Presnt is a full service ad agency, so it’s fair to say we know a thing or two about Google Ads. In this blog post, we are going to break down how to make a Google Search Ads (previously called Google AdWords) campaign properly so that you maximize your performance.
Whether you are just getting started with Google Ads campaigns, getting ready to make your first Search campaign, or you have some experience, chances are you are not using the full power of Google Ads.
Don’t worry. We are going to break everything down to the finest detail.
In our work, we see some common mistakes people make when making Google Search Ads.
Most commonly, people simply don’t use the full potential Search Campaigns give them. This means that they skip on features like structured snippets, callouts, sitelinks, etc. A lot of people also don’t use extensions in their ads. They are proven to increase the CTR on your ad, simply because they give users more chances to interact.
One more common mistake is using the wrong keywords, or more precisely not knowing how to set up your Google Search Ads strategy. That means you are missing out on the impression share you could be getting on relevant keywords.
But no worries. We are about to guide you through the whole process.
Let’s start with the basics.
Google Search Ads are text ads that appear above the Google Search results when users are searching for terms similar to your business.
You can recognize them by a little green box saying “Ad”.
They are very useful for building awareness, driving relevant traffic to your website, and helping you grow your sales or generate leads.
The way Google Search Ads work is - you set up relevant keywords related to your business. Then you set up your headlines, descriptions, landing page URLs, etc. When a potential customer is searching for your keywords (or something similar enough based on your keyword type), your ads are compared to your competitors (other advertisers targeting the same keywords). The auction for the ad spot takes into consideration your bidding strategy (more on that later), and your ad relevance. The highest bid doesn’t always win. Google’s goal is to deliver the most relevant content. So, the ad with better relevance and a high enough bid will win. After winning the auction the ad is shown.
Google Search Ads are shown in different places. They can appear above or below Search results. They can also appear beside, above, or below search results on Google Play, in the Shopping tab, and in Google Maps, including the Maps app.
First things first. As we mentioned before, to target with Google Search Ads you will be using keywords - sets of words or phrases that will trigger your ads. How do you pick your keywords?
Well, for that you have to do some keyword research. That’s the first step to creating your Search Ads.
Before you start planning your Google Search campaign, you need a set of keywords you will target.
If you watched any online videos on how to make Search Ads, you heard tips like “search for keywords relevant to your product” and examples like “t-shirts”, “blue t-shirts”, and “polo t-shirts”.
While these are the correct keywords that you would be using if you were selling blue and polo t-shirts, they only scratch the surface. In reality, companies that are serious about their performance marketing need a much more comprehensive approach. Well, what approach is that?
To answer that question, we have to break down different keyword types. Let’s say you are selling t-shirts and your company is named Awesome T-shirts:
You might now understand why each of these keyword types is important. You want to advertise on your brand keywords so your Search Ads take the top of the page. This is especially important since your competitors will likely try to bid on your brand keywords. Bidding on brand keywords is also important if your website is not ranking well for them.
When people are searching for informational keywords, they are gathering information. They might go to your website, look around, and take notes. Then when they are ready to buy, they will remember your brand. You don’t want to leave this real estate to your competitors.
People who search for high-intent phrases are ready to buy. If you are not bidding on those, you are missing out on potential revenue.
Bidding on competitor’s keywords is a great way to “steal” potential clients of your competitors. If your ad wins the auction, your brand will be the first thing they see when they search for them. We should also note that these are not the only keyword types. Different people classify them differently. This is what we like to use.
Now you might see how this complicates Google Search Ads.
Each of these different keyword types will have one or a few ad groups with different ads that are tailored to the specific keywords and customer intents. You will not use the same ad when bidding on competitor keywords and your own brand ones.
Now you know why this step is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked.
So how do you do keyword research?
Luckily, Google Ads comes equipped with the Keyword Planner. Simply go to Tools and Settings and look for Keyword Planner under Planning.
We will not go into too many details on how this tool works in this post.
Another tool that you can use is called Google Search Console. It will help you see how people search for your business and give you more keyword ideas.
Once you log into your Google Ads account, click on New Campaign button. A new window will open up and ask you to pick your campaign objective.
Choosing a campaign objective will not have a direct effect on the performance of your campaign. It will mostly influence how your Search Ad creation process looks like.
You can freely choose the option to create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.
Now you have to choose the campaign type.
We did a complete breakdown of these in our Google Ads Breakdown blog post.
Since this is a Google Search ads post, we will pick Search.
Now you have to pick your conversion goals. These are defined on an account level. These are desired events (actions) you want your users to trigger on your website.
To set these up, go to Tools and Settings. We will not go into this topic right now, since we feel like it deserves its own article.
The next step is to select the results you want to get and name your campaign.
We recommend coming up with a naming system for the campaign. You can use something like campaign type, goal, targeted location, or brand name. It will make campaign management easier if you are working with multiple brands/products and types of campaigns, and you are targeting different countries.
While you are setting up your campaign only automated bidding strategies are available. This means that you select what you want to focus on, and Google will try to maximize your results for the available budget.
If you want to use Manual CPC bidding, you can still do so but only after you publish the campaign. You can find manual bidding strategies by clicking on the Campaign section on your menu. Choose the campaign you want to adjust, and then go to Settings. After that click on the bid strategy tab, and click “Change bidding strategy”, then “Or, select a bid strategy directly”. After that, Manual CPC will be available.
Out of Smart Bid automated strategies you can pick:
You can also set a target cost per action. For example, if your product costs 50$, you don’t want to pay 75$ for a purchase. Let’s say you want a 50% margin, so you are willing to pay 25$ maximum for your conversion.
After that, it’s time to adjust your campaign settings.
In campaign settings, you choose Networks, Location, Language, and Audience.
When it comes to choosing Networks, you want to uncheck both Google search partners and Google Display Network. Remember, you are making Google Search Ads, and you want them to appear on top of search results when people are searching for terms related to your products. You don’t want to waste budgets on impressions on some random websites.
You might get traffic, but is it good traffic?
Picking the right Location and Language will depend on your target persona. You should already have defined Ideal Customer Profile.
Next up is the Audience setting.
This is where you target users by specific criteria. In this section, you have 2 targeting options: Targeting & Observation. If you pick several audience segments and choose to target them, it will narrow the reach of your campaign to these segments. If you choose observation, it will not narrow the reach of your campaign but will allow you to monitor how these specific segments perform.
To this, we say - pick your poison. We prefer using the Targeting option simply because it narrows down our targeting to exactly who we want to see that ad. You can read more about it by checking out this article by Google.
Now, when it comes to Audience segments you can target people by:
Google Search Ads offers you some additional settings as well.
You can pick ad rotation, start and end dates, and ad schedule. We usually don’t touch these, so you can also leave them as default.
You can set Campaign URL options like Final URL suffix which will be added to each ad in order to properly track and attribute results. You can also do this on the Ad level.
Dynamic Search Ads will use the final URL you provide to create customized ad headlines and descriptions based on your website, and they will try to match them to users' search queries. We prefer leaving this off.
Alright, now it’s time for the fun part. Now you get to add your keywords and ads.
There are several keyword-matching types that you can use within Google Search Ads.
Which type of keyword you want to use depends on what your goal is, your product, and generally your specific campaign. The rule of thumb is to use an exact match if you are looking to score high-quality leads or conversions. These searches are the highest intent.
Broad match types are very good when your goal is to achieve higher reach, build awareness, or drive traffic to your website.
Your Google Search Ads have to be tailored to and optimized for your keywords. That’s why it’s important to group keywords that are very similar.
Alright, now let’s break down the ad-making process.
Note: The images we will use are just mock ads, and they represent a much-simplified version of what a good ad would look like.
Your Google Search Ad is composed of headlines, descriptions, URLs, and extensions.
Google wants to deliver the most relevant results to its users when they make a search. That’s why it’s important that your ad has high relevance. That’s why you should include the Ad Group’s keywords in your headlines and descriptions. This is the reason why you separated them into different ad groups.
You can use up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. We recommend using all of them. It gives Google many options to work with and they can find better asset combinations to deliver better results.
Keep in mind that your headlines need to be 30 characters or less, and descriptions can contain up to 90 characters.
Pro Tip #1: When writing headlines focus on keywords on some of them, and on some focus on the key benefits of your product/business. Google Search Ads can display up to 3 headlines at one time.
Pro Tip #2: Use the keywords as close to the beginning as possible in both headlines and descriptions. Example: In the image above, our target audience will see a unique feature (100% Cotton) and the keyword that they searched for which is “blue t-shirt”.
Note that you can actually pin the headlines in their place if you have a headline that you always want to show first, second, or third.
This is the part where most people miss out. Extensions give you a unique opportunity to provide as much information as possible to your potential customers. The more information customers have, the higher the chance they will be convinced to buy.
So, what type of Google Search Ads extensions are there?
This extension allows you to add more links to your Google Search Ads. You can take them to different pages of your website like the About Us page, or Pricing page. You can also display pages of different products.
Callouts are little snippets of text that appear at the bottom of your ad. They allow you to highlight the unique benefits of your products or service.
This extension allows you to add special promotions like discounts or sales of your products.
With this extension, you can highlight the prices of your offering. You can add prices for: Brands, Events, Locations, Neighborhoods, Product categories, Product tiers, Service categories, or Services.
This extension lets you add a phone number so that your customers can call you directly from the ads.
Allows you to attach a lead form to your ad. You can gather information from your potential leads with pre-filled questions as well as custom ones.
You can link to your app so that people that see your ad can immediately click on it and download it from the app store. You can also customize the link text.
The best part about these extensions is that they can be added to the campaign level. This way, after you set them up once, you can add them to each ad with a few clicks.
Google Search Ads are an amazing tool to build awareness, drive traffic, and generate leads and conversions.
They are text ads that appear when your target audience searches for similar products.
In order to make good Google Search Ads, you need to make a good plan. And it all starts with keyword research. You need to bid for different keyword types in order to maximize your impression share, and not to miss any valuable clicks or conversions.
Remember, to target the highest-intent users, use the [phrase match] type.
Make sure you group similar keywords in the same ad group since you want your Search ads to be as relevant as possible.
To get the most out of your Google Search Ads, don’t forget to provide as much information as you can by using extensions.
Alternatively, if you don't think that you can do this yourself, you can always hire a specialized Google Ads agency, and we have a full guide on how to hire the right one.
Keep up with the latest Google Ads changes to boost your performance.
A complete step-by-step guide on how to make product listing ads.