Google AdWords offers many options for displaying ads and generating traffic. Unfortunately, not all traffic is equal. Your return on your AdWords investment will depend a great deal on the type of traffic you need and how you organize your bidding strategy. Online retailers are primarily interested in conversions; simply driving traffic to their site is secondary to finding new consumers. Primary producers seek to build a strong brand image as a foundation for retailers to whom they distribute their product.
For retailers seeking to drive conversions, advertising in large volumes is usually less effective than attracting well-qualified traffic that is more likely to make a purchase. To better quality your AdWord traffic, select long-tail keywords that accurately describe your products. Search engine traffic that more closely matches your keyword selection generates more click-throughs to your website. Strong keywords that match specific phrases also appear as upsell opportunities offering complementary purchases as ads on competing websites. In a retail store, strong keyword phrases are like the impulse purchase opportunities at the register; people who are actively shopping for a similar product see your ads.
When promoting brand messaging, the most important thing is to get your brand in front of as many consumers as possible. In keyword selection, this means choosing broadly defined terms with many interpretations. The more general your keywords are, the more places they will be displayed. Broad keyword selection generates poorly qualified traffic with a focus on maximum distribution and exposure. Keywords that match a wide range of searches are like a billboard on the side of the road. Everyone sees that advertisement but very few people will actually pay attention to it.
Increasing the amount of your bid does not necessarily mean you will earn higher rankings or generate more search traffic. More expensive keywords still need to have a strong match with the search phrase to earn any kind of placement. High bids for poorly constructed keyword phrases result in low placement at a premium price. Low bids on popular keywords may mean your ad never appears at all. To get good placement, match strong keyword selections with competitive bids.
Google will spend every last dollar you allot for your AdWords budget. That overall budget determines if and when your ads will run. Your budget should match your return; spending more money on ads will not increase the effectiveness of low-quality keywords and improper bidding.