So you have been trying to run Google Ads… with no avail.
You have spent and spent but have seen (basically) zero conversions… zero sales.
It’s most likely because your Google Ads suck. It’s ok, not your fault. You just wanted to save money by doing them yourself. I get it.
But if you are not a trained Google Ads expert, you can’t expect anything less. That is why I am going to show you why your Google Ads suck.
I have been doing Google Ads since it first launched (about 20 years ago) and I would say I am very knowledgable in the space.
So here are some reasons why your Google Ads are not performing well:
Your Settings Suck
Did you know that there are some really important settings you should be looking at for better-optimized ads?
I bet not because if you did, your Google Ads wouldn’t suck!
Here are some settings you should check out for the best Google Ads performance:
Not only should you be setting which locations you want to advertise, but there is another setting that can create overspend.
Once you choose the location you want to advertise in, click the locations options to view more options for your location targeting.
Select ‘People in or regularly in your targeted locations’. This will ensure that your ad only shows to people in your target locations.
The bidding type can have a large effect on the suckiness of your ads. There are currently 4 different bidding options in Google Search Ads:
- Conversions: If you want to optimize for conversions, you can use Target CPA to help increase conversions while targeting a specific cost per action (CPA)
- Conversion Value: If you want to optimize for conversion value, you can use Target ROAS to help increase conversion value while targeting a specific return on ad spend (ROAS)
- Enhanced CPC: If you want to automatically adjust your manual bids to try to maximize conversions, you can use ECPC. It’s an optional feature you can use with Manual CPC bidding
- Impression Share: If you want to gain more impressions than your competitors.
Depending on your business and marketing strategy, you can use any of these bidding types to maximize conversions and clicks.
For most software companies, conversions will be the ideal bidding type. With conversion bidding, you can set a maximum CPA (cost per acquisition) and Google will use its algorithm bring in sales, while staying around or under the maximum CPA.
So let’s say, the lifetime value of your customers is $100. You could set a maximum CPA of $50. That is, you will spend up to $50 to gain a conversion. In this case, you would make $50 per sign up at that CPA.
By default, Google will automatically select both the Search and Display network.
Depending on your business, you may want to opt-out of the display network, so that your ads only show in Google Search.
Ideally, you would have a separate campaign for search and display network, so you can track each advertising source and see how well it converts.
If you have multiple conversion actions, you need to update some settings in your campaign so that Google optimizes your ads for each conversion event.
Let’s say that you have a conversion for a sign-up and a conversion for a newsletter subscriber. If you don’t tell Google which conversion action you want to optimize for, it may cause lower conversions.
Select the conversion action you want to optimize for, in each campaign.
If you only have one conversion action, you don’t need to edit this setting!
Although not as relevant anymore, the ad rotation setting can be updated to perform more in-depth A/B testing of ads.
If you want to send traffic evenly to all your ads in each ad group, then select ‘Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely”. This will send equal traffic to all your ads, so you can compare performance over time without Google’s Ad algorithm affecting anything.
Most of the time, you can leave this setting as is.
Your Tracking Sucks
If you aren’t tracking everything, your ads probably suck.
Tracking is the most important part of any advertising campaign. If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, how can you better optimize your Google Ads campaigns?
You should be tracking at least:
- Avg. Time on Page
- Landing Page Clicks
- Landing Page Bounce Rate
- Ecommerce Tracking (if applicable)
Luckily, there is a free way to track everything and its called Google Analytics.
with Google Analytics, you can track bounce rates, conversions and any other data you need to track your campaign better, simply by installing the code on your site.
Installing Google Analytics
Google Analytics is very simple to install.
Just head to Google Analytics, add an account and create a new property. Choose web, to track the activity on your website.
Click continue and then you will enter in the property details like website name, URL and timezone.
Now that you are tracking your website visitors, we can see what is working and what isn’t.
Tracking Ad Conversions
If you are not tracking conversions in Google Ads, its no wonder why your Google Ads suck!
Tracking conversions in Google Ads can allow you to see which ads, ad groups, and keywords are performing the best. You can see the direct ROI on your ad spend, allowing you to optimize your campaign to it full potential.
To track conversions in Google Ads, you will need to set up a conversion tracking pixel and integrate it into your website.
If your software is custom coded, you will need your dev team to add the tracking pixel to your conversion page (or welcome page, dashboard, etc).
Head to the conversion page in the tools & settings tab at the top of Google Ads.
Select create a new conversion and choose website action to track sales and other actions on your website.
Select the type of action you want to track. Here are all of the choices:
- Page View
If you are wanting to track sales of your software, then you will choose purchase. Enter a conversion name so you can easily reference it in reports.
Lastly, you will need to set a value for your conversions. If you have multiple packages or plans, you will need to account for those in your code.
Click complete and then choose ‘install tag yourself’. You will now see the code you must add to your website <head> section on every page. It will look something like this:
You also need to install the actual event snippet that will record the conversion action and variables. It will look something like this:
Add this to the page that your users land on after they make a purchase. Make sure to update the value, currency and add a transaction ID so you can match conversions to customers.
Now you will be able to see revenue and conversions in Google Ads.
Setting Up Ecommerce Tracking
Not only can you track conversions in Google Ads, but you can also track conversions and revenue in Google Analytics.
This will allow you to see a lot more data about the conversions like geography, interests, demographics and more.
To set up Analytics E-Commerce tracking, you will need to first enable it in Analytics.
Go to Settings->Ecommerce settings, enabled ecommerce and then click Save.
Now you will need to set things up on your website so when an order happens, it tells Google Analytics and it can be recorded in the data.
If you are using WordPress, you can use a simple plugin like this one to get ecommerce tracking working with WooCommerce.
For custom developed sites, you will need to do the same thing you did for the Google Ads conversions but for Analytics (I know, it’s kind of a pain in the ass).
Here is a link to the documentation on how to set up your code to track ecommerce data in Analytics.
Your Campaign Structure Sucks
The way you structure your campaign is very important in creating ads that don’t suck.
If you create 1 ad group and throw thousands of keywords in it, you are doing it wrong.
You should be breaking up your ad groups by topic or by product category so that each ad group can have more targeted keywords and ads.
Here is the ideal campaign structure for successful Google Ads campaigns:
With an optimized campaign structure, you will see higher click through rates and lower cost per clicks.
Your Keywords Suck
If you are simply adding keywords that Google suggest and throwing in random keywords you think will work, you are doing it wrong.
Keyword Research is one of the most important steps that many advertisers look over. In order to have a fully optimized campaign, you should be targeting keywords with intent.
If your software targets WordPress users who want better reporting, you should be adding just ‘WordPress’ as a keyword. This could show up for millions of irrelevant keywords that will drain your budget and conversions.
Instead, you should be targeting keywords that have intent, like “WordPress reporting” or “reports for WordPress”.
But how do you know if a keyword even gets any searches? That’s why doing keyword research should be the first step when starting a campaign.
There are several free tools you can use to do keyword research for your Google Ads campaign:
- Google Keyword Planner is a decent way to get an idea of volume and competition for keywords.
- KeywordTool.io is also a freemium tool that can find good keywords to bid on in the search results.
With these tools, you can get an estimation of how much you will spend per click and how much volume you can get for each keyword.
Keyword Match Types
Did you also know that there are multiple types of keywords you can use?
One of the biggest reasons your ads suck is you probably just thrown in broad match keywords which can give you a whole of traffic…that probably won’t convert.
Here are all of the keyword match types you can use when adding keywords in Google Ads:
- Broad Match: includes synonyms, misspellings, related searches, and relevant variations
- Exact Match: includes exact terms and very close variations
- Phrase Match: includes phrases and close variations
- Broad Match Modifier: includes the modified term or close synonymous in any order
Here is a little more information about each keyword match type:
This Search: PPC software
Returns: pay per click software free trial
This Search: [PPC sofware]
Returns: PPC software
This Search: “PPC sofware”
Returns: buy PPC software
Broad Match Modifier
This Search: +business +ppc +software
Returns: PPC software for business
So now that you know about fixing your keywords, its time to fix your sucky ads now.
Your Ads Suck
The ad is what people see when they search for certain queries on Google Search.
One of the main reasons your Google Ads suck is probably because your ads are terrible. This lowers your CTR, making it cost higher per click and sending you less traffic (and sales).
Your ads should be targeted at the keyword and very close to the target keyword. The ad should contain a call-to-action, extensions and other things that can make your ad stand out above the rest.
Here are some ways to increase your ad CTR:
There are currently a number of extensions you can use to make your ad stand out more resulting in more impressions and clicks.
- Sitelink Extensions
- Location Extensions
- Structured Snippet Extensions
- Call Extensions
- Message Extensions
- App Extensions
- Callout Extensions
- Price Extensions
- Promotion Extensions
Adding as many of these extensions as possible will help your add stand out more as well as provide more information to the searcher.
Since you pay per click, it’s a good idea to have the most amount of information upfront to reduce people clicking and leaving when they found out the price is too high, for example.
Include your price in callout extensions and use sitelink extensions to link to your different packages or tiers.
Here is an example of a site using sitelinks to take over a large portion of the SERPs (search engine results pages).
For software companies, the price, message, callout, and promotion extensions are perfect for creating an ad that pulls in new customers with ease.
Add special characters
Using non-alphanumeric characters in your ads can help draw peoples eyes to your ad first.
Try adding the following elements:
- +, |, #, $ symbols
Here is a great example of adding your pricing into your ad to increase conversion rate. You see how it draws your eye right to the price and then down the ad to the sitelinks below.
They are also taking advantage of sitelinks, location extensions, and price extensions.
Keyword in Title & Description
Lastly, it’s important to include the target keywords in your ad title and description.
You can see from the images above that Google will bold closely related keywords that match the query. Again, this helps your ad stand out more and catch the searchers eye.
Your Landing Page Sucks
Are you sending people straight to your home page? This can greatly decrease the performance of your ads.
A landing page is ideal for creating Google Ads that don’t suck.
When you send someone to your homepage you are giving them too much control of where they can go and what they can do.
With a landing page, the visitor can only engage our call to action or leave.
What is a call to action?
A call to action is something that instructs the user to take a specific action. It can be things like:
- Fill out a questionnaire
- Buy a Product
- Add contact information
- Download an Ebook
- Sign up for newsletter
- Join a Webinar
Landing pages also create a more targeted experience for the user clicking the ad. The landing page, ad, and keyword should be very close if not exactly the same.
If you are advertising “Purple Widget Wheels” your ad should contain “Purple Widget Wheels” and your landing page should say something like “Buy Purple Widget Wheels”. Of course, you would be targeted that exact keyword in Google.
At first, creating a landing page can seem like quite a feat, but there are some tools out there to create landing pages really easy:
Match your landing page to your brand and ad, making sure it’s very targeted to your specific ad. You can simply copy landing pages for each ad group or you can use dynamic text to use one landing page, that dynamically changes the text depending on the ad.
This will provide the best user experience for your user resulting in the highest Quality Score possible, reducing your CPC and increasing your clicks!