higher than your account average).

One of the fastest levers you can pull on lowering your cost per conversion is by lowering your max CPC keyword bid amounts.

Let’s say your average cost per click is $5 and your conversion rate is 10%. This gives you a $50 cost per conversion.

If you lower your bids to be $4 and you’re able to maintain the same click-through and conversion rate, then technically your new cost per conversion should be $40.

But don’t do this on all your keywords. Identify which keywords are the most expensive by their cost per conversion metrics.

To do so, make sure you’re viewing “All online campaigns” and then go to the “Keywords” tab and sort your “Cost / converted click” in descending order.

Here’s a look at high-costing keyword conversions with at least 30 clicks.

This will show you the highest costing conversions and which keywords are responsible for them.

In the example above, you’ll notice that some keywords are much more expensive than your account average, and as long as you have enough clicks (at least 30), you can start slowly lowering their bids.

Quick workout note: If you lower bids too much, then you may also be lowering your average positions and damaging your CTR. You may find that lowering your bids puts them below “first page bid estimates” or doesn’t allow you to enter in the AdWords auction.


If that happens, then be quick to increase bids back to normal.

Make sure you have enough clicks (at least 30) for a keyword you’re about to lower the bid on. Anything less than that would be premature since the averages might not have had enough time to pan out yet.

With an understanding on how bid adjustments affect average ad positions and click-through-rates, you’ll want to slowly lower bids (5-10% of current bid amount) so that your average cost per conversions go down more smoothly.

6. High performing keyword bid increasing (1.5 minutes)

Expected results? Think of your keyword conversions as the number of leg extension reps you can do each set. Increasing bids is like eating more protein so you can start performing more reps.

Feeling a little winded? Good!

We’re eight minutes and 40 seconds into our 10-minute AdWords campaign management workout.

You’re making quick progress and your AdWords account is starting to look pretty dang sexy.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 7.19.20 PM
That’s a definitive yes Ryan. Thanks for noticing.

Just like we lowered bids on keywords that were too expensive, we’re going to do the exact opposite on keywords that are performing well, to get them to perform even better.

This time, you’ll want to reverse the “Cost / converted click” column in ascending order.

Now you’ll start to see which keywords are your best performers and their associated average ad positions.

Some sweet improvements are about to be made here.

If a good performing keyword has an ad position of 1.2 for example, then raising the bid won’t do much to improve CTR or give you more conversion volume.


If it’s 1.7 or worse (your keywords are triggering ads that mostly show in spot #2, but sometimes in spot #1), then increasing bids will help you get more of those type of conversions since an increase in bid can improve the average ad position and therefore increase the click-through rate.

Here you can be a little more aggressive with keyword bids and increase them 10-20% at a time since there’s no fear of having them disappear in the ad auctions.

You may quickly notice that your lowest-conversion-costing keywords are keywords with zero clicks and therefore technically have the lowest cost per conversion of zero dollars.

To prevent this and to make sure you’re changing bids on keywords that actually have traffic, we’re going to save some time and create some custom filters you can use every week moving forward.

Which takes us to our next AdWords management workout…

7. Creating and saving custom filters (35 seconds)

Expected results? AdWords filters are like listening to your favorite songs while working out. They help you get in and out, and on with your life. Creating an AdWords filter will help you move through workouts 3, 4, 5 and 6 even quicker.

You’ll want to use filters to quickly showcase the worst or best performing keywords/ads based on the criteria you choose.

Think of filters as your personal spotters. Ready and excited to help out.

For the example above, let’s say you only want to decrease bids on keywords that have more than 20 clicks (because anything less than that would be premature) and a cost per conversion greater than $40 (this amount will obviously vary for your AdWords account).

The filter will then only show you those keywords that fit your criteria so you can make your bid adjustments on them.

You can then save the filter for next week’s workout with the goal of having the filtered “bad keywords” and “bad ads” become less and less frequent over time.

8. Checking for alerts (45 seconds)

Expected results? Sometimes it’s easy to forget the small things, like how certain workouts are actually supposed to be done. Think of the AdWords alerts as your own personal trainer that can prevent you from looking silly.

You’re going places. GIF source.

You’ve hustled through your workout so fast that you’re not even sweating – you’re raining like Shaquille O’Neal. Now it’s time to cool down from the intense AdWords management workout you just went through.

As you sit down to start stretching, thinking about that delicious post-workout chocolate milk, you remember there’s just one thing you forgot: checking for AdWords alerts.

Are there any conflicting negative keywords, disapproved ads or budgets that are hitting a ceiling?

If so, your little right-hand corner bell inside your AdWords interface will tell you.


No need to change everything it recommends though.

Click on any of the alerts to make the quick adjustment – if they make sense.

I say this because almost everything that Google recommends comes with the idea of having you spend more money, so take it all with a grain of salt.

If nothing strikes your eye, then it’s time to pat yourself on the back and drink that milk. You deserve it.

Good work!

Your workout is now over and you feel amazing. Instead of just running mindlessly on that elliptical, you actually came in and did what needed to be done to bring you closer to your AdWords goals: more conversions, lower costs per conversion and higher conversion rates.

All in record time.

Over to you. When it comes to effective AdWords management, what have you found to make the biggest impacts in the shortest time?

The 10-Minute AdWords Management Workout