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Written by Caroline Cox on Sep 25 , 2020

When done correctly, remarketing lets you tastefully follow your audience and create valuable touchpoints to turn leads into customers.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What remarketing is
  • How to leverage this ad strategy the right way
  • Ways remarketing benefits your business
  • How it can save you money

Picture this: you’re walking around a shopping mall (OK, so maybe think a few years — or decades — back). In a window, you see a nice sweater that catches your eye. You check out the price tag, feel the fabric, but you’re not sure you’re ready to lay your credit card down.

You decide to keep walking around. As you’re heading towards the exit, you pass by the sweater again. You’ve had some time to think about it, and you decide to buy. 

That’s essentially how remarketing works — except online.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing (often used interchangeably with “retargeting”) is a method for connecting your product or service with people who have already visited your site or mobile app. 

While the terms can be used interchangeably, they have slightly different meanings. As Search Engine Journal explains, remarketing is more often about re-engaging customers via emails, while retargeting generally refers to third-party online ads that target users who have interacted with your site without purchasing.

Put another way, remarketing is typically based on email lists and CRM data. Retargeting, on the other hand, is based on pixel data (most often from unknown potential customers).

Remarketing can be done using many platforms, from Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Google and Microsoft also offer remarketing lists for search ads, or RLSAs. These vary from traditional remarketing, since they require users to be actively searching Google with the campaign keywords you’re bidding on.

Remarketing can be a highly effective tool for multiple industries and verticals — not just e-commerce. It’s a way to remind people about you, which is especially crucial since studies report that as much as 98% of consumers don’t make a purchase during their initial visit to a brand website, and more than 76% of people abandon online shopping carts. 

As Mailchimp explains, that’s because your audience needs to feel like they know you first. With that in mind, here are just a few ways remarketing can benefit your business.

HawkSEM blog: 5 Ways Remarketing Can Benefit Your Business

Through remarketing, you can increase your chances of turning that warm lead into a closed deal. (Image via Unsplash)

1. It keeps you top of mind

There are plenty of reasons why people navigate to your website without converting. Maybe they had to jump on a work call, were just casually browsing their options, or wanted to take their time before making a decision.

CMO by Adobe reports that 30% of consumers react positively or very positively to retargeted ads (vs. just 11% who react negatively — you can’t win ‘em all!). With the magic of remarketing, you can remind people about their past interest through these targeted ads — particularly if they’re searching for similar offerings again.

2. It ups your chances of converting a lead

If someone found their way to your site or app and was exposed to your brand, you’ve already overcome the big business hurdle of connecting with your audience. Through remarketing, you can increase your chances of turning that warm lead into a closed deal. It offers that nudge they need to further pursue what they were looking for from you in the first place.

Consumer-packaged goods company Kimberly-Clark saw 50-60% conversion rates for consumers who were served retargeting ads, according to Digiday.

Not only do these ad types remind users about you, but they can be programmed to take the user directly back to the page they bounced from. If they last visited your pricing page, for example, then the remarketing ad can route them back there once they click. The result: a seamless experience that tees them up to convert.

3. It allows you to hyper-focus your ads

One big benefit of remarketing ads is how they directly target those who have taken various actions to express interest in your product or service. According to Google, you can create various remarketing lists that apply to specific cases, such as those who added something to their cart but didn’t check out.

After all, who doesn’t love scoring a good old-fashioned deal? You can create remarketing ads that offer a special discount to a segment of users who have completed certain interactions with you. This way, the prospect has even more incentive to return to your site.

HawkSEM blog: 5 Ways Remarketing Can Benefit Your Business

You can combine remarketing with contextual targeting to ensure you’re getting in front of relevant prospects at the right time. (Image via Unsplash)

4. It lets you leverage mobile and video

Another thing that sets remarketing apart: its reach. With these ads types, you’re not just limited to the web. You can reach people browsing more than 2 million websites and apps via multiple devices. 

Consider targeting past website visitors on YouTube (or people who have watched your videos on YouTube) with video or display ads as they watch other videos. You can also use things like text and images in your remarketing ads themselves on the Google Display Network.

5. It saves you money

Cha-ching! That’s the sound of saving money with remarketing ads. These ads are some of the most cost-effective options out there. By targeting people who have already shown interest in what you have to offer (making them more qualified), you spend less than you would if you were starting from scratch and casting a wider net.

Though the total cost will depend on your overall marketing strategy, there are other ways to save as well. You can combine remarketing with contextual targeting, for example, to ensure you’re getting in front of relevant prospects at the right time.

Get started with remarketing

Now that you know all the advantages to using remarketing, you can start making this digital marketing tactic work for you. To remarket on Google, you first need to choose a support campaign type: display or search. 

For display remarketing, you need to choose a marketing objective or goal (if you have one), then create an ad group. Expand the “Audiences” areas of “People: who you want to reach,” then select the remarketing lists you want to target under the “Remarketing” audience.  

For search campaigns, the process is similar. You manage the audience of your ad by selecting your campaign, then adding your remarketing audience list to the ad groups you choose. From there, you can choose your audience targeting setting for the selected ad groups. 

Pro tip: If you don’t have a remarketing list created, you can use the ones Google Ads automatically creates for you.

For paid search remarketing on Microsoft Advertising’s Bing search engine, you start by placing a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag across your site. You can then create remarketing lists, based on user activity and visited pages. Similarly to Google, you associate your remarketing lists to ads groups, then optimize to fit your Bing audience accordingly.

The takeaway

People understand that ads are just part of the package when it comes to being online, whether they’re shopping, reading, or being entertained. 

By meeting interested users where they are, you can turn that reminder into a click. That can lead to a conversion, which will, ideally, become a happy customer and brand evangelist down the line.

We’re no strangers to remarketing at HawkSEM. See how we can put this service to work for your company by requesting a consultation.

This article has been updated and was originally published in October 2019.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Aug 17 , 2020

Saving time on your marketing campaigns is always a win. Luckily, there are Google Ads shortcuts that will streamline your process and boost campaign efficiency. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • Reasons for using Ads shortcuts
  • Helpful Google features to simplify your work
  • Ways to access and use these time-saving tools
  • Expert advice to stay ahead of the competition

Google Ads is one of the most effective and nuanced PPC platforms in the market. Its comprehensive approach means that there are hundreds of sections to work on. 

When it comes to ad upkeep, common tasks include text optimization, bid management, keyword research, and reporting. These alone — not to mention analysis and other formalities — can take up a good chunk of your time.

Of course, it’s crucial to put plenty of time and effort into your campaigns for optimized ads. But leveraging a few shortcuts that exist within the platform allows you to work smarter, not harder, to get the results you want to achieve. 

Here are some Google Ads shortcuts that’ll save you time without sacrificing quality. 

google shortcuts

Usually, accounts are managed by multiple people over their lifespans, particularly for accounts that have been around for years. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Delete keyword clutter

Keywords have always been an integral part of digital marketing. The strategy a few years ago was to come up for every keyword term and all their variations. Google’s Phrase and Exact policies at the time made aspects like plurals and misspellings necessary.

Since then, Google’s Phrase and Exact policies have changed. Nowadays, such variations in keyword phrases are achieved by matching close variants. This means that you no longer need thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of keywords to stay ahead of the competition. Google recommends doing away with these variations under the “Opportunities” section of your account. 

Keep up with the changes by removing duplicate keywords. Luckily, you don’t have to search for every keyword term. Simply use Google Ads Editor to define duplicate keywords and identify them in seconds. You’ll find this feature under the “Tools” category, and you have many options when it comes to how you define duplicate keywords.  

2. Customize your ads

In a way, repetition is necessary for successful marketing (see: the effectiveness of remarketing). The idea is to keep your brand and products in the spotlight perpetually so they stay top of mind with your target audience. 

Some types of ads require systemic repetition. For example, running a timed promotion with a limited number of days to go may require you to update your ads every day until the promotion runs out. While this is necessary, it’s also a bit of a time-waster.

Google’s Ad Customizer will save you effort and update your ads in real-time with impressive precision and quality. This feature requires you to specify standard attributes about your campaign, including factors such as:

  • Start and end dates
  • Target demographics
  • Schedules
  • And more

The Customizer will then use a refined code to implement these parameters at the set times.

3. Use notations

Maybe you have one single person who handles anything and everything pertaining to your Google Ads account. But, usually, organizations’ accounts are managed by multiple people over their lifespans, particularly for accounts that have been around for years.  

Depending on how experienced and organized your team (or the agency you’ve tasked to handle your ads) is, it can be difficult to keep everyone on the same page. This is especially true when you factor in employee turnover. Many account managers who have been in this situation often find themselves wishing for guidance from past account managers. Fortunately, this is possible using notation.

Google recommends you make notes as you manage your ad campaigns. This will help keep your ads organized, since you can visit your notes and track activity. It also makes it easier for account managers who come after to catch up and tailor their marketing campaigns to fit in with past parameters for continuity, including streamlining metrics and performance analysis.

You can add notes via the “Campaign” and “Ad Group View” tabs. Look for the link to performance metrics and click on the option to “Add Note.” Your notes will be stored and can be easily accessible on the reports by account managers who come after you.

hidden shortcut

Take some time to explore the features available to your marketing account and exploit ways of leveraging them. (Image via Unsplash)

4. Test faster using creative Ad Variation

Testing and streamlining ad creation is necessary for every marketing campaign’s organization and success. But doing it manually can be time-consuming. The quicker, easier, and more efficient way? Using Google’s Ad Variation feature.

The Ad Variation feature enables you to automatically streamline ad creation and test the subsequent ads based on your precise parameters. For example, you can split the percentage of your target audience whichever way you choose (this is not an option using Google’s auto-optimization). 

All you have to do is set and specify your desired parameters and fill in the details, including the type of ads you’re making and which campaigns they affect. The Ads Variation feature is available under the “Drafts & Experiments” section. Hover over this section until the “+” sign appears, and click on it to access this feature.

5. Take advantage of the right tools and automation

Google is consistently improving its marketing and advertising features. A huge chunk of these efforts involve automation and making the work easier using specialized tools. For example, Google’s updated scripts can automate the time-consuming task of reporting.

While automation can make life easier, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t automate everything in your campaigns. After all, robots can’t compete with the expertise and experience of a human.

As far as Google Ads shortcuts go, take some time to explore the automated features available to your marketing account and the different ways of leveraging them. And if it all feels overwhelming? Consider consulting a professional for guidance.

The takeaway

It’s wise to keep up with Google’s updates, as they often include upgrades to its features that make the platform quicker and more efficient. 

Many marketers waste precious hours working on the technical aspects of their marketing campaigns. But with Google Ads shortcuts, you can explore easier and quicker ways to work on the technicalities and put your time to better use elsewhere.

Need more help with your Google Ads campaign? That’s what we’re here for.

 

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 5 , 2020

From mobile app updates to enhanced targeting, these are the latest Google Ads tools that should be on your radar.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The latest Google Ads tools worth looking into
  • How these tools can enhance your digital marketing efforts
  • Ways to make responsive search ads work for you
  • New updates to YouTube ads

In February 2020, Google made the decision to cancel one of its biggest annual gatherings, the Google I/O developer conference. The cancellation came amid the nascent (but, it turns out, lasting) pandemic that had begun sweeping the globe. 

But that doesn’t mean things have slowed down at the search engine giant. Google continues to churn out updates, news, and modifications to its search algorithm and ads platform. 

Whether you’re neck-deep in advertising on a daily basis, just getting started, or working with an agency, these five new Google Ads tools and updates can help make management more convenient, improve your targeting, boost your conversion rates, and more. 

google ads mobile app

The Google Ads app has gone through improvements to make managing your Google Ads account on the go easier than ever. (Image via Google)

1. Improved Google Ads mobile app

Overall consumer trends continue to favor mobile over desktop. Not only that, but Google itself has announced that it will launch mobile-first indexing in spring 2021. This means the search engine will crawl the mobile site of a web page before the desktop version to determine where it should rank in search results.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that the Google Ads app has recently gone through its own set of improvements to make managing your Google Ads account on the go easier than ever. Before, you could only use the app to turn on and pause ads. Now, you can also create and edit responsive search ads whether at home, in the office or on the go.

2. Enhanced targeting tools

While targeting tools are nothing new to the Google Ads platform, there are new audience segmentations that you can now put to use. Affinity audience targeting can help you attract more top-of-funnel leads, while in-market audience targeting can help connect you with more bottom-of-the-funnel searchers ready to make a decision.

Affinity audiences can expand your ad reach and help you snag those who could be in the market for your product or service by virtue of their interests. For example, if you’re targeting keywords like “chef’s knife,” an affinity audience could be “home cooks.” For in-market audiences, you can better target those who are ready to buy but that you might not otherwise be targeting. 

HawkSEM blog: Google Ads Tools

You can create these extensions in your Google Ads app by adding a CTA and extension text. (Image via Unsplash)

3. Responsive search ads 

Put simply, responsive search ads let your ads work smarter, not harder. By creating multiple headlines and descriptions for your responsive search ads, Google can try out various combinations and eventually determine which ones perform best together. 

These types of search ads also allow you to show more text in your ads, which provides helpful context for your customers and can potentially increase your conversion rate. Best practices for responsive search ads include:

  • Putting high-volume keywords in your headlines
  • Creating a minimum of five varied headlines that aren’t too similar to one another
  • Including at least two varied descriptions 
  • Adding additional headlines and descriptions that highlight other benefits of your product or service

4. Lead form ad extensions

Leads are at the heart of digital marketing. That’s because more leads mean more data, which means more information about your customers and prospects, which (ideally) means higher conversions and stellar ROI.

That’s where the lead form ad extension comes in. You can create these extensions in your Google Ads app by adding a call to action (CTA) and extension text. Once a user clicks the CTA button, a form will appear. Plus, just to make submission easy-breezy, the form can be pre-populated with the user’s contact info pulled from their own Google account. 

While optimized landing pages are still important, this ad extension allows you to experiment with a new form of information gathering and can pair well with your other efforts to get you as many leads as possible. 

google ads youtube ad lead extensions

The new ad extensions work similarly to lead form ad extensions in that the viewer can interact with your CTA without leaving the YouTube platform. (Image via Google)

5. New YouTube ad extensions

Nearly three-fourths of the U.S. population use YouTube. And with billions of monthly users across the globe, it makes sense that Google is consistently working to enhance and improve the popular video platform. The same goes for YouTube ads.

We talked before about the various types of YouTube ads and best practices when creating video ads of your own. The new ad extensions work similarly to lead form ad extensions in that the viewer can interact with your CTA without leaving the YouTube platform. 

Once someone clicks the CTA, they’ll see a drop-down menu with additional next steps, such as a special discount code, a limited-time offer, or more information about your brand.

The takeaway

Between the algorithm changes, policy updates, and app iterations, keeping up with Google can seem like a full-time job. And, of course, some updates will be more impactful than others. 

But staying in the loop is worth it. By knowing about all the latest and greatest Google Ads tools, you can be sure you’re taking advantage of all the features at your disposal and staying competitive in your industry. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in October 2019.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Aug 3 , 2020

As Google Shopping celebrates its 18th birthday, the founders are giving vendors a nice gift: welcoming unpaid organic listings back to search results.

Here you’ll learn:

  • The 411 on new Google Shopping developments
  • Ways the platform has evolved since it began
  • How Froogle evolved into Google Shopping
  • How these changes can affect your company

The COVID-19 pandemic’s effects have been felt across the globe. As a result, many brick-and-mortar stores have closed, bringing online shopping to an all-time high.

As merchants migrated over to the e-commerce realm, some were met with unexpected obstacles like the need to pay for their product listings onto the Google platform.

In April 2020, Google announced that they were bringing free listings to the Google Shopping tab in the United States. Google’s reps said they’ve been planning to make the Shopping feature free for merchants for some time. The pandemic simply pushed them to implement changes earlier. The new development doesn’t mean that merchants can’t pay for advertising their products anymore. Paid campaigns will simply be augmented with free listings. 

Bill Ready, president of Google’s commerce division, explained that this change means stores can now get free exposure to the millions of users who use Google for their shopping needs every day. (The unpaid listings won’t show up on the search engine results page directly. Rather, they’ll be available under the “Shopping” tab.)

Online shopping package received from the mail

Google Shopping launched under a completely different name: Froogle. It was founded by Craig Nevill-Manning in 2002. (Image via Unsplash)

Google Shopping’s evolution

Google isn’t constantly evolving its shopping feature simply to please merchants and buyers. The service is fighting hard for its place in the online shopping world. In past years, reports say Google Shopping has been losing clients to its biggest competitor: Amazon.

By forcing merchants to pay for listings, Google inadvertently limited the number of products the service offered. With the new development, the service becomes more appealing to sellers, which should eventually bring more buyers to the platform.

How Google Shopping began

Google Shopping first launched under a completely different name: Froogle. Craig Nevill-Manning founded the platform in 2002.

Froogle started out as a service that helped people search for products online and compare their features and prices. Back then, listing products was free of charge. The platform was highly convenient for buyers and monetized through Google Ads (Google AdWords at the time) by sellers.

The platform’s initial goal was to help buyers compare products. The idea quickly gained popularity since it allowed customers to explore different brands without switching to other websites. Even though it was free to list products on Froogle, merchants had to pay to display sponsored links.

From Froogle to Google Products

In 2007, Froogle evolved from a comparison service to a place where customers could also make purchases. That’s when higher ups changed the name to Google Product Searches.

The reasoning was simple: A witty pun that tied Google and “frugal” together was lost on many international users. Eventually, Google Product Searches was shortened to the more concise Google Products.

The same year, the service went through a major change. The site formerly known as Froogle was integrated with Google Search. This meant products could appear on the search engine results page (SERP) right next to other results of the same search query.

Google Products becomes Google Shopping

Another major change came about in 2012, when Google Products stopped being a free service and turned into Google Shopping. Now, merchants had to pay to get their products listed.

Google explained that the move was sparked by the brand’s desire to improve user experience and help connect searchers with the right sellers. At that time, Google also launched a Google Express feature. This allowed shoppers to put products from different merchants into the same cart on the platform and make an instant purchase.

local business e-commerce

The ability to purchase directly from Google simplified the buying process, drove sales, and drove impulse buying. (Image via Unsplash)

Google Shopping grows into a major e-commerce platform

In 2019, the platform took a huge step toward becoming a serious e-commerce platform. The new update rolled out in France, then became available in the United States. 

This update focused on customer personalization and made the checkout process easier with a few new features:

  • Recommendations – Google started offering product recommendations based on the user’s browser history and the products they viewed or purchased — the users also got a personalized homepage
  • Price tracking – users could track the price on their favorite products so Google could notify them whenever prices dropped
  • Local searches – allowed users to search for certain products and retailers in their local area
  • Instant purchase – the ability to purchase products directly from Google Shopping (the Google Express feature was fully integrated into Google Shopping)

With these new features, Google Shopping became a highly convenient selling tool for retailers. The ability to purchase directly from Google simplified the buying process, drove sales, and drove impulse buying.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was becoming more and more like Amazon. The new update stirred even more competition between the two platforms.

Pro tip: The ability to list products for free on Google Shopping may require adjustments to your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns. The quality and optimization of the product feed is crucial to the likelihood of it appearing as a response to the search query.

The takeaway

In 2002, Google Shopping started as a user-friendly product comparison service. Fast-forward to 2020, and it has evolved into a serious e-commerce platform poised to give Amazon a run for its money.

The latest Google Shopping update allows merchants to list their products free of charge. Each new step of this evolution drives marketers to monitor and potentially improve their SEO campaigns, since the latest development emphasizes the importance of title, image, and product description optimization.

This evolution is a great example of a brand working steadfast to please users while remaining competitive and current with ever-changing technology.

Want to learn more about optimizing your Google Shopping product listings for SEO? Let us know.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jun 23 , 2020

Make sure the Google Ads expert you work with checks off these boxes.

Here, you’ll find:

  • The benefits Google Ads offers advertisers
  • Expert advice on optimizing Google Ads campaigns
  • What your Google Ads expert should know
  • Tips for measuring marketing effectiveness

Like putting out fires, building rockets, and hitting the high notes in “I Will Always Love You,” some things are best left to the professionals. The same goes for paid search marketing. 

Nearly half of all search engine results page (SERP) clicks go to the top three paid ads. Of course, scoring one of the coveted prime spots is no easy feat. 

There are a number of moving parts when it comes to running a successful Google Ads campaign. For an ad to appear in the top spot of the SERP, it’s got to have a level of quality and relevance that the search engine deems worthy enough. 

Google has a massive reach, making it possible for you to reach a global audience. The platform also allows for a range of targeting, lets you harness intent, and allows you to see results in an easy-to-understand format.

Whether you’re looking to brush up on your skills or partner with a pro to help take your campaigns to the next level, here are eight things a Google Ads expert should know.

1. How to create effective ads

Since Google is the most popular search platform for most demographics, it makes sense that competition for ads is high. When you choose Google Ads, you’re competing with a host of other businesses that bid on the same keywords

Developing quality, relevant ads will help to improve your quality score, which is one of the ways Google assesses the quality of your ads, as well as keywords and landing pages. (It can save you money, too: Higher quality scores mean you can snag lower prices and higher ad placements.) A Google Ads expert should know why quality score matters. 

2. Ways to make the most of bidding strategies

Google Ads offers several bidding strategies that advertisers can use to maximize ROI. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding is recommended when the goal is to drive website traffic, while cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) bidding works great for building brand awareness. 

CPA bidding is mainly for advertisers whose focus is on conversions like sign-ups and purchases. Your Google Ads expert should understand that testing different bidding models will offer insight into the success of the campaign and help identify the one that drives better results. They should also be able to manage your ads budget accordingly.

hawksem: google ads expert

Optimizing PPC landing page content can be the ticket to turning prospects into real buyers. (Image via Unsplash)

3. Why power words can entice users to click

Once your ads have been displayed in front of your target audience, you want as many of them as possible to click on them — no-brainer, right? A proper Google Ads expert should be able to harness power words in your ad copy as a clever way of convincing users to engage with your business. 

Ideally, the expert you work with will understand how important it is to get your message across clearly and concisely in the parameters allotted for your ads. After all, what good are impeccable landing pages if no one sees them? First, they’ve got to want to click.

4. Ways to optimize the ad-to-landing page experience

Speaking of landing pages: When guiding customers through your sales funnel, you should aim to provide them with an experience that feels tailored to their specific needs. This increases the chances of prospects taking the desired action when they reach your landing page. 

Optimizing PPC landing page content can be the ticket to turning prospects into real buyers. There are various ways to optimize your landing pages, such as:

  • Having a strong call to action (CTA)
  • Making sure the ad and landing page copy and design are consistent
  • Ensuring the page looks good on both mobile and desktop
  • Having a form that’s not too lengthy

Additionally, an effective landing page is scannable, free from too many distracting graphics and images, and features badges, testimonials, or other helpful proof points.

Need more Google Ads help? Let’s chat.

5. The ins and outs of device targeting 

Device targeting can mean the difference between PPC success and failure. With more than half of paid search clicks happening on mobile devices, it’s crucial to provide a great user experience, no matter the platform. 

To that end, your ads expert should make sure landing pages are mobile-friendly, responsive, and have a great layout regardless of the device they’re from viewed on. Bonus: A website that’s optimized for mobile will also be good for your overall SEO.

6. Why producing content that delivers value is key

Google pros know that, when running a paid search campaign, your aim will be to generate leads and sales. But rather than pushing products by being overtly sales-forward, the most successful ads often focus on providing value. 

Producing content that your audience wants to read and promoting your brand as one that offers value will help build traffic. Value can help do the selling for you, getting more customers to use your products or services by trusting what you’re saying. Plus, you don’t want visitors feeling skeptical that you’re simply trying to close a deal by any means necessary.

hawksem: google ads expert blog

Running a high-performing Google Ads campaign requires the account manager to be proactive and consistent. (Image via Unsplash)

7. The 411 on all things ad settings

Understanding the search audiences’ settings will help a Google ads expert run a successful campaign. Choosing the type of campaign you want to run will affect the settings available to you. 

Ask your expert how comfortable they feel going through the setting menu to make the most of what’s on offer from the platform. Location settings allow you to choose who gets directed to your website, for example, effectively saving you money by ensuring only those in your target location visit your site.     

8. How to properly manage a Google Ads account

Running a high-performing Google Ads campaign requires the account manager to be proactive and consistent. Proper and active campaign management involves regularly assessing how the ads are performing, doing an A/B testing, and conducting regular Google Ads audits every quarter or so. 

When you invest time and money into campaign strategy, the last thing you want to do is simply set it and forget it. By having a plan for continuing to assess the data and optimize accordingly, your Google Ads expert can better determine where to invest more, where strengths and weaknesses lie, and where to make the necessary improvements.

The takeaway

Every Google Ads expert needs to have an in-depth understanding of Google Ads basics and how this form of advertising works. The experts will also need to develop effective strategies that will deliver the desired results. 

These tips can help you find the right search engine pro to partner with, so you can feel confident this aspect of your digital marketing program is in good hands.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jun 9 , 2020

Google Ads campaigns can be a serious ROI driver — if your program is optimized, that is. 

Letting your Google Ads campaign run on autopilot without much thought might be alright… for a while. But think of your campaigns like a car. Without regular tuneups and gas refills, you’re bound to end up on the side of the road, watching others (like your competitors) pass you by.

Too many businesses launch a digital ads program and then simply let it run without any changes or further testing. ROI inevitably drops over time, but inertia can keep a campaign running long after its expiration date.

Google Ads campaigns are no exception. No matter how well your ads are set up in the first place, it’s vital to run a periodic Google Ads audit. This can help you establish whether your account is still performing as it should be, and what changes could be made to improve it. It can also help you spot mistakes that may be buried under iterative changes.

hawksem blog - google ads audit

Much like a content or overall PPC audit, a Google Ads audit reviews every aspect of your account. (Image via Unsplash)

When should you conduct a Google Ads audit?

If you’ve never conducted a Google ads audit before, now is a great time to start! Afterwards, performing audits every three months or on a quarterly basis should be sufficient. 

You want a good amount of data, so resist the temptation to audit your ads program too often. 

What are the Google Ads audit steps?

Much like a content or overall PPC audit, a Google Ads audit reviews every aspect of your account. It’s a time when you assess the strength of your overall Google Ads program to ensure your efforts are cohesive and well aligned, not working against one another.

Let’s break down the steps.

1. Check your goals and account structure

You need to go into your audits with an action plan. That means making sure you have solid goals in terms of traffic and conversions, so you can see how you’re currently measuring up. (Of course, your goals may change as your business grows.) 

Next, you want to check the structure of your account, ensuring that your campaigns and ad groups are organized correctly and that your reporting is accurate. Make sure your campaigns have a point, whether it’s geotargeting, demographics, or something else. Location settings and device targeting also need to be correctly configured.

2. Nail down your bid strategy

Make sure you’re using the right bid strategy, budget, and delivery methods. This part of the audit will show you if there are high-performing campaigns worth allocating more of your budget towards. 

Perhaps you’re spending too little on certain ads, or using a bid strategy that made sense at an earlier point in your company’s growth. Make sure you have the right budget in terms of costs per click (CPCs) and that you’re spending the right amount on each group.

Pro Tip: Confused about the types of bid strategies available? Google will make recommendations based on your campaign performance to guide you in the right direction. (As with everything else, though, be sure to monitor performance and avoid leaving the campaigns on autopilot.)

3. Examine your keywords

Ten or fewer relevant keywords per ad group is ideal. It’s also wise to make sure you’re leveraging negative keywords. This will help better qualify your clicks, reduce irrelevance, and will keep queries from triggering ads in multiple groups. 

After all, your ad groups should complement, not compete with, each other. An effective way to measure this is by checking search term cross-pollination. Few queries should trigger multiple groups.

And don’t forget about match type keywords as well. Too often, companies will stick to just running broad match keywords, which can result in high spend on unqualified queries.

4. Dig into campaign and ad performance

Check for underperforming or low-quality ads. These should be flagged for extra attention or potential removal. It’s a good idea to have two ad variations in each group for A/B testing and rotate ads frequently to avoid audience fatigue. Next, check that all calls to action (CTAs) are direct and relevant.

This is a good time to ask questions like:

  • What happens when somebody clicks on your ad? 
  • Is your landing page clear with a good headline and call to action? 
  • Do you have the right number of landing pages? 
  • Do your forms work and provide a “thank you” message? 
  • Does the conversion page properly track views? 
  • Are conversions tracking correctly
  • Do you have a solid mobile strategy? 

Pro tip: This is also the time when you want to make sure you’re not double-counting conversions. Trust us: it happens more often than you might think.

hawksem: google ads audit article

Audits are an effective way to be confident that your ad campaign isn’t stagnant or lagging. (Image via Rawpixel)

What should you avoid when it comes to a Google Ads audit?

There are a few don’ts when it comes to auditing your ads, most of which have to do with what happens once the audit is complete.

Audits aren’t a one-and-done project (if only!). While your first one will provide helpful insights, planning regular repeat audits will not only ensure you’re optimizing your program, but it’ll be easier once the first one is done.

Don’t feel like you need to fix things during the audit. Unless you uncover some kind of critical issue, such as somebody uploading the wrong set of keywords for an ad group, you don’t want to stop the audit until it’s complete. The finished report is likely to show you a more efficient way of doing so as different aspects of your account and campaigns reference each other.

What should you do after a Google Ads audit?

After the audit is complete, it’s time to go through the report and develop an action plan to address the issues. 

It might be helpful to create a doc of key takeaways and performance metrics, along with strengths and weaknesses of your current Google Ads campaigns. Plan a virtual meeting (if you work with a team) to discuss all of these key points and determine what actions need to be taken when.

Obviously, crucial issues should be dealt with right away, so your action plan should include prioritization to ensure that you deal with things in an optimal manner. 

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to make sure your plan doesn’t involve leaving anything on autopilot for an extended period of time.

The takeaway

Leaving your Google Ads account to run on automation and algorithms can result in leaving money on the table. Periodic audits are an effective way to be confident that your ad campaign isn’t stagnant or lagging.  

Audits can help you move to the next level of marketing, keep your advertising strategy evolving with your needs and budget, and greatly improve your sales and conversions. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it to know your paid search ads are the best they can be. 

Need more Google Ads help? Let’s talk.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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Written by Sam Yadegar on May 21 , 2020

It’s vital to spend your hard-earned digital marketing budget on channels that bring you the best ROI. That’s why knowing the latest Google Ads updates is key.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Reasons to invest in Google Ads
  • How the paid search platform works
  • The latest Google Ads updates
  • Expert tips for leveraging the platform successfully

The best place to launch your digital marketing efforts is where your campaign attracts a massive audience — no surprise there. And, according to a 2019 report, Google led the list of the most popular search engines, commanding more than 62% of the American market share. 

Paid advertisements often come hyperlinked at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Sure, you can work to rank organically for a given search term through SEO strategies — and you should. But not only can Google Ads help you get higher up in search results more quickly in the form of PPC ads, but it helps you stay competitive against others in your industry. 

hawksem: google ads updates 2020

In March 2020, Google introduced more optimization score features to give marketers a better experience. (Image via Unsplash)

The benefits of Google Ads

You probably know how Google Ads works: It shows your online advertisement to prospective customers who may be interested in your business. You place bids on keywords and search terms and secure the top slots of SERPs if you win.

Being a pay-per-click (PPC) marketing strategy, you choose the maximum bid amount you wish to pay for each click on your ad. Your placement improves with your bid amount.

Since its inception in 2000 as Google Adwords, Google Ads has undergone many iterations and changes. Here are a few of the latest Google Ads updates that marketers should know about in 2020.

1.  Improved features in the mobile app

The Google Ads mobile app allows users to review their marketing campaigns in real-time, evaluate recommendations, and take prompt action to optimize performance. In March 2020, Google introduced more optimization score features to give marketers a better experience.

Optimization score allows you to prioritize recommendations so you can identify the most impactful ones and put them into motion. You can view your Google Ads account and optimization scores at a glance on the overview page. To give priority to the actions that best drive performance, campaigns with high-impact recommendations come first on the screen.

HawkSEM: Google Ads 2020

You can view your Google Ads optimization score from your mobile device. (via Google)

You can also create and edit ads right on your smartphone. Choose to receive notifications about changes in optimization scores by opting in on the Settings page. The app notifies you in real-time whenever your scores fall. Once you open the message, the system leads you to the recommendations page where you get guidance on how to raise your optimization score and improve performance.

You may have seen dark-mode options cropping up in your phone updates and your social media profiles. The new Google Ads app also has this option, which you can turn on in the settings page for more visual comfort. It’s an excellent addition when you’re working in a dark or low-light environment.

2.  Website link in call ads

Call volume management can be challenging for businesses with limited personnel. Another feature that Google has added to call ads (formerly call-only-ads) is an optional link to your website.

google call ads

How call ads look on the SERP. (via Google)

The verification URL you add to your call ads only verifies your business details and phone number. Clicking the headline on your call ads initiates calls to your business. If you want ads that allow prospects to call and open your site, you can provide a Final URL. This URL is a secondary web address on your call ad that takes your audience to the webpage you choose.

Call ads increase your online visibility by making it easier for users to open your website. If a customer doesn’t want to call your business but wants to learn more about it online, all they need to do is click the ‘Visit website’ link in your call ad.

hawksem blog: google ads updates 2020

Google Trends is a fascinating feature that allows you to view the topics people are searching online, as well trending topics, trends over time, and more. (Image via Rawpixel)

3.  The smart-bidding process

Google’s smart bidding aims to make marketing more manageable. The advertiser provides Google Ads with a budget, and Google algorithms get the best conversion value out of it. The intention is to maximize the total ROI of the campaigns.

Google algorithms find the opportunities that you might never spot, even if it’s promoting a low-priced product on your list. This approach is excellent for well-funded PPC campaigns that are already converting at a high rate.

Pro tip: Automation is great, but keep in mind that a “set it and forget it” mindset can only take you so far. The most effective paid search campaigns involve consistent analyzing, testing, and optimizing that can only come from experienced digital marketing pros.

4.  Google Trends for a dynamic environment

The digital marketing landscape changes rapidly and often, which can affect your business. Google Trends is a fascinating feature that allows you to view the topics people are searching online, as well trending topics, trends over time, and more.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an influx of millions of office workers now working from home. For some, this has made it harder to keep up with the needs of consumers.

hawksem: google trends 2020

A look at the Google Trends results for “at home yoga” in the past 90 days. (via Google Trends)

Google Trends can provide insights into what is popular with your audience so you can modify your marketing efforts to match their expectations. If they’re searching for a business that offers home delivery, for instance, you can consider adding this service or something similar, like a pickup option.

5.  Seamless interactions on YouTube

Currently, YouTube has more than two billion users, making it a priceless video platform for marketing. Google (which owns YouTube) has launched a feature that allows viewers to interact with businesses without having to exit the platform.

Here’s how it works: A potential customer views your ad and clicks on the call to action (CTA). Then, a drop-down menu with actionable items appears. It could be telling the audience more about your business, like the physical location, contact information, and so on.

hawksem article: google on mobile

Google processes about 40,000 searches per second, making it a prime marketing ground for paid ads. (Image via Rawpixel)

6.  Lead form extensions

When it comes to marketing priorities, lead generation is usually at the top of the list. As part of your Google Ads campaign, you can include a new or existing lead form to generate more leads for your business. 

Lead forms have three primary benefits — they:

  • generate leads and boost sales
  • attract and engage visitors to help you create new remarketing lists
  • direct prospects into the marketing funnel via the form, leading to more conversions

When a Google user clicks the CTA of a Google ad, a lead form that carries their Google account details pops out. They can then submit the form, bridging the gap between your business and potential customers.

The takeaway

Google processes about 40,000 searches per second, making it a prime marketing ground for paid ads. The beauty (and sometimes frustration) of Google Ads is that it keeps on evolving, giving you new and innovative ways to capture the attention of searchers. 

Considering the authority of the search engine, staying on top of the latest Google Ads updates can only mean good things for your PPC program.

Need more help with your Google Ads campaigns? That’s what we’re here for.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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Written by Caroline Cox on Mar 17 , 2020

This ad extension could be the key to boosting your CTR & more

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why ratings and reviews matter 
  • How to garner more reviews for your brand
  • Steps to add reviews to your paid search ads
  • Common missteps to avoid

Across industries, it seems like new brands and products crop up every day. Because of this, ratings and reviews have quickly become one of the top ways customers determine which offering might be right for them.

Data from the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief show that one-to-one peer recommendations, original research, and product reviews are the most influential content in affecting purchase decisions. 

Looking to amp up your paid search performance? Adding reviews and ratings to your ads might be just the ticket.

Using reviews and rating in ads can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience.

Using reviews and rating in ads can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience. (Image via Unsplash)

What are the benefits of using reviews and rating in ads?

Using reviews and ratings in your ads can be a highly effective way to make your brand stand out from competitors. Think about it: You’re searching for a particular product or service. There are ads that explain what each brand offers, then there’s an ad with 5 out of 5 stars and a glowing customer testimonial. Which one is likely to catch your eye?

Another benefit of using reviews and rating in ads is how it can help your business gain trust and credibility with your target audience. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, according to Spiegel Research Center. They also report that displaying reviews can increase your conversion rates by a whopping 270%. 

Pro tip: Ads with extensions are charged just like normal ads clicks, so don’t worry about paying extra.

How do I add seller reviews and ratings to ads?

Google allows you to collect feedback from customers who have purchased a product or service from your site through their free Google Customer Reviews service. Alternatively, Google explains seller ratings as an automated extension type showcasing advertisers with high ratings.

While the Google Customer Reviews service takes reviews customers leave on Google, they work with other reputable review sites like Trustpilot and G2 to aggregate those reviews for inclusion as well. And, since different sites use different metrics, Google rescales the ratings on a scale of 1-5 to compare reviews from different sources more easily, according to Trustpilot.

HawkSEM: Using Ratings & Reviews in Google Ads

Pro tip: You don’t need to have a Google Merchant Center account or Google Shopping ads running to use seller ratings extensions on Google’s Search Network. And if you no longer want seller ratings to show with your ads? Simply remove the extension.

Since this service is automated, you don’t need to do anything special to set it up after activating the extension. You do, however, need to meet certain qualifications before your reviews will show up, which brings us to…

What are the guidelines when it comes to reviews and rating in ads?

For ratings to show up in your Google Ads text ads, you must have an average composite rating of at least 3.5 (though Google Shopping can show seller ratings of less than that). Also, the ad’s visible URL domain must match the domain connected to the respective ratings. 

For seller ratings to show up in paid search ads on Google, they must meet one of these Google requirements in each country the ad is to be shown in:

  • At least 100 unique reviews for the country submitted within the last 12 months via Google Customer Reviews or a third party review partner
  • Google or one of its partners has completed a research evaluation of your site
  • Google has evaluated of your site via Google Consumer Surveys

Things that could keep your seller ratings from being visible, along with there being no guarantee your ads show at all, include not meeting the minimum seller requirements, not having enough information for your business online, and having invalid or incorrect URLs as they relate to your reviews.

How do I get more ratings and reviews for my business?

It’s no secret that more reviews can result in increased sales, better rankings, and more revenue for your business. The trick is getting them! 

There are a handful of different ways you can attract more ratings and reviews for your brand online. For starters, you can look into creating an email campaign. This campaign can be sent out to all of your clients, or can be segmented by those who meet a certain requirement, like a high average Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is a management tool that helps companies gauge the loyalty and happiness of a customer.

Request for these recipients to leave you a rating on Google or the review site of your choice. You can also bake these requests into your phone calls with customers, or include the ask in your email signature. Just make sure you link to the actual place for the person to leave the review to increase the likelihood that they’ll actually follow through.

Pro tip: While asking for reviews is perfectly acceptable, make sure not to fall into “bribery” territory by asking for or offering an incentive in exchange for a positive review. You can, of course, engage with those who leave bad reviews and request they update them once their issue (if there is one) has been solved. Just don’t badger, demean, or attempt to bribe them to do so.

HawkSEM: Using Ratings & Reviews in Google Ads

Experiment with creative ad copy, consistent testing, and other relevant extensions like those for location, price, and promotion. (Image via Unsplash)

When should I not use ratings and reviews in ads?

Reviews and ratings can be a great way to stand out against your competitors — unless theirs are higher. If you’re hovering around 3.75 stars while your competition is displaying 5 out of 5, you might want to remove the extension until you’ve increased your score.

This doesn’t mean your ads won’t stand a chance. While you aim to amp up your reviews, you can still work on beating out or similar brands in other ways. For instance, experiment with things like creative ad copy, consistent testing, and other relevant extensions like those for location, price, and promotion.

Pro tip: You can check out your company’s seller rating profile (if applicable) by going to: https://www.google.com/shopping/ratings/account/lookup?q={yourwebsite}.

The takeaway

Including your company’s ratings and reviews in your PPC ads can be just the boost you need to up your clickthrough rate (CTR) and performance. It’s a simple way to make your paid search ads eye-catching, while showing your target audience that your brand is credible and trustworthy.

By meeting the proper requirements, staying on top of customer service, and ensuring your offering is high quality, you’ll garner reviews worthy of showing off.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Mar 3 , 2020

If Google Display Ads aren’t part of your digital marketing strategy, you could be missing out

Here, you’ll find:

  • An introduction to the Google Display Network (GDN)
  • The benefits of display ads vs. paid search ads
  • Different types of ads available via the GDN 
  • Targeting best practices for generating leads and increasing ROI

When it comes to online marketing, Google is the place to be. They field more than 2 trillion searches a year — that’s 5 billion a day. Generally, people in the market for a specific good or service are the ones making these searches.

Google Ads allows you to capitalize on this astounding amount of daily searches and quickly earn the attention you need to build brand awareness. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to promote your business, generate leads, and increase ROI.

HawkSEM: The Best Google Display Network Ads for Lead Generation

A Display Ad on the homepage of the New York Times.

Why you should consider Display Ads

Google provides online advertising through two channels: the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network (GDN). Ads delivered via the Search Network allow companies to buy real estate in Google’s search results through keyword optimization. 

Alternatively, the Display Network delivers those visual-based ads you come across while reading a blog article, watching a video on YouTube, or using a mobile app. The GDN consists of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps where your ads can appear. With ads on these sites, you can potentially reach more than 90% of Internet users worldwide. 

The GDN’s benefits

The GDN is designed to help you reach the right audience at the right time. You can capture someone’s attention early in the buying process, reaching them before they start searching for what you offer. This allows you to influence your prospect before your competition does. It’s a move that can be instrumental in your overall advertising strategy. 

Display ads are affordable, as each cost per click (CPC) is typically less than $1. Whether you’re a small business with limited advertising dollars or a larger company looking to invest in multiple campaigns, Google ads are a budget-friendly option.

Additionally, through the power of visual imagery, digital ads enable you to better establish your brand and keep your company front of mind. You can appeal to users through a variety of vibrant, engaging ad designs, including:

  • Responsive display ads: Allow Google to automatically test different combinations of headlines, images, descriptions, and logos, and then display the best-performing combination 
  • Uploaded image ads: Created outside of Google and can be uploaded via multiple file types into Google
  • Engagement ads: Use the same flexible targeting options as normal display campaigns
  • Gmail ads: Show up in the Promotions and Social tabs of your inbox and, when opened, may expand just like an email

Of all the benefits display ads offer, the ability to target an audience with great specificity may be the most helpful in increasing ROI. Companies who target a niche market by topic, interest, demographic, and even location can see a boost in lead generation and sales.

HawkSEM: The Best Google Display Network Ads for Lead Generation

While specifying your target audience through qualifiers like topics or interests does narrow your focus, it also causes Google to guess which sites would be a good fit. (Image via Unsplash)

4 targeting tactics to optimize your Display Ads

The best GDN ads for lead generation are those that take advantage of the targeting capabilities display ads offer. When creating your display ad campaign, follow these targeting best practices to help maximize your ROI.

1. Leverage remarketing campaigns  

By depositing cookies (soon to be replaced with new Artificial Intelligence technology) via the browser of your online visitors, you’re able to show ads targeting those visitors whenever they view other sites on the GDN. 

People seeing your ads are already familiar with your brand and will be more likely to visit you again. Remarketing (also called retargeting) has been shown to deliver lower cost per action (CPA), so it’s a budget-friendly advertising option.

HawkSEM: The Best Google Display Network Ads for Lead Generation

A look at choosing “similar audiences” on the Google Display Network (Image via SEMrush)

2. Reach similar audiences

Google Ads offers a “Similar Audiences” targeting option. This enables you to increase the reach of existing remarketing campaigns by driving new users with similar browsing habits to your site. Create a new display campaign and choose “Similar to remarketing lists” in the target settings. From there, you’ll select the audience(s) you’d like to reach. It’s that easy!

3. Apply managed placement targeting 

You can also control where your ads are being delivered through managed placements. Specifying your target audience through qualifiers like topics or interests narrows your focus. It also causes Google to guess which sites would be a good fit. This means your ads could be posted to websites that won’t yield results. 

With placement targeting, you can select specific sites you’d like your ads to appear. More focused target audience means more lead generation.

4. Reach in-market audiences 

Google uses browsing trends and history to select potential customers for your offers. These are in-market audiences, and they’re comprised of users who are looking for goods and services that match your offerings. 

Consider creating a campaign under “Interests and remarketing.” You’ll choose In-Market Audiences before selecting the audience type you’d like to reach. 

The takeaway

Navigating the digital marketing world is no simple task. Luckily, the Google Display Network makes creating display ads as seamless as possible. Google’s algorithms help you identify and reach your prospective customers, often before they even know they need you. 

Affordable, eye-catching, and completely targetable, display ads are a great way to generate leads, boost sales, and increase your ROI.

Ready to take your display ad campaign to the next level? Let’s chat.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Jane Serra on Feb 12 , 2020

Get ahead of the competition by optimizing your Google Shopping Ads campaign

Here you’ll find:

  • How Google Shopping Ads works
  • How to target the right keywords
  • The reasons why adding negative keywords is crucial
  • Best practices for optimizing ad images
  • How Showcase Shopping ads can help your brand 

The Google Shopping Ads feature is one of the best ways to get your products noticed. You upload your featured products to the Google Merchant Center, splash in some keywords, and images of your products will start to pop up on a Google search along with their prices.

It may sound simple, but there are a handful of key things you need to know to bring in serious sales using this service. If you want to take your marketing game to the next level, consider these six must-know tips to make Google Shopping Ads work for you.

HawkSEM: 6 Must-Know Tips to Make Google Shopping Ads Work for You

Optimizing the information you submit to Google is the key to getting the best return on investment. (Image via Rawpixel)

How does Google Shopping Ads work?

Before we dive into the tips, Google Shopping Ads – formerly known as AdWords – is a paid search advertising service that is available for e-commerce businesses to use to attract new clients.

This service lets brands set up campaigns based on their budget. Your ad will appear in the search results page with your product, cost information, and product photo when a relevant keyword is used in a search.

This will give you a marketing edge because consumers will see your products at the top of the page. It can also benefit you by pushing competitors farther down the search results page. 

What do I need to know about Google Shopping Ads?

Optimizing the information you submit to Google is the key to getting the best return on investment. Let’s go over these 6 tips.

1. Optimize your data feed

When you log in to your Google Merchant account, you’ll want to ensure that your data feed has the necessary information for your product titles. Descriptions in the product title should include:

  • Brand name
  • Material type
  • Sizes
  • Color
  • Model number

Do some keyword research to make sure you’re using the best keywords in your title descriptions. You can use Google’s keyword tracking tools such as Google Search Console and AdWords Keyword Planner to help with this.

2. Target the right keywords

You’ll want to leverage the same keywords a consumer would type into the Google search bar. For example, if your company sells coconut oil, “coconut oil” as a keyword would be too broad to use. 

Instead, imagine the searcher is looking for more specific information about “coconut oil.” It’s best to use long-tail keywords like “best all-natural coconut oil” or “coconut oil for cooking.” Implementing long-tail keywords gives your product a better chance to reach the right audience.

Being specific is important because you don’t want to waste money serving ads to people who aren’t looking for your exact product. Your coconut oil could be used for cooking, for example, while someone is looking for coconut oil body lotion.

3. Add negative keywords

Adding negative keywords tells the search engine platform that you don’t want your ad to end up in a specific search. Let’s go back to the coconut oil example. 

Refined coconut oil goes through a lot of processing and can be used to make soaps, bath oils, or body moisturizers, while unrefined coconut oil is best for cooking. If you’re selling unrefined coconut oil for cooking, excellent negative keywords you’ll want to add would be “refined coconut oil” or “processed coconut oil.” 

4. Optimize your images

To grab a consumer’s attention, make sure you’re uploading high-quality images to associate with your products. Keep in mind that, per Google, your images need to be under 1024 kilobytes

To get the best images possible, consider using a DSLR camera. These are cameras that provide the most detail and are used by professionals.

 Also, make sure your products are clear with no distractions or busy backgrounds. The most popular look is the product with a white background. Use good lighting and make sure the product is the main focus. 

HawkSEM: 6 Must-Know Tips to Make Google Shopping Ads Work for You

If your products aren’t converting, you may want to consider moving them to a different ad group and lowering your bids. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Focus on your top-selling products

Putting your top-selling products in their own ad group will give you the best chance at finding the right audience. You can track your top-selling products by using Google Analytics. Make your bids are on the higher side for these items for maximum exposure.  

If your products aren’t converting, you may want to consider moving them to a different ad group and lowering your bids. This can help ensure you’re maximizing your marketing budget and not overspending.

6. Use Showcase Shopping ads

The standard option that most businesses use is Product Shopping ads. These are the ads that show up on the top of a search results page. They have a product photo, price, and star reviews all nicely packaged in a small box that consumers can easily click on. 

Another option is Showcase Shopping ads. Showcase Shopping ads give your audience a preview of what your brand is all about. This option lets you feature more than one product. It’s also ideal for broader keyword searches. For example, if you sell summer dresses, you can feature multiple dresses you sell in one ad for that keyword.

The takeaway

The tips we’ve mentioned above are crucial for making your Google Shopping Ads campaign successful. Paid search advertising like Google Shopping Ads help your audience find your products. By following the strategies of keyword targeting, using negative keywords, and image optimization, you’ll be on the right track of making your ads pay off.   

Want to find out how you can optimize your PPC campaigns even further? Let’s talk!

Jane Serra

Jane Serra

Jane Serra is the VP of Marketing at HawkSEM. She's an accomplished marketing executive with more than 12 years of experience leading digital marketing teams across demand generation, branding, events, content, and communications. When she's not strategizing, networking, and honing her craft, she enjoys traveling and scrolling Yelp for new restaurants to try.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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