Deciding to launch a Google Ads Campaign can be an overwhelming process; from uncertainty and fear of failure to the excitement and wonder of the success and growth you might experience as a result. In this article, learn the best practices on how to develop a Google Ads Strategy that drives results like an expert for your business.
If used properly, Google Ads is one of the most beneficial platforms available for today’s modern business, providing you with the opportunity to drive sales, increase traffic, boost brand awareness, and generate leads that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
While creating a Google Ads strategy can become quite complex, sticking to the basics is the first step toward creating an ad campaign you’re proud of. After all, sometimes we overcomplicate things that don’t necessarily need to be overcomplicated.
If you’re unsure of where to begin or you just want to brush up on your knowledge, this article is for you. What follows will be a discussion surrounding primary steps to create an effective, results-driven Google Ads strategy that will take your business to new heights.
Steps to Create an Effective Google Ads Planning Strategy
After you’ve defined your ideal target audience, performed a competitive analysis, and arrived at a unique value proposition for your business’s product and/or service that you’re marketing, it’s now time to take the next step towards launching your campaign; the setup!
This is, of course, pending that your product or service is viable and has proven to have enough demand to bring to market.
With that said, in order to effectively launch your ad campaign, you need to first understand the steps involved in creating it. Luckily, with Google Ads, it’s quite a streamlined process once you’ve planned your budget.
Below are the Steps for Creating a Results-Driven Google Ads Strategy:
Determine the Campaign Focus
The first step of developing your Google Ads strategy is to decide what your campaign will be for. Here are some questions that may help you choose a focus for your campaign:
- Are you looking to promote a specific product or service, or do you want to promote your brand?
- What are your campaign objectives and goals?
- What are you doing on traditional marketing channels, and how can your digital marketing be integrated with these efforts?
Know Your Customer
Create a consumer profile to help plan your Google Search Ads strategy. Consumer profiles are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns. A consumer profile will help you to keep the customer in mind when making decisions for your campaign.
Prepare Your Website
Now that you have the preliminary research done and your strategy ready, you’ll need to ensure your website is ready for your AdWords campaign.
- Is your website mobile-friendly?
- Do you have content on the focus area you’ve chosen, or do you need to create some?
- Will you use an existing page or do you need a new landing page?
Choose an Optimal Bidding Strategy
Identify Your Budget Constraints
Before proceeding with the next steps, you need to first plan the budget for your ad campaign. This will provide a roadmap on how you’ll advertise, what keywords you’ll use, and what bidding strategy you’ll opt for.
By identifying average industry conversion rates and CPCs, you can then arrive at a reasonable budget for your business.
Choose an Advertising Method
Google provides several methods of advertising via its ad platform, whether search, display, video, shopping banners, or otherwise. Choosing your method of advertising will largely depend on both your budget and goals.
The good news is that if your budget constraint is fairly high, you can also afford to tackle multiple advertising methods at once rather than limiting yourself to just one.
Choosing Your Google Ads Keywords
Keywords and landing page selection go hand-in-hand: together, they determine your ad copy. It’s necessary to consider this relationship to ensure your ads are successful. There should always be a match between your keywords, your ad copy, and your landing page copy. A direct match will increase your quality score (the score of relevancy Google assigns your ads), which will keep your costs lower than competitors with a low-quality score.
Here are several considerations when planning your keyword strategy for a Google Ads Campaign
Consider Your Objectives
Choose general keywords for generating brand awareness, and specific keywords to encourage a direct response (making a reservation, purchasing a product, etc). Specific keywords may not appear in as many searches, but they are more relevant to users. Keywords that are closely tied to your business can lower costs and increase conversions because searchers are getting exactly what they were looking for.
Keyword Match Types
Choosing the match type is an important step that could either save or waste your money. Here are the 3 types:
Broad: your listing will appear when your search term is used in the broadest form. If you bid on “insurance” your ad will be triggered for any search including the term “insurance” i.e. “cat insurance” “cheap home insurance.” The downside of broad match is that you achieve a lot of visibility and clicks, but not relevancy, so conversions are low.
Phrase: Ads will show if that phrase appears with that search query, in that order with no words in between. Ads using the keyword “cheap insurance” will show for “cheap insurance for home” but not “cheap car insurance.”
Exact: Ads will only be displayed when the exact phrase is search on. The downside of using exact match is that clicks are very relevant but volume is very low.
Use Relevant Keywords
Your buyer persona or profile will inform your decisions on keywords, so keep the buyer in mind during this process.
- What would your typical customer search?
- What type of words do they use to describe your product/service category?
- Which words would they use to describe your brand?
This should help you to come up with some keywords.
Buying Cycle Stages
Your keywords will vary based on the stage of the buying cycle your customer would be in for your particular campaign. You may use more generic terms if the customer is simply researching, or very specific terms if they are closer to the purchase stage.
Add Negative Keywords
Negative keywords can be added to a campaign to prevent ads from being triggered for certain words. This reduces paying for irrelevant clicks and it can lower your cost per click (CPC). For example, if you have a premium product such as a luxury watch, you can enter the negative keyword “cheap” – your ad will not show if someone searches “cheap watches.”
You can add a negative keyword the same way you would a regular keyword, just with a dash in front of it: -cheap. Or, you can add them in the Negative Keywords section of your campaign or ad group.
Depending on your objectives and the competitive market, it may make sense to use keywords that describe your competitors. For example, if you own a hotel in New York City and your top competitor is ABC Hotel, you could use keywords such as “ABC hotel” or “ABC manhattan.”
Write Compelling Ad Copy
Once you’ve compiled a list of quality keywords and you’ve chosen your ad groups, it’s now time to bring your ad campaign to life through compelling ad copy that will live largely on the landing pages you need to create.
Remember that your primary intention here is to provide enough value to the consumer that they can’t resist taking action on your ad. Your ad copy includes the headline, description, tags, and metadata. Oh, and of course, don’t forget a call to action!
Create a Landing Page
An ad campaign is non-existent without a landing page to house it; it’s where you’ll drive sales through the ad itself. It’s also what will house the ad copy, the call to action, and all of the necessary inbound and outbound links that the consumer will use to reach the desired destination.
In short, a landing page is a sales page relevant specifically to the primary keyword of the ad itself. Without a landing page, the lead will be brought directly to your website. While this may sound beneficial at first, after some thought, you’ll realize that having a lead arrive directly on your website homepage will only create more confusion, leaving the lead wondering why it ever arrived there in the first place.
That’s the purpose of the landing page. To provide context, to reassure the lead, and to direct them towards the desired action in a streamlined fashion. Although building out a landing page requires some technical skill and developmental know-how, it’s important that you keep it simple and to the point.
Google Ads Landing Page Best Practices
Landing Page Copy
- Keep it simple with clear and concise messaging; ensure your messaging is focused on one thing. You may find it necessary to use a different landing page specific to each ad group.
- Use formatting such as headings to grab the customer’s attention and to make the page easy to read. The primary heading should match the ad content: this is important in both keeping the lead on your page, and in ensuring a better quality score from Google.
- Position the most important messaging “above the fold” – this refers to the area on your page the user sees without having to scroll down.
Lead Generation Form
- Include a form that collects contact details so you can gather information for your lead/customer database.
- Keep the lead generation form short and simple.
- If you’re a B2B company, you should consider offering something free such as a whitepaper for those that fill out the form.
- A call-to-action refers to asking your page visitors to do something specific, such as fill out a form, make a reservation, or purchase a product. Be specific about the action you’d like the page visitor to complete.
- Position your primary CTA above the fold.
- Establish urgency with words and phrases such as “now” or “today” or “before it’s too late!”
- Use directional cues such as arrows to emphasize what you’d like the visitor to do. You could point to the CTA or to the lead generation form.
Make Your Landing Page Visually Appealing
- Make sure your page isn’t too text-heavy.
- Use headings and formatting to break sections up.
- Include photos or videos. They can better explain your product or service, add interest, and they’re often shown to increase conversions!
Don’t Let the Visitor Get Distracted
- Keep the page ‘naked’ – remove the top navigation and minimize links going away from your page. This will help to increase the number of conversions on your page.
- Formatting, calls-to-action, lead generation forms, and other methods mentioned above will keep the potential customer focused on the purpose of the page.
Choose an Optimal Bidding Strategy
Finally, once everything else has been compiled and organized, it’s time to choose a bidding strategy. This will depend largely on both your budget and campaign goals. Luckily, there are several strategies to choose from, so be sure to discuss them amongst your team.
Is your goal to convert leads? Then ‘Maximize Conversions’ or ‘Target ROAS’ are optimal bidding strategies. Is your goal to increase website traffic? Then ‘Max Clicks’ or ‘Target Search Location’ are optimal strategies. Maybe your goal is to boost brand awareness. Then ‘Target Search Location’ or ‘CPM’ are optimal strategies.
Finally, if you’re unsure of what bidding strategy to choose, Google also allows users to choose “Smart Bidding”; an intelligent, machine learning technology that does that dirty work for you. It’s a great tool to use as a beginner, however, can also be effective for the most experienced of ad managers.
Now all that’s left to do is go live and let the results speak for themselves! If all goes well, not only will you experience the desired results as planned, but you’ll do so in a cost-optimal way, especially in comparison to traditional marketing strategies.
With that said, not all ads will succeed on the first try. That’s why it’s important to A/B test several strategies at once. Whether it’s optimizing different landing pages, changing the ad copy, using multiple calls to action, or even changing up the headlines, it’s important to approach your ad campaign with an open mind.
Over time and based on tracking and analysis of results, you’ll ultimately arrive at an optimal campaign, ready to double down on its success.
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