Google Ads should be a good source of leads for B2B companies. But to succeed you need to give your campaigns regular care and attention. That’s because after your new Ads campaign runs for a few days you will see things that need to be fixed.
Typically some of the problems with a new campaign include:
- Some ads are bringing in poor quality visitors who have searched on phrases irrelevant to your business.
- Your ads are not being shown because your bids are too low.
- People aren’t clicking on your ads.
- People start to click but when these visitors arrive on your landing pages they don’t register or convert.
To fix these problems requires that you regularly review and update your campaigns to achieve your desired results – good quality leads registering on your landing pages.
This is how we recommend you do it. Use a systematic, iterative approach – you keep circling through campaigns, then ad groups, then keywords and then ad text, making adjustments in a logical order.
1. Choose a Campaign
Login to your Google Ads account and choose a time period to review e.g. past 30 days.
- Choose a Campaign you want to improve.
- Sort the Ad Groups in that campaign by Click Through Rate (CTR) – to do this click on the column marked CTR and it will sort the table from high to low.
- Target the lowest CTR Ad Group – this is the first one you will either improve or delete.
2. Select Ad Group within Campaign
Choose the Ad Group with the low CTR
- In the Ad Group, first look at Keywords.
- Sort the keywords by Clicks to see which keywords are getting most clicks.
- Sort by CTR to see which keywords perform the best.
- Look at the search terms that have actually triggered keywords in this ad group.
3. Revise Keywords Within the Ad Group
- Remove any ‘broad match’ keywords – change them to ‘Phrase’ or ‘Exact’.
- Look for keywords not being displayed due to low bids and either increase the bid, try a different match type, or a closely related phrase.
- Look for keywords not being displayed because of poor Quality Score. Google thinks these keywords / ads / landing page combinations are not working so think why this might be the case. After 3 to 4 days either change or remove low QS keywords or they will damage the performance of your ad group and campaign. One option here is to separate low QS keywords into their own ad group where you can work on them in isolation e.g. give them special ad text and landing pages.
- Consider whether more keywords can be added – click on the ‘Add keywords’ option or use the Google Keyword Planner to look for some additional ideas.
- Check recent searches to see if some keywords should be excluded using ‘negative keywords’ – typical keywords to exclude include “free”, “jobs”, “vacancy”, “vacancies” etc.
- Check the number of impressions for your keywords overall – are you getting enough impressions in this ad group? If the number of impressions is low then it means not many people are searching on your keyword phrases in your target geography. The choice here is to (a) add keywords or (b) change the campaign settings so your ads run in more geographies / countries.
- Additional Keywords – do you have enough keywords in this group? Can you add more?
- Too many keywords / Create New Ad Group – if you have more than 80 or 90 keywords in an ad group then they usually could be separated into 2 or more ad groups. If that is the case then split some of your keywords into a new ad group.
- Review the Relevance of your keywords – do you still think they will bring in your target buyers? Are they too general – could they be bringing in unwanted traffic? Alternatively, are they too restrictive? Could you be missing out on some potential customers who are looking for related but different terms?
4. Revise Ad Text Within the Ad Group
- Next, look at your Text Ads for that Ad Group
- Sort the Ads by Click Through Rate.
- Ads with a click through rate of less than 0.5% are performing badly. (We look to get to 1.2% or above as quickly as possible).
- A CTR this low indicates that (a) the ad text is simply not compelling and /or (b) the ads are not clearly connected with the keyword in the mind of a visitor – the visitor who searched on the phrase does not expect to see the ad you show in response so he doesn’t click on it
- Have you got at least 2 ads running in competition in the ad group? You need at least 2 running in parallel in order to draw conclusions about what does or does not work.
- Have you selected ‘ad rotation’ at the Campaign level so the ads are being shown evenly over time to enable you to measure one against the other? To use ad rotation, you may have to go to settings and beside the ‘Type’ setting, choose “Search Network only – All features”, rather than “Search Network Only – Standard Features”
- Have you got more than 4 ads in the ad group? Generally any more than 4 becomes difficult to analyse and manage, particularly in the context of a larger overall Campaign with many other ad groups.
- In this ad group, take the lowest performing ads first – is there any obvious problem? Does the ad closely relate to the set of keywords it represents?
- Is there a compelling offer, statement of value and call to action? Is there some other reason people might not click on it?
- Can you do comparative searches in a target geography to see what other ads are displayed for your types of keywords? How do those ads compare to yours?
- Are you using Keyword Insertion on any ads? If you try using keyword insertion, do those ads perform better than other ads?
- Is the display URL that shows at the bottom of your ad clearly related to the keywords and call to action? E.g. www.mycompany.com/keyword-related-term
5. Revise Landing Pages Within the Ad Group
- Click on the blue line at the top of each of each of your text ads to open the corresponding landing pages.
- What is the Conversion Rate on your landing page – how many visitors register per 100? As a rule of thumb in B2B web marketing, we want a 4% to 8% conversion rate for landing pages when they have been running and tested for a couple of weeks. That means for every 100 clicks through to this page we expect to see 4 to 8 people registering. You won’t achieve this immediately but if after 2 weeks it is not working you need to reconsider the page and corresponding ads.
- Is there a clear linkage between keyword -> ad text -> landing page?
- Does the landing page header text clearly relate back to the ad and the keyword?
- Does the landing page follow standard best practice e.g. ‘hero shot’ of item or document on offer, encapsulated registration form, directional cues, text on the download button, bulletpoint text, summary of benefits, customer or partner logos and other trust anchors, social proofs such as ‘100,000 customers use product X’ etc.
6. Repeat for all Ad Groups with Campaign
- Repeat this process for all Ad Groups within your campaign, then move on to the next campaign.
7. Check Campaign Settings
- Your campaigns settings control the overall budgets, default keyword bids and, perhaps most importantly, target geographies.
- Periodically look at these settings to confirm they are still valid for your campaign.
- You usually have to test and change geographies and budgets quite a lot in the first few weeks of a new campaign.
Written by Michael White
Michael White is co-founder and CEO of Motarme, the Sales Technology and Services vendor. You can find him on LinkedIn .