Google has elevated from a brand to a verb. That is because, now, when people have questions, they go online and “Google it.” As a search engine, Google handles over five billion searches per day. Among those are searches for products, services, or solutions that your business can offer.
If you can help searchers find answers, even if it is through an advertisement, they are more likely to choose you than your competitors online. As such, it is valuable to invest in Google Ads today.
How Google Ads Work, Exactly
Google Ads is an online advertising service that, for a certain price, allows advertisers to display brief advertisements, product listings, service offerings, and video content within the Google ad network.
Google Ads is a keyword-focused platform. As an advertiser, you can choose a list of keywords to target. These keywords must be relevant to what you offer in your ads. Also, these keywords must include the terms people most likely use when searching for a product or service similar to yours.
Then, you have to bid on these keywords, setting each bid depending on the amount you want to pay for every click on your ads. The bid amount, combined with a Quality Score assigned by Google on your ad, determines the likelihood that your ad will appear on the search engine results page (SERP) for keywords you’ve targeted. Whenever your ads appear on the SERP, you only need to pay Google a certain cost every time a user clicks your ads, making Google Ads a cost-efficient digital advertising tool.
But, of course, the success of your Google Ads campaign depends on various factors. For one, there are a lot of ad targeting options and settings on the platform you must capitalize on to get a favorable return on investment (ROI). Plus, if you fail to choose the right keywords or to bid on them properly, you’ll likely end up wasting thousands of dollars on your ad spend — rather than earning from it.
To make sure you get the most out of your campaign (and not waste a single penny) in 2018 and into the next year, here are some of our insider tips for you:
Structure Your Account Well
If you want your ad spend to help turn a profit for your business, make sure you have a well-structured Google Ads account. In fact, your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) can drop by as much as 60 percent by simply re-structuring your account.
The key thing about structuring your account is relevancy. Make sure your keywords, ad groups, ads, and landing pages for one campaign are tightly related. Otherwise, Google will likely give you a poor Quality Score, and that, of course, will affect your chances of showing up on the SERPs for your targeted keywords.
Say, you’re an HVAC contractor serving both homes and businesses. For best campaign results, you need to divide your account into two niche campaigns: residential and commercial. Under the residential campaign, create ad groups with ads and keywords that specifically target homeowners. Do the same technique with the commercial campaign. Make sure every element is congruent to each other, and all of them appeal to a single market — businesses needing HVAC services.
Once you’ve successfully organized your account structure, your Quality Score should improve, as well. More importantly, Google rewards well-structured Google Ads accounts with lower advertising costs, another benefit to organizing your structure.
Categorize Your Campaigns by Device Type
To date, there are roughly five billion mobile phone users across the globe, and that number will likely increase more in the next few years. Now, the question is this: do your Google Ads campaigns reach those millions of mobile users?
At Alkries LLC, we recommend that you structure your campaigns by device types (while still keeping the ads, ad groups, and keywords for each campaign congruent to each other). After all, with the rise of mobile usage, it’s not a good idea to assume that desktop and mobile traffic deliver the same results.
By structuring your campaigns based on device types, you can set bids separately, build different but specific marketing funnels, and monitor the results by device. This way, you’ll know how much of your ad budget you should allot to mobile-focused campaign to reach your targeted mobile users.
Take Advantage of Conversion Tracking
Speaking of tracking your results, it is a must to set up conversion tracking for Google Ads and Google Analytics. While this may seem obvious, many businesses fail to take advantage of conversion tracking, as they are too focused on lead generation. Often, businesses set and run their Google Ads campaign, and only track results based on how many new customers contact them.
Conversion tracking enables you to monitor your campaign’s performance, specifically your conversions. When you have different conversion types, such as calls to a phone number indicated in ad descriptions or web form completions on landing pages, the conversion tracking tool helps you keep a close eye on which conversion type runs smoothly and which needs further optimization.
For Google Ads to properly track conversions, make sure you place your Google Ads conversion tags on the thank-you pages your potential customers land on after taking the desired conversion action. Use Google Tag Manager (GTM) to manage your conversion tracking tags efficiently.
In addition, conversion tracking allows you to monitor the performance of your keywords. When you know which keywords convert well, you lessen, even eliminate, spending on poor-performing keywords.
Limit Your Keywords
Now that you know which of your targeted keywords perform optimally, it’s time to limit the number of keywords you use. This strategy works well, especially if you are a small- or mid-sized business running a new campaign with a small Google Ads budget.
Keep a sharp focus on specific keywords to avoid running out of budget too quickly. Make sure to use the Keyword Planner tool to get an idea of how much each click on a certain keyword is going to cost you. This free-to-use tool provides keyword performance projections and bid estimations, helping you build a strong keyword list and get your campaign off to a great running start.
As with any marketing efforts, it’s better to start small on Google Ads. While your new campaigns are running, don’t hesitate to pause keywords that don’t perform well (according to the conversion tracking), and add other keywords to your list gradually (again, be sure to track their performance).
Pick the Right Keyword Match Types
Sometimes, even if you don’t have a lot of targeted keywords, you still end up wasting large chunks of your ad budget. Perhaps, you forgot to utilize keyword matching options, or you didn’t use these properly.
Google Ads allows you to designate each keyword or key phrase as broad match, broad match with modifiers, phrase match, or exact match. But, be careful when using the broad match option.
While the broad match option brings in a high number of clicks because it gives license to Google to interpret your keywords for many different search queries, this option also means your ads may likely appear for completely irrelevant searches, consequently wasting your ad budget.
Exact match, on the other hand, guarantees that Google only shows your ads for search terms that are exactly similar to your targeted keywords. In 2017, Google broadened the exact match type slightly to allow for common typing or spelling mistakes and close keyword variations. But still, this match option may hinder you from getting the leads or conversions you desire.
For greater campaign results, strike the right balance between match types. Use a good combination of broad match modifier, phrase match, and exact match — with only a sprinkle of broad match.
Add Negative Keywords on a Regular Basis
While we’re still talking about keywords, don’t forget to add negative keywords to your campaign, regularly. This strategy ensures that your campaign doesn’t receive clicks from unrelated search queries. For instance, if your company sells brand new laptops, you don’t want your ads to appear for searches on secondhand laptops. In this case, your negative keywords should be “second-hand laptops,” “refurbished laptops,” and other related terms.
In Google Ads, you can set up a negative keywords list at an ad group or campaign level. Simply click on the “keywords” tab inside a specific campaign, click on the “negative keywords” tab, and then add your negative keywords in this tab. Keep in mind that negative keywords can also use match types. Make sure to pick the right match options for these keywords to control the traffic that triggers your ads.
Use All Relevant Ad Extensions
Google Ads allows you to expand your ad with additional information, giving users more reasons to choose your business. Ad extension formats include additional texts, call buttons, location information, links to specific parts of your website, and more.
Does Google display all the extensions used in one ad? No. Google Ads select which extensions to show in response to each search query. For this reason, it’s best to use all the extensions relevant to your business goals.
If your ad is about your emergency dental service, using a call button or location information as ad extensions could be the right fit. If you run a restaurant ad about new ordering app, make sure to utilize the app extension to give your ad greater visibility on the SERPs and higher conversions, as well.
Adding extensions to your ads comes at no extra cost to you. Clicks on your ad, including the extensions, will be charged as usual. As such, you have another good reason to use ad extensions.
Create Eye-Catching Ad Copy and Test It
Apart from keywords, ad copy is an important element of your Google Ads campaign. Even if you target the right keywords, use the right match types, and add extensions, you can still end up with a low number of clicks if you have a badly written or uninteresting ad copy.
There can be many approaches to drafting your ad copy. We recommend you do a split-test of your two biggest ad content ideas. Track the conversion results of each idea and see how your target audience responds to each ad. Then, use the winning advertisement throughout your marketing funnel and, perhaps, expand its success. For instance, match your winning copy with equally strong images if you want to run this ad on the display network.
Here’s the bottom line: Your ad isn’t the only one that appears on SERPs. You need to create ad copy that jumps off the page and makes your users want to click your ad.
Set Low Daily Budgets and Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs)
Now that you’re almost ready to create a new Google Ads campaign or tweak your current ones, here’s our final tip for you: set low daily budgets and CPCs. After all, the last thing you want to do is blow a thousand dollars in the first few hours of the campaign without achieving enough conversions.
We suggest setting your daily campaign budget to half or even a quarter of the actual budget you have in mind. This technique allows you to ease into your campaign while monitoring the performance of your keywords, keyword match options, conversion types, and other crucial campaign elements.
Plus, if you select manual CPC bidding, start with lower CPCs. Then, increase your bids as needed based on the results of your specific keywords or an entire campaign.
For the remainder of 2018 and in the coming year, achieving success on Google Ads campaigns depends on a lot of industry-related factors, too, including the competition for your target keywords and the average CPC costs on your industry. But by following the tips above, you will give your campaign the best chance of success.
Also, running successful Google Ads campaigns relies on how well you adjust to change. So, monitor your account constantly. And make sure to invest more in successful efforts and to optimize the areas needing improvements. Remember, online advertising is never a “set-it-and-forget-it” marketing tactic — it requires continuous work to achieve or maintain your success.
Want to learn more about what makes for a winning Google Ads campaign? Schedule an appointment with us, today. We’ll help you create and monitor winning ads that beat all your competition online.