A few weeks ago I wrote a blog detailing some of my top tips into optimising Google Ads campaigns, while writing I realised that I had so much more to say, so here is a follow-up.
If you didn't get a chance to read the first installment, you can read it here.
1. Location targeting
Location targeting is a setting that is quite often overlooked, but I’d say it’s vital for a well optimised ad campaign. Location targeting is best used for narrowing down your targeting to only users that you want - sounds pretty obvious, I know.
For example, if you only ship to certain areas (e.g. a Bournemouth based company that only offer shipping within a 50 mile radius) you can target your ads to just this area.
If you’re a business that operates in separate locations you’re most likely to have separate campaigns for each location, and for campaigns that focus on specific location terms this setting is so vital. This setup also allows for different ads per location which gives the ads a more personal vibe & generally increases CTR.
Or if you are advertising for a physical storefront, you should only aim to advertise to people within a radius of that storefront.
If you’re able to have ads for any location without needing to narrow down, this setting is still important. You can add bid adjustments by location too. So for example if you see a trend that Norwich as a location rarely converts at all, you can pull the bids down by any percentage on this location, similarly if it converts really well then you can add a positive bid adjustment.
Overall, optimised correctly, location targeting can bring an increased CTR & ROI.
2. Ad scheduling
Ad scheduling is important because it gives you control over when your ads are active without having to actively pause/activate them manually.
If one of your conversions relies on the user calling your business but no one answers the phone out of office hours then you can turn your ads off for out of office hours - this way you save money.
If certain days of the week, or hours of the day perform better you can narrow down your ad schedule to these times. This optimisation relies heavily on historic data & informed decisions - it can’t be done off guesswork but can save a lot of money in the long run.
Bid adjustments can also be added by day of week or time of day so if you don’t want to exclude activity on Wednesday afternoons because you want the visibility but the conversion rates are low, you can drop your bids down. On the other hand if it works really well you can raise your bid up by any percentage.
3. Bid adjustments
Bid adjustments can be added to a range of different settings including time, location, device, audiences & demographics.
They’re quite quick & easy to add to an account and when done properly prove very valuable. With bid adjustments you can show your ads more or less based on where your user is, what the time/day is and how the user searches.
For instance if traffic from desktop devices are more valuable to your business than mobile, you’re likely to put a negative bid adjustment on mobile and a positive bid adjustment on desktop. Similarly if you only want to target female users you can add a negative bid adjustment on men.
These can save a lot of money in narrowing down areas of your account that don’t perform well or aren’t necessary to your business.
With the amount of different bid strategies available, often you end up having more than one bid adjustment in a campaign. If you have multiple bid adjustments in place, Google will factor in all of the bid adjustments to determine how much your bid will increase or decrease. For overlapping location or device bid adjustments the rules vary slightly.
- For devices, if you set a bid adjustment at campaign level and an adjustment for the same device at ad group level, the bid adjustment from the ad group will be used, however if the campaign level bid adjustment is -100% then the ad group bid adjustment won’t be used.
- For locations, multiple adjustments on the same location won’t be combined. If you set an adjustment of +50% for London and 100% for UK, then the adjustment on London - the more specific location will be used when dealing with traffic from London.
For more information visit the Google Support Centre.
Audiences are an under-utilised setting in Google Ads campaigns.
There are different types of audiences in Google Ads, affinity, detailed demographics, in-market, remarketing, customer match & similar audiences. You can add audiences to ad groups/campaigns and reach people based on who they are, what their interests are, what they research and if they’ve ever interacted with your business.
The idea is that audience targeting done properly can save money, increase CTR, conversions and ROI.
Top Tip: when adding audiences to your campaign, add them as observation instead of targeting. If you add them as targeting that cuts out traffic from everywhere other than what’s targeted. With observation you can collect data on different audiences and gradually cut out the poor performers with a 100% negative bid adjustment, but often traffic comes for audiences that aren’t known or listed so targeting the audience makes this impossible.
This setting is used to prevent your ads being shown to people outside of your target demographic. You can narrow this down by a few factors, each dependent on your business goals.
- Age - this is done in chunks of 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+ & unknown. There are many industries that you might want to cut out younger searchers traffic or the other way around. For instance if you’re advertising university courses - you most likely don’t want traffic from the older demographic, you can narrow this traffic down with a negative bid adjustment and push harder on the younger demographics with a positive bid adjustment.
- Gender - This is done by male, female & unknown. Some industries will see a better performance from one gender over the other & so can prioritise budget with higher bids for one. For instance, makeup brands likely see a better performance from women.
- Household income - only available in certain countries. If you’re advertising a product that’s quite expensive - like a brand new car you might want to narrow down the targeting to households with more income, on the flipside if you’re advertising short term loans you might want to narrow it down to the lower income households who are more likely to need the loan.
With demographic targeting you can expect a higher conversion rate & better ROI.
That brings part two of my top optimisation tips to a close, thanks for reading! There’s still a hefty amount of management and dedication that goes into running Google Ads campaigns but I hope you enjoyed an insight into the important settings that are often overlooked!