There are hundreds of features, settings, and options available to you in AdWords. The key to running successful campaigns is to understand how you can use these features to your advantage. Below you will find advanced pay-per click strategies that you can utilize for your campaigns.
Advanced PPC Strategies
Always Be Testing
Bi-Weekly Negative Keywords
Less Than 5 Keywords Per Ad Group
Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads
Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA)
Call Extensions and Tracking
I will get into detail for each of the strategies below. Review your current campaigns and see if you can incorporate any of these strategies.
1. Always Be Testing
Great PPC management involves some testing and then some more testing. The only way to find optimal results is to test as much as possible and optimize results with each test.
Some of the different ways to test within your campaigns is to run multiple ads at once, device targeting, network targeting, keyword matching, target multiple locations, bid strategies, ad rotation, ad scheduling, dynamic ads, and more. Any time you have multiple options or anytime you can test two scenarios against each other, you should use that to your advantage.
Let’s say you create a campaign with one ad group and two ads. After two weeks, you notice one ad is outperforming the other ad. Instead of just pausing the poor-performing ad, you should go a step further and make yet another ad. In two weeks, check if either ad is outperforming the other and repeat. After doing this for several months, you can be sure your ads are performing optimally.
2. Daily Management
You can’t expect to set it and forget in PPC. Well, technically you can set it and forget it since Google has no problem spending your AdWords budget, but you certainly won’t see optimal results. In short, your PPC account needs hands-on management on a weekly basis. Sure you can take days off and weekends off, but it is important to monitor your campaigns every couple of days rather than just let them run for long periods of time.
The best thing to do is come up with a weekly schedule to help yourself become more efficient. Below is a sample schedule that would apply to a larger account or campaign and you can follow it as a guide.
Management Schedule Example:
Monday – Review search terms report, add negative keywords
Tuesday – Optimize ads, manage extensions
Wednesday – Nothing
Thursday – Review analytics, traffic, user data, device data, and overall campaign results
Friday – Review campaign organization, keyword opportunities, manage low quality scores
Saturday – Nothing
Sunday – Nothing
You can always adjust your schedule but it is good to have a guide so you can get into a routine with your account and make ongoing optimizations.
3. Bi-Weekly Negative Keywords
I cannot stress enough how important negative keywords are. Every single campaign you run should have negative keywords unless you only target exact match keywords. Otherwise, negative keywords help you avoid a lot of junk traffic.
Look at the graphic below to find the search terms report so you can find negative keyword ideas. You will want to use at least a week or two of data so you have enough information.
As you create your campaign, look for negative keyword ideas. All you have to do is make a couple of searches in Google and you will get plenty of related searches. In addition, you can use the keyword planner to find any keywords that might be unrelated to your campaign. Some popular examples for negative keywords include jobs, hiring, salary, employment, description, definition, and reviews.
4. Ad Extensions
Some ad extensions will improve account performance as soon as they are implemented. I once added Sitelinks to every campaign in a large account and it increased CTR, increased conversions, and decreased cost per conversion. Therefore, you should test every extension and see if you can improve account performance.
AdWords allows you to use Call Extensions, which will help add a click-to-call button to your mobile ads and your phone number to your desktop ads. However, you can take it a step further and implement ‘Website Call Conversions’ so you can even track calls back to your PPC ads once visitors reach your website.
5. Automate Bids
Google has a great resource for people who want to set-up automated rules, so make sure you give it a read.
There are several reasons you may want to automate bids. In AdWords, you can set-up rules to increase bids for your top performing keywords or decrease bids for keywords dragging your account down. Automation is very helpful for large campaigns because it is easier to manage your keywords. By setting rules across your campaign, you can ensure you are allocating more of the budget to keywords that are converting.
Set-up alerts to your email when something changes in your campaign because of an automated rule. It can be difficult to monitor the changes in AdWords from automation but you can set-up automatic email notifications if AdWords applies any rules to your campaign.
6. Keyword Matching
Keyword matching is one of the first things that new AdWords advertisers must learn. I have learned the hard way that regular broad match keywords leave a lot open for interpretation and really give no control whatsoever to the advertiser. On the other side of the coin, exact match keywords are great because peformance typically remains steady and the advertiser has complete control.
So where do you find balance?
My strategy is to use a mixture of modified broad and exact match keywords. I feel by doing this that it helps me make sure I am targeting the right keywords without giving up too much control. Phrase match is a good match-type and it certainly has uses, but in my experience, modified broad keywords tend to give more impressions and perform similarly.
And just from my experience, I recommend avoiding the use of broad match keywords without a modifier.
7. Cascading Bids
Cascading Bids is a very simple strategy that many new advertisers do not know. Cascading bids involves you setting the lowest bids for broad match keywords, the highest bids for exact match keywords, and a bid somewhere in the middle for phrase match keywords. Please see the example below for more detail.
As you can see, you would bid higher for exact match keywords than you would regular broad match. You want to bid higher for exact terms because with broad terms you never know what other terms that users are typing in.
In my campaigns, I tend to use a mixture of modified broad match and exact match keywords and I will also implement cascading bids as well.
8. Less Than Ten Keywords Per Ad Group
You want to keep your ad groups tightly themed and organized by limiting your ad groups to 10 keywords or less. I’ve heard some advertisers say to keep it below 5 keywords but that depends on the size of your campaigns. This step can be difficult in large accounts with over a thousand keywords so if you can not limit keywords to 10 per ad group, focus on themes/topics and make sure your ads are 100% targeted to every keyword.
Why Organization Matters:
Plain and simple: The more organized your ad groups are the more targeted your ads will be. If you create custom ads for each ad group and keep your keywords organized, you can be sure your ads are extremely targeted to the keywords in your ad group. Finally, organization will help your quality scores because it usually leads to a stronger Click-Through Ratio since ads are targeted.
9. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads
Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a feature you can utilize through AdWords, which allows advertisers to create one single ad that will update based on the users search query and the targeted keywords in an advertisers ad group.
Positives of Keyword Insertion
One of the major benefits of keyword insertion is that you can have personalized ads appear for every search query. In addition, you can improve account performance by increasing CTR and quality scores since ads are more personalized. If Keyword Insertion is set-up properly, you will definitely have an edge over your competitors.
Negatives of Keyword Insertion
If it is not set-up correctly it can drastically hurt your account. You must take into account plurals, misspellings, or any other grammatical errors that can occur with Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Finally, it takes time, testing, and proper organization to effectively set-up DKI in your account.
10. Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA)
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads allow you to increase bids or test results for an audience that has shown interest in your website. When you set-up remarketing lists, you can use audiences on the Display Network and the Search Network. The main benefit of remarketing on the search network is you can bid more aggressively to people on your Remarketing Lists since they have already shown an interest in your business.
Example of RLSA:
Let’s say you own an online golf club store and someone browses your section of putters without making a purchase. Since that person was browsing putters, they are placed into a remarketing list that has an interest in putters (You will want to set it up this way). The next day, the same person who visited your website goes to Google and enters “Top Rated Putters for Sale” in the search bar. Since they are in your remarketing list and you are targeting this keyword, you bid aggressively to re-target this user with an ad since they are clearly in the decision making process.
11. Call Extensions and Tracking
The development of Call Extensions has been great for advertisers. It is easy to add click-to-call buttons to your mobile ads and phone numbers to your desktop ads. In addition, you can track people from AdWords who make a call from your website with Website Call Conversions.
Below is an example of a mobile call extension and a desktop call extension. Notice the mobile extension literally adds a button to the advertisement whereas the desktop ad just adds a phone number.
If your business takes calls, you should implement call extensions. It’s a great way to receive more phone calls and you can easily track every single phone call from your AdWords account with Call Extensions.
You can segment results from your campaign by time, conversions, network, click type, device, and more. Segmenting helps give you a better look into what exactly is happening across different networks and devices. Look at the picture below to see how you can segment your results.
Sometimes you can uncover mistakes in your account by simply using segmenting. In addition, the information provided by segmenting can help you make educated marketing decisions.
Dimensions can help you get an even deeper look into your account. Below is a graphic with dimensions and some of the different options you have.
Click on every item from the list and see what you can learn from your campaigns. There is a lot of helpful information available to you from the Dimensions tab so you should definitely take advantage of it.
These are some strategies and features that new AdWords advertisers might not be taking advantage of yet. I know when I started that I did not consider or even know about some of these options.
The most important thing with AdWords is to keep up with all AdWords updates, use data to make marketing decisions, and test. The more you test the more you can find out what works. While you are testing, you will want to track results so you can make educated decisions. Finally, keeping up with AdWords updates helps you ensure that you are not missing out on a new feature that might help your campaign.