Google intentionally makes it incredibly easy to get started on AdWords. In most cases, it’s as easy as selecting a handful of keywords, writing an ad, and of course, adding credit card information.

To give you an idea, nearly 80% of US search ad revenue is earned by Google!

Given this number and the simplicity factor, establishing a good AdWords campaign is one of the smartest moves you can make in your marketing mix. There is practically an unlimited amount of opportunities out there to start drawing more exposure and boosting revenue.

Here are 15 tips to help yield impeccable PPC results.

1. Choose the Right Bid Strategy

First and foremost, the bid strategy is what lays the groundwork for your entire campaign. Therefore, it must be chosen wisely.

Start by defining your goals.

Are you mainly interested in increasing your website traffic?

Getting people to take action on your platform?

Boosting your brand awareness?

All of the above?

AdWords provides a number of bidding strategies to help accommodate your needs.

Conversion-Based Strategies:

  • Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – This one is meant for those simply looking to increase their website conversions. Using this approach, you can base your campaign around a specific CPA.
  • Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) – Also designed for boosting conversions, this strategy is meant to be created around a certain ROAS.
  • Maximize conversions – The name pretty much says it all with this strategy. If you’re sole focus is gaining the most conversions, you can simply bid on this factor alone.
  • Enhanced Cost-Per-Click (ECPC) – To get a bit more streamlined, this strategy is an optional feature that automatically adjusts your bids to gain as many conversions as possible.

Impression-Based Strategies:

  • Target Search Page – This approach provides an automated system of which sets bids in attempt to give your ads a better chance of appearing at the top of the search results.
  • Target Outranking – Another automated strategy, this one lets you choose certain domains you would like to outrank on the SERPS. You can easily provide the number of times you would like to be placed higher on the results page, and AdWords will meet your request.
  • Cost Per Thousands Viewable Impressions (vCPM) – This one is a manual bidding strategy. If your ads are primary designed for increasing brand awareness, and not so much for clicks or traffic. You can set the maximum amount you will pay for every 1000 impressions. If you have a goal that involves direct response from customers, this strategy is probably not for you.

Click-Based Strategies:

  • Maximize Clicks – This strategy is perhaps the easiest way to bid for clicks. The automated system requires you to set a daily budget, then it manages your bids to bring you the most clicks.
  • Manual Cost Per Click (CPC) – This strategy lets you manage your clicks independently. You can select bids based on each ad group within your campaign, or few specific keywords.

Views or Interaction-Based

  • Cost Per View Bidding (CPV) – This strategy is meant for video ads. You simply enter the top price you want to pay for each view or any other form of video interaction.

Take your time in choosing your bid strategy. If your goals are murky going in, it will be much harder to pinpoint the right approach and see the results you need.

2. Show Ads at the Right Time

As many marketers will attest, the name of the game is putting the right messaging in front the right eyes at the most opportune time.

Picking the right ad schedule all comes down to how well you know your target audience. What times are they most active? B2B-oriented companies have it easy, as most of their clientele are most active during regular 9-5 business hours. Consumers, however, can be a bit more difficult to read.

When starting out, set your schedule to 24/7. Yes, this will cost a bit more at first. But you can always scale it back when you get the reporting and find the most active timeframes.

Once you’ve nailed down the most optimal times, you can make bid adjustments to power down the campaign during certain times or days. The times you decide to run the campaign can have either a higher or lower average CPC.

3. Rotate Your Ads

If you have created a number of ads, you obviously cannot display them all at once. So, you need to create an ad rotation. In AdWords, you have four options for optimization:

  1. For Clicks – This one optimizes your rotation for the ads that have garnered the most clicks in the past and are more likely to be displayed in the future.
  2. For Conversions – Similar to clicks, if one of your ads has been producing a good deal of conversions, it will be shown more often down the road.
  3. Even Rotation – This one doesn’t choose favorites. Regardless of the results they bring in, each ad will enter a similar amount of auctions. However, it’s not a guarantee each will meet the standards to get the impression. The kicker with this option is after 90 days, if the ads are going untouched, they will be optimized for clicks or conversions.
  4. Indefinite Rotation – Same as even rotation, except nothing happens after 90 days.

When in doubt, optimizing for conversions is a good place to start. It’s quick and simple to test. If you are dead-set on giving each of your ads exposure, better go with an even rotation, as opposed to indefinite.

4. Target Locations Carefully

The Google AdWords system knows when to show certain ads based on an individual’s IP address or GPS location.

Choosing target location is relatively easy. Take a look at your operation. If you are a brick-and-mortar store, you would obviously want to target your city.

If you are a national business, you would want to select the entire country. This can get a bit tricky – as buying behaviors can have a bigger variety the more ground you cover. Based on your market research, you can select certain radiuses around a location for your ads.

Here is chart to help give you an idea of how meet your business goals:

While you should always be strategic with your chosen geographic locations, don’t be scared to take risks to expand your area. You never know, you might discover a whole new market!

5. Use Effective Device Targeting

The world is going mobile. Ads need to be presented in a way that accommodates each chosen device. A few years back, Google unveiled their enhanced campaign capabilities of which allows businesses to target users on certain devices. In turn, bidding strategies and campaign structures must be properly adjusted.

There are a number of tactics to keep in mind in terms of device targeting.

  • Create Mobile-Only Ads – ads look different from screen-to-screen. In AdWords, you can select a “Device Preference” and choose certain ads as mobile-preferred. This allows to you gear your content and CTAs respectively.
  • Call-Only – These appear for the sole purpose of making phone calls, as opposed to directing users to a landing page.

  • Mobile Text – This option runs simple, plain text ads on the mobile display. While they look similar to the text ads you’d see on a desktop, you can show less ads per page on mobile.

One of the most important things to keep in mind, is if you are directing users to a landing page, that page MUST be mobile-friendly. A recent survey found that 42% of consumers won’t convert on a poorly designed website. If your mobile landing pages are ill-conceived, you are fighting an uphill battle.

6. Apply Bid Adjustments

This concept is relatively easy to grasp. Bid adjustments are meant for you to change the frequency of how your ads are shown based on factors like location, time, and methods people use to conduct web searches. With your market knowledge, you can change the percentage of a bid.

For instance, if most of your audience is searching on mobile, you can increase your bid for when people conduct a search on their device.

While this task is simple, making the proper adjustments is an extremely important task in your marketing mix. Be sure you are reading your reports correctly to make effective decisions. The main goal is to find the places where conversions are the best. Then make the proper bid adjustments to match. As time goes on, you will be able to refine your PPC spend.

7. Optimize Bids to Achieve the Best Ad Position

Optimizing your bids and ad positioning is a constant task you should be working towards throughout your entire PPC campaign. Doing so successful can require a great deal of time and close attention to detail. Keeping tabs on your performance and analytics should be a daily routine in order to find the best ways to make each dollar go farther.

Be sure you stay true to the main goals you previously established for your campaign. Keep in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for successful bidding.

Once you have pinpointed patterns for optimal ad positioning, there are two prominent bid optimization approaches to consider.

  1. Manual – The most basic method for managing bids. Here, you can either add or subtract simple bids based on “if” or “then” logic (Boolean) to reach a specified number of clicks, conversions, or retargeting objectives. This strategy can get tedious with the more keywords you use.
  2. Algorithmic – This is more advanced and combines the elements of control and automation. Given the current state of marketing, this is the preferred option. It takes all the basic factors you would use in manual optimization, while incorporating more in-depth business factors such as budgetary needs, constraints, and long-term/short-term goals.

This process is a never-ending part of your PPC efforts.

8. Use Single Keyword Ad Groups

Single keyword ad groups are, you guessed it, ad groups containing just one keyword. Chances are, you already have a good circle of keywords in your groups. Google recommends you have 10-20. The tough part about this is creating a good ad relevant to each. If you’re really struggling, your Quality Score can suffer.

With a single keyword ad group, there is only one term of which can trigger an ad. This way, you don’t have to work extra hard to create ambiguous ads that must apply to a multitude of keywords.

Doing so will give you a better chance at improving your quality score. The higher you rank, the lower your cost-per-click.

Now, you don’t want to put EVERY single keyword into a single ad group, as this will take way too much time. Be careful and prioritize. Once you have pinpointed your most valuable terms, it will be much easier to create meaningful ads relevant to your keywords.

9. Use DKI to Improve CTR

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a fantastic way to improve your click-through-rate (CTR).

To give you a better idea of what DKI is, let’s say you have a myriad of keywords in your ad group such as: leather coat, winter coat, black coat, wool coat, etc. In your ad copy, the DKI code is: Buy>{Keyword:Coat}. If someone were to search for “black wool coat,” the code would then be replaced with that term – making your ad appear as “Buy Wool Coat.” The result, your ad is now closer related to the search query.

This is a great strategy to improve your results and help people find what they need. Just be sure nothing is misspelled and your keywords aren’t too broad!

10. Use Ad Extensions

The primary function of ad extensions is to give people more information about your business to help them make a decision. These are typically known to boost CTR. Extensions include things like phone number, address, links to landing pages, and more.

These extensions give your ads more visibility on the SERPS, which means more value. Setting them up is typically a manual task. However, AdWords will sometimes show ad extensions automatically, if it thinks your performance can benefit from them.

Keep in mind, just adding an extension does not guarantee it will show on the ad. Your ad rank must meet a certain criteria and the extension must provide value.

The best part about doing this is it’s completely FREE!

11. A/B Test Your Ads and Landing Pages

Digital marketing in general is a constant game of testing and optimizing. PPC ads are no exception. Performing these tests give you an idea of what is working well, and what can be scrapped.

Luckily, the process of A/B testing variants in PPC is usually a simpler than other forms of split testing. But, it does not mean you should take this task lightly.

Typically, there are four major areas in which you should be testing your copy.

  1. Headline
  2. Body
  3. Link
  4. Keywords on ad display

Throughout your tests, look for patterns in how certain keywords are more effective in terms of CTR, conversions, raising awareness, etc. Some might be great for one component, but horrendous in other areas. This just means some words are working in different levels of the buyer’s journey. This does not mean one is more valuable than another. They are simply serving different functions.

The more you test, the better bank of keywords you will have for your campaigns.

12. Select the Most Valuable Keywords

While this one seems obvious, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds.

The most important thing to keep in mind is you don’t want to grab for the top shelf, not yet at least. These terms are usually costly and highly competitive. Don’t go too broad. Look for the ones performing best within your niche audience. Selecting the best keywords takes finesse. In other words, they should be effective, but not too effective to the point where a user enters the term and a plethora of similar ads will pop up before yours.

Also, be sure you are using ones for each stage of the customer journey.

What would people be searching when they are casually conducting research in relation to your business?

What about when they are beginning to get serious in narrowing down their options?

Validating their decision?

Building your keyword list for PPC takes time and planning. Finding the perfect balance of terms will be one of the most vital elements in your strategy.

13. Pause Under-Performing Keywords and Match Types

On the flip side, a good piece of advice to keep in mind with keywords is not to fall in love. You’ll notice that certain keywords can go from high performers to completely irrelevant rather quickly. If the numbers are lower than you would like in terms of CTR, conversions, or impressions, it can be extremely easy to pause without hesitation. However, there are a few things to consider before pulling the trigger.

For one, look at ALL the device patterns. Some might only be underperforming in one area and be doing well in another.

Second, look at positioning. If you’re paying top dollar for a keyword-triggered ad to be positioned at the top of the list and it’s unprofitable, it might be wise to try and move it down a couple spots. Sometimes, people tend to skip over the ads at the very top of a page.

Third, consider your ad group structure. Some keywords can trigger ads completely irrelevant to your business. For example, you might bid on a keyword like “leather shoes,” but it prompts an ad that mentions something completely different, like “cow leather.” These combinations have no chance at success. If this is the case, go back and re-evaluate your ad groups and create ones that are more niche-focused.

Fourth, choose keyword match types based on your objectives. It’s best to start with either exact match or phrase match keywords. Personally, I prefer Phrase Match. Once you get better at AdWords and gain confidence in identifying search patterns of your customers, start using the Broad Match Modifier, which will help you increase the reach of your campaigns.

At the same time, keep eye on your search terms data and add negative keywords into specific ad groups or campaigns to eliminate waste of marketing dollars.

14. Build a Negative Keyword List

Negative keywords essentially instruct the search engines to NOT show ads for certain terms. This way, you can designate which types of searches trigger your ads.

For example, if you strictly sell high-end wooden furniture, there are many potential searches that can lead to fruitless results. Terms like cheap, free, old, restored, etc. might not be relevant to your business goals. Therefore, it’s best to add those to your negative keyword list.

There are many benefits to this tactic. For one, it helps you steer the most interested customers in the right direction. Two, it weeds out irrelevant traffic, saving you time and money in the long run. Three, if you have multiple PPC campaigns going at once, using negative keywords can help avoid cross-promotional matches.

For some assistance in this area, WordStream has a free negative keyword tool to give you a better idea of which words to include (or exclude) on your list.

15. Keep on Experimenting

Big data is quickly becoming one of the most valuable resources in the world. Businesses are now able to use it for making more accurate and educated decisions. With so much information out there, the trick is finding the right metrics to mine and glean insights to improve future performance.

When looking at any form of digital marketing, you must approach the task with the mindset that your strategy is an ever-evolving entity. There will always be new trends and consumer preferences emerging and dying by the hour. The best way to navigate the constantly-shifting landscape is to get your hands dirty and experiment. In terms of PPC, don’t be afraid to take risks. Think outside the box. True, some of your attempts will be duds. But in the process, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Use your past experiences and results to provide the grounds for your next plan of attack. You may even find something completely revolutionary!

Over to You

As great as organic search is, it will only take your so far. Google AdWords is a phenomenal platform to help boost your online presence and get your messaging in front of the most interested eyes. Unfortunately, there is no universal template that tells each and every business exactly how to achieve the best results. Chances are, you will experience a good deal of trial