Improve Google Ads Performance With These 13 Actionable Tips
At this point, you`re probably thinking… “who in the world would choose the number 13 to put on an article?”
Let me just say that if you`re superstitious, this post isn`t for you.
No, I`m just kidding! 😜
In fact, I believe regardless of you being superstitious or not, you`ll get great value out of it.
I`ll share with you my best tips on how to improve Google Ads performance. They just happen to be 13. But wait!
There´s a bonus tip if you stick until the end.
Some of these tips will be more advanced while others more geared towards the beginner advertiser.
If you want to skip to the bonus tip right away, it`s ok too.
- Tips To Improve Google Ads Performance
- #1 – Track Conversions Properly
- #2 – Use Location Targeting
- #3 – Exclude Display Network From Search Ads
- #4 – Make Your Ad Copy Stand Out
- #5 – Add Negative Keywords
- #6 – Add Exclusions
- #7 – Insert Keywords In Text Ads
- #8 – Set A Bid Limit
- #9 – Use Ad Extensions
- #10 – Let Your Campaign Breathe
- #11 – Optimize Landing Page
- #12 – Use Remarketing Strategically
- #13 – Focus On What Works
- Bonus Tip – Test Like Crazy
Tips To Improve Google Ads Performance
Before we dive into the actual tips, we need to touch on a very important subject.
User experience, specifically on mobile.
There are more mobile devices on planet earth than humans, according to Statista, that`s why I believe you shouldn`t ignore mobile advertising.
Google offers some great advice on the subject:
If mobile marketing is the future, then you should consider it in your overall strategy. There will be cases where your ads might not perform so well on mobile.
This could be due to the market or in some instances, it could be the reflection of an average or below average user experience.
It`s important to at least give mobile a shot!
With that out of the way, let`s dive deep into these tips.
#1 – Track Conversions Properly
You probably already know the human body needs about 2,000 calories a day to function properly.
So imagine this for a second.
A professional bodybuilder going on a strict diet without tracking his calorie consumption. How would he know if he`s eating fewer calories than the body needs to lose fat?
It`d be very hard!
The same thing happens with your Google Ads account. How do you know you`re getting results if you`re not tracking your efforts?
This is such a basic yet extremely important tip. Running ads without proper tracking is a sure-fire way to end up with empty pockets.
Use Google Tag Manager
Without proper tracking, you won`t be able to tell which ads or keywords resulted in conversions. It`s like a marketer doing his job blindfolded!
Luckily, we have this.
The easiest and fastest way to track your advertising efforts is to use a tool called Google Tag Manager.
This tool stores all your tracking codes in one place. If you`re not using it, I`d highly recommend it.
#2 – Use Location Targeting
Another basic tip I can give you is to target an exact location. What do I mean by this?
When you`re setting a Google Ads campaign, there`s an option to include people in your location and people interested in your location.
Include People In Your Location
For most businesses, it`s best practice to only select the option “include people in your location”.
You`ll want to go for this option because the ones interested in your location could be people from other cities and countries or foreign travelers, with no interest in what you have to offer.
Obviously, these people are not relevant to target, in most cases.
I think we can both agree that you don`t want to be wasting your budget showing ads to people in Pakistan or India that don`t represent your target audience.
#3 – Exclude Display Network From Search Ads
The Google Display Network is totally different animal from search.
Traffic on the GDN is of low quality compared to search and it takes a specific type of offer and business to have success with it.
This doesn`t mean you shouldn`t invest in the Display Network but do it in a separate campaign.
Display And Search Are Different
Do not put search and display together!
Search ads are intent-driven while display ads are context-driven. They serve different purposes and marketing goals.
When it comes to search ads, improving its performance can be as simple as excluding the GDN from your search campaign when you set it up.
Similar to the location targeting option, when you`re setting up your campaign, there`s a box with the option to include or exclude it.
What you want to do is untick that box.
That way, your ads will only show up on Google search results, avoiding the different traffic from the Google Display network.
As mentioned previously, display and search are totally different and you should not put them in the same place.
#4 – Make Your Ad Copy Stand Out
I´ve said this multiple times.
Nothing can improve your Google Ads performance more than adjusting your copy, no matter what product you sell.
Assuming you`re targeting the right people, it will work.
Improve Your Copy With The Right Words
So, the question is: how do you make the ad copy stand out?
Make it more persuasive, exciting, inject urgency, and social proof. Boring ad copy won`t convert as well.
Use words like “now” or “get” to entice people to take action immediately and “while supplies last” or “limited stock” to create urgency in the prospects` minds.
How about social proof?
You could mention how many customers you`ve helped or mention your extensive experience in your ad copy.
An example could be “5,000 plus happy customers” or “15 years delivering exceptional customer service.”
#5 – Add Negative Keywords
I assume most advertisers are already doing this.
If you`re running any kind of traffic to your website from Google search, you should take the time to add negative keywords to your campaigns.
This is because oftentimes people search for keywords that are closely related to the ones you have but the intent behind them is different.
Let`s see an example.
How To Use Negative Keywords
On one of your ad groups, you have a keyword called tennis shoes.
Your ads will be shown to people searching for blue running shoes unless you add a negative broad match keyword such as running shoes.
Negative keywords can prevent you from wasting a lot of money on closely related but irrelevant search queries.
This is a must-add to any search campaign.
#6 – Add Exclusions
Who wants to spend over $1,000 on the wrong placements without knowing about it?
No many people!
But unfortunately, this happened to me in the early affiliate marketing days with YouTube ads.
I just didn`t know what I was doing.
This and a lot worst can happen to you if you neglect campaign exclusions. Basically, these prevent you from having your ads shown in irrelevant places.
Use Exclusions Strategically
For example, if you want to run YouTube ads, you can exclude certain channels where you don`t want your video ads to appear.
It`s also wise to exclude your email list or retargeting lists from your main campaigns to have only people who haven’t had any contact with your ads to see them.
When it comes to exclusions, you need to think strategically and also gather data to figure out what you should exclude the next time you set up a campaign.
#7 – Insert Keywords In Text Ads
Want a quick and easy way to improve your Google Ads performance?
Use keywords in your ads.
In simple terms, what this does is making your ads more visible to the people searching for your product.
Adding keywords to your ad copy is a simple fix that could bring high rewards.
Keywords Improve Ad Quality Score
This practice will make your ads more relevant in the eyes of Google, it will help improve your ads quality score, and ultimately lead to lower ad costs and better ad positions.
You don`t need stuff in keywords to the point your ad doesn`t make sense! Make sure to convey your message and insert relevant search terms.
A tip like this can be a game changer if you`re struggling with your quality score.
#8 – Set A Bid Limit
If you`re using an automated bidding strategy such as Maximize clicks or Target CPA on your search ads, you`ll need to pay attention to this one.
Sometimes, you can end up spending ridiculous amounts of money for a click.
This is the case when Google`s algorithm goes all-in betting that the click will get a conversion. We both know that getting 100% conversion rates is much like winning the lottery.
How To Set A Maximum CPC Limit
Check this out…
Let`s say your target CPA is $150. Without a maximum CPC limit set, you might find yourself paying almost $150 for a single ad click!
I know it sounds crazy, but it does happen.
Having a bid limit will help you control the amount you pay for someone to click on your ads as opposed to letting the “machine” determine how much you`ll pay for a click.
#9 – Use Ad Extensions
The main purpose of ad extensions is to deliver a better experience to the end-user. They allow consumers to make more informed decisions.
Ad extensions also have an impact on ad rank.
With the right extensions, your ads will drive more engagement, sending signals to Google about the quality of the ads, and ultimately helping you increase conversions with the same or even less spend.
Google Ads Extensions To Use
There`s a lot of ad extensions you can choose from. It can get a bit overwhelming if you`re not used to it.
You can choose from sitelinks, callout extensions, structured snippets, to location, affiliate, call, app, price, promotion, or message extensions.
There are also automated extensions: dynamic sitelinks and seller ratings.
Here`s a bit more info on them:
Choosing the right Google Ads extensions comes down to understanding your business and its marketing goals.
For example, if you can benefit from having prospects directly call your office, then call extensions will work for you.
Google recommends that you use these three to enhance ad performance: sitelinks, callout extensions, and structured snippets.
Of course, don`t take their or my advice literally. Testing them is always a smart thing to do.
#10 – Let Your Campaign Breathe
This is something I really struggle with in my early days as an advertiser.
I`d set up these campaigns and a few hours later I`d be checking them and tweaking something. What I was really doing was sabotaging my efforts.
Then I`d get frustrated because the campaigns were not producing any results. How could they, if I was always changing something without giving it time to collect enough data.
I`ve learned this the hard way.
Save Time, Money And Effort
You need to give your campaigns time to breathe, to collect enough data so you can make informed decisions instead of being reactive like I used to be.
It can save you a lot time, money and effort!
Now, every time I launch a campaign, depending on the budget, I usually don`t touch it for at least 3 days.
Then I look at the data and see if I need to trim something, if not, I just wait a few more days until there`s enough data to make a decision.
#11 – Optimize Landing Page
According to Google, landing page experience affects your ad rank, and ultimately your CPC and position in the ad auction.
Knowing this information in advance, you can already tell how important it is to deliver a great experience to the end-user.
There`s a couple of landing page optimization best practices I`d recommend.
Some Key Best Practices
The first and most important is to make sure it loads in 3 seconds or less.
A study made by Google back in 2016 concluded that 53% of visitors leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
My second best practice, not less important, is to, whenever possible, only add one call-to-action to your landing page.
Make sure it clearly defines the action you want prospects to take next. Too many buttons will likely confuse the user and increase bounce rates.
Test your button colors and calls-to-action text, as well.
A tool like VWO can help you test landing page variables and see which ones perform best.
#12 – Use Remarketing Strategically
Not as many people as you might think are using remarketing or retargeting effectively.
Some are not even using it at all.
If you`re not familiar with the term, it basically means showing relevant ads to folks who have demonstrated interest in your product or service.
The bigger and more complex your organization is, the more important it is to leverage remarketing.
A Few Ways To Approach Retargeting
There are two main benefits of using remarketing: one, it`s cheaper and two, it allows you to focus on your low hanging fruit and get faster results.
You can use remarketing in so many different ways. These are some:
- email list
- 1st-time customers
- repeat customers
- Google Analytics segment
- blog visitors
- contact page visitors
- YouTube channel video viewers
- cart abandoners
The sky is the limit, really!
Remember that you should have at least 100 active visitors or users in the last 30 days for the Display Network and 1,000 for Google search, in order for your retargeting ads to show.
#13 – Focus On What Works
This one might be a no-brainer but it`s actually really important. You`d be surprised to see how many marketers still get this wrong.
Assuming you`re following all the steps mentioned so far, you`ll be able to have a solid base to work with.
Once you start gathering some data, you`ll want to see what`s working and what`s not.
From there, it`s simple!
Discard What Doesn`t Work
Pause the variables that performed poorly and build upon those that did well.
If a certain group of keywords or placements didn`t help much in driving conversions, pause or remove them from your campaigns.
This way, you`re trimming the fat, so to speak and making your campaigns as lean as possible to get maximum performance.
Bonus Tip – Test Like Crazy
Yes, exactly, test a lot!
To maximize your Google Ads performance, you must keep testing. Not only your results will improve but you`re also going to learn a lot.
Learning in advertising is extremely important, you don`t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again, when you can prevent them.
What To Test
So what should you test?
Well, everything you can, really! Here`s a condensed list of what you should test regularly:
- ad copy
- landing pages
- ad format
Testing will give you so much feedback. As I said, the point of it is to learn and discover what works and what doesn`t.
If you`re not constantly testing your advertising, you`re just falling behind your competition.
Google Ads are getting more competitive, especially search. Without any testing or very few, you`re likely not going to stay above water for long.
Improve Google Ads Performance Today
Remember that these tips won`t just help you improve Google Ads performance.
Some of them will actually work for other advertising platforms. You`re still marketing to humans!
And as long as you`re marketing to humans, some principles will never change. Bear these tips in mind every time you launch a Google Ads campaign, though.
Now, we`d like to hear from you…
What tips did you find most helpful and are there any other ones besides these you`d like us to talk about?
Let us know in the comments below.
Pedro is the founder of Advertongue, a performance-based digital advertising agency. He is a paid media strategist for high-growth companies and experts all over the world, with over a million dollars in managed ad spend. You might have seen his content on sites such as Funnel Magazine, G2, Content Marketing Institute, or FitSmallBusiness, to name a few.