3 Incredible Tips to Stay on Top with Google AdWords

Paid Search is Competitive. Let's talk about how you can stay on top.

By Ryan Wallbridge, Senior Digital Marketing Manager

In 2000, Google AdWords launched with 350 advertisers in a beta program and was averaging just around 20 million searches per day on desktop devices. Today, the platform is used by over 1 million advertisers, averages 3 billion searches per day (with more than 50% on mobile devices), and has become the cornerstone of an industry that’s worth over $60 billion.

 "Times, they are a changin',” has been the tagline of the paid search industry since its inception 16 years ago. Google and other search engines have become an inherent part of our everyday lives and play a key role in our productivity, discovery, and advancement as consumers in a world economy. With such an important role to play, search engines are constantly adapting to our behaviors as consumers; therefore they must continue to evolve their advertising platforms to stay competitive in this multi-channel environment of display banners, email, social media, and more.

As a result, digital marketers need to advance paid search campaigns and capitalize on new opportunities for better performance and cost efficiency. In my 6 years of paid search experience, I’m often surprised by the condition of the paid search accounts that are brought to us and we are asked to help improve. Most of the time the out-of-tune condition of these programs are simply due to a lack of attention, from an unfortunately common misconception that paid search campaigns can be treated as a “set it and forget it” marketing tactic. In order to maintain or improve performance you should be adapting to new best practices, making routine optimizations, and applying new tactics as they’re released.

In today’s article I’m sharing with you 3 critical paid search tactics that smart advertisers should be using in their campaigns.

1) Implement Ad Extensions Effectively

Ad Extensions is probably the area in which AdWords has expanded the most; with 10 extension types now available to add to your ad copy. A lot of advertisers just add a few quick Sitelink extensions and call it a day, but with 9 other extensions available they’re really missing out. Ad Extensions increase the size of your ad, which increases your CTR.

2) Use Your Own Audience Data to Increase Return

Utilizing first-party data effectively is one tactic I always recommend regardless of the digital media channel. In today’s world of “big data,” there are advertisers paying thousands of dollars to use collected cookie data to target audiences based on their online behavior, interests, etc. Many advertisers forget that they already have access to target some of the best potential customers by utilizing their own website visit data, email database, and more. By setting up these audiences with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), we’re able to optimize bids for those users that have already shown intent, and therefore are more likely to convert.

3) Uncover New Opportunities in Search Query Data

Each day about 15% of Google search queries have never been seen before by the search engine. This means that even when you think you have every possible keyword variation included in your campaign — it’s just not mathematically possible. This is why I’m a firm believer that search query/term review is the #1 routine optimization every paid search professional should be completing.

Because there are so many potential search query variations, we need to use Broad and Phrase match keywords to catch those long-tail keywords. Unless you add these to the campaign, you’ll never be able to optimize your bids for the search queries that are actually converting. It is essential to use a multiple match type strategy (Broad, Phrase, Exact) to ensure you have complete coverage, and can quickly add new keywords to your campaigns. In addition, you should be filtering out irrelevant search queries by adding negative keywords that will prevent your campaigns from getting unwanted clicks.

With over half of all internet ad spend coming from Paid Search, it should be expected that many companies are running or have tried running paid search campaigns. In fact, Google has streamlined the setup/education process so much over the years that many businesses have begun launching campaigns on their own without an agency partner. 

However, the expertise of an experienced paid search professional managing your online advertising can often mean significant improvement in cost per lead and business results of your ad campaign — and staying ahead of your online competition.