Locate Profitable Keywords that Convert with Domain Ad History

Just by singling out the ads from a domain, you can tell the difference between campaign filler and the keyword/copy combinations that will bring you conversions.

SpyFu’s Ad History is a way of seeing a domain’s keyword choices as testimonials to what worked for them and what didn’t pass muster.

Put an end to the confusion of determining the most actionable keywords… Instead of seeing the keywords a domain advertises on today, you get the keywords they have had in their lineup for the past 6 years. All of this history highlights keywords and copy combinations that the domain relies upon most in its campaign.

You also spot keywords that lasted just a short while so that you can learn what fell flat and avoid wasting your money on those terms. Doing this means that you’re able to sort winners and losers from the start.  This is important because the right ad copy for a keyword delivers conversions that make all of this worth your while. And if you’re not going to do it right, you might as well not do it at all.


See it in action

Let’s look at RedEnvelope.com. When you get the results, you find their most trusted, effective ads at the top of the chart.

The domain’s most frequently run Adwords with the highest costs per click are toward the top. The ranking (of this list) also takes into account activity in the most recent month as well as their rank-to-competitor ratio. (Hitting the top spot over 16 other competitors carries more weight than just ranking 1st out of 3.)

Ad Hisotry shown overtime

Take a look at “birthday gifts for her” and its pattern in the chart. Red Envelope advertised on this for every month for the last 12 months, and the keyword appears toward the top section of the chart. Red Envelope’s ad position fluctuated for most of the year, but it stayed mostly in the top 10. Plus, Google served this ad every time the domain bid on it (100% coverage)  We can label this one an effective and trusted keyword.

Ad History columns on SpyFu

If Red Envelope is going to commit ad dollars to “birthday gifts for her” each month at a high cost per click (relative to the rest of its keywords), then we can connect the dots that “birthday gifts for her” converts well for them. At this point, let’s review revelations about how Red Envelope uses “birthday gifts for her” so far.

  1. “Birthday gifts for her” at approximately $30 per day (and up to $75) isn’t one to keep around “just to see how it works.”
  2. “Red Envelope commits to “birthday gifts for her” more often than most of its other keywords.
  3. We can put #1 and #2 together to determine that “birthday gifts for her” delivers conversions.

So we have a strong-converting keyword. What now?

Having the right keyword is just step one. When you add it to your AdWords lineup, you will need effective ad copy to do justice to your incredible find, otherwise you can just hand your cash over to your dog and ask him to gnaw on it until it’s an unrecognizable mass of pulp.

Fortunately for you, Red Envelope has laid out the answers. The very high-converting keyword you just nabbed from them also points to the successful ad copy trends for you to emulate. We’ll show you why. Go back to the chart and look at “birthday gifts for her” row of boxes. Clicking on any of them opens the ad from that month.

The key is in the color change. When you see the box shape have an arrow pointing from one month to another, this signals an update that Red Envelope did to its “birthday gifts for her” ad copy.

Here’s why ad copy changes will point you to the best-performing ad copy.

When a domain updates its ad copy, it is an attempt to improve conversions from what they had in place. This is either because:

1. Their previous ad copy was not producing the desired outcome. Translation: “weak.” OR

2. Their previous ad copy worked well but they want to test a change and see if it converts even better.Without patterns or trends, you have little to help you know if the copy was worth, well, copying. Ad History makes it clear if this ad variation turned out to be a winner.

Case in Point

Look at how Red Envelope uses the keyword phrase “unusual gifts for men.” This image is just repeated screen shots of the same stretch of time–from May 2012 to May 2013. Each row highlights where the domain ran the same ad copy in other months. The version that ran in June showed up again in September and October, and again in January and February.

Ad History for the jeyword unusual gifts for men

The outlined row (July) shows that redenvelope.com tried an ad on “unusual gifts for men” that they haven’t tried again since. (December is a similar case, but the changes were minor.) I singled out July’s ad copy and compared it to what ran in other months.

Ad History for the month of July

The takeaway from redenvelope.com’s test? Any similar advertiser would be wise to avoid calling out seller reviews, no matter how positive. It just falls flat with audiences.

Habits and Practices

If not winning ad copy, then at least you see their habits and trends. Etsy for example, rotates in more than 30 variations of ads for “handcrafted jewelry. ”

Ad History for Esty

Etsy adjusts headlines from the general keyword match of “handmade jewelry” to specific artists like with “Julschristine.” Of course, Etsy-watchers know, this is not a sign of advertising wishy-washiness, but a reflection of their practice to move the spotlight around on their featured items.

Musician’s Friend: This reseller of music gear and equipment has advertised on nearly 51,000 keywords in the past few years.Nearly a quarter of those terms have been a consistent part of its lineup for most months. If I want to build a specific ad group on “guitars,” I can still manage this immense list in a snap.

Ad History example for guitars

By typing “guitar” into the filter, I can single out keywords that phrase-match it, and whittle it down even further into ad groups. That alone lets you focus on those trends in ad copy changes and seasonal runs. Start with the basics, but build with Ad History.

Ad History is available only to SpyFu Subscribers.  You already know how to get started in Ad History, and it’s easy to start your subscription.  Just follow the steps here.