Finally, the time has come – you’ve decided to use Google Ads to attract more potential customers. So, you created your account and launched your first ad campaign – or maybe even a few of them… However, did you know that clicking “enable the campaign” is just the beginning of your online advertising journey, not the destination?
If you thought following the platform’s automatic setup prompts would be enough to run competitive and high-quality ads, you might want to look closely at what I will say next.
Unfortunately, the “set-and-forget” Google Ads campaign is just a myth. If you really want your business’ ads to be prominent, you must monitor and optimize your campaigns properly. So, let’s dive into all the whys and hows of maintaining a healthy and profitable Google Ads account.
Google Ads Dynamics
Monitoring your Google Ads is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Without it, you’re basically navigating mindlessly. And believe me when I say, as a person who spends most days in the Google Ads dashboard, it’s tough to keep up with whatever changes Google throws at you. That’s when ongoing Google Ads management comes in.
I can talk forever about the importance of keeping a close and knowledgeable eye on your ad campaigns. But forever is a long time, so for now, let’s discuss some of the most crucial reasons why you shouldn’t leave your Google Ads campaigns unattended – because no magic will keep them afloat.
Conversion tracking is crucial to see the performance of your campaign, yet most accounts we get to optimize don’t have it set up.
Suppose you think that Google can guess what a conversion is for you (a phone call, a form submission, a download, a newsletter, or a signup). In that case, you’ll be disappointed to discover that until you tell the system what conversion you want it to optimize for, it’ll run your ads without using its latest and advanced algorithms. Google will keep on getting clicks for your ads, but the system will never be able to determine who is a “good” visitor (aka, most likely to convert on your site) and improve the results. So, you’ll have no idea about your ads performance, your real ROAS (return on ad spend), CPA (cost per acquisition), and what else you can do to improve your results.
Here are a few more benefits of conversion tracking:
- The data helps better determine the budget;
- It enables you to use smart bidding strategies such as Maximize Conversions or Maximize Conversion Value;
- It lets you set up conversion actions that will provide valuable information for your business.
- It helps you make data-driven decisions and avoid marketing your business based on pure assumptions
Google is constantly working on system updates and improvements. On average, Google updates algorithms and performs system improvements more than nine times per day. While many of those updates may not impact you specifically, some core updates can determine the course of your Google Ads campaign. If you don’t know what the updates mean and don’t follow the new requirements, the performance of your campaign may be impacted.
New and Beta Features
Google never sleeps – people search all the time. There are over 99,000 searches on Google every second. Google always tries to polish its systems, so we see new features and updates weekly. For example, there were already more than 100 changes in 2023 alone. If you don’t try or know about them – you might miss out on getting the most out of Google Ads.
If you don’t update something that Google has retired, you might end up wasting money on things that don’t work anymore. For example, more than a year after Google disabled expanded text ads, we still get clients whose campaigns mainly consist of these types of ads.
You may also miss out on new features. For example, those who haven’t completed advertiser verification can’t take advantage of such features as logos and business names in search text ads, lead gen campaign beta testing for discovery ads, search terms in PMax audience signals, and many more.
As you already know, thousands of people search on Google every second, and many factors impact what people search for. Search trends constantly change, depending on the time of the year, holidays, or any private or global circumstances. That is why staying on top of the changing search trends is vital to keep up with your competitors.
So, even a professionally created Google Ads campaign with high-performing keywords will need regular maintenance, adjustment of old keywords, and research of new ones to keep performing well.
Fluctuating Industry Average Costs
Many businesses don’t know how expensive it might be to advertise their industry on Google. Thus, many end up running campaigns with unrealistic, aka low, budgets. Or some have too high of a budget and spend too much per CPA because Google will gladly take all the money you offer. For example, according to the 2023 CPC statistics, the most expensive industries for Google advertising are online education ($9.35 per click), insurance ($8.41), and legal ($6.83). And if we talk about the SaaS industry and products, the CPC can reach hundreds of dollars.
Thus, it is crucial to be aware of the CPC for the keywords your campaign is targeting because the budget may go away quickly and bring no benefit if you don’t invest enough.
Earlier, I mentioned that search trends are constantly changing, meaning you need to be on the lookout for new keywords and refine the ones you are already using. Some keywords that were popular on Google search a month ago may no longer be used as often. At the same time, keywords with low-quality scores can lower the score of the entire account.
Checking, pausing, and adding new keywords is essential to maintain high performance. Plus, reviewing them provides more information on what needs to be improved. You want to regularly optimize your campaigns to improve your ad copies, landing pages, or keyword selection to ensure exceptional user experience for those who see your ads. Yet, you also need to find a fine line so as not to over-optimize your campaigns and slow down their performance.
Ads Quality Score
Let’s talk about the ad quality score. Google is very particular about how the ads should look to ensure that people searching find what they need.
Here are some common mistakes Google doesn’t bypass when determining the ad and account quality score:
- Your ads are incomplete (they don’t have 15 headlines and 4 descriptions.)
- You don’t have all relevant ad extensions.
- You have typos in the ads.
- You aren’t using all the keywords from the ad group in the ads inside that ad group.
- Your ad copy doesn’t correspond to the landing page it’s leading to.
- Your landing page doesn’t mention any of the keywords you’re targeting.
- Your budget is too low for the system to place competitive bids.
If any of these points correspond to your ads, hoping for a high-performing campaign is a lost cause. Remember, Google also wants to create a great user experience. So, the correctness and relevance of your ads are the most determining factors to whether or not Google will find your ad good enough or choose a better one (aka, your competitor’s, for example.)
Automatic Google’s Recommendations Faux Pas
While it’s very generous of Google to provide all these “one-click-saves-it-all” recommendations, from my vast experience – businesses who auto-applied those recommendations instead of getting an expert to optimize their account – only ruined their performance and account structure. Then, they had to redo a lot of campaigns from scratch.
Remember: every business and campaign is unique, and there’s no one-fits-all recommendation as Google portrays it. So, not knowing what you are applying may do more harm than good.
For example, Google often recommends including Search Partners. Still, the issue is that no one knows for sure what platforms/websites stand behind the search partners. So, you run the risk of spending a lot of money on the ads that you don’t even know where and to whom they are shown. This is especially crucial if your budget is limited.
A similar issue is with a recommendation to include a Display network for your Google search campaigns. Google says it is “a group of more than 3 million websites, videos, and apps where your ads can appear.” Of course, there are ways in which you can use them to benefit your campaign, but you need a professional to assess your campaign first and see if adding these networks is right for your business and goals. We’ve seen many accounts running search text ads with no media assets on the Display network – which doesn’t make any sense because it’s a display ad, after all.
And my “favorite” automatic recommendation is “Upgrade your keywords to broad match,” – which might ruin your entire account performance and start bringing irrelevant traffic to your website. Of course, it can be a beneficial tactic for some specific scenarios and businesses – but you need someone to ensure first that your account is one of those.
Also, please keep in mind that I mentioned only a few cases – many more recommendations can negatively affect your ad performance if applied without caution.
Account Error Monitoring
Sometimes errors happen; your ad gets disapproved because of a tiny spelling mistake or issues with your credit card. Often, Google can be picky about certain policy violations; sometimes, it may not be a mistake on your side but just a Google bug. Google can incorrectly red-flag an account or disapprove something.
So, through such easily missed errors, your ads may be limited, or your campaign may be paused completely. A professional Google Ads account management would have noticed all those issues and, if possible, resolved them without interrupting your ad campaigns.
For example, when you have already tried to fix the ad but it is still disapproved because of policy, you can appeal the decision straight from your GA account. Still, these actions don’t happen automatically and must be noticed in time to be fixed.
You’ll never know what works better if you don’t test a few different things, evaluate the performance, and stick with what’s best for your business and what meets your current goals.
Plus, it’s important to refresh your campaigns and, for instance, update assets to give Google Ads something new to work with.
Just as your business is developing and you are adding new products, services, or discounts, you need to update your GA campaigns with all these changes. Otherwise, you may be missing out on potential customers who would be interested in the new things you have to offer.
Budget Allocation & Reporting
We often see accounts where one campaign has a super high budget and another – a very low one. For example, a display campaign has a very high budget, while a search campaign has a limited one. In such cases, Google can’t bring good results.
Sometimes, businesses have no idea how much is a reasonable and competitive ad budget for their industry. Let’s say a company that wants to advertise online education (which has an average CPC of $9.35) cannot run a successful search campaign with a monthly budget of $100 because that will be only about ten clicks per month. And honestly, even a daily budget of $100 won’t bring much in this case.
Poor budget allocation creates unrealistic expectations and often unrealistic competition. However, choosing a budget should not be a shot in the dark. Google Ads Manager knows how to allocate budget in the most efficient way between campaigns and prevent you from wasting your money on something that doesn’t work.
Correct Account Structure
Unfortunately, many businesses that try to run Google Ads on their own don’t know enough about the proper account structure and how it can affect performance. Common mistakes include:
- Multiple campaigns and ad groups targeting the same keywords – thus making them compete with each other apart from the competitors;
- Too many keywords inside one ad group – making it impossible to reach a high ad quality score;
- Different services/products targeted in one ad group – making ads less relevant;
- Having campaigns that aren’t a fit for the industry or budget – thus lacking to achieve any goals and profit from the campaigns.
Needless to say, a competent Google Ads expert would know all these nuances and ensure your account’s structure follows the best and latest practices.
Does Your Google Ads Account Need Management?
Properly managed and optimized ad campaigns yield a significantly higher ROI than those that aren’t. For instance, Google’s Economic Impact Report illustrates the potential of well-managed campaigns, with businesses averaging a return of $2 for every $1 spent on Google Ads.
Of course, not all accounts need management – but all accounts need proper regular optimizations. If your business can’t afford a full-time ad expert overlooking campaigns – the least you can do is have a specialist optimize it quarterly and, if possible – monthly.
If you are still doubting whether your account requires optimization or management, try to answer these questions based on your Google Ads campaigns:
- Are all your keywords in broad-match?
- Do you often click “apply” when you see a recommendation from Google?
- Do you have 0 conversions because you didn’t set up conversion tracking correctly?
- Are your ads marked as “low” or “good” quality instead of “excellent”?
- Do you have Google Ads policy violations?
- Do you know what steps to take next after creating your campaign?
- Do you know how good or bad your ads are performing?
- Are you getting irrelevant/low-intent traffic to your website?
- Do you know what the data-driven attribution model is and how it works?
- Do you know what type of campaign you should push most?
- Do you know how much you should spend on ads per day to get the desired results?
Are any of those questions relevant to you? Then, you need an expert to look at your account, help you optimize your ad account, and identify your advertising strategy.
Zima Media is your one-stop solution for all Google Ads needs. Our marketing professionals can help at any stage of your Google Ads journey. Whether you are just starting and need a new campaign or have been using the platform to boost your business for a while but have not seen the desired results, we are always here to help. Book a free consultation to find out what your account needs most!