A while ago I told you I was going to try out Google AdWords, and that I would let you know how it went. Well, my £30 voucher has been used up, so now I can tell you how it went.
Setting it up was easy enough, but I found the offer email confusing, as from my reading of the email I understood it would be totally free to me, and it wasn't. I had to pay £10, the £5 account activation fee had to be paid (it couldn't come out of the voucher), and the minimum payment was £10. At this stage I was already pretty disillusioned, but I figured £35 worth of advertising might be worth it for £10 expenditure, so I went ahead and paid the fee.
Creating the advert itself was easy, just enter a title, body, keywords and how much you want to spend a month. Google recommend at least £30 per month, but I went with £15 per month initially. One minor niggle was that the use of an exclamation mark in the advert title was unacceptable, so I had to write an explanation of why I had and it took several days before the advert became available on Google's own network of hosters. Another was that I was only allowed to advertise in the UK, not further afield, I sell a lot of games abroad, and would have liked to be able to advertise in the US and Australasia - sadly not an option.
I went for the following advert:
- Title: It's Alive! Card Game
- Body: Get the Frankenstein card game for only £15 + P&P
- Keywords: Game, Card Game, Card Games, Board Game, Board Games, Horror, Frankenstein, It's Alive, Eurogames
The reporting is excellent, you can get both graphs and the raw numbers, broken down by keywords, over any time frame from a single day to all time. You get running totals of how much you've spent, and the option of an advanced mode where you can specify exactly how the bidding works for an impression. I just went for the basic mode.
Pretty early on it was clear that the £15 a month wasn't working out for me, so I upped it to their recommended minimum of £30. With this level of spend I need to sell at least £30 worth of games through AdWords to make it worthwhile. Realistically more like £75 once the cost of the games and all the fees are taken into account. For marketing purposes I ask customers where they heard of my games when they buy one, they don't always answer, but often they do, so I was able to get a pretty good idea of the effectiveness of the scheme.
The results are shown below, impressions are the number of times the advert was shown, clicks (the only thing you get charged for) are clicks on an advert that take the browser to your website.
Neither 'It's Alive' nor 'Eurogames' led to any impressions. From this it looks like plurals are slightly more popular, but it's definitely worth using both singular and plural forms as both return a decent number of impressions.
Unfortunately the bottom line is that the adverts, despite leading eighty people to my site over a month or so, didn't lead to any sales at all, and hence weren't worth the tenner I spent on them. Maybe the advert was badly worded, or the keywords badly chosen. Maybe directing random punters to a website about 'home-made' games was never going to work.