Google Adwords is an advertising service from Google which lets you reach your customers by displaying your ads on Google Search as well as on the publisher websites associated with it through display ads. Google Adwords has various models the most popular of which is PPC (Pay Per Click).
Google Adwords can be a double edged sword!!
That’s correct if you aren’t careful you can hurt your own self by spending too much. Its a tricky business especially if you jump into it without any prior planning. Having said that you must know 90% of online buying experiences commence with a search engine. Here are a few reasons why Google Adwords is one of the best advertising platforms:
- You only pay when a person clicks on your Ad i.e when an interested person makes an activity.
- You have control over your budget. You can set a cap on how much you want to spend on daily basis. You can also increase or decrease the budget anytime.
- You control when, where and which ad appears to what audience. Unlike Search Engine Optimization, Google Adwords can give instant results.
If you optimize Google Adwords campaigns properly it can be a real game changer for your business. So how do you optimize your Google Adwords? Let’s get started..
Adwords Optimization Strategies
This is the first step in the planning process. You must know and understand what your goal is. There are four steps involved in the goal planning process.
Objective: What’s the objective behind running Google Ads? In most cases it is to bring targeted customers.
Motivation: What is the motivation that will induce your customers? For example, if you are running a product ad the motivation here will be ‘I want to buy’. If you’re running a whitepaper campaign, the motivation will be ‘I want to learn’.
Effort: Decide the purpose for which you are making this effort e.g getting downloads, getting users to register for a webinar or watch a promotional video.
KPI: Your key performance indicator is an important step in the planning process before you start your Adwords campaign. Set realistic targets which you think are difficult but can be achieved keeping in mind your historic conversion state. Estimate a figure for conversions you want to achieve e,g 30 downloads or purchases by the end of March.
Adwords Optimization Tip: Don’t plan everything in your head.. Write it down on a piece of paper and remind yourself about it everyday you analyse your campaigns.
After figuring out your goals it’s time to think about your audience. If you know the answers of these four questions, you know the persona of your prospecting customers.
- What are your customers motivated by?
- Where do they spend most of their time?
- Why are they interested in the product?
- What will convince them to buy?
“Test the waters before you jump.. Never jump in with your both feet..”
Once you’re done with the planning you can go ahead and create a new Google Ad Campaign or if you’re already running one and looking to optimize here’s what you need to know.
Improve Ad Position of your Adwords Campaign?
Ad rank is an important factor that determines the position of your ad. Other than the auction bid you place the ad bid directly depends on the quality score of your ad.
What is Quality Score?
It is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords you use and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.
As per definition quality score is calculated by the following:
- Expected Click Through Rate (CTR): It is an estimation by Google of the rate at which ad viewers will click on your ads. The estimation is calculated by how well has your ad performed historically for the given keywords based on the position of your ad. Google gives rating to your keywords with below average, average and above average.
- Landing Page Experience: Google rates the landing page experience through automated systems as well as human evaluation. You can improve your landing pages to get higher quality scores by adding relevant, original and useful content for the users. Make sure your landing page is responsive which makes it easy for users to navigate. Does your landing page take a lot of time to open? Site speed is another factor that influences the landing page experience.
- Ad Relevance i.e keywords and ad text: This estimates how closely your keywords are related to the content of your ad and the landing page. Make sure your keywords match the message in your ads.
- Google Ad Extensions: This allows your ads to show extra information to the users other than the standard ad text. Ad extensions can be applied to Search network only. Following are some examples of ad extensions.
- Sitelinks extensions: They are quite useful and have a great impact on the overall CTR of your ad. As the name indicates it shows additional sitelinks below your standard text ad. Add 6-7 different sitelinks extensions as Google chooses the most relevant sitelinks itself.
- Location extensions: This allows you to show your business address, phone number and map marker next to your standard ad text. On mobile it includes directions to your business.
- Call Extensions: You can let customers call directly through your ad by using call extension. Is is usually very effective for local businesses for example if you run a pizza parlor your customers can call you on the go and place the order.
- App Extensions: You can link your mobile or tablet app to your ad. It creates a link to your app below your standard text ad which can either be used to simply start download or take the user to app description page.
- Review Extensions: This lets you highlight third party reviews next to your ads. This is a great way to increase your credibility.
- Callout Extensions: Personally one of my favorites! The length of the ad cannot exceed the specified limit however you can use callout extension to add additional text below your ad.
- Structured Snippet Extensions: It allows the ads to show various aspects of your product or service. It provides context on the variety and nature of products you are offering in your ads.
All these extensions can be added at the same cost-per-click of your standard ad.
Optimize Adwords Campaign with Keywords
Here are a few tips on how to properly optimize your keywords to get the most out of your Ad campaign.
- Be specific when choosing a keyword. An ad group should ideally have 5-20 keywords.
- When choosing the keywords think like a customer. What would your customer search to find your product?
- Organize keywords by theme and use matching options. There are four types of keyword modifiers or matching options.
- Broad Match: All keywords by default are broad match. I do not recommend using broad match keywords as the target audience can be really broad and you might end up getting irrelevant clicks. Broad match targets users searching for variations and synonyms of the keyword provided.
- Broad Match Modifier: Use this by adding a ‘+’ sign before your keywords, for example +men’s +shoes. It will target close variations for this keyword in any order.
- Phrase Match: Use this by enclosing the keyword in “commas”, for example “men’s shoes”. It will target the keyword in exact order with other keywords before or after with its close variations.
- Exact Match: Use this by enclosing the keyword in bar brackets [ ], for example [men’s shoes]. It will target exactly target the keyword itself and its close variations.
- Use negative keywords to prevent your ad showing up to people who are not looking for your product or service. For example if you sell glasses your ad might show up to people who are searching for terms like “drinking glasses” or “wine glasses”.
- It is not a good practice to use the same keyword for multiple campaigns, hence do not use duplicate keywords.
- Create 2-3 ad groups per campaign each containing 10-30 keywords.
How to Improve Google Ad Performance?
Here are a few tips to make your ads effective and increase your return-on-investment (ROI).
- Highlight what makes you unique: What is your unique selling point (USP)? What makes your product different from the rest? Highlight these important aspects in your ad text.
- Use Call-to-Action: Make sure to add a call-to-action in your ad. It increases the click through rate and lets users know about the required action they need to take beforehand. For example “buy now’, “learn more” or “download now”.
- Use Sales Terminology: Using sales pitch in your ad will also improve your ad’s performance. An example of sales terminology is “Get Free 60 Days Trial”.
- Match Ads to Keywords: It is a good practice to use keywords in your ad text. When ever the user searches for that keyword the ad text containing your keyword will be shown bold. This also increases your search relevancy which improves your ad position.
- Match Ad with Landing Page: A landing page is where you want the user to perform a certain action. Make sure the message in the landing page is relevant to your google ad text.
- Determine the Funnel Stage: You can’t sell your product to someone who doesn’t know about your product. Similarly before running your campaign you need to determine the stage of your audience. If they are in the learning stage a more effective call-to-action would be “Learn More” instead of “Buy Now”.
- Raise Bids on Profitable Keywords: If you see a few keywords are converting well than the others it is wise to increase bids on those keywords so that you get the major share of that search term.
Update: Google recently rolled out the new expanded text ads which can increase the chances of you reach potential customers.
Analyzing AdWords Campaigns
This is one of the most important steps in successfully managing and optimizing your Google Adwords Campaign. Once you start a campaign you’re always in the analysis mode, whether it is the keywords which include raising or lowering the bids or analyse more advanced reports like from which location are you getting most visits?
Here are three most important reports that I normally use myself and recommend everyone.
Auction Insights: You can access auction insights by clicking on the Keywords tab and selecting Details -> Auction Insights -> All. It shows you how well are you doing with your keywords when comparing with other advertisers. This information lets you make strategic decisions to outrank your competitors.
User Location: This report tells you from which location are people clicking on your ads and which ones are converting the most. With this information you can target most profitable locations and get a much better return on investment. You can view this report by clicking on Dimensions tab and selecting View -> User Location.
Device Bid Adjustment: You can adjust the bid to which devices you wish to target in particular. You can increase or decrease the bid by choosing the audience from Desktops/Tablets and Mobile Devices. In order to prevent your Google Ad from showing up on mobile devices with browsers just decrease the bid for Mobile Devices to 100%.
Don’t want your ads to show up on mobile applications? Add “adsenseformobileapps.com” in the campaign or group exclusion list.
Optimize Landing Page for Google Adwords
A well optimized Google Ad will bring you quality visitors and you want to make sure you capture as many of them as possible. A landing page which is optimized for conversions will make the process very easy and you’ll see a rise in your conversion rate.
Customized Landing Page: I highly recommend using custom landing pages for Google Adwords. A landing page is different from a normal website page. It does not have the menu bar on header and no footer as I strongly believe adding links on the landing page is an open invitation for users to roam around your website which prevents them to complete the required action you want them to perform on the landing page. So, don’t add any links on your landing page other than the call-to-action. Your primary objective is to make the user perform an action on your page for example fill out a form or make a purchase.
Provide Clear and Compelling Call-to-Action: My experience show that a clear call-to-action can increase conversions up to 200%. In the basic anatomy of a good landing page call-to-action is a very important factor.
Add a Testimonial: Add a review or testimonial in your landing page with a few renowned brand logos showcasing your customers. This increases the credibility and aids the overall conversion rate.
Simplify Registration Forms: Having a complex registration form is a very bad way to welcome your visitors. Don’t throw too many fields for users to fill out which can put them off. Make your forms simple and user friendly. Make sure to test your forms properly before starting your campaign.
Stay Aligned with your Brand: You are spending money and ensure your visitors know what your brand is about once they click on your ad. This is the least you expect if a user doesn’t perform an action on the landing page.
Test. Measure. Improve: Finally, if things start to change in your favor, don’t just sit back and let the show run on its own. Test your audiences, measure the performance and keep improving. There’s always little space for improvement.