The Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Google Ads Performance

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Joshua Barr

Throughout this ultimate guide to improving your Google Ads performance, we’ll be discussing our best hints and tips; busting the industry jargon, and explaining how you can make simple changes that will improve your performance. Whether you’re managing your own account or aiming to get a better understanding of how your PPC campaigns are managed by an external party, this guide should help!

We’re not going to lie, this isn’t a light read. We’ll be adding to this blog regularly with the best updates from our expert Digital Marketing Manager, Joshua Barr, so we’ve given you some headings below to jump ahead to the areas of interest.

Common Mistakes We See in Google Ads Accounts

We’ll begin by discussing the most common mistakes that we see when appraising Google Ads accounts. We often find that businesses lack the fundamentals required when it comes to Google Ads, even in some cases when those accounts are long established with high spending budgets.

Here’s a list of the most common mistakes we find; however, this list is not exhaustive, and we will go into further detail around these scenarios later in this guide.

  • Lack of keyword research
  • Underutilised search term reports
  • Inadequate or outdated bid strategies
  • Lack of search ad content and variations
  • Inadequate budgets
  • Lack of, or not fit for purpose conversion tracking
  • Missing ad assets (previously known as extensions)
  • Not utilising geo-targeting and regional trends
  • Lack of understanding of keyword relevance and user intent
  • Poor use of keyword match types
  • Irrelevant landing pages
  • Using default geo-targeting settings
  • Applying every recommendation Google suggests – something we strongly advise against!

We must highlight that not all accounts have all of these issues; however, it is all too common that these critical aspects can be overlooked. Read our blog on the 8 common Google Ad mistakes that lead to poor performance and profitability for more insights.

Utilising default geo-targeting settings

If you’re running Google Ads campaigns within a certain geographic region, whether that be by country, county, city or other, this is how to manage your geographical location settings:

Go to your Google Ads account >
Click on the Campaigns tab >
Select a Campaign >
Go to Settings >
Go to Locations >
Use the location options drop-down.

On the ‘Target’ drop-down, make sure “Presence: People in or regularly in your targeted locations” is selected, then save.

When the ‘presence or interest’ option is selected, Google will show your ads in any territory where someone searches for your target search term. If the user has expressed some sort of loosely related interest in or visited your target location in the past, they will see your ad.
This will conserve campaign budgets for users who are located in your target geographic location at the time of their search.

Why you shouldn’t use shared budgets in your Google Ads campaigns

If you’re using shared budgets across multiple campaigns, then you’re probably not getting the most out of your Google Ads strategy. When you allocate a shared budget to multiple campaigns, it reduces your control over individual campaign spending.

As an example, if you have a single shared budget which is feeding into three different campaigns and one of those campaigns receives a higher volume of clicks, or the bidding strategy is more aggressive, that campaign will dominate your shared budget. This leaves very little budget for the other two campaigns to gain traction. You might also spend more than desired via the higher volume/spend campaign.

Additionally, you’ll lack the data to understand the potential of those lower spending campaigns because they haven’t had the budget to generate adequate impressions and clicks.

Instead of using shared budgets, we recommend that you allocate a sufficient budget set at campaign level. This will give you better control and visibility of your campaign performance. It also makes sure that campaigns with lower volume searches or less aggressive bidding strategies, are able to utilise spend and gain traction.

It’s also worth noting that for this same reason, campaigns should always have enough budget to show at all times of the day (or at the times you have specified ads to show). Without sufficient budget, you may lose valuable clicks and your campaigns will not reach their full potential.


The difference between Search Term Reports and Search Keywords

The Search Keywords Report details the keyword data for your top level keywords. In this report, you will find any keyword that you have asked Google to target, whether it is broad match, phrase match, or exact match.

The Search Terms Report details variations of your chosen target keywords that your ads have shown for.

If you are using exact match for your target keywords, you will find that both reports will look very similar. However, if you’re using phrase or broad match, you will see that the two reports are different.

You can find these reports by going to your Google Ads account >
Select a campaign >
Choose ‘keywords’ from the left hand menu >
Click Search Terms

Here you will see all the search term variations that your ads have shown for, which can often be less than desirable for your goals.

One of the reasons for this is that if you use ‘broad match’ keywords, Google will show your ads for any individual keyword that forms part of your total target phrase. For example, if you are targeting the search term “grey laminate flooring”, your ads could show when someone searches for “grey”, “laminate” or “flooring”. Ads can also show for other combinations that include one or more keywords from your target search term.

Similarly, if you’re using ‘phrase match’, then your search term can be shown when searched for in isolation, or as part of a wider phrase. Continuing our previous example, “grey laminate flooring”, could trigger an ad when someone searches for “how to install grey laminate flooring”.

To control this, you can highlight keywords which are not relevant and exclude them from the campaign in the search term report. You can also highlight any relevant search terms and include them in your target keywords for better visibility and control in the future.

For convenience, we recommend organising your search term report by impressions, from highest to lowest. This will save you time in analysing thousands of variations that your ads may have shown for, and will focus on the areas where your ads are showing most frequently. A low volume of impressions will not create budget depletion issues, however, if your ads are regularly showing for less than desirable terms, it is best practice to exclude these terms from your list.

We highly recommend that you repeat this process regularly, in order to ensure your budget is utilised for the most desirable keywords. By doing this, your campaigns will become more focused, and over time you will have better budget utilisation.

Why you shouldn’t use Display Expansion in your campaigns

Firstly, here’s how to check if you’re using Display Expansion in your ads:
In your Google Ads Account, choose a Search Campaign >
Go to Settings >
Choose Networks >
Now finally, click Display Network >

If the Display Network is ticked, then you are using Display Extension.

When you first set up your Google Ads Account, Google recommends that you include search campaign assets on the Display Network. One of the reasons they make this recommendation is on the basis that you can achieve additional conversions on the Google Display Network using unspent Search budgets at a similar cost per conversion as Search.

However, in our experience we have found that display expansion typically spends your unused budget with few conversions. Furthermore, Search Ad Assets are not optimised for a Display Network Strategy. If you want to use Display Ads as part of your Google Ad strategy (and we do recommend this), we advise that you create separate Display Campaigns, using assets and goals that are specifically tailored for the Display Network.

By doing this, you can better control the content that Google promotes, and maintain better control over your budgets. Additionally, you’ll maintain a better cost per acquisition (CPA) on your Search campaigns, which will help them to appear more viable.

In some cases, large corporations with extensive budgets may use this tactic to achieve a high volume of website traffic and clicks without any specific conversion goal. However, many of our SME clients will benefit from keeping a tight campaign budget with clear strategy goals and a budget in place.

How to utilise Location Bid Adjustments

The action of making bid adjustments based on location is agreeing to show your ad more or less frequently to audiences in certain countries, cities or other geographical areas.

This is a highly targeted function that you can use within your Google Ads account to control how much you spend on gaining customers in certain locations. This is especially useful if you operate a business with a better supply of products, or better operational capabilities, in certain locations.

A perfect example of using Location Bid Adjustments is one of our clients in the construction sector, who operate UK wide. Due to the nature of their industry, there are far more opportunities in London than there are in the rest of the UK. Experience has taught them that construction projects tend to be larger and of higher value in London, so strategically, it makes perfect sense for them to attribute greater budgets to acquiring London-based customers.

In contrast, areas in Scotland have proven to be less lucrative and can be more time intensive due to the location.

Using this important customer information, we apply a bid adjustment increase of 50% for users in London. This effectively means that we are agreeing to pay Google up to 50% more per click for a user that is based in London. For our Scottish territory, we apply a negative bid adjustment of -50%. This results in a Google Ads strategy that is highly competitive and prominent in London, where opportunities are vast and competition is high. However, whilst we are still visible for opportunities in Scotland, we ensure that the acquisition cost does not outweigh the opportunities and project values typically available.

To apply Location Bid Adjustments to your Google Ads account, follow the steps below:

In Google Ads, go to Campaigns >
Select a Campaign >
Click Locations >
Click the Pencil Edit Icon >
Add a town, city or other location >
Apply a bid adjustment increase or decrease in the Bid Adjustment column

You may be interested to know that you can apply bid adjustments to other campaign elements, for example, Device Type.

Why it’s important to have Ad Assets in your Google Ads Account

Our highly experienced team of Google Ads professionals often assess accounts and find that they are missing ad assets (formerly known as ad extensions). These important elements of your Google Ads strategy are critical to offering more information to customers that may see or engage with your ad.

Not only this, but they also increase the quality of your ads strategy, achieving greater volumes of impressions and showing more prominently in Google search engine results pages (SERPs).

When you set your ads up correctly utilising Ad Assets, you are far more likely to gain clicks, achieve better ad positions, a higher impression share and ultimately, a lower cost per click.

Here’s a list of what you can include alongside your core ad copy using ad assets:

  • Your business name
  • Your business logo
  • Site links
  • Images
  • Callouts (essentially bullet points of your service/product features)
  • Structured snippets (a list of your services, products and more)
  • Call extensions (a clickable phone number, direct from the ad)
  • Lead forms (a contact form, directly from the ad)
  • Price extensions (product links including a title, price and description)
  • Promotions (coupon codes and discount offerings)
  • Locations (ideal for brick and mortar businesses)
  • Affiliate locations (to direct customers to 3rd party locations)

We highly recommend that anyone running Google Ad campaigns should be using the Ad Assets to their advantage. Here’s how:

Go to Google Ads >
Select a Campaign >
Click Assets (in the left hand menu) >
Use the Blue + Icon >
Choose an Asset to Add

You can also add assets at account level, but they’re most effective when they’re used at campaign or ad group level and closely aligned to the anticipated audience’s interests.

Should you include Google Search Partners in your Google Ad Campaign setup?

When you set up your Google Ads campaign, Google recommends that you utilise their Google Search Partners feature. We often find that our clients don’t have an understanding of what this means, so we’re breaking it down for you here.
In short, including Google Search Partners means that as well as showing your search text ads on Google’s search engine, it will also use those same assets to push ads to:

  • YouTube
  • Google Maps
  • Google Images
  • Google Shopping
  • Google Groups
  • Amazon

Whether Google Search Partners has a positive or negative effect on your campaign performance is entirely subjective and unique to the type of campaign you are running. In our experience, we have never found clients that sway one way or the other. This doesn’t mean we advise you to ignore the option, in fact we recommend that you trial showing ads to Google Search Partners and you assess the results.

How to check the performance of your Google Search Partners

In your Google Ads account, go to Campaigns >
Click Segment >
Choose Network (with search partners) >
Here you will see a breakdown of your spend and performance, segmented by ‘Google search’ and ‘search partners’.

We advise you to use your judgment here to conclude whether you’re happy with the results from your Google Search Network. In the event that you don’t find optimal results, you can simply switch it off:
Within your Google Ads account click Campaigns >
Select a Campaign >
Go to Settings >
Choose Networks >
Untick ‘Include Google Search Partners >
Save your choices

Why should you segment your listing group by product when using PMax or standard Google Shopping Campaigns?

When you apply product listings to campaigns, they are automatically grouped together under ‘All Products’ in the ‘Listing Group’ tab. While this gives you overall performance data, you may be missing out on valuable product level data.

One way to combat this is by segmenting the data by product. This way you can see which products generate the most revenue (or least), empowering you to make informed optimisation decisions at a more granular level.

You’ll benefit from having greater control over your campaigns and you’ll be able to leverage this into a better Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) in the long term.

Should you apply all of Google’s recommendations in your Google Ads account?

We often find ourselves assessing client Google Ads accounts that have applied each of the suggestions from Google in the Recommendations tab. Whilst we sometimes find genuinely beneficial suggestions in here, we think it’s important to remember that nobody knows your business like you do.

It’s important to consider the intricacies of your unique business, markets and goals before you apply recommendations from anyone, including Google.

Should you bid on competitor’s brand keywords in your Google Ads campaigns?

One of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to Google Ads strategy, is whether or not you should bid on your competitor’s brand keywords as part of your campaigns. This is something that we see often, particularly when observing large corporations with substantial advertising budgets.

Although not always a bad idea, we typically advise our clients against bidding on their competitor’s keywords. This is because we encourage clients to spend their budget on keywords that show intent from their visitors, rather than exhausting their spend on searchers who are clearly already looking for their competitor’s brand. The best way to get value from your budget is to target those visitors who want to buy your product or service. Additionally, Google can see that you are not the brand whose name you are bidding on, and this could result in a lower quality score for those keywords.

Furthermore, we often find that when you bid on a competitor’s keywords, they are likely to return this behaviour. This serves no purpose other than to increase your cost per click and lower your conversion rate.

Should you place Google Ads on search queries you already rank well for organically?

In another of our frequently asked questions, we want to address whether or not you should be putting ads on search terms and queries that you already appear for organically. We’re starting with some research from Google, which found that on average, advertisers who have an organic result in position one, as well as an ad for the same query, receive up to 50% more clicks than their standalone organic result.

Similarly, those with organic results in positions 2-4 in addition to an ad receive up to 82% more clicks. This data shows that audiences are clearly assured by seeing both an organic and a paid result, and your tactics should be supporting each other, rather than working in silos. We recommend aligning your content and SEO strategies with your paid search.

Tips: Optimising your Google Ads Campaigns

When you’re running Google Ads Campaigns there are a number of elements that can drain your budget more quickly than you’d like:

  • Display expansion for search campaigns
  • Presence or interest location targets
  • Including the Google search partners network

Monitoring these three elements and making simple changes can increase the efficiency of your spend.

PMax Campaigns and your own brand search terms

PMax is best used in combination with more traditional campaign types. We recommend that within this combined effort, targeting your own keywords as part of your traditional campaign type will give you the greatest control.

When advertising against your own brand keyword, this traffic should always be the most cost effective, as you should always be the best match to the user’s query, with a higher quality score and ad relevance.

Users of PMax campaigns will know that they are targeted towards generating greater conversions, so it is necessary to exclude your brand keywords in order to maintain your budget effectively. Without excluding your brand keywords, you risk bidding on expensive queries and cannibalising your existing brand campaigns with your PMax campaign.

Example: If you bid on your brand query “X”, you might pay £0.10 per/click when someone searches for it exactly. Now let’s say someone searches for “X content writing services”, you’re now bidding against every advertiser who bids on “content writing services” and you lose the power of your brand in this auction.

When you use traditional search campaigns, you can easily control the exact traffic that you target, using positive and negative keywords. This level of control is not possible in PMax campaigns, and you may find that your budget gets spent elsewhere if you do not carefully choose which campaign promotes your brand.

Our takeaway? It’s important to advertise against your own brand, but choose wisely which type of campaign you use to do this, as it could deplete your budgets more quickly than you’d like.

Here’s some tips to stop you from wasting money on PMax campaigns targeting your own brand keywords:

  • Add brand exclusions to your PMax Campaigns
  • Create a brand led search campaign targeting efficiency, utilising keywords from the PMax Campaign Insights Report
  • Create a traditional shopping campaign to manage brand led searches in a more granular, efficient and controllable way. You could focus this campaign on your best selling products, for example
  • Add customer lists to PMax Keyword Insights regularly, moving over decent converting keywords into alternative campaign types for better control

To see which keywords your PMax Campaigns are converting for, go to the Insights tab in your PMax Campaign view. You can also download the data for more granular insights.

How do you know if a Google Ads agency is right for you?

As a certified Google Ads agency, we’re often concerned by other agencies that promise to deliver ad results. Delivering high performing Google Ad Campaigns is a task that involves such intricacy and so many variables, that even the most competent digital marketers cannot control the outcome.

When it comes to Google ads, performance does not solely rely on a well-constructed and optimised Google Ads account.
It relies on a well thought-out and robust online business model, a strong investment in aspects such as content and the user experience; staying ahead of the competition – and not just in terms of your Google Ads account, but also your customer service, your pricing structure, your website, the people in your business, and much more.

It’s important to note that all businesses are unique, and it is highly unlikely that an agency has experience with a business that matches yours entirely. It takes time to learn, and that time investment will be necessary to your success.

A good agency will focus on strategy and understanding your business and its challenges before promising or forecasting results. They’ll also advise you whether Google Ads is right for you right now, before prioritising selling their service to you regardless of whether it will work with your strategy right now.

Read our blog on why outsourcing Google Ads management could skyrocket your PPC strategy.

7 Reasons why you should split out your keyword themes into Ad Groups in your Google Search Campaigns

Splitting out your keywords into dedicated ad groups may seem like common sense advice, but as an agency, we see many accounts that don’t do it.

Neglecting to split your keywords into specified ad groups can result in:

  • Your ads needing to be generic, to cater for wide intent variations.
  • The inability to specifically tailor your ad assets.
  • Losing the chance to resonate with your audience on a granular level.
  • A lower CTR because your ads are not user intent focused.
  • A higher CPC because your ads aren’t completely relevant.
  • Your competitors having an advantage over you because they’re showing more tailored ads.
  • Struggling to achieve efficiency and campaign sustainability.

If you break down your keywords into common themed Ad Groups, you’ll be able to:

  • Tailor your ads specifically to the user’s query and intent.
  • Tailor your ad assets towards the user’s requirements.
  • Resonate with your audience on a granular level.
  • Increase your CTR.
  • Reduce your CPC.
  • Compete with your more sophisticated competitors.
  • Achieve better campaign efficiency and control.

What is a Data Driven Attribution Model in Google Ads?

From September 2023, Google will be using a data-driven attribution model, which will use your conversion data to calculate the actual contribution of each ad interaction across the conversion path. By comparing the paths of customers who convert to the paths of customers who don’t, the model is able to identify patterns among those ad interactions that lead to conversions.

There may be certain steps that are commonly part of various user conversion paths. The model will give more credit to those valuable ad interactions, enabling users to see the ads which have the greatest effect on business goals and conversions.

Along with this change will come the sunsetting of first click, linear, time decay and position-based attribution models.

Advertisers will still have the ability to use the last click attribution model if they wish. However, we would advise against this, as it will affect the quality of your data.

Understanding Keyword Intent in Google Ads

Keyword intent is a critical aspect to delivering successful Google search campaigns, and they’re often overlooked. In short, keyword intent represents the user’s purpose for their search. Some keywords offer an indication of that purpose, where others are more ambiguous.

Keyword intent can be typically categorised into four subsets…

  • Navigational Intent – this is users looking for a specific webpage. For example, “google ads login”, “apple refund policy”, “starbucks”, etc.
  • Informational Intent – this is users searching to learn more about a specific subject. For example, “will ferrell movies”, “new york time now”, “what is ppc”, etc.
  • Commercial Intent – this is when users conduct research before making a purchase decision. For example, “best ppc agency”, “longest range ev”, “samsung s23 review”, etc.
  • Transactional Intent – this is when users are prepared to complete an action or make a purchase. For example, “samsung s23 price”, “watch friends”, “semrush free trial”, etc.

The user’s intent generally aligns with where they are in the sales funnel:

  • Awareness – keywords used such as “how to”
  • Consideration – keywords used such as “best”
  • Conversion – keywords used such as “price”

A common issue amongst advertisers is targeting the wrong intent with ad copy and landing pages that don’t align with the user’s intended purpose. In some cases, ads can be shown too early on in the user’s journey, particularly for SMEs with limited budgets.

How to check your competitor’s Google Ads

Did you know that you can see the ads your competitors are running? Simply go to the Google Ads Transparency tool and enter a website you want to see ads for

Launched in March 2023, the new Google tool gives insight into:

  • The ads an advertiser has run.
  • Which ads were shown in a certain region.
  • The last date an ad ran, and the format of the ad.

Google created this feature as part of their commitment to a safer, more trustworthy and accountable ad experience. However, this also provides huge insights into the ads that your competitor is running. Keep in mind that as you can see your competitor’s ads, they can see yours too.

Identifying external factors that could be affecting your PPC performance

Landing page experience – your landing page is the single element which will compel users to continue their journey through your website. It is important to make a good first impression through intuitive design, clear calls to action (CTAs), social proof (testimonials and case studies) from unbiased and verified sources, and a strong consideration for the attention span of the user when presenting key information.

Website Usability – Once the user has arrived on your landing page, they must have a smooth and intuitive experience on the rest of their website journey. We advise keeping the journey as simple as possible, whilst providing clear sign-posting to direct the user to the desired action. It’s essential that you don’t make any assumptions and you don’t add more stages to the user journey than necessary.

Asking for too much, too soon – This external factor is particularly important on lead generation websites. One of the most common deterrents for a user enquiring via your website is asking for too much information that is either not relevant, or not essential to handling their initial enquiry. Consider whether you would be willing to give up this information at such an early stage before asking your visitors to.

It’s vital to remember that the user is in a decision making process conducting research. Asking too much at this stage can be detrimental and can often be overwhelming for the user if they don’t yet have all the answers.

Lack of holistic post lead sales effort – it’s important to consider your whole approach when executing your online strategy. The key to success will be aligning your sales staff so that they understand the proposition and the challenges you are addressing in your digital messaging.

Operate with integrity and refrain from making promises on your website that are not addressed in the wider business. Your whole team should live and breathe your values offline.

Your willingness to rethink your positioning – don’t be afraid to reassess your positioning, messaging, strategy and process. In fact, we’d encourage you to regularly assess your strategy to achieve the best results. It’s important to give your plan adequate time to be successful, but when a strategy is not working there is an opportunity to learn from any mistakes and change course.

Understanding the difference between Paid Social and Paid Search

The key difference between paid social and paid search is the intent and readiness of the target audience.

Paid Search enables businesses to target users with ads, as and when the user is searching for the business’s products or services. This means they are far more likely to click and convert, because at the moment they search, they’re presented with answers and solutions to their problems.

Paid Search often results in direct to site visits, capturing users with a willingness to convert, and capitalising on those users that are moving down the sales funnel.

Paid Social targets users at a point when they’re not actively searching for answers or solutions, although they may have indicated some form of interest/intent previously.

Paid Social often results in awareness, re-engagement, and moving a consumer along the sales funnel. It is not guaranteed that a user who views and clicks on a paid search ad will convert, even though their intent is generally higher than those who view a paid social ad.

Taking a holistic approach to your paid strategy can result in better results from both tactics. For those users that do not convert via paid search, you can employ a paid social strategy to serve as a reminder of their interest, which could result in intent to purchase. In this instance, you are feeding your social strategy with a higher intent audience who have shown they are interested, but are perhaps not at the decision making phase of their journey.

Your social strategy allows you to:

  • Continue awareness for past high intent visitors
  • Re-engage them at a time when they may be more willing to convert
  • Help move them along the sales funnel during their decision process

We recommend using a holistic approach, which will enable you to increase the conversion rate of your paid social and paid search strategy. Using both tactics together will support your overall paid strategy and enable you to achieve greater results than using them in isolation.

Why Cost Per Click (CPC) shouldn’t be your only focus metric

Many advertisers place a heavy focus on the average cost per click, with many concerned over high CPC quickly depleting ad spend. Whilst this is an important metric to monitor, placing too much focus on reducing the average CPC can have an adverse impact on your ads.

If your current CPC enables you to achieve a positive ROI, then focusing on lowering this figure can result in:

  • Reduced reach
  • Reduced prominence (average position)
  • Allowing your competition to gain an advantage
  • Reduced click through rate (CTR)
  • Reduced conversion rate

It is common for top performing and high conversion keywords to have some of the highest CPCs. Instead of focusing on the average CPC, it is better to focus on the average cost per acquisition (CPA). How much is your ad campaign costing you to convert a click?

By focusing on CPA, and using the available insight, you can determine the true amount you are willing to pay for a click, and continue to achieve your goals within your ideal CPA. This reduces the likelihood of driving down the CPC without taking the overall performance and acquisition cost aspirations into account.

8 Essential Google Ads Optimisation Tips

  1. Make your landing page relevant
  2. Optimise negative keywords
  3. Use the right keyword match-types
  4. Altar keyword match types over time
  5. Fill out all available ad content
  6. Use every relevant asset (previously ad extensions)
  7. Adjust bids for geo-targeting
  8. Look for opportunities to drive budget to mobile

A guide to understanding Google Ads Budgets

Google ad campaign budgets are assigned on a daily limit basis. Here’s what to consider when you set your budget:

Over delivery
Traffic and demand fluctuate daily, so Google may allow your campaign to spend more than your daily budget on some higher demand days. This can be up to 2x your specified daily budget.

Although this may seem counterintuitive, Google may spend more than your agreed daily budget but will never spend more than your agreed daily budget as an average over the month.

To calculate the total you may spend in any given month, take your daily budget and multiply it by 30.4 (the average number of days per month). For example, if you have a budget of £10 per day, your total monthly spend will never exceed £304 excluding tax.

Digital Service Tax
Digital Service Tax was introduced in the UK in April 2020 and it is a 2% charge applied to online advertising spend. The tax also applies in other countries at varying rates (always check the appropriate details for your region.)

To calculate your total monthly campaign spend, you need to:

  • Multiply your daily budget by 30.4 and add 2% to that total.
  • Using the example above, a daily £10 budget becomes a total monthly spend of £310.08.

How to view where your app and website placements are showing in your PMax Campaigns

When assessing the performance of your PMax campaigns, you may want to view the placement of your app or website. To do this, go to:
Reports > Pre Defined Reports (Dimensions) > Other > Performance Max Campaigns Placements.

When viewing this report, you may find that you see many impressions for placements that are not relevant to your end goals. To exclude these:
Navigate to a PMax Campaign > Content (placement exclusions) > Edit Icon > Select apps, websites and categories to exclude.

Tips for optimising Shopping Campaigns

Google Shopping Campaigns are a great way to boost product visibility. They create visual impact, attracting the attention of more qualified traffic and giving users a quick way to compare your product and pricing with other sites.

Here are some simple tactics you can use to optimise for success:

  • Optimise your product feed
  • Segment your campaign structure
  • Divide products into ad groups
  • Segment your product groups by product
  • Use Top vs Other report segmentation
  • Exclude unprofitable products
  • Add negative keywords
  • Subdivide negative keywords (ad group, campaign, account)
  • Utilise bid adjustments
  • Use A/B testing
  • Don’t make too many drastic changes

Set a shopping priority – if you’re advertising the same products in more than one shopping campaign, it’s important to set campaign priorities.

Campaign priority levels outweigh the bid amount at auction time. This means that if a campaign on high priority has a lower bid than a campaign set to medium or low priority, then the lower bid will be used. If multiple campaigns are set to the same priority, then the campaign with the highest bid will be prioritised at the time of auction. If you don’t set priority levels, you could be spending more on acquiring the same customer.

To set priority levels: Shopping Campaign > Settings > Campaign Priority > Select your preference.

Using the Keyword Insertion Tool for Google Search Ads

Keyword Insertion is a useful tool that enables you to automatically change your ad headlines to keywords in your ad group when they are searched for by users. This feature uplifts engagement as the ad becomes more aligned to the user’s search query.

Using Google’s example of advertising for a chocolate shop, you can use the keyword insertion code in your ad headline like this: Buy {keyword: Chocolate}

By using this code, Google Ads will try to replace it with one of the keywords in your ad group (“dark chocolate”, “sugar free chocolate”, “gourmet chocolate truffles”) but when it can’t, it will use the word “chocolate”.

Thanks to Google for sharing the below example of how Keyword Insertion works:

Tip: Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

A common issue in Google Ads Accounts is search ad groups that only contain one responsive search ad (RSA). Here’s some tips for using RSAs:

  • Use two to three ads per ad group
  • Populate all available headlines and descriptions
  • Create variation of messaging and CTAs
  • Use keyword insertion where appropriate
  • Trial the use of pinned headlines and descriptions vs non-pinned
  • Ensure your ads contain your target keywords
  • Highlight USPs that differentiate you from your competitors
  • Replace poor performing RSAs and test again (continually repeat this process)

If you only use one RSA with limited headlines and descriptions, you’re limiting Google’s ability to learn and present the best performing ads to your prospects.

Google Ads Search Campaign Setup Checklist

  •  Set budgets and goals
  • Build your keyword lists
  • Decide on a campaign structure
  • Prioritise hero products and/or most profitable services
  • Test different keyword match types
  • Add ad group, campaign and account level negative keywords
  • Write compelling ad copy including your target keywords
  • Use ad group specific landing pages
  • Check campaign type is ‘Search Network Only’
  • Set language targeting to an appropriate language
  • Set location targeting to an appropriate location
  • Make sure your location targets ‘Presence’ only
  • Add all relevant ad extensions (now assets)
  • Ensure your conversion tracking is recording accurately
  • Assign values for campaigns targeting conversion value/ROAS
  • Test ‘Include Search Partners’ vs ‘Exclude’
  • Turn off automatically created assets

What are the benefits of using the Google Ads Transparency Centre?

The Transparency Centre allows you to view ad content and formats that your competitors use, or any other businesses that you may be interested in. This is an underutilised tool that offers a number of benefits:

  • Gives you a head start with ideas for your own strategies
  • Helps you spot gaps in competitor messaging
  • Helps you to understand ad formats that your competitors invest in
  • Helps you understand your competitor’s strengths (and weaknesses)
  • Can speed up your campaign success, if the competitor has tried and tested methods
  • It’s free to use!


Why you shouldn’t go after too much, too quickly with your Google Ads

One of the most common reasons why ad accounts don’t hit a positive ROI, is that they are going after too much too quickly. If your business has hundreds of products or services, promoting them all immediately is not a logical move. This is because the learning period from initial launch of your campaigns is a valuable part of the process. Here’s why:

  • Learning with too many products, services, or campaigns, means you spend more time learning from them.
  • Adding too many products or services during the learning stage will create a more labour intensive environment, potentially slowing down the process and your ability to hit positive ROI.
  • You’re likely to carry more inefficiencies and you risk having a heightened spend as a result.
  • You risk spreading yourself too thin, as the budgets you start out with are typically smaller than where they end up, once you’ve hit a positive ROI and have the confidence to spend more.
  • If you do spread yourself too thin, you risk not learning what actually works for your account at all.

Instead of making these common mistakes, we recommend carefully considering which of your products or services are best to test the water. This should be informed by a combination of offline sales data, keyword research, and indicative click cost and competition data. We often suggest applying the 80/20 rule here, but we would cautiously remind you that your most popular offline products or services won’t always equate to be your most popular online. This is why we test first.

In the first instance, it’s important to ensure that your initial budget is big enough to cater for the available search opportunities surrounding your desired range, and once again, this is why we suggest keeping your selection small. It is better to carry out a full test on your products and gain valuable insights, than spread yourself too thin and gain incomplete results.

In addition to ensuring you have enough budget to effectively launch your campaigns, it’s essential to make sure you have sufficient time to manage them. We can’t overstress the importance of human intervention for successful Google Ads. This process is largely about making observations and regularly tweaking based on what works and what doesn’t. We encourage you to “fail fast”, responding quickly to successes and failures, using performance data to help you assess your account and make changes on a regular basis.

Finally, consolidation is key. When you’re in the testing stages you should employ a refined focus to make sure it is not too difficult or labour intensive to manage and learn from your campaigns.

We’ll be regularly adding to this guide, so keep checking back for new tips! In the meantime, if you’d like to talk about how we can help with your Google Ads Account, get in touch.

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