Rules to Better Google Ads
Google Ads are a great way of generating leads for your business, but they can be totally overwhelming, and if not done well, can cost you a lot of money.
Below are some ways you can improve the effectiveness of your ads, while keeping the cost low.
Below are the best practices you should know:
- Ensure time zone and currency are set up correctly!
- Define target location – choose a city, a region or a country according to your demographics
- Set a budget for each campaign based on needs
- Connect your account to Google Analytics. It’s important to check your customer activity (which is essential for remarketing actions!)
- Take advantage of conversion tracking
- Use ALL ad extensions available!
- Match type ad group strategy – Use similar & segmented keywords! Build small, tightly focused ad groups with a few (5-10) keywords
- Take advantage of audiences and exclusions choosing whoever is or not your right audience
- Make sure you use enough headlines and good descriptions to improve the strengthens of your ad
- It's also a good idea to make an A/B test ad copy (split testing)
- Focus on click and impressions with CPC bidding
- Use high-quality optimised landing pages – make sure your website is mobile friendly. Test your URL with this Google tool!
- Test your ads at least every fortnight, if possible one day a week. Use the tool Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool and try different keywords and locations, depending on your business.
- Review the Search Terms Report
- Figure: Always check your Ad strength
Whilst this overview of Google Ads will provide you with enough detail to get a campaign started, there may be additional questions you need answered or information, and that's where these resources come in:
Google Ads Help – Google have created a help centre for all your Google Ads related questions, here you can search for questions, or submit questions to forums for help. This should be your first port of call for any issues!
WordStream – This WordStream article provides a basic overview of how to use Google Ads and features a handy helpful infographic. Word Stream have other articles on Google Ads which may be useful.
HubSpot – This free HubSpot eBook discusses all the ins and outs of PPC campaigns and is a great starting point to learn more about Google Ads. Like WordStream, HubSpot also have other helpful articles discussing Google Ads.
Neil Patel – Neil Patel is a popular digital marketer, with a strong focus on helping businesses grow. This post focuses on Google Ads and takes you through the process step by step, so it's a great starting point for some more information.
Audiences, in general, will allow you to try pulling up your ads to different groups of people based on tons of different criteria.
Affinity Audience – Show your ads to unique audiences based on their lifestyles, buying habits, and long-term interests that you can pick.
Custom Affinity Audience – Show your ads to specific audiences based on the affinity selections that you can choose to create a custom audience.
In-Market Audience – Find customers who are researching and are actively looking into buying a service or product you sell.
Remarketing & Similar Audiences – Show your ads to people who have visited your website previously before (You can choose the period) or viewed your content somewhere online. This would include remarketing lists.
- Figure: Bad Example – No audiences were set up yet
- Figure: Good Example – Add specific audiences and increase the engagement on your campaigns with your target audience
- Figure: Find your excluded audience so you won't waste any money for useless clicks
To be able to choose your audience and even create remarketing actions, you will have to use the tool “Audience Manager". Click on: Tools | Shared Library | Audience Manager
You'll find: Audience lists, Audience insights and sources.
On Sources, you can link Google Analytics, YouTube (if you use this social media), Google Play and App Analytics (if you sell apps). All of this will bring information that will help you build your custom audience.
To build your In-Market and Affinity audiences, you can select from some options that Google will give you like below:
- Figure: In-Market audiences that might be your right target
- Figure: Affinity audiences suggestions from Google
Ad extensions are additional pieces of information about your business, like a phone number or a link to a specific page on your website, that we can add to your ads. Keep in mind that ad extensions can improve the visibility of your ads, which can lead to more clicks and improve your ROI. It’ll give the ad greater visibility/prominence, so you tend to get more value from your ad. These are the possibilities:
App extensions – downloading an app (when appropriate to your business)
Price extensions – price transparency on a showcase
Location extensions – promoting locations (Google my Business)
Message extensions – offers a possibility of the viewer sending the company a Text/SMS (Although is not possible to track this conversion)
Call Extensions – provides the ad a phone number to make calls through mobiles
Structured Snippets – provide advertisers 3 additional headlines of text to highlight key aspects of our business
Promotion – coupons, deals, sales offerings
Call out – Additional detail/an invitation to a call-to-action
Sitelinks – Promoting links from your website you want to advertise
- Figure: Bad Example – Ad doesn't have a clear message about either product or service, there’s no call extension even though it mentions "Call Now"
- Figure: Good Example - Sitelinks and Call extensions on one of our mobile ads
Selecting the right keywords can be hard when you're completing your campaigns. Google have thankfully taken some of the guesswork out of the equation with the Keyword Planner tool.
The Keyword Planner allows you to get keyword ideas that can help you reach people interested in your product or service. You can also see roughly how much keywords will cost you per click, as well as the frequency each keyword is searched. Simply enter words, phrases or the URL related to your campaign and the planner will come back with additional keyword suggestions and data on each keyword.
- Figure: Keyword planner in action!
There are different bid strategies available depending on your business advertising goals. You have 3 options to consider:
1 – Focusing on conversions with Smart Bidding
If you want to call your client to complete an action on your website this is the strategy for you. But first, you'll have to set up your conversions properly, otherwise you won't be able to analyse your data.
- Target CPA (cost per acquisition) – In this one, you can set up the average amount you'd like to pay for a conversion.
- Target ROAS (return on ad spend) – Your bid is based on a target return on ad spend you set. Please note that you must have had a minimum of 15 conversions in the past 30 days to use this strategy.
- Maximize for Conversions – This is an automated bidding strategy that uses historical data from your campaign at auction time to find an optimal CPC (Cost-Per-Click) bid to help maximize conversion.
When using this, make sure your Campaign is NOT part of a shared budget. Max conversions will try fully to spend your daily budget and if you're sharing the budget with other campaigns you will quickly deplete them of funds.
- Enhanced Cost Per Click (eCPC) – This is a combination of manual & smart bidding. Essentially Google will raise your manual bid for situations that seem more likely to lead to a conversion.
2 – Focusing on clicks with CPC Bidding
Would you like to get more traffic on your website? So here are the two cost-per-click bid strategies you should think about:
- Manual CPC Bidding – Under this strategy, you are setting the actual price on the cost of a click on your ads. You will have 100% of control of your ad spend per keyword if you choose this option.
- Maximize for Clicks – If you want to increase clicks/traffic to your website, you should really consider using this automated bidding strategy. You'll need to specify a budget to each campaign, so this is good to keep the control of how much you want to spend on your Advertising. This can also help with finding best keywords for SEO strategy.
3 – Focusing on impressions with CPC Bidding
Want to increase the visibility of your website? Choose one from above and follow up to it:
- Target Search Page Location – This is an automated bidding strategy that automatically sets your bids to help increase the chances of your ad appearing at the top of the search page or at least on the first-page search results. If you are focusing on your branding, this is perfect for your business.
- Target Outranking Share – Another good bidding strategy for branding, this is also an automated bid strategy that lets you choose a domain you want to outrank.
- Cost-per-thousand-impression (CPM) – Using this strategy is perfect for YouTube or Google Display Network. You only pay based on the number of impressions your ad is shown in between the videos.
- Cost-per-thousand viewable impression (vCPM) – This is a manual bidding strategy where you set the highest amount you want to pay for each 1,000 viewable ad impressions take place.
Here’s a little thing to keep in mind, as Google Ads has a limitation in characters. The Ads character limits are as follows:
- Headline 1 – 30 Character Maximum
- Headline 2 – 30 Character Maximum
- Description Line – 90 Character Maximum
- Display URL – 35 Character Maximum
- Final URL – 1024 Character Maximum
Main Key metrics to follow (depending on your strategy):
- Average position
Your focus when bidding is dependent on your campaign goal.
Focus points to consider:
- Clicks – if you want people to visit your website
- Impressions – if you’re looking into increasing brand visibility
- Conversions – if you’d like a specific action on your website (e.g sale!)
- Views – consider it for videos only
- Engagements – looking for interactions with your ad? Clicks or calls would be the right answer (general clicks, calls, ask for directions, etc)
The biggest key to a successful Google Ads campaign is optimisation. Optimising your campaign will allow you to reach your target audience effectively and efficiently. SSW have a basic rule on how to optimise your Google Ads, through finding new negative keywords, split testing ads, and setting a max CPC. The rule is – Do you know how to optimise Google AdWords Campaigns?
There are other ways to optimise your campaign, i.e. increasing or decreasing ad bids, scheduling your ads to only appear in business hours, removing underperforming keywords, and many more.
- Figure: Keep your negative keyword list updated
It's important to create specific negative keyword lists depending on your business, you can have lists named “cheap" or “career" related. Or you can also have a global, that would be applied to all of your campaigns.
To do that, click on: “Tools" on top right |on “Shared Library", click on Negative keyword lists.
Then create the title and add the keywords you think that might help you either save some money from non-targeted clicks or improve your results to get your right audience.
- Figure: organize your negative keywords lists
You might ask yourself – Why should I bid on my own brand name when I am already ranking number 1 organically for my brand?
It might make sense to say "no" naturally (because you’re already ranking on the first page!) but the real answer might surprise you....
Here are 7 tips why you should Bid on your own Brand Name:
- Change your message whenever needed (SEO takes a while to implement)
- Provide users with more info (e.g.: Ad extensions with more info)
- Dominate your brand Search Result Page (e.g.: Stop close competitors from Brand Jacking you)
- Makes it hard for your competitors to Brand-Jack you
- Increase Your Google Overall Quality Score
- Cost-effectiveness (bidding on your own brand is cheap!)
- Send Users to a different landing page
If you use Google Ads to advertise on Google, and you would like to expand your advertising range, you might like to split your marketing budget to include other search engines like Microsoft Advertising (also known as Bing Ads). Fortunately, you don’t need to create new campaigns, they give you the option to import all of the campaigns from Google Ads into Microsoft Advertising so that you can run the same ads on both accounts. It’s an easy solution if you are looking for a wider reach.
Most items from Google Ads can be imported to Microsoft Ads the same way, although they recommend you check it a few items before you import your campaigns to make sure they are running as you expected.
If you are sure your campaigns are ready to go, you can also schedule Microsoft Ads to automatically import your changes from Google into their system on a certain day of the week.
Tip: Remember to untick the boxes that automatically import the budget. This is particularly important if you have a different budget for each platform, and will stop you accidentally overspending your budget.
Some important points to remember before using Microsoft Ads:
- They charge in USD, not in AUD; so you might have to adjust your budget to the currency.
- Remember to check your budget value right after importing your campaigns. They could have been transferred accidentally.
If you need further instructions, you can find more at Microsoft Ads support: https://help.ads.microsoft.com/apex/index/3/en-us/51050/
Figure: Import Campaigns default selection will match your budget from Google
Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS) are ad groups with just one keyword in them.
How you structure your Google Ads account is vital to your PPC success. Keeping that in mind, the SKAGS approach is a critical and great way to elevate your CTR (Click through rates), quality scores, and most importantly make use of the money you are making. SKAGs are a way for you to gain more control and achieve higher performance from your Google Ads account.
Here’s why it works
When you pair keywords into their own unique ad group, you can ensure that the keywords you are bidding on matching the search terms that you PAY for.
How to set-it up?
Even though SKAGS are just one keyword per ad group, you can & should include multiple match types of that keyword into the specific keyword ad-group, for example:
At SSW we offer website development in Sydney, here’s what one some of the keywords look like following the SKAGS approach:
- +Website +companies +Sydney
- “Website Development Sydney”
- [Website Development Sydney]
You should call this SKAGs ad group “Website Development” – with the same name as the keywords in the ad-group and it will act as a great basis for the ad-group targetting those specific search terms. What if your search terms have a longer tail than the keywords in that SKAG group?
You would simply take those search terms and create a new SKAG ad-group under the same campaign using the same formula – this is keyword refinement.
E.g: Say the new SKAG (“App development in Sydney”) is found in the search term report from the original SKAGS group, you want to create a new SKAGS group for that term then on the original “Website development” SKAG, you will want to ensure that ‘app’ is an ad group level negative keyword to your original “Website development” SKAG.
The benefit of this is that your shorter tail keywords don’t steal much-needed impressions from your more specific and tailored long-tail keywords.