The Top 3 AdWords Optimization Tips, Straight From Google

6S Marketing is a proud Google Partner, and each quarter we participate in sweet competitions with even sweeter prizes. This past quarter, we won an incredible day of AdWords optimization training by beating out all other Canadian agencies in new client revenue. As our prize, a team of Googlers visited us from San Francisco to teach us the latest and greatest in optimization tips and tricks.

Here are the top three most effective tricks we learned — read on for the inside scoop.

1. Set Up Your Platinum Campaign

The Gods of Google take a number of factors into account when determining your Quality Score. Even the Googlers themselves don’t know the ins and outs of the elusive Quality Score, but one thing is certain — Google always wants the most relevant ad to be shown to their users, so click-through-rate is king in AdWords optimization. High CTR indicates highly relevant advertising. This is your most important Quality Score tool. If people keep clicking on your ad, Google rewards you by improving your Quality Score and allowing you to spend less per click for your ad position, or to show your ad in a higher position for the same cost.

Cue the Platinum Campaign…

The majority of paid search performance can be attributed to a small percentage of keywords, and optimizing across that small percentage can yield the largest ROI. Once a new campaign has been running for 30 – 90 days, you should be able to pick out these top performing keywords and search queries.

Take a look at your AdWords dashboard or the Search Query Report to find these top performers. You may notice these keywords early on, as they’re likely gobbling up all of the budget. Once established, take the best keywords from each campaign, and move these to their own unique single keyword ad groups (or SKAGs, as they are so charmingly known), along with custom ad copy, within the almighty Platinum Campaign. Using Negative Keywords and Exact Match will drive traffic exactly where you want it to go.

Having control over the exact search query appearing in your ad text is a powerful tool. When words from the search query also appear in ad text, they are shown in bold. This helps them stand out and makes your ad look more relevant to what the user is searching for.

search ad

Within these granular SKAGs that contain top performers, you can create extremely targeted ad copy with focused CTAs and landing pages, increasing your CTRs, and thus increasing your Quality Score. If your AdWords account is on the smaller size, you can simply move your most profitable keywords into a new platinum ad group within their existing campaign.

2. Spread the Love with Ad Extensions

Utilizing Ad Extensions to their full potential is one of easiest steps that you can take to increase your CTR while staying on budget. This may sound like old news, but with the recent loss of the right-hand side ads, the role of Ad Extensions within your account are more important now than ever before.

Ad Extensions are evolving and space on the SERP is becoming increasingly more extinct. Adding all relevant Ad Extensions is beneficial to both your business and the end user:

  • Ad Rank takes into account the estimated impact of extensions. When two competing ads have the same Quality Score and bid, the ad with the higher expected impact from extensions will appear in a higher position than the other ad.
  • Applying Ad Extensions can increase the real estate of your ad copy by up to 50% in the search results.

In terms of AdWords optimization, here are two of the most commonly neglected Ad Extensions which you should be using:

Structured Snippets:

Being the new kid on the block, it’s not surprising that many advertisers are not utilizing these savvy little Snippets. Structured Snippets allow advertisers to include additional, non-clickable details about their business categorized by a choice of 12 headers.

“Styles” Header

“Styles” Header

Structured Snippets work well across a variety of verticals. Businesses like eCommerce merchants, shopping catalogs, and retail stores would use Structured Snippets to list the brands they stock, freeing up Sitelink or Callout Extension space.

List of available headings

List of available headings

See more than one that fits your business? Up to two headers can show on your ad at a time, so add as many headers relevant to your business as possible. Google will decide the best header combinations to show. Bear in mind, priority for which Snippet gets served goes to the first Snippet listed, similar to how Sitelinks and Callouts are prioritized.

You can create Snippets at the account level, the campaign level, or unique Snippets that pertain to only very specific ad groups. Oh, and you can schedule them, too! Awesome.

Review Extensions:

Review Extensions are one of the most valuable Ad Extensions out there. Reviews add the personal touch of how people feel about their experience with your business. They enhance customers’ perceptions and preconceptions of your business before they’ve even clicked. According to Google, Review Extensions can boost CTR by up to 10% at no extra cost, just the standard CPC for clicks on the ad itself.

You can create your own review (quoted or paraphrased) and connect it with a published source. Now, sit back and let your customers do the work for you.

Well, not quite. Review Extensions are notorious for being rejected by Google, so follow these tips to speed up the review process:

  • Google is not going to accept a personal review, no matter how fantastic your nearest and dearest think you are. Reviews need to come from a reputable third party publication or organization
  • Don’t repeat your business name or ad copy in the review text
  • Avoid reviews which are more than a year old
  • Take the review directly from the original source and provide the correct URL (only online reviews can be utilized. Any offline recognition, reviews or awards in newspapers or magazines cannot be submitted)
  • Don’t make any changes to the review from the original text, at all, not even a full stop

Be sure to take the time to review the full list of Review Extension policies before submitting your review.

Where to find Review and Structured Snippet Extensions in your account

Where to find Review and Structured Snippet Extensions in your account

3. Every Critical KPI Metric Needs a BFF

Life is way better when you spend it with your BFF.

What is the most important metric in AdWords? Conversion rate, bounce rate or profitability? Every leader has a different metric that they find the most important so how do we choose?

Regardless of what metric you consider the golden metric, make sure it has a BFF. KPIs may be different for each business, but they should always have a BFF – an immediately adjacent part that helps to give a much fuller picture.

Let us illustrate this with an example.

Click-Through-Rates and Bounce Rates

So, maybe click-through-rates (CTRs) are really important to you (and they should be). CTRs are great because they tell you if your ads are working well – are people clicking on your ads? If yes, this means that people are finding it relevant to their search query.

We love CTR and consider it a key KPI but not completely on its own. On its own, it doesn’t tell us if the user has done anything. All we know is that they got to the page. This is where the BFF comes in and CTR’s BFF is Bounce Rate. They are like two peas in a pod – lost without each other.

By looking at both the CTR and Bounce Rate, you’re able to not only see if users like your ad, but also if they stay on the page. If you’ve got a high CTR and a high Bounce Rate, then people are coming to your page and then it’s wham bam, thank you, ma’am.

If your CTR and Bounce Rate are both low, then you’ve got to put on your creative thinking hat and come up with more enticing ad copy. If you’re getting people to go to the right page and they don’t bounce, you’re doing it right!

Let’s try a different example.

Visits and Visitors

Who doesn’t love visitors? We definitely want to get more visits (or sessions) to your website because how else are we going to market our goods? But what happens if you notice that you have 50,000 visitors to your site and 50,000 sessions? Why is each user only visiting once? How will you get customers if they don’t come back to your site?

What if it was 5,000 visitors and 20,000 sessions vs 10,000 visitors and 20,000 sessions? What type of information were the users coming back to look at? Do we have ads pointing to those pages? See how each of these sets of numbers tell us a different story? Looking at this adjacent contextual metric allows you to have just the right amount of complexity to your data.


Each of these short KPI BFF stories tells us something different. By looking at a bunch of short stories, we are able to see a much clearer picture of what’s going on.
With each KPI having a BFF, you can create some beautiful trend lines and communicate it in a way that makes sense to the higher ups who are solely focused on that golden KPI.

Friends don’t let their KPIs not have BFFs. Don’t be that guy.

Google Partners Summit

Every year, Google holds an invite-only Partner Summit in beautiful San Francisco. It’s a unique opportunity to gather with our peers from around the globe and discuss the future of advertising. We’re so stoked to visit the Googleplex again this year! Can someone say The Internship?

The Internship

This post was written by April Yau and Sarah de Feu.

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