Top 8 Google Ads hacks to optimize your Campaigns

Top 8 Google Ads hacks to optimize your Campaigns

One of the keys to successful advertising using Google Ads is to completely understand and utilize all the features and tools that Google Ads has to offer.
The challenge here is to find out how you can hack in and leverage each of these features to their maximum potential in order to make your Google Ads strategy even more effective.

Google Ads Hack #1: Focus on High Intent Keywords to Increase Conversions

For any user, there are three types of search queries that he might perform on a Search Engine.

  1. Information Search Query: A search performed in order to find information and learn about something (Ex: “ How to use Google Ads Keyword planner ”)
  2. Direct or Navigational Search Query: A search performed to find a Website (Example: digitalacademy360.com)
  3. Commercial/High Intent Search Query: A search performed with an intent to purchase a product or a service. (Ex: “ buy shoes online ”)

Google Ads is a Pay Per Click based tool, that charge you for clicks on your ad and naturally, nobody would want to pay for clicks that do not lead to a conversion. For businesses looking to drive sales, High Intent Keywords are the most promising ones.

There are two main types of High Intent Keywords:

  1. Buy Now Intent Keywords: When users perform queries with Buy Now or Near Me, they have made up their mind and are ready to buy and are only looking for a discount or a deal to take that step. These are super High intent keywords and almost always lead to a conversion.

Ex: iPhone online buy, buy sports shoes online, Chinese restaurants near me

  1. Product/Service Intent Keywords: When users perform queries with brand names specific products or product categories, they might be comparing and they will convert if they find what they are searching for.

Ex: iPhone X, Best smartphones to buy, Affordable Digital marketing courses, Bike Accessories, Best laptops in 2020 etc…

Using these two types of keywords will help you increase your conversion rates, but the question is how to find high intent keywords?

Lucky for us, Google Ads has an inbuilt tool called the Google Keyword Planner which allows us to search for keywords and look at a prediction of their performance as well.

Accessing the keyword planner:

  1. Log in to your Google Ads account
  2. Click on Tools and then select Keyword Planner under the Planning column.
  3. Select Discover new keywords and type in your Product/Service.
  4. From the list of Keyword suggestions shown to you by Google, identify and Select the two types of High Intent Keywords discussed above. Usually, High Intent Keywords have High Competition and High Suggested bid amount.

If you want to see an estimated performance of the selected keywords, follow the steps below

  1. Once you have selected your keywords, click on Add Keywords
  2. Next Click on the Plan Overview button on the left
  3. You will see a Performance estimate for the selected keywords, you can even click on Add Conversion Metric button and enter your desired conversion rate to see how many conversions you can get for the predicted budget.

Pro Tip: Couple your High Intent Keywords with Phrase or Exact match Type Keywords in order to avoid irrelevant clicks.

Google Ads Hack #2: Use as many Ad Extensions as possible

Ad extensions are additional pieces of information about your business such as location information, call buttons, links to specific parts of your websites etc…

Generally, Extensions expands your Ad with additional information giving people more reasons to click on the Ad and this, in turn, increases the ad’s click-through rate by several percentage points.

The catch here is that Google Ads selects which extensions to show in response to each individual search on Google; it’s for this reason that it’s always good to use all the extensions relevant to your business.

Extensions are free to add! So, why hesitate?

Listed below are the available extensions and their applications.

  1. Location Extension: Use this extension to encourage people to visit your business by displaying the business location and a link to the business details page.
  2. Affiliate Location Extension: This helps people to find retail chain stores that sell your products.
  3. Callout Extensions: Additional text used to highlight key selling points of your business (Ex: “ Free Home Delivery” or “ 24*7 Assistance “ etc…)
  4. Call Extensions: Add a phone number and encourage people to call your business.
  5. Message Extensions: These extensions can be used to encourage people to send a text message to your business.
  6. Sitelink Extensions: Direct people to specific pages on your website
  7. Structured Snippet extensions: This extension type allows you to showcase a list of products/services along with a header.
  8. Price Extensions: Showcase your services or products along with their prices allowing people to browse your products right from the ad.
  9. App Extensions: Use this to encourage people to download your app.
  10. Promotion Extensions: Used to highlight promotions and sales that are offered by a business.
  11. Automated Extensions: These are created and displayed by Google Ads itself whenever there is a prediction that it might improve your ad’s performance.

Note: There is no cost to add extensions, however, clicks on your extensions will be charged as usual (CPC)

Steps to Add Extensions:

Log in to your Google Ads account > Select your campaign or ad group > Click Ads & Extensions > Click Extensions > Click on + button and select which Extension to add.

Google Ads Hack #3: Enhance Your Manual Bids using ECPC (Enhanced Cost Per Click)

Enhanced cost per click bidding is a Smart Bidding form that uses a wide range of auction-time signals such as browser, location, and time of day to adjust bids to each search query that triggers your Keywords.

That means ECPC will automatically adjust your manual bids depending on whether a click seems more or less likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website.

For example, say you’ve set a Rs 50 bid on the keyword “Digital Marketing Course Fees”  and a user who seems likely to convert triggers that keyword, Google Ads will automatically increase your bid above Rs 50 to give you a better chance of getting that conversion.

Previously, ECPC would increase your bid by up to 30% for clicks that seemed to lead to a conversion, however now this Cap has been removed and Google Ads can increase your Bid to any value as long as your average CPC stays below Max CPC.

In order to use Enhanced CPC with Search or Shopping Campaigns, you will have to set up conversion tracking. However, you don’t need conversion tracking to use ECPC with Display campaigns, but conversions will help you see whether your Ads are effective.

Steps to Enable Enhanced Cost Per click

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click Campaigns from the page menu.
  • Click the name of the campaign you want to work with.
  • Click Settings in the page menu.
  • Click the Bidding section, then click Change bid strategy.
  • Select Manual CPC from the drop-down menu, and check the Enable Enhanced CPC option.
  • When you choose ECPC, Google Ads automatically sets your ad rotation setting to “Optimize”, even if it’s currently set to “Do not optimize”.
  • Select Save.

Note1: ECPC is available on the Search Network and the Display Network, but not for App Installs Campaigns.

Note 2: Since ECPC will increase your max CPC bid when it sees a good opportunity, your Google Ads report occasionally might show average CPCs that are over your max CPC. ECPC will try to keep your average CPC below the max you set, but your average CPC may exceed your max CPC for short periods of time.

Google Ads Hack #4: Be smart! Use Smart Bidding Strategies (Automated Bidding)

Smart bidding strategies are recommended to save time and guesswork involved in Manual Bidding.

These strategies are automated bid strategies that use machine learning to optimize for conversions in each and every auction. This feature is known as “auction-time bidding”.

There are 5 Different types of Smart Bidding Strategies.

  1. Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)

This is a Google Ads Smart Bidding strategy that sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at or below the target cost-per-action (CPA) you set. It uses advanced machine learning to automatically optimize bids and offers auction-time bidding capabilities that tailor bids for each and every auction. Click Here to learn more about it.

  1. Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend)

This Google Ads Smart Bidding strategy helps you get more conversion value or revenue at the target return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) you set. Your bids are automatically optimized at auction-time, allowing you to tailor bids for each auction. Click Here to learn more about it.

  1. Maximize Conversions

This bid strategy automatically sets bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget. It uses advanced machine learning to automatically optimize bids and offers auction-time bidding capabilities that tailor bids for each and every auction.

Click Here to learn more about it.

  1. Maximize conversion value

This bidding strategy uses advanced machine learning to automatically optimize and set bids. It also offers auction-time bidding capabilities that tailor bids for each auction. You define the value that you want to maximize, such as sales revenue or profit margins, when you set up conversion tracking for your account.  Click here to learn more about it.

  1. Enhanced CPC

Discussed in Hack 3

Note: In order to use these smart bidding strategies, you will have to first set up Conversion Tracking.

Google Ads Hack #5: Use Remarketing lists for search Ads

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is a feature that lets you target your Search Ads Campaign for people who have previously visited your site and left without buying anything as and when they continue looking for what they need using Google Search

You need to set your bids, create Ads, or select keywords keeping in mind that these customers have previously visited your website.

There are two basic strategies for using remarketing lists with Search Ads:

  1. You can optimize bids for your existing keywords for visitors on your remarketing lists. For example, you can increase your bid by 25% for those who previously visited your website in the last 30 days. Or, you could show a different ad copy to entice visitors who have placed items in a shopping cart but have not purchased them.
  2. You can bid on keywords that you don’t normally bid on just for people who have recently visited your site or have converted on your site in the past. This can help you increase your sales. For example, you could bid on more broad keywords only for people who have previously purchased from your site.

Steps involved in setting Up RLSA

Pro Tip: If you want to take your remarketing to the next level, then try out Google Ads Dynamic Remarketing.

Google Ads Hack #6: Monitor and Fix Low-Quality Score

Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of how well a keyword has performed overall in past ad auctions. Based on this data, each of your keywords gets a Quality Score on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest score and 10 is the highest.  Quality score is determined by three important factors Expected clickthrough rate, Ad relevance and Landing page experience.

Higher Quality Score means your ad is relevant to the targeted audience and you have a higher chance of getting more conversions and lower CPCs.

However, your keywords might have a Low-Quality Score even if they’re relevant and have a good click-through rate (CTR). Finding the cause of Low Quality Score can help you improve it.

Click here to learn how to check the quality score

Some Common Reasons for a lower quality score might be:

  1. Bad Landing Page Experience: In some cases, a low-Quality Score may be caused by the quality of the landing page experience.

How to check

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click Keywords.
  • Click the column icon Columns and select Modify columns.
  • Scroll down and open Quality Score.
  • Check the box for Landing page exp. (hist). and click Apply.
  • To see changes to your landing page quality over time, click the date range in the top right corner.
  • Toggle the Compare option and select the date range when your Quality Score decreased.
  • Click Apply.
  • Go to your “Landing page exp. (hist).” column and click < >. Look at the two dates ranges to see where “Landing page exp. (hist).” might have decreased.
  • To see what might have caused this change, look at the “Final URL” to see the landing page that might be causing the issue.
  • Confirm on your site if anything was updated on the landing page.
  1. Performance history: If keywords don’t have a large number of clicks or impressions, Google Ads will use other factors to generate a Quality Score.

How to check

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click Keywords.
  • Look in the “Impr.” column.
  • Look for keywords with impressions under 10,000. The Quality Score for these keywords may be low due to the number of impressions.
  1. Decrease in ad position: If your ad no longer appears in the top position of search results, it’s less likely to get as many clicks. This can lower your click-through rate (CTR), which may cause your Quality Score to drop.

How to check

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click Keywords.
  • Click the columns icon Columns and select Modify columns.
  • Open Competitive metrics and check the box for Avg. pos.
  • Click Apply.
  • In the chart above, change the metric you’re looking at to Avg. pos.
  • Look for any changes in your average position overtime.

Google Ads Hack #7: Organize your account with ad groups

Use ad groups to organize your Ads by a common theme, such as the types of products or services you want to advertise. It is much easier to organize ad groups based on the sections or categories that appear on your website.

For example, let’s say your website has two sections Unisex Clothing and Unisex shoes, now you would want to create two separate ad groups, one with keywords related to Clothing and one with keywords related to shoes.

Ad group 1: ClothingAd group 2: Shoes
T-shirtsSports shoes
JeansSneakers
Summer clothesFormal shoes

Let’s say a user now searches for Sports shoes, this would cause an ad to be triggered from the Shoes Ad group thus showing a relevant ad to the keyword being searched.

Organizing the keywords and Ad groups in this way will make sure that only those Ads from relevant ad groups are shown for the keywords that are being searched.

Google Ads Hack #8: Make use of Negative Keywords to Avoid Irrelevant Traffic and Spend.

One key to a highly targeted campaign is choosing what not to target, Negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaigns for which you do not want to display your Ads.

Some search terms might be similar to your keywords, but might cater to customers searching for a different product. For example, let’s say you’re running a digital marketing institute who sells digital marketing courses. In this case, you may want to add negative keywords for search terms like “digital marketing services” and “Digital marketing agencies.” Etc…

Note: If you’re using Display or Video campaigns, negative keywords can help you avoid targeting unrelated sites or videos.

Steps to create new Negative Keyword list

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  • Click Keywords from the page menu on the left.
  • Click Negative keywords.
  • Click the plus button.
  • Select Add negative keywords or create new list
  • Choose whether to add negative keywords to a campaign or an ad group, then select the specific campaign or ad group.
  • Add your keywords, one per line. Make sure that your negative keywords don’t overlap with your regular keywords, because this will cause your ad not to show.
  • Select Save to new or existing list > Give a Name for your List > Save

Steps to Use an existing negative keyword list

  • Select Use negative keyword list.
  • Choose the campaign that you’d like to apply negative keyword lists to.
  • Check the boxes of the negative keyword lists you’d like to use.
  • Click Save.

Pro Tip: Use the Search terms report under keywords to find the keywords that triggered your ad, determine which keywords are irrelevant and add them to your negative keywords.

Use these 8 hacks to get the most out your Google Ads campaigns and let us know how it went for you. You can also share any other hack that you’re already using in our comment section below.

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