How to create a top-performing Google Ad
It’s easy to understand why businesses venture their marketing dollars into Google Ads. With over 83 billion visits last month alone, it comes as no surprise that the search engine is the most visited site (Stat). If you want to advertise somewhere, a good place to start is where you know people are. When you want to go for a swim, you go to the pool or the beach, not the desert.
Google Search ads can be mapped to buyer intent, allowing you to target consumers who have already shown intent to buy. Furthermore, creating ad copy that speaks to their intent can boost your estimated CTR (click-through rate) ultimately saving you cost per click (which I will explain later).
Having said that, running ads does not always guarantee a return on investment. If not done strategically and appropriately, it can in fact be a waste of money. Although, if done correctly, businesses can reach their targeted audiences and reap profits.
So in a short sense, it can go one of two ways.
Which side are you on? Are your ads not producing the results you want them to? Or are you seeing solid results, but still want to squeeze more juice?
I’ll share a few techniques I used to boost my Google Ads CTR and conversions by over 40%.
In this post, you will learn the important components of “the Perfect Ad.” Learning each component and how to manipulate Google Ads will help you in your own ad creation process. The key focal points are keyword relevance, headlines, descriptions, final URL, and assets (sitelinks, callout extensions, image extensions, etc.). Each focal point has a weighted importance.
First, what the h%ll are RSAs? What happened to expanded text ads?
Google’s goal of simplifying the way search ads are created and driving performance with automated tools inevitably caused the replacement of ETAs with RSAs. Now users are only able to create or edit responsive search ads in standard search campaigns. ETAs are a thing of the past, and RSAs are of the present and foreseeable future, for now. Unless you want to end up being the next “thing of the past” because you didn’t adapt accordingly, I suggest getting with the times and truly understanding Google’s objective with RSAs.
Responsive Search Ads. RSAs let you create ads that dynamically adapt to show more relevant messages to your customers. They allow the ability to enter multiple headlines and descriptions, and over time, Google’s AI algorithm automatically tests different combinations to learn which combinations perform best. In order to give the algorithms the best opportunity to select the right combinations, we need to maximize our options by using up all the headlines and descriptions. RSAs are a powerful tool, but as you wouldn’t find success trying to drive a car on water, the tools only work when used correctly. Through proven success, our Brand Voice Chart helps companies strategically demonstrate their “message” in a way that will resonate with their customers by best utilizing Google Adwords platform resources, while simultaneously driving conversions/profits.
Keyword Relevance. This is a heavy significance-weighted component. But before we discuss keywords in ad copy, we need to briefly cover ad groups, which determine the keywords you should use in your ads. An ad group that contains too many keywords that are only loosely related, will hamper the ability to write relevant ad copy (and negatively impact your Quality Score). Google has formally recommended 10-20 keywords per ad group. Some industry experts say a bit less is ideal to allow you to be specific enough in your ad copy, but I like to take the approach of listening to what Google has to say. We can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) to include keywords in our ad copy, even if they are not perfectly relevant. Google loves DKI and tends to favor this copy over other headlines.
Google Ads will replace this code with one of your keywords in the ad group (“dark chocolate,” “sugar free chocolate,” “gourmet chocolate truffles”), but when it can’t, it’ll use the word “Chocolate.” One should also note that the person’s search term isn’t always the same as the initial keyword.
Your ads need to be tailored to match exactly what your audience is trying to find. The idea is to mirror the searcher’s query. This is what DKI is great for. We’re telling them that they’re in the right place by parroting back phrases similar (if not exact) to what they searched for. Imagine you are on Google, typing in a search query for “Red Velvet Cake” and upon clicking a result you are prompted with an ad for red dress pants. Not only will irrelevance skyrocket your CTR but it will also be a ripple effect for a number of other key metrics. Ensure you are using the correct KWs, match type, and actual search terms to attribute to relevance and ad strength.
Source: Google Ads Platform
You will need to consider your Google Quality Score into play from a reach potential and cost perspective as well. This score is measured on a scale from 1-10 and is available at the keyword level. Your quality score is comprised of three weighted factors: expected CTR, ad relevance, and expected landing page experience, components which are evaluated with a status of “above average,” “average,” or “below average.” A higher Quality Score means that your ad and landing page are more relevant and useful to someone searching for your keyword, compared to other advertisers. In simple terms, a Google Quality Score affects how your PPC ads perform and how much you pay for each click. Higher scores translate into lower CPC and expanded reach.
Headlines. This is where you need to enter a creative space. Discovering the customer’s “End-Goal,” which is what people ultimately want to accomplish with the help of your product or service is the secret sauce to creating engaging headlines. For example, if you are a company that produces devices for people with heartbeat issues, an engaging, end-goal-focused headline could be, “Prevent Heart Attacks,” or “Control Heart Rate Imbalances.” We already know that in-market, high-intent consumers searching for your product have heart issues, but focusing on the problem they are trying to solve is what will separate you from the competition that only uses dynamic keyword insertion headlines.
For RSAs, you have the opportunity to use up to 15 headlines, but oftentimes this is an ability not taken advantage of. Use up ALL 15 headlines with catchy, engaging copy that will entice conversions while staying within the hard 30-character cap. Use clear, simple call-to-actions. Leverage keyword insertion. Take note of which copy is producing the most interaction and replicate similar content. Mention your keyword in at least one of your headlines and early in the characters. Where you place your keywords in ads can also play an enormous role. I highly recommend you test keyword placement within your ads to see what works best. The best placement could be in Headline 1, Headline 2, or maybe even best used in a sentence in a description. You won’t know until you test!
Note, do not overuse your keywords (2-3 times max, in H1 and URL, deem to be most important places on a consistent basis).
Also, remember who you are designing your ads for. Make 3-4 headlines centered around how your product or service will benefit the searcher. Include features, call-to-actions, vary headline character count, and pin sparingly (don’t limit your dynamic capabilities) as over-restricting can hurt your ad performance.
Example: Call-to-action. “Book an appointment today,” “Download our E-book,” “Sign up for our newsletter,” and “Talk to an expert.”
Specific CTA words found in top-performing ads include “Get,” “Buy,” “Shop,” “Try,” “Learn,” and “Sign Up.” It is highly recommended to use powerful words in your non-CTA-based headlines as well. Examples are words like “Best,” “Your,” “Top,” and “Save.”
Example: Features. “24/7 access to our customer support,” “Same-Day ACH Transfers,” and “Free shipping for orders $50+.”
Descriptions. Descriptions give you the opportunity to show off what makes your business special and differentiates you from companies that offer similar products/services. Use these as a supplement to your headlines and to give customers an incentive to shop with you. RSAs allow you to have up to four descriptions. Once again, use up ALL four. This gives you the ability to create the perfect ad dynamically. Use this 90-character cap section to highlight unique value propositions, benefits, customer count, direct CTAs, sales, or promotions that catapult you ahead of your competitors. Bonus tip, test a couple of descriptions that include numbers.
Example: Description. “Trusted by 724 companies to ensure secure payment delivery. Request your free demo today.”
Final URL. Make sure the link you are sending visitors to is the desired destination AND working correctly! Picture this, you’ve done all the hard work, gotten your ad to appear to someone in-market with high intent, they click on it, love your ad copy headlines/descriptions, attempt to convert following your clear CTA, and “boom” the button they click on takes them to a broken link. The experience was ruined and you flushed money down the drain, but didn’t get the experience of actually seeing it go down! Now multiply that by the expected landing page visitor total until you notice the link is broken and resolve the issue. Avoid that problem by testing links before posting ads live and updating links accordingly. Lastly, make sure your final URL is short and contains your keywords. People want to be assured they are going to or in the right place.
Example: Keyword “Mountain Bikes”
Assets. Assets give your ads more visibility and ad space in search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result, you could see improved CTR for your ads. They also allow you to take up more space on the first page and the ability to direct users to the most relevant pages within your website. Take advantage of the detailed data you can obtain from your assets and further improve your ad quality. I highly recommend using all applicable asset extensions possible as there are plenty to choose from. Examples of asset extensions include callout, location, review, price, call, promotion, app, message, and structured snippet.
Callout, structured snippet, review, and price are some of my personal favorites. Callouts, which are very easy to implement, allow you to complement your ads with features, benefits, or more information (like “Free Shipping”) if it didn’t fit in the ad text. Review extensions allow you to build brand trust. Price extensions allow people to get a gauge on the costs of your products/services, which theoretically suggests searchers are higher-intent users if they see your pricing and proceed to click on your ad to continue to your site. Finally, structured snippet extensions, allow you to add in values of your products or services. There are multiple ad extensions that can be added to any campaign and more often than not, it’s best to have as many ad extension types in place as possible so any of them can be called up at any point. However, it is equally important to factor in the main objective of your ad. Make sure your ad is the primary focal point and allow the extensions to serve as icing on the cake. Test accordingly to find out which ones perform best and make appropriate changes.
Conclusion. You should always ask yourself the following questions when creating an ad:
Is it relevant to my search query? (Am I on the right track?)
Would I click on this? (The eye test, engagement ability.)
Does it address my “end goal?” (What I want to achieve.)
Is the site’s purpose clear and simple? (Can a caveman interpret what you offer within 5 seconds of looking at your site?)
Does this sound appealing to me? (Is the product or service an actual solution to my problem, a necessity?)
Does the landing page answer the promise set in the ad copy? (Is there significant value; features, benefits, CTAs.)
If you answer no to any of these questions, head back to the drawing board. If you answer yes to all of these questions you are on the path to a successful campaign.
Remember to keep things simple, and direct. Make your ads easily readable and have clear objectives. Ensure that anyone, not just your target audience, would be able to understand exactly what you are offering within five seconds of viewing your ad or website. If that is not the case, reconsider your messaging.
Extensively research keywords for ad group relevance and try to obtain the highest quality score possible. Then strategically use keyword placement in your ads (ideally in H1 and URL) without overuse.
Confirm that your URL links are working correctly and are directing users to the appropriate page. Keep them short and relevant to search queries with the addition of your keywords at the end to assure people they are in the right place.
Take advantage of site link extensions most applicable to your ad but don’t lose focus of the overall purpose. Use sitelinks as complementary, not distractions.
If you feel that you’re up for the challenge to take matters into your own hands and start creating the perfect ad, download our template today!
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