Google Ads Campaigns

In this page, we will cover the following:

  • Researching competitors’ ads
  • Setting campaign ad rotation
  • Creating effective ads
  • Choosing landing pages
  • Implementing dynamic keyword insertion in ads
  • Avoiding common ad copy mistakes
  • Split testing ad copy
  • Editing your ad text
  • Pausing or deleting ads

Introduction

Ads are your opportunity to describe your business to potential customers and entice them to click through to your website. Since Google Ads campaign ad character limits do not provide much space, you must convey your message concisely and choose carefully what to communicate. The most effective marketers test various messages and special offers to find the most effective ad copy that attracts visitors most likely to convert.

Researching competitors’ ads

You likely already have some phrases and special terms in mind that you’d like to promote in your ad text. However, I would advise you to research what your competition is highlighting in their ad copy before you write your ads. If the specials and pricing you are considering are not as compelling as what’s offered by your competitors, you might want to pick other areas of focus to make your ads stand apart.

Getting ready

Prepare a list of your most important keywords to research. Choose high-traffic keywords that show the highest impression volumes to start with.

How to do it…

Perform the following steps for researching competition on Google:

  • Visit https://www.google.com/ in your web browser.
  • Search your most important keywords and review the paid ads that show up.
  • Note the special offers, pricing, and calls-to-action that are being used in Google Ads campaign advertisements.

Research competition on third-party tools, such as KeywordSpy or SpyFu.

  • Visit http://www.keywordspy.com/ or http://www.spyfu.com/ in your web browser.
  • Enter a keyword of interest into the search box and click on Search. For example, search for San Francisco dentist to see what competitors are showing ads on that term.
  • Scroll down to the Ad Overview list.
  • Note the special offers, pricing, and calls-to-action that are being used.

How it works…

Each ad auction on Google.com is real time and the ads that you see might change as you search on different days or from different locations. Your competitors are also continuing to adjust and refine their ads, so the results you see on one day may be different from ads a month later. I recommend regularly monitoring other advertisers in your industry to ensure your ads are competitive.

There’s more…

Avoid looking up your own ad on Google.com, since you will accumulate unnecessary impressions and lower your own Quality Scores, which are Google’s measure of relevance. Use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool in your Google Ads account instead.

Setting campaign ad rotation

Each ad group can have multiple ads that will trigger the keywords within that ad group. The ads will rotate and either be displayed evenly or start to be preferred and optimized by Google Ads campaigns, according to the settings you choose.

Getting ready

Here is what you’ll need to consider when choosing ad rotation settings:

  • If you are not tracking conversions and would like to maximize clicks, choose the Optimize for clicks option. This is the default option when you create a new campaign.
  • If you are tracking conversions and your goal is to maximize conversions within a campaign, your best bet is to choose Optimize for conversions.
  • Are you A/B split testing ads within this campaign? If so, you should choose either Rotate evenly or Rotate indefinitely. A/B testing allows you to experiment and test the impact of using different ad elements, requiring an even number of impressions delivered to each ad.

How to do it…

To edit a campaign’s ad rotation settings, perform the following steps:

  • Go to the Campaigns tab, and choose a specific campaign you’d like to edit.
  • Click on the Settings tab and stay in the All settings sub-tab.
  • Scroll down to the Advanced settings.
  • Under Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping, choose to edit Ad rotation.
  • After you select your ad rotation option, click on Save.

How it works…

In ad groups that have multiple ads, Google Ads rotates ads at first evenly, and then eventually the more successful ads start to be preferred and will show more often. You have the option to choose how Google Ads optimizes and rotates ads from the following options:

  • Optimize for clicks: This option shows ads that are expected to provide more clicks
  • Optimize for conversions: This option shows ads that are expected to provide more conversions
  • Rotate evenly: This option shows ads evenly for at least 90 days, then optimizes them
  • Rotate indefinitely: This option shows low performing ads more evenly with high performing ads, and does not optimize

When you first create a campaign, your ad rotation will by default be set to Optimize for clicks, and you’ll need to change this setting if you prefer to rotate ads evenly or optimize them for conversions.

If you are tracking conversions, I recommend you change the default Google Ads setting to optimize ad rotation for conversions across all of your campaigns. Ads that get the most clicks are not necessarily ads that convert the best, yet they may monopolize your budget and not allow the better converting ads to show if you are using the optimize for clicks ad rotation setting.

There’s more…

Ad rotation is set at the campaign level, rather than the account or ad group level. This means that the ad rotation you choose will apply to all ad groups within a given campaign. Google Ads campaigns does not offer the option to change ad rotation within a single ad group.

Creating effective ads

Your ad text is the only part of your account that users see. It is your opportunity to convey what you offer and why your website is worth taking a look at. However, the amount of space available for you to write your message in Google Ads is limited, so you need to be careful in choosing what to communicate.

Getting ready

First, research your competition to understand how your pricing and special offers compare. Next, make a list of all of your most compelling product or service features you’d like to highlight.

Keep in mind the following five ad copy best practices:

  • Use your keywords in your ad text, ideally in your headline. When you use keywords in your ad text, they are made bold by Google, making the ad stand out more.
  • Prequalify your products or services, so your visitors know what to expect when they click on your ads. While attracting new visitors is important, you also do not want to pay for clicks that will not convert. Here are some ways you can ensure the right people are clicking:
    • Display your prices: This will help you attract visitors who are already OK with your price range.
    • Explain who should not click on your ads: This might eliminate some clicks but will help improve your ROI. For example, a mortgage lender can say For loans over $100,000 to weed out anyone looking for a loan of a lower amount.
  • Mention any discounts or special offers, first making sure that these offers are compelling in the industry and that your competitors are not offering more enticing deals. Examples include:
    • 20% off
    • Free shipping
    • Free consultation
    • 24 hour service
    • Free trial

Instill confidence in your website with industry certifications, awards, accreditations, and years in business. Here are some ideas for example:

  • Serving San Francisco since 1951
  • rating A+ Certified partner

Include calls-to-action that will communicate to your visitors what they need to do once they visit your website.

  • Download free whitepaper
  • Call for a free consultation
  • Get 20% for a limited time
  • Sign up today
  • Try it for free

How to do it…

To write an ad, perform the following steps:

  • Go to the Campaigns tab, and navigate to the Ads tab or first choose a specific campaign and ad group you’d like to edit.
  • Click on the New ad button and choose Text ad from the list of possible ad formats.
  • If you did not choose a campaign and ad group already, you’ll be able to do it on the next screen.
  • Write a headline in the Headline field. Ideally, your headline should contain some of your keywords.
  • Describe your product or service in Description line 1 and Description line 2. Mention any special offers and use a call-to-action. I generally describe the product and special offers in the first line and reserve the second line for a strong call-to-action.
  • Enter your URL in the Display URL ad text field.
  • Enter the address of your website where users will be redirected after they click on your ad in the Destination URL field.
  • If you would like an ad to be given preference on a mobile device check the Device preference box. For example, you may want to promote your local store or office with a mobile-preferred ad, which can be shown on desktops when there aren’t any normal ads defined. Also, the mobile-preferred ads are only preferred over normal text ads—other kinds of ads (dynamic, image) may still show on mobile.
  • Click on Save ad.

How it works…

An Google Ads text ad contains the following components. The following table entails the components of the previous screenshot:

Ad componentWhat it is?Character limit
HeadlineThe first line of your ad. Usually the first thing customers look at when searching.25 characters
Description line 1   The second line of your ad text. Describes your product or service.35 characters
Description line 2   The third line of your ad text. Continues to describe your product or service along with any special offers or calls-to-action.35 characters
Display URLThe address of the website that you are promoting. 35 characters

Ad componentWhat it is?Character limit
Destination URLThe address of the website the users are redirected towhen clicking on your ad. Not visible in your ad but it has to match the display URL’s domain.N/A
Device preferenceYou can check the device preference mobile box to give an ad preference on mobile devices.N/A

There’s more…

You can write multiple ads within a single ad group and let them run at the same time to test different messaging. I recommend running at least two ads within each ad group to give users some options and test response. Avoid testing more than 3 ads at once within an ad group.

Choosing landing pages

Your landing page or the destination URL is the website’s URL you choose to take visitors to after they click on your ad. It should match the user’s query and be as general or as specific as the keyword it is matched up with. Most visitors only spend seconds on a website before they decide if they should stay or leave. Taking your visitors to the right landing page helps you ensure that they find what they are looking for and do not bounce after clicking on your ads.

Getting ready

Familiarize yourself with your website’s URL structure. Next, match the list of your Google Ads keywords to the most relevant sections of your website. You can divide up your keywords into groups or themes and pick a URL on your website that best matches each group or keyword.

How to do it…

Following are the guidelines to keep in mind when choosing landing pages.

Pick a URL that best matches your keywords

Your landing page should be as general or as specific as your keywords. Here is an example of landing pages you might want to pick for different sets of keywords if you sell mobile phones:

KeywordCorrect Landing PageIncorrect Landing Page
Mobile phonesHome page with all available brands.Specific brand or specific phone model.
Samsung phonesSamsung brand page with list of all available Samsung phone models.Home page or specific Samsung phone model, such as Galaxy S4.
SamsungPage highlighting the Samsung GalaxyHome page or a list of all
Galaxy S4S4 phone, price, and link to buy.Samsung phones.

To check if you picked the right landing page, ask yourself the question, “Does this page match the user’s intent?” and monitor your bounce rates through Google Analytics.

Make sure your landing page is conversion friendly

Your landing page should be easy to navigate and conversion friendly. Visitors that arrive to each landing page should easily be able to spot the next step, be it to purchase from you online, download a whitepaper, sign up, or contact you.

The conversion activity should be prominently displayed on your landing page, ideally above the fold. However, I would advise against taking visitors directly to the product signup page or the checkout page as your Google Ads destination URL, as most visitors will want to learn more about your products or services first.

How it works…

Your landing page is a part of your Quality Score. You can look up Quality Scores at the keyword level and see if there are issues with your landing page by going to the Keywords tab and hovering over the status box.

When a landing page doesn’t match a user’s query, it leads to a poor user experience and low quality ads that don’t appeal to users and don’t work for advertisers.

To determine your landing page experience, Google Ads campaign looks at the content of your page as well as your design. The following are the three most important factors to focus on:

  • Relevant and original content that’s useful to visitors.
  • Transparency about what you do with information you may collect from your visitors.
  • Easy to find contact and business information.

Ease of navigation without too many links or ads that might be distracting and confusing.

There’s more…

You can choose to set landing pages or destination URLs either at the ad group level or at the keyword level. If you properly structure your campaigns into themed ad groups, I recommend you use ad group level destination URLs, rather than keyword level URLs. However, every time you change an ad’s destination URL, its history resets, while this is not the case for keyword URLs.

If you are tracking conversions, you can test different landing pages and analyze conversion rates by A/B testing to find the landing pages that work best.

Implementing dynamic keyword insertion in ads

Dynamic keyword insertion is a tool that allows Google Ads campaign advertisers to automate their ads with a single piece of code in the ad copy. Keywords that users are searching on are automatically populated into the ad text, making the ad more relevant, and saving you hours of work. There are many benefits to using keyword insertion, but you should also be careful to avoid ads that don’t make sense or aren’t converting for you.

Getting ready

If you decide to use dynamic keyword insertion, scrub your keyword lists of the following:

  • Misspelled keywords
  • Grammatically awkward phrases
  • Competitor terms
  • Keywords that do not make sense when inserted into your ad text

Keyword insertion should not replace proper account structure or be used with thousands of unrelated keywords all lumped into one ad group. Structure your keywords into relevant themes, and then use keyword insertion to make the ads even more relevant to every individual keyword within a well themed ad group.

How to do it…

To set up dynamic keyword insertion in your ad text, perform the following steps:

  • Enter the following piece of code into your ad: {KeyWord:Default Text}.
  • Choose default text that will be inserted into the ad if any of your keywords are not eligible. In the previous example, the default text is Red Shoes.
  • Keyword insertion is used most commonly in headlines. However, the code could also be placed in the rest of your ad text, as well as in your display and destination URLs. Keyword insertion in your destination URLs would be mainly used for reporting and tracking purposes.
  • Create separate ad groups with static ads that do not feature dynamic keyword insertion for any keywords that do not make sense when inserted into the ad text or are misspelled.
  • Make sure your landing pages are still relevant to the numerous variations you’ll create.

How it works…

Dynamic keyword insertion automatically inserts your keywords into a text ad with the following snippet of code in your ad: {KeyWord:Default Text}. The tool can help you generate hundreds or thousands of highly targeted ads instantly. Following is an example of how your ads could appear:

KeywordYour ad
Red shoesBuy Red Shoes
 Huge Selection of Stylish Shoes.
 Shop Today and Get 10% Off!
 www.example.com
Cheap red shoesBuy Cheap Red Shoes
 Huge Selection of Stylish Shoes.
 Shop Today and Get 10% Off!
 www.example.com
Red designer shoesBuy Red Designer Shoes
 Huge Selection of Stylish Shoes.
 Shop Today and Get 10% Off!
 www.example.com

If the inserted term is too long for the Google Ads character limits, the default word or phrase you choose will be inserted. Also, Google will only insert keywords that are actually in your account. For example, if your broad match keyword shoes generates an impression on term tap shoes that you do not have in your account as a keyword, phrase tap shoes will not appear in your ad.

There’s more…

You can change the capitalization of the keyword that’s inserted into the ad text by modifying the keyword insertion code. Here are the guidelines:

Keyword insertion snippetHow your ad will appear
{keyword:}red shoes
{Keyword:}Red shoes
{KeyWord:}Red Shoes
{KeyWORD:}Red SHOES
{KEYWord:}RED Shoes
{KEYWORD:}RED SHOES

Standard Google Ads campaign editorial policies still apply, and you will most likely not be able to use excessive capitalization, unless your keyword is an abbreviation, acronym, or a trademark.

Avoiding common ad copy mistakes

Many advertisers write ads that do not follow best practices and tend to get low clickthrough-rates. Keeping in mind common ad copy mistakes can help you avoid learning the hard way.

How to do it…

The following mistakes can hinder your ad performance:

  • Not using a call-to-action: Your ads should motivate visitors to take the next step and set the stage for what you would like them to do once they click on your ad.

Using your company’s name in your headline: Unless you are a prominent brand, your company’s name in a headline is wasting space that you could be using to highlight your keywords or special offers. One of the recommended times to use your company’s name in a headline is if you are advertising company brand keywords.

Not using proper landing pages: Your ad destination URL should match your keywords and there should not be a disconnect between what your users are searching for and where they’ll be taken when they click on your ad. Taking your visitors to a landing page that’s too general or too specific will cost you conversions.

Not differentiating your company: Many ads are generic, play it safe, and fail to include why visitors should go with your business rather than a competitor’s. If your ads look just like everyone else’s, users will have little motivation to click on them and you’ll suffer low CTRs.

Not prequalifying visitors: Some advertisers are so focused on squeezing in special offers that they forget to explain what the users will see once they click on an ad. You can save costly clicks and improve your ROI by pre-qualifying your visitors and weeding out those that are unlikely to convert. For example, if you sell high-end furniture, you would benefit from setting the expectation rather than attracting visitors who cannot afford your products.

Focusing on product features instead of benefits: Don’t talk about the product feature your customers are already aware of but how they will help their lives. If someone is looking for a lawn mower, they already know that it cuts grass. Think about the benefit to the consumer and play that up in your ads. Take some time to think about what your customers are hoping to find and how to present the solution to them.

Not understanding what’s working: After setting up your campaigns, make sure to review performance regularly and take a note of what ad copy is generating clicks and conversions. You can re-use some of the phrases that worked in new ad copy tests and combine them with new discounts or calls-to-action.

Not testing: Google Ads campaigns can be time consuming and many advertisers are so relieved when they set it up that they simply let the ads they initially created run without much follow-up. However, your savvy competition will be testing and coming back with their strongest offers, and so should you.

How it works…

Ads that get low CTRs not only cost you potential customers but also negatively affect your

Quality Scores. Avoiding common pitfalls and writing compelling ads can help:

  • Improve CTR
  • Improve Quality Score
  • Lower average CPC
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Lower cost per conversion

Split testing ad copy

Split testing ad copy or A/B testing compares the effectiveness of two different ad variations. Your first ad or the one that you find the most appealing will not necessarily be the one that will attract most of your visitors. Luckily, you get instant feedback on Google Ads, where people vote through clicks and conversions to help you choose messaging that works best for you.

Getting ready

Brainstorm ad text elements you’d like to test, such as:

  • Different landing pages: If you are not sure what landing page would work better for a certain group of keywords, you can run two identical ads that are taking visitors to a different destination URL. Metrics such as conversion data can help you determine which landing page generates a better ROI.
  • Calls-to-action: Test different phrases that entice users to take your desired action after the click. For example, you can test Register Now against Sign-Up For Free.
  • Headlines: You can try static headlines against dynamic keyword insertion. Or, headlines that are phrased as a question.
  • Ad text descriptions: Test audience specific phrases, such as Family Friendly or different ways to describe the product or its benefits. You can also compare different special offers, or using a percentage discount versus a specific price discount.
  • Display URL: Add extra words to your display URL to squeeze in extra language into a limited ad space. For example, you can test www.example.com against www.example.com/Free_Trial in your display URL. If you do not have enough characters, you can leave out www. from your display URL.

Determine your goals or what metric you will be evaluating. If you are looking for more clicks, CTR will be your metric to watch. If your goal is to increase conversions, you should evaluate conversions, conversion rate, cost-per-conversion, and ROI.

How to do it…

To run an A/B split test, perform the following:

  • Choose the campaign and ad group where you would like to run the test. The high-traffic ad groups are a good place to test. You can also create a new campaign and ad group for the test.
  • Set your test campaign’s ad rotation settings to Rotate evenly so the test ads get even exposure.
  • Choose your control, and determine what ad you would like to use as a baseline. One of your current top performers would be a good choice.
  • Create a test ad within the ad group where you are performing the test. This ad group should only have two ads, your control and your test.
  • Keep the ads you are testing identical, except for the element that you are trying to compare. So, if you are trying to evaluate if one call-to-action will perform better than another, keep the headlines, ad descriptions, and the ad’s destination URL the same, except for the call-to-action you are A/B testing.
  • Let the ads compete. Accumulate enough data so the differences are significant. How long you’ll need to run the test will depend on how much traffic you’ll get. If you’d like to ensure that the data differences between your control and test ads are statistically significant, you can enable Experiment settings in Google Ads, which you can locate in your campaign Settings page.
  • Measure test performance; if you are looking for more clicks, compare CTRs. The ad that generates a better CTR will be your winner. If your primary goal is conversions, evaluate conversion metrics.
  • Pause the loser and keep the winner. Decide for yourself what defines a winner. If you have a 0.1 percent increase in CTR, it might not be good enough. Re-iterate and aim for doubling your CTR.
  • Continue testing and refining to stay ahead of your competition.

How it works…

An A/B test involves testing two versions of an ad to compare which ad generates more clicks or more sales. You will see that 50 percent of your visitors are exposed to one version of your ad, while the other 50 percent see another ad version. In the Google Ads campaign interface, you can evaluate real time results of each ad to determine which one generates a better ROI. Some tests will show great results, and others won’t. However, testing is always better than guessing.

There’s more…

Once you test different ad elements, you may wish to implement the winning ad phrases across other ad groups in your account. For example, if you find through ad copy testing that Save 20% works better than using Get $5 Off, you can apply that learning in your other ads, as appropriate.

Editing your ad text

One of the great features of Google Ads is that you can change your ad copy at any time to match the latest promotions. Unlike with traditional print advertising, changes you make can go into effect within minutes.

If you have a high performing ad, do not edit it; pause it instead, creating new ads when you want to run special promotions. If you edit a high-performing ad, that resets its history back to zero.

To edit a single ad, perform the following steps:

  • Navigate to the Campaigns tab and click on the Ads tab.
  • Hover over the ad you’d like to edit until you see a pencil icon, then click on it. This will bring up the Edit window box, where you’ll be able to edit any part of your text ad.
  • Make the necessary edits and click on Save to save your ad. To edit ads in bulk, perform the following steps:
    • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
    • Navigate to the Campaigns tab and click on the Ads tab.
    • In the search box, type in the phrase you’d like to edit. For example search for free Shipping.
    • Select the ads you’d like to edit by clicking the box in the menu bar.
    • Go to Edit and choose Change text ads….
  • Choose the type of change you’d like to make. You can Set text, Find and replace,

Append text, or Change case.

  • You can Preview changes to see which ads will be edited and what they will look like.
  • Click on Make changes to implement your edits.

How it works…

When you edit an ad, Google Ads campaigns deletes your previous version and creates a new ad. All of your statistics, such as impressions or clicks, start back at zero. The new ad may still need to go through editorial approval.

Pausing or deleting ads

You can pause or delete ads in Google Ads at any time. For example, you may need to pause or delete ads that mention discounts or specials, which may be expiring. You should also periodically review ad performance data and pause low performers, such as ads with low CTR.

Getting ready

Decide if you’d like to pause or delete your ad. If you plan to run this ad again in the future, it makes more sense to pause it, rather than to delete it.

How to do it…

To pause or delete ads, perform the following steps:

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Navigate to the Campaigns tab and click on the Ads tab.
  • Select the ads you’d like to pause or delete by clicking the box in the menu bar.
  • Go to Edit and choose Pause or Delete.

How it works…

When you pause or delete an ad, it stops that ad from showing. If you pause an ad, you can un-pause it at any time. However, if you delete an ad, you will not be able to un-delete it. You can still access a paused or deleted ad’s history and performance data within the Ads tab.

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