How to Get the Most out of Google Ads for the Least Amount of Spend
While getting results from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google Ads can seem expensive, complicated and mysterious, it can have a significant impact on lead generation and increasing client acquisition with a clear strategy and experienced execution.
With a platform that processes over 8.5 billion searches a day, Google Ads can provides serious reach. According to Google’s annual economic Impact report, companies that advertise on Google Ads generate $2 for every $1 spent, on average.
What Google doesn’t tell you, however, is that it’s easy to spend a lot of money for little or no result if your campaigns are managed by someone without extensive experience, a bit of Google savvy in avoiding common traps, and a comprehensive understanding of your business.
At Innovaxis, we are a Google Ads certified partner with 15 years of experience managing PPC for our clients and our strategies are designed to work for them – not for Google. This experience in Google Ads has allowed us to gain a comprehensive understanding of best practices and costly traps to avoid.
While it may be tempting to follow Google’s recommendations, use “Smart Campaigns” and automate everything, this is an expensive practice that won’t necessarily bring the results you are looking for. Here’s an overview of how to get the most out of your Google Ads investment.
Conduct Quality Keyword Research
Google Ads campaign best practices begin with the keyword research prefacing the actual campaign.
While conducting your keyword research, keep in mind that it’s not just about numbers – it’s also about the relevance of every keyword you choose to include in your campaign. It’s imperative to understand the psychology of your target audience to know what search queries they’re making (and not making) about their problems and potential solutions. Choosing both the most popular and highly relevant terms in your keyword research process is the first step towards success campaigns. Here’s how to do it:
- Use the Google Ads keywords tool to understand what people are actually searching for and in what volumes
- Combine keyword phrases into clusters that represent both different solutions you offer and different ways people search for them
- Go through each keyword phrase to determine its relevance – we recommend classifying them as high, medium and low; inevitably there will be too many marked “high” so we recommend creating a short list of those as part of the “top” category; this can be a slog as you can easily have hundreds of related keyword phrases in each cluster but it’s worth it so you don’t overspend on keywords that aren’t relevant
- For keyword phrases you’re not sure about, do a Google search with them as a sanity check to see if your company or other providers come up – if they do, include the term
At Innovaxis, we understand the power of keyword research and utilize all keyword research conducted to increase the effectiveness of all organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Speak to just about anyone at Google and they will recommend using Smart Campaigns and to automate everything. We believe this is a quick way to empty your bank account.
It’s also a conflict of interest: if Google automatically increases your bid then wouldn’t it automatically update everyone else’s bid for that keyword? And if it increases their bid, wouldn’t it come back and increase your bid again? When does it end?
This is why we use manual bidding to ensure we’re not bidding too much or too little for any keyword phrase and that we’re bidding for the most relevant keywords. We also turn off keywords if they get too expensive so you don’t blow your daily budget for just one click.
Utilize Negative Search Terms
As important as it is to target relevant keywords in your campaign, it’s equally as important to choose what not to target. Using negative keywords allows you to exclude search terms from your campaigns to help you focus on the keywords that truly matter to your audience.
Just as the keywords you actually bid on, negative keywords come in three match types: broad, phrase and exact. Your choice in negative keyword match type is key to restricting, or broadening, the types of keywords you want to exclude.
While it might feel easy to go on a negative keyword rampage, it’s important to not filter out too much. We recommend beginning with the keywords that are getting the most impressions, decide whether they’re relevant, and then add them to your negative keywords list.
Few businesses devote adequate time to building a list of negative keywords and miss out on an opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of their PPC spend. At Innovaxis, we use the Google Ads Keyword Planner and Search Terms Report to select appropriate negative keywords so our clients don’t rack up clicks for searches that fail to result in qualified leads.
The Importance of Extensions
Google Ads extensions work to expand your ad with additional information, giving people more reasons to choose your business. Here are the extension types we have found make the biggest impact in getting the most out of your Google Ads budget:
Sitelink extensions extend your ads by adding additional links under your ad’s main text. These links direct users to other pages on your site you want them to visit. Each sitelink extension landing page has to be unique.
For example, one of our sitelink extensions directs someone to our HubSpot page so prospects and clients can see additional value we offer. We recommend that you develop 4-10 different sitelinks for any given ad.
Callout extensions are text fields up to 25 characters in length that describe the most valuable qualities of your business, products or services. Fragments instead of whole sentences work better and you’ll want to be as specific as you can to give users a concrete understanding of the value your business has for them. We recommend having at least four callouts.
Structured snippets highlight specific aspects of your product or service that you want users to know about. Brands, types and service catalog are three structured snippets we’ve found hold the most value in specific information to generate more qualified leads.
Location extensions allow you to add an address for each of your locations to your ad but can only be added if you have a Google My Business listing for each of them. Location extensions are less relevant for businesses that are not local businesses, operate nationally and/or do not have a physical location.
Quality Landing Pages
The efficacy of your campaign doesn’t stop at the ad – it’s important to ensure the whole user experience is of high quality. If your ad only directs users to your home page, users will be left hunting for the information they’re after and could get lost. A best practice is to point users towards the best fit landing page, such as a product page. Even better is to create landing pages that are a true extension of your ad and have a compelling offer and call-to-action.
One key to a valuable landing page is to have an asset that gets the user to share information and become a lead. A common way to gain this information is to include a form on your landing page that they can fill out to redeem an offer: download an eguide or whitepaper, request an assessment or audit, RSVP for a live webinar, view a recorded webinar, etc.
Learn more about landing page best practices here.
The Ultimate Key to Google Ads Effectiveness
While these best practices will help you get the most out of Google Ads, it’s crucial for anyone developing and maintaining them to have a deep understanding of your company’s business and marketing strategy, target markets, influencer and buyer personas, the problems and opportunities they have, and how you solve them – all of which are revealed as part of your brand story.
Many companies that would like to run your Google Ads and other PPC campaigns rarely spend the time to understand your business and may not even put an experienced person on your account.
At Innovaxis, we combine extensive experience with Google Ads, PPC in general and our market research background and brand story experience helps us rapidly develop a deep understanding of your business. This translates into knowing what works the best, what costly mistakes to avoid, and when to experiment.
If you’re currently running PPC, we can also audit your campaigns to see how you can get the most out of your efforts from the least amount of spend. If you’d like to start running ads, contact us so we can get you started on the right foot.