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How to Set Up and Run a Successful Google Ads Campaign

Reaching a plateau in lead generation or sales is frustrating and worrying. Is there something wrong with your website? Has your business lost momentum in the market? Is your advertising too expensive or ineffective? These kinds of questions can really keep a marketer up at night.

fAs a growing business, you want to capitalise on every marketing activity you take up while also being shrewd with your spending. This is where a Google Ads campaign could really change the game for you.

Understandably, managing a campaign of this nature takes time, expertise and budget. Having a simple grasp of how it all works can help you to extract the most from the data Google provides you with. At Klood, we are always keen to share our knowledge with clients so that they feel in control and involved in their campaigns. We want you to walk into stakeholder meetings, ready to deliver and discuss your impressive reports with confidence.

Let’s get into how Google Ads (previously called Google Google Ads) works, how to set up an account, and how to make sure your campaigns bring in the results you require.


Structure of a Google Ads campaign

A Google Ads campaign can be as multifaceted as you need it to be. If you start right, planning the structure of your account first, you’re likely to have a much smoother user experience and will find managing and updating your campaigns a less complicated task.

Here are a few reasons why we recommend a well structured Google Ads account:

  • It’s important that campaigns be set up for future optimisation as this could save you a lot of time and resources – a messy account can be stressful, and we’ve seen our fair share.
  • Organising your Google Ads account correctly will help you to control when and how your ads appear in searches, ensuring you’re always targeting the relevant audience and not just paying for clicks in vain.
  • With a PPC campaign, you’ll want to keep campaigns separate, so that the keywords contained within aren’t overlapping, and you aren’t wasting time optimising ads for the same keyword in several campaigns.

Key Google Ads Terms Defined

Campaign: A campaign is the overall theme of your advertising activity. Your ad groups will fall under this category, each targeting its own specific keyword list with the text in the advert, inviting searchers to click and come to your landing page.

Ad Groups: This is where you start to get precise, focusing on certain keywords that trigger your ads to feature in certain searches, prompting people towards your landing page.

Keywords: When someone makes a search query in Google, they will be using certain terminology or phrasing to answer a question or find a product. The keywords you embed in your ad group will determine whether that ad corresponds to the need of the person doing the search.

Negative Keywords: It’s very probable that if you’re using broad match keywords your ad will pop up for inappropriate search terms. Setting up and building your negative keywords list helps you to streamline your adverts and avoid placing your adverts in places where they could potentially end up costing you money and not bringing in any ROI.

Ad Text: Characters for Google Ads are limited, so you’ll want to make sure that the text you are displaying is compelling, engaging and to the point. You should have 2-3 ads in your ad group sending your customer to the same landing page. This allows you to constantly A/B test your adverts to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Deciding on your goals

Goals are a large part of the dialogue at Klood: that’s because they are the base point of every campaign. Clarifying what you would like to get out of your Google Ads venture and what actions you want customers to take, makes the whole process manageable and well-oriented. Be sure to know what your goals are because Google will ask you for them when setting up your campaigns.

Here are some guidelines for setting your goals:

  • Do you want more sales?
  • Do you want more traffic?
  • Do you want more awareness?
  • Are you trying to boost sales in a specific geographic area?
  • Do you have a cut-off date for your offer?

Google will help you to streamline your message by prompting you to use specific features tailored to your objectives. There are four types of campaigns you can run: search, display, shopping and video. Each has its own specific goals. It's normal for your goals to gradually change as your business scales up or you meet new challenges. Google Ads lets you update or remove goals at any time.

Structuring your account in accordance with your goals will minimise the amount of time you or your account manager needs to regulate it, resulting in quicker adjustments and higher quality of data.

Free Template - Plan Your SMART Marketing Goals

Conversion tracking setup

Conversion tracking is definitely something to get excited about as a digital marketer. Website tags can help you answer the crucial questions you're probably being held accountable for:

  • Did the advert actually make the customer buy your product or service?
  • What did the decision-making process look like for the customer?
  • Was there a return on investment?

In the bygone days of traditional marketing, measuring conversion rate based off of advertising was mostly guesswork. Google Ads lets you embed a piece of JavaScript code on your landing or ‘Thank You’ page which helps you track how many customers went through with a purchase after clicking on your advert. That’s pretty nifty, right?

And if you don’t sell directly from your website, that’s ok too. Google can track phone calls through the free forwarding phone number Google offers. If people are calling as a result of your adverts, you’ll know about it.

This kind of data can really show you whether you are getting a good ROI from Google ads; if you’re not, you can make real-time changes and adjust your targets. You save money by customising your advert for greater accuracy, knowing that your decision is fact-based.

There is a simpler way to set up conversion tracking; however, it will only create more work for you in the long term. We’ve made a simple, step-by-step guide that will help you to future-proof your conversion tracking.

  1. Go to your Google Analytics page.
  2. Select Admin.
  3. Select Google Ads Linking.
  4. Create a New Link Group Animated GIF-source
  5. Select the correct account.
  6. Create a title for your Link Group.
  7. Match your new group the correct view – we recommend a view with your internal traffic filtered out.
  8. It’s now time to set up a goal.
  9. You can select Google’s premade template goals or choose Custom.
  10. Name your goal and under the Type header, select Destination. Animated GIF-source (1)
  11. At this stage, you can now select where you would like the goal to fire.
  12. Now head to your Google Ads account.
  13. Select Tools.
  14. Under the Measurement tab, click on Conversions.
  15. Click the blue plus sign in the top left-hand corner.
  16. Select Import and from there, click Google Analytics. Animated GIF-source (2)
  17. Check the goals you want to import and click Continue at the bottom of the page.

The KPIs to keep closely monitored

Once you’re all set up and running, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your advert’s progress. Apart from conversion tracking, what other key performance indicators should you follow and are there any tools that can you can help you do this? We’re going to explore the answer to these questions in this section.

Each metric in your Google Analytics report will tell you something useful about the performance of your ad.

Let’s take a look at what they all mean

Impressions

Every time your ad is displayed, it is referred to as an “impression”. It doesn’t tell you how your ad is performing, but it will give you an idea of how often it is being seen.  If it’s not popping up on the screens of your potential customers, you may have to expand your keyword list and target audiences.

Click-through rate ( CTR)

When a person sees your ad, they have a choice: To click, or not to click? If they click it usually means the ad has engaged them in some way. This is the first action towards conversion, and it’s essential for you to track and A/B test your ads to see which terms are outperforming each other and how you can best tailor ad copy to get more clicks.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is a calculation which allows you to see how many people took the desired action on your webpage after clicking on your ad. Simply put, how many people went from click to sale.

For example, if your metrics show that you made 25 sales but had 100 clicks on an ad, your conversion rate would be 25%.

Average position

In your auction results, you’ll be able to see where your ad ranks compared to other ads. It will help you to see whether your advert is coming out at the top of search engine results pages (SERP) or if it’s positioned further down.

However, it’s important to know that your ad’s average position doesn’t indicate whether it was shown above the organic search results. If you’re coming up with an average score of 3.2, then your ad is usually displayed near the top. Typically, your ad needs to be at least in the eighth position to feature on the first SERP.

Quality score

Google assesses the quality and relevance of your keywords, landing pages and PPC ads, and from this it then works out your Quality Score. This quality score is then used to determine the cost per click. This is done using the following formula.

Cost-Per-Click x Quality Score = Ad Rank

What influences your Quality Score?

  • Click-through rate on your ads.
  • How your Ads account has performed in the past.
  • The relevance of the text you’ve used in the ad.
  • The quality of your landing page and its’ relevance to your ad.

Need help improving the Quality Score of your ads? As part of our free PPC audit we'll examine your ads, landing pages and keywords to see what could be improved.

Tools to help you monitor your Google Ads KPIs

Making sense of all the data Google throws at you can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to monitor your KPIs with limited experience or time. Ideally, you’d like a platform you can glance at and know straight away what actions you need to take to optimise your campaigns. Luckily, there is a variety of monitoring tools out there. Let’s take a look at some of our favourites.

HubSpot 

HubSpot is fantastic for those who are after deep data. Individual ad networks will give you an overview of metrics such as impressions, clicks and cost-per-click, but to get a real sense of what your ROI is, you want to see the leads you’re actually generating.

As a multifaceted CRM tool, HubSpot enables you to do pretty much everything from its own platform. You can manage and optimise your campaigns from within HubSpot’s easy to navigate interface, simplifying your user experience considerably. Once you select your Google Ads account in Hubspot, you can see an overview of your campaign’s performance. HubSpot can also help you generate useful reports to keep key stakeholders up to date with your campaigns.

Databox

In the company’s own words, “Databox is a business analytics KPI dashboard”. The software integrates with a multitude of platforms your business might be using (such as Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, QuickBooks and Google Ads) and showing you all the metrics associated with these tools in one place. You can view reports across a variety of devices and keep up to date with how your business is performing at any time.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is Google’s own free tool to help users measure website traffic and track the efficiency of Google Ads. You can view reports and gain insight into your audience, their habits, and customer journeys. Google Analytics also lets you study the data from mobile users. The software is integrated with Google Ads and allows users to review their campaigns and optimise their functioning.

The importance of regular campaign reviews

Nobody likes spending money unnecessarily, auditing your Ads account and reviewing your campaigns regularly is not only best practice, but it’s also the best way to keep within your budget boundaries.

Particularly at the beginning of a campaign, when you are effectively testing the waters and moulding your ad copy,  it’s important to review its strength and weaknesses so that you can optimise where necessary and trim off any wasteful spending.

An audit of your Google Ads account could turn up the following useful information:

  • New opportunities to expand or extract more value.
  • Insights into your audience that could help you tailor marketing efforts across the board.
  • Eliminate spending that is not retrieving any ROI.
  • Get reassurance that your strategy is working correctly or use the feedback to access what has shaped your assumption and why you may not be hitting the mark.

Checking general campaign settings

Networks

Once you’ve named your campaign, you’ll have to choose from five main campaign types:

  • Search – For text ads that will appear after a user searches for a specific keyword or phrase.
  • Display – A broad group of partner websites that display text as well as banner ads. These ads don’t appear in relation to google searches, rather they are targeted ads that you set.
  • Shopping – For product listings in the Google Shopping section.
  • Video - For video advertising campaigns on YouTube.
  • Universal App - Used to promote installs of an App over Google's network, including Google Search and YouTube.

Devices

The nature of your business will determine the way in which customers are most likely to search for you products and service. Some businesses lend themselves to mobile searches more than others. Knowing how your prospects want to find you will help you to decide where you should bid more or less.

Explore what you can do in the ‘Devices’ section of your Google Ads account.

Locations

Google allows you to target incredibly precisely. It’s therefore very important that you know where your target market is to centralise your spend effectively.

Keep in mind that you always have to consider how far customers may be willing to travel to your physical premises or what your delivery options are, you could end up paying for clicks from people who are discouraged once they see your address.

Budget for bidding

You can choose whether to adjust your keywords bids automatically or manually. At Klood, we advise that clients with new accounts steer away from allowing Google to automate the bidding process for you campaigns because there simply isn’t enough data yet. Keeping a close eye how your keywords are performing is the only way to avoid spending pitfalls. Stay in control by manually setting your bids.

Your campaign goals will determine the budget you need to prepare.

Here’s what you should consider:

  • Are you trying to drive sales or aiming to create brand awareness?
  • How big is the geographic area you’d like to target? National campaigns will need more financial backing compared with smaller, local ones.

Each keyword will have its own exclusive price. Google’s Keyword Planner can help you to scope out how competitive a particular phase is and how much it will cost.

Areas for optimisation

  • Segment your keywords into very tight ad groups to keep your ads audience-centric.
  • Evaluate your click-through rates by A/B testing at least two competitive ads.
  • Did you know that you can have extended headlines? Learn how to do this here, and make your ads stand out!
  • Analyse your campaigns at keyword level to set your bids accordingly and avoid stretching your budget for the sake of a higher click-through rate alone.
  • Weed out irrelevant search terms and set them as negative keywords to reduce wasted clicks. Keeping your negative keywords list updated will help you to makes sure that your business isn’t lumped together with unrelated products and services in searches.
  • Take a close look at your quality score. What could you to do get on Google’s good side? You can make sure that you website displays relevant content that is aligned with your ad messaging. This kind of goes hand in hand with
  • Create Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS). These are ad groups that contain your best-performing keywords, allowing you to better optimise your ad copy and extensions to suit these searches.
  • Make sure that your keyword match types are set appropriately to eliminate any irrelevant searches.

Frequency of checks   

How often you review your campaigns will largely be down to how much time you can dedicate to the task. Alternatively, you could outsource an agency to keep on top of your campaigns, particularly at the crucial fledgling stages as this is the big learning period.

New campaigns should be monitored as frequently as possible until you’ve satisfactorily optimised them, thereafter, at least three times a week could be a reasonable amount.

You need to be checking up on:

  • Which adverts are performing well? – Gradually weeding out the underperformers/ test ads. Make small adjustments to the copy and test what effect this has. Keep creating A/B tests to push the performance of your ads forward.
  • In the Keywords tab, you can study the exact search queries that customers may be making. You can then add any that might apply to your account and also update your negative keywords list to ensure you aren’t wasting money on irrelevant searches.
  • The most important part, of course, is conversions. If you’re getting low-quality engagement or aren’t seeing any ROI, there’s definitely something that needs changing.

Need a hand with your Google Ads?

If all of this looks like a little too much and you’re not quite sure where to start, why not let us do a free audit of your pay-per-click campaigns?

We’ll give you some useful pointers and set you on the right path to managing your Google Ads account with greater self-assurance.

Understanding Google Analytics and navigating the sizable menu in Google Ads is not something many were taught in school and you can’t be expected to dive in and get results right away. It’s a slow and steady learning process that has seen many beginners make costly mistakes.

Let us help you get ahead of the race by painting a clear picture of where your campaigns are at and where they could be, for free. From start to finish, or even just a little tweak here and there, our certified Google Ads experts are ready to help.

Book A PPC Audit

Mark O’Marketing - VP Sales & Marketing, Xappp