Let’s start off with some numbers. Google has nearly 4 million advertisers using its platform on a monthly basis. That’s more than double the total number that social media giant Facebook has on its network.
So much competition exists in the digital advertising space due to the high volume of businesses competing for the audience’s attention. For this reason, as a marketer it’s never been more important to focus on utilizing the best practices that every ad platform has to offer.
In this post, I’ll address a few of the ways you can take your Google ad strategy to the next level without increasing your budget.
1. Review (and Refine) Your Keyword List
When putting together your keyword list, it’s crucial to recognize that nothing is set in stone. As consumer behavior changes, so too should your word list.
Even with careful planning, you might still find that some of your keywords aren’t performing up to the level you had hoped. If that’s the case, simply remove them! One expert recommends that if your keyword has a CTR (click-through-rate) of under 1%, it’s time to do away with it altogether.
As always, you should be tracking the changes in keyword popularity in order to stay on top of how customers are finding businesses like yours. Find a keyword tool that works for you, and combine it with Google Insights to get the full picture.
2. The Importance of 200
One of the most difficult things for marketers is knowing when it’s appropriate to evaluate a campaign, landing page, keyword, or ad set’s performance. If something is underperforming, it’s crucial to recognize it and make adjustments before more money is wasted. With that being said, if you judge something without really giving it a chance, that isn’t going to help much.
If you’re looking for a number to help you make these decisions, try 200. Here’s how it works: If a keyword gets 200 impressions that means 200 people have matched your keyword bid and can provide reliable results. If the CTR is under 1%, then it isn’t going to be any more effective when you consider a long-term perspective.
The next ‘200’ number has to do with your landing page. If your keyword receives 200 clicks it means you have a good data set with which you can judge the effectiveness of your landing page. If you’re experiencing a low conversion rate, it might be time to rethink where you’re sending your audience.
The bottom line is that some ads connect with your audience, and some simply do not. By recognizing early on which ones fall into the former category, the less money you’ll waste on ineffective ads.
3. Consider Location
If your business has multiple locations, it can be challenging to achieve that personalized ad experience gets people to act. The solution is location targeting, offered in Google’s AdWords platform.
The location targeting settings can be accessed and configured in the Audience section of your campaign’s “Settings” page. When you utilize this feature, not only can you create much more relevant messaging, but you can also direct people to specific landing pages based on your location.
Your audience will likely have a better response to ads that specifically match their location, and thus your quality score and conversion rate should go up, and CPC should decrease. That is a winning equation for any advertiser!
4. Broad Match Keywords
Narrowing down the exact keywords that Google uses to find your potential customers is a tough process. Even when you do extensive research, chances are you’re leaving off a few that could be effective. The solution? Broad match keywords.
Selecting “broad match” from the keyword options means Google will then identify which words should trigger your ads, even if you don’t specify a particular option.
If you’re concerned that your ad isn’t being seen by the right people due to some mismatched keywords, broad match is a great way to boost the numbers without increasing cost. For those who aren’t masters at Google’s ad platform, it’s an easy way to drive traffic to your landing page.
5. Negative Keywords
Experts agree – one of the most important things to consider when setting up a Google ad campaign is how to maximize your budget. It sounds obvious, but each time your ad is served to someone who has no interest in your product or service, it might as well be money down the drain.
Negative keywords give advertisers the ability to let Google know “when this word is searched, keep me out of it.” For example, if you own an eyeglasses business, you might include “beer glasses” in your negative keywords. Another example would be if you’re a store that sells high-end formal footwear, you would place the keywords “running shoes” or “gym shoes” in the negative keyword category.
As a general rule, part of the ever-important keyword planning process should include an exhaustive list of negative keywords. Work with your team to determine which keywords could pop up for something unrelated that would result in Google incorrectly serving your ad.
6. Experience Matters (for the user, that is)
Google’s ideal scenario is one in which it delivers your well-crafted ad to an interested user, who then clicks on the ad and converts. Because this benefits all parties, Google uses algorithms to determine how to serve “better” ads to its users. All this is to say, Google goes beyond just the ad itself when determining Quality Score.
Just like it sounds, Quality Score assigns a numerical value to your ad that helps paint a picture of how useful it is to your audience. Things like a broken or sub-par landing page or low-quality creative will all drive down your score.
The best way to avoid running into these issues is to think like a customer. If you were interested in the product you’re selling and saw your own ad, how effective would it be? If you create a seamless experience, Google will reward your efforts.
Google’s AdWords platform gives advertisers a cost-efficient way to market their products and services…but only if their “best practices” are followed closely. There are many more components of Google ads to consider than I’ve laid out here, but for beginners, it’s a good place to start.
If you need help putting together a digital marketing campaign for your business, contact us today and we’ll find a solution that fits your goals and your budget!