Each year Google Ads and digital marketing are getting more competitive. Now more than ever, companies are turning to online advertising to promote their business.
As a business owner or marketer, you might wonder if the competition is already too high to get started.
In this article, I will review the tried-and-true strategies for Google Ads success. After 10+ years of managing Google Ads, these techniques are the foundation for all our accounts.
The increased competition makes Google Ads more challenging, but there is still an opportunity for the intelligent advertiser to succeed.
The 5 strategies below are the fundamentals we rely on when managing accounts across various industries.
1. Understanding Keyword Match Types
Keywords form the foundation of Google Ads. Currently, there are 3 keyword match types in Google ads. Each match type is different, and you need to be aware of the pros and cons. I will give a quick overview below:
- The keyword matches the user’s search completely
- For example, if someone searches for “buy dog food” and you are bidding on the exact match keyword [buy dog food], your ad will show
- Your ad will not show for “dog food” or “purchase dog food”
- The keyword matches the phrase or words contained in the keyword, but additional items can be in the search.
- For the example above, the phrase match keyword “buy dog food” will also match to the search “buy dog food near me” or “buy dog food in stores”
- Google can match you to searches similar to your original keyword
- Using our example again, the broad match keyword “buy dog food” could match to “purchase dog food,” “buy food for dogs,” or even “food for dogs near me”
Each keyword match type has its place in properly run Google Ads campaigns. And understating when to use each is crucial to your success.
Although the exact dynamics of Google Ads keywords are too much to go into here, most of your keyword spend should be exact and phrase match. This will give you the most control over your campaign and allows you to bid higher on the most valuable terms.
Broad match keywords can be used to discover new keywords you may want to target. But be careful of what searches you match to (more on this in Step 3).
2. Set Up Correct Conversion Tracking
Setting up accurate conversion tracking is essential to creating successful campaigns. You must create conversions that not only mean something in Google Ads but are direct measurements of success in your business.
The closer your conversion goals in Google ads are to real KPIs in your business, the easier your campaign management will become. This will allow you to quickly identify the successful campaigns and wean off any less profitable keywords and campaigns.
If you are an E-commerce business, these goals will be easier to set up. You can simply import the sales and revenue metrics from Google Analytics into Google Ads.
If you are a lead gen business, this becomes a bit more challenging. But by setting up conversion goals such as lead form submissions or calls from the website, monitoring this becomes more straightforward.
3. Reviewing Your Search Terms Weekly (if not daily)
Google will show a percentage of all the searches where users clicked on your ad. These show up in your account as “search terms.”
Reviewing these searches is a step overlooked or often ignored by many business owners. For the campaign types where Google shows search terms, it can be the difference between success or failure.
Even if you have created the best keyword list possible, you must verify the actual searches. A quick daily check of these search terms can save you thousands in wasted marketing budget.
Review each term, and if it is not a search you would like to match to, block this out using “Negative Keywords.” Negative Keywords will stop your ads from showing on particular searches.
- Using our example, if you added “near” as a negative keyword, you would not show up for the search “buy dog food near me” or any other search containing “near”
If you notice searches that you frequently match to are converting and not in your account, you can add these in as keywords. This will give you more control over these terms.
4. Create an Organized Account Structure
The basic components of Google Ads are campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords. Each campaign has one or more ad groups. Then ad groups have keywords and ads nested inside.
Visually, it looks something like this:
- Campaign ->Ad Group ->(Keyword + Ads)
When creating your account, it is essential to consider how you setup the campaigns or your “Account structure.”
A great way to go about this is to use your website as a guide. Different products will be the theme of each campaign, and the ways people search for that product then become the ad group.
There are many different strategies and schools of thought on how to best set up your account. But the most critical step is to create campaigns that make sense for your business and allow you to assess results quickly.
5. Choosing the Correct Bidding Strategies
Within Google Ads, you bid on each keyword in your account. This bid, along with your quality score (a relevance rating by Google), will determine if and in what order your ad shows up.
There are essentially two ways of bidding in Google Ads. You can set each keyword bid manually, or you can allow Google to automate your bidding based on their machine learning algorithms.
Both strategies can lead to success. But you must account for your particular campaign conversion data and volume.
The more accurate your conversion data and the more clicks and conversions you have, the greater chance automated bidding strategies will work for you.
But be careful if you are a small business or in a niche market with minimal traffic. The low data accounts will not give Google as much opportunity to optimize. This is especially the case if your conversion tracking is not 100% accurate. Then Google will begin to optimize toward incomplete conversion data.
Our preferred strategy is to leverage manual bidding as this will give one the most control. With this, you can push your most successful keywords and bid each keyword what it is really worth. But after an account accumulates enough data, we might test out automated strategies.
Whether you are new to Google ads or are a seasoned pro, you might be worried about the changing landscape. It’s no secret that Google is moving towards automation every day. With this, more of your account and budget is in Google’s hands.
Each year the online marketing world gets more competitive. 2020 was no exception. But with these tips, we hope you are able to launch or improve your Google Ads campaigns in 2021.