Google understands the importance of user experience. Everything they do focuses on improving it and making the Internet a more searchable place. The same applies to Google’s advertising platform, Ads. It’s so easy to get started. Create an ad and drive some traffic.
But what’s not easy is getting the right Ads ROI. Ad clicks may cost $2 to $10. And every click will not equal a sale.
Ads is not a platform where you just create an advertisement and let it do the work. Google Ads offers you dynamic ad creation tools that help you create highly relevant and, therefore, high performing ads. And learning how to use these tools helps you keep costs low while maximising not only traffic but also sales.
Take these 9 strategic steps to improve your Ads ROI.
1. Use Ad Groups Effectively
Each ad group should focus on one target customer, service and/or product.
If you offer technology services to physicians, for example, a different message may appeal to the general paediatrician versus a haematologist.
Connecting with these different audiences using their language is key to creating relevant ads. And in Ads, relevance is everything. You have less than a second to make an impression as someone skims across your ad and proceeds down the results page. People only see things that speak to them directly.
The rest, they completely ignore.
2. Limit Your Keywords
When you run campaigns in Ads, Google is constantly suggesting new words you can add to your campaigns. And it’s natural to think that they know best. But these are just suggestions.
They may or may not be relevant to your ad groups. And adding words that aren’t relevant, negatively impacts your campaign in two critical ways.
First, it increases the potential for misclicks from non-customers when you show up in irrelevant searches. Remember, you have to pay for that click.
It also lowers your Quality Score, which will impact how much you pay per click.
Your keywords should generally be:
- 2 or more words so that they have some context. For example, “shoes” is too broad. Lots of people wear shoes around the world. “Shoes for Women” is a little more specific. “Athletic shoes for women” is even more so. Or you might mention a specific brand or feature, “Tony Bianco Shoes”.
- Directly aligned with your ad and landing page
- Words and phrases that people actually search for. You can determine by using the Keyword Planner.
- A mix of high, medium and low competition. If you only use high-competition words, you’ll pay too much per click without gaining traction
3. Add Negative Keywords
Ads allows you to choose words that signal that a query is not relevant to your business. Using them helps you avoid those searches.
For example, if you sell designer handbags, you do not want to appear in a search for “fake” or “cheap” handbags. But if someone uses these words with your keywords, your add will appear unless you’ve instructed Ads not to show your ads.
As you run your campaign, you’ll uncover new negative keywords. Keep adding them to the negative keywords section to increase your Ads ROI.
4. Create a Unique Landing Page for Each Ad Group
Strongly consider where the ad click will go. And at the very least, create one landing page per ad group so that you can very specifically address the person who visits your website. Use a landing page CTA to encourage them to take the next step.
Ads don’t convert website visitors into customers. The landing page does that. And it only works well if it clearly continues the journey that a customer started by clicking on the ad.
5. A/B Test Your Landing Pages
Perform A/B testing on landing pages just as you would on ads. Change one major thing like the size/colour of a button, CTA or image to see which delivers the highest conversion rate.
Google offers a free variant tool to help you test landing pages. They recommend testing a variant for about two weeks to see if it performs better than your existing landing page. If it does, make it your default for that ad group.
6. Put a Major Keyword in Your Ad Text
When the actual keyword appears in your text, Google bolds it even if the words appear out of order. This draws the eye to the ad, increasing your chances that they’ll click your ad rather than the three to five other ads that may appear on the same page.
Take a look at this ad text from shoe company Zappos, which may appear in your region when you search for “Women’s shoes”.
“Fast & Free Shipping on all Shoes. Huge Selection of Women’s Shoes! Women’s Sandals. Dress Shoes For Women. Women’s Comfort Shoes. Women’s Boots.”
And speaking of region, that leads us to our next step to improve Ads ROI.
If your business is in NSW or Queensland, it’s unlikely that your customers are in Russia, Singapore or China. And if they were, you’d need to create ads specifically for those languages and those target audiences.
If your target customers are in your town, community or region, specify which areas you want to target when building your campaigns. You can target using postal codes, a radius or city names among other options.
8. Use the Ads Variations Tool
Ad Variations is a free Google tool that allows you to test several variations of the same ad to see which performs best. In this tool, you divide your ad into sections and create several variations for each section.
For example, section one variations might be “Fast & Free”, Free Shipping” and ” Get 15% Off”
Section two might be “Huge selection of hats” “Best sun hats” or “We have hats”
Then you’ll have several CTAs. “Buy Today”, “Buy Now” “See Our Selection”
Ads will combine these to make your headline such as “Fast & Free | Best Sun Hats | See Our Selection”.
Once you’ve determined that one ad outperforms the rest, start running that ad in your ad group.
Google will alternate your ads in an ad group, showing favour to your highest performers automatically. But if you have poor performers, you’ll want to remove them after about two weeks to make room for new variations that you can test.
Do this regularly to keep improving your Ads ROI.
9. Monitor and Optimise
Ads is very easy to set up. But just letting ads run unattended will drain your budget.
Get rid of poor performers after two weeks to stop the drain. This is enough time for most businesses to account for cyclical variations in a given week. But you may not need two weeks if your ads drive large amounts of traffic. Don’t keep underperformers longer than you must.
Keep testing to keep your Quality Score high. Google rewards advertiser that show the most relevant ads to customers. They do so, by giving you a discount of your cost per click.
In fact, a high Quality Score will save you around 50% per click.
But the opposite happens if you let your Quality Score go down. You could end up paying up to 400% more for a click than your competitor. That’s not sustainable. And Google knows it. They’re hoping that if your quality is that bad, you’ll decide not to use Ads. It won’t make financial sense for you.
Google looks at not just current performance but also historical, so if you’ve let your score slip in the past because you weren’t actively monitoring your campaigns, know that it may take a little time to “dig out of that hole”.
Improve Your Ads ROI
Each of these 9 steps is easy to apply. But it does take consistent attention to campaign performance. So set aside the time several times a week. Monitor your campaigns. Continually improve ad performance. And watch those ad cost sink as your Ads ROI rises. And when used in conjunction with expert SEO services you will notice a marked improvement in not only traffic, but the right traffic.