Tips to Help Improve Your Google Ads Performance: Part 2
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.
John M. Williams
Senior Account Manager, Hanapin Marketing
There is no cookie-cutter solution, so stay flexible.
When I think of Google Ads, almost instantly I think want, need, budget, and do it my way or the highway. We all have great ideas, except we all do not run our own businesses and have bank accounts that grow money. The few of us that do almost always stick with what we know. Which leads me to my guiding principle, possibly the best piece of advice I got from a mentor, “question everything.”
Data tells the story—you can have the prettiest ad, a compelling piece of copy, a detailed strategy and perfect landing page. Without data or analytics, you’re testing to accumulate data, guessing at best to confirm your hypothesis. THIS IS OKAY—test audiences, headlines, descriptions, keywords, bids, dayparting, bidding models, conversions, images, callouts—test everything that is in your account.
There is no right way
We all do things differently—some folks put on their left sock first, some their right. In fact a few might even debate that you should do left first. Google advertising is preference, personalization, and a painting, your painting. Take your time, listen to those who have more experience; there are valuable nuggets, no doubt about it. However, make your campaigns your own—no one tactic, bidding model or ad group setup is wrong. SKAGs work, MKAGs work, audience targeting does as well. Do what is best based for the objective, goal, and KPIs.
If anything is guaranteed with what we do in Google Ads every single day, it is that change is inevitable. The faster you embrace it, the better off you and your clients will be.
Paid Strategy Digital Marketing Manager / Owner, Click Bro Digital
Use ad extensions to give customers a better sense of who you are.
Choose the Right Keyword Match Type
There is nothing that can eat away at your limited and precious advertising budget more than wasted clicks due to match type. For the majority of advertisers, you should not be using broad match which is the default match type when a keyword is created. Instead, try modified broad match by using the “+” in front of each imperative term in a keyword. Modified broad match provides a happy medium that narrows the amount of searches that trigger your campaign, but it typically does not limit your traffic as much as phrase or exact match.
Utilize Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are additional pieces of information that appear below the body of your ads on Google’s SERPs. Some of the most necessary ad extensions include sitelinks, callouts, call extensions, location extensions, and structured snippets. Using these ad extensions has been proven to increase click through rates by clarifying your product or service to potential customers, and it gives additional ways for customers to contact you. Not to mention the added benefit of simply taking up more space on the page.
Setup Proper Conversion Tracking
What good is an advertising campaign if you don’t know if it’s working or not? Setting up conversion tracking to track the most important actions to your campaign including but not limited to form completions, phone calls, or purchases is imperative to optimizing for best results. Google provides a number of tracking methods with step by step instructions, but third party options such as CallRail for call tracking are also recommended for a full understanding of how your business is performing online. Setting up conversion tracking properly can be confusing, so if you are not tech savvy, it may be time to tap your web developer if needed.
Founder, CT Marketing Solutions
Be proactive for your clients and stay informed about new features.
Top Keyword Checks
It is so simple, but very impactful. By searching your top keywords you ensure your campaigns are “live,” you can see your ad text copy as users see it and you can quickly analyze the competitor landscape. Your clients are searching their terms, we all get a “my ad isn’t showing” email weekly, right? Get ahead of any potential human errors by searching your keywords while you sip your coffee.
Prepare Keywords for Voice Search
Whether it’s Alexa, Siri or Cortana, we’ve all voice searched at some point. This is only going to grow in the upcoming years. Build keywords that are naturally spoken terms. Exact match volume will start to decrease as voice search increases.
Try to work every feature Google Ads release into one of your client’s campaigns. The experience and learnings will help with day to day optimization decisions.
Set clear goals and benchmarks before advertising starts. Look for industry averages if it’s a start up campaign. PPC has a very clear spend to action ratio. Use this to measure success.
Subscribe to blogs within the Google Ads Industry. The Google Ads landscape, algorithm and opportunity is constantly changing. It takes a village to stay on top of these changes.
Co-Founder & Principal of Strategy & Execution, Pareto PPC
Use tools to save time and automate what you can.
Automate with the G-Suite
Streamline or eliminate the mundane, repetitive tasks of paid search account management with Google’s free suite of tools, features and software (e.g. Scripts, Data Studio, Custom Alerts, Bid Strategies & Sheets). This will enable you to spend a great proportion of your time on higher-impact work for your brands/clients, such as strategic development and testing.
Find a Tool for That
Nearly every facet of paid search management today has either a free or premium tool that can help. Need to do keyword research? Use Ahrefs or SEMRush. Want to A/B test different landing pages? Try Unbounce. Concerned about click fraud? Test out PPC Protect. In short, taking the time to research and invest in new tools can save you and your team countless hours, help make your clients a lot more money, or both!
Merge Online Data with Offline Data
Close your marketing loop by creating a unique session ID via a website cookie. From there, your website’s forms can pass this variable through hidden fields directly into your CRM. In turn, you’ll be able to tie back which campaigns, keywords and/or landing pages produced leads that converted to actual customers, or help you calculate which campaigns were most effective at generating customers with the highest lifetime value.
Don’t Look at Last-Click Only
Making optimizations based solely on last-click data is like buying a stock after hearing about it on the news; in other words, you’re making a decision without understanding all the facts. Instead, you should utilize a web analytics platform to review your campaigns through different attribution lenses and better understand how your paid traffic introduces and influences all your channels’ conversion paths before deciding to increase budgets, decrease bids or pause keywords.
Head of Paid Media, Havas Lynx
Learn to embrace automation and allow your role to evolve.
Automation is not the enemy.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start using automated bidding strategies. The algorithms are so sophisticated they have become more effective than us mere mortals.
I have seen the best return from maximise conversions, however this won’t suit every campaign, it’s not a case of one size fits all. Take a measured approach and trial across a handful of campaigns initially; I recommend testing the following to determine what delivers the greatest return:
- Target CPA
- Target ROAS
- Maximise conversions
It’s imperative to give the strategies time to bed in. Be prepared for a fluctuation in performance initially but stay the course and prepare to reap the benefits.
Every laborious task can now be automated through scripts. There is a plethora out there which can be used to automate labour-intensive tasks, from monitoring anomalies in performance, to assisting with SQR’s via n-gram reports.
Responsive search ads.
If you haven’t tested these, I would strongly recommend it. Why, it takes away the heavy lifting from ad testing. You have the potential write 15 different headlines and 4 descriptions, that gives you over 43,000 permutations, imagine doing that manually! Look to trial these across a non-core campaign initially to ensure any fluctuation in performance doesn’t significantly impact overall account performance.
As a PPC practitioner your role is ever evolving. The rise of automation means the time saved can be spent more productively on the strategic elements of your paid search account. For example, look to take your audience strategy to the next level with personalisation.
Look to new platforms.
It’s no secret growth is stagnating and CPC’s are rising. Look to explore other options beyond Google and Bing. Take time to understand your audiences’ online habits and adapt accordingly. Look to other platforms to try and get a competitive edge and maximise your budgets—think Amazon, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora.
Search Marketing Specialist, JAY Advertising
Don’t get lost in the metrics, focus on the conversions.
The best piece of advice I could give to fellow marketers is to focus on what matters most—whether it’s sales, form fills, or phone calls.
To be honest, isn’t that what your client cares about most anyway? Sometimes it’s difficult to explain everything we do. One thing is for certain: they understand dollars and cents.
Too often, we (and our clients) get caught up on other metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR), Cost Per Click (CPC) and Search Impression Share. Of course those metrics are important, but they shouldn’t be the factor that decides if a campaign was successful or not.
Instead, let’s focus on conversions because those are what makes your business money! Take this example:
Campaign A has a CTR of 4.75%, a CPC of $1.24, and has spent $10,000. It resulted in 57 sales, which have a value of $12,000. Campaign A has an ROI of 20%.
Campaign B has a CTR of 3.10%, a CPC of $1.98, and has also spent $10,000. It resulted in 83 sales, which have a value of $17,473.68. Campaign B has an ROI of 74.74%.
While Campaign B has a lower CTR and a higher CPC, it spent the same amount of money but still brought in almost $5,500 more than Campaign A!
Google makes it really easy to optimize for conversions. Evaluate which keywords are most likely to result in a conversion. Decide which ads most effectively impact your ROI. Even look at the days of the week and times that your campaign produces the most conversions. You’d be surprised how simple optimizations can boost conversion rates.
Performance Marketing Director, SandStream Marketing
Use negative keywords to make sure you’re not getting useless traffic.
Focus on keyword relevancy.
Your campaign and ad groups should tightly align with your keywords. This will set the ground work for highly relevant ad copy. You’ll also want to make sure your landing page ties into your keyword themes as well. If you are an outdoor furniture company and your keyword is “wicker patio furniture,” write ad copy that talks about how great your wicker patio furniture is and send those keywords/ads to a landing page that feature that great selection of wicker patio furniture!
Study your search queries.
When you bid on exact, phrase and broad match types, you open your keyword matching opportunities to more traffic, which is great, but not all of that traffic is going to be the kind of traffic you want. Say you are a B2B list company bidding on “mailing addresses.” Let’s also say people are on the web searching for Brad Pitt’s mailing address. Lo and behold, your ad for mailing address phrase shows up and for some reason people click on it (true story—it happened!). Since you aren’t in the business of selling celebrity addresses on Hollywood Boulevard, you will want to add Brad Pitt as a negative to your mailing address campaign. (For the record this may be one of the few times Brad Pitt is considered a negative!)
Don’t blindly trust the Google machine.
While many of Google’s recommendations on the recommendations tab can be helpful, they should also be taken with a grain of salt. Review the keyword suggestions to make sure they are relevant to your business before just adding them. Evaluate performance of search partners before opting in, setting it and forgetting it. Most importantly analyze budget and bid recommendations to make sure the incremental spend they are recommending is efficiently delivering results.