Google AdWords Tools for the Advanced Restaurant Marketer

This post is for restaurant marketers that want to get past the basics of AdWords and dig into the more technical and advanced tactics and tools that AdWords has to offer.

I will discuss how to organize and structure campaigns in order to optimize targeting options, bidding strategies, ad extensions, and more – in order to drive traffic to your website, generate phone calls and reservations, and lure in local foot traffic.

Organize & Optimize for the Searcher
AdWords Focus: Location Targeting and Device Targeting

Organization starts at the campaign level. It’s important that you know which ad groups, or closely related keywords, you want to group together because these will be subjected to many of the same settings or restrictions.

Below are 6 restaurant focused campaigns, each intended to target a different type of searcher and organized so that each campaign optimizes targeting options, bidding and scheduling strategies, and ad extensions:

Campaign #1:  Target Local Searchers
Broad restaurant keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets

Campaign #1’s goal is to target and convert local desktop and tablet searchers. This campaign is locally targeted and contains broad keywords because we can assume that if an individual is typing in ‘restaurant’ or ‘dining’ without appending a geographic term such as Charleston, that their intent is most likely locally focused. Keep in mind that due to the broad nature of these keywords, we will need generate search query reports and add negative keywords regularly so that ads don’t appear for unwanted search terms.

Campaign #2: Target Regional Searchers
Geographic restaurant keywords regionally targeted to desktops & tablets

Campaign #2 is intended to capture searchers outside of Charleston who are planning to visit and dine in the near future. It is regionally targeted, excluding Charleston because we have these searches covered in campaign #1. It is targeting geographic terms such as ‘Charleston restaurant’ or ‘Charleston dining’ with the assumption that these searchers are planning on visiting Charleston.

Campaign #3: Capture Local Searchers on Mobile Devices
Broad restaurant keywords locally targeted to mobile devices

Campaigns #3 mirrors campaign #1 in the sense that it is intended to capture local searchers by targeting broad keywords. The only difference is that this campaign will target mobile devices only. Best practice is to always create separate campaigns for mobile devices so that you can tailor ad copy and destination URLs accordingly. This also allows for better analysis in terms of what devices are converting and which are not.

Campaigns #4-6: Target ‘Dining’ Intent
Campaign #4: Dinner keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets
Campaign #5: Lunch keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets
Campaign #6: Brunch keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets

Campaigns #4-#6 are targeting more descriptive search queries or ‘dining’ intent terms such as brunch, lunch and dinner with local targeting enabled. These could have been consolidated to the same campaign, however, we are going to enable bid multipliers and ad scheduling, which is set at the campaign level so required that these be separated. We will discuss both features further down in the post.

*There are many variations and ways to setup campaigns, but for the intentions of this post I wanted to focus on the reasoning behind each campaign structure rather than building out a full list of all possible campaign variations.

Target Your Searchers When They are Searching
AdWords Focus: Ad Scheduling & Bid Multipliers

Ad scheduling allows you to specify when you want your ads to run and bid multipliers or bid adjustments allow you to increase or decrease your keyword bid by a certain percentage at various times throughout the day.

I recommend implementing ad scheduling and bid adjustments based on analyzed data so that you can make informed decisions when deciding whether to implement or not. With that in mind, lets say that the below campaigns have already ran for a month or so, therefore I have collected enough data to confidently apply.

Campaign #4: Target ‘Dinner’ Searchers
Dinner keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets
Ad Scheduling: 7 days a week
Bid Adjustments: 12am-6am not running; 6am-2pm 100%; 2pm-6pm 125%, 2pm-6pm Th-Sat 150%; 6pm-12am 100%

I’ve noticed that conversions and impressions generated from dinner keywords typically increase between 2pm-6pm and tend to really spike Thursday – Saturday during that same time period. Therefore, I will set my ads to run 7 days a week, but I will increase my bid multiplier during the 2pm-6pm time period, and increase it even more so Thursday – Saturday to ensure that I maximize my impression share and increase my ad rank.

On the other hand, I’ve also noticed that I have not received a single conversion between midnight and 6am, so I won’t show my ads at this time by deactivating them with the ad scheduling feature.

AdWords Ad Scheduling and Bid Multipliers

Campaign #5: Target ‘Lunch’ Searchers
Lunch keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets
Ad Scheduling: Monday – Saturday
Bid Adjustments: 10am-1:30pm 150%

Campaign #6: Target ‘Brunch’ Searchers
Brunch keywords locally targeted to desktops & tablets
Ad Scheduling: Saturday & Sunday
Bid Adjustments: 100%

AdWords Bid Multiplier and Ad Scheduling

*To what extent you want to increase your bids heavily relies on your daily budget as well as what you are willing pay to for a conversion. Continued analysis is always recommended.

Offer Them More
AdWords Focus: Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions entice searchers to click your ads by appending supplemental information that they may find useful such as directions, phone numbers, social stats, products, and more.

AdWords Ad Extensions

Location extensions display your businesses address when a searcher is nearby, when Google deems it ‘relevant’ to show, or if you have permanently appended the extension onto an ad. This offers the searcher a quick way to find you easily.

AdWords Location Extension

Call extensions append a phone number to your ads, which serves as a clickable phone number on high end mobile devices such as iPhones and can also be displayed on desktops and tablets. This optimizes the contact process by removing the step of having to visit the site and find a phone number, which may or may not be clickable.

AdWords Click to Call

Sitelinks have evolved quite a bit since Google rolled these out. At the basic level, Google will present a maximum of four sitelinks to accompany your ad, indicated by blue links below your ad copy. Even though Google will show up to six sitelinks at a time, you can add up to 10, which I would recommend. It is up to Google’s discretion on which they will show, but from my understanding there is more weight favored to the first few entered. The best use of sitelinks is to drive a potential customer to a page on your site in which you expect them to take an action such as download a menu, contact you, make a reservation, etc.

AdWords Sitelinks

Measure, Analyze and Adjust
AdWords Focus: Conversion Tracking

There are many ways to measure performance. Some ways may be more technical or difficult than others, but there is always what I call ‘the low hanging fruit’ of conversion metrics. These are the metrics that everyone has access to.

The first and easiest metrics (or low hanging fruit) are the ad extensions reports. When viewing the campaign (or ad group or keyword) summary report in the AdWords interface, you can segment clicks by click type. In other words, you will be able to see how many people are clicking your ads headline, sitelinks, phone numbers and address!

AdWords Ad Extension Metrics

Secondly, if you’re able setup conversion or event tracking in Google Analytics, you can import these conversion metrics directly into AdWords. These conversions could include menu downloads, email clicks, contact form submissions, newsletter signups, etc.

Import Analytics Goals to AdWords

If your restaurant offers online reservations, specifically through OpenTable, then you can track how many reservations are being made from AdWords traffic. OpenTable provides a nice step-by-step guide for implementation, but you may need to contact your representative for access.

OpenTable AdWords Reservation

Lastly, AdWords now allows you to setup call tracking on phone numbers located on mobile websites. For example, if I visit a mobile site on my iPhone and I click the phone number listed on the site, this will then be counted as a conversion in the AdWords interface. You will need to add tracking code to your site, but AdWords generates the code for you and offers instructions on how to implement.

AdWords Phone Call Tracking

*I recommend discussing what will constitute a successful campaign internally with your team before running an AdWords campaign. You may not be concerned with conversions, but may simply want to increase traffic or have a high click-through rate. Outlining these goals beforehand will better help measure your return on investment.