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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.

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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