With Google Ads you may have taken a set it and forget it approach. After all, you’re getting clicks and the keywords your targeting hasn’t really changed.
Yet, no matter how well you set up your campaign, it’s something you want to be constantly reviewing and most likely, making changes to.
There are a number of reasons you need to be active with your Google Ads campaign.
For one, your competitors are probably not sitting still. The person maintaining their campaign is testing and making adjustments regularly.
Second, new competitors are constantly entering the scene. Most businesses know that Google Ads is one of the best ways to generate leads and now moving advertising dollars toward this platform.
Third, Google Ads is constantly evolving. Just in the last year they’ve added a lot of new features and increased the size of ads. Some of these changes might be very beneficial to your campaign.
Fourth, the way people search constantly changes. Roughly 15% of all searches are something Google hasn’t seen in the last 90 days.
You might think you’ve blocked all the phrases that don’t apply to your business but don’t count on it. There’s always some variation you hadn’t considered.
Even if you’re spending a minimal amount you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing dollars.
This means being active with your campaign. Here are some things that you should be doing on a regular basis.
Review Search Terms
The words you are targeting aren’t always the exact words that people type in that bring your ad up. This is true even if you use mostly exact match, thanks to changes Google has made to this match type.
The first time you visit the search terms report you might be shocked by what you find. For example, you’re a lawyer in Boston, which is the only place your ads are appearing. Yet, you’ll see that someone typed in personal injury lawyer Atlanta. They could be searching for a loved one in that area.
When you find a phrase that doesn’t apply, then be sure to add it to your negative keywords list to prevent it from happening again. Don’t necessarily add the entire phrase, but in the above example, just add Atlanta. Any phrase that contains this word will be blocked.
How often you review the search terms is often dependent on how much you’re spending. If your budget is limited, you might only need to review it every couple of weeks.
If you're finding a lot of phrases that don’t apply or have a high budget, then you want to check more often. And if you’re seeing a lot of phrases that don’t apply, then maybe you need to change your match types.
Test New Ads
You might think that just because you're spending your daily budget every day that your ads are effective. That’s true, but it also stands to reason you might be able to do even better with a new ad.
I typically run three text ads in an ad group and one responsive ad. Then I regularly review the ads and eventually pause the least performing ad to try out a new one.
The objective with the new ad is not just to do better than the ad that I paused, but ideally do better than my most successful ad.
As we’ll discuss in the next section Google rewards marketers for having ads that are better than a competitor. Improving your click-through rate is how you achieve this.
When you should switch out an ad is often dependent on how many impressions you’re getting. I usually make sure an ad has at least 100 impressions before I make a decision on it. For some accounts, however, 100 impressions can occur in a couple of days, so then I wait longer.
Improve Your Quality Score
As I mentioned Google rewards advertisers who have ads that perform better than competitors. This is one of the elements of Quality Score. If you’re not familiar with what Quality Score is, you should be. After all, it’s not just your bid that determines where your ad appears. It’s your AdRank, which is your bid times your Quality Score.
If your Quality Score is significantly better than a competitor your ads could potentially show above their ad, even if they bid higher. Google knows it only makes money when an ad is clicked on. If you bid high, but no one clicks on your ad Google doesn’t make money. Then your ads won’t be appearing as high as you'd hoped.
This is why testing ads is important. Click-through rate is a major part of Quality Score.
Also helping the click-through rate is the use of negative keywords. Adding negative keywords often lowers the number of impressions your ads receive. Even if your number of clicks doesn’t go up, the fact that your impressions have gone down, means you have a better click-through rate.
Don’t be discouraged, however, if you make changes and your Quality Score doesn’t go up as much as you expected. As long as you’re getting impressions and most importantly clicks you can live with a lower Quality Score. Only if you’re Quality Score is negatively impacting your campaign should you be concerned.
How much you bid is still a factor in where your ads appear. You might find your ad is in the top position one day, then discover a week later it dropped in position even though your bid and Quality Score haven’t changed.
It often means a new competitor is on the market or one of your competitors have raised their bids.
Google used to tell you what your overall position was for a keyword, but that is no longer available. Now they have two metrics to monitor. Search Top Impression Share is how often your ad appears above the organic results. Often this means your ad is in the top 3 or 4.
Search Absolute Top Impression Rate is how often your ad appears as number 1.
I’m usually more concerned with the first metric. Being number 1 is nice, but sometimes you can get enough clicks at the 2nd or 3rd spot and pay significantly less.
Watch Your Monthly Spend
I’m often surprised when I ask a client what they want to spend each month and then review their campaign to see their daily budget. Often, their daily budget is set to something significantly higher. It’s just that because their campaign wasn’t being managed properly, they weren’t spending that amount.
The problem is that they could very well have spent their daily budget and as a result could have spent more than they intended.
Typically, you take what you want to spend in a month and divide it by 30. The problem is that you might not spend that in a day. Then you begin to ratchet up your spend. Then you get your credit card statement a few weeks later and find you spent a lot more on Google than you had budgeted.
No matter what you think Google wants you to succeed. Toward that end they’ll constantly give you recommendations they believe will improve your campaign.
One thing to remember with recommendations is not all of these are to your benefit. And some conflict with one another. One will suggest one type of targeting method, while another will involve a totally different target method. Obviously you can only choose one so it might be hard to know which is the best option for your specific campaign.
I regularly review a client’s recommendations and while most I dismiss, there are some that I do follow up on. And that has benefited my clients.
Review them carefully and decide which are appropriate for your campaign.
Google Ads might seem easy to run. So easy that it can run on its own. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Take some time each month to monitor and tweak your campaign. You’ll be glad you did when you see the change in results.
If you find that you don’t have the time to properly run a campaign and would benefit from help, then consider getting help. As a Google Ads Consultant, I’ve helped hundreds of companies build their business with their Google Ads Campaign.