12 Google Ads Tips for 2019:
Whether you’re new to Google Ads (previously called Google AdWords) or you’re thinking about taking a dive into online advertising in 2019. It’s important to know what you’re getting into.
Whilst it’s pretty easy to open up a Google Ads account, getting the most out of your dollar is not as straightforward. Whilst our first advice would always be to engage with a quality and reputable agency (preferably who are Google Ads certified). We appreciate that for small businesses, this is not always possible. That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of 12 tips for getting the most out of your Google Ads pay-per-click account and making more money in 2019.
1. Ads vs Ads Express
This is the first tip that you need to read because it’s the first thing that you do in Google Ads. A Google AdWords Express account is Google’s way of making it quick and easy for you to get a campaign going. However, the ability to affect your ads, targets, keywords and campaigns is minimal. You are subject to Google running your account. This is bad in many ways, but the main one is that Google is around to make money. This will be done for their benefit rather than yours. Always use the main Ads version, NEVER use AdWords Express!
2. Understand Quality Score
The Quality Score is how Google evaluates the quality and relevance of both your keywords and your ads. Google uses the Quality Score to calculate your Cost per Click (CPC). By multiplying your maximum CPC bid, it works out your ad rank in the auction process.
Quality score consists of a number of factors.
- Click-through Rate (CTR)
- Relevance of the Keyword to its overall Ad Group
- Landing Page Quality and Relevance to Keywords
- Relevance of your Ad Text to the Keywords and Landing Page
- Historical Account, Keyword and Ad Text Performance
Google keeps its cards close to its chest about the weightings of its algorithms. We do know that click-through rate is the most important factor. At the end of the day the more people that click on ads on a Search Result, the more money that Google makes. Therefore you are incentivised for having a good click-through rate. Simple.
The benefits of having a great Quality Score are two-fold. Lower cost per clicks and higher ad positions. This results in more traffic for the same, or less money!
3. Account Structure
The size of your Campaigns and Ad groups is important, in relation to quality score as discussed above. You can see a breakdown of an Ads account below with 2 Campaigns, 4 Ad Groups, 8 Ads and 20 keywords.
As you can see in the example above, the account is split into 2 different Campaigns. Which is split into 2 Ad Groups and each have 5 Keywords and 2 Ads.
There is no wrong or right answer to how many Campaigns, Ad Groups and Ads that you have. However, the more targeted that each of them are, the better results you are going to get.
Because an Ad Group contains ads and keywords, it is imperative for a high Quality Score that these are extremely relevant to each other. There is no point in having keywords in your Ad Group that don’t relate to the ads that you are running. This will only serve to reduce the clickthrough rate, which lowers your Quality Score and reduces the number of clicks on your Ads.
You can of course get even more granular than this and this is where we recommend engaging with a certified agency to really maximise your account set up.
4. Search Network
With all new accounts that we build, we start with the Google Search Network. The reason for this is that your ad appears on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It is more relevant to the visitor’s intent and therefore should have the best chance of a visitor clicking through and ultimately converting.
If you have a limited budget, then the Search Network is for you. It’s more likely to drive conversions than the Display Network (which can be extremely helpful for overall brand awareness). Search Campaigns are generally more conversion focused than Display Campaigns.
When setting up a new Google Ads campaign be sure to untick the Display Network option. It is generally pre-ticked. We never recommend having a campaign targeting both Search & Display Networks. We always recommend unticking this box.
This is not to say that the Display Network is bad, or that a dual strategy isn’t the way to go. However, with limited resources and with a specific goal in mind (a purchase or contact form signup, for example) the Search Network is more likely to bring you these conversions.
5. Ad Copy
Another factor which is significantly relevant to your quality score is your Ad copy. Your Ad copy should be written in a way that is focussed and relevant for the keywords that you are targeting. One of the best ways to narrow this down (the most relevant and focussed copy) is to carry out A/B split testing on different copy to determine which copy drives the highest click-through rate.
One thing that you should also consider is filling out all available Ad content. Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) have made a big impact on the way ads are displayed. ETAs offer additional space for advertisers and help you to provide more information about your product or service. This additional copy is a great way of driving a higher CTR which drives a higher Quality Score. Lowering the cost of your ads.
6. Landing Pages
We’ve already touched on this but using the most relevant landing pages for your ads is important in determining your overall Quality Score. The page someone is taken to when they click on your ad should be highly relevant to the ad they have clicked on to get there. A user should also be able to quickly find all the information they are looking for once they arrive on the page.
It’s important that there is a high degree of consistency between the keywords you are targeting, your ad copy and the content on the landing page your ad sends people to. When this is achieved, you should improve your CTR and conversion rates whilst lowering your CPC. This means a better quality score and therefore more money for you!
Keywords are a super-important element of setting up your Google Ads successfully. There are a number of elements to consider when you are planning out your keyword strategy:
- Whilst long tail keywords are great for organic SEO, they’re not always the best strategy for Google Ads, especially if you are on a limited budget. It’s important to strike a balance between the keywords that are going to drive enough search volume vs the likelihood of conversion from those keywords.
- This is an often overlooked strategy and one that can immediately help to improve your results. Google Ads allows you to optimise your campaigns or negative keywords. Those keywords that are not a good fit for your product or service. By telling Google what your product is not you can prevent your ads from showing up in search results that do not match a searcher’s intent. This can save you lots of money and can be applied both at campaign and Ad Group level. Use the Search Terms report in Google Ads to see what people have been searching for. Use negative keywords to remove irrelevant terms.
Keyword Matching Types
- This is another area where we often see smaller companies who manage their own Google Ads accounts slipping up.
There are basically four different types of Keyword Match Types you can use in Google Ads: Broad, Broad Match Modified, Phrase Match and Exact Match.
What we typically see is most people using Broad Match. This casts the widest net for your advertising, matching searches with any words in any order (including synonyms) that include the target keyword. This is a sure fire way for many businesses to throw money down the drain. The likelihood is that you will show up for a bunch of search results that are not relevant to your product or service.
If you are selling Sony TVs and your keyword is “Sony TV”. On broad match, your ad will appear for “Hire Sony TV”, “Buy Sony TV”, “Sony TV Reviews” and even “Sony TVs Suck”. People searching for reviews aren’t very far down that Purchase Process, so it may be better to have “reviews” as a negative keyword in your account.
Whilst different campaigns require different keyword matching. We would always encourage companies with smaller budgets to use more targeted keyword matching. Such as Phrase or Exact Match (coupled with negative keyword optimisation) in order to maximise your budget and drive the most relevant clicks.
8. Campaign Locations
Another one that’s a no brainer for small businesses is geotargeting your bids. No matter whether you are an online retailer selling nationwide or a small local business serving only your local neighbourhood. You can benefit from adjusting your bids for geotargeting.
It’s important to consider the needs of your customers in different regions. If you sell puffer jackets for example, you might want to negative bid in warmer places like the Gold Coast and Perth in Australia. But in areas that get colder in the winter months like Adelaide and Melbourne, you should increase your geotargeted bids.
Even if you sell products and services that don’t depend on your customers’ physical location. You can still optimise your Google Ads campaigns around those locations that drive the most engagement, clicks and conversions.
We’ve already briefly touched on this, however truly split testing your ads is imperative if you want to make your Google Ads Account more efficient and save money. You should have at least two ads per Ad Group and let them ‘battle it out’ to see which one delivers the best results. Google will start to show your better performing one more often meaning that you get more traffic.
Once you have weeded out the worst performing Ad. Pause or delete it and start again. Pitching a new ad against the best performing ad from your first test. Split testing should be an ongoing process, not simply a one off.
During the testing process, make sure you take the following actions:
- Pause or delete underperforming Ads.
- Be sure to look beyond CTR at conversion rate and return on Ad spend.
- Make sure you test a variety of Ads (not just shifting copy around but looking at completely different concepts).
10. Optimising for Mobile
As we move into a mobile-first era, this is becoming more important than ever. Whilst some niches still see more traffic coming to their site from desktop rather than mobile. For most, those tables have now turned. That means your Ads campaigns need to be set up accordingly.
Mobile-optimised campaigns give you the best chance to engage with customers on their preferred device. Separating your campaigns gives you an easy way to drive more qualified clicks.
When deciding whether a campaign should be specifically optimised for mobile. Check whether mobile is driving a significant portion of conversions from an existing campaign. If it is, then duplicate that campaign and negative bid desktop in that new campaign. In the same way, negative bid mobile in the original campaign.
11. Ad Extensions
Ad Extensions are a great way or providing a richer experience for your customer. Providing more valuable information about your business, products and services. There are lots of extensions available. However for smaller businesses looking to maximise their budget. These are some of the most common we see:
- If you have a number of pages that you think might be relevant to someone searching on a specific query, site extensions are a great way of providing users with multiple options that direct them to unique landing pages.
- These are great for building trust with your customers. We have found that trust signals in Ads are a big driver of clicks so including terms like ‘Fast Professional Service’, ‘Free Shipping’ ‘24/7 Customer Service’ etc can really help to drive up CTR.
- We have found this to be one of the most powerful extension types and can significantly improve CTR. Reviews are a strong indicator of trust so promoting your high performing products and services based on actual reviews is a great way of driving qualified traffic which is more likely to convert.
- This one is particularly useful for mobile-specific campaigns, giving customers the option to call direct from your Ad. This is particularly useful if you know you have a high conversion rate from calls to your store or call centre.
Before you commence on a remarketing campaign, it’s important to make sure you set your objectives first. Remarketing is not going to drive a ton of one-per-click conversions. It will reinforce your brand to users who have already used your site and is great at influencing conversions, however it’s often not the last interaction before a conversion.
There are a few steps you need to take once you have decided on your objectives for a remarketing campaign:
1. Add the remarketing code to your website
You can use either the Google Ads or Google Analytics remarketing code but we would typically recommend the Analytics code as this allows you to use visitor behaviour to generate your list.
2. Frequency capping
This is an important one. It’s the difference between people complaining about you stalking them and you actually converting them. We would recommend two impressions per campaign per week.
3. Quality screening
Remarketing can be expensive if you run your Ads for the maximum period and at a high frequency. We would always recommend screening who your Ads are shown to by excluding people who bounced and excluding those who spend less than 10 seconds on your site. That way, you are only remarketing to customers who showed a genuine interest in your products or services.
4. Decide where your content will be shown
You can choose what types of site your remarketing Ads are shown on and make sure you exclude any ‘bad’ sites or sites that don’t match with the Ads you are showing.
Once all this has been set up, you can then get on to creating your Ads, tracking conversions and optimising those Ads over time as you would a standard Ads Ad.
Remarketing is not for everyone and can soon eat into your budget if not managed and set up correctly. When your remarketing is set up correctly, it can be a cost-effective way of driving more qualified leads back to your site with a higher chance of converting. You can even offer a discount in your Remarketing ads to encourage conversion.
Google Ads is a crucial part of the marketing mix for many businesses, big and small. It allows smaller companies to compete with the bigger boys for terms that may usually be difficult to rank organically for. When set up correctly, Google Ads can drive highly relevant traffic to your site which is much more likely to convert. When done poorly, Google Ads can quickly eat into your marketing budget.
Follow the tips above and you will create a Google Ads account that should work efficiently for you, helping to maximise your budget. You can also check out the beginner’s guide to pay-per-click advertising – How to get PPC marketing campaigns to convert.
If you start to see success or you decide it’s worth the additional spend (agencies typically charge based on the account spend), then I would highly recommend engaging with a certified Google Ads agency who will really take your account to the next level.
Paul Thornton is a Brit working abroad. He is the founder and CEO of one of Auckland’s leading SEO agencies, Digital Hothouse in New Zealand. Paul is an SEO and AdWords specialist with a strong focus on building long-term client relationships. After forming Digital Hothouse in 2010, Paul has grown the company into one of the most successful agencies in the country. Connect with Digital Hothouse on Twitter and keep up to date with all the latest digital marketing news and trends in NZ and across the world.