What is Google Ads?

Last updated on by Fahad Muhammad in Google Ads

Did you just finish creating a landing page for your agency’s newest promotion or perhaps you’re putting final touches to your SaaS free trial page? Regardless of the type of landing page you’re creating, promoting it is the next marketing step you need to take.

And when it comes to promotion, Google Ads is one of the most obvious choices. In 2017, Google generated $94.9 billion in total digital ad revenue worldwide, which is an increase of 20.15% over last year, according to Statista:

Google Ads allows you to promote your offers to your target audience via dedicated ads and landing pages.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google’s online advertising platform that allows you to create online ads to reach audiences who are interested in the products and services you offer. The platform runs on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising i.e. you have to pay every time a visitor clicks your ad.

Marketers rely on Google Ads as a promotion platform because it allows them to:

Think of the Google Ads platform as an online marketplace, where businesses pay to have their ads ranked at the top of the search results page, or get displayed prominently on other websites.

In July 2018, Google Ads previously known as AdWords updated not only its brand name but also some of its advertising capabilities. The updated Google Ads platform merges multiple advertising capacities to deliver more accurate insights to audiences via machine learning.

We’ll discuss the updates made to the platform in detail at the end of this section.

The updated Google Ads platform is divided into two categories:

  1. Search Ads 360: Includes text ads that are shown in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
  2. Display & Video 360: Includes display ads on a vast number of websites across the internet apps, and YouTube.

We’ll discuss the basics of the two networks separately throughout the guide.

Google Search Ads 360

Search Ads 360 is the updated version of the DoubleClick Search Ads Network. With Search Ads 360 you can plan, buy, and measure search ads on Google.

When a user types in a search query the first thing they see on the search results page are PPC ads. The following are the ads Google generated for the search phrase – ‘time management tools’:

The ads and the organic search results appear almost similar with the exception of the ‘ad’ tag so as not to cause banner blindness in users:

How Does Google Ads Work?

Google Ads essentially operate on an auction system, when a user types a query in the search engine Google goes through the platform’s advertisers pool and decides whether there should be an auction. If more than one advertiser is bidding on a keyword which Google decides is relevant to the user’s search query, an auction is automatically triggered.

What’s important to note here is that keywords are not really search queries. Referring back to the time management tool example – specific keywords such as ‘time management tools’ may be entered into the auction for a large number of search queries, such as ‘Saas tools for time management’ or ‘Tools to save time’.

Remember advertisers bid on the keywords not on the search queries. They decide how much they want to spend and have the ability to create keywords groups that are then paired with ads and corresponding landing pages.

Google enters the keyword from your account that it deems the most relevant into the auction with the maximum bid you’ve set along with the specific ad, and this is what the user sees.

Where your ad appears on the search results page – the Ad Rank is key to getting more clicks.

What is Ad Rank?

Ad rank determines your ad’s position on Google’s search results page. Ad rank is calculated instantly, as soon as someone does a search that triggers your ad to show up. Google determines Ad Rank based on two key factors, maximum bid and quality score. Here’s an equation to help you remember how ad rank works:

Ad Rank = CPC Bid X Quality Score

Maximum CPC Bid

This is the maximum amount of money you’ve selected to pay every time your ad is clicked, also known as Cost Per Click (CPC). Your ad is more likely to show in front of your competitors if your maximum bid is higher than theirs.

However, just outbidding the competition doesn’t guarantee your ad rank, Google also ranks your ads based on quality score.

Quality Score

Quality score refers to how well an ad group, an ad and a landing page relate to what the user is searching for, and how likely it is that the user will click the ad. The score is calculated on a scale of 1-10.

Three factors determine your quality score:

  1. Expected clickthrough rate (CTR)
  2. Ad relevance
  3. Landing page experience

1. Expected clickthrough rate

Here’s how Google defines expected clickthrough rate:

‘A keyword status that measures how likely it is that your ads will get clicked when shown for that keyword, irrespective of your ad’s position, extensions, and other ad formats that may affect the visibility of your ads.’

The expected CTR determines whether your keyword is likely to get a user to click your ads. Google Ads essentially takes into account the past performance of keywords based on your ad’s position. It then provides an expected CTR for a keyword of your campaign based on the assumption that the search term will match the specific keyword exactly.

When a user has typed in the search query and the auction is taking place, Google Ads calculates an expected clickthrough rate based on the search term, type of device and other auction factors.

Your expected CTR can have three statuses – average, above average and below average.

An average and above average status signifies there are no major problems with the keywords’ expected CTR, when compared to all other keywords in the Google Ads network.

A below average status on the other hand means you might want to make changes to your ad copy so that it relates more closely to your top keywords.

The expected clickthrough rate is a prediction, the status helps you determine how the keyword performs within your campaign and also across all other advertiser’s accounts. The expected CTR is calculated by not factoring in the ad position, and other factors that affect ad visibility such as ad extensions etc.

An important thing to remember about expected CTR is that it’s different than the clickthrough rate value, which is what you see in your analytics account.

2. Ad Relevance

Ad relevance is a status that measures the message match between your keyword and your ad. For example Google determines if someone searching for a keyword you’ve bid on sees your ad being relevant to the keyword search.

There are three ad relevance statuses – below average, average and above average. You can use the ad relevance status to help identify which keywords aren’t relevant to your ad and make changes accordingly so that your ad has an impact on your audience.

3. Landing Page Experience

Google measures landing page experience by determining how relevant your landing page is to your ad, and how much it relates to the user’s search term. The landing page experience status describes whether the landing page provided a good experience for the visitor who landed on the page after clicking the ad.

Landing pages that are clear and offer relevant information to visitors get a status of average and above average. Pages that don’t offer relevant information, seem untrustworthy or are mobile unresponsive get a status of below average.

To get a high quality score and improve Ad Rank, it is extremely important you take care of keyword, ad and landing page relevance as well as set an appropriate maximum bid for your campaigns.

Google Display & Video 360

Display ads are the banner ads you see on websites everywhere. For example, here’s Datafeed’s display ad on Forbes’ website:

The Google Display Network gives you the opportunity to connect with your customers in a variety of ad formats across the digital landscape. The network includes over two million websites that reach over 90% of people on the internet.

Contrary to Search Ads 360 which is designed to let you reach people who are searching for a specific service/product, Display Ads allow you to catch your visitors’ attention earlier in the buying cycle. For example you can promote your Saas free trial to a visitor who’s reading reviews about which tool would be the best to use.

Google uses contextual targeting to place ads on relevant websites in the Display Network. The network analyzes the content of each web page and determines its central theme, the theme is then matched to your ad using the keywords you’ve selected, the selected language, the visitors’ recent browsing history and location targeting among other factors.

You can select the types of web pages where you want your ads to appear, you even have the option of blocking your ads from web pages you think aren’t relevant to your business.

Display & Video 360 ads can be used in your remarketing campaigns, to reach out to visitors who’ve come on your webpage but have left without fulfilling a conversion goal.

You can use different ad formats to engage your audience via the Display Network, such as text, image, video or rich media format ads.

Both search and display ads allow marketers to create and measure effective paid advertising campaigns that reach their audiences and convert them.

Before we proceed to the next section and explain how you can set up an ad campaign in Google Ads it’s important we go over the recent changes made to the Google Marketing Platform.

What’s included in the Google Marketing Platform (GMP)

In June 2018 Google announced during the Google Marketing Live event that the DoubleClick Digital Marketing products and the Google Analytics suite have now become the Google Marketing Platform.

The purpose of the rebrand was to make things easier for those who use the platform. Helping users easily sharing data between platforms and eliminating pain points associated with the campaign setup process.

Along with a new interface, the Google Ads platform also introduced new campaign, such as:

1. Smart Campaigns

Google Smart Campaigns are designed for small businesses. Smart campaigns are primarily automated campaigns, from choosing ad creatives to delivery optimization – Google helps you get the best value from each ad by automating the ad placement and bidding options.

With smart campaigns, you can achieve goals such as phone calls, website visits, and request for directions.

2. Smart Shopping Campaigns

Google’s new Smart Shopping Campaigns are equipped with latest automation and machine learning technologies.

The process of running the campaign is similar to Smart Campaigns, after linking to your Google Merchant Centre account, upload all your ad assets and select the country you want to run your ads in. Google’s machine learning system automatically uses your product feed and creates different combination of images and text to create the most relevant ads across the Google network, including the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.

Google also recently introduced automated placement and smart bidding in its Smart Shopping campaigns to help marketers gain maximum conversion value at their available budget.

However you need to fulfill these two requirements to run Smart Shopping campaigns:

3. Local Campaigns

Users constantly use smartphones to look for instant solutions to their problems. According to Google, ‘near me’ searches increased 3X last year. The same is true for mobile search phrases such as “can I buy” or “to buy”, which have grown over 500 percent in the past two years:

When users search for something near them it signifies as a strong signal for buying intent. According to Google’s new insights:

“3 in 4 people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a related business within 24 hours.”

To cater to these specific experiences Google launched Local Campaigns. Similar to Smart Campaigns Google’s automated ad delivery and machine learning system automatically creates and optimizes your ads on different avenues such as Search, Youtube, websites and apps.

The goal of Local Campaigns is to drive more foot traffic to your physical store.

The updated Google Marketing Platform helps marketers and advertisers create better, more optimized paid campaigns for their businesses.

4. Hotel Campaigns

During the Google Marketing Live conference the search engine giant announced to integrateHotel Ads Centre into Google Ads, creating a new campaign called Hotel Campaigns. The purpose of taking this step was to optimize the hotel campaign management process.

Although, Google search ads already featured hotel ads, the new hotel campaigns have taken ad optimization to the next level.

Before the update, PPC search ads promoting hotels could feature limited content so they weren’t able to provide a lot of value to users.

The example below highlights the difference between the old hotel search ads and the new Hotel Campaign ads.

This is a standard search ad for hotels:

Now let’s compare it with a Google Hotel Campaign ad:

The new Hotel Campaign ad allows advertisers to add more details to their ads, including images, amenities, current discounts by different vendors, availability checker, and customer reviews.

Section 2: How Do You Set up a Google Ads Campaign?

It is time to go through the exact steps you need to take to start promoting your offers on the search engine with your first Google Ads campaign.

Google Ads campaign is a set of ad groups (ads, keywords and bids) that have a common budget, location targeting, and other settings. You can set up and run multiple Ads campaigns at a time.

To create your campaign go to Google Ads you need to first set up your account. Enter your email and website address and begin.

Select the desired campaign goals:


Give your campaign a name and select the following campaign settings:

Location and Language

You can select the locations you want your ads to be promoted in and also select the language. Google recommends you choose the language that you serve your customers in.

Bidding and Budget

You have the option to manually set your bids every time your ad gets clicked, you can also have Google Ads automatically do this for you. The bid strategy controls how you pay for users to interact with your ads. The bid limit you set is the maximum amount of money you’ll pay every time a user clicks your ad in a specific ad group.

The campaign budget is the average amount you want to spend each day. You can choose the budget you feel comfortable with, plus you have the option to adjust it at any time.

Google recently introduced a smart bidding option to its advertising platform. The new machine learning system does all the work for you, so you don’t need to adjust your bids manually.

Google’s machine learning algorithm collects billions of consumer data points every day – from color and tone preference on mobile screens, to purchase history, and device location. When you use smart bidding you can make use of this data.

The 4 key benefits of smart bidding include:

  1. Advanced machine learning: Google’s machine learning system collects billions of data points of your potential customers every day so it can easily predict how different bids can impact your campaigns.
  2. Wide range of contextual signals: With the smart bidding option you get a wide range of signals into your bid optimization exclusive to smart bidding. Here is list of automated bidding signals.
  3. Flexible performance control: With smart bidding you can set performance targets and customize settings to your unique business goals. You can optimize Search bids to your selected attribution model, including data-driven attribution.
  4. Transparent performance report: Smart bidding offers deeper insights into your bidding performance and helps you quickly troubleshoot any issues.

Devices

Google Ads campaigns target all types of devices including mobile, desktops, and tablets. You can also customize different ads for different device types.

Ad extensions

Extensions help you include additional information with your ads to make them more comprehensive. Extensions include your phone number, location information etc.

Additional Settings

In the additional settings, you can schedule your campaign i.e. select a start and end date. You can also do ad scheduling and only choose certain days or times when your ad would be visible. By choosing a specific ad delivery option you can choose to show your ads more evenly through the day.

You’re now ready to select your keywords and create your ad groups.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword selection is one of the most important components of the Google Ads campaign. Keywords are the backbone of your advertising strategy. Make sure you have conducted proper keyword research and your keywords fully support your business idea before using them in paid advertising campaigns.

Remember, when you create your ads with keywords your target audience is likely to search for, you’ve basically optimized your keyword strategy.

Here are some keyword optimization tips:

  1. Think like your customer: When selecting keywords for your campaign it’s important you think like a customer. Get in your customers’ shoes and select keywords your customers are likely to search for when seeking for a solution to their problem. For example, if you’re running a campaign for a free demo of your agency’s social media management tool, your keywords could be ‘free social media management tool’, ‘best social media management tool’ and ‘easy social media management tool’.
  2. Go for specific keywords: Choose specific keywords that revolve around your services, Google recommends choosing around 5-20 keywords per ad group if you have a lot of similar keywords.
  3. Choose relevant keywords: Only bid on highly relevant keywords, because relevant keywords are cost effective for your online campaign. Long-tail keywords prove valuable for your campaign as they are longer and more specific keyword phrases that your audience is likely to use when they’re searching for a solution to their problem.
  4. Use negative keywords: You should also add negative keywords i.e. keywords that your ads shouldn’t appear for in your campaign. Adding negative keywords ascertains that your ad isn’t clicked by someone who’s not your target audience. For example, you sell a paid weather app, since the app is paid it makes sense if you remove the keyword ‘free weather app’ from your campaign because visitors are not interested in a paid option, hence you can lose your advertising dollars.

Negative keywords help streamline your campaign and only appeal to target audience that are more likely to click through and convert.

You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to create keywords for your ad campaigns, the keyword planner helps estimate how many clicks a keyword is likely to get in a day. This helps you increase bids on the keywords which are more relevant to your business.

Creating Ad Groups

An ad group contains keywords used in your advertising campaign. When a user enters a search query similar to your selected keywords Google triggers your ad to appear above the search engine results. The bid you have set will only be consumed when a user clicks your ad, this is known as the cost-per-click (CPC).

You can also select prices for individual keywords within the ad group. Use ad groups to organize your common ad theme, for example an ad group that’s promoting your online management tool to visitors can have the following keywords ‘online project management tool’, ‘create easy online documents, ‘the simplest way to create online documents’ etc.

Once you are done selecting your keywords, created ad groups, set up a budget, it’s time to create your first ad.

When the ad is created remember to direct your ad traffic to a dedicated landing page – this is precisely what we’ll be discussing in the next two chapters.

Section 3: How Do You Create an Optimized Ad?

When someone conducts a search, Google shows them multiple ads, similar to their search intent. Chances of clicking all of the ads in the search results pages is pretty slim. This is the exact reason why your Google search ad needs to be optimized for users so they can find what they were looking for and click your ad.

So, how do you optimize search ads?

Before we discuss the optimization principles you should use for creating your digital advertising campaign it’s important you know the components which make an ad.

Components of a Google Search Ads 360

A typical Google Search ad has three main components:

  1. Headline: The headline is the first thing visitors see in the ad. Google has recently made a few changes to their text ad format. Now you can add three headlines instead of two, that are separated from each other by a dash. Each ad headline can have up to 30 characters. You can also add two descriptions and each description can have up to 90 characters.
  2. Display URL: The display URL consists of the domain from your final URL (which ideally should be your landing page). Remember your display URL should make sense for your potential visitor so it’s better to include your main keyword in the URL.
  3. Description text: You can use the description text to describe the details of your offer, it can consist of up to 90 characters. If you are an online store a call-to-action in the description text helps visitors take action and click the ad.

Optimizing search network ads

Optimization is the process of improving a campaign or part of it (web page, advertisement, landing page) to the point that it’s as near-perfect as it can get. Optimization starts with continuous testing, and data collection. Optimization is essentially a circular process, which means there is always room for improvement.

Testing and data collection are an integral component of optimization, however, if you’re just starting out you need to begin somewhere before you have data. This is where the following ad optimization best practices come in:

Think like Your Customer

Visitors click ads because they’re looking to get something done, your ad’s job is to make it loud and clear that your offer is what they were looking for. To get this done you need to think like your customer and craft ad copy that includes phrases that your audience is likely to search for and include those in your headline and description text.

Think about your offer – what does your service do, how does it help visitors solve their problem, what unique qualities differentiates you from others then create ad copy that answers these questions.

For example, a user searching for a copywriting agency will see the following ads in the search results:

All the ads generated in the results have relevant headlines which means the visitors is likely to click them. You should include at least one keyword from your ad group in your ad headline, to establish relevancy and increase the chance of getting a click.

Include a Statistic in your Ad

Numbers speak louder than words – because they’re able to showcase value without using up a lot of space, which is crucial in digital ads as you don’t get much space to begin with.

You can use your pricing plan in your ad to immediately communicate to visitors how much they’re going to have to spend, or you can include numbers that invoke the principle of social proof and convince them to click, like the count of your current customer base.

Someone searching for affordable healthy meal options would ideally want to see how much meals are going to cost them right away, this is what Blue Apron does when mentioning their price on the ad, however, Diet-to-Go doesn’t do this in their ad:

Which ad do you think the user is most likely to click?

Add Details that Help Your Audience Reach a Decision

There’s a huge possibility that you and your competitors have somewhat the same ad copy. See case in point:

All of the real estate agencies have similar headlines and description text, ‘homes for sale’, ‘houses for sale’ and ‘free mortgage calculator’.

When this is the case whether your ad gets clicked or not depends merely on chance, however if you add specific details about your service that differentiate you from the competition you have the opportunity to make your ad stand out and get a click.

This is exactly what Pipefy’s ad does compared to Capterra’s ad:

While the former has the same generic ad text, the latter mentions social proof ‘companies from over 150 countries manage their processes with Pipefy’ and even includes Techcrunch’s customer testimonial. Which ad do you think the searcher will be more inclined to click?

Add Relevant Ad Extensions

Ad extensions help expand your ad with additional information, adding more description for your service and increasing the chance of getting a click. You can use the following extensions with your ads:

1. Location Extension

Showing your location with your ad increases trust for your business. Moreover if a visitor wants to actually visit you they can quickly get the information from your ad.

The following is an example of a location extension:

2. Callout Extension

Callout extensions promote unique offers to your visitors, like ‘free shipping’ and ’24 hour customer service’:

3. Call Extension

Call extensions mention your contact number with your ad so visitors can call you if they have additional questions about your service. Adding a phone number with your ad increases visitors’ trust in your service.

4. Review Extension

This extension allows you to add quotes or ranking from your previous clients, reviews from renowned companies work best with your ads.

Getaround uses the review extension to highlight a testimonial by Huffington Post:

Rotate Your Ads

As we mentioned at the beginning of this section, optimization heavily relies on testing and data collection, ad rotation is the best way to test and collect data on your Google ads.

Ad rotation gives you the option to rotate your ads to find out which ones have a higher click through rate. When you create more ads in your ad groups you have the opportunity to rotate the ads. As Google collects data on ads it automatically starts favoring ads that statistically perform better. When you evenly rotate your ads you increase the chances of high performing ads to be served to your visitors.

Optimizing Display Network Ads

Display network ads give you a little more room to be creative as they include additional formats, such as image, video and rich media types. To create effective display ads, make sure the image and copy are relevant so the visitor can make a natural connection among the contents of the ad.

Another thing to take care of in display ads is branding, make sure that your branding is on point, so when the visitors clicks through to the landing page they know they’ve come to the right page.

Including a CTA button in your display ads helps guide visitors toward the click.

Disruptive Advertising has an optimized display ad:

Make sure your ads are relevant, have action-oriented copy and are descriptive so they stand out and the visitor feels compelled to click them.

Section 4: Why it is Important to Connect All Your Ads with Relevant Landing Pages

Getting an ad click is exciting because you’re one step closer to getting a conversion, however, it’s important to remember that the optimization process doesn’t end with the ad copy.

If you want your visitors to follow through with their ad click, and actually get what you’re offering you should always connect your PPC ads with relevant landing pages.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone page created to fulfil a single purpose. The purpose of the page can vary because of campaign goals or where the visitor is in the marketing funnel. The pages can be used for a variety of campaigns from getting registrants for your webinar, downloading an ebook or white paper, to getting signups for your Saas free trial.

When your ad is connected to a relevant landing page you ensure that the visitor finds the answer to their search question on a distraction-free page, making it easier for them to convert for the given offer.

While your website homepage has multiple objectives, as it deals with a multitude of company products and updates at one time, a landing page focuses on one singular offer or campaign.

While homepages are diffused and cluttered, landing pages are focused on a single goal.

Your PPC ad copy is directed toward a single offer, this could be a specific feature you’re promoting, a time-sensitive promotion or a free trial. When you connect your ad to a dedicated landing page you ensure that the visitor only sees the offer that you talked about in your ad copy, thus establishing relevancy and improving your chances of conversions.

When you connect PPC ads with relevant landing pages you get higher quality scores because you get an above-average status in the landing page experience category which helps increase your ad rank.

To ensure that your landing page is relevant to your ad, ensure that the page has message match and a conversion ratio of 1:1.

What is Message Match?

Message match refers to the consistency two pieces of a PPC campaign, for example, an ad and a landing page. The term ‘Message match refers to the process of matching the content of an ad to the content of a landing page so the message is reinforced in the mind of the prospect, and they know it’s relevant.’

The consistency in message matching can come in several forms from matching copy and headlines to emphasizing ad copy with landing page copy and even using matching images (if you’re running a display ad campaign).

The VWO search ad and corresponding landing page have message match. Here’s the search ad:

The ad copy highlights services like heat maps for websites and user tracking activity. it also talks about a free trial

Here’s the VWO landing page connected with the ad:

The landing page headline also talks about heat maps for websites and the CTA button confirms the free trial, putting the visitor at ease that they have found what they were looking for.

The same is true for Domo’s display ad and landing page:

1:1 Conversion Ratio

Conversion ratio on a landing page can be defined as the number of places to click compared to the number of conversion goals. Ideally, the ratio is 1:1, meaning there’s only one place to click on your landing page: the link that accomplishes your conversion goal.

On the majority of landing pages, that link is a call-to-action button.

You’re paying for every visitor that comes on your landing page, don’t let them navigate away from your page before you convince them to convert. Encourage them to stay and fulfill the page conversion goal by keeping this 1:1 ratio intact.

Let’s look at an example of an ad and its corresponding landing page that doesn’t have a 1:1 conversion ratio.

Pictured below is Hotjar’s PPC ad:

This is the landing page connected with the ad:

Instead of a dedicated page that only promotes the free trial, the landing page has numerous navigation links on it which distract visitors from fulfilling the conversion goal and signing up for the service.

The Qualtric landing page on the other hand has a conversion ratio of 1:1 because it doesn’t distract visitors with unnecessary links, the only action the page offers visitors to perform is clicking the CTA button:

In addition to having message match and a 1:1 conversion ratio, the landing page connected with your PPC ads should also have the following elements:

  1. Primary Headline: Headlines are important: They are the first thing that any visitor sees. Make sure your headline clearly explains your offer and intrigues the visitor to read further.
  2. Secondary Headline: You can make use of secondary headlines, to elaborate on the points you left out from your primary headline. It should describe more value for visitors.
  3. Copy (What’s your UVP?): Mentioned in the copy of your landing page should be your unique value proposition. Why should your users choose you over the competition.
  4. Trust Indicators: Trust indicators make visitors feel at ease when they’re investing in a product as they see people have had positive experiences while using it. Some trust indicators you can use on your landing pages include customer testimonials, statistical evidence, press snippets, and links to your privacy policy or terms of use pages.
  5. Call-To-Action Button: The CTA button is where the action on your landing page takes place. The CTA button should stand out from other elements on the page, and it should have actionable and personalized copy on it.
  6. Media: The types of media you can use on your landing page include images, videos and gifs. Choose the media type that suits your offer and explains what your service does to your visitors so it’s easy for them to take the action.
  7. Lead Capture Form: Your contact or lead capture form should ask your visitors to enter their personal information in exchange for the offer. Lead capture forms should be labelled properly and they should not ask for information that’s not relevant to the offer.
  8. No Navigation Links: Navigation links provide visitors the option to leave your landing page. Navigation links are for your homepage, not your landing page.

Having a relevant and dedicated landing page connected to your PPC ads ensures that your visitors don’t stop the conversion journey at the ad but follow through and convert for your specific offer.

Section 5: Common Google Ads Mistakes You Should Avoid

We’ve discussed in detail about the things you need to take care of when optimizing your Google Ads campaigns, what’s left to discuss are the common Google Ads mistakes marketers make so you can avoid them.

Stuffing Too Many Keywords in One Ad Group

One mistake you can commit while creating your PPC campaigns is stuffing too many keywords in one ad group. Putting more than 20 keywords into one ad group makes it near impossible to achieve the search-to-ad message match.

And your PPC ads are just going to cost you a lot and get you no conversions if you don’t have proper message matching. If you want to achieve the perfect message match ideally aim for single keyword ad groups. If you think single keyword ad groups are going to be too much work for you, and you have a lot of similar keywords you should create logical ad groups for your campaigns.

Not using negative keywords

Another costly mistake you can make in your campaigns is not using negative keywords. Negative keywords allow you to stop your ads from showing when certain keywords are used, so you don’t have to pay for an ad click when someone who has no intention of buying your service clicks your ad.

For example, if you sell women shoes, it would benefit your campaigns if you choose negative keywords such as ‘baby shoes’ or ‘men shoes’ to exclude your ad from coming up in searches related to these terms. Because if a user looking to buy shoes for their toddler clicks to your landing page and finds only women shoes there they’ll exit the page, however, you would’ve already paid for the click.

Ignoring user intent

User intent describes what a user is looking for while they make a search query. It’s how you determine what the user is thinking when they type a certain keyword phrase into Google.

There are three types of user intent:

  1. Navigational: When the user is trying to open a specific site
  2. Informational: When the user is looking to gather information about a certain subject
  3. Transactional: When the user is ready to buy

To explain how to use different types of user intent and how they work for your Ads campaigns let’s take the example of a fictional company called “Better Webpages.” Better Webpages helps its users create beautiful websites without any coding.

When a potential customer of Better Webpages does a Google search for the keyword phrase, “what’s the best way to create code-free websites” the user intent is at the informational stage. They are probably still searching for the best solution and aren’t ready to buy yet.

Landing pages connected with this keyword should lead the user to a landing page that has more explanatory copy on it.

Now, if the potential customer does a search for the keyword, “Is Better Webpages the best tool for websites?” you know that the customer is inclined to buy soon and has transactional user intent and so your landing page should be minimal. It should tell them why you are the best in the business and then point them towards your personalized CTA.

Find out which specific keywords describe which type of buying intent and target those keywords properly with your landing pages, and overall PPC campaigns.

Not Using Correct Keyword Match Types

Keyword match types control which user search will trigger your ad, they are essentially a way to organize your bid for different search terms.

There are four types of keyword match types:

  1. Broad match: This is the default match type that all keywords get assigned to. With broad match keywords your ads can show up even on searches with synonyms, misspellings and related searches.
  2. Phrase match: Ads for phrase match show up on searches that match a phrase, or a close variation of the phrase. The search can also have additional words before or after the keyword. Ads don’t show up, however, if a word is added to the middle of a phrase match keyword, or if the phrase is reordered in some way.
  3. Exact match: For exact match keywords ads appear on searches that match the exact term or are a very close variation of that exact term. Ads can also show up for reordered phrases, given that the phrase’s meaning remains the same.
  4. Negative match: Ads for negative match keywords may show on searches without the term.

This video explains how the different keyword match types work:

After doing keyword research you should identify and categorize your keywords into the appropriate keyword match types, this helps you organize your campaigns and make sure that you are getting the best results out of the keywords you’ve selected.

Google Ads allows you to promote your offers to your target audience via search and display ads on a medium that your visitors are bound to use. By choosing the right keywords, creating optimized ads and connecting them to dedicated and relevant landing pages you ensure that your product/service gets the promotion strategy it deserves.