Google is the most popular search engine in the world. Millions of potential customers search it everyday, so it is no surprise that SEO and Google Ads are key parts of many businesses’ digital marketing strategies. Whether a business is trying to use Google Ads to drive brand awareness, traffic, sales, or conversions, Google ads has a campaign type to fit their needs.
However, it’s also easy to spend a lot of money without seeing the results your business needs. Here we’ll share some high level strategies for optimizing Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords).
Optimizing Your Google Ads Strategy
The first place to start when optimizing your Google Ads strategy is to look at the recommendations that Google Ads provides. You’ll see an optimization score that rates your ads across Search, Display and Shopping. You’ll then see recommendations in five areas: ads & extensions, automated campaigns, bidding & budgets, keywords & targeting, and repairs.
Google points out that you don’t have to do everything they recommend here. As they say: “You know your business best.” However, these recommendations are based on data Google Ads has collected from your advertising efforts to date, so you definitely want to carefully consider each one.
Another easy thing you can do to optimize your Google Ads Strategy is link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account. Experienced marketers would have done this at the outset, but it’s worth a reminder of how important this is. By linking the two accounts you can do things like import ecommerce transactions, create custom remarketing lists, understand what keywords are driving engagement on your website, and much more. These insights can help you better tailor your Google Ads strategy. The best part is that this is an easy and free way to improve your Google Ads strategy.
The third and perhaps most important element to optimizing your Google ads strategy is to make sure your ads are performing well and look for ways to boost performance.
Look at your clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rate for your various ads. Which one have strong rates and which ones are falling behind? No matter what type of ads you are running through Google Ads you want to make sure the text is active and compelling, include your keyword at least once, and be selective with your keywords.
Make sure you are up to speed on changes to Google Ads including deprecating the ability to edit expanded text ads, changes to match types (exact match and phrase match for search terms), and Performance Max Campaigns.
If you run video ads or shopping ads you will also want to make sure the video and image quality is strong. If you have one ad in an ad group that is doing well and another that isn't, test changes and run A/B tests to see what performs better. Don’t forget about your landing page either; you want people to find what they need or want once they get to your website.
Optimizing Your Google Ads Spend
Optimizing your Google Ads spend is crucially important; in any business you want to spend to increase the profitability of your business. Unlike general brand advertising, online advertising done right can provide very specific insights you can use to continue to refine your campaigns.
First, make sure you update your negative keywords lists, which includes keywords you don’t want to bid on. Google Ads is a PPC (pay-per-click) network and whenever possible you’ll want to avoid paying for clicks that won’t lead to conversions. Negative keywords can protect your ads from showing up on Google searches that aren’t converting, aren’t relevant to your business, or which you are prohibited from bidding on due to partner agreements.
You will also just want to continually monitor your current keywords. Each keyword should contribute to results, so pay close attention to any that are falling behind. It can be hard to let go of those that are just doing “OK,” but if you have keywords with consistently higher CPCs and lower conversions, you may want to pause them and evaluate your overall results. You can consult the free Google Ads Keyword Planner, or another third-party keyword research tools to help you identify new ones to test.
Other areas to keep an eye on when it comes to your Google Ads strategy are demographics, geolocation, and ad schedule. When you started your Google Ads campaigns, you set your target audience, decided which locations you wanted to target and created an ad schedule.
But don’t just set it and forget it. Review these ad settings periodically and adjust as needed. If you notice, for example, that a certain demographic is not engaging with your ads you can either try new ads to reach that audience, or you can remove them ands focus on the demographic you are having success with. Likewise, you will want to do something similar with your ad schedule and geolocation. You want to see when people are and aren’t engaging with your ads so you can target them at those times, and you will want to see what locations are most responsive to your ads.
Similarly there may be times of the year, such as the holiday season, when you can change these settings to effectively reach an audience that may not otherwise be engaged.
One of the most popular ways to optimize your Google Ads spend is use Google Ads Smart Bidding. Smart bidding allows you to pick a strategy and set your ROAS or CPA targets. The Google Ads smart bidding algorithm then figures out how to best use your money to help you reach your goals. This can help you stay on budget and get (or get close to) the ROAS or CPA metric you’re targeting. However, it is not a perfect system, and those who are more experienced with Google Ads may want to use manually bidding to customize a strategy. It requires the advertiser to frequently check their bids and make sure they are in the target range, but experienced digital marketers can often use it effectively.
The Best Tool for Optimizing Your Google Ads Strategy
Unfortunately, there is no single tool that is best for optimizing your Google Ads strategy.
What will work for one marketer may not work for another, and a number of factors can affect performance. weaknesses in your current strategy or ad spend, where you are in your Google Ads journey, your budget, etc all these things are going to dictate what the ‘best tool for optimizing your Google Ads strategy’ will be.
A clothing boutique owner who just launched her first campaign with very little experience may start with basic steps to optimize campaigns by making sure she uses Google Shopping Ads, separates products into ad groups, and makes sure the business address, phone number, and clothing offers are presented in a professional and clear manner on their website’s landing page. Google recommendations may provide enough insights to begin optimizing Ads.
An experienced ecommerce marketer who knows how to write a stellar ad copy and compelling headlines, has a solid template for successful search ads, knows how to implement ad extensions and use retargeting successfully, may not need another tool but rather a consultant to review their strategy and provide specific, tailored advice.
Earn Cash Back on Google Ads Spend
Even with your Google Ads strategy and spend optimized, you can get more mileage from your spend by using the right business credit card for your ad spend. A business credit card that gives you unlimited cash back on that advertising spending will allow you to invest in more advertising, better optimization tools, or other business expenses. There are a number of business credit cards that offer 1–2% cash back on advertising expenses, but be aware of spending limits that may cap cash back after you have spent a certain amount.
dash.fi gives you unlimited 3% back for the first 60 days, then 1.5% after that.
Keep Google Ads Running with Automatic Payments
Monitoring ad performance takes time and attention. When you hit on a successful formula for your campaign, you don’t want it to screech to a halt prematurely because your payment card failed. When your account is suspended you can lose sales as well as valuable insights.
Automatic payments can help ensure you have enough room on the card to increase spending when you need it. However, many small business card issuers don’t provide an easy way to accomplish this, and you’ll waste valuable time trying to make frequent payments and ensure they are credited to the account quickly enough.
Dash.fi takes a unique approach to automatic payments, and works with cardholders to help them set up easy, automatic payments to support higher spend.
High Credit Limit to Support Large Campaigns
Higher credit limits are also important in that they allow advertisers to spend what they need to reach their advertising goals. But getting a high enough credit limit to support the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars some advertisers spend each month can be challenging.
Even card issuers that advertise “no set spending limit” may not recognize the unique needs of ecommerce businesses, including significant ad spending during key seasons.
Dash.fi recognizes the importance of flexible spending limits and approaches credit limits in a unique way. There are multiple paths to creditworthiness to help ensure the business can continue to invest in digital advertising to grow their business.