Now that you know which statistics to use to measure your ad performance, let’s go over how to use that data to improve your performance. You’ll also want to optimize your campaign based on your business goals, a few of which we’ll go over below.
Improving your return on investment
In general, you’ll want to focus on improving your conversion potential through attracting the right customers to your business. Here are some basic strategies and specific tips about how to optimize your keywords, ad text, bids and budget.
If you find that a large percentage of visitors have clicked your ad but haven’t made a purchase or performed an action you’d like them to take, the following steps may help you increase your conversions and ROI:
- Use a landing page that’s most relevant to your ad: When customers click your ad, they expect to see a webpage highlighting the exact product, deal, or information described in your ad. If they don’t find what’s promised as soon as they arrive, they’re more likely to leave your site without making a purchase or signing up for your service. Be sure that any promotions and discounts mentioned in your ad text are visible on your landing page.
- Use highly relevant keywords and ad text: If you use general keywords and ad text, a customer may arrive at your site expecting to find something that you don’t offer. Highly targeted keywords and ad text help ensure that your ads show only on searches relevant to your product or service.
- Adjust your bids: The bottom line for any keyword is how much value it generates compared to its cost. For keywords that show a profit, increase the bid to increase exposure and generate more traffic. For keywords that aren’t profitable, decrease the bids to lower your costs or even consider removing those keywords.
- Add successful sites as placements: For campaigns running on the Display Network, you can use the Placements tab to see all of the web pages, apps, and videos where your ads appeared. If you find that your ad performs particularly well on a given website, try adding that website as a managed placement.
- Use negative keywords to eliminate unwanted clicks: You can use negative keywords to filter out searches for different products or services, searches that aren’t relevant to your business, or people who aren’t likely to make a purchase.
- Remove duplicate keywords: Google shows only one ad per advertiser on a particular keyword, so there’s no need to include the same keywords in different ad groups or campaigns. Since the better performing keyword will trigger your ad more often, remove the duplicate that performs worse. Keep in mind that it’s okay to include duplicate keywords for campaigns targeting different geographic regions.
- Optimize low-performing keywords: It’s essential to regularly review your keywords to ensure that they’re all performing well and providing you with a good ROI. If a keyword is not directly related to your business, website, and ad text, it’ll trigger impressions and clicks that are not likely to convert into actions you care about, like purchases or signups. Here are some key measurements to look for to identify whether a keyword is performing well or not:
- Keyword diagnosis: Performing a keyword diagnosis will give you a detailed view of each keyword’s Quality Score along with tips for improvement. To diagnose your keywords, hover over the speech bubble icon next to the status for any keyword in the “Keywords” tab. You’ll see a help bubble appear with information.
- First page bids: Check your keywords’ estimated first page bids, which is the approximate cost-per-click (CPC) bid needed for your ad to reach the first page of Google search results when a search query exactly matches your keyword. You can use this estimate, which is based on the Quality Score and current advertiser competition for that keyword, to get greater insight when planning your bidding strategy.
- Understand the buying cycle: To maximize your ROI, try to understand what stage within the buying cycle a customer might be in: the awareness stage, the research and comparison stage, or the buying stage.
- Use keywords to separate the serious buyers from the online equivalent of window shoppers. For example, customers searching with terms like “reviews” or “ratings” are probably still researching the product and might be less likely to make a purchase at that stage. By understanding the buying cycle for your specific product or service, you can filter out such customers with negative keywords or direct these customers to more research-friendly parts of your site.
- Ad text can also help you reach customers in the right stage. The call-to-action should reflect the action that you consider a conversion, whether that’s a sign-up, a request for more information, or an actual sale. Conversion-related calls to action will set the right expectation for customers in various stages of the buying cycle.
- Enhance your ad with extensions: Ad extensions tend to improve the clickthrough rate (CTR) of your ads. Depending on the products or services that your business offers, you might consider using different ad extensions. For example, sitelink extensions allow you to add links to your website and help people find what they’re looking for, call extensions let people click a button to give you a phone call, and location extensions help people nearby find your nearest storefront.
- Experiment with bids and budgets to see what works: Test different bid amounts and budgets and measure how effective the change is, test bids for profitability and ROI, and test budgets for ad exposure. We suggest adjusting amounts in small increments to allow your keywords to accrue conversion statistics and performance data with the new settings. Allow at least a few days between changes so you’ll have enough performance data to make an informed decision.
- Allocate your budget according to performance: An important aspect of budgeting is making sure you have appropriate budgets for each campaign. For keywords that are profitable, you probably want to show them all the time. To do this, the campaign’s budget needs to be sufficiently high so the campaign isn’t limited by budget. If you’d like certain keywords to receive maximum traffic, make sure they’re in campaigns whose daily spend isn’t reaching or exceeding its daily budget consistently. Try to prioritize your products or services and then match budgets to each campaign based on priority. If your overall advertising budget is limited, find budget from campaigns that have unused budget or that don’t convert well, then reallocate that budget to high performing campaigns that are limited by budget.
- Adjust your keyword bids: With conversion data, you’ll better understand how profitable your keywords are with their current bids and can identify which keywords could be more successful with adjusted bids.
- For keywords that show a profit (such as having high conversion rate and low costs), you might try increasing their maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bids. While costs may increase, your ad position could rise and provide more ad exposure, potentially increasing your conversion rate and ROI. In other cases, it may make sense to lower the bid for a keyword even if the keyword is profitable. By lowering the bid, you’ll lower the average amount paid, which may increase the profit margin for that keyword.
- For keywords that aren’t profitable (such as having a low conversion rate and high costs), you might try decreasing their bids to lower your costs. A lower bid is likely to decrease the keyword’s average position, the number of impressions and clicks it receives, and as a result, the cost it incurs. Not only can this strategy improve your ROI on low-performing keywords, but in some cases, it can also free up part of your budget so you can invest in more valuable keywords.
- Use ad scheduling to automatically change your bids throughout the day: Ad scheduling includes an advanced setting which lets you adjust the pricing for your ads during certain time periods. Use the bid adjustment feature of ad scheduling to automatically take these actions:
- Increase your CPC bids by a certain percentage on days or times of day that are most profitable for you. For example, if you find that your ads get the best results before noon, you can set your bids higher during that timeframe to try and get more impressions and clicks.
- Decrease your CPC bids on days or times of day when appearing in a high position doesn’t result in profitable clicks.
Increasing your brand awareness on the Display Network
With a brand-engagement campaign, you want to build awareness of and positive associations with your company and its products and services. Customers can interact with your brand in a variety of ways, including watching videos, playing games, spending time on your website, or communicating with other customers.
Here are some tips for using targeting, rich-media ad formats, and cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) bidding.
You can pick and choose placements, or specific websites or sections of sites within the Display Network on which you can run your campaign. You can select sites based on specific topics or the target audience that you’re trying to reach, or you can choose any site that meets your branding criteria. You might also want to add other targeting options, such as age, gender, or interest categories, to reach as many people as possible without significantly limiting your reach.
Since a main goal of a brand-engagement campaign can be to interact with your target audience, we suggest using rich-media ad formats. With the Display Network, you can reach customers using text ads, but you can also can try a range of more visual formats, like static images, flash animation, and video. For example, if you’ve produced a video ad that you’re using on your local TV channel, consider uploading it to YouTube. You can set up a free YouTube user channel and customize its design to reflect your brand.
With brand-engagement campaigns, you want to maximize your brand’s exposure on relevant sites. CPM bidding is typically a good fit for a campaign like this, since you can set your bids directly from the performance goals you’ve set for your campaign.
Antoine calculated Fiona’s return on investment for a month’s period by subtracting her overall costs from the number of conversions (or revenue driven by her campaign) and dividing that number by her overall costs: (US$9500 – US$8000) / US$8000 = .18 or a 18% return on investment.
To improve Fiona’s ROI, Antoine takes a closer look at which keywords are resulting in the highest cost-per-conversion and lowers the bids for those that aren’t meeting her goals. Then, Antoine uses data from the Search terms report to identify keywords that are highly relevant to Fiona’s products and adds them to the campaign. Antoine also makes some changes to Fiona’s ads, including a clear call-to-action to drive purchases and changing the landing page so it’s more relevant to people who are ready to make a purchase.