Are potential customers even seeing my Google Ads? When customers begin to have interest in a product or service, their ubiquitous first point of research is now the search engine and that search network is most likely Google. Internet users now search Google over 70,000 times per second, and with the rise of smartphones and search-connected household devices, Google SRPs (search results pages) will be the primary battleground where businesses thrive or fall for years to come.
What does that mean? If you’re a business owner, that probably means your site’s SEM performance (or lack thereof) is keeping you up at night.
Your brand’s Google Ads need to be seen and clicked on by potential customers and those potential customers need to purchase your products or services. And you need to make all of this happen with your limited marketing budget. Plus there’s the hurdle of understanding how to use Google Ads itself.
The Paradox of Choice
Google Ads is complex and challenging to navigate, especially if you have limited exposure to advertising management platforms. There’s an overwhelming level of settings and targeting options available and the platform is constantly evolving. However, it becomes very easy to lose sight of your marketing goals (and budget) when you have so many choices and reporting mechanisms available. On one hand, there are thousands of configurations to tailor ads to meet your specific business’s needs.
How to Get Out of the Weeds
The first and most important step to make the most out of your Google Ads campaigns is to clearly define and act on your business’s specific marketing goals. Priorities vary from business to business, so it’s critical to get your objectives in order. You need to identify what matters to you and your business most so you can benchmark and measure your progress both in Google Ads and in your business itself. Here are a few priorities you should consider when implementing and assessing your Google Ads campaigns:
- Is branding and brand awareness important to your business?
- Does your business need help to convert sales or leads, or is it more valuable to simply increase the traffic to your site?
- Are you using Google Ads to compliment an already high-performing SEO (search engine optimization) initiative?
This exercise will help you decide which SEM metrics your business should focus on first.
So, are my Google Ads Campaigns Working?
Most simplistically, if your costs exceed your margins, you have a negative ad ROI and your paid search campaigns are not working. If it costs $30 to get a customer to click a display ad to your site and buy a $25 pair of socks, then your days in the sock business are numbered.
However, there are metrics up the funnel from cost-per-sale, and you can improve those metrics to ensure you get customers and maintain a positive return on your AdWords ROI. These industry benchmarks are part of the foundation of ad ROI. We’ll review the basics:
1. Increase Your Click-Through Rate
Click-through-Rate (CTR) is a percentage measure of how many search ad views (impressions) results in a click to your site. While this metric ignores cost, it’s important for your ads to have a good CTR in relation to competitor ads because Google rewards top performers by improving their Quality Scores (more on this metric below).
A good CTR (which varies by industry, platform, and ad type – 1% is a good basic benchmark) means that Google Search users have found your ads useful. It’s a win-win: a good CTR reduces the amount you need to spend per click, which gives you more wiggle room in your advertising campaign budget to get more overall conversions.
If you see your search campaign CTR rates are lagging, take some time to groom your keywords and ad copy and drop the ones holding down your rate the most. If that doesn’t work, consider tailoring your landing page content (including URL!) to fit your keywords as closely as possible.
2. Improve Your Quality Score
Google assigns a Quality Score to each of your Google Ads campaigns’ keywords using an algorithm that takes into account how well they align with your ad copy and the landing page. Google takes into account the user experience and conversion rate of your campaigns’ landing pages as well as your ads’ CTR and relevance (how well your content matches up with your keywords).
Google’s Quality Score algorithms ensure that paid search ads stay relevant for customers, so it pays to play along. The more relevant your keywords are to the users’ search queries, the higher your Quality Score will be, which in turn will help bring down your cost per click, improve conversions, and ideally, sales.
3. Boost Your Google AdWords Conversion Rate
Another way to evaluate your advertising ROI is look at your average conversion rate. Conversion rate tells you how often someone’s paid click to your site resulted in your desired action, whether it be a video view, a form fill, or a sales transaction. It’s not enough just to get a user to your site – if they’re not engaging with your product or content, you’re wasting money.
Structure your site so that key content actions can be measured accurately in both Google Analytics and Google Ads, and make sure Google conversion tags are placed correctly on any pages your customers land on after taking the desired conversion action on your site. Once you’re able to measure individual conversion types accurately, you can start making adjustments where you’re seeing less-than-stellar performance.
Still struggling to solve your business’s SEM puzzle? Why not get in touch with SEO Design Chicago today and arrange a consultation with one of our analytics experts. We’re a full-service marketing agency, which means our team members have both the expertise and insight to come up with an end-to-end online strategy that will guarantee success for your brand.