Guide to Google Ads: Intermediate Edition
Beyond the Basics
By now, you’ve been in PPC for a while and have a basic understanding of how Google Ads and PPC works. Now, you’re getting into questions about some technical details like campaign types and settings, ad extensions, and how to start optimizing your account.
By the end of this whitepaper, you should be comfortable adjusting campaign settings, navigating the tabs in the Google Ads interface, and using data from Google Ads to make basic optimizations.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
1) How to select the appropriate campaign type
2) Understanding campaign settings and adjusting them to fit your business needs
3) Understanding the basics of targeting on the Google Display Network
4) Knowing the ad extensions available to use in your account
5) Basic optimizations – search query reports, bid changes, and the dimensions tab
SEARCH NETWORK ONLY
– Your ads will only appear on the Google search results page and search partner sites (if you’re opted in)
– Ad formats: text ads, product listing ads, dynamic search ads, App / digital content ads
DISPLAY NETWORK ONLY
– Your ads will appear on the Google Display Network
– Ad formats: text ads, rich media ads, video ads
SEARCH NETWORK WITH DISPLAY SELECT
– Your ads will appear on the Google search results page, search partner sites, and the Google Display Network sites
– Ad formats: text ads, image ads
– Shopping campaigns are used to advertise the products in your Merchant Center account
– your ads will appear on the Google search results page
– Ad formats: Product listing Ads (includes a photo and price)
Network: For search campaigns, you have the option of opting into the Google Search Partner Network. This means that your ads will show on non-Google sites related to the user’s search, as well as Google Maps, Google Video, and other Google sites similarly to display ads. Campaigns are opted into search partners by default, so if you want to opt out you’ll have to uncheck the box that says “Include search partners.”
Devices: Google segments performance by three device categories: computers, mobile devices with full browsers, and tablets with full browsers. Currently, you can only set bid adjustments for mobile devices. You can view all the usual performance statistics segmented by these devices and make an adjustment if necessary. Modifiers can go from -100% to +300% and utilize existing keyword and ad group level bids.
Locations: this is where you specify where you want your ads to show (or not show). You can set bid adjustments for certain cities, states, or countries or exclude them altogether. you can select how Google will dictate a users location in the advanced location options.
The default setting is the first listed option: people in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location.
Languages: Here you specify what language you want to target. to determine a user’s language, Google looks at a user’s Google language setting or the language of the search query, currently viewed page, or recently viewed pages on the display network.
Bid Strategy: there are three main methods of bidding in Google Ads: focus on clicks, focus on conversions, or a flexible bid strategy. If your goal is to focus on clicks, you can either manually set your bids (this gives you the most control) or you can have Google Ads set your bids. you also have the option of enabling enhanced CPC, which can raise or lower your bid up to 30% depending on the likelihood that the click will convert. It’s important to note that by maximizing for clicks, you may not be maximizing revenue or leads.
To be able to use the Conversion optimizer option, your campaign has to have at least 15 conversions within the last 30 days. If you meet this requirement, you have a few options for setting a target CPA.
The two options for delivery method are:
– Standard: Show ads evenly over time
– Accelerated: Show ads as quickly as reasonably possible
The default setting for new campaigns is Standard, but with this setting you may be missing out on traffic. Google will pace your ads throughout the day for your budget. If you have a lot of budget to spend, you might as well go to accelerated and not let Google potentially leave you out of auctions.
Ad rotation dictates which ad Google will show at any particular time. With optimizing for clicks or conversions, Google will choose the best performing ad. If you are conducting ad tests, be sure to set it to Rotate indefinitely so that you can get an accurate picture of how your ads perform. If you don’t use this setting for ad testing, Google may send almost all of your traffic to older ads, leaving you with limited data for new ads you’re testing.
Display Keywords: Google uses keywords as contextual targeting to display your ads on sites with relevant content.
Placements: Here you can view the websites that Google has automatically displayed your ads on, or you can create managed placements (websites that you specify).
Topics: topics refer to the theme of a website. you choose which topics you want to target, and Google does the rest.
Interests & Remarketing: Interest categories refer to the user. Google looks at the pages a person has visited before to decide what a user is interested in. Remarketing allows you to target users who have already been to your site and had a cookie placed in their browser.
Ad Extensions will show with your ad depending on your ad position, ad rank, and what other ad extensions you’ve enabled. Extensions are valuable because they take up more real estate on the search results page, and give the user easy ways to get the information they want about your site.
Sitelinks allow you to show additional links to your site below your ad
These allow your users to click-to-call from their mobile phones.
With review extensions you can showcase positive, third-party reviews from reputable sources. If you’re unsure about what kinds of sites Google allows, check out Google support.
If your business has a physical location or storefront, the address will show here, so users can easily get directions. location extensions are displayed to users who are near or are searching about the location of your business. If you have multiple locations, you can easily add multiple location extensions, which will show to users depending on their locations.
Optimizations – The Basics
So now that we’ve gone through some of the basic settings and features of Google Ads, you’ve got to know what to do with all of it. Here are some basic Google Ads optimizations that you’ll be making in your accounts.
THE SEARCH QUERY REPORT
Search query reports are used to analyze what search terms are triggering your ads. this can be useful in a few ways:
• To ensure that only relevant traffic is coming in by adding negative keywords
• To identify new keywords to add to your account
Once you download your search query report into an Excel file, simply add some filters and sort by cost, conversions, and impressions to get a feel for what traffic is coming through your account.
BID & BUDGET OPTIMIZATIONS
Bids and budgets are usually adjusted on a weekly basis. Campaign budgets are used to allocate overall monthly budgets, and bids are used to efficiently spend your budget on the keyword level.
BID ADJUSTMENTS – BASIC STRATEGY
There are many different approaches you can take to bid adjustments, whether you are bidding for a certain position or you have a CPA goal in mind. the idea behind changing bids is that you want to reduce the bid on keywords that are not performing well, while increasing bids on keywords that are performing well or have a low average position.
First, download your keyword report from the Google Ads interface. once your data is in Excel, sort your keywords by cost. This allows you to easily pinpoint which keywords are spending significant amounts without converting. Give these keywords a negative adjustment, maybe 10% or 15%, depending on the cost.
Next, filter by cost per conversion. Any keyword with a CPA over your goal should receive a negative adjustment as well.
Finally, you’ll want to increase the bid on your top performers (if they need a boost). If a keyword is bringing in conversions at a good CPA, but the average position is a bit low or has been dropping, it typically gets an adjustment to keep the position from falling.
THE DIMENSIONS TAB
A lot of information can be gathered on the Dimensions tab, which can be used to optimize your account. You can also look for potential bid modifiers by segmenting by day of the week. In this example, you could implement a bid modifier to decrease bids on Saturdays, as cost/converted click is high and conversion rate is low. once you notice trends on the account level, you can add in columns for campaign and ad group to drill down to add specific adjustments to each campaign.
A Quick Recap
THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH NOW
1) Select the appropriate campaign type
2) Understand campaign settings and adjust them to fit your business needs set them up
3) Understand the basics of targeting on the Google Display Network
4) The ad extensions available to use in your account
5) Basic optimizations – search query reports, bid changes, and the dimensions tab