How can I optimize the ads in my Google Ads campaigns?

Managing campaigns in Google Ads (Google AdWords) can be confusing and unpredictable to say the least. With so many aspects to take into account, crises arise on the daily, with no end in sight. As a manager, you may be thinking: Why is my conversion rate so low? How is it possible that I have exceeded my budget yet again? Where can I find the Ad Group or report data I’m looking for? You are not alone.

Some of the biggest challenges for managers in optimizing Google AdWords campaigns include getting your account organized, understanding the latest trends and tools, using your budget and resources efficiently, and finding and collecting important data to influence results. In this post, we will show you 6 solutions for optimizing the ads in your Google AdWords campaigns so that you can overcome your current obstacles and achieve the performance and results you’re looking for. 

1. Establish your account structure and strategy from the start

Google AdWords can be a maze of keywords, campaigns, bids, pixels, and endless other elements. To keep everything in order and efficiently navigate campaigns and track results, you need to make sure your account structure and strategy are clear from the very beginning of a new venture or project:

  • Establish your strategy and KPIs: The quickest way to a failed campaign is not having a clearly-defined, data-driven strategy. Based on your research, you must set specifics KPIs and campaign objectives. Common KPIs include: Clicks, Click through Rate (CTR), Cost per Click (CPC), Conversion, CPA (Cost per Acquisition), CvR (Conversion Rate), ROA (Return on Ad Spend), and ROI (Return on Investment). 
  • Implement tracking and analytics: There are several different ways to track your ad conversions. Whichever method is appropriate, make sure that it is implemented correctly, tested thoroughly, and that you are actively collecting and analyzing the data. 
  • Organize your campaigns and ad groupsGetting your account structure organized will help make your campaigns more systematic and scalable. Organization mostly comes down to the ad groups within your campaigns. Instead of generic Ad Groups with a mix of similar keywords, create highly-segmented Ad Groups with specific keywords, personalized copy and landing pages. However, make sure the number of Ad Groups does not become unmanageable.
  • Document and report everything: Organization is key for achieving successful and profitable results, therefore you must have a process for documentation and reporting. Strive to develop reports on a monthly basis and adjust campaigns based on your results. 

2. Review and refine your keywords

Keywords are the building blocking of the ads in your Google AdWords campaigns, so you need to be hyper-aware of emerging trends, search habits, and changing algorithms. New trends may emerge according to location, time of year, or events happening in real-time. To optimize your keywords, implement these best practices:

  • Discover new keywords: Google Search Console, Search Query Reports, and other tools help you find relevant, high-value short or long tail keywords for your campaigns. The Search Query Report, for example, shows you the specific searches that your ads appeared for.  
  • Add negative keywords: Do not waste your valuable budget on irrelevant traffic. Add keywords you absolutely do not want to target to your negative keywords list. 
  • Get rid of underperforming keywords: Sometimes, a keyword that seems right simply does not work. A good rule of thumb is that if your keyword is achieving a Click through Rate (CTR) of less than 1% after optimization, you should eliminate it.
  • Keyword relevance vs. reach: Keyword optimization is all about finding balance between search volume, bid competition, traffic type, etc. Attracting traffic is key, but only if it is the right type of traffic. Increasing relevance, for example, will increase your Quality Score, lower the Cost per Click, and increase the Conversion Rate. 
  • Adjust keyword matching: Sometimes your current match type is too broad or too narrow. Exact Match or Phrase Match work best for short keywords, specific targeting and conversion, and high volume but low-quality traffic. BMM and Broad Match are for long tail keywords, brand awareness, and low search volumes. By using more than one match type, you can cover every possible winning combination. 

3. Test your landing pages and ads in Google AdWords

Sometimes it is not your ad settings, configurations, or keywords that are not working, but your ad copy and landing pages. This tends to be a more subjective and creative side of optimization, but A/B testing is a reliable way to intelligently test results. To conduct A/B testing for your landing pages and ads, send 50% of traffic to the current page and 50% to the new version. Elements to test include:

  • Ad Headline and Text: The first part of your ad should have a hook that catches the viewer’s attention. However, use your words wisely because you have a limited number of them! Also, make sure that your offer is clear and that it solves the user’s problem. 
  • Ad Call to Action (CTA): Your CTA should be compelling and action oriented. You can employ psychological techniques such as introducing curiosity, a cliffhanger, urgency, a limited-time discount or offer, the fear of missing out, etc. 
  • Ad extensions: Boost your Click through Rate and increase visibility of ad copy with extensions like snippets, sitelink/call extension. 
  • Different ad copies per ad group: Different formats allow you to see which work best. Try this combination: 2 responsive search ads, 1 expanded text ad, and 1 dynamic keyword insertion ad. 
  • Landing Page Form: First, make sure that the text and CTAs on your landing page are in line with your ads. To increase your landing page conversion rate, make sure your form length is proportional to the value of the product/service being offered. 
  • Landing page technical aspects: For your landing pages, keep in mind the user experience with things like a rapid loading speed, device responsiveness, navigation, working links, etc. 

4. Review your ad targeting

Knowing and understanding your audience is key in getting your Google AdWords campaigns to work correctly. The fact is, if your targeting is off, you are not going to get much traffic, clicks, or conversions, and your time and budget spent will have been wasted. It is important to know your audience and adjust your targeting accordingly to achieve a sustainable campaign structure:

  • Study your audience: First, you need to truly know your audience to know how to target them. Create an ideal customer profile or Buyer Personas to create an in-depth look at audience members. This will help you understand their habits and tailor content to their needs. 
  • Demographic targeting: Once you’ve studied your audience, use their demographic characteristics to target a specific age range, by gender, by household income, etc. 
  • Location targeting: If your product or service is location-specific, use AdWords Location Targeting features to only target people in areas you can sell in and eliminate low performing areas. Location targeting will help decrease costs and increase relevancy. 
  • Time/day targeting: Study trends across different days and times of day and configure your campaigns to only run at the times they achieve the best results. You can also change the bid amount for different times of day. 
  • Device targeting: Mobile traffic is increasing across the world. If you attain the best results from mobile users or want to test out the differences between mobile vs. desktop, consider device targeting.  

5. Adjust your budget and bidding strategy

As a manager, your AdWords budget is at the front of your mind in all decisions that you make. You know that it is increasingly difficult to attract quality leads, and that leads are getting more expensive. If you’re not achieving the desired levels of clicks or conversions – at the right price – according to your KPIs, you must home in on your bidding strategy to maximize your budget:

  • Adjust bids according to targeting and performance: You should adjust your bids in keeping with your targeting towards demographics, location, device type, etc. Moreover, depending on the performance of your Click through Rates and Conversion Rates of keywords, you should decrease bids on low performers and increase bids on high performers. 
  • Concentrate on the first-page bid: To remain competitive for your keywords, make sure you do not have keywords below the first-page bid. Try comparing your current bidding to the top of page bid. 
  • Study your daily budget consumption: If your daily budget is not being spent each day, you need to reevaluate your current bidding strategy. Look at bid competitiveness and targeting. Was your budget consumed evenly throughout the day? Tools like the auction insights feature will help you analyze performance. 
  • Set alerts and limits for exceeded budgets: Budgets can be depleted early or go over the intended limits, creating havoc for your plans. This primarily happens due to spiked Cost per Click from maximized bidding. If your bids are too high, lower your bidding to a max CPC bid. You can also avoid an exceeded budget by setting up automated budget controls and email alerts. 

6. Undertake constant optimization and analysis

Every leader knows that it is essential to justify your team, resources, and investment in Google AdWords. Reckless spending, testing, and failure to meet objectives could mean the end of a project. To avoid letting problems grow until they’re too big to tackle, you need to prioritize constant optimization and in-depth analysis and reporting: 

  • Do optimization frequently: The first few days of a campaign launch are crucial. You should be optimizing your campaigns daily, as this is when the most significant trends can be witnessed. After this, you should establish a timeframe for optimizing, whether it be on a weekly or monthly basis.  
  • Shave time off optimization with technology: A general optimization will take at least 30 minutes just to review the basics of your campaigns. Tack on more time for research, follow up, ad disapprovals, appeals, reviews, etc. Explore automation and technology to make this process more efficient. 
  • Monitor the competition: At no time should you forget to keep tabs on your competition. Markets and interests change quickly, your competitors will be quick to adapt, so you be too. Study what successful competitors are doing and tailor it to your purposes.
  • In-depth analysis and reporting: Make sure you are constantly testing and documenting your analysis. This data will inform your future optimization efforts and help justify investment. Develop reporting on at least a monthly scale in order to study results, evaluate KPIs, and implement changes.  

By targeting these 6 key areas for optimizing your Google AdWords campaigns, you’ll see more successful results – and the profits that follow – in no time. If you’re looking for tools to help you manage the daily challenges of Google AdWords, take a look at our AI-Powered Keyword Management Platform for optimizing campaigns and ads in Google AdWords. This platform makes complex search processes simple, automated, and easy to manage, meaning you’ll spend less time trying to investigate and understand Google AdWords, and more time on valuable, strategic activities for your business. 

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