Whether you work freelance or for an agency, every paid search specialist is responsible for boosting campaign performance month-over-month.
Not knowing how to measure ad effectiveness and how to improve performance metrics can have a devastating impact on your relationship with a client.
If you do not feel confident in your ability to optimize the campaigns that you have created, or if you simply need reassurance that you are in fact doing the right things, we’ve covered 9 effective ways that you can boost paid search campaign performance in this post.
9 Useful Tactics for Optimizing Your Paid Search Campaigns
Below you’ll find helpful strategies to adjust your paid search campaigns to maximize effectiveness.
1. Enhance Your PPC Bidding Strategies with Keyword Bid Optimizations
Keywords are the fundamental building blocks of an AdWords campaign (much like bricks to a house), therefore it should come as no surprise that the most impactful changes to a campaign are done at the keyword level.
Optimizing keyword bids is rather simple: increase bids for well-performing keywords and decrease bids for poorly performing keywords.
When measuring keyword performance to determine for which keywords you should decrease bids and for which keywords you should increase bids, first, sort by cost and see if your top spending keywords have generated conversions.
If a high spend keyword has not generated any conversions, significantly decrease its bid or consider pausing it all together. Make sure that most of the client’s budget is being spent on keywords that have generated conversions.
After decreasing bids for high spend keywords that do not convert, filter the keywords by conversions and increase bids for any keywords that have generated conversions but that are not in “Avg Pos.” 1. Periodically making strategic keyword bid optimizations for the client will help you drive more conversions for the client at a lower cost.
2. Analyze Search Query Reports for New Keywords & Negative Keywords
The second most impactful change you can do to a campaign is to regularly check the search term report for new keyword ideas and for new negative keyword ideas.
Finding Negative Keywords
Unless you are only bidding for Exact Match keywords, your ads will sometimes trigger for queries that are either not appropriate for your client, or unlikely to generate a conversion. If you find a query that you do not want to show ads for, add it as a negative keyword.
When you identify a new negative keyword that you would like to add, be sure to add it as a negative keyword at the appropriate level. You can add negative keywords at the ad group level, the campaign level and into a negative keyword list in the shared library.
Expanding and sculpting your negative keyword lists will ensure that your ads are only being seen by the right people and triggering for queries that make sense for your client’s business.
Finding New Keywords
Additionally, use the search term report to help you expand the set of keywords for which you are bidding. I recommend paying close attention to the search terms that have resulted in conversions for your client. If you are bidding on phrase match, broad match modified, or broad match keywords; you will trigger for search terms that you do not have in your campaigns as keywords.
Adding the Search Terms that have converted into your campaigns as new keywords is important because it will allow you to ensure visibility for those terms, and it will allow you control the ad that you serve for them. By regularly reviewing the Search Term Report and by adding new keywords that have a resulted in conversions for your client, you will successfully grow your clients account in the right direction.
3. Make Device Bid Adjustments to Target Specific Users
Another effective way to boost search campaign performance is to measuring ads performance on the 3 different device platforms (computer, mobile, and tablets), and making bid adjustments as supported by the data.
The data for every campaign and every ad group can be segmented into the 3 device platforms:
Periodically examine how your campaigns and ad groups perform on the different device platforms. If most of your budget is being spent on mobile ads but you convert best on computers, decrease your mobile bids. Make sure that none of the device platforms are bleeding out your budget.
If you have never made device bids before, you will be amazed by how much impact they can have on performance overall.
4. Set Geographic Target Bid Adjustments for Specific Location Targeting
Geographic bid adjustments are a great way to trim the fat off your AdWords campaign and help ensure that your client’s ads are placed in front of the right people in the right places.
Google allows you to set very specific Geographic targets for each campaign and you can make bid adjustments for various locations. Be sure to increase bids for locations that perform well for your client, and decrease bids for locations where your client spends money but does not convert.
If your locations are not well segmented and you want to analyze how your ads perform in various cities and states, you can access that information by going to: “Dimensions” -> “View: User locations”.
5. Optimize Your Geo Targets by Adding Demographics
Geographic targets by demographics is another way that you can further refine your client’s account, which will allow you to make household income tier bid adjustments.
The locations that you choose to target for your campaigns can be further segmented into household income tiers, shown below.
This feature helps you funnel your client’s budget toward their target income tier demographic.
For example, if your client sells a very expensive moisturizer, you would be more likely to generate a purchase from a person who is part of the “Top 10%” household income tier. On the other hand, if your client offerings an “affordable” or “cheap” product or service; it makes sense to decrease bids for the “Top 10%”. When utilizing this feature to refine your bid strategies, please keep in mind that you should not make bid adjustments unless you have statistical data to support your decisions.
I recommend creating Demographic groups for all your campaigns prior to enabling them, so that bid adjustments are not arbitrary.
6. Take Advantage of Timing with Ad Schedule Bid Adjustments
Another way you could optimize your campaign performance is by creating an ad schedule and making ad schedule bid adjustments.
Google allows you to set very specific Ad Schedules for each campaign, and you can make bid adjustments for various days of the week, or hours of the day.
When optimizing a campaign, be sure to increase bids for the days and hours that perform well for your client, and decrease bids for locations where your client spends money but do not convert.
If you did not create an ad schedule for your client prior to enabling the campaign and therefore you don’t see any ad schedule data at the Campaign setting level, you can still analyze day of the week and hour of the day performance for the campaign (and therefore create a custom schedule and make informed bid adjustments) by going to “Dimensions” “View: Time”.
7. Create Audiences with Remarking Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs)
Another great way to boost your paid search campaign performance is to create and add custom audiences for your search campaigns. Doing so will allow you target your client’s text ads based on whether a user has previously visited their website and the pages that were viewed.
The first step to creating a custom audience is to create a Remarketing tag and installing it on the backend of every page of your client’s website. To generate the Remarketing tag: go the shared library, Audiences.
Once there, you will be able to generate a Remarketing tag (with instructions for implementation). To create custom audiences, click “+ Remarketing Lists”.
Before creating the custom audiences, I recommend putting together a game plan of how you would like to segment your website users.
For example, if your client has a lead generating website you may want to segment their website users into the following categories: all converters (Url contains “/success”), all the people who have reached the contact us page but did not convert (url containing “/contact-us” but does not contain “/success”) and all the visitors who did not reach the contact us page, nor converted (url contains www.domanin.com does not contain “/contact-us” and does not contain “/success”.
After the custom audiences are created, you could apply them to your ad groups with the broadest keyword targets; or you could set up a new “RLSA” specific campaign.
8. Create Ad Extensions
Although the idea of using Ad Extensions for your campaigns (or Ad Groups if you want to be more granular) is not a new concept for most paid search specialists, it is important to go through your campaigns and make sure that you are taking advantage of all the Ad Extensions that are available to you and applicable to your client’s website.
Ad Extensions are very important for a couple reasons: they allow you to provide more information to online searchers, and they take up a lot of real estate on the Google Search Engine – the bigger the ad, the greater the chance that it will be noticed. Generally, every campaign you create should have the following Ad extensions: Sitelinks (with descriptions), Callouts, Call Extensions and Structured Snippet extensions.
A simple way to boost paid search performance is to identify additional Ad extension opportunities and expand the Ad extensions for your client’s account. If your client has a good review with the Better Business Bureau, be sure to create a “Review extension” for them. If your client is price competitive, consider creating “Price extensions”.
9. Avoid AdWords Mistakes by Removing What Isn’t Working
Lastly, sometimes the best thing that you can do to boost search campaign performance is to remove anything that is simply not working.
If you need an instant boost in performance a simple way to achieve this is to go through your account feature by feature and pause things that do not work.
Start by examining your Campaigns. Do you have any campaigns that spend a lot of money but have poor performance metrics? Then pause that campaign.
With these effective tools now added to your PPC toolbox, try out these strategies! You’re sure to boost campaign performance for your client.
About Intuitive Digital
Intuitive Digital is a digital marketing agency in Portland using effective pay-per-click advertising (PPC) strategies to deliver results to small businesses and enterprises. Our data-driven team maximizes paid search campaign performance to boost success and ultimately bring in more business for our partners.
If you have any questions or would like any further information, don’t hesitate to reach out our team of PPC experts at Intuitive Digital.