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7 Essential Google Adwords Practices Every Marketer Should Know

$32.6 billion was spent by businesses on Google Adwords in the last quarter of 2018 alone. Let that number sink in for a minute. Amazon is currently the biggest spender, having paid $30.9 million in the last year for Google Adwords. When you look at the ROI, it all starts to make sense. Businesses make $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on advertising.

Google’s reach makes it the single most popular digital advertising channel. With a market share of 90%, its competitors – Bing, Yahoo, and Baidu – don’t even come close. However, many marketers get seduced by the potential of Google Adwords and go by the learn-as-you-go approach, resulting in wasted money and opportunities. Digital advertising has turned into a precise science that requires careful measurements, thorough analysis, rigorous testing, and constant monitoring of new developments.

If you are already familiar with the basics of search advertising, it is time to take your skills to the next level. Check out these essential tricks that will help you step up your advertising game and increase conversion rates.

Setting up the right audience (2 practices)

1. Take advantage of the in-market audiences

Targeting can make or break your campaign. You don’t want to waste your ad budget on an irrelevant audience. You also don’t want to spend it on the segment of your target audience that’s not currently interested in your products or services. In June 2018, Google rolled out  In-Market Audiences for Search and if you haven’t been using this feature, now is the time to start.

Using machine learning, Google analyzes the giant volume of searches and identifies purchase intent. While this powerful targeting feature used to be available only for Display and YouTube ads, it can now be utilized by advertisers on Google’s Search Network.  

2. Make use of the Customer Match feature

Identity-based targeting can make your life as a marketer so much easier. It allows you to re-engage users that other forms of marketing may’ve failed to do so. A feature of many advertising platforms, identity-based targeting appears to be especially efficient for Google Adwords.

Image source: WordStream

By uploading your user database onto your ads account, you are basically guaranteed to place your message in front of a highly targeted audience.

However, once again, if you are targeting European audiences, you need to ensure compliance with GDPR by only uploading contacts that have given their consent to collect and use their data for advertising purposes.

Minimize your budget waste (3 practices)

3. Block your competitors from viewing your ads

According to a study, marketers waste about a quarter of their budget. Depending on budget allocations, much of this waste often comes from Google Adwords. There are a number of ways to maximize the ROI of your digital ad spend. Excluding certain people and organizations from seeing your ad is one of them.

Google Adwords has a neat feature that allows you to block your competitors from seeing your ads. Simply navigate to the Exclusion option on the Display Network tab and add IP addresses you want to be excluded from your campaigns. This is also useful for advertisers in large companies to make sure employees don’t click on the ads while conducting organic search for their company. Depending on your keywords, clicks can be costly. IP exclusion allows you to minimize the number of unwanted ad impressions and clicks.

4. Continuously test your campaigns by setting up ad rotation

Any advertising specialist understands the value of testing out multiple variations of ads in order to optimize both the copy and the funnel, yet only 59% of companies run A/B tests on their paid search campaigns.

There are numerous ad items you can and should be testing out, including CPC, ad content, timing, and landing pages. The mistake many marketers make is leaving it up to Google to figure out what’s best – setting up automatic CPC bids or having ad variations optimized for conversion. While this may be a fitting approach for more inexperienced advertisers with shoestring budgets, more advanced marketers should feel comfortable having stronger control over ad testing. As such, experiment with manual bidding and set your ad variations to rotate indefinitely. You will gain better understanding of your budget possibilities, while a more even distribution of ad variations’ placement will give you a higher degree of data objectivity.

5. Increase the number of variations as you increase the ad budget

Don’t take A/B testing literally. Large campaigns – both in terms of budgets and duration – require more than two ad variations. Start by creating at least 3 and constantly make adjustments based on data analysis. If, on the other hand, you are working with a limited budget, setting up too many variations can result in diluted data, not backed by enough impressions. A professional digital marketing agency will find a balance to increase performance.

Ensure compliance (1 practice)

6. Make sure your ad strategy complies with GDPR requirements

Remarketing is a glorious tool that can significantly boost conversions and provide more insights into the behavior and preferences of your target audience. The reason remarketing is so effective is because it bases ads on previously collected data, making them more relevant and timely. However, such data collection got more tricky for marketers since the introduction of the GDPR requirements, which require users to consent to their data being collected. And, unless you want to be slapped with hefty fines, compliance with GDPR is not optional.

While advertisers were initially worried about the impact GDPR would have on remarketing, hardly any of us notice the little pop-ups that occur on websites asking for cookies consent. Both users and advertisers are settling comfortably into the new ecosystem. However, you still need to put certain practices in place before you launch remarketing campaigns:

  1. Update your privacy and cookies policies to include information on personalized advertising and third party tracking software you use
  2. Add a banner to your landing page asking users to consent to the privacy and cookies policy with a link to the said policy
  3. Manage data and consent, making sure that your remarketing campaigns only target users that have given their consent to your privacy and cookies policies.

Image source: Analytics Mania

Keep up with the new developments (1 practice)

7. Utilize the new features of Google Ads Editor 1.0

In March this year Google introduced the revamped version of the Editor – Google Ads Editor. This desktop tool for creating and managing Google Adwords campaigns got not only a facelift, but comes with a number of new features. One handy upgrade the editor got is the full support for non-skippable video ads, or bumper ads, for campaigns, ad groups, and ads. If you are managing multiple campaigns for various clients, installing the Editor and using this feature will save you quite a bit of time.

Image source: Google

Conclusion

Advertising on Google holds unlimited potential for your business. It can not only boost your sales, but help you identify problematic areas in user experience, gain deeper understanding of your audience and its habits, and hone your offerings. The trick is in maximizing the capacities of your budget. By optimizing your campaigns and eliminating as much waste as possible, you can turn Google Adwords into a money-generating machine for your business. The tips above are a solid way to get started.

What are some of your favorite Google Adwords practices? Share your success stories and tips with the readers in the comments section below.

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