Having completed a significant number of Google Ads Audits in 2019 and into 2020, we’ve found some common areas for improvement for all sizes of business.
Perhaps surprising as we are now working with larger SMEs as well as owner managed businesses the areas where we are finding there’s room for improvement are not that different.
Based on our findings from over 50 audits, our tips are:
- Tracking – make sure you have effective tracking in place. We recommend Google Tag Manager for tracking with reporting in Google Analytics and Google Data Studio. For many businesses there is still a lack of tracking actions that you’d like your visitor to perform, whether that be actual enquiries, downloading of data sheets or sign ups to newsletters. Often we find anomalies with the data being collected with issues around duplicate Google Analytics code leading to a doubling up of all the statistics, incorrect implementation of the tracking code including the code being implemented in the wrong place potentially affecting the integrity of the data, lack of conversion tracking with Google Analytics set up, but no goals or events added, or goals imported into Google Ads that probably shouldn’t be such as low level goals like viewing a certain page, and more.
Depending on the volume of calls compared to online enquiries, and also if you’re not just using Google Ads (which has a free call tracking option) we are now recommending clients implement call tracking.
Why go to so much trouble for data accuracy? There are a number of reasons and two key ones are:
1) you can make more informed decisions about what’s working and what isn’t; and then develop a plan to focus on what’s working and / or improve what isn’t.
2) whether you’re using an agency or not to manage your Paid Ads, when it comes to optimising campaigns; reducing wasted spend, improving ROI and scaling what’s working, you can make informed decisions based on accurate data. If you don’t know what keywords are generating you the enquiries, how can you possibly optimise your campaigns?
Put simply, accurate data will enable you to grow your business more effectively and efficiently.
- Objectives and ROI – Have clear objectives for your Google Ads campaign including a cost per lead target so you can assess whether you are making a return on your investment – setting clear objectives doesn’t mean generating more enquiries for this service or generating more sales of this product. It’s about developing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) goals for your marketing activities.
And if you’re spending money on advertising this should include an overall goal for the Google Ads Account as well as individual goals for your campaigns. What does the cost per lead need to be to ensure an ROI on each campaign? Which will mean thinking about your conversion rates; easier for online ecommerce businesses, not so easy for service-based businesses. However, knowing the conversion rate from a lead to a sale by service is crucial to understanding if campaigns are working for you or not.
Although it may not be easy, it’s worth doing, but because it’s not easy many businesses just aren’t doing it. But knowing your numbers is crucial whether you’re hoping to stay in business or have growth ambitions.
At Key Principles we have an ROI Calculator which we complete with our clients and this really helps identify what’s working and what isn’t. Better yet, it can be used for all marketing activities not just the ones we might be managing for clients. We simply want to help our clients make the best decisions they can when it comes to investing in their marketing activity and growing their business.
At a more hands-on level, when looking at your Google Ads campaigns ensure you:
- Keep adding negatives (or dare I say it, start adding negatives) – this is crucial if you want to stop wasting your budget. It’s surprising how often we see campaigns where negatives have not been added or aren’t being added on a regular basis. It can be time consuming reviewing the search terms, however, it is vital in enabling you to identify negative keywords, and adding them so your ads don’t show for irrelevant terms.
It doesn’t just save your budget for the searches that are relevant, it’ll improve your click through rates, conversion rates and cost per conversion.
Unfortunately, having looked at a variety of automation options for this, nothing currently comes close to human intervention. So, review your search terms and add negatives.
- Test Google Remarketing – set up remarketing audiences and test Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) as well as Google Remarketing.
- Keywords – check your Quality Scores; they matter so review your keywords and quality scores on a regular basis, and if needed ‘Peel and Stick’ your keywords into new ad groups.
- Automation – is here but test it carefully and monitor your changes; you want to stay in control and make sure that any automation is actually working for you and improving your campaigns performance. Make notes of changes you’ve made and monitor the results closely. Google automation may not provide better results and to be honest often doesn’t.
- Go multi-platform – with the caveat that you should prioritise based on where your potential clients are – add in Microsoft Advertising, Facebook Retargeting, LinkedIn Retargeting as well as Facebook Advertising and potentially LinkedIn Advertising
- Test, test and test adverts – to improve click through rates you have to continually split test your adverts and the messaging. When first setting up the adverts make sure you test quite different message angles; use fear of missing out, promotional type messaging, positive messaging etc.
- Test, test and test landing pages – often not implemented the testing of landing pages including content and design is crucial if you want to improve conversion rates and reduce your cost per conversion. In most cases we build landing pages specifically for paid advertising unless the client’s website pages are direct response orientated. Our landing pages generally double conversion rates and so provide a significant reduction in cost per conversion. Check out adding dynamic headlines to more closely match your searchers search term and your adverts.
- Bidding strategies – there are many bidding strategies to choose from and it’s not always a straightforward decision deciding on the best option. Google does push the automated bidding strategies a lot more than they used to however, these options tend to only work when there’s enough conversions in the campaign on a regular basis. For new setups and low budget campaigns we recommend starting with the manual CPC bidding strategy to maintain control over your bid amounts.
- Set up local campaigns – even if you’re a national business, and definitely if you’re a local business and a service based business, target local searches like ‘gutter cleaning Nottingham’, with landing pages to reflect your searches and you’ll see improved click through rates, amazing conversion rates and much lower cost per enquiries.
Finally, the 80/20 Principle works well when you’re optimising your Google Ads campaigns – if you’re short of time, use 80/20 to prioritise what you review. Look at the campaigns, ad groups and keywords based on those that spend the most as well as those that are off target in terms of cost per conversion and search impression share, as well as keywords with lower quality scores.
If you need help with your Google Ads in 2020 and beyond contact Key Principles today on 0115 880 0211.