Google changes have been a major topic for digital marketers in 2021. While major shifts are happening to keywords and SEO, your paid strategy should also be updated. As a digital marketer, you must be able to adapt to changes in both the Google algorithms, and consumer behavior. The key is the integrate more data into your strategy and retain control over automatic Google optimizations. While the competition can be tough, Google Ads convert 50% better than organic search results, so it’s worth it to be on top of your game.
Catering to How People are Searching
For Gen Z (who now makes up 28.7% of the population by the way, larger than Boomers and Millennials), long-tail queries are the new norm. While short-tailed queries may result in a multitude of broad results, long tails can help users more accurately find what they are looking for. This, coupled with the increased use of voice search, has only increased the popularity of Natural Language Search.
Natural language search (NLS) involves expressing search terms in everyday language, and is getting more and more popular. Even Google is prioritizing its use to better reach consumers.
It may seem obvious, but users who find the content they are looking for are more likely to convert. By searching in natural language using long-tail queries, users are better able to find the exact content they are searching for. So while these types of queries and keywords have a lower search volume, they convert up to three times more often than regular keywords. Google is all about helping users find that they are looking for, so it seems like a natural step for Google to prioritize ads that cater to natural language search.
So what should marketers do to optimize their ads? It’s really quite simple: combine keywords with high potential for phrase match with natural language phrasing. So long are the days of keyword jumbles, and hello to ads written in natural language. Eliminate phrases with repetitive keywords and focus on phrases that are solutions focused. Not only is it more likely to surface on ads, it will lead to better conversions.
You want to ensure that your ads are showing up on the screens of people most likely to take action, and eliminate spending money on those who won’t. This is where negative keywords come into play. Making use of negative keywords will help you refine your audience and save money.
For example, if you base your ad on the keyword “auto repair” you don’t want your ad to show up for people searching for “auto repair job” or “DIY auto repair”. The people who searched for these secondary are much less likely to convert, since they are not in the market for what you are providing. Without the use of negative keywords, you could be spending money on low-intent users who are far less likely to convert.
There are a handful of universal negative keywords that any campaign should use if they are looking to convert clicks into sales. Keywords like “free,” “samples,” “meaning of,” and “about,” when used in conjunction with your product keyword in a search can be most likely eliminated from your campaigns. These types of searches are looking for quick answers, with no purchase intention. While these words may get people to visit your site, they are not the type of searches that bring in performance-based results. If your campaigns are focused on sales and moving people towards a purchase, negative keywords can help you eliminate searchers less likely to take action, and focus your efforts (and money) towards those who are more likely to convert.
Eliminate Under-performing Spend
Digital marketers have a lot on their plate when it comes to managing their campaigns. When you think about the multiple of campaigns, then narrow in on the thousands of keywords and ad copy, it’s no wonder things can get overwhelming to keep track of. Yet, staying on top of your performance is the key to success when it comes to your ads. If even a portion of your ads are under-performing, you’re investing in tactics that have a low quality score and are not likely to bring you the conversions you want.
To help reduce your under-performing ads, you should be diving into two reports: the Quality Score and Search Query Report. From here, you can better understand what search terms and triggers your ads, and optimize your keywords and copy to better reach your target audience. There’s no point in wasting time and money on ads that aren’t bringing in results. As time goes on and you continue to create new ads and add to keywords, staying on top of everything can easily become unmanageable. By analyzing these reports and combing through your campaigns regularly, you can focus on what’s performing well, and eliminate the under-performers.
Don’t Guess, Test
With the rise of digital, users are interacting with more online content than ever before. With online users being exposed to more than 6000 ads per day, this means a greater task for marketers to cut through the noise and stand out. Hence, the importance of crafting the right copy and visuals to catch the attention of the reader.
It’s hard to predict what types of copy and visuals will perform, and it’s a tough feat to accurately predict which combination of the two will bring in the best results. SEISO found that the quality of the creative weighs up to 80% in the performance of Facebook Ads campaigns, and a similar trend for Google Ads. With the pressure to perform, marketers need to craft up ads that are engaging. Rather than guess, a savvy digital marketer will know that testing copy and creatives is the best way to find what works. The power of statistics can put multiple iterations of your ad in front of users, find the ones bringing in the most conversions, and promote the best performer on a larger scale.
As a general best practice, the magic number is between 3 and 5. Always test at least 3 and no more than 5 ads in an ad group. Set your test duration and let Google and its users choose which ad is most likely to bring results.
Landing Pages That Meet Expectations
If you want to focus on bringing in sales with Google Ads, the effort doesn’t just stop with the ad itself. It’s one thing to get searchers to click on your ad, but if you don’t follow through on the landing page there’s no point in bringing them there. The majority of consumers (75% to be exact) judge a business’s credibility based on how their website looks, so it’s worth it to put the time and effort into getting it right.
There’s no one-way to design a landing page. However, there are a few best practices when it comes to their composition. An well-designed landing page will make use of contrasting colors and visuals, have a clear call-to-action (CTA) for readers, and direct them to take action with the use of large and clearly labelled buttons. An effective landing page will use the same keywords and CTA’s as the ad that brought them there, and should create a similar emotional response from the reader. And don’t forget, like Google Ads themselves, the most successful landing pages are optimized for mobile.
Focus on one action you want the user to take. Having more than one CTA can be confusing and misleading for viewers, and cause them to exit the page. Be clear with what you’re asking them to do and what you are providing for them. This increases trust and credibility, and makes users more likely to convert.