Google Ads — 5 lessons you’ll not find anywhere else!
Don’t worry, it’s not as complex as you think
When I started my career in digital marketing, Google Adwords was one of the first platforms I dabbled in.
In hindsight, it did seem a little more complex compared to Facebook ads — the interface, the difference in ad setup and function, and the plethora of information available.
Recently, I was pursuing the Growth Marketing Minidegree from CXL and came across a course by Jonathan Dane.
In his quick 97-minute course, he has accurately explained the various features, dashboard functions, metrics to look at, and also how to conduct audits. I wanted to share the lessons briefly.
So, here goes!
Part 1 — Types of Google Ads
Let’s start with the basics. There are 3 primary types of Google Ads. These are:
a) Search Network Campaigns
Search Network campaigns are text based and appear on SERP (Search Engine Results Page). It appears when the audience searches for keywords that you’re targeting directly (broad, exact, phrase, modified broad) or indirectly (in-market audiences).
Shopping ads are also part of the search network campaign.
b) Display Network Campaigns
These ads are in image form and appear in websites or apps that your target audience is visiting. The apps and websites will be part of Google’s Display Network.
c) Video Campaigns
As you would have guessed it, this refers to the ads on YouTube. The ads are video ads in most cases and last anywhere between 6–15 seconds (this is the suggested timeframe, some advertises use videos that go as long as 3 minutes)
Part 2 — Meaningful Metrics
Every metric on the platform will not be relevant to you. For example, if you’re running upper funnel campaigns, you should consider the CTR or VCR over RoAS because you’re trying to build an audience with the upper funnel campaigns.
You can convert them later by retargeting with down funnel campaigns.
Part 3 — IceBerg effect
The IceBerg effect is something we’re all guilty of doing in the early stages of setting up campaigns.
It refers to adding multiple layers of targeting and restricting the targeting to a point where the reach is so narrow that your ads will just not perform.
Try to keep the targeting to a minimum so that the platform can do it’s magic and try to work towards your objective of the campaign.
Part 4 — External Search Tools
The native search tools (keyword planner) is straightforward and doesn’t require much explanation.
There are external search tools that go beyond the capabilities of the native search tools. These are:
Spyfu helps to identify what the competition is doing on Google Ads (akin to Facebook ad library but better).
You can check the creatives (display campaign), keyword bids, keywords, etc. with the tool.
Use it as a direction to what else is happening in the industry — don’t use it as a copy-paste technique as what works for them may not necessarily work for you.
Similar to Spyfu but a step ahead. With WhatRunsWhere, you can check the actual ad creative that competitors are using, location, ad placement, ad network (beyond google ads), and also the landing page they’re trying to send the traffic to.
Part 5 — Search & Shopping Temperature
I consider this to be a hidden gem and a very insightful tactic.
Do you use the same strategy in your Search and Display campaigns?
If yes, do you see your Search ads performing much better compared to your Display campaigns?
This is because both the ad types are very different from one another.
In a Search campaign, the audience have very high intent i.e., they’re more likely to convert if they find your ad. It’s a pull type ad.
Here, they are willing to purchase immediately (high intent action) after they reach the landing page.
Whereas, Display is a push type ad. You show the banners to customers when they’re browsing through their favourite websites or apps. Their intent cold i.e. cold.
Here, if you use the same landing page and CTA, do you think they would convert? Of course not!
You’re expecting a cold intent to take a hot action — this in most cases doesn’t work.
Here is a table for easy reference:
Let’s look at an example
Le Tote is a fashion rental brand.
They appear second in SERP from the Search campaigns. Once the customer clicks on the link, they’re redirected to the landing page where they’ve to sign up and continue to make a purchase.
This worked very well for search campaigns and the RoAS was impressive.
But, they applied the same strategy to a Display campaign and the results were terrible. There were almost zero conversions.
They even gave 50% off but this also didn’t change the result.
Then the team decided to change the strategy. They designed a similar landing page but the CTA was to share the customer’s email id to get 50% off.
Once the customer shared the email id, they would get an email with the link to get 50% off on the first purchase.
After they arrived on the landing page, there was a similar onboarding process as the audience from the search campaigns.
In this way, the company ensured that cold traffic was met with cold CTA (sharing email id) and was not pressured to make a purchase immediately.
If you don’t want to give a discount, you can also ask for the email ids to share a free e-book, quiz etc.
The email ids can also be used to retarget the audience with your down funnel campaigns.
These details will enable you to understand the concepts vividly and also help you test a few tactics that can improve your campaign’s performance.
This topic is explained in detail in the Researching and Testing lesson of CXL Institute’s Growth Marketing Minidegree. The lessons in the minidegree are crafted nicely with tons of additional reading material that enabled me to understand the concepts in depth.