There is no magic formula for how to get your marketing efforts done to reach the results you want. Still, there are so many good practices and tricks to try out that sometimes we don’t even know where to start.
What should I implement first? How do I properly optimize to give Google enough time to learn? Why aren’t the last changes I made bringing any positive results? These are some questions we might ask ourselves. In this article I’ll be sharing with you six Google Ads hacks that I have found to be most useful to improve the performance of my managed accounts and which you should definitely include in your toolbox in 2021.
1. Optimize your Google Ads account structure for more performance
Before you start planning your account structure it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you advertise for Brand, Product/Service, or Hybrid? Brand and Hybrid campaigns usually perform better than Product/Service campaigns. I recommend that you split these campaigns if you want to have more control over your spending and results.
- How is the website’s structure? Having a look at the structure of your website might help you plan the organizational tree of your Google Ads account. You can build the campaigns and ad groups structure based on how your products/services are listed on your website.
Internet users are grouped into different audiences based on their search behaviour and interests. Using this information helps you fragment the data into smaller groups and gives you the opportunity to see if performance varies depending on the audience your visitor belongs to.
- How much daily budget can you spend? If you have a tight budget consider reducing the number of campaigns so you can dispose of a higher budget for each campaign. Keep in mind your daily budget and the bid for your keywords before splitting ad groups into different campaigns. It will give you insights into how much traffic you can expect and if this traffic is enough to reach your conversion goals.
- How many languages or countries do you need to target? Assign different campaigns to different languages in order to match the selected language with the keywords, ad text, and language used on the landing page. The same applies to the country-based split. However, countries can also be grouped in one campaign if they target the same language, share the same campaign goal, and the same campaign communication.
- What’s the campaign goal (leads, purchases, video watching, visits, etc)? Focus each campaign on just one goal (conversion action). It is also possible to focus on one group of conversion actions. If, for example, you are tracking leads being generated through different forms, but all of them are relevant for your campaign goal, then you can group them and use this group to optimize your campaign.
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- How long is the conversion funnel? How many days, months will it take your visitor to convert? You can access this data in your CRM, Google Analytics, in current ad campaigns, etc. If the conversion funnel is too long, I recommend setting up your ad groups in fewer campaigns in order to collect more conversions in less time. Having more conversion data will help Google better optimize your campaign.
- How high is the bid for your products/services? Calculate the clicks and conversions you could reach for your budget, also consider data on CPC, competition level and seasonality for your queries that you get from Keyword Planner and similar tools. This calculation gives you an idea about how to split your keywords. I recommend creating a campaign structure with campaigns where you expect to reach at least 30-50 conversions within 30 days.
2. Add audiences on observation mode to later apply bid adjustments
Sometimes we forget that audiences are there to help us. If you go to the audience tab of your Google Ads campaigns and you see that your audience list is empty, it is time for you to try this.
Have you asked yourself how you could bid better and reach more conversions at a lower CPX? Using bid adjustments on audiences is a Google Ads hack worth trying. Internet users are grouped into different audiences based on their search behaviour and interests. Using this information helps you fragment the data into smaller groups and gives you the opportunity to see if performance varies depending on the audience your visitor belongs to.
How to get audiences into your data on Google Ads
- In your Google Ads account click on the campaign you want to use.
- Click on audiences on the menu bar on the left side.
- Click on the button + Audience.
- On the Edit audiences tab, select Observation (recommended) option.
- Choose the audiences you want to add.
Before using bid adjustments it’s important to know which bid adjustment you can combine with the bid strategy you are using in your campaign.
From now on your collected data will be segmented by the audiences you have chosen and you can access the report on the audience tab. Once you have collected enough data you can adjust the bidding for the audiences based on their performance.
Before using bid adjustments it’s important to know which bid adjustment you can combine with the bid strategy you are using in your campaign. I’ve found myself using bid adjustments and wondering why they don’t work before finding out that they weren’t compatible with the bid strategy I had set at campaign level. It’s always good to learn something new every day 😉. For more information, you might want to read this interesting article about which bid adjustments to combine with your bid strategy. It includes useful tables to have a look at.
3. Use Customer Match
We’ve already covered this in detail in a previous blog post about how to use Customer Match in Google Ads in a GDPR friendly way, so I’ll just highlight the main benefits of using Customer Match in case you’re not yet convinced:
- It is an effective tool for advertisers to increase CR compared to prospecting traffic.
- Use it to move prospects down the conversion funnel.
- Use it to make your clients buy more from you.
- No need for installing remarketing tag.
- Plan personalized ads.
4. Use Responsive Search Ads (RSA) instead of Expanded Text Ads (ETA)
While planning or reorganizing the structure for your campaigns, it is important to consider which ad formats you will use. If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have told you something like “go ahead with ETA, they are the best performing”. However, I changed my mind after I started having a deeper understanding of RSA performance. Here’s what I saw:
Why use Responsive Search Ads (RSA)?
- Responsive Search Ads were receiving 8 – 60 % more impressions than ETAs for most of the accounts I was managing.
- Working to reach a high ad strength for RSAs (higher than average) led to 74 – 400 % more conversions with 33 – 37% lower cost per acquisition (CPA).
- If the RSAs had an ad strength lower than average, the ads were less frequently triggered even though ETAs had higher priority and better KPIs.
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5. Clean up your Google Ads account from duplicate keywords
Have you ever navigated through your Google Ads account and found out the same keyword with the same match type is being used for different ad groups or campaigns? How did you feel about that? The bigger question is, how on earth did it happen? I thought I had everything under control!
Here are some ideas:
- You might have applied Google recommendations with new keywords without double-checking the keywords.
- You might have duplicated elements that were supposed to be modified, but they weren’t.
- Performing bulk tasks at a fast pace produced some duplications.
- The keywords were included in different ad groups or campaigns to trigger ads more often.
The easiest and fastest way to remove duplicates is to use Google Editor.
What do you do now? I can only recommend one solution for you: remove those duplicates.
How to remove duplicate keywords from your Google Ads accounts
At first glance, it might seem like you are getting traffic and even conversions from each or some of the duplicate keywords, so you might consider keeping them. Think twice. Have you ever had the feeling that you were competing against yourself in addition to your competitors?
The easiest and fastest way to remove duplicates is to use Google Editor. Here’s how:
- Select Tools from the top menu.
- Click on find duplicate keywords.
- Specify your criteria for duplicate keywords.
- Click on the button Find duplicate keywords.
- To decide which keywords to pause, download the relevant statistics for your campaign goals. You can find this feature on the top right corner of Google Editor next to the post button.
6. Improve your Google Ads Quality Score
If you’ve worked as a PPC/SEM Manager for some time then you probably have heard about the importance of improving your Quality Score. It’s not only about getting high scores. You want those scores to impact positively on your bids, which means you’ll be able to buy more traffic for any given budget and the cost per conversion will decrease. You’re not only getting a medal. You’re winning the prize.
How to improve your Quality Score
Let’s see what Google says about how your Quality Score is calculated:
“Quality Score is calculated based on the combined performance of 3 components:
- Expected clickthrough rate (CTR): The likelihood that your ad will be clicked when shown.
- Ad relevance: How closely your ad matches the intent behind a user’s search.
- Landing page experience: How relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad.”
But where do we shift our focus in order to improve the Quality Score of our keywords? Here are the three aspects you need to consider when optimizing your Quality Score (QS):
- Focus on keywords with QS ≤ 5 first.
- Label them so you can keep track of their performance.
- Check how closely tailored your keywords are to the ads and to the landing pages.
Get more qualified traffic
You might find one of these four scenarios:
1. Keywords are triggering a generic or irrelevant ad
- What you can do:
Make sure your ad copy includes relevant keywords. It’s enough to add the keyword once in the headlines and once in the description lines. There’s no need to exaggerate. You’ll be better off if you use the left characters to add other valuable information about your product or service.
Split the keywords that you have in one ad group into different ad groups so you can create a better ad copy for each keyword group.
Use keyword insertion to dynamically add the keyword that triggered your ad to the ad text. Notice that this practice needs full control of the keywords you have added in your ad group. Otherwise, it might generate grammatical errors, text that isn’t relevant to your business, etc. Read more about this feature in this guide.
2. The landing page isn’t relevant to your visitors
- What you can do:
When choosing your landing page, it’s important that you keep in mind the keywords and ad copies you use for your ads. If a visitor is searching for “brown winter boots”, your ad text is about “brown winter boots” and your landing page is a home page, “winter boots” LP or “brown boots”, the LP experience won’t be as positive as what LP “brown winter boots” can offer. User goes directly to the product he or she has an interest in.
Don’t use queries for products or services that your site doesn’t really offer. You’ll have more reach, but disappointed visitors will bounce if they can’t find what they’re looking for.
3. The landing page is experiencing technical issues
- What you can do:
Errors like 404 on your landing page can lead to a really bad experience and high spending. Be aware of them. Google Ads will notify you via email and on the Google Ads platform when this happens.
Use Google tools like PageSpeed Insights to learn about your website performance and get recommendations you and your developers can implement to improve the score.
4. The landing page isn’t mobile-friendly
- What you can do:
Google started giving priority to mobile users some time ago. If you look at your KPIs, you might have noticed that your impressions and clicks have shifted from desktop to mobile during the last year. You can still buy cheaper traffic via mobile, and even cheaper conversions as long as mobile is relevant for your business. If this is the case, then it is time to improve your mobile-friendly score. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to learn more about what you need to work on.
These Google Ads hacks will help you get more results and better performance. Most of these hacks are easy and fast to implement. Therefore, you will be able to see their impact in your ads a few days/weeks after implementation.
If you know of other hacks that helped you improve performance, let us know on Social Media which other hacks we should include in our toolbox for 2021. We’d love to hear about your experience.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide and are ready to use some or all of the hacks. If you have any suggestions or need advice to manage your Google Ads accounts, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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