When breaking into the digital space as a small business, marketing is crucial. One of the most common ways to drive visitors to your site is through online advertising. It’s estimated that Google receives 5.6 billion searches per day, which makes Google Ads ideal for reaching your target audience. Depending on your product and marketing objectives, the exact mix of ads you’ll need to drive website traffic will vary.
Before Launching Your Google Ads Campaigns
Before you’re ready to launch your ad campaign, you need to identify your target audience, outline your budget, and consider any trends that can give your brand more leverage. Also, depending on your products or service, you need to decide which Google Ads type is best for your business and budget. These considerations will give you a good idea of which ad channels to use and which ads will get you the most traction.
Types of Google Ads
- Search ads – text ads served based on Google user search terms
- Display ads – images on third-party websites
- Video ads – shown before or during videos on YouTube
- Shopping ads – appear at the top of search results with a product image from a Google Merchant Center feed
- App ads – promote app downloads
5 Tricks to Maximize Google Ads Spend and Reach
1. Choosing Keywords
Google offers three choices of keyword types for their campaigns:
- Exact match
- Phrase match
- Broad match
Each has their benefits but we highly recommend that you start with exact match and phrase match to reach your target audience. When it comes to broad match, Google isn’t always the brightest at knowing if a search term is relevant to your keywords, and it can drive up your ad spend and cost per conversion if some of the traffic coming through your ads aren’t a good fit.
For building out your campaigns, we recommend that you start off with one keyword per ad group, but know that you can have multiple ad groups per campaign. This will give you a better idea of which keywords are performing, i.e. have a higher conversion rate or lower cost per conversion.
2. Search Term Exclusions and Placement Exclusions
Once your ads are live and getting you traffic, it’s time to start monitoring and optimizing. This is something that can and should be done right away once you launch campaigns. Building an exclusion list for all types of Google Ads is critical in this respect. It helps protect your reputation, maximize your budget, and improve your monitoring efficiency.
For search and shopping ads, search term exclusions help maximize your budget by ensuring that you’re not paying for irrelevant traffic on unrelated search terms. For display and video ads, placement exclusions can protect your brand by making sure your ads don’t show up on websites that aren’t reputable or that you wouldn’t want to be associated with.
Just know that this can be ongoing time consuming work, but it is worth it doing on a weekly basis once your ads are established.
3. Using Google Ad Schedules, AKA Dayparting
Many people can get tripped up by Google’s ad schedules. Ad schedules are helpful because they make Google run your ad at a desired time (e.g., lunch time to align with breaks, in the evening while people scroll their phones, etc.). This helps you to maximize your ad budget, and is particularly useful if you are starting off with a smaller campaign budget, as many small businesses do. It also ensures that you’re not using this ad budget when no one will see the ads or when cost per conversion is much higher than desired.
Key tips for your Google using ad schedules:
- During your initial set up, make sure to activate the custom schedule and set it to run 24/7 with no bid adjustments in order to prevent a gap in data.
- Start with an ad schedule running 24/7, and then, as you collect performance data over the next 1-2 months, revise it based on performance data and conversion rate.
- Don’t forget to take time zones into account. The schedule is running off the time zone you set in your Google Ads account.
- An alternative to shutting off ads is using a negative bid adjustment to get the CPA roughly equal throughout the week. The formula is 1 – [average CPA/ data specific CPA]. Applying this will get you a percent reduction in bids for a specific date.
- If you find you’re not spending your full ad budget or you have keywords that are ranking at the bottom of page one, consider a positive bid adjustment.
4. Split Testing
It’s a best practice in online advertising to A|B test your ads. To do this, you need variations of an ad where you change only one element that you can then test for (e.g., CTA, headline, color, image, etc.). In order for the performance data to yield valuable information, you should only be testing one element at a time. If you test too many at once, you won’t be able to isolate which variable is responsible for the change in performance.
When it comes to ad testing, you need to be patient. Be sure to give yourself at least a month to gather data for comparison before you select a winner.
5. Don’t Give Up Too Soon
While it’s generally true that digital marketing is more cost-effective than traditional marketing, it can still be nerve-racking when you see your ad spend going up, a high cost per click or conversion, or no conversions. Don’t worry, this is normal in the beginning! During the first month or so, the ad algorithms are in a learning phase where they’re figuring out where to show your ads. Be patient and let it do its thing. After the first month you can start using some of the tips from above to better optimize your campaigns, maximize budget, and increase conversions.
Google Ads for Small Businesses
We are very familiar with creating and maintaining Google Ads of all sorts for small businesses, whether they are looking to promote services or products. If you’re new to the digital marketing space or if you’re looking to optimize your current digital marketing efforts, book a free 30-minute call with one of our marketing experts. We are happy to discuss the best strategies for your business.