- John Walker
Google Ads Campaign Optimization: Guide for Maximum Performance
If you’re looking to get the most out of your Google Ads campaigns, you’ll need to optimize them to their full potential. To do this, you need to understand the fundamentals of optimization and how often it should be done. In this blog post, I'll discuss how to optimize your Google Ads campaigns for the best performance, how frequently to optimize them, and whether manual or automated optimization is best for your business.
The Basics of Optimization
Optimization is the process of making changes to an existing campaign in order to improve its overall performance. This includes improving the click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and cost-per-acquisition (CPA). When optimizing a campaign, it’s important to consider both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals may include increasing CTR or reducing CPC; however, long-term goals should focus on improving ROI and increasing conversions.
In general, I recommend starting a campaign broad and then narrowing it through regular optimization. This means starting with a large number of keywords and setting those keywords to broad match. This approach casts a wide net and enables your campaign to have the maximum reach. Over time, you’ll narrow the campaign by pausing keywords that aren’t converting or ones that are too expensive. And you can change some or all of the keywords from broad match to phrase match if you are attracting prospects that aren’t a good fit for your product or service. You can also add negative keywords to ensure you don’t waste your budget on any terms that don’t fit your goals.
There are some other common optimizations to do:
Improve the headlines and descriptions in your ads. Keep them fresh and add new ones.
If you’re not consuming your whole budget on search ads, activate “display expansion” which uses unspent search budget on display ads.
Add new keywords to expand your reach.
For display campaigns, add new images to keep the campaigns engaging.
How Often Should You Optimize?
I recommended that you optimize your campaigns about every two weeks. This will help ensure that your campaigns remain optimized and effective over time. And let me add a word of caution, optimizing more than once every two weeks can be counterproductive because it may take the system up to two weeks to process and activate improvements you’ve already made to a campaign.
Manual vs Automated Optimization
When it comes to optimizing your campaigns, there are two main options available: manual optimization or automated optimization using Google’s AI tools. Manual optimization requires more effort but offers more control over the optimization process; however, automated optimization can offer faster results with less effort required from you.
As background, it’s important to understand that Google Ads is in the midst of a major change in how it functions. The system used to be designed for hands-on, manual management of campaigns but is moving toward heavy automation. That’s because there are so many variables to manage in Google Ads campaigns that it's simply impossible for a human to do all that AI is being programmed to do. With that said, it's critical to ensure that your campaigns are set up with the right goals so that the improvements recommended by the system take you in the right direction.
For more on this topic, read my post on the subject of Google automation in “Google Ads is Like a Self-Driving Car, but don't take your hands off the wheel!”
This post was written by John Walker, Principal at J. Walker Marketing, a marketing consultancy. Contact John directly to discuss your marketing challenges.