Tips to Help Improve Your Google Ads Performance: Part 1
Get the most out of the Google Ads platform to unlock your full potential as an advertiser. Industry experts submitted their favorite tips and ideas for Google Ads users. We have 21 tips to help you learn more about keyword targeting, supplemental tools, bidding strategy, and other techniques worth trying.
Senior PPC Trainer, Mabo
Jump into smart bidding, but don’t forget to optimize.
Don’t wait to implement Smart Bidding.
There is still some cynicism and skepticism around Smart Bidding, so here’s my top tips for not only getting it up and running, but getting it working for you.
First, just start. If you could offload a chunk of work to a machine that will learn the best possible way of getting the results you tell it to, why wouldn’t you? For many people the scariest bit about starting something is actually starting it. Waiting could be hugely detrimental to your advertising account and therefore business. The sooner you implement Smart Bidding and go through the learning phase, the sooner you will start to see results.
Next, optimise. Don’t think it’s just a case of setting Smart Bidding live and letting it run. No. You need to be optimising individual ad group level Target CPA/ROAS targets depending on how they are performing.
You can win by other means, too. Have a finely tuned shopping feed, constantly look to better your ad copy, be price competitive, run promotions, fix bugs on your website and improve user experience. All of this can be done whilst the Smart Bidding is working hard to get you the best results in the auctions your keywords or products are entering.
Finally, don’t fear it. People often say they don’t trust Google with so much influence. But why would you not trust Google? Recently they’ve invested so much in their AI that it’d be foolish of them to have been pushing Smart Bidding as hard as they have if they weren’t confident about it being able to work long term. Reality check—a human will learn how to do bid optimisation well over a few years, but realistically, we all ultimately hit a level where we consistently flatline our bid optimisation ability (and we may make mistakes doing so, despite doing it for years). On the flip side of that, smart bidding eliminates any potential human error, which is epic and offers huge peace of mind.
Get involved, don’t wait, bid smart.
Experiment with new features to find an edge.
Experiment. That’s my one tip when it comes to Google Ads. The only thing guaranteed with any ad platform is that new features are bound to be launched every so often and challenge the status quo of account and campaign management. As online advertising becomes more ubiquitous, it also means that more and more advertisers are becoming more sophisticated in their strategic and tactical implementation. Finding an edge over the competition might be just a question of discovering an approach that the majority are not utilising, and ride it until before everyone else jumps on board. New features launched by the ad platforms allow just that.
Take custom audiences as an example (as this audience targeting feature has just been recently released): the possibilities are more than one can think of, with multiple combinations of affinity, in-market, YouTube lists, website traffic, customer lists, and more. Being even more specific with the introduced example, narrowing your top affinity audience with your top in-market audience, and setting that audience to targeting only, and you might find yourself in a position to bid on a one word BROAD keyword. It might not be applicable to all types of marketing objectives but consider this: with this type of paid search implementation you’ll be targeting an audience that is the product of the intersection of long term behaviour, with short term behaviour, and intent. Pretty powerful targeting, in my opinion, and unlikely to be followed by many, yet.
Disclaimer: all views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.
Carlos Miguel Medina Ruvalcaba
Online Marketing Specialist, Wonder Workshop
Use different campaigns for revenue versus lead generation.
Define the objectives of your campaigns. Pick the right bidding strategy.
If your campaigns are focused on revenue (ROI), consider using one of the following campaign bid strategies: Target CPA, Target ROAS, Manual CPC, Enhanced CPC (ECPC), Maximize Conversions, Maximize Conversion Value.
If your campaigns are not necessarily tied to revenue (e.g. Lead Generation) use: Maximize Clicks, Target Impression Share, Target CPA, Manual CPC.
Google Ads Automation tips.
We all know that Google Ads’ evolution is moving towards Automation. When migrating from Manual CPC to Enhanced CPC (ECPC) at a campaign bidding strategy, keep in mind the following:
Before you change your campaign strategy to Enhanced CPC (ECPC), keep in mind that Google Ads needs enough conversion data. If you have less than 20 conversions a month, ECPC might not work well for you. Therefore, ECPC might continue with low conversions and you will only have an increase in bids and costs.
Keep in mind, there are always external factors can affect your campaign’s performance such as usability of your website, seasonality of your product, etc.
Most important tip: Be patient(!), remember to give at least 30 days to Google Ads to accumulate enough data from your campaigns before you start seeing significant results.
Vice President of Paid Advertising, Social Kapture
Use local campaigns to drive foot traffic.
Building Local Campaigns on Google Ads
With Google’s recent rollout of Local Campaigns, businesses can connect digital advertising to their physical storefront using online traffic to influence storefront traffic. Local Campaigns is available across all Google Ads placements—Search, YouTube, Display, and Maps. To enable this feature, businesses need to set up Google My Business and meet the store visit conversion eligibility requirements. Once the account meets the eligibility requirements, the option to set up a campaign becomes available.
As a best practice, businesses should run campaigns for at least 30 days, targeting 10 or more locations per account. With Local Campaign, businesses can add location-based promotions, and receive a custom icon on Google Maps to help them stand out.
Paid Media Director, Ayima
Feed high quality data into your automated campaigns to make sure you’re reaching your potential.
With Google moving evermore towards automated strategies and campaigns, a PPC manager’s game needs to change. In 2020 you should be viewing yourself, your team or your agency as bluesky thinkers more than ever. Where automation has taken on a lot of the day-to-day heavy lifting, we need to ensure we’re feeding algorithms enough accurate data and innovating tests to maximize results.
- Make sure you’re reading and reacting to new changes and testing the impact they have. For instance, with Google’s change to close match variants last year—review your SQR data to see how it’s impacting results, and consider implementing a script to negate close matches if necessary. It might make more of a difference than you think!
- No matter how well you think you know the Google Ads Interface (remember when it was new and we all hated it?), make sure to poke around and see what new or underused functionality you can find. Google is constantly adding new in-market and affinity audiences, see if you can stretch your budget further with more granular targeting. Or have you been using the seasonality bid adjuster for one-off sales? This is a handy one as it’s an instance where algorithms can slow you down with their learning phase—use this to kickstart sale periods with a bang.
- Review your conversion data and see if you’re giving the platform enough to work with. Tired campaigns can be given a new lease of life by adding in a higher-funnel conversion point and an automated bid strategy. Here, I would advise not assuming correlation between different conversions, but using Analytics data to spot what is truly an early sign of a converter.
In summary, understanding when and how much power to give Google Ads in optimizing is the balancing act we must now play.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Specialist, Web Marketer UK
Set up your account in a way that serves you.
Campaign Structure Strategy
Having an effective account structure in place can increase productivity and improve understanding data.
There are many ways to structure your Adwords campaigns, such as:
- Website Layout
- Keyword Themes
- Product or Category Type
Arrange Custom Columns Correctly
Custom columns are created by yourself and allow you to pick and edit metrics which suit your individual goals. It is important that you select the correct columns for your goals, as this will allow you to collect important data, on how it is performing and highlight areas which you may need to address.
Keep Track of Negative Keywords
A vital part of Google Ads is negative keywords inclusions. If you are using all suggested keyword match types, it is very important to monitor your search terms and input any which are not related to your ad.
Bidding on Keywords
There are many different ways to set your bids, including automated bid strategies. But most people start out with either Maximise Clicks or Manual CPC bidding, as these are easier to control.
Keyword Match Types
There are four main keyword match types which you should use:
- Broad match
- Broad match modifier
- Phrase match
- Exact match
When you are thinking of your keyword strategy, it is important to do the following:
- Use all keyword match types, as it expands the search volume.
- Avoid one match type across the account, as you will likely have low traffic volume.
PPC Manager, Adzooma
Learn about the customer journey to understand how you’re getting conversions.
More than ever, consumers are interacting with various touch points before committing to a purchase. Be this actively searching for reviews, following brands across social media or coming across a display ad whilst browsing the web. So, with paths to conversion no longer linear, we need to ensure that our methods of reporting reflect this. And this is where Assisted Conversions come in!
Assisted Conversions refer to a channel (Google Ads, Facebook, Microsoft Advertising, etc.) which, whilst not the last touchpoint before conversion, played a part in the users research and decision making process. Simply put, it is giving credit to channels which helped to generate a conversion.
When reporting on the ROI of a particular channel, Assisted Conversions gives you a more complete picture of the conversion journey your customers take which then allows us to better evaluate the value of a channel. For example, if a customer’s first touchpoint is a paid search ad, but they don’t convert for another 7 days after completing further online research, then the advertiser needs to know that the £1.89 they spent on the search ad initiated the conversion journey and was of value.
Accessing data on your Assisted Conversions is simple, just access the “Conversions” tab in Google Analytics, and head to “Assisted Conversions” underneath the “Multi-Channel Funnels” tab. How you chose to report on them, or whether to not include them at all, is up to you, but I would recommend adding a column into your conversion reports to track Assisted Conversions. I would also recommend evaluating the various stages your customers take, to ensure that you are placing enough value on each of the touchpoints. You may be surprised to see the impact that channels such as social and emails do have on conversions, helping you to shape a more effective channel strategy going forward.