5 Insider Tips from a Google AdWords Strategist

5 Insider Tips from a Google AdWords Strategist
March 6, 2017 Liz
google adwords small business

Today I had a missed call from a London phone number, and I thought, “who the heck do I know that would be calling me from London?” A few hours later my phone was ringing again, and it was the same London phone number, so I picked it up. It was Google.

More specifically, it was a call centre employee dubbed a “Google Account Strategist”, and they were calling me about a new small business AdWords account I had just started managing. I receive so many calls from overseas people about Google and SEO, and how I “can be number 1 in Google for a fee” blah blah blah, so my first instinct was to say “no thank you” and hang up, but I knew the client would be told if I didn’t at least hear what the account strategist had to say.

Fast forward 30 minutes to when the call finished. I was actually impressed with the level of knowledge and step-by-step detail the account strategist provided for features that don’t cost extra to implement. Google AdWords has so many options that setting up a new account can easily take two days, so it was nice to get a refresher on a few strategies I hadn’t got to yet.

I thought it would be helpful to share these tips with you as well, whether it’s a refresher or you’re still exploring everything that AdWords can offer. I also have a step-by-step guide for starting AdWords, Get Started with Google AdWords, which you should take a look at first if you’re new to AdWords. The foundation needs to be right before exploring the advanced features.

Here are the 5 Google AdWords strategies that are definitely worth experimenting with.

Ad Extensions

Firstly, I’m a big fan of ad extensions because they allow you to include additional information beyond the character limit of the ad copy, giving way more prominence to your ad.

Example ad with extensions

Example ad with extensions

Ad extension options

Ad extension options

My go-to ad extensions are always:

  • Location Extension: Showing your physical address for hyper-local marketing.
  • Call-Out Extension: A good spot for value proposition text such as “friendly team”.
  • Sitelinks Extension: As you’re only allowed one URL per ad, this type of extension enables you to add other links to cross-sell within the same ad. For example, if you’re advertising a painting category, then within the extensions you can also have links to ladders, paint brushes, and even paint services. Highlighting more of your offering positions you as an attractive one-stop option.
  • Call Extension: Make it very easy for people to click while on their mobile and instantly calls your business.

Ad extensions can be applied:

  • At the Account level: This option will add the extensions to every ad within the whole account.
  • For Specific Campaigns: This option allows you to tailor the extensions based on the Campaign theme.
  • For Specific AdGroups: This option allows you get even more specific with the extensions based on the AdGroup theme.

The more relevant your ad is to what a searcher is looking for, the better it will perform. Using the paint example again, it’s not a good use of space to also advertise that you sell plants within the same ad. Sure, it’ll be interesting to some people, but you should have a separate AdGroup for plants with ads written specifically for people searching for plants.

The next two ad extensions have evolved, and I will definitely be using them wherever possible.

1. Structured Snippets

Structured snippets is an ad extension that allows you to insert another line of words, which adds more depth to your ad message.

a) Click on the Ad extensions tab
b) Click on the drop-down and select Structured snippets
c) Click the red button ‘+extension’
d) Click on New structured snippet

Structured Snippet options

Structured Snippet options

You’re restricted to fixed categories, but most will allow up to 10 items. The categories to choose from are: amenities, brands, courses, degree programs, destinations, featured hotels, insurance coverage, models, neighbourhoods, service catalogue, shows, styles and types.

Adding the additional information can make your ad more enticing and is very useful if your offering is broad.

2. Price Extensions

The price extension is a must-have if you have a sale or promotion. I don’t think I need to explain why, have a look at the screenshot to see how prominent the ad is. It will certainly stand out!

a) Click on the Ad extensions tab
b) Click on the drop-down and select price extension
c) Click the red button ‘+extension’
d) Click on New price extension

Price extension set-up

Price extension set-up

I like that it allows you to choose whether to be specific with prices or keep it general.

a) Choose the type; brands, events, locations, neighbourhoods, product categories, product tiers, service categories, service tiers or services
b) Currency
c) Price qualifier; none, from or up to
d) Header
e) Description
f) Price
g) Units; none, per hour, per day, per week, per month or year
h) Final URL

3. Phone Call Conversion Tracking

If you are using the call extension, there are additional steps you need to take to enable calls to be tracked within the account. It’s a must-have measurement to judge the performance of your ads. Especially if you don’t have Google Analytics linked (but you really should link to Analytics – so that you can monitor the behaviour once people are on the website. If people click and then leave, you’re wasting your money on those keywords without knowing it).

Call Conversions set-up

Call Conversions set-up: part 1

a) Click on Tools in the top menu, click on Conversions and then Phone calls
b) Select the 1st option ‘Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads’, fill in the options (change call length to 5 seconds and count to ‘every’), and save
c) Then go to call extensions and click the red button’+ extension’
d) Select Campaigns or AdGroups, add your phone number and click the edit pencil on the right
e) Turn call reporting ON, expand the advanced option – tick the report phone call conversion and select the phone conversion from the list we set up earlier and save

Call Conversions set-up: part 2

Call Conversions set-up: part 2

4. Shared Library: Bid Strategies

Shared bid strategies are located in the AdWords shared library; you’ll find this in the left-hand menu. Here you’ll find the option to choose from six different flexible bid strategies: Enhanced CPC, Target Search Page Location, Target CPA, Target Outranking Share and Maximize Clicks.

However, we’re going to focus on the Target Search Page Location.

It’s a reality that the top 1 or 2 ads will get the most clicks, and if that’s your goal, then this is an ideal strategy to test out. This option will automatically adjust the bids required to get your ads to the top of the page, or the first page of search results.

Top ads get the clicks

Top ads get the clicks

Target search page conversion

Target search page conversion

Here’s a look at the options you can set: Target search page location

a) Select ‘Top of first page’ and ‘automatically’
b) I recommended that you set a bid limit. Otherwise you can easily blow out your budget. This may defeat the purpose of the strategy, but if you aren’t willing to spend $20 per click to get to the top, you need to fill this in

Target search page conversion set-up

Target search page conversion set-up

5. Use 3 Variations of Ad Copy

And finally, it’s always best practice to write 2 to 3 variations of ad copy and based on the result, the ad that generates the most activity will automatically be shown more. The account strategist recommended this particular structure for each AdGroup, as the combination has apparently gained good results from tests Google have done:

  • Ad Copy 1: Use your business name in the headline
  • Ad Copy 2: Use keyword insert in the headline to match the keywords that the user has typed into Google search. E.g. AdWords automatically replaces the code with the keyword that triggered your ad: {KeyWord:House Paint}.
  • Ad Copy 3: A strong call to action in the headline, e.g. Claim Your Free Paint Sample
3 variations of headline

3 variations of headline

So, there you have it, 5 handy tips straight from a Google Account Strategist that you can implement in your Google AdWords account straight away.

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Liz is the owner of Vivid Marketing. She has a well-rounded business background within small and large organisations, as well as over 7 years experience in marketing. Liz's ambition is to help small business owners promote their business through digital channels.