If you’re looking to advertise with Google Ads, Google makes it very easy to create an account, get a campaign set up and start giving Google your money advertising your business. While it is easy to get setup on Google Ads, creating a high-quality campaign that is likely to offer a positive return on investment requires more effort.
Google Ads has a lot of features that allow PPC advertisers to tailor their marketing and get their business in front of the right people. This coupled with a conversion-focused landing page and the right business offering are a good starting point to succeeding with PPC marketing.
That said, I’ve put together a list of 101 things that PPC marketers can do to ensure that their Google Ads PPC campaign is successful and profitable.
To make the list easier to manage, I’ve grouped it in the below nine subcategories.
- PPC strategy
- Campaign settings
- Keywords & bidding
- Ads & Ad extensions
- Landing page
- Search Query report
- General optimisations
Let’s get started.
Tip 1. Understand the business goals and objectives
Before you can start creating a PPC campaign, you need to understand what your business is trying to achieve with PPC advertising and what your unique selling points are. This will help you to tailor-make a strategy that is right for your business.
Tip 2. Work out a CPA or ROAS target
You need a way to understand whether a campaign is profitable or not. To do this, you need to work out what cost per acquisition or return on ad spend amount you can afford. If you don’t know this, then you won’t know whether your advertising efforts are profitable or not.
Tip 3. Add conversion tracking
Add conversion tracking to your Google Ads account. This will allow you to see which keywords are converting and which ones aren’t. You can then make decisions on how much to bid for each keyword, and whether to pause the keyword or not.
Tip 4. Conversion track all key goals
Track goals other than just sales or leads. You don’t have to optimise towards them, but being able to see whether your keywords are securing things like newsletter subscriptions, trial downloads, case study downloads, and chatbot sessions can be useful to get a holistic view of the contribution being made by your PPC campaign.
Tip 5. Remarket to your website visitors
Remarketing campaigns are often the best performing campaign in a Google Ads PPC account. Create a remarketing campaign and start putting people who didn’t convert on your site back into the sales funnel process.
Tip 6. Keep an eye on seasonality
A lot of businesses see a change in performance based on the time of the year. For example, if you sell clothing, then you’re probably going to see more sales from your summer line-up than your winter line-up during summer. This means you shouldn’t be bidding the same on each keyword all year round.
It is worthwhile increasing spend on certain keywords when you expect them to perform better and at the same time dropping spend on the keywords that you would expect to perform worse because of the time of the year.
Tip 7. Keep an eye on competitor PPC activity
Keeping an eye on your competitor’s PPC activity can really help to explain fluctuations in your PPC performance. For example, If you see a sharp drop in conversion rate, then this could be because your competitor is running a sale or has recently changed their messaging, which is resonating better with your customers.
Tip 8. Create and review PPC performance reports regularly
It is important to create a report that helps you to look at the performance of your PPC advertising over time. A good report will make it easy to see whether your PPC advertising is achieving it’s goals and what needs to be done next to improve performance.
Tip 9. Identify a budget
Google Ads has an almost endless amount of potential traffic to offer to PPC advertisers. This does mean that your spending can quickly spiral out of control. Identify a budget and stick to it. To try to control your spending, you can identify a daily budget for each campaign.
Tip 10. Run a sale
For eCommerce PPC advertisers, we often find that conversion rates shoot up when they run a sale. This can make your PPC advertising much more profitable. Make sure you include the sale messaging in your PPC ad as well as on your landing page
Tip 11. Advertise a discount code
Run a discount code that expires after a few days. Add the discount code and expiry date to your PPC ad to create a sense of urgency.
Tip 12. Consider click fraud software
PPC advertising can bring with it the danger of click fraud. This is when you pay for malicious traffic to your site. It affects some industries more than others and can be a bigger problem with display advertising. You can purchase software that can help to fight click fraud. Click to learn more about click fraud.
Tip 13. Use a multi-touchpoint attribution model
PPC advertisers really should be moving away from using a last-click attribution model now. A last-click attribution model gives all the credit to the last click before a conversion happened. In short, choose an attribution model that assigns some credit to all touchpoints before a conversion occurred.
Tip 14. Consider bidding on your brand terms
There is debate as t whether you should bid n your brand terms. However, if a competitor is bidding on your brand terms, then they are stealing some of your traffic. You can counteract this by bidding on your own brand terms and taking back that traffic. You can learn more about whether you should bid on your brand terms here.
Tip 15. Plan out your campaign structure before creating it
It is vital to plan out your campaign structure before creating it. A good campaign structure should make reporting the performance of your PPC account easy and useful. A good Google Ads should also be structured in a way that it doesn’t break the structure of the account when more keywords are added.
Tip 16. Add IP exclusions
Google Ads allows you to stop certain people from seeing your ads by excluding their IP address. You don’t want to be accidentally clicking on your ads or having your staff accidentally clicking on your ads as this will needlessly waste your advertising budget. As a starting point, you could decide to block out your office and home IP addresses.
Tip 17. Test Google Search Partners
Google Search Partners allows your PPC ads to show up on third-party sites in search results like fashion. Test the impact of running Google Search Partners and if it is not profitable, then you can switch it off. You can learn more about Google Search partners here.
Tip 18. Test Display Select
Display Select allows your PPC text ads to show up on third-party sites. Test the impact of running Display Select and if it is not profitable, then you can switch it off.
Tip 19. Create a location targeting strategy
Ensure you’re targeting the right locations. If you don’t select a location, then by default, Google Ads will target the whole world. This can burn through your budget very quickly.
Tip 20. Exclude locations that you don’t cater for
You can exclude locations that you don’t want to target. For example, if there is a part of the United Kingdom that you do not deliver your products to, then you can exclude these locations and save some of your advertising budget.
Tip 21. Upload the whole campaign at least a few days before setting the campaign live
Your campaign will go through a reviewal process where Google will check it to make sure it complies with their advertising policies. If you upload your campaign on the day when you want to set it live, then you risk causing a delay if the campaign gets disapproved and a change is required to get it up and running.
It is always a good idea to upload your PPC campaigns in a paused state at least a few days before setting they are scheduled to go live. This will ensure that any compliance issues can be spotted and dealt with before the campaign goes live.
Keywords & bidding
Tip 22. Use calculated bids
Use calculated bids to work out how much to bid on each keyword within your Paid Search campaigns. Before running a campaign, you will need to look at your website data to get an idea of what conversion rate and average order value to expect.
You can use these figures to calculate how much to bid based on your cost per conversion or return on ad spend target. Once you have been running your PPC campaign for a while, you can start to
Tip 23. Use the right match type
Using the match type for each keyword is important to ensure that your ad appears on relevant search terms. If your match types are too broad for the keyword, then you risk getting a lot of irrelevant traffic. If your match type is too targeted for the keyword, then you risk losing a lot of relevant traffic.
Tip 24. Do your keyword research
Do your research to find keywords that not only have a decent amount of volume but are also going to be profitable. As a starting point, look at what your business offers to get an idea on the kind of keywords that you may want to bid on.
Tip 25. Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to help with your keyword research
Put your keywords into Google Keyword Planner. This will give you more keywords that are like the keywords that you have entered. It will also give you a rough idea of the amount of volume that you can expect as well as the rough amount that you would need to bid to compete on that keyword.
Tip 26. Choose the right keywords for your budget
Be realistic with your budget and your keyword choices. If you have a small budget, then you probably will not be able to bid on a lot of very aggressive keywords. In this instance, consider going after the lower competition, or cheaper keywords. Another option is to go after a smaller set of keywords.
Tip 27. During the keyword research phase, look for keywords to block out
Whilst doing your keyword research, you will come across keywords that you want to target. However, you may also come across keywords that you would not want to target. You can create a list of these and add them as negative keywords in your campaigns.
Tip 28. Test automated bidding
Google’s machine learning algorithms get smarter every year. This makes the automated bidding models appear more attractive every year. Test the impact of switching to an automated bidding mode. After two weeks, if you find that the automated bidding model outperforms your manual bidding, then you can leave the automated bidding on. If not, then revert to manual bidding for another year.
Tip 29. Use upper-funnel and lower funnel keywords
Lower funnel keywords are keywords that are searched for when the user is more informed about what they need and more ready to make a purchase. Upper funnel keywords are more research-based keywords where the user isn’t sure what they need just yet.
Lower funnel keywords tend to perform better because the user is closer to making a purchase. Upper funnel keywords tend to be less aggressive, Start off with lower-funnel keywords, and as you grow your Google Ads account, you can start adding in more upper-funnel keywords
Tip 30. Deal with Limited by Budget campaigns
When a campaign is limited by budget, it means the budget is not large enough to make it throughout the day. One option to deal with Limited by Budget campaigns is to lower bids on your keywords. This should allow you to purchase more clocks for the same budget.
Ads & Ad extensions
Tip 31. Run ad copy testing
Learn what ad copy messaging resonates the best with your target market by running ad copy testing
Tip 32. Add call to actions in ad copy
A call to action tells the user why they should act and click on your ad. It can help to increase your ad’s clickthrough rate. Some examples of a call to action are: subscribe, call now and download a free guide.
Tip 33. Include keyword in the ad copy
If your ad contains the terms that the user searched for, then they will appear in bold within your ad copy. This will help to increase your clickthrough rate. Another benefit of adding keywords into your ad copy is that they increase your Ad Relevance. Ad Relevance is a metric used to calculate your Quality Score. The higher your Quality Score, the less you pay for a click
Tip 34. Optimise your ad relevance
Your ad’s Ad relevance is one metric used to calculate your Quality Score. So, if you increase your ad’s Ad relevance, you increase your Quality Score and bring down your click prices.
Tip 35. Optimise your Expected clickthrough rate
Your Expected Clickthrough rate is the likelihood that your ad will get clicked in an auction. It is one of the metrics used to calculate your Quality Score. To increase your Expected Clickthrough rate work on your ad copy messaging to increase your clickthrough rate.
Tip 36. Use all available ad extensions
Ad Extensions are extra pieces of text that can be added to your ad copy. Aside from giving more information about your business, they take up more space on the page and increase the chances of increasing your clickthrough rate.
Tip 37. Take inspiration from competitor ad copy
To get an idea of what kind of content to add to your ad copy, look at what kind of messaging your competitors are using.
Tip 38. Test out Responsive Search ads
Responsive Search ads use machine learning to show the best ad variation to each user. In some circumstances, they can improve the performance of your ads.
Tip 39. Test adding the user’s location in the ad copy
Test adding the user’s location in the ad copy using a business feed. You can learn more about creating a feed here.
Tip 40. Use facts and figures in ad copy
Adding facts and figures can increase the clickthrough rate and the conversion rate of our ads.
Tip 41. Ask a question
Asking a question can catch the user’s attention and increase the clickthrough rate of your ads.
Tip 42. Add a countdown timer
You can add a countdown timer that shows how many days are left before a sale or event ends. Learn more about creating a countdown timer here.
Tip 43. Put your strongest message in your headlines
Your headlines appear bold and in a larger font size. They are more likely to catch the user’s attention and therefore your best messaging should be in the headlines.
Tip 44. Keep messaging consistent to your landing page
Messaging should be consistent between your ads and your landing pages. The messaging in your ad is what has attracted your user. If it is not mentioned on your landing page, then it could put off the customer. For example, if your ad copy messaging mentions that the user can get a free eBook, the landing page should mention this as well.
Tip 45. Add achievements and awards
Adding achievements and awards n your ad copy can increase your trust and make you appear as an authority in our niche. This may result in an increase in clickthrough rate and conversion rate.
Tip 46. Mention your USPs
Adding USPs in your ad copy can increase your clickthrough rate and in some cases your conversion rate as well.
Tip 47. Use negative keywords
Seeing as though you don’t choose the keywords that you target, there is a danger that Google’s algorithms will show your Shopping ads on irrelevant searches. Monitor your search query reports regularly and block out any irrelevant traffic.
Tip 48. Use a CSS feed
You can get 20% cheaper click prices on your Google Shopping campaign by using a Comparison Shopping Services (CSS) partner. Click to learn more about the benefits of using a CSS agency.
Tip 49. Make use of campaign priorities
You can use campaign priorities to choose which campaign Google should match search terms to first. This can be used to bid differently on certain keywords.
For example, you can block out all your best-performing keywords from your main Shopping campaign that has a high campaign priority. You can then have a duplicated campaign set to a low campaign priority. This means that all your traffic will come through your main Shopping campaign with a high campaign priority apart from the keywords that you have blocked out. The blocked-out keywords will be the only ones that will be picked up by your low-priority campaign. If you set higher bids on your low-priority campaign, you will have the affect of bidding more aggressively on your top-performing keywords.
Tip 50. Exclude unprofitable products
Excluding the worst-performing products means that more of your budget can go to the better performers.
Tip 51. Opt into Surfaces Across Google
Google allows free (organic) Shopping listings to appear on the Shopping tab of it search engine. This means that you would not pay anything for a click on the organic listings on the Shopping tab. To switch this feature on, you need to opt into the Surfaces across Google program which can be found within Google Merchant Centre.
Tip 52. Test a SMART Shopping campaign
A SMART shopping campaign is a fully automated Shopping campaign. In some cases, it can outperform your manual Shopping campaign.
Tip 53. Add in as many optional fields into your product feed as possible
The more optional fields that you complete in your product feed, the higher the chance of your products being matched to relevant searches.
Tip 54. Segment products with custom labels
You can add custom labels to your product feed and segment your product out into various categories. For example, you could add a custom label that differentiates high-profit margin products from low-profit margin products. Segmenting high and low-margin products means that you can bid differently depending on how large your profit margins are on each product group.
Tip 55. Check your product feed for spelling mistakes
Spelling mistakes can make your ad look unprofessional. Keep an eye out for spelling mistakes in your product feed.
Tip 56. Front weight your best words in the product title
The maximum character length for the title is 150 characters, but Google can truncate it if it needs to. So, make sure that your best keywords are front-weighted at the start of your title.
Tip 57. Create and test a text order in the product titles
Create a template for your product titles that will help you to get matched for the right searches. For example, you may choose to go add content to your product titles in the following format: Brand > Gender > product type > colour > size > material.
Tip 58. Make sure the image matches the colour variant
Try to have a separate image for each colour variant and not one colour for all product variants.
Tip 59. Use the most granular product category
A product category is a non-optional attribute within your product field. Make sure you choose the most granular product category for each of your products. It will help your products to get matched to the most relevant searches. You can find a list of Google’s product categories here.
Tip 60. Make use of Merchant promotions
Merchant promotions recreated within Google Merchant Centre. You can use them to create and display product offers within your Shopping ads.
Examples of offers that you could create are Free delivery when you spend over a certain amount, a free gift with every purchase of a particular product, or a percentage discount off all goods or a specific set of goods with a discount code. Read more about Merchant promotions here.
Tip 61. Block out irrelevant placements
The placements report shows you where you display ads appeared. Review these reports regularly and block out
Tip 62. Monitor View-Through conversions
View-Through conversions are conversions where the image ad was displayed but the user didn’t click on the ad. Keeping an eye on View-Through conversions will give a fuller understanding of the contribution being made by your display campaign.
Tip 63. Split test ad copy
similar to split testing on your search campaigns, create multiple versions of your image ads to split test. You can then pause the poorest performing image ad and improve the performance of your display campaign.
Tip 64. Test text ads for display
In addition to using images as ads on your display campaign, you can also use text ads. Test both image and text ads and if text ads perform a lot more poorly, then you can pause them
Tip 65. Consider blocking out mobile app placements
Mobile app placements generally pause very poorly which is why a lot of advertisers choose to block them out. You can do this by blocking out all mobile apps from your placements report.
Tip 66. Block out children’s YouTube channels
There are a lot of children’s YouTube channels that your ads can show on if you’re running a YouTube campaign. This can be because the adult that you’re targeting gives their child their device and the child watches a children’s YouTube channel. You can block out children’s YouTube channels from the placements report.
Tip 67. Create ads in as many supported image sizes as possible
The more image sizes that you have, the more placements your ads can show on. You can find out more about supported image sizes here.
Tip 68. Use the content Exclusions tab to stop your ads from appearing next to sensitive content
You can use the campaign exclusions settings to stop your ads from showing alongside content that could damage your brand. For example, you can stop your ad from appearing alongside sexually suggestive content or content about tragedy and conflict.
Tip 69. Consider creating separate mobile and desktop campaigns
The performance of your mobile and desktop display advertising is likely to be very different. Create a separate mobile and display campaign so that you can optimise them differently.
Tip 70. Add a frequency cap
You don’t want your ad being shown to the same person too many times. Create a frequency cap so that each person doesn’t see your ad too many times.
Tip 71. Test a pay for conversions Display campaign
Google Ads offers advertisers the ability to create a Display campaign where they pay for conversions and not clicks. Only paying when your campaign gets a conversion can take the risk out of a new campaign type not performing well for you.
Tip 72. Consider Dynamic Remarketing
For ecommerce businesses, we find that Dynamic Remarketing often performs very well. This is when pictures of the product that the user previously viewed are shown to them in the form of display ads.
Tip 73. Use deep pages
Try to use the most relevant page for what has been searched for. Avoid sending traffic to your homepage unless it is relevant. For example, if you’re a clothing seller and you’re bidding on men’s jeans, then send the traffic to your men’s jeans page. This is likely to have a higher conversion rate than your home page or a generic jeans page for both men and women.
Tip 74. Optimise your Landing page experience
Landing page experience is one metric used to calculate your Quality Scores. There are many things that you can do to improve your Landing Page experience, but a starting point is to make sure your keywords are mentioned on the landing page, without sacrificing the quality of the content. Work on your bounce rate and site speed as well.
Tip 75. Work on your site speed
Working on your site speed can not only improve your Landing Page experience, but it can also improve your bounce rate and conversion rate. A good place to start is to look at the suggestions on the Google’s Page speed insights tool
Tip 76. Add the best performing messaging from your ad copy into your landing pages
Carrying out ad copy testing can help you to find the best messaging to use in your ads. It can also help you t decide what messaging to use in your landing pages because it shows you what messaging resonates the best with your audience.
Tip 77. Create specific pages for high volume, relevant keywords
If you have some traffic that has a lot of volume, then you may consider creating a separate page that is tailored to those searches. This should help with your Landing page experience and improve the conversion rate from those searches.
Tip 78. Create specific pages for high volume, poor conversion rate keywords
If you have certain keywords that have a lot of volume but a very poor conversions rate, then it may be because the landing page does not answer their query. Look at the landing page that you’re using, and it may be that you need to create another landing page for these searches that does answer their query.
Tip 79. A/B test landing pages
Similar to split testing ad copy messaging, you can create an ad copy test that split tests two different landing pages. This is will help you to understand what kind of landing pages resonate the best with your audience.
Search query report
Tip 80. Look for strong performing search terms to add as a keyword
The search query report contains a lot of data on which searches perform well for you and which ones don’t Review this report regularly identifying keywords to block out and others to add in as exact match and further grow your account
Tip 81. Look for irrelevant words to add as a negative keyword
If you’re bidding on non-exact match traffic, then there is a chance that your ad will show on irrelevant searches to your business. For example, new clothing sellers may pick up traffic for second-hand jeans. In this case, you can block out all searches that contain the words ‘second hand’.
Tip 82. Block out high spending and non-converting search terms to add as negatives
There may be some search terms that appear relevant but when you look at historical data, you realise that they have not converted. One solution to this is to block these searches out.
Tip 83. Create a new landing page for high volume, poor performing landing pages
One option is to block out poor-performing searches. Another option is to add the poor-performing search terms as keywords in a new ad group and then create a separate landing page for them that are more tailored for those searches.
Tip 84. Keep an eye out for irrelevant situational searches
You may see a spike in searches due to a recent news piece that is triggering your keyword but not relevant to your business. Keep an eye out for these searches and block them out.
Tip 85. Find top performing words to add in as keywords with an N-Gram analysis
An N-Gram analysis can show the performance of each word within your search query report. Use this to find high-performing long-tail searches. Add these long-tail searches and bid more aggressively on them.
Tip 86. Find non converting words to block out with an N-Gram analysis
Carry out an N-Gram analysis to find certain words that have spent a lot and have never converted. You can block these words out from your account.
Tip 87. Look for low CTR search terms
Search terms with a low clickthrough rate but enough volume can be added in as keywords in a new ad group and given a more tailored ad copy. This should help to increase their clickthrough rate.
Tip 88. Create a shared negatives list
There may be some searches that you want to block out from one campaign but are happy to come through other campaigns.
On the other hand, there may be other searches that you don’t want to be picked up by any campaign. For these searches, you can create a shared negative list that blocks them out from all your campaigns. This will save time as you don’t need to add the negative keyword in all of your campaigns one at a time.
Tip 89. Track affinity audience performance
Add relevant affinity audiences to your campaigns. Once they have enough data, you can add bid adjustments on your affinity audiences based on their historical performance.
Tip 90. Track Age performance
Monitor the performance of your campaigns by age group. There may be certain age groups that perform better or worse than others. You can apply bid adjustments based on the performance and even block out the poorest performing age groups.
Tip 91. Track Gender performance
Monitor the performance of your campaigns by gender. There may be a certain gender that performs better or worse than others. You can apply bid adjustments based on the performance and even block out the poorest performing gender.
Tip 92. Target everyone who downloads a brochure, case study, or information pack
Create an audience list of people who downloaded any of the material from your website. They have shown an interest in your business and therefore are likely to be further down your sales funnel.
You can target these people via a remarketing campaign on Google’s display network, YouTube videos or even be more aggressive with your bids when they are searching for a relevant keyword on Google’s search engine.
Tip 93. Target cart abandoners
Create an audience list of people who added a product to the cart but didn’t complete a purchase. You can target these people via a remarketing campaign on Google’s display network, YouTube videos or be more aggressive with your bids when they are searching for a relevant keyword on Google’s search engine.
Tip 94. Target email list
You can upload email lists into Google Ads and then apply bid adjustments to anyone in your email list who is searching for one of your keywords. For example, you could upload an email list of your newsletter subscribers and bid more aggressively on them.
Tip 95. Target the right devices
You can choose to target desktop, tablet, and mobile devices based on your campaign requirements. You can also apply bid adjustments based on the historical performance of each device
Tip 96. Apply device bid adjustments
Each device is likely to perform differently. Review your account’s performance by device. You can then apply a bid increase on the best-performing device and a bid reduction on the worst-performing device.
Tip 97. Apply location bid adjustments
Within your targeting area, there may be certain locations that perform better than others. Review the performance of each area within your targeted locations. You can then apply a bid increase on the better performing areas and a bid reduction on the poorer performing areas.
Tip 98. Apply time of day bid adjustments
Review your ad scheduling performance data to find your best and worst-performing times of the day. You can then apply a bid increase at your best-performing times of the day and a bid reduction during your worst times of the day.
Tip 99. Consider switching off PPC during out of office hours
If you’re in the B2B niche, then you may find that your performance improves during office hours. In this case, you may be able to invest your budget better by switching off PPC out of office hours.
Tip 100. Consider switching off PPC advertising during nighttime hours
Within some niches, we often find that the conversion rate drops significantly after midnight until around 6 am. Review your time of day reports to see if your performance drops off during these hours. If it does, then you may want to switch off your PPC advertising during these hours.
Tip 101. Consider switching off PPC advertising over the weekend
Some niches, especially those that sell to B2B find that their conversion rate drops off over the weekend. Review your ad scheduling report and if the conversion rate drops off over the weekend, then you could test switching off PPC advertising over the weekend.
So, there you have it. 101 tips for running a successful PPC campaign. Running a successful PPC can be complicated and not all the 101 points mentioned in this post will be relevant for all businesses. However, I hope there are a few suggestions in here that help you to improve your PPC management.
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