Optimize Google Ads

Ads are central to Google Ads (formerly “Adwords”). They form a bridge between the keywords entered by searching users and your website. To put it simply: The position of the ad and its content design determine whether you earn money or not. It is therefore mandatory that you have a thorough understanding of the Google Ads system in order to be able to optimize your ads in the most effective way.

The basics: Ad Position, Ad Rank, and Quality Score

Google has hierarchized the places for advertising material in its search. The individual locations are referred to as ad positions. The ad rank and the so-called quality factor are decisive for who gets which position.

Ad Rank is an internal Google assignment of how much you bid for a given keyword (maximum CPC). For example, the highest bidder gets rank one. In a classic auction, position one would also go to the appropriate person, but Google works differently.

This is where the so-called quality factor comes into play. This is determined by Google itself: you are assigned a number from one (very bad) to ten (as good as possible) – depending on how relevant your web presence, the expected click rate and your ad are for the keyword. If you want to research the Quality Score for your keywords, you can do this in your Google Ads account in the Keyword Analysis section. If you’re still working with an Adwords account, select “Campaigns” – “Keywords” – “Columns” – “Customize columns” and then “Quality Score”. Here you can also see the individual building blocks that make up the quality score.

The ad position is now the product of ad rank and quality score. Let’s say you bid $2 and have a Quality Score of ten, so you throw a value of “twenty” into the ring for Ad Position for a given keyword. If nobody can top that, you get rank one. If two other offers are better, you get the third position and so on.

There are two things to note: First, the ad position is recalculated each time your ad is served. If you got first rank in the first run, you don’t necessarily have to keep it in the second run. Secondly, with the switch from Adwords to Ads, Google has created new positions. The top results now appear above and below the first regular search results.

Note: “Actual CPC” is irrelevant to ad position

Google Ads usually doesn’t charge you your maximum bid, but the amount you would have to pay to just keep your ad rank – this sum is also known as “actual CPC”. However, the maximum amount you enter is decisive for the calculation of the ad position.

Google Ads ads need constant optimization

Google Ads ads have the charm that you can get an excellent ad position even with a small advertising budget. All you have to do is make your pages and ads as relevant as possible. Therefore: You should continuously optimize your ads to strengthen your Quality Score. Also, never underestimate the importance of ads. They are the medium through which potential customers first come into contact with your offer. So remember the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Google Ads ads have four main building blocks

Google Ads ads consist of the following four elements:

  • Ad titles 1, 2 and 3 with 30 characters each (for Adwords it was 25)
  • Description 1 and 2 with 90 characters each (previously 80 characters)
  • 2 fields for the displayed link (URL) with a maximum of 15 characters each
  • Optional: Extensions of all kinds – for example, additional text or customer reviews of the product in the online shop that the user was looking for

Spaces and special characters are included in the character specifications. It is advisable to try to exhaust all signs in order to communicate clear messages. Tests show that the titles must be formulated in an understandable way. Therefore, resist the temptation to “squeeze” too many keywords, for example.

Since 2017, Google has steadily expanded the options for expanding ads. The search engine itself recommends using this option as much as possible. However, tests have shown that extensions are not an end in themselves. They really only help if they improve the display. As an example: Many advertisements can only roughly describe products due to the limited number of characters. The extension can provide a refinement here and thus help. However, if it doesn’t work, it’s superfluous. Therefore, ask yourself with every extension: How does this really help your offer.

Practical tips for designing your Google Ads ads

Give answers: Keywords should be at the beginning of the ad title if possible

Google works as a great answerer. The users have specific questions or needs that are expressed via the keyword. This keyword should therefore appear in your ad title to pick up the user and make it clear that they are finding relevant information here. Ideally, the ad title includes the user’s question in the title and thus starts a dialogue. Experiments with different keyword positions have shown that users respond particularly well when the keyword appears at the very beginning of the ad – if that makes sense.

This may sound a bit complicated, but an example will make it clear. If you sell car parts and now want to advertise for the keyword combination “VW spare parts”, you know that most people who enter these keywords into the Google search field actually formulate the question: “Where can I find VW spare parts ?” Your ad title reads: “Buy all kinds of VW spare parts here.”

Incidentally, this example also shows you what your other keywords look like. For example, many customers will specifically search for “VW Golf 5 spare parts” or “Volkswagen timing belt”. The so-called keyword insertion is ideal for this. You put curly brackets as placeholders in the ad title (and text), then note the associated keywords in your ads account. Whenever a user searches for one of the keywords, your ad will be displayed with the appropriate term.

But be careful: the insertion only makes sense in a case like the example above, where it is clear that there are many related terms. In the case of very special offers, however, it is superfluous.

Stand out visually from the competition: Numbers and special characters stand out

In order to stand out visually from the other ads, it is advisable to use numbers and special characters. These are so-called “interfering pulses” that draw attention. For example, the euro sign (EUR) is a grateful special character. Users tend to click on ads that already contain prices. Let’s stay with the example above: “VW spare parts from 20EUR”. The numbers and special characters also have the pleasant side effect that characters can be saved.

Write customer-oriented advertisements

Customers want to be understood. Your ads must reflect this. As an example: Users find countless ads that promise them “cheap VW spare parts”. For example, you can set yourself apart like this:

  • Title 1: Help with VW repair? (23 characters)
  • Title 2: Spare parts available immediately (24 characters)
  • Description: Our VW spare parts from EUR 10 will get your car back on the road (70 characters)
  • Link: www.LINK-VW-Shop-muster.de/vw/ersatzteile (2/11 characters)

Emotions: The Dangerous Allies

feelings are powerful. Many copywriters therefore want to address these in order to get users to click on the ad. However, this approach does not always make sense. It depends on the product or service you are promoting. As an example: If you sell wall paints, an allusive emotional approach is dangerous. Some corresponding shops start with the question:
“Do you think your home is ugly?”
Some users find such tone offensive and avoid such ads. It is therefore advisable to write more positively. A suitable title would be: “A nicer home?” Negative emotions are appropriate when the context of your offer becomes apparent. If you are a detective, you can ask provocatively, for example: “Who stole from you?”

If you want to work with an emotional approach, reinforce the customer in their current situation. Anyone who is willing to spend money on a product or service almost always wants to fix something wrong or improve their own life. Use this knowledge.

Work cleanly editorially and incorporate a well thought-out call-to-action

Google now strongly recommends that ads should be created editorially clean. So avoid spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. Various tests have repeatedly confirmed the truth of the recommendation. If you can’t even advertise your own offer correctly, you’ll fail the users.

However, another Google recommendation should be treated with caution. In fact, every ad should have a call-to-action—for example, users should “click here now.” However, tests have shown that boring and uninspired calls-to-action do more harm than good. So if you’re working with a call-to-action, be creative about it. For example, let the user “get to know their new dream car here”. If you don’t have enough characters left for a creative call-to-action, it’s better to do without it altogether. The average Internet user knows to click the button – even without coaxing.

Conclusion: Control and optimize

The tips may seem like squaring the circle to you. They should accommodate keywords, arouse feelings, but not the wrong ones and also bring in numbers and special characters. This is all supposed to work with a third of the characters than you have available for a Twitter post. This really big challenge takes us back to the beginning. You need to continually optimize your ads! You can always change all ads. This gives you the opportunity to test different formulations and ideas. Gather valuable experience.

Over time, this work will become easier. Proceed step by step: For example, first find a good title before you refine your text lines or set your hand on the link. If you are satisfied with this, your work is still not over: you can now continue fine-tuning your ads using the so-called callout extensions (additional information) and sitelinks. In all of this, never forget the golden rule: there is always something to improve!

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