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A Complete Guide to Google Adwords Optimization for Marketers
- 24 Sep 2019 11 min read
What are businesses going on about these days?
We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about wanting to increase website traffic and online sales, creating viral content, and getting audiences interested in the brand. All different goals that essentially point to one thing: boosting business profits. Because hey, that’s just how it goes, right?
Many of you, incidentally, are also wondering how exactly you boost profits online; imagining an investment in a PPC management agency and Google Adwords already as a first step. And that’s valid. After all, Google remains the world’s largest search engine.
However, one thing you should remember about PPC advertising – or any online marketing initiative, for that matter – is that you should approach it with a structured process and bank on data. Because going without these will spell failure for your efforts, no matter how flamboyant, they are.
This is something data-driven digital marketing agencies do differently; we don’t just create ads and then sit back and relax. In fact, we follow a checklist that we share with you today, so you can successfully set yourself apart from your competition.
Google Adwords Checklist
- Check campaign performance regularly
- Choose optimal bidding strategies.
- Segment campaigns based on schedule, location, and placements.
- Conduct a landing page audit.
- Implement tracking and set up analytics correctly.
- Ensure good user experience on the landing pages.
- Optimize ad copies.
- Run an AB test on your ad copies and segments.
- Improve keywords quality score.
- Optimize keywords list based on Search terms report.
Want to maximize your budget and get the results you want for your business? Here’s our Google Ads Optimization checklist as your guide:
1. Check campaign performance regularly.
So you’ve placed a couple of PPC ads on Google. How do you know if they are performing or not? Merely waiting for clicks will not cut it. These key performance indicators (KPIs), based on specific objectives, can tell you where you are at.
But first, here are PPC-related terminologies that you should know about:
Impressions – The number of impressions is typically used as a preliminary check on the performance of ads. This is measured by the number of times your ads were displayed to users based on matches between your keywords and users’ search queries. A low impression means your ads are not showing enough to lead to conversions./p>
Clicks – Your ads may be displaying reasonably frequently, but are they being shown to the right audience? A high ratio of clicks to impressions means that your ads have the right keywords and texts that match the search queries of your target audience. The opposite result means that you need to do better.
Conversions – These are sales, leads, and inquiries from a customer’s search journey. With these metrics, you can know more about where and what to fix in your conversion targets.
App installs – Are you promoting your app to more paying users? To monitor the performance of your app campaign, you can track the App Installs that measure Downloads from Google Play and First Opens. Google Play, for Android apps, automatically tracks the rate of downloads of your apps. If you have iOS apps, you can track the first time a user who clicked your ads opens your apps after installing them.
In-app actions – Are you using ads to drive subscriptions or purchases (or any other action) within your app? You can track how effective your ads are by checking the in-app actions via the in-app billing, or by adding a code to your app through Firebase.
The number of impressions, clicks, app installs, and in-app actions tell you that your ads are working. Now, put a dollar in the picture. Are you maximizing your ads budget, or are you spending more than you should? Here are the factors you need to consider about campaign creation:
Budget – Is your campaign limited by your budget? Or is your campaign not meeting its budget?
Impression Share – How low or high is your Impression Share vs. that of your competitors’? If your Impression Share is low, it could be because of budget constraints or low ad rank.
For Google Search Network
In terms of the Google Search Network (GSN), know that it utilizes targeted search users and that these ads appear in Google’s search results.
Cost Per Conversion (CPC) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
You may be getting high impressions and lots of clicks on your ads, but are these bringing you your desired result? You might be spending a fortune for peanuts.
Remember that your ultimate goal is to sell your offering and boost your bottom line. Check your cost per conversion (CPC) or cost per acquisition (CPA) to know whether you are under- or overpaying for your ads. You can use standard CPC/CPA in your industry as a guide. But essentially, the lower the CPC/CPA, the better. You shouldn’t be paying someone to be a customer.
Next point: check if you have keywords with unreasonably high CPCs. This is usually the case when you bid for generic/highly competitive keywords.
The conversion rate is a straightforward measure of the effectiveness of an ad campaign. A high conversion rate, relative to the industry average, connotes that you are on the right track. Consider charting your historical performance. Are you performing better today than yesterday?
Google defines Quality Score as an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing pages are to a person who sees your ad. The higher your quality score—preferably at least 7—the better your click rates, and the cheaper your CPC.
Average position in Google Ads describes how your ad ranks against other ads. This determines in which order ads appear on the search results page. As a rule of thumb, strive to be in the 1.0-1.5 position. This means you can be seen on the top portion of the search results or in a position where you will receive impressions, clicks, or conversions.
For Google Display Network (GDN)
On the other hand, the Google Display Network (GDN) is used to increase brand awareness. They typically appear as text ads in search engine results. It also appears in Google’s partner websites and apps and often appears as banner ads.
Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
A high CPM could mean your ad is not being served enough or you’re not reaching enough people.
Check if your ads are displayed on the most relevant websites and are excluded from websites with sensitive content such as online gambling.
Are the targeted audiences giving you impressions or clicks? If the CPM or the CPC is high for a particular audience, try reducing the bid or pausing this audience and find another one.
There are two types of users you can tap to create a clear-cut advertisement. One is called affinity audiences who are targeted and segregated into a specific interest, as they browse through the search engine. They’re a great resource to use when you want to raise significant awareness and consideration for your product.
On the other hand, in-market audiences are in the final stage of the intention of buying or converting. In-market audiences help remarket performance and help customers make their final purchase.
2. Choose optimal bidding strategies.
Google Ads allows advertisers to bid on keywords. Choosing the right bidding strategies will help ensure that you are not wasting your advertising budget. There are various bidding types you can choose from, such as:
Manual CPC Bid
This lets you manually set your own bids. You can easily adjust budgets to add or remove “increase/decrease each campaign’s daily budget.”
Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)
A strategy that sets your bids to help you get as many conversions as possible at or below the target CPA you set. This allows Google Ads to set your bids based on your CPA automatically.
Automatically adjusts your manual bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to lead to a conversion on your website and will try to keep the average CPC below the max you set.
Target ROAS is a bidding strategy wherein Google Ads will set your offers to maximize conversion value, based on the return you need from your advertisement spend.
With a maximum daily budget set, Google will automatically run bidding for you to optimize conversions for your money.
Target Outranking Share
Perfect for competitor targeting on Google Ads; it is an automatic bidding option that you can use to outrank a specific website or competitor.
Cost Per Thousand Viewable Impressions (vCPM)
A manual bidding tactic enforced for brand awareness campaigns; these are only used for Display Networks and will set your maximum costs on 1,000 impressions.
Cost-Per-View Bidding (CPV)
This type of bidding pays for video views and interactions. It is strictly reserved for video advertising on Google Ads and TrueView platform.
3. Segment campaigns based on schedule, location, and placements.
Ad segments give an in-depth analysis of the performance of your ad campaigns. You add a category to your campaign tables and charts, and Google Ads will provide a wealth of information around that.
This allows you to increase bids on days when you know that the likelihood of conversions/impressions/clicks is higher, based on past performance.
This allows you to increase or decrease bids on a user’s geographic location. Geographic location can be 1) the physical location of a user; 2) location of interest of what they are searching for in Google.
You can use this to specifically choose websites, videos, and apps within the Google Display Network where you’d like to display your ads. For instance, if your ad performs well in a specifically paid placement, you may add it as a managed placement and set a higher bid. Make sure placements are relevant to the nature of the business and are credible sources with authority.
4. Conduct a Landing Page Audit.
The quality of your landing pages can impact your Quality Score and Ad Rank, and—ultimately—your ability to advertise on the best spaces on Google’s search results pages.
Through a landing page audit, make sure the page experience is average or above average. Google allows you to test your landing page at different levels: account, campaign, ad, ad group, or keyword and site link. Try it; this may be the key to achieving conversions!
5. Implement tracking and set up analytics correctly.
When starting an ads campaign, you need to define your conversion. Is it composed of purchases, email sign-ups, app installs, or in-app action? Do you define it as the number of phone calls or offline conversions? Then, you set up a conversion tracking mechanism to know if your campaigns are performing, as desired.
For conversion campaigns, make sure to set the goals or actions that a user needs to complete, to be counted as a conversion in Google Analytics.
6. Ensure good UX on the landing pages.
The user experience (UX) design you provide on your landing pages affect your Ad Rank, your CPC, and your position in the ad auction. If your ads direct to a landing page with a poor UX, your ads may show less often on search results pages. Google provides an easy guide to improve your landing page experience:
- Offer relevant, useful, and original content.
- Promote transparency and trustworthiness on your website.
- Make mobile and computer navigation easy.
- Decrease your landing page loading time.
- Make your website page speed fast.
7. Improve keywords quality score.
Keyword Quality Score is the rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads according to Google. This score determines your cost per click (CPC) and your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. Your Quality Score depends on multiple factors, including:
This measures how closely your keyword matches the text in your ads. A low score means that your ads are either too general or too specific to answer a search query. It is also possible that the keyword used isn’t relevant to your business.
Landing page experience
This takes into account how relevant and useful your landing page is to users who click your ad. The content on the landing page should match the search queries. It should provide a good UX.
Expected click-through rate
This measures the likelihood that your ad will be clicked when displayed, based on the past click-through performance of your ads.
8. Run an AB test on your ad copies and segments.
AB testing or split testing is a PPC best practice used to test various versions of an ad, app, email, or website to optimize marketing campaigns and ads Once the AB testing results are out, marketers will now have a clear picture of which version of the ad performs better over the other and use for future campaigns.
With that, testing your ad copies and segments will give you the power and ability to find out words, phrases, images, videos, and other creative output that can produce the best results for your business.
If you need a guide for AB testing, we gave an in-depth discussion about the topic in our previous post!
9. Optimize ad copies.
Creating ad copies isn’t as easy as it seems. You should be able to deliver the right message at the right moment. Unlike in traditional advertising, creating ad copies for online ads requires more thought, process, and of course, DATA. You need to optimize the keywords to improve click-through rates, lift the quality score, and lower CPCs. Here are different ways to maximize your ad copies:
Tie in creativity with your keywords.
You can use keywords that users have used as search queries. You may also use the dynamic keyword insertion feature in Google Adwords, which automatically updates your ad text to include any of your keywords that match a query.
Write a simple and compelling copy.
Your ad copies should reflect three elements: usefulness, effectiveness, and appeal. Create a call-to-action specific to your business and directly related to what users can expect to see on your website.
Create mobile-friendly ads.
More people are accessing the Web via their mobile phones. Mobile users are on-the-go, task-driven, and closer to the end of the buying process. Make sure your ads are tailored to their needs by implementing the following:
- Adding at least one mobile-preferred ad for each group
- Directing users to a mobile-optimized landing page
- Writing compelling call-to-action
10. Optimize keyword list based on Search terms report.
Knowing the keywords that people entered when they saw your ad and clicked on it can help you determine the right keyword. A search terms report provides invaluable information on keywords with high potential and those that aren’t relevant to your business. Optimize your keywords based on the search terms report by following these tips:
Expand the keyword list
Make sure your keyword lists only contain the most relevant and timely terms for your business, product, or campaign. It’s best to keep your keyword list lean; you don’t want your ads to appear in any unwanted search terms.
Add negative keywords
Add negative keywords to ensure your ad doesn’t show up on irrelevant searches. This will ensure that your ad will not show for users who are looking for something else other than your offering.
For example, your product is household bleach, and you are targeting the keyword “bleach.” Your ad may show up on searches related to the popular anime, also called Bleach, which could drive up your cost. The next step would be to add the words “anime” or “bleach anime” to your negative keyword lists.
That’s it! Our guide to creating fully-optimized PPC campaigns to boost profits. Once you’ve mastered how to run Google Adwords campaigns, it’s like winning the digital marketing jackpot. Trust us. We know.
To maximize Google Adwords, you must remember these pointers and keep reviewing the checklist to make sure your PPC campaigns as efficient as they need to be.
- It is very important to monitor once in a while your Adwords campaign, to figure out where your budget is getting depleted and where you are missing out on in terms of impressions.
- Evaluate each report you can get your hands on, but do not dive in too much as you can get lost with what you need.
- Remember, there is no end in growing. Businesses and brands will get better and more competitive. You must arm yourself with better strategies.
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