Google Ads Strategy Guide: How Do Google Ads Work
Google Ads stand out as a powerhouse, driving businesses towards unprecedented growth and success. As a digital marketing agency with expertise in serving B2B and SaaS clients, we understand the intricate dance of keywords, budgets, and ad placements that form the foundation of effective PPC advertising.
Our Google Ads Strategy Guide breaks down the mechanics of Google Ads, offers insights that help you get the most out of them, and examines what the future holds for PPC. Let’s dive into how to craft a winning Google Ads strategy!
What Are Google Ads?
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an online advertising platform that allows businesses and advertisers to display their ads on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and on other Google-owned properties and partner networks. It’s a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system, which means advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad.
Are Google Ads Worth It?
Let’s address the elephant in the room right away. Are Google Ads really worth the investment?
Short answer: when done right, Google Ads can be a game-changer for your B2B SaaS business. With the right strategy, you can reach your target audience at the right time and place through various ad formats and targeting options. But if you’re after sustained success, you have to do ongoing management and optimization.
Here are the reasons why:
1. Highly Targeted Audience
Google Ads allow you to target your audience with precision. You can choose specific keywords and phrases that potential customers are searching for. This means your ads are shown to people actively interested in your products or services, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
2. Immediate Visibility
Here comes the PPC vs. SEO debate: Unlike organic search engine optimization (SEO), which takes time to rank, Google Ads can provide immediate visibility for your business. As soon as your campaign is set up and running, your ads can appear on Google’s search results pages, and you can see results faster with PPC than with SEO.
3. Control Over Budget
Google Ads offer flexibility in budget management. You can set daily or monthly budgets, and you’ll never pay more than you’re comfortable with, meaning businesses of all sizes can invest in paid ads. Nevertheless, regular budget reviews and adjustments based on performance are still necessary.
4. Measurable Results
One of the standout advantages of Google Ads is its robust tracking and analytics. You can measure every aspect of your campaign, from clicks and conversions to ROI. This data-driven approach helps you make informed decisions and continually optimize your advertising efforts.
Google Ads campaigns can be adjusted in real-time. This ensures you never waste your ad dollars. If you notice a particular keyword is performing exceptionally well, you can allocate more budget to it. If an ad isn’t delivering results, you can make changes or pause it immediately.
6. Geographic Targeting
For B2B and SaaS companies looking to reach a specific audience, geographic targeting can be invaluable. You can advertise to users in specific locations, ensuring your ideal customers see your ads.
7. Competitor Insights
Through Google Ads, you can gain insights into your competitors’ strategies. By analyzing their ad copy, keywords, and landing pages, you can refine your own campaigns and stay competitive in your industry.
Facebook vs. Google Ads
Two giants dominate the PPC landscape: Facebook Ads and Google Ads. You’ve clearly recognized the value of running ads (or PPC) since you are reading this article, but you might still be wondering whether to opt for Facebook or Google Ads.
To find the best fit, we suggest splitting your advertising budget evenly between Google and Facebook when starting out. Create campaigns on both platforms to familiarize yourself with their features.
The other option is to start with a Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu) strategy, targeting individuals actively seeking your products through Google Ads, and then gradually expand into Facebook as you scale.
Don’t base your preference solely on user interface experience; instead, focus on the platform that delivers a better return on investment in terms of actual results and cost-effectiveness.
Overall, Google Ads have a lot to offer, but Google Ads success requires expertise and ongoing management.
It’s not a “set it and forget it” strategy. You need to continually optimize campaigns, conduct keyword research, and stay updated with industry trends to maximize your ROI.
Bottom line: Google Ads are an effective way to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately boost conversions.
How Long Do Google Ads Take to Work?
Spoiler alert: contrary to popular belief, it may not happen overnight, but the wait is often worth it.
New Google Ads campaigns often take some time to mature and optimize, especially if there is no historical data available from past campaigns in the account.
Our advice is to give the algorithm 2-4 weeks to collect sufficient data and make better-informed decisions about which ads and keywords perform best before you jump into analyzing the results of your campaign. Or worse, decide too quickly that Google Ads aren’t worth the investment.
During the maturation period, you can make minor tweaks if necessary, but avoid major changes that could reset the learning period of the algorithm. Focus on monitoring metrics and keywords.
If you have a limited budget, it might take longer to see results, especially in highly competitive markets where bidding wars are common.
Seasonality and the nature of your industry are also factors affecting the timeline. Some businesses may see rapid results, while others may have to wait for peak seasons.
One thing you should definitely not make compromises with is the quality and relevance of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Well-optimized campaigns tend to perform better and may yield results more quickly.
High-intent keywords related to your business can lead to faster conversions, while broader, informational keywords may take longer.
The effectiveness of your ad copy and creatives, including headlines and descriptions, can also influence click-through rates and conversions. You need to ensure that your landing pages are user-friendly, load quickly, and provide a clear call to action.
How Do Google Ads Work?
Google Ads operate on a bidding system, where advertisers compete in auctions for ad placements. This auction system determines which ads appear in the first positions on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and on partner websites.
The Google Ads Auction
The auction begins when a user enters a search query on Google or visits a website that displays Google Ads (part of the Google Display Network).
Google identifies keywords within the user’s query or on the web page’s content. Advertisers select relevant keywords that trigger their ads when matched with user queries or content.
Ads that target keywords matching the user’s query and targeting the same geographic location or audience become eligible for the auction.
Image Credit: Google Ads Help
The Google Ads auction system ensures that users see only the most relevant and high-quality ads.
How? There are 2 key factors the auction for that keyword looks at: the bid amount and the Quality Score.
- Bid Amount: This is the maximum amount an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their ad (meaning, you only pay when a user clicks on your ad). However, having the highest bid doesn’t guarantee the top position.
- Quality Score: Quality Score is Google’s way of assessing the relevance and quality of your keywords. It considers factors like ad relevance and expected click-through rate (CTR), keywords, and landing page experience and then gives the ad a score on a scale of 1-10 (from lowest to highest). A higher Quality Score typically leads to lower ad costs and better ad positioning.
The Ad Rank is related to the Quality Score. But before we get into that, let’s first define what Ad Rank means.
Ad Rank is like the digital popularity contest that determines the position and visibility of your ad in search results. The ad with the highest Ad Rank for a given keyword typically shows in the top position on the SERP.
A higher Quality Score can lead to a higher Ad Rank, even if your bid is lower than competitors’.
In other words, if your keyword has a great Quality Score (due to relevance and high CTR), you may be able to outrank competitors who bid more for the same keyword but have lower Quality Scores.
Google calculates the Ad Rank for each eligible ad by considering the bid amount, the ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the competitiveness of an auction, the context of the person’s search and Quality Score. The formula for Ad Rank is typically CPC (cost-per-click) Bid Amount multiplied by Quality Score.
How Does Google Choose Which Ad to Show?
The ad with the highest Ad Rank wins the auction and Google displays it in the first ad positions on the search results page or the Display Network website.
Factors such as the bid amount, ad quality, and relevance to the user’s search query determine the position and visibility of an ad.
The winning advertiser pays an amount slightly higher than the second-highest bid (a “second-price auction” model). This ensures that advertisers pay a fair price for their ad placement.
Google Ads Bid Adjustments
The entire auction process happens in real time, and it continuously occurs as users perform searches or visit web pages. Meaning, advertisers can adjust their bids and ad content to improve their Ad Rank and ad positioning.
Bid adjustments allow you to fine-tune your ad delivery based on device type, location, and time of day.
To summarize, in a typical Google Ads Auction scenario:
- Advertisers submit their bids.
- Each keyword receives a calculated Quality Score.
- Based on the bid amount and Quality Score, Google determines the Ad Rank.
- Google orders the ads on the SERP based on their Ad Rank.
Types of Google Ads Campaigns
You already know the mechanics behind PPC and Google Ads. Now let’s also briefly summarize the 10 types of Google Ads campaigns you can use, depending on your objectives:
1. Search Campaign
Search campaigns focus on displaying text-based ads to users actively searching for a specific keyword or phrase on Google.
This makes search campaigns highly intent-driven. They are perfect for businesses looking to capture potential customers actively searching for products or services.
Structure: The search ads consist of headlines, description lines, and display URLs. You can also enhance your text ads with various assets (ad extensions), such as sitelink extensions, callout extensions, and location extensions, to provide additional information and encourage user engagement.
Formats: A search campaign includes the following ad formats to choose from:
- Expanded Text Ads (already sunset)
- Responsive Search Ads
- Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)
- Call Only Ads
Google Search Network
The Google Search Network is a group of websites and platforms where you can display Google Ads. It primarily includes the Google search engine itself, as well as other Google-owned properties and partner websites that have chosen to display Google Ads.
Placement: Google displays the search campaign type on the Search Network, at the top and bottom of the SERPs when a user enters a relevant search query.
2. Display Campaign
Display campaigns include visual and multimedia ads that target users based on interests, demographics, and website placements.
According to Megadigital, the average conversion rate for Search campaigns is 4.40%, whereas for Display campaigns, it is considerably lower at 0.57%.
The reason behind this is that Display campaigns target a broader audience on websites and apps, resulting in a lower conversion rate. This means users don’t have the same level of high intent as they do with Search campaigns.
So if you have some more budget to spend on ads, Display campaigns are a great way to be present on a wider network and further boost your brand awareness.
Formats: Display campaigns primarily feature visual ad formats, including image ads, responsive display ads, and video ads. These ads can include images, graphics, videos, and interactive elements.
- Responsive display ads automatically adjust their size and format to fit various ad spaces, making them versatile for different placements and devices.
- Display campaigns are often used for remarketing, where ads are shown to users who have previously visited an advertiser’s website or interacted with their content. Remarketing helps re-engage potential customers.
Google Display Network
The Google Display Network (GDN) is a vast network of partner websites, mobile apps, and video content platforms where advertisers can showcase their ads to a broad audience.
Placement: Display ads can appear on a wide range of websites and apps that are part of the Google Display Network. Advertisers can choose specific placements or let Google’s automated targeting select relevant placements.
3. Video Campaign
Video campaigns utilize video ads to engage users online, primarily on YouTube. These campaigns can serve different marketing objectives, including brand awareness, product promotion, and lead generation.
Formats: Video campaigns feature video ad formats like in-stream ads, in-feed video ads, and bumper ads. In-stream ads appear before, during, or after YouTube videos. In-feed video ads are displayed when users are searching for content on YouTube. Bumper ads are short, non-skippable ads, typically limited to six seconds.
The video network includes websites, platforms, and apps displaying video ads. Beyond YouTube ads, the Video Network includes a range of partner websites and mobile apps that have opted to display video ads through Google’s advertising platform.
Placement: Video ads can appear not only on YouTube but also on partner websites and apps.
4. Performance Max Campaign
If you are looking to maximize your conversions or expand your reach, Performance Max is the right campaign type for you.
Placement: Performance Max is an advanced advertising campaign type designed to help advertisers maximize their performance across multiple Google networks, including Search, Display, YouTube, and Discovery. It represents a shift towards more automated and comprehensive campaign management.
These campaigns use automated bidding strategies, such as Maximize Conversions or Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), to optimize ad delivery and allocate budgets to the best-performing placements and audiences.
Formats: Advertisers can use multi-channel ad formats, including text, image, video, and interactive ads, and be present across a lot of channels with one campaign.
Discover what’s new in Performance Max campaigns.
5. Shopping Campaign
Shopping campaigns are best suited for e-commerce businesses and retailers. Advertisers promote their products directly within Google’s search results, showcasing product listings, prices, and images to potential customers.
Shopping campaigns are highly visual and product-centric. This makes them effective for e-commerce businesses’ lead generation as they display products to users actively searching for them.
Google Merchant Center: To run Shopping campaigns, advertisers need to set up and link their Google Ads account with the Google Merchant Center. The Merchant Center manages and submits product data, including inventory and pricing information, to Google.
Advertisers create and maintain a product feed, which is a data file containing detailed information about the products they want to advertise. This feed includes attributes like product ID, title, description, price, availability, and more.
Then they organize their products into product groups based on attributes like brand, category, product type, and custom labels. This allows for precise control over which products are displayed for specific search queries.
For businesses with physical stores, Local Inventory Ads allow them to showcase their in-store inventory to nearby shoppers, including product availability and store information.
Placement: Shopping ads appear at the top of Google search results when users search for products or related keywords. They may also appear in Google Shopping, Google Images, and partner websites in the Google Search Network.
6. Discovery Campaign (Now Upgraded to Demand Gen)
Advertisers use discovery campaigns to promote their products, services, or content to a broad audience across Google platforms, including YouTube, Gmail, and the Google Discovery feed.
Discovery campaigns are particularly effective for brand awareness and reaching users who may not be actively searching for specific products or services but are open to discovering new offerings.
Formats: Discovery campaigns feature visually engaging and interactive ad formats, including single-image ads, carousel ads, and video ads. They can also use responsive ad creatives that adapt to different placements and devices.
Placement: Discovery campaigns are contextual. They align with users’ interests and behaviors on each platform. For example, during relevant video content, you can include YouTube ads; while within users’ email inboxes, you can place Gmail ads.
7. Demand Gen (Demand Generation) Campaign
Demand Generation (Demand Gen) campaigns are the newest campaign type in Google Ads. They represent the evolution of Discovery campaigns within Google Ads, offering a range of new features and capabilities while retaining the key attributes of the existing product.
One of the best features of the new Demand Gen campaigns is the integration of your best-performing video and image assets, which enables efficient asset management.
When upgrading to Demand Gen campaigns, advertisers can seamlessly carry over their historical data and insights from existing Discovery campaigns. This ensures a smooth transition and allows advertisers to leverage past learnings.
Formats: Advertisers can choose from a variety of ad formats in Demand Gen campaigns, including video ads, image ads, and carousel ads.
Placement: Demand Gen campaigns expand their reach across some of Google’s most visually engaging platforms. This includes placements on YouTube, YouTube Shorts, Google Discover, and Gmail, where users often interact with visual content.
8. App Promo Campaign
App Promo campaigns promote mobile applications (apps) to a targeted audience with the goal of increasing app installations and driving user engagement. These campaigns are perfect for businesses and app developers looking to expand their app’s user base and maximize in-app actions.
Formats: App Promo campaigns typically utilize mobile app install ads.
Placement: You can display these ads on various Google properties, including the Google Search Network, Google Display Network, YouTube, and Google Play.
To run App Promo campaigns, you must link their Google Ads account with their app through the Google Play Store or App Store. This integration enables tracking app installations and in-app actions driven by ads.
Deep linking allows you to direct users to specific pages or content within the app after installation, providing a more tailored and engaging user experience.
You can set bids based on app installation goals. Common bidding strategies include cost per install (CPI) or cost per conversion (CPC), where conversions represent specific in-app actions.
App Store Optimization (ASO): You can employ ASO strategies to improve the visibility and ranking of your app within app stores, making it more likely to be discovered by users organically.
9. Smart Campaign
Google Ads Smart Campaign is a simplified campaign type specifically for small businesses and beginners in the world of online advertising. Smart campaigns are user-friendly, streamlined, and highly automated, making it easier for businesses with limited experience to get started with online advertising.
Smart campaigns use automated ad creation tools to generate ad copy and creative based on the business’s website and goals. This simplifies the ad creation process.
However, keep in mind that since this campaign type is simpler, you will also have limited control over detailed targeting options, keyword selection, and ad customization compared to more advanced campaign types.
Advertisers usually set goals, such as driving website visits, getting calls, or encouraging store visits, for their Smart campaigns.
You can specify your daily or monthly budget, and the Smart campaign automatically manages budget allocation to maximize performance. Smart campaigns use automated bidding strategies to optimize for the specified goals, such as maximizing clicks or conversions while staying within the budget.
Placements: Smart campaigns place ads across Google’s networks, including the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network.
10. Local Services Ads (LSA)
Local Services Ads (LSA) mostly help local businesses, such as plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, HVAC technicians, and other home service providers.
For local businesses, Smart campaigns can include Local Services Ads to help them connect with local customers who are actively searching for their services in their area. This ensures that businesses can target nearby customers seeking their services.
Format: The format of these ads is special as you can distinguish LSAs by a “Google Guaranteed” badge, which provides additional trust and assurance to potential customers.
The badge signifies that the business has passed Google’s screening and background checks and provides customers with confidence that they are hiring a trustworthy service provider.
LSAs typically feature a business’s name, ratings, contact information, and the Google Guaranteed badge. Customers can easily contact the business directly from the ad.
Placement: Google features LSAs at the top of Google search results.
With Local Services Ads, businesses pay per lead (i.e., customer inquiries) rather than per click or impression. This means you only pay when a potential customer contacts you through the ad.
Each campaign type serves distinct purposes, from driving website traffic and generating leads to increasing app installs and boosting brand awareness. Choosing the right campaign type depends on your specific marketing goals and target audience.
How Does Google Ads Conversion Tracking Work?
Google Ads Conversion Tracking is a powerful tool that helps you measure and understand the effectiveness of your campaigns. It ensures you track specific actions that users take after clicking on an ad. Conversion tracking allows you to attribute conversions, such as website purchases, form submissions, or app installations, to your Google Ads campaigns, ad groups, or keywords.
How to Set Google Ads Conversion Tracking?
You can define and set up conversion actions that align with your business objectives. These actions can include:
- Set Up Conversion Actions
- Website Conversions: Such as purchases, form submissions, or page views.
- App Installations: Measuring installations of a mobile app.
- Phone Calls: Tracking calls your users made after clicking on an ad.
- Store Visits: Measuring physical visits to brick-and-mortar stores driven by online advertising.
- Generate a Conversion Tracking Code
For website conversions, you can generate a small snippet of HTML code, called a “conversion tracking code,” in your Google Ads account. You place this code on the relevant pages of your website, typically on the page that users see after completing a conversion (e.g., a “Thank You” page after a purchase).
- Record Conversions
When a user clicks on an ad and performs the defined conversion action, the tracking code records this action. The code sends information back to Google Ads about the conversion, including the ad that the user clicked on, the keyword that triggered the ad, and other relevant details.
Google Ads uses attribution models to credit conversions to specific keywords, ads, ad groups, and campaigns. Attribution models help you understand which interactions contributed to conversion and how to optimize your campaigns accordingly.
- Conversion Data Analysis
You can access conversion data in your Google Ads account to evaluate the performance of your campaigns. This data includes the number of conversions, conversion rates, and cost per conversion.
Armed with conversion data, you can make informed decisions about your ad campaigns. You can allocate budgets to the best-performing campaigns, adjust bids, and optimize ad creatives to improve results.
- Tracking Multiple Conversion Actions
Google Ads allows businesses to track multiple conversion actions, each with its own tracking code. This is useful for measuring different types of conversions, such as form submissions and product purchases.
- Cross-Device Conversions
Google Ads Conversion Tracking also considers cross-device conversions, recognizing when users interact with ads on one device and convert on another.
How to Link Google Analytics (GA4) with Google Ads
Linking a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property or a Firebase project to your Google Ads account allows you to gain insights into customer behavior on your website or app. It can help you better understand the impact of your Google Ads campaigns.
Here’s how to link GA4 and Google Ads:
- Sign in to your Google Ads account.
- Click on the Admin icon, typically located in the upper right-hand corner of the Google Ads interface.
- In the Admin section, click on “Linked accounts.”
- Under “From Google,” locate “Google Analytics (GA4) and Firebase” or “Google Analytics (UA)” (for Universal Analytics).
- Click on “Details” next to the applicable option.
- A table will appear showing all available Google Analytics properties and Firebase projects that you can link to your Google Ads account.
- Find the Google Analytics property or Firebase project you wish to link in the table.
- Click on “Link” next to the selected property or project.
- In the confirmation window, you will have the option to import additional data (e.g., audiences) from Google Analytics.
- Click “Link” to complete the process.
- Optional: Activate App and Web metrics: If you wish to import site engagement metrics from the linked Google Analytics 4 property, click “Activate” under the “App and Web metrics” column. Note that this button may take about 5 minutes (though it may sometimes be delayed by a few hours) to become available after linking the property. After linking, you can add Google Analytics columns to your Google Ads reports to view GA4 metrics alongside your Google Ads data.
- In the confirmation window, click “Activate.”
How to Set up Google Ads
If you don’t already have a Google Ads account, the first step is to create one:
- Create a Google Ads account.
How to Use Google Ads: Creating the Ad Campaign
- Set campaign goals: Choose your advertising objectives. What do you want to achieve with your ads? Common goals include driving website traffic, generating leads, increasing sales, or promoting brand awareness.
- Choose the right campaign type based on your goals. Google Ads offers various campaign types, including Search, Display, Video, Shopping, and more.
- Configure your campaign settings, which include details such as location targeting (where you want your ads to show), language preferences, bidding strategy, and budget.
- Create ad groups within your campaign. Use ad groups to organize your ads based on specific themes, products, or keywords. Group related keywords and ads together.
- Perform keyword research (and we’ll get to that later) to identify the relevant search terms that potential customers might use to find your products or services. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or other keyword research tools.
- Create ads: Write compelling ad copy that includes a catchy headline, descriptive text, and a strong call to action. You may also need to create ad images or videos, depending on your chosen ad format.
Google Ads Bid Strategies
- Set bids and budget: Specify your bid strategy, which determines how you want to pay for clicks or other ad interactions. You can choose from strategies like manual CPC or target ROAS. Set a daily or monthly budget to control your ad spend.
Manual Bidding Strategy
With manual CPC bidding, you set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each click on your ads. This strategy provides full control over individual keyword bids and is suitable for those who want to fine-tune their campaigns manually. You can choose between Manual CPC, Viewable CPM, and Cost per View.
Enhanced CPC = ECPC
Enhanced CPC is a semi-automated strategy. You set your maximum CPC, and Google Ads adjusts your bids in real-time based on the likelihood of a click leading to a conversion. It’s designed to maximize conversions within your set budget.
This strategy is focused on achieving a specific cost per acquisition (CPA). You define the target CPA you’re willing to pay for a conversion, and Google Ads automatically adjusts your bids to help meet that goal.
Maximize Conversions bidding gets you the most conversions possible within your budget. Google Ads automatically adjusts bids to maximize the number of conversions.
With Target ROAS, you set a specific return on ad spend you want to achieve. Google Ads will then automatically adjust your bids to maximize the conversion value while staying within your ROAS target.
Maximize Conversion Value (Value-Based Bidding)
If your primary goal is to maximize the total value of conversions, you can use this bidding strategy. Google Ads automatically sets bids to maximize conversion value. In other words, we’re already talking about value-based bidding here. Unlike other bidding strategies that prioritize clicks or conversions, value-based bidding uses machine learning and automation, and considers the overall impact on your business’s bottom line, allowing you to bid on specific metrics that align with your goals.
This strategy aims to get the maximum number of clicks within your budget. Google Ads automatically sets bids to achieve the highest possible click volume.
Target Impression Share
This bidding strategy focuses on maximizing your ad’s presence in search results or the Display Network. You set a target impression share (e.g., the percentage of times your ad appears), and Google Ads will automatically adjust bids to achieve that goal.
How to Change the Bid Strategy in Google Ads
First, we’d like to give you a warning: be cautious when changing bid strategies, especially if your campaign has been running successfully. Changing strategies may temporarily disrupt your campaign’s performance as the algorithm adapts to the new approach.
It’s a good practice to test bid strategy changes on a limited scale or use experiments (if applicable) to assess the impact before applying them to your entire campaign.
Here’s how to change your bid strategy:
- From the main dashboard, select the campaign for which you want to change the bid strategy.
- In the left-hand menu, click on “Settings.” This will display several options, including “Bidding.”
- Click on “Bidding” to access the bid strategy settings for your chosen campaign.
- You’ll see your current bid strategy. Click the “Edit” button next to it.
- A pop-up window will appear with a list of different bid strategies. Select the one that aligns with your new campaign objectives. You can choose from options like “Maximize Clicks,” “Target ROAS,” “Maximize Conversions,” “Target CPA,” and more.
- Depending on the bid strategy you choose, you may need to configure specific settings. For example, if you select “Target CPA,” you’ll need to specify your target CPA. Make these adjustments as needed.
- Click “Save” to apply the changes.
Now, back to creating Google Ads: after you have set your bidding strategy, you’re almost ready to launch your ad! But before that, you can make use of assets:
9. Utilize assets (ad extensions) like sitelink, callout, and location to provide additional information with your ads.
10. Implement conversion tracking to measure the effectiveness of your ads. You’ll need to add the conversion tracking code to your website.
11. Carefully review your campaign settings, ad groups, ads, and budget to ensure they align with your goals. Make any necessary adjustments. Once you’re satisfied, click the “Launch” button to activate your campaign.
12. After your campaign is live, monitor its performance regularly. Look at key metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS).
13. Optimize your campaign by making data-driven adjustments. Experiment with ad copy, keywords, and bidding strategies to improve results. Consider running A/B tests to compare different ad variations and determine which ones perform best. Test elements like headlines, ad copy, and images.
14. Based on performance data, you can adjust the ad schedule and location targeting to focus on high-converting times and locations. Adjust your budget, if necessary.
15. Ensure that your ads lead to high-quality landing pages that match the ad’s intent. Google rewards relevant, user-friendly landing pages. Follow best practices for ad content.
Setting up Google Ads is just the beginning. You’d need ongoing management, monitoring, and optimization if you want your ads to bring you ROI.
Google Ads Keyword Strategy & Research
Keyword research involves identifying relevant keywords and search terms.
Before you begin with your keyword research, you’d need to identify your campaign objectives and your target audience’s needs. Then you can create a “seed” keyword list with seed keywords that relate to your products, services, or industry. These are the fundamental keywords you want to target.
Google Keyword Planner
Once you have your initial keyword ideas, only then use tools to help you with your keyword research. Access Google Keyword Planner, a tool by Google Ads. It will help you find keyword ideas, estimate search volumes, and understand keyword competition.
Plug your seed keyword list into Google Keyword Planner. You can use the “Discover new keywords” feature to enter your seed keywords. The tool will also provide you with additional keyword suggestions to help you refine your research and expand your list.
Review metrics like average monthly searches and competition levels for each keyword in Google Keyword Planner. Focus mostly on keywords with large search volume and lower competition and on high-intent keywords that are most likely to drive conversions.
However, also don’t overlook long-tail keywords (longer, more specific search phrases). These keywords may have a lower search volume but can be highly relevant and cost-effective.
If your business serves specific geographic locations, include location-based keywords to target a local audience.
Google Ads Keyword Match Types
Keyword match types control how closely a user’s search query must match your keyword for your ad to appear.
The primary match types are:
- Exact Match: [keyword]
- Phrase Match: “keyword”
- Broad Match: keyword
Choose match types based on your campaign goals and the level of control you want over keyword targeting.
Negative keywords are terms for which you don’t want your ads to appear. Identify irrelevant or undesirable keywords that could trigger your ads and add them as negative keywords to filter out unwanted traffic.
Consider grouping negative keywords into a “Negative Keyword List” based on campaign or product categories. This helps in efficient management and consistent application across multiple campaigns.
Regularly review the performance of your keywords. Adjust bids, ad copy, and landing pages to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. Test new keywords and refine your strategy as needed.
How to Build a Google Ads Account Structure & Best Practices
Google Ads accounts are structured in three main levels:
- Account Level: This is where you set your currency, time zone, and other account settings.
- Campaign Level: Here, you set your budget, location targeting, language targeting, and other broader settings. Each campaign should have a specific goal, theme, or audience in mind.
- Ad Group Level: Within each campaign, you have ad groups. Each ad group should focus on a tightly themed group of keywords and have its own set of ads.
Image Credit: Google Ads Help
Advertisers often seek better performance through a complex account structure. But with Smart Bidding, there’s no need to use such detailed account structures for bid optimization. Smart Bidding operates in real-time during each auction, assessing unique signals and leveraging data across all campaigns and makes management much more efficient.
Creating an effective account structure starts with understanding your business goals.
And Smart Bidding is centered around your campaign goals. If you have different business goals (e.g., brand awareness, sales, leads), create separate campaigns for each.
Make sure your ad groups are centered around related keywords, ensuring ad content resonates with potential search queries. Such thematic groupings allow the system to effectively choose the optimal keyword-ad combination to display. For each ad group, write ads that closely relate to the keywords you’re targeting. The more relevant your ad copy, the higher your Quality Score can be.
How to simplify your account:
- Aim to merge traffic into larger, more comprehensive ad groups and campaigns, focusing on performance objectives.
- Embrace broad match types, trusting the system to optimize bids accordingly.
- Utilize Responsive Search Ads (RSA) and other dynamic features to create relevant ads.
- Optimize your reach with PMax campaigns.
Over time, some keywords, ad groups, or campaigns may underperform. Regularly review and clean up your account to ensure efficiency.
Landing Pages & Ad Copy
Landing pages and ad copy work hand-in-hand to create a seamless user experience and drive conversions.
Best Practices for Your Landing Page
Ensure that the landing page you link to in your ads is directly relevant to the ad’s content and the user’s search intent. If your ad promises a specific product, service, or offer, the landing page should deliver on that promise.
Maintain consistency between your ad copy and the landing page. The messaging, keywords, and offers should align, ensuring a smooth transition for users.
Your landing page should feature a clear call to action that guides visitors on the desired action, whether it’s making a purchase, filling out a form, or signing up for a newsletter.
With the increasing use of mobile devices, ensure that your landing pages are mobile-responsive and provide a great user experience on all screen sizes. Also, speed matters. Optimize your landing pages for fast loading to prevent users from bouncing due to slow load times.
If your goal is lead generation, keep forms simple and concise. Request only essential information to reduce friction and increase form submissions.
Include trust signals such as customer reviews and any relevant certifications on your landing page to make your website trustworthy for users.
Best Practices for Your Ad Copy
Consider the character limits for your ad type (e.g. responsive search ads) and make the most of the available space.
Craft compelling ad copy that grabs attention, highlights benefits, and features a clear and relevant keyword. Include a strong CTA that encourages clicks.
Leverage assets (ad extensions) to provide additional information in your ads.
Ensure that the keywords in your ad copy are relevant to the ad group and the landing page. This improves Quality Score and Ad Rank.
Use dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) to customize your ad copy to match the user’s search query, creating a more personalized experience.
Analyze the performance of your ad copy by looking at metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and bounce rate and make adjustments.
Google Ads Management & Performance Analysis
Speaking of performance, you’ve already learned the fundamentals to launch your ads successfully. Now, you’ve reached the final step: effectively managing and analyzing the performance of your Google Ads.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, launching your campaign is just the first step. To be successful with your ads, you need to regularly analyze the performance of your campaigns and make the necessary adjustments.
Google Ads Dashboard
Looker (Google Data Studio) empowers you to create a real-time KPI dashboard that visualizes all project KPIs. This dashboard offers high-level perspectives for your C-level stakeholders and detailed metrics for your marketing team. By crafting a custom Google Data Studio report, you can gain a comprehensive overview of your PPC-derived revenue, even integrating data from platforms such as HubSpot, Salesforce, and Stripe into your reporting. Picture having your CRM, PPC efforts, and other marketing activities seamlessly consolidated in a single location.
You can maintain one dashboard for your marketing team and another for your executive leadership to access and share.
Keep a close eye on specific KPIs that align with your goals. Some important KPIs to monitor include:
- CTR (Click-Through Rate): the ratio of clicks to impressions, indicating ad relevance and engagement
- Conversion Rate: the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form
- CPC (cost-per-click): the average cost you pay each time someone clicks on your ad, reflecting your advertising costs
- Quality Score: the quality and relevance of your keywords, ads, and landing pages, influencing Ad Rank
- Impression Share: the percentage of times your ad is shown compared to the total number of eligible impressions
- ROAS (Return on Ad Spend): the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising
If you have linked your Google Ads account to Google Analytics 4, use the integration to:
- Analyze user pathways, understand on-site behavior, and track conversions in Google Analytics.
- Create custom audiences in Google Analytics and import them into Google Ads for more precise targeting.
- Utilize the multi-channel funnel reports in Google Analytics to assess the customer journey and the role of different touchpoints in conversions.
Google Ads Best Practices & Tips from Our PPC Experts
With our clients, we always start with a Google Ads audit, which can help us understand the account’s historical performance, gather more insights, and provide recommendations. Then, we conduct keyword research, based on the seed keywords on the website and the top five direct competitors and their volume and CPCs. And altogether, using these keywords, we estimate what kind of CPCs the campaigns would have. This helps us calculate a forecast that can show the client what the starting budget should look like.
How to Do a Google Ads Audit
Let’s take a look into our approach and the Google Ads mistakes we look for when doing a Google Ads audit for our clients. We dive deep into:
- Conversion tracking and missing first-party data: If you are still bidding on Universal Analytics events, it’s time to transition everything to Google Analytics 4.
- Account structure: Building an effective account structure in Google Ads can significantly improve your campaign’s performance and Quality Scores. We look at whether the client has separate campaigns for each business goal and if the ad groups contain closely related keywords (in other words, tightly themed ad groups).
- Ad strength: Keeping poor or average ad strength can’t help you secure the first position for your ads in a highly competitive market, even if you’re using the right bidding strategy. So we invest time into improving the ad strength and getting it at least to a good or excellent score.
- Keyword duplication: Our main recommendation here is to avoid duplicate keywords for campaigns with different conversion goals, especially if you’re targeting the same locations.
- Broad match adoption: Google’s algorithm has been changing. More traffic goes towards broad match keywords now. And it doesn’t need to happen overnight but you would eventually need to adopt broad match keywords.
- Bidding strategies: We look at which bidding strategy is currently being used. Then, is the strategy aligned with the campaign’s objective (e.g., using target CPA for lead generation campaigns)? Is the client achieving the desired cost per conversion with the current bidding strategy? Is the average CPC in line with industry benchmarks and the account’s historical performance? Are there campaigns that consistently under-spend? This might mean bids are set too low or there’s not enough search volume for targeted keywords. We also review all bid adjustments set for locations, devices, times of day, and demographics and we compare the performance metrics over time.
- Middle-of-the-funnel campaigns (like PMax and YouTube): We have seen some PMax campaigns that don’t have conversion tracking, good enough creatives, or the right target audience. A PMax campaign without the proper setup is even worse than none at all. So we invest time into checking if the client utilized PMax campaigns right and provide the needed recommendations.
Then we compile our findings and recommendations to supercharge our client’s account, and continue with keyword research and PPC budget planning.
Check out some of the strategies we have applied with our clients and their results.
How to Do Remarketing in Google Ads
Google Ads offers powerful remarketing capabilities. You can re-engage users who have previously visited your website but didn’t convert. Remarketing can be highly effective in nurturing leads and encouraging them to return and complete a desired action.
- Our advice to do effective remarketing is to segment your audience lists to deliver highly targeted ads.
- Avoid overwhelming users with ads by setting frequency caps to limit how often they see your remarketing ads.
- And make adjustments to your remarketing campaigns based on audience engagement and conversion rates.
Remarketing can boost your ROI by re-engaging with users who have already shown interest in your products or services.
Remarketing in Search (RLSA)
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) lets you customize your search campaigns for users who have previously visited your website. Here’s how to do it:
- Create remarketing lists: Set up audience lists in Google Ads or in GA4 for different user segments, such as cart abandoners or past customers.
- Adjust bids and ads: Customize your search campaign by creating ad groups for specific audience lists. Increase or decrease bids to target these audiences effectively.
- Tailor ad copy: Craft ad copy that speaks to the interests or actions of your remarketing audiences, making your ads more relevant.
Display Remarketing Ads
Display remarketing allows you to show visual ads to previous website visitors as they browse websites on the Google Display Network. Here’s how to set it up:
- Create audience lists: Develop audience lists based on website visitors’ behavior, such as which pages they visited or how long they spent on your site.
- Design display ads: Craft visually appealing and relevant display ads that encourage previous visitors to return to your site.
- Set bids and placements: Adjust bid strategies and select specific placements on the Display Network where you want your ads to appear.
Video Remarketing Ads
Video remarketing enables you to re-engage with users who have interacted with your YouTube channel or videos. Here’s how to implement video remarketing:
- Set up a YouTube channel: Ensure you have a YouTube channel and create relevant video content that engages your target audience.
- Create remarketing lists: Build remarketing lists in Google Ads based on users’ interactions with your videos, such as views, likes, or comments.
- Develop remarketing campaigns: Design video ads and associate them with your remarketing lists.
- Choose ad placements: Select where you want your video ads to appear, whether it’s before other YouTube videos, in search results, or on the Display Network.
Ready to transform your Google Ads campaigns? We can help you craft a winning strategy and achieve the results you’ve been dreaming of!
Explore our Google Ads services today!