Perhaps the best reason to use Google ads in 2023 is that your competitors use them. Why should they appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) instead of you?
Even if your competitors didn’t use Google ads, they would be worth considering. Over 90% of online activity begins with a search, so SERPs are the ideal places for your ads to appear.
If you plan to use Google ads in 2023 or already use them, here is how to make them perform better.
Start with a Budget and List of Goals
One favorite aspect of Google ads is that your campaigns are tailored to your budget. Know what your Google ads budget is up front, and Google will work with your ad content to help you maximize ad performance within your budget.
Along with your budget, you should articulate the goals for your Google ads. Do you want more product sales, leads, or brand awareness, for example?
Your specific goals can help you determine the best type of ad (search, display, video, etc.) and the best content for them. Many companies choose more than one type of ad to compare ROI and learn whether one type outperforms another.
Align Google Ads Goals with Website Goals
Your goals for your Google ads should align with your website goals. If your ads and website don’t align, you risk confusing and losing potential customers.
First, ensure that your website is designed to achieve certain goals and write down what they are. Do they align with the goals of your Google ads? If not, you may need to update your website or alter the direction of your ad campaign.
When your Google ads and your website align, potential customers are equally comfortable with both. The consistency between the two is comforting and creates a better user experience.
Start with Broader Keywords, Then Narrow
What keywords do you want to build your Google ads around? If you don’t know, several free and paid keyword tools can help you target keywords that receive good traffic without being overly expensive to bid on.
Usually, it is better to begin by targeting broader keywords and setting up your Google ads so that a “broad match” to the keywords triggers the ads. The benefits of this approach include
- Attracting more visitors and clicks
- Less time spent creating highly specific keyword lists
- Covering your bases for many search variations
- Helping you find new keywords for future campaigns
- Allowing you to use narrower matches later to attract more focused visitors
When defining your keywords for your Google ads, don’t forget about negative keywords. These are keywords you specifically don’t want to trigger your ads.
For example, if you operate a clothing store that only sells women’s clothes, you may designate “men’s” as a negative keyword by typing -men’s into the keyword box for your ad. That way, if someone searches for “men’s trousers,” your ad won’t appear since you don’t sell what they want.
Benefits of Responsive Search Ads
Google search ads, in general, are popular and highly effective. Responsive search ads have features that make them a great type of search ad.
Responsive search ads are a fantastic starting point if you don’t use Google ads but would like to. Creating them requires some effort up front, but it pays off.
With responsive ads, you submit several headlines and several lines of ad copy focused on your main keyword. Google then generates the ads from different headline-keyword combinations and monitors how they perform.
As the ads are displayed, and their performance analyzed, Google gradually narrows down the headlines and ad copy until it determines which combination performs the best. The result is a quicker adaptation of messages to queries and more conversions in less time.
Many businesses prefer this approach over simple search ads, where they must stake performance on a single headline-copy combination from the start. Responsive search ads require more input up front, but the result is often better performance.
Ensure You’re Using Conversion Tracking
Creating a campaign for Google ads without using conversion tracking would be like playing Scrabble and not bothering to add up the points. Conversion tracking lets you know which ads work best.
You need to give your ad campaigns time to run for a while before your conversion tracking results become meaningful. A particular headline-ad copy combination may get a few clicks right off the bat as a fluke and then not get any more clicks afterward.
Give your campaigns a chance to shake out the meaningful data before acting on your conversion tracking data. Then you can use that information to help you craft more effective ads in your next campaign.
Testing Is a Pain; Do it Anyway
When you use responsive search ads, Google does a lot of the “testing” for you and zeroes in on the best headline and ad copy combinations. But you have to test other types of ads yourself.
Google ads includes app ad campaigns. These ads promote your mobile application and allow users to download it to their phone right from the ad without having to go through an app store.
You may elect to test different versions of your app ad to see if a certain image or headline gets better results. This type of testing may be tedious, but if you discover that one particular element delivers better results, it is time well spent.
In the old days of mass media advertising, a company might play ads for test audiences before starting a campaign. Once the campaign was underway, there wasn’t much choice but to let it run its course.
With Google ads, you can determine which ad version is more effective during the actual campaign. Then you can switch to using the more effective version almost immediately if necessary.
Optimize Landing Pages for Your Ads
Where do customers go once they click on your ad? This landing page should be optimized for the best experience.
For example, if someone clicks on an ad that says, “Buy Now,” they should go directly to the page for the product they want. If they go somewhere else, they can lose interest.
Landing pages should be clean and provide users with only one or very few choices. Likewise, they should be optimized for the same keywords as your ad, so users don’t feel lost.
Use Google Ad Extensions
When you set up your Google ads, you can choose to add various extensions, which are free. Types of ad extensions include
- Sitelink extensions, which present additional links to relevant pages on your website
- Call extensions, which present your phone number
- Location extensions, which present your physical location and phone number and are great for people who search for products or services “near me.”
- Offer extensions, which feature a current promotion you’re having
- App extensions, which allow mobile users to instantly download your app
Generally, you should take advantage of these features. They provide consumers additional information about your business at no cost to you.
Google Ads Require Fine-Tuning Over Time
Google ads can be an excellent digital marketing investment. But you can’t just “set it and forget it” like roasting a chicken.
Take a fresh look at your Google ads and the ingredients that go into them, like the keywords, ad copy, and headlines. See if your budget needs to be updated and if your landing page for your ads needs to be refreshed.
And if you need help with Google ads or any other aspect of digital marketing, set up a call with our team. We know digital marketing and help our clients maximize their ad spending ROI.