Creating Google Ads campaign strategies is always exciting, but can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the industry. When I first began my paid media career after passing the required Google Ads certifications, there was a definite learning curve that I had to overcome. I spent a lot of time trying to understand each of my client’s industries rather than focusing on creating a strategic process using tools and Google best practices.
As my client-base grew, I quickly realized that I needed to shift gears and find a more efficient way to develop these individual strategies while also using readily available tools that would make my job, and life, much easier. I found that the most effective way to plan out a new PPC strategy is to follow the 5 steps I listed below. Are you interested? Keep reading!
1. Do Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is the most important part of the strategy process. Fortunately, there are numerous tools that can help you with this in addition to Google Ads Keyword Planner. My go-to’s are:
- Keyword Planner
- Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
Ahrefs is always the first tool I use. This helps launch my initial list of keywords. The great thing about this tool is that it gives you all terms that are similar to the keyword you are researching and even provides options you might not have considered. It also gives the volume, number of clicks, and cost per click data. It’s a super easy platform to use and gives you everything you need in one view. Here is an example of the Ahrefs findings for “furniture store” keywords. Pretty nifty, right?
SEMrush is similar to Ahrefs in that you can see all traffic, including clicks and cost per click (CPC). If you don’t have access to either of these tools, the next best option is Google Keyword Planner and the SERP. It’s always important to use more than one tool to check traffic and CPC in order to come up with an overall strategy, including a monthly budget.
Keyword Planner looks slightly different than the other tools. You have the option to narrow down by multiple metrics and it might take some adjusting when diving in.
It is always worth a manual check of the SERP for paid results. It’s good to see if there are ads showing up and who your main competitors are. The SERP won’t help you come up with a list of keywords, but it will help you understand which competitors are advertising.
2. Map Out A Strategy
The easiest way to keep your strategy organized is to map out your ad groups and keywords on a Google Sheet. This keeps everything organized and easy to navigate, especially if you use different tabs. While it’s necessary to have all high intent keywords and low intent keywords mapped out, launching with high intent keywords usually results in more qualified leads, an account with a less aggressive spend, and a simpler strategy. Starting simply will allow you to test and slowly expand to more general and broad keywords if your budget allows.
I’ve found that compiling a large list of keywords and narrowing down by intent gives you several options to keep expanding the campaign once it’s live. Don’t forget to structure your ad groups with relevant and similar keywords only. I’d recommend keeping ad groups small, using no more than 6-8 keywords. This will allow you to write very tailored ad copy and use specific landing pages to keep your quality score high, ensuring that you pay less per click. Once my ad groups are organized, I create example ads and extensions, which gives the client a better idea of the full strategy.
3. Research Your Audience
One thing I’ve learned is to always do the extra research in Google Analytics to find out how I can apply client demographics and audiences into the campaign. Who is their main audience? What are their interests? What location brings in the most traffic? Which device converts the most? Being able to tailor the campaigns with specific demographic, location, or device adjustments can help launch the account with more relevant targeting. You’ll likely adjust after a week or two of data, but informing the client that you’re going the extra mile will show them you’re dedicated to their campaign’s success. Once you compile this information, make sure to add it to your strategy map!
4. Enable Proper Conversion Tracking
It’s crucial to plan and implement proper conversions based on your client’s goals. I’ve found that it’s easiest to ask for these during the onboarding call, which eliminates the back and forth later on. Whether the client’s goals are transactions, leads, form-fills, “contact us” clicks, phone calls, or other website engagements, it’s important to make sure all tracking is tested before launch.
If you’re not too familiar with Google Tag Manager, some additional research will be worthwhile. There is nothing worse than launching a campaign with broken conversions because it results in lost attribution. I highly recommend all tracking be done in Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics because they are the easiest way to track and test properly (and Google agrees!)
5. Share Your Strategy with the Client
After all your research and implementation, you can finally send the strategy plan over for client approval. I always communicate this prior to launch to give the client a more comprehensive look at everything, which definitely helps establish trust. Transparency is crucial to the success of any campaign!
So, what’s the key to a great Google Ads strategy?
While creating new Google Ads strategies can be challenging, there are numerous ways to stay organized and be successful while learning about new industries in the process. As long as you keep your client’s goals top of mind, you can follow a process that works best for you!
What Google Ads strategies do you use? Let me know down in the comments!