Notes on working with Google Ads

Some thoughts and learnings while working with Google Ads (focus on search) throughout 2018.

A Framework for the weekly campaign optimization process

In the weekly process of determining where to improve the campaign, we tried to visualise the customer journey:

In the team meeting we then asked ourselves:

  • What is already working well?
  • Where are visitors dropping off in the customer journey (mapped out process above)?
    • (e.g. low click-through-rates on the Ad Display level)
  • Usually the identified step then dictated the channel priorities and to-do’s for the upcoming week 

Helpful Questions to ask in the weekly routine:

On keyword level:

  • Do the keywords attract the right audience?
    • More concrete: If typed in by the audience: are the people in the right mindset to fulfil the desired action on the landing page?
  • Are the key words specific enough so that the user is in the right mindset and we are not wasting money on generic searches? 
  • How much actual demand is there for the key words?

On ad display level:

  • Does the text accurately describe the offering?
  • Are the Ads actually displayed as planned? (When a lot of campaigns are added at once errors easily occur)

On landing page level:

  • Is the first section of the landing page displaying key words and phrases that were part of the campaign?
  • What is the conversion rate?
  • Where are people dropping out?

On a campaign level:

  • What score are we getting for the campaign from Google? (If we score very low, that signals that we are doing something extremely wrong with the campaign and should focus on solving this problem first before going into optimization)

Notes & tips for each part of the advertising process:


Tools: Different tools for key word research (Google Trends etc.)

Demand Research: How high is demand for the key words?

  • This determines on the one hand how expensive the CPCs (Cost per Click) will be.
  • Furthermore, it will show if there is actually market demand/a search behaviour for this topic/key word.
  • Learning: we sometimes had the problem that the key words were good but that just very few people were searching for these topics.

Bids: If you identified key words that are searched often, but you are not getting impressions due to a bid limit that you set for the ad group/campaign, you can individually raise the bid per click for the individual key word.

Ad Display

Ad Writing: It is helpful to use a Spreadsheet for planning campaigns —> Hubspot (Helps to visualise the common length restrictions + you have a nice overview of all the ads that you have floating around in the Google Ads dashboard) The Ultimate Free Google AdWords PPC Kit

Ad size: Make use of the text space that Google provides —> Will make the ad bigger and look more prominent in comparison to other offerings Ads

CTA Buttons: Use CTA Buttons in the Ad (in line with your conversion goal) – e.g. 30-Day-Free-Trial 

Dynamic Headers: A great way to improve the relevance between keywords and Ad Displays is to use dynamic key words. The keywords that the user searches will then be shown in header 1 or header 2 along with the rest of the ad test. This is a low hanging fruit to increase the relevance of the ad. 

Landing Page

Header Design: The header is by far the most important section (as a lot of traffic will drop out, if they are not seeing relevant graphics and content in this section)

Landing Page Optimization: Once you get an audience that is actually reading your page, focus on optimising the content. 

This means:

  • Shortening the sentences and seeing that each sentence actually contributes towards informing the customer about the exact value proposition
  • Include dynamic elements like drop-down tables on the landing page (this will guarantee to provide depth with the content but at the same time, the content is hidden in the initial stage to save space on the landing page.) 
  • Mobile optimisation

General principle for the LP: Not too long + one conversion goal

Campaign Management

A marketing framework as a supportive planning element: For campaign planning, it does make sense to have some sort of marketing framework (Consumer Decision Journey or AIDA or some other funnel abstraction) to determine in what direction the campaign should go. Why? The landing page then needs to display the content in a way that is in line with the buying intend.

Campaign Structure in Google Ads: When setting up the campaigns in Adwords: Have clear themes to distinguish the campaigns – this will make it easier to determine whether a campaign was successful.

We used themes for different buying personas and AIDA stages (Exploration vs. Comparison).

AwarenessGet trafficBlog
ConsiderationGet LeadsWebinar/ Ebook / Case Study
Decision StageGet SalesTrial