Google Ads Optimization Routine – Optimisation Checklist

While SEO is a very important part of any online strategy and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, PPC techniques can and should be used in conjunction with it to get the best results. However, many businesses don’t know how to optimise Adwords to get the best results.

If you want to see great results right now, Adwords is the way forward. In fact, you can begin generating results almost immediately by making the most of your Adwords campaign. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, you’ll find Adwords optimisation tips below that will help you make a huge difference to your online marketing campaign overall.

You might think you have a great campaign in place, but this advice might just open your eyes!

optimisation check list

You Must Track Your Conversions

  • When you begin using Adwords, the first thing you need to focus on is properly tracking your conversions. This is essential in any Adwords account. You will not know which keywords are driving leads, and which simply have you wasting money if you’re not doing this. Figure out which conversions you’re going to track by thinking about which conversions are most important to you. A conversion is when you get a user to complete an action on your website, whether that’s signing up to your emails or making a purchase. It should be something you deem important and valuable to your business. It might be any, or multiple of the following:
  • Becoming a lead via a contact form. 
  • Making a purchase
  • Live chat – asking a question 
  • Phoning you
  • Signing up to a newsletter

Tracking this is a must or you’ll simply have no idea how much money you’re spending!  To learn more check out this blog post, Ultimate Guide to Conversion Tracking in Google Ads

Anomalies

Anomalies are deviations of statistical significance. For example if a keyword or campaign spends more than 50% today, than the usual medium daily average over the last month. If so, it might be that certain bids are too high, or the budget is not capped. Or if the CPA for a campaign increase more than 50%, this requires immediate attention. Using automated daily alerts, or even better Google Ads scripts is more instant. 

Search Optimisation Strategies​

Increasing online awareness and visibility, site interest and traffic, as well as leads, sales app downloads can be done using a range of optimization strategies and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Ads and ad groups:

Opportunities that can help you edit and refine your ads, show your best ads most often, and organize your ads into better ad groups

Examples:
  • Change your ad to get a longer, more noticeable headline
  • Create more ads
  • Add ad extensions (call, sitelink, or callout)
  • Create new ad groups from existing ones
  • Optimize your ad rotation

Keywords, targeting, and reach: 

Opportunities that can help you reach more people who are interested in what you offer

Examples:

  • Add keywords and even negative keywords
  • Broaden your keyword matches to include “phrase match” or “broad match”
  • Target Google Search partners
  • Power up for mobile
  • Add audiences

Bids and budget: 

Opportunities that can help you get more impressions and clicks or improve your Ad Rank

Examples:

  • Raise your budgets to keep your ads running on your busiest days
  • Use standard ad delivery to stretch out your limited budget
  • Adjust bids in oh so many ways: Raise or lower your bids; use estimated top or first of page bids; change your keyword bids; set location, mobile, ad scheduling, or audience bid adjustments; change product group bids in your Shopping campaign; or even use Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding

Optimisation Goals - Ideas for Improvement

Some optimisation changes are generic such as using negative keywords to block irrelevant traffic to your website. However, some optimisation strategies are specific to certain marketing objectives. You should decide on your goals before making the relevant changes. 

Optimise for conversions - Improvement Ideas

  • Consider adjusting bidding and budgeting. You need to decide if you want to maximize conversions or achieve a target CPA. 
  • Change targeting to make narrower or wider depending on the current CPA.
  • Test adverts with different calls-to-action to work out what drives the most conversions.
  • Make improvements to ad quality
  • Check ad extensions performance data to ensure best converters are getting the most impressions.

Optimise for Clicks / CTR - Improvement Ideas

  • Change bidding strategy to maximize clicks. This will get most clicks at lowest cost.
  • Change ad rotation to optimise for clicks. This will show ads that have the highest CTR
  • Consider revising budget to expand your reach to a broader audience

Optimise for Reach - Improvement Ideas

  • Pay by impression instead of by click. This will let you reach a larger audience for a lower cost.
  • Use frequency capping to limit ad impressions to 1 or 2. This will allow you to maximize the budget to get ads in front of the most people possible 

Optimise for Brand - Improvement Ideas

  • Target users across the Display Network with specific interests
  • Use affinity audiences to target lifestyle people at the awareness stage of the marketing funnel. 
  • Use eCPM bidding to pay by impression instead of click.

Using the Oppertunities section

The Google opportunities section makes suggestions based on the account’s performance history compared to campaign settings, search volume and trends. The suggestions cover areas such as Ads and ad groups, Keywords, targeting, and reach, as well as Bids and budget. The suggested optimisations can be made from within the opportunities are by pressing apply. 

How to use the Google Ads Recommendations Tool

Optimise Ad Rotation:

If you are using rotate evenly, and certain ad versions are outperforming others the suggestions recommend a change to optimise for clicks. 

Add More Keywords: 

 There are a host of tools and strategies for finding keywords such as:

  1. Include keyword suggestions offered on the Opportunities page.
  2. Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner for discovering new keyword ideas and creating new lists
  3. Use Keyword insertion — to automatically update your ads with the keywords in your ad group that trigger ads.

To watch: Look for improvements in CTR, but when it comes to adding a new keyword

Device Bid Adjustments:

Impressions and cost per conversion may be lower on mobile, then increasing bid adjustment on mobile is recommended. 

Example:

  • Starting bid: $1
  • Mobile adjustment: $1 x (+20% as all bid adjustments are set by percentages) = $1.20
  • Resulting bid for searches on mobile devices: $1.20

 

Understand the research and buying process:

Try to understand what stage of the buying cycle a user might be in. To target serious buyers, you can try keywords that include words like buy or purchase. If you want to filter out research-oriented searches, you can add negative keywords like reviewratingcompare or comparison. On the Display Network, you can try focus the most budget on mid-funnel campaigns such as in-market audiences

Use The Power Of Search Query Reports

Search query reports uncovers the actual words or phrases that people are typing into Google to find your business through AdWords. This makes it one of the most valuable tools available. You can use this tool to reveal user intent and help you to figure out why your campaigns may not be converting well. You might find that people who are clicking on your adverts may not actually fit your buyer persona, which means you’re wasting budget on the wrong traffic. 

If you do seem to be getting high quality traffic, then your landing page may actually be the problem. You should have great call to actions, and copy that is speaking to the problems of your audience. It must all be tailored to them to work. Talk about their problems and the benefits they will enjoy from working with you. Oftentimes, people are more interested in the benefits they will experience rather than the features of a product. To learn more check out our article Google Ads Search Terms Report Tips

Improve Your Keyword Quality Score

Improving your keyword quality score will make your campaign more of a success. But how do you improve your score? The following three things are said to be the most important:

  • Expected click-through rate
  • Ad relevance
  • Landing page experience

However, increasing your click through rate is something quite different. If this is what you want to do, you could create a more relevant ad for the keyword if you believe it needs one. You can also keep headlines relevant while showing value, and keep campaigns tightly organized with focused ad groups. To learn more check out our article Google Ads Quality Score Guide. 

Take Advantage Of Location And Time Settings

Many accounts don’t do this step and end up wasting their ad budget further. Ads only appear in regions that your business serves, so use location settings if you’re a business that only serves a specific location. 

To make this even more effective, you can consider breaking up your targeted regions into smaller areas in order to modify your bids for areas that are performing better or worse, based on your marketing objectives. This way, if a certain location isn’t converting at the expected rate, you can lower your bids and allocate that spend to other locations that are performing better.  

Make Segmentation A Focus

If you segment your data in Adwords, it shouldn’t be long before you begin figuring out where your wasted budget is going. You can segment your data in a number of ways. Device and network segmentation are two of the biggest places you will usually find wasted budget. 

Segmenting by device will help tell the story of the user’s experience on any device, whether they are using a tablet, laptop, or something else.

Bin Off Your Non-converting Keywords

You have to be prepared to get rid of your non converting keywords if you’re going to make a success of your AdWords campaign. There are so many keywords that have good click-through rates, quality scores, and cost per clicks, but you might find that only the top 2 or 3 keywords generate any conversions for you. This means you have to filter out the non converting keywords by pausing them or continuing to reduce bids until they have a CPA comparable to the account average, or get no traffic – so you can begin saving money, or at least putting that money to better use in this campaign.

Get Rid Of Broad Match Keywords

Getting rid of broad match keywords could be the final most effective step you can take. Cutting out broad match keywords can improve cost per conversion, conversion rates, and more.

However, before you get rid of all broad match keywords, make sure you check the search queries for that keyword. Using broad match keywords isn’t always a bad thing. This is something you should experiment with and keep a close eye on. To learn more check out our article Google Ads keywords match type guide.

Make your ads appeal to potential buyers

A successful ad is relevant and impactful. It delivers the right message at the right moment, motivating your customer to purchase with a strong call-to-action.

Here are some tips for writing effective ad text:

  • Set your ad apart from your competition: Use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool to see which ads are showing for a particular search. Your ad text should quickly convey how your business stands out, so featuring competitive prices and special promotions can be especially effective.
  • Highlight the customer benefit: Give customers more incentive to purchase by conveying how they’ll benefit by choosing your business.
  • Keep it simple and specific: Focus on 1-2 selling points for stronger impact. If you try to pack too many selling points in your ad text, your message can get lost.
  • Use a landing page that drives sales: Your ad should bring people directly to a page where they can buy the specific product that you’re advertising. Think of it this way: The connection between your ad and landing page is the bridge between a potential customer and a purchase. The stronger they’re connected, the more likely you are to generate sales.
  • Run seasonal ads: Customise your ads to fit the season and the promotion you’re running. Take advantage of seasons (Summer, Winter, “back to school”) and specific holidays (Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc.) to promote your products.
  • Use title case: Capitalising the first letter of every word can help boost click-through rates.
  • Use ad extensions to enhance your ad: Take advantage of ad extensions to show extra information about your business.

Bid simulators

IBid simulate lets you see the impact of modifications likeMax. CPC bid and its impact on the costs or numbers of clicks, impressions, or conversion value. Examples include: Campaign bid simulator, Target CPA simulator, Mobile bid adjustment simulator and more. They can be seen from the Ad groups and Keywords tabs.

Campaign Drafts & Experiments

When simulating an impact isn’t enough, run an experiment to test and measure the impact of changes to an existing Search campaign.

Test adding new keywords, bid changes, new ads or extensions,  different placements.  A new duplicate campaign is created with a percentage of your auctions to have this experimental change.

 To learn more about check our blog article – Google Ads Campaign Experiments

Use Reporting to gain Insight

Google Ads has many reports, but checking three reports key reports is the best starting point that you’ll definitely want to keep your eye on to inform what might need tweaking.

  • Search Terms Report: Just what search terms triggered your ads and which ones didn’t? Use this report to find out and to identify new search terms to add to your keyword list. And for those that aren’t performing — be sure to put them on the negative keyword list!
  • Auction Insights Report: This compares your performance with other advertisers participating in the same auctions as you! Use it to make bidding and budgeting adjustments by showing you where you’re succeeding and where you may be missing opportunities. You can even see if there are any concepts or themes that you aren’t currently taking advantage of and add those to your keyword list.
  • Placements Report: This shows where your ads are shown on the Display Network. As with the search terms report, you can block irrelevant instances – such websites or apps that do not match your business or company profile. 

Types of Optimisation Updates

Account build-out 

Plan how you to expand the account. Do some campaigns need to be expanded into more campaigns. Which targeting options are not yet used, how many new campaigns are needed. Do ad groups need to be split up or consolidated.

Client onboarding

Create a list of tasks prioritized for the 1st week and month, with a medium term plan for ongoing optimisation and management. 

Daily optimization

Make sure their is no major ROI anomalies. For example if a campaign is spending more than usual and it is not performing well, check it in more detail to identify the exact cause and make any necessary adjustments.. 

Make sure the spend month to date is on target to meet the spend objective by not over or under spending. 

Bid management

Make sure their is no major ROI anomalies. For example if a keyword is spending more than usual and it is not performing well, reduce the bids, or check the bidding strategy. To learn more check out our article Google ads bidding strategies guide

Keyword list building

Use the search terms report and keyword expansion tool within the ad group area of the online Google Ads manager. 

Placements

Check if non-converting placements needed to be added as excluded placements. Do any well performing placements need to added as dedicated managed placements with their own bids. 

Conversion Optimisation

Check landing page performance report. Make sure certain pages are not far below overall account average. To learn more check out our articles CRO tips and how to use Google Optimize

Weekly optimization

Weekly optimisation tasks are for the most part, the same as daily tasks. It is just a longer period so their is also more statistical certainty. 

Reporting

Check out the Google Ads reports area. Setup automatic reports within Google Data Studio. 

Ad targeting

Check the traffic is still relevant for each campaign ad ad group. For example run the search terms report and placements report.

Audience definition

Refine audience targeting using demographics by monitoring conversion metrics based on relative performance. 

Account Settings

Make sure all campaigns have the optimum settings. For example if a campaign is getting more traffic before, it may be eligible for automatic bidding. 

Monthly Optimization

Check month one month performance of the account, campaigns, ad group, adverts, kewords and other targeting options. 

Spring Cleaning

Often it is best for another account manager to review as a second pair of eyes. This is a re-audit process

Conclusion

If you aren’t optimising your Adwords campaign effectively, you could end up spending a load of money on key terms that do absolutely nothing for you. You are guaranteed to waste a lot of money if you’re not sure how to use AdWords correctly. Although you may even have a decent campaign set up, the majority of companies have at least one area in which they can cut unnecessary ad spend. Take a close look at your own campaign and you might find that you can make a few small tweaks to hone your campaign and make it work better for you. 

To learn more about Google Ads check out our blog posts, Google Ads Ultimate Tips, and Google Ads Guide – Go From Beginner to Expert

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