4 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Google Ads

Google Ads is a fundamental channel for any online marketing program. People search a variety of things in the world’s most popular search engine and click on a text ad to arrive at a product or service landing page. From there, advertisers have the opportunity to convert the visitor into a customer. 

Why Search Ads Are Important

Search engine marketing is all about intent. You know a potential customer is searching for your product or service, and it’s up to you to be visible in the results. If you have a product or service that meets the searcher’s criteria, you land the sale. 

Search marketing is vastly different from social media marketing or email marketing where advertising tends to be invasive and interruptive for the customer. Rather than interrupt a potential customer, use search marketing to capitalize on their intent and let them come to you.

The Problem with Search Ads

Google brings advertisers an easy-to-use interface, but makes a number of suggestions to encourage advertisers to spend more. Of course, this makes more money for Google and is why they are one of the largest companies in the US. However, a lot of the features that are part of the Google Ads interface are unnecessary and can cause business owners to run through their budget rather quickly. 

To avoid burning through an advertising budget with Google Ads’ default settings, here are 4 things you can do today to optimize campaigns to make the most of your search marketing spend.

1. Be Cautious with the Display Network

Google is notorious for opting in advertisers (by default) to its display network. This network, made up of sites that opt into the program as well as Gmail and YouTube (Google’s own properties), can quickly drive up your spend with irrelevant clicks. Running display ads requires a lot of ongoing optimization and if you’re only focused on showing search-based ads in Google, you’ll want to opt out of this.

This targeting section of Google Ads also has an option for partner sites. These websites leverage the Google search algorithm and can show your ads on 3rd party websites (i.e, ask.com or aol.com). If you don’t want ads to show on any of Google’s search partner sites, be sure to opt out.

2. Use Demographics to Your Advantage

Despite the industry, most advertisers know who their target audience is. For this reason, it’s important to use demographic targeting within the Google Ads interface. Here you are able to bid up or down by age, gender and estimated household income. 

As an example, a business that operates at 55 and older retirement community would want to use demographic targeting to opt out of younger age groups who are less likely to interact or convert from an ad. This will help the business connect with searchers more likely to be in their audience and avoid spending money on visitors who wouldn’t likely convert.

3. Location Targeting is Critical

If you have used Google Ads as part of your marketing strategy, you probably know that Google wants you to show your ads everywhere. However, for local businesses that only cater to a specific geographic region, showing ads in other countries makes zero sense. It’s a quick way to spend advertising dollars without any results.

In each campaign, select location targeting and be sure to set your specific location. It’s recommended to use DMA regional targeting, but you may also want to use radius targeting for your location. In either case, be sure to opt out of showing ads in other countries or locations that are nowhere near your business.

4. Use Ad Scheduling to Show Ads When You Want

Again, a default of Google Ads is to show ads all throughout the day. But what if your business is only open from 9AM to 5PM (standard office hours)? Showing an ad after hours will lead to low quality clicks and customers who won’t be able to reach you.

Within each campaign, jump into ad scheduling and specify the days and hours you want to show ads. You don’t need to set a negative or positive bid adjustment right away, but use the data to your advantage. For instance, if you notice that most people convert on your website on Tuesdays between 10AM and 12PM, use a positive bid adjustment to be front and center for these searchers.

These are just a few tips you can implement today to make your search advertising more effective. Of course, there are more things to consider like conversion tracking, remarketing, device-specific campaigns, etc. You’ll find plenty of optimization options as you continue to build out more campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Targeting your audience correctly and keeping your budget in mind will allow you to make the most of search advertising.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.