6 Advanced Google Ads Search Campaign Tips

By Melissa Knowlton, Paid Advertising
TOPICSFeatured, Paid Search

6 Tips for Experienced Users When Making a Search Campaign in Google Ads

1. Use the Different Match Types

When EXCLUSIVE first takes over a new account, one of the first things we check is the keywords. Often, we find campaigns that are strictly using broad match keywords. This is one of the most common mistakes in SEO, as broad match keywords typically bring in too many irrelevant keywords.

Instead, you should use a combination of keywords. There are three match types we use the most: exact, phrase and broad match modified.

  • Exact match means you’re bidding on only that keyword and is noted with []. For example, if we were to bid on [dog food], the search terms for that keyword would be dog food (not dog and food separately).
  • Phrase match means you’re bidding on that exact keyword but are also allow Google to add search terms before or after the keyword. It is noted with “”. For example, if we were to bid on “dog food”, search terms for that keyword would look like nutritious dog food, dog food for puppies, where to buy dog food near me, etc.
  • Broad match modified (BMM) is recommended over broad match. While broad match allows any search terms that Google determines are similar to your keyword overall, broad match modified tells Google that they need to be similar to the specific words in the keyword. With this match type, Google can also add search terms before, after and in between your keywords, and it can rearrange your keyword order. To change a keyword from broad match to broad match modified, you use a +. If we were to bid on +dog +food, the search terms would look like food for my new dog, senior dog wet food, etc.

By using all three match types, you’re more likely to pull in relevant keywords, which will decrease wasted spend and increase efficiency.

2. Add Locations

If your campaign is targeting the entire United States, you may be inclined to just select the U.S. as your location target. Doing this does mean you’re getting your ad in front of all users in the country, but you’re missing out on the opportunity to add bid adjustments to individual states and cities.

When we make campaigns, the location target always includes all 50 states and Washington D.C. This gives 51 location targets that we can increase or decrease the bids for. If you tend to get a lot of traffic in California, then you’re likely to also add all the counties in California. If you sell well in East Coast cities, then you’ll add the top 15 largest East Coast cities as location targets.

By using more location targets, you give yourself more levers to pull when optimizing your campaigns.

3. Add an Ad Schedule

Like with adding location targets, adding an ad schedule gives you more opportunities to gather data and add bid modifiers. Even when not actively changing bids based on time of day, this is still insightful data that will help you understand when users are buying.

The typical format we use for an ad schedule is:

  • 12:00am – 6:00am
  • 6:00am – 11:00am
  • 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • 3:00pm – 8:00pm
  • 8:00 pm – 12:00am

Perhaps you’ll learn your buyers are more active during lunchtime, or that sales are slow on the weekends, so you should decrease overall bids during that period. Let’s assume your campaign consistently led to conversions on Sundays from 8:00pm to 12:00am. With that knowledge, you can capitalize on that by adding strong bid adjustments with that ad schedule.

By including an ad schedule with your campaigns, you open doors to more data and more opportunities for optimization.

4. Test Keyword Insertion

When you type { into a headline or description in a text ad, you’re presented with a list of customizations available for use in your ads. One function we use frequently is keyword insertion.

Keyword insertion is a great tool to use when you want your ad to tailor itself to what the user is searching. Keyword insertion tells our ads that if what the user searched is under 30 characters, put that search as this headline. So, if a user searched order dog food online, the headline would now become Order Dog Food Online. If the search was longer than 30 characters, than the headline would become the default text.

By using keyword insertion, you’re better able to customize ads to what your users are searching for.

5. Test Ad Customizer Data

Another feature available in ads when using { is the ad customizer. This is set up manually, and it lets you pull text into your headlines and descriptions from a file found under “Business Data” in the tools tab.

The opportunities for using ad customizer data feel endless, as you can put a range of information in the file. Here are some examples of ways to use this feature:

  • You’re running a promo in the U.S. and Canada, but you don’t want to make two new sets of ads to run in each country. Instead, you create a file that ties the USA20 promo code to the U.S. and the CAN20 promo code to Canada. Now, you have one set of ads, but the description says “Save 20% Off With Promo Code {=promofile.Doffer1}” and will pull the correct promo code based on the user’s location.
  • You want to test which shipping headline drives more clicks to your website. You create a file for the headlines, with one being “Free Two-Day Shipping” and the other being “Free Shipping On Orders $50+”. You create one set of ads with Headline 2 reading as {=shippingfile.Doffer1}. With no other parameters set for the two headlines, Google will automatically rotate through the headlines. Your ad customizer file will collect data on clicks, impressions, Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and more.

6. Test Automated Bidding Strategies

Google Ads now provides with more automated bidding strategies than ever but determining which ones to use on which campaigns can be a daunting task. Each automated bidding strategy focuses on a different goal, which provides an easy starting point for your campaigns. Are you trying to grow brand clicks? Try maximize clicks. Are you focused on how keeping cost per acquisition low? Try target cost-per-action (TCPA). Or maybe you want to ensure you’re capturing a certain percentage of impression share? Try target impression share.

With all these available strategies, we encourage you to test them. Remember, the first automated bidding strategy you try might not be the one that best works for the campaign. To start off with insider knowledge and expert reporting, request a free e-commerce analysis with EXCLUSIVE.