Google Ads Bootcamp
Five Rules for Profit Driven Advertising
5-Part Profit-Driven Google Ads Tutorial
In this 5-part training series, I am going to share what I've learned in over a decade of PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising on Google.
Together, we'll walk step-by-step through the fundamentals behind the system I've developed for advertising profitably. I have proven this system works while directly managing over $20 million in ad spend and has resulted in more than a billion dollars in revenue for my PPC clients.
This in-depth tutorial is broken out into five chapters. Each of the sections includes a video and downloadable resource to help you master the advertising techniques we're going to cover. You can read a summary of the tutorial below. And, you can download the resources that go with each lesson here – Google Ads Bootcamp Resources.
Alright! If you're ready to learn the secrets behind generating profits using Google Ads, let's get started.
Google Ads Glossary of Terms
Before we get to the good stuff…
I want to make sure we're on the same page by defining some of the standard PPC terms you'll see in this tutorial.
Experienced advertisers or PPC savvy digital marketers may want to gloss over this section. However, if you're new to PPC advertising, this section includes lingo you'll need to know moving forward.
A Glossary of PPC terms you should know
- CPC – Aka Cost Per Click: the amount you pay for a click on your ad.
- Searcher – A person who performs an internet search using Google.
- Visitor – A person who visits your website after performing a search.
- CTR – Click Through Rate: The percentage of searchers who see your ad, click through on the ad, and end up on your landing page.
- Landing pages – The destination webpage you direct searchers to after they click on your ad.
- Lead – A searcher or website visitor who takes action which communicates interest in your product or service. For example, filling out a web form or calling a phone number to learn more about your product or service.
- Sales Funnel – A sequence of marketing or sales material designed to attract an audience and turn them into customers. For example, a sales funnel using paid advertising might encourage a searcher to call your business. Then when that lead calls your business, your sales team attempts to convert that lead into a customer. Your ad and the sales call are both steps in your sales/marketing funnel.
- Session – A unique visit to your website that includes at least one pageview.
- Keywords – The words or terms searchers use on Google to retrieve information.
- Conversion – A conversion occurs when a website visitor performs the action intended by your ad. These actions usually involve buying a product or filling out a lead form.
- Quality Score – This is Google's quality rating score for your advertisement. The score is based on the relevance of your keywords to your ads to your landing page and is calculated automatically by Google. A perfect quality score is a 10/10.
Now that we have the industry jargon out of the way, let's get to the exciting stuff. Let's talk about how to build profitable advertising campaigns on Google.
Setting Realistic Google Advertising Goals
In our first video of this tutorial, I share my five hard-and-fast rules for profit-driven advertising on Google… and we also go in-depth on Rule #1 – setting realistic, yet profitable advertising targets. If you like what you see, you can download my Google Ads Advertising Goals Model and learn more about how to use this handy tool.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an advertiser is not setting targets for your ad campaigns.
Setting up a new ad campaign is an exciting process. But it's hard to be satisfied with your results if you don't set targets. If you don't define what success looks like, nothing will ever be good enough!
Now, don't worry if you've never estimated your advertising targets before – because I am going to show you how you can produce a quick yet realistic estimate of the revenue you can earn using Google Ads. And I am even going to give you a tool that will do 90% of this work for you.
I'll show you how to use this tool in just a minute. But, first there a few basic questions about your product or services you need to address before you can calculate your Google Ads earning potential.
Critical questions you need to answer before you start advertising on Google
Answering the questions below will help you evaluate how prepared you are to begin advertising on Google. You'll also need to know the answers to these questions if you want to be able to estimate the revenue you can earn from advertising.
So, take a minute to go over these questions. Then, keep your answers on-hand so that we can use them in the next step.
- How much revenue do you generate when you sell your product or service?
- Has your business been successful at generating leads and sales online in the past?
- Do you have a sales process for receiving and closing leads?
- Are your competitors advertising on Google?
- Have your customers shown you love? Do you have testimonials and reviews you can use to engage the potential customers your ads send to your website?
- What is the lifetime value of your average customer? Do they purchase your product over and over again?
- Do you collect recurring fees from your customers? Or is a new customer almost always a one-and-done sale?
Calculating your Google Ads profit potential
In this section of our tutorial, I am going to show you how to estimate the revenue you can generate advertising on Google.
You'll need access to two resources, the Google Keyword Planner and my Advertising Goals Model, to produce your estimates.
Follow along, and I'll show you how this works.
Using Google's Keyword Planner data to estimate your advertising market
To use the Google Keyword Planner (GKP), log in to your Google Ads account.
Then, navigate to GKP.
(If you don't have a Google Ads account or you have never used the Keyword Planner before, this article will show step-by-step how to use the Google Keyword Planner.)
Select the GKP's “Find new keywords” option.
Next, enter some general keywords that describe your product or service into the GKP.
For example, here are some seed keywords I am using to research the advertising market for my Google Ads training program: Google Ads training, Google PPC course, PPC training, PPC Certification Course, Google Ads Certification, free Google AdWords course.
When you start running your ads, you'll want to be very picky about your keyword list. Right now, we're just doing market research. So you don't need to worry about being super targeted with your keywords at this point.
After you've entered a handful of keywords into the GKP, Google will return a list of hundreds of suggested search terms for your product or service.
Google's keyword suggestions tend to be meh at best. But once again, we're not going to use this entire keyword list in our advertising. We are just trying to get an idea of what the marketplace has to offer us.
So don't bother wasting your time combing through this list of search terms. For now, we are going to export all these keywords to a spreadsheet.
How to use the Data Driven Advertising Goals Model to set realistic PPC targets
Next, if you haven't already, opt-in to join my Google Ads Bootcamp and access my Advertising Goals Model.
This model has two tabs. One of the tabs is labeled Google Ads ROI Model, and the other one is labeled Keyword Data.
I'll show you how to use the beautifully designed ROI Model in the first tab in just a moment. For right now, open the Keyword Data Tab. Then paste in all the keyword data you exported from the GKP.
After you've pasted your search term data into the “keyword data” tab, jump back over to the ROI Model tab in our spreadsheet.
You'll notice our ROI model has different colored cells. The gold cells represent variables that you can use to adjust your projections. The light blue cells are calculations based on your keyword data and the numbers you enter in the gold cells.
Let me show you how this all comes together.
Choosing Your Google Ads goals
Remember the list of hard-hitting questions I asked you to answer before we started gathering keyword data?
Well, now is when we're going to use the answers to those questions.
The top four gold cells in the ROI model are your advertising goals. In these cells, you want to enter the targets that represent a semi-realistic version of your ideal advertising scenario.
For example, let's say you want your ads to produce 20 new leads per month. And, you're willing to spend up to $250 on advertising for every new lead you get.
From that advertising, you expect to generate 10 sales per month and you're willing to spend up to $500 to land each new sale.
Enter your goals into the gold cells, and we'll use ROI Model to see if the data supports your advertising ambitions.
Adjusting your keyword estimates
There are only two variables in the Keyword Metric fields of our ROI Model, Expected Click Through Rate and Cost Per Click (CPC) Weighting.
The numbers in the light blue cells are all based on the data you exported from the GKP and pasted into the Goals Model spreadsheet.
Glossary of Google Advertising Goal Metrics
- Total Searches Per Month is the sum of all the monthly searches on Google for the keywords you entered into this spreadsheet.
- Your Expected Click Through Rate is the percentage of searchers you believe will click on your ads and go to your landing pages. You can set your expected CTR to be anything you want. Your CTRs from live advertising campaigns will vary significantly based on your industry, the keywords you target, your budget, and the quality of your ads. If you have no idea what type of CTR to expect for your advertising, 2% is a safe guess.
- Expected Website Sessions from PPC is the total expected monthly searches multiplied by your click-through rate. This is an estimate of the number of people that will visit your website every month as a result of your advertising.
- Low and High Range Average Cost Per Click (CPC) – If you look at the keyword data you pulled from the GKP, you'll see that Google projected a low and high CPC for each keyword you're analyzing. We base the average CPC in our ROI model on Google's low and high CPC estimates.
- Cost Per Click (CPC) Weighting – This variable allows you to adjust your CPC expenses towards one end or the other of the low to high range. For example, if you believe your ad quality will help reduce your CPCs, then you could reduce your cost estimate to 50% of the average (instead of 100%). If you use the advertising tactics I'll share with you later in this tutorial, you're likely to find that your ad campaigns will trend towards, or even below, the low end of the CPC range.
- Your Estimated Monthly Ad Spend is equal to the total number of expected website sessions times the average of your clicks costs times our CPC weighting variable.
Estimated monthly ad spend = Expected Website Sessions from PPC * ((Low Range Average Cost Per Click (CPC) + High Range Average Cost Per Click (CPC))/2) * Cost Per Click (CPC) Weighting
Adjusting your Lead and Sales targets
The two remaining variables in our ROI model are your Website Lead Conversion Rate and your Sales Close rate.
- Website Lead Conversion Rate is the percentage of visitors from your ads that you expect to become leads.
- Your Sales Close rate is the percentage of leads you convert into customers.
Setting your profit-driven advertising targets
After you've entered values for your conversion variables, the ROI Model will show you if your expected results from advertising are above or below your goals.
You can adjust the variables in the model to see what type of results you need to produce to achieve your goals.
For example, using the ROI Model, you might find out you can produce a profit even if you only close 10% of your leads.
Or you might learn that your market is so competitive that your sales funnel will have to be super effective for you to hit your goals.
Either way, using this model will give you a general idea of what type of outcome to expect from advertising on Google. The Model will also help you identify the targets you need to hit make your advertising profitable.
If you've followed along with the exercises so far, then you’ve gathered critical information you need to know about your product or service to advertise profitably.
And you’ve set goals for your advertising based on real data.
You've just put together two big pieces of the profit-driven advertising puzzle. Most advertisers overlook these two steps. And in turn, they wind up wasting a lot of money (if not their entire budget) chasing the wrong advertising opportunities.
Speaking of budgets… That's the next obstacle to profitable advertising on Google we are going to tackle.
My Million Dollar Sales Tool
How to Calculate Your Google Ads Budget
You can’t advertise without spending money. I mean this literally – if you're not spending money for a placement, you're not advertising; you appear organically.
The amount you’re willing to pay Google? That’s your Google Ads budget, and it's required to provide Google your budget before you can complete setting up your account.
That's right: Google won’t even let you sign up for an account until you set a daily budget for your campaigns!
Talk about a roadblock.
What's worse is that setting a budget and trying to figure out how much you should spend before you've run a single ad campaign can be intimidating.
As we discussed in the first part of this tutorial, you don't want to start paying for advertising without knowing your path to profitability.
So, in this section, I am going to share how you can use a simple data-driven approach to calculate your Google Ads budget.
And, I'm going to share another tool with you – My Google Ads Budget Calculator.
The Ads Budget calculator is my most popular Google Ads gadget. It's been downloaded tens of thousands of times and counting.
This calculator will help you project a profitable budget for your ad campaigns in minutes.
My “Million Dollar” PPC sales tool
If you sell PPC services, you can also use the Budget Calculator to land more clients. Over the years, when prospective clients asked me if they should advertise on Google, I would pop open the calculator and enter their numbers.
Then I would show them, using the calculator, how much they stood to gain from advertising, and what they needed to do to be successful with Google Ads. This simple data-driven sales approach helped close over a million dollars in PPC services contracts a year. Over time, the calculator came to be known as the “Million Dollar Sales Tool.”
How to use the Ads Budget Calculator
After you've downloaded the calculator, open it up, and follow along as I show you how to use it.
As you'll see, the Ads Budget Calculator looks a lot like the Advertising Goals Model.
Similar to the Goals Model, the gold cells in the calculator are variables, and the light blue cells are calculations.
To start, you can enter the numbers you generated using the Goals Model into the calculator.
Getting these numbers in place will help you see how variables like CPC and conversion rate impact the effectiveness of your budget.
Max CPCs and how they impact your budget
I've found over the years Google often overestimates your click costs and underestimates total traffic.
When I projected my advertising targets (using the Goals Model), Google's keyword data indicated that my average CPC to advertise for my PPC Course would be $11.68.
That estimate seems a bit high to me. And at this point, I am not willing to pay that much for clicks.
In the calculator, I'll cap my estimated CPC at $5.
Given Google's auction-based system, if you cap your click costs, you won't spend nearly as much overall on your campaigns. Be careful, of course, because low-balling your bids will also result in fewer impressions for your main keywords.
For this example of setting a budget, I'm going to see how things look if I reduce monthly estimated ad spend by 50%.
How your sales funnel affects your budget
Moving on to the sales metrics in the Calculator. The best source for this data is usually your sales team.
Salespeople may be willing to share their close rate information if you're trying to make their jobs more manageable (and they will probably fight you to the death if you ask for these numbers without context).
Creating ad campaigns that serve up high-quality leads will undoubtedly help your Sales team close more customers. So let your sales team know how you're trying to help them, and they should be eager to help you in return.
As you adjust your numbers in the Calculator, you'll able to see the effect of your sales funnel on your budget… and your ROI.
Estimating your Google Ads budget for E-commerce only campaigns
If you're running an e-commerce conversion campaign (meaning there's no lead generation phase in your sales funnel), you'll use the calculator a little differently.
The outcome of a click on your ad will either result in a sale or no sale. So, set your PPC Lead Conversion Rate, Qualified Leads, and Sales Proposals to 100%.
Then adjust your Sales Close Rate to your website conversion rate.
How your product or service costs factor into your advertising budget
You'll notice a couple of variables in the Calculator we haven't talked about at all yet.
Product cost is represented as the percentage of sales revenue. For example, if you sell an item for $2,000, and it takes $1,000 to create and deliver that item to the customer, then your product cost is 50%.
Agency/In-house Management fees are the amount you pay to an agency or employee to manage your advertising. You can leave this number at zero if you manage your PPC campaigns.
ROAS vs. ROI
The business metrics section of the calculator shows your expected results based on the inputs you entered into the calculator.
This section helps you see how the budget you set impacts your opportunity to produce revenue and profit using Google Ads.
As you play with the numbers, you'll notice that you can generate a positive ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) without actually turning a profit.
That's because ROAS does not include your product or advertising management costs.
ROAS is a good indicator of how your ads are performing. But you should always use ROI and Gross Profits as your guiding metrics for your advertising decisions.
How customer lifetime value factors into your Google Ads budget
Keep in mind that the lifetime value of your customer can also affect the profitability of your advertising.
For example, if your average customer lifetime value is $8,000, you might choose to go $2,000 into the red to acquire a new customer. You can afford to lose money on the initial sale because you know on average, your customer's future purchases will make your advertising ROI positive.
New advertisers are often surprised by the high click costs in markets like education, healthcare, and insurance. The CPCs are high because of the massive lifetime value of a customer.
Using your targets and budget together to build a data-driven advertising plan
That wraps up our overview of how the Budget Calculator works and what you need to consider when you set your advertising budget.
If you followed along with to this point, then so far…
- You've used the Ads Goal Model to size up your advertising market.
- You set reasonable targets for your advertising.
- And you calculated a profit-driven starting budget.
We haven't even touched the Google Ads platform yet. But you already know:
- If your product or service is a good fit for Google Ads
- How much you can expect to spend on advertising
- Which metrics you need to focus on to become ROI positive
With our goals and budget in place, we are ready to move on to the most critical step in profit-driven advertising.
In lesson 3, I am going to share how to beat Google at their own game. You'll discover how you how to structure your Ads account so that every dollar you spend leads you in the direction of profits.
Google Doesn’t Want You to Use This Structure
The Perfect Google Ads Account Structure
In this lesson, I am going to share the Google Ads account structure that has the potential to cut your advertising costs in half, while also increasing your conversion rates.
You'll probably be surprised by how dead simple this is account structure is.
That said, most advertisers don't use any structure at all for their accounts, which is a big mistake. A lack of account structure is the most common reason for achieving terrible, money-losing results on Google Ads.
To show you why account structure is so important, we need to revisit our CPC data from our lesson on estimating your profit potential.
Remember the high and low CPC estimates we entered into our Advertising Goals Model?
These estimates cover a pretty wide range of costs.
So how do you make sure your CPCs trend toward the lower end of this range?
To provide the definitive answer to that question, let's take a look at how Google Ads works.
How Google Ads works – The Ad Auction
Google Ads is an auction-based system. But the Ad Auction is NOT the kind of auction where the highest bidder always wins. You can't directly buy your way to the top of the search results by spending more money.
Google uses a metric called Ad Rank to determine which ad wins the auction.
Your Ad Rank is based on the amount you bid for each keyword, your ad quality, and the ad formats you use in your ads.
Together, this is called Ad Rank, and it determines if and when your ad displays when a user searches on Google.
That makes understanding how to increase your Ad Rank a vital component of profitable advertising – and if you get this right, it gives you a significant competitive advantage over other advertisers.
The best way to consistently improve your ad rank is to create high-quality ads that get above-average click-through rates.
And the best way to consistently produce high-quality ads is to use the account structure I am going to share with you.
Google Ads Account terminology
Before we discuss how to structure your Google Ads Account, we need to define a few more terms.
Campaign – An ad campaign refers to a group of advertisements built around a similar theme.
Inside Google Ads, at the campaign level is where you set your budget, your location targeting, and control a few other essential settings.
Ad group – Your ad groups are containers that store both your ads and your keywords. Your ad groups also match your keywords with your ads.
Ads – Your search ads are the text you use to describe your product or service within Google Ads. High-quality ads are designed to entice searchers to click-through to your website or take action.
Search intent – The “intent” or goal of the person performing a Google search.
Got it? Great!
Armed with this knowledge, let's look at how NOT to build your Google Ads account.
How NOT to structure your Ads account
Unfortunately, the default process inside Google Ads doesn't encourage you to use “healthy” account structure.
Let me show you what I mean.
Let's look at what happens when you want to add new keywords to your account.
You start by using the Google Keyword Planner to find some keywords.
After you select your keywords, Google wants you to put all those keywords (no matter how different they are) into one ad group, or add them to an existing campaign.
While Google gives you many keyword ideas, there's no opportunity to re-group your keywords or work on your account structure.
Essentially, Google wants you to pick a bunch of keywords, lump them into a single ad group, and start running ads.
The single ad-group approach is the opposite of my recommended account structure.
If you build your account this way, your advertising will be extremely inefficient.
Because your ads will broadly target your entire market. They will attempt to be everything for everyone.
And as a result, your advertising will be irrelevant to 99% of the searches that trigger your ads. This low quality will increase the amount you need to bid to have your ads display.
Think of your Google Ads account as a family tree. Google's default account structure is like a family tree with only one branch. Not cool!
A Healthy Google Ads account structure
Now, let's look at the right way to build your Google Ads account.
A healthy Google Ads account contains many ad campaigns.
And each of those campaigns has many ad groups.
Each ad group includes keywords using multiple match types. (I'll explain what match types are and how to use them in the next lesson).
Your keywords should only share an ad group if those keywords are relevant to the same Google search. You only want your keywords to trigger ads that are precisely related to the needs of the searcher.
Keeping your ads related to the needs of searchers helps improve your ad quality, and gives you a better chance to win clicks.
In a healthy account, every ad group also contains multiple ads. You want to have multiple ads in your ad groups so you can run ad tests. Ad testing helps you figure out which ads are most likely to deliver clicks and conversions.
So as you can see, in our account structure map, every one of our campaigns has multiple ad groups. And those ad groups are organized according to keywords. All the ad groups are testing numerous ads and support multiple keywords, match types, and variations.
The secret to reducing your CPCs (Go granular!)
Using this granular “healthy” account structure helps you keep your ads highly relevant to your keywords… which in turn increases your Quality Scores.
Remember, your Quality Score is the “score” Google assigns to your ad based on its relevancy to your keywords and your landing pages.
When you increase your Quality Score, you increase your Ad Rank, which decreases your click costs in Google's auction.
Because Google's quality score is such a significant factor in Ad Rank, the structure of your account has a substantial impact on reducing your click costs.
That makes your action item quite clear: If you want to pay less for clicks, you need to use a granular account structure.
Instead of inbreeding like the Habsburgs, build an advertising account that looks like a widespread family tree with many, many branches and offshoots.
Steps to a healthy account structure
Let's briefly review the steps that go into building a healthy Google Ads account structure.
- Match your keywords precisely to your ads – if the ad text doesn't seem relevant to the keyword, create a new ad group
- Design your landing pages to match your keywords and ads closely
- Overall, focus on making your ads and landing pages relevant to the intent of the keyword searches you target
When you focus on relevancy, Google will reward you with lower CPCs.
This “quality” related rebate can be worth a 50% reduction or more in your click costs.
Adding keywords to your account the right way
So now you know what a healthy Ads account looks like and why the correct account structure can help you 5 to 10x your results.
But how do you build your account from the ground up?
Well, that’s precisely what we’re going to cover in Lesson #4 of this Bootcamp.
You’re Only as Good as Your List
You're Only As Good As Your List
We're finally ready to dive into the #1 core component of Google Ads, keywords. As we’ve discussed, keywords are how you match your ads to searches on Google.
Keywords are so critical to generating returns with Google ads that they remind me of a saying from the direct marketing industry.
“You’re only as good as your list,”
Meaning, a great keyword list will help you drive tons of conversions… While a garbage keyword list will have you overpaying for a bunch of wasted ad clicks.
But building a solid keyword list is only half the equation. How you use your keyword list is the secret sauce that drives high ROI results.
In this lesson, we’ll walk through how to create a keyword list for a new ad campaign. I’ll also show you how to use your keyword list to build ad groups. And I’ll share the absolute best technique for finding low-cost high converting keywords right inside your Google Ads account.
Building your best keyword list
We will be using several tools to build out our keyword list. Let's start with the one provided by Google.
Google Keyword Planner
We’ll start by jumping back inside the Google Keyword Planner.
At this exploratory stage of advertising with Google, you don’t need to overthink your keywords strategy. You can start by entering a handful of broad seed keywords into the GKP, and let Google provide some suggestions.
As we’ve seen before, the results the GKP produces are numerous but far from outstanding.
So for now, rather than trying to sort through all the keywords generated by the GKP to find the whole list, I recommend exporting your entire list to a CSV file.
Next, I want to introduce our go-to tool for sorting and managing your potential keywords – Google Ads Editor.
Google Ads Editor
Google Ads Editor is my favorite tool for managing Google Ads. This free tool can serve as the brain of your entire account management process. You can even use Ads Editor to work on your ad campaigns offline.
Google Ads Editor is easy to install and setup. But you won’t find this tool inside your Ads Account. You need to go here to download Ads Editor.
I’ll get into the mechanics of working in Ads Editor once we’ve built out our keyword list. For right now, paste all the keywords you exported from the GKP into the editor.
Then, well move on to the next keyword tool we’re going to use to expand our list.
Keyword Tool is another one of my favorites. This tool helps you generate a list of keywords by mimicking Google’s autosuggest feature.
You can use a similar process to grab keywords from Keyword Tool we did with the GKP. Enter a seed keyword into the tool. Then you can copy the suggestion to your clipboard, and paste them into Ads Editor. You may want to do this for each of your seed keywords so you can capture all the search term variations Keyword Tool produces.
Wordtracker is another free keyword research tool. If you find keywords you want to add to your list using Wordtracker, you can paste them into Ads Editor.
Google Trends is an excellent resource for looking at the search volume patterns and trends for your seed keywords. This tool will also show you search volume around related keyword queries. And it will show how different regions are using the terms you’re evaluating.
Keyword Permutator will help you come up with every combination of the words within your search terms.
These variations will be an essential part of your keywords list when we start using match types.
Answer the public
Answer the public will show you the questions people are asking on the internet related to your seed keywords. This tool can help you account for the voice of the customer in the keywords you add to your list.
You can download all their keywords suggestions and copy them into the list you're building in Google Ads Editor.
Can your keyword list be too big?
Using all these tools, you can put together a pretty comprehensive keyword list. But coming up with keyword ideas is the easy part. And as important as keywords research is, sometimes managing too many keywords can be overwhelming.
Let’s jump back into Google Ads Editor and see how we can make our keyword list manageable. We’ll also start to organize our keywords into ad groups.
Managing your keyword list using Ads Editor
Our PPC Course keyword research produced over 849 keywords. As you can probably guess, a list of this size quickly becomes too big to manage. It also contains a lot of junk keywords we don't want to use in our advertising.
So, we need to trim this list down and organize these keywords to fit our healthy account structure.
Building ad groups
You can start the organization process by creating ad groups based on the variants of your main keywords. For example, for our PPC Course list, I’ll create ad groups around the words “course,” “training,” and “certification.”
Next, you can run a filter using your ad group variations. Filtering on the term “course” will show me every keyword we put in the Editor, which includes that word.
Then, you can select all the keywords that use the term you filtered on and move them to the corresponding ad group. To organize all your keywords, repeat this same process for each ad group you created.
Pro tip: Be liberal when creating and assigning new ad groups – more granular is generally better than broad groups. Your quality score depends on it!
Pruning your keyword list
Organizing your keywords into ad groups is a good start. But it’s only half the work. We still need to clean the garbage keywords out of our list.
One of the advantages of using Ads Editor is while we’re cleaning our list, we are also making the necessary steps to improve our advertising efficiency when the ads run.
If you find irrelevant terms in your list, you can add those terms as negative keywords. Negative keywords block your ads from showing specific search terms.
For example, “Bing ads” is a search term that I imported as I was building my keywords list. This search term wound up our list because one of the many keyword tools I used thought this term was related to “PPC.”
It’s likely that Google will also interpret “bing” as related to PPC and want to show my ads when someone searches “Bing Ads Course.”
But, I am not marketing a Bing Ads course. So I want to delete any keywords using the word “Bing” from my list entirely. And I can also add “Bing” as a negative keyword at the campaign level. By adding “Bing” as a negative keyword, I can block Google from trying to match my ads to this keyword.
You may also want to add geographic terms to your negative keyword list. Negative keywords will help block Google from trying to match your ads to searches that are geographically irrelevant to your campaign.
Keep in mind, using geo terms as negative keywords is different from location targeting. Someone can search for “PPC training Glasgow,” while being physically located in New York City.
For online, digital products (like my Google Ads Course) most geographic related searches will be irrelevant because the geo term indicates a location preference.
Tight ad groups
As you continue to look through your keywords, you want to stay focused on relevancy and search intent. Tightening your ad groups around search intent will make your ads more relevant.
On the other hand, deleting irrelevant search terms, while also adding negative keywords, will make your advertising much more efficient.
It’s finally time to talk about keyword match types. Match types have a considerable impact on the effectiveness of your keywords. So let’s look at how match types work and how to use them.
The first match type we are going to look at is called broad match. If you remember from earlier, broad match is the default match type setting in Google Ads. And this match type is extremely inefficient.
When you use the broad match setting for your keywords, you allow Google to match your ads to just about any search related to your keywords. Broad match will trigger your ads for misspellings, synonyms, plurals, “related searches,” etc.
Here’s an example of some of the actual broad match queries that triggered my add for the keyword Google AdWords certification exam.
As you’ll notice from these results, I (embarrassingly) spent money sending people to my website for searches that are entirely unrelated to my product.
Using broad match can drain your budget and tank your Quality Scores. So I only recommend using this match type when you’re first starting, and you need to collect some data about your advertising market.
Broad match modified
You can use the modified broad match type by putting a “+” in front of your keywords. Broad match modified restricts Google to match your ads with searches that include your keywords or close variants.
Here are some of my results from using the broad match modifier with keyword Google AdWords certification.
As you’ll notice, broad match modified is far more targeted than broad match. In this scenario, as long as I add negative keywords to my campaign, broad match modified could produce some good results.
Phrase match means your keywords need to show up in the exact order you specify as part of the search query that triggers your ad. You can indicate phrase match by putting your keywords in quotations.
Here are some of my results from using phrase match for “Google AdWords Certification.”
The exact match type isn’t the fool-proof weapon it once was. But it can still help you block Google from wasting your ad spend on irrelevant searches.
Exact match means that Google can only trigger your ad for searches that match your exact keywords or close variants of your keywords. You can put brackets around your keywords to indicate an exact match.
Here some of the exact match searches that triggered my ad for [Google AdWords Certification].
Match types in action
It’s difficult to understand how match types work without seeing them in action.
Let’s take a look inside my Ads account and see how Google uses match types.
Here’s the exact match keyword [Google AdWords Certification] in my account.
If I select this keyword and then go into my search term report, I can see all the queries Google matched to my ad.
I can do the same thing to see my results from the broad and phrase match variations of my keywords.
The search terms report is among the most critical resources for building and managing your ad campaigns.
The search term report – your secret weapon for finding your best keywords
Your search term report is the absolute best source for data about your keyword performance once they are running. You can use your search term report to find queries that are wasting your budget, and then add those terms as negatives keywords.
You can also find queries that are producing conversions. Then you can build a new ad group for those keywords gems, and start targeting them with your ads proactively.
Many advertisers don’t even look at their search term report. They are missing out because this report is like a gold mine right inside your account.
More often than not, this report is where you’ll find the low-cost, high-converting keywords your customers are using every day.
Starting from scratch on Google Ads
If you don’t have any advertising history, then there won’t be any data in your search term report to help you find golden nugget keywords.
So how should you get started?
I recommend starting with Google Ads using a small budget spread across a handful of very manageable ad groups.
And I recommend using broad modified or broad match keywords in your ad groups. Note: This is the only time you’ll ever hear me recommend using broad match keywords!
Typically, broad match keywords perform poorly because they drain your budget by matching your ads to irrelevant searches. Each click costs money, and irrelevance can be a significant drain.
But when you first start advertising? You’re often guessing about what’s relevant until you can make a data-driven decision. You need to pull real data into your search term report to find out how your customers are using Google search.
You have pay to play the Google Ads game
Google Ads is pay to play system. So you’re going to have to burn some budget to find your best keyword opportunities. Just make sure you manage your account diligently, add negative keywords, and refine your ad groups as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Eventually, if you stick with it, you’ll be able to the next step, and turn losses into profits.
Beating Google at their own game
When we were setting our advertising goals, I shared that Google often overestimates CPC’s. They overestimate click costs because they don’t expect you to master the game and generate outsized results. They assume you won’t employ good advertising management principals.
If you master the Ads game AND you use the “healthy” account structure AND you build ads and ad groups based on keyword relevancy, you can beat the system.
Here are my results from practicing the account management techniques I’ve shared with you. Google estimated my average click costs at over $11. As you can see, I am spending less than $2.00 a click for most of the keywords I’m targeting.
With enough patience and attention, anyone can achieve these kinds of results. You can probably do even better if you diligently use the profit-driven account management principles we've discussed!
That is, as long as you incorporate one more key ingredient, which we will cover in our final lesson.
The One Thing You Can’t Automate
Follow a Proven Account Management Process
Building your Google Ads account from the ground up takes time. Especially if you want to do it the right way.
There's no doubt, putting the entire advertising plan we've outlined in this tutorial into action can feel a little overwhelming.
So it's important to remember that the majority of the hard work you will be putting into achieving advertising success happens on the front end. Down the road, once your account is generating consistent positive returns, the majority of your advertising tasks will become much easier to execute. You may even be able to automate much of your day to day work!
But, in the beginning, managing your Ads account is like caring for a newborn child. You need to give your Ads account constant care, nourishment, and direction before it can take care of itself.
So in the final lesson of our tutorial, I want to share a process you can use to focus on managing your ad campaigns to hit your targets consistently.
Why you can't set it and forget it with Google Ads
The Google Ad auction takes place in real-time – or query time as Google calls it. Every time a search takes place on Google, your ads compete against other advertisers to be shown. This happens billions of times each day, all over the world. Because you are competing in a live and dynamic auction, you can't really get by with a set-it-and-forget-it approach to advertising.
If you're not responsive to the changing environmental dynamics of searchers, the demands of your potential customers, and your competition, your ads will lose relevance.
But it's also difficult to focus on every little nuance of your advertising account every day and not eat into your profits.
That's why I developed a proven Data Driven process to manage accounts, which I am going to share with you right now. This is how I focus on the most critical parts of my Google Ads account on a day-to-day basis.
Where should you focus your Google Ads management efforts?
Where you invest your attention has a major impact on your advertising success. So it's critical that you focus on the right metrics and components in Google Ads if you want to get great results.
Let's walk through how the Data Driven account management process helps you stay on top of the most vital parts of the Google ads ecosystem.
The Data Driven Account Management process
The graphic below provides an overview of the process that my teams and I have followed to deliver exceptional results with Google Ads.
Refine your keyword list
The first step in our account management process involves reviewing your search terms report.
Once you get your ads up and running, you want to review your search terms report daily (or as close to daily as possible).
As you'll recall from lesson #4, your search terms report shows you the actual queries that are leading to clicks on your ads.
Using the data in your search terms report to do a simple “keep, kill, combine” exercise can help drastically improve the performance of your ad groups.
Keywords you should keep
You don't want to mess with the keywords that are producing positive results. So keep the keywords and match types that are generating low-cost clicks and conversions in place.
Keep = don't change anything
Kill the keywords that are wasting your budget
If you see queries in your search term report that are leading to irrelevant ad clicks, use negative keywords to block those searches.
Kill = add as a negative keyword
Combine winning keywords
If your search term report reveals keywords that are leading to relevant clicks (as well as conversions), add them to your ad groups. You may even want to break these new keywords out into separate ad groups so you can see focused results from proactively targeting these search terms.
Combine = add new keywords to your ad groups
Conduct this keep, kill, combine keyword exercise daily until your terms report is clean of junk queries. It can take two weeks to a month to optimize your keyword list for a new campaign.
Once your search term report is mostly free of irrelevant ad clicks, you can cut back to weekly keyword maintenance.
Ad testing and extensions
You always want to test multiple ads so you can figure out which ad copy drives the best results.
Writing ad copy
Before you start writing ad copy, study Google's ad guidelines. Also, research your competitors and identify the ad copy tactics that are already working in your market.
Here a couple of additional pointers for writing your ad.
A general yet important rule for ad copywriting is to be as relevant to your target keywords as possible. So it's a good idea to include your keyword in one of your headlines, and/or your ad description.
You also want to include your target keywords in your display URL and on your landing page. This combination of relevance will typically improve your Quality Scores and increase your Ad Rank.
Writing your ad in Ads Editor
You can write your ads inside of Google Ads Editor. Using Ads Editor to write your ads will allow you to create multiple variations of your ad, quickly.
Once you have your initial ad in place, simply copy that ad. Then you can adjust the copy to create a brand new ad variation.
Using Ad extensions can increase the visibility of your text ad and allow you to put more click-inducing CTAs in your ads.
More importantly, ad extensions (formats) factor into your ad rank. That's right! Google knows ad extensions help drive clicks. So, they reward you for using them.
Creating extensions in Ads Editor
You can use Google Ads Editor to create your ad extensions. The extensions that are available to you will depend on the product or service you're advertising. I would recommend using at least one extension per ad group. And I would also encourage you to test as many extensions as you can.
Ad rotation allows you to split test your ads so you can find out which ad copy performs the best.
You can control how Google displays the variations of your ads in your campaign settings. I recommend turning off the auto-optimize setting for new ad campaigns. This adjustment will allow you to rotate your ads evenly until you've gathered enough data to see which ad produces the best results.
You also want to monitor your ad performance metrics daily. Look over your account to see which ads are winning the most clicks, and which ones are leading to the lowest cost conversions.
Eventually, after you have earned a handful of conversions, you may choose to allow Google to optimize your ad rotation based on cost-per-conversion.
Review your conversions
The most important, and often most overlooked step in monitoring results from Google Ads, is conversion tracking.
Conversions can be leads, sales, or even key impressions of your marketing material.
Most advertisers track conversions by adding code to their website. You can also track your conversions by importing them from your Google Analytics account.
Conversion tracking is critical because it allows you to figure out why you were able to turn searchers into customers. You want to know which keywords, ad variations, and extensions delivered your best results. Then, you can use those insights to increase your bids for your winning keyword and ad combinations.
Conversion tracking also helps you take a data-driven approach to fix any leaks in your Google Ads funnel.
Fine-tune your targeting
Are you reaching the right audience? That's the question you want to answer when you evaluate your targeting.
Here are some the options inside Google Ads as you can use to perfect your audience targeting:
Geography – You can target the locations of people searching on Google all the way down to their neighborhood.
Language – You can focus your advertising on the language searchers are using on Google.
Time – You can set your ads to only display at specific times of the day. I often exclude my ads from showing in the late evening and early morning, because… as we all know, nothing good happens after midnight.
All kidding aside, turning your ads off overnight can help you reserve your budget for the prime-time hours in your market.
Remarketing – You can use remarketing lists to target customers who have already visited your site.
Customer Match – If you meet a certain Google Ads spending threshold, you can upload a list of your customers to Google Ads, and have Google target these people, or exclude them from seeing your ads.
Lookalikes – You can use “similar audiences” to tell Google to display your ads to searchers who are similar to the users on your remarketing or customer lists.
Google Analytics can help you enhance your targeting
You can even use segmentation from your Google Analytics tracking to help define your audience. Enhanced targeting is just one of the many reasons you should always link your Google Analytics account to your Ads account.
Targeting adjustment can provide significant incremental gains to your advertising. Spend time reviewing your targeting settings weekly, and make small tweaks aimed at getting more out of your best-performing ad campaigns.
Manage your bids to keep your costs down
Click costs can be affected by holidays, elections, seasonality, and consumer trends.
And as we've discussed, click cost will go up down with your Quality Scores.
Running brand awareness campaigns outside of Google, like TV Ads, will positively affect your CPCs (aka lower them). These brand campaigns will increase customer familiarity with your organization. As a result, your CTRs will go up, and your click cost will likely decrease.
So there are a lot of factors that can impact your click costs, including the occasional anomalies that have no explanation.
Aim for your CPC sweet spot
The best way to keep your click costs down is to be diligent with your bid management. You need to log in to your account every day, manage your bids, and make adjustments based on the consumer, industry, and Google factors we just reviewed.
Over time, once you get the hang adjusting your bids, there are tools you can use to automate bid management.
Don't automate your bid management too soon
When you first start advertising on Google, I recommend managing your bids manually and daily. In lessons one and two of this tutorial, you projected your target CPCs and customer acquisition cost. Work your bids to hit your goals.
Then, once you hit your CPC sweet spot, you can cut back to bi-weekly and weekly bid management (if you're comfortable with your results).
This process works, the proof is in the results
Now you may be thinking, “Jeff, your account management process sounds good, but how do I know it's going to work?”
Well, here's proof that using this focused process can help you achieve great results.
This information is straight from the source, Google. It captures the results I achieved for one of my large clients vs. the competition's results.
Head to head, the Data Driven strategies, tactics, and account management process I shared with you in this tutorial outperform other professional advertisers by 2 to 3X.
Can you manage your account to hit targets?
Focus is the key ingredient in getting 5 to 10X returns with Google Ads.
You need to focus on hitting your goals.
You need to focus on building a healthy account structure from the ground up, one keyword at a time…
And you need to focus on making consistent adjustments within Google Ads to hit your targets…
When you do all this consistently, you will get great results!
Should you hire a Google Ads professional to manage your advertising?
If you don't have the time to monitor your Google Ads account daily, there are other options.
You can hire a credentialed pro to manage your advertising on Google. If you're looking for assistance managing Google Ads, you can fill out our project request form, and we will match you with professionals from our database based on your project requirements within 24-48 hours.
Are you ready to become The Google Ads expert?
On the other hand, if you've followed along to this point, I am willing to bet you're dedicated to becoming a Google Ads pro.
Once you completed our Google Ads Bootcamp, consider joining our Data Driven Google Ads Mastery program.
Google Ads Mastery
We've helped over 6,680 marketers, business owners, and entrepreneurs become certified Google Ads pros.
Inside this program, you'll learn all the ins and out of budget optimization, conversion tracking, bid management, and client account management.
We'll also go more in-depth on account structure, audience targeting, and ad copy.
And we'll prepare you to ace the Google Ads certification exams.
You can find out more about our comprehensive Google Ads training program here – Data Driven Google Ads Mastery.
What's your #1 question about Google Ads
So, are you ready to become a better advertiser on Google?
If you're ready to step up your Google Ads game, leave a comment below. I'll do my best to help you improve your Google Ads game plan.