Managing Google Ads campaigns can be challenging and time consuming without a process. With the copious amount of metrics available to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the optimization opportunities you can undertake.
In addition, making too many campaign changes can often lead to a decrease in performance with a lack of understanding as to which change made the biggest impact on the account.
At Go Fish Digital, we manage a large volume of Google Ads search campaigns for clients in a variety of industries. With several years of experience, we developed an optimization checklist to help our fellow PPC-ers with little to no experience get a jump start to managing their campaigns.
1) Metrics to Review Every Check-in
How has spending been trending since the previous check-in? Are campaigns underspending or spending more than their daily budgets?
It’s important to watch daily spend closely since Google can spend up to 2x the daily budget.
How have searched terms evolved since the last changes or check-ins? Are the searches relevant for the targeted keywords?
When checking search queries, add negative keywords as needed to ensure that the budget is spent on terms bringing in relevant traffic.
Are new ads still under review or disapproved? Some industries, such as finance or healthcare for example, are more likely to have ad copies disapproved because of Google ad policies. Make sure to double-check that ads are approved when creating new copy.
For campaigns using manual bidding strategies, are keywords receiving impressions and clicks? Are there any keywords below the first page bid estimate or that are rarely shown due to low quality score or have low search volume?
Luckily, Google makes it easy to flag bid issues within the platform. Make sure to add the appropriate columns in order to check these metrics regularly.
2) Metrics to Review At Least Once a Week
Conversion metrics include conversion rate, cost per conversion, and return on ad spend.
At Go Fish Digital, we like to compare performance using multiple date ranges to see how metrics are trending over time. Are conversion metrics increased compared to the previous period? Are they slowly decreasing?
Come up with an action plan if conversion metrics are decreasing using these questions:
- Is conversion tracking set up correctly in GTM and Google Analytics?
- Did we lower the budget?
- Did we pause converting keywords?
- Did we change our bidding strategy?
- Did we add any new keywords or new ad groups that could have impacted performance?
- Did we add any negative keywords that could mess up traffic?
- Are there external factors at play here? Such as seasonality or a pandemic?
Cost Per Click
How is cost per click trending? If CPCs have gone up, have new keywords or a new bidding strategy caused the increase? Or has a new competitor entered the market? It’s good to check cost per click to understand how budget and conversion metrics will be impacted.
New Keyword Opportunities
Are there any searched terms that have triggered new keywords to test? Are there any searched terms that show that match types need to be changed or tested?
Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner can be helpful to find new keyword ideas as well.
Google sends recommendations covering anything from keywords to bids, ads or new features. While these can be helpful for some quick fixes, always make sure they align with the campaign’s strategy and objectives before applying any changes.
3) Metrics to Review At Least Once a Month
How is performance trending since the last change in bidding strategy? Are there enough conversion actions tracked to let smart bidding optimize for conversions?
Max Conversions is a good smart bidding option to start testing if you’re currently using Manual or Enhanced CPC bidding. We generally only use Target CPA if there are at least 20 conversions in the last 30 days.
Just a reminder that unlike smart bidding, Manual and Enhanced CPC bidding are supporting bid adjustments for devices, audiences, demographics, and ad schedules. If you are changing campaign settings from smart bidding to manual bidding, make sure to review previous bid adjustments that can increase cost per click.
Are there specific audiences, demographics, devices, and/or times of the day bringing the majority of traffic or conversions? If your campaign is using Manual bidding, use bid adjustments to show your ads more frequently when it is the most likely to convert. At the opposite, use exclusions to save budget where your campaign isn’t converting.
Always review performance with at least 60-90 days of data to make exclusions or bid adjustments, so you can see trends over time.
Click-through Rate & Quality Score
Doing an ad copy refresh is often the easiest and fastest way to improve quality score and click-through rate. Make sure Responsive Search Ads are optimized with 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.
It’s also important to check the overall landing page for other opportunities. How is page speed? How is the mobile version compared to desktop? Are there optimization opportunities on the landing page? Is there a new landing page to test with new ads? Do any URLs need to be changed to improve the keyword quality score?
Is the campaign missing out on traffic based on the time of the year and volume? For example, Summer is a big time for outdoor furniture or going on vacation.
Google Trends is a great tool to understand how users are searching and uncover new keyword opportunities.
How are you ranking on Auction Insights? How has search impression share evolved since the last changes or check-ins? How are top of page rate and absolute top of page rate trending? Are the competitors in Auction Insights relevant to your industry?
Review relevant competitors for ad copy ideas, keyword opportunities, search volume, or conversion rate optimizations.
How to keep track of changes:
Adding notes directly in Google Ads can help you to keep track of major changes in the account and quickly visualize their impact on performance.
Keep in mind that priorities might change from one account to another depending on the industry or seasonality. It’s also important to remember that every time you make a change, you need to wait for the platform to gather enough data to analyze performance before making additional adjustments.
Do you need help creating or managing Google Ads campaigns? Contact us and a Go Fish Digital PPC specialist can help you to review and implement a campaign optimization strategy that maximizes ROI for your business.
Léo Pinon is a Paid Media Associate at Go Fish Digital where he specializes in pay-per-click and social media advertising. His client experience ranges from lead generation strategies for B2B companies to boosting online sales to e-commerce stores. He is also Google Ads and Google Analytics certified. Léo Pinon can be found online at leopinon.com and on Twitter @leo_pinon09.
This blog post was written by a guest contributor. The views within this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of AMA Triangle.