7 hacks for Google AdWords optimization

Lynn PedottoLynn PedottoStrategy
7 hacks for Google AdWords optimization

Created in 2000, Google AdWords is a powerful, online advertising service utilized by businesses all over the world. With such a crowded space, AdWords is a not only a fiercely competitive landscape but also one which can seem daunting to many users. To help your ads perform better and to increase your ROI, we’ve compiled some of the most helpful Google AdWords optimization tips for you.

Related: Calculating ROAS and ROI

How to optimize Google AdWords

1. Have a clear goal

As with any ad campaign, you will only be successful if you have a very clearly defined goal in mind. You don’t want to blindly advertise as it wastes both time and money (two business components that seem to be inexplicably linked to one another.) Are you hoping to increase brand awareness? Maybe you want to increase the number of visitors to your website. Google AdWords can help you to do all of these things but before you write your ad copy, determine what you want from the campaign and how you are going to measure its effectiveness.

2. Choose one network to run your campaign

With AdWords, there are two types of networks: search and display. Ads placed within the Google Search Network reach people when they’re already searching for specific goods or services. Your search ad appears on the page as a result of a keyword inquiry. The Google Search Network includes Google’s search engine and Google’s partner networks, such as AOL search, Ask.com and Netscape.

Google’s AdWords Display Network places your ad on thousands of affiliated websites outside of Google Search, allowing you to connect with the customer through a variety of ad formats on over two million websites.

We suggest separating out your ad campaigns rather than choosing to run one on both networks simultaneously. Search and display are very different from each other, as are the way you write ads, select keywords and set bids for the two; it is not to your advantage to lump them together. Think of it kind of like pickles and birthday cake. They both satisfy your hunger and cravings, but in two very different ways. But just because they both satisfy you, it doesn’t mean you should put them together.

An alternative is to develop two separate campaigns, one for each network. Running two campaigns concurrently not only allows you the opportunity to see which network performs best but also gives you the ability to individually adjust spending according to campaign performance.

3. Use negative keywords

Negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaign. It is just as important to choose what to target as it is to choose what not to target. Negative keywords allow you to do that. Say, for example, Apple was starting out today. If they were trying to build awareness via online advertising, they would want to select “Apple” as a keyword and “apple pie” and “apple tree” as negative keywords because they are not related to Apple the tech company. Think about your business and what search terms could yield false results. Turn these into your negative keywords to more finely hone your advertising.

4. Weed-out bad placements

By bad placements, we mean those placements that could be detrimental to your brand reputation. This shows up as an advertisement for healthy food choices shown before a video on how to make a four cheese lasagna. While that example will only seem silly, other bad placements are sites with sexually suggestive content, parked domains, fake news websites, error pages and controversial videos as revealed by this NBC News report of companies caught off guard by their ad’s placement before Isis videos.

Carefully manage placement and be vigilant about investigating the location of your ad’s delivery. Use a placement report to see which web pages your ads run on, plus learn more about data on impressions, clicks and conversions.

5. Structure your keywords

In many cases, a business will create one campaign and fill it with all of their keywords. This action essentially makes the campaign more of a broad match rather than a campaign targeted at a very specific customer segment. Consumers who see the ad deem it irrelevant and disregard it. The result? Advertising money lost and a poor ROI for your campaign.

A better practice is to group keywords into tightly related groups. So, if you are selling fashion apparel, you would separate tops from bottoms and accessories from sale items. You may even want to narrow it down further by grouping keywords associated with specific styles, colors, etc. This makes your ads more targeted and thus better equipped to help both you and your customer.

6. Use conversion tracking

If you are putting all of this effort into optimizing your ad campaigns, you want to make sure you are seeing results, right? That’s why is important to have conversion tracking. For a lot of businesses, a conversion may be a purchase, sign-up or lead with your ad being the thing that inspired those actions. Thus, conversion tracking is an exceptionally useful tool to implement as it gives you a specific metric by which to measure your campaign’s ROI. At the end of the day, the goal is to make conversions and what better way to do that than by tracking them?

7. Diversify ad sources

If there was one piece of advice to take from finance it would be that in nearly every case, it is in your benefit to diversify. In the case of online advertising, you don’t want to solely rely on Google AdWords. Why? Because while AdWords is an exceptionally-built platform and does its job remarkably well, it means that you’re also relying on it for all of your leads and sales. That’s a scary prospect when you put it to words, right? What if something happens with a change in the marketplace or more competition arrives and your returns from AdWords start to slow down?

It is in your benefit to use more than just Google AdWords for online advertising because you want to have a number of different advertisers on the off-chance one stops being useful to you. There are plenty of online and offline sources of traffic out there some of which have actually delivered better results than AdWords. It is to your benefit to look into diversifying your ad sources.

Leveraging these AdWords optimizations you will see greater success with your advertising campaigns.