How To Manage & Maximize Your Paid Google Campaigns
Whether you’re working for clients as an agency or going off on your own to create PPC campaigns, it’s important to understand one thing: Google ads aren’t a set-and-forget process. It takes time, management, research and patience to craft an effective campaign.
While it might be easy to answer the questions of whether you should be managing your paid campaigns – you should be managing your paid campaigns – we’re here to show you exactly how to get the best bang for your buck.
Understanding Your Google Ad Campaign
Keep in mind, you’re spending your time to create these campaigns, your energy to make them as bulletproof as possible and your money to give them a fighting chance against your competitors. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t look at new, basic and innovative ways to make necessary improvements so that you can start to see some ROI on your hard work and exceptional services.
Even if you start seeing conversions come through, your job isn’t done. In fact, this is often the most important time: the chance to figure out what worked, where you can make improvements and how you can build on that momentum.
At this point, you probably have questions. How do I maximize my Google ads? What kinds of improvements should I be making? What should I be looking for? What arcane sorcery must I conjure in order to finally get more website conversions? Let’s take a look.
Google Ads Key Performance Indicators
Use these metrics to measure key elements and improvement efforts within your Google Ads campaign:
- Optimization Score
- Ad Quality Score
- Conversion Rate
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Cost Per Click (CPC)
- Audience Insights
- Average Top of Page Rate
- Call Details
Keywords –> Search Terms
So you went live with your Google search campaign. Now what? Well, if you’re anything like the analytical gurus at ForeFront Web, you’re probably watching the campaign like a hawk for the first few days (if not the first few hours), just waiting to analyze the stats. The first thing we suggest you monitor is the Google Search Terms, located under the Keywords tab.
Every time your Google Ads campaign gets a click, this section shows you exactly what the person doing the clicking was searching for. This gives you the opportunity to determine whether your keywords and ad setup are resulting in optimal clicks and showing up for the right types of searches.
Hypothetical: You’re advertising arborist/tree services, but you look at your search terms and see that your ads are getting impressions & clicks for “How To Become an Arborist” or “Arborist Certification.” Time to make a change! In this case, add “certification” and “how to become” to the campaign’s negative keyword list, and quit wasting your spend on those unwanted, unprofitable clicks.
Monitoring Ad Placement
Google Search Campaigns
This section will provide you with different values depending on what type of campaign you’re running. For instance, if you’re using a Google search campaign to nationally market a product or service, you can get insight on which locations (state, city, ZIP code, etc.) are generating the most clicks and impressions for your ad. If you’re marketing to just a few cities, you can see which of them would be the best candidate for more focused marketing.
Or maybe you notice the alternative: A specific location is generating a ton of traffic to your site from your ads campaign, but sales or conversions from that location are generally low. Now you can consider excluding that location from those where your ads show up. Not to mention, you can get geographical and store reports if you’re running ads for multiple locations and chains.
To locate these insights, navigate to the “Locations” tab on the left-hand sidebar.
Google Display Campaigns
If you’re running a Google display ad campaign, this is a critical tab to pay attention to. The process to set up a display ad campaign is often so exhaustive that – after uploading all of the ad images, crafting all of the headlines and descriptions, and setting up an effective affinity and/or custom intent audience – most campaign managers often forget to monitor this tab. But it’s worth remembering, because it lets you know whether those audiences you targeted through keywords and URLs are showing your ads on the right platforms and websites.
A lesson we’ve learned, often the hard way, is that a display ad that shows a positive clickthrough rate isn’t necessarily bringing conversion-friendly clicks to the site. By taking a look at the “where ads showed” portion of your campaign, you can see the exact websites, apps and YouTube channels in which your ads appeared. You might see that most of your impressions are coming from apps that have little or nothing to do with your business. Sometimes, the problem with showing your display ads on apps within Google’s display network is that it is very easy for users to click on them by accident. These are unwanted clicks to your website, and wasted marketing dollars for your campaign.
Use this tool to make sure your ads are showing on relevant websites, videos and apps, and be sure to exclude any that don’t make sense. To locate “Where Ads Showed” within your display campaign, navigate to the Placement tab on the left-hand sidebar.
Click-Through Rate Expectancy
So what’s considered to be a high click-through rate for a Google ads campaign? Because of the incredibly high volume of impressions that display ads generate, an ideal click-through rate can be anywhere from 0.4% to 1.5%. For Google search campaigns, since it’s a more targeted audience based on user search and keyword volume, we would peg an appropriate click-through rate to be between 2% and 6%.
The DON’TS When It Comes To Google Ad Management
Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park (and, uh, also the big boss man here at ForeFront Web) said it best: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The same principle applies to your campaign management. There are a lot of things you can do to improve your ads, but in some cases, you could actually be hurting them instead.
DON’T… forget to monitor your search terms and weed out unwanted keywords. Things like “cheap,” “free” and “DIY” are all examples of common negative keywords.
DON’T… market for branded search. Unless your brand or company isn’t at the top of Google search, you may be wasting your money on searches from current customers.
DON’T… ignore Google’s recommendations. Lord Google knows best. Look at its suggested improvements to your ads and only apply recommendations that make sense. Don’t force Google-suggested keywords that don’t apply.
DON’T… constantly edit your actual ads. We know it’s tempting to make improvements and edits whenever the mood strikes you, but too many will leave Google’s API with insufficient time to learn your ads and make effective recommendations.
DON’T… mishandle your conversions. How can you measure whether your campaign is successful if it’s not measuring the right goals?
DON’T… overlook max CPC. Depending on your budget, your max CPC could either outbid your competitors, or waste your daily budget by noon.
Knowledge is Power
Managing Google ad campaigns is a science. Ensuring you’re setting them up for the best results takes a willingness to learn. Explore innovative tactics and take risks where appropriate. Watch applicable YouTube walkthrough videos along the way and build your authority.
You never know when your success could become the next case study for your industry.