Google Ads

Clear the Clutter from Your Google Ads Account

March 20, 2019 by Andrew Clark

Warmer temperatures, more daylight, nature reawakening, and people diving headfirst into decluttering their homes – all signs that springtime is upon us.

While cleaning might not be your idea of fun, your Google Ads account also requires some TLC after the busy fall and winter holiday seasons.

What’s at stake if you push it aside? The longer your account remains disorganized, the more it gets in the way of driving results with real business impacts: impressions, clicks, conversions. A Google Ads account in disarray also means that you’re likely spending money on ads and keywords that don’t perform well. Lastly, tidying up your campaigns will make your account easier to navigate and optimize later.

So, grab your cleaning supplies, and join me in taking these six essential steps to clean up your Google Ads account.

via GIPHY

Campaign Level

Task 1: Tidy Up Your Campaign Targeting

Why It’s Important?
Like spring cleaning at home, you’ll want to begin at the top level of your Google Ads account to see the bigger trends in performance and identify ways to improve.

One place to start is analyzing your campaigns’ demographic and device targeting, ad schedules, and audiences across a time period. Depending on your account’s budget and set-up date, this may vary, but the point is to make sure you’re making an informed decision with quality data. Within each of these parameters, you will want to identify the segments that are not producing impressions, clicks, or conversions. The more precise your targeting, the greater the chance your ads get seen by the right people who are most likely to engage with them.

If this is sounding a bit too abstract, here is a real-life example from one of my clients who is a home appliance repair business. Knowing they had defined service areas and desired leads, we narrowed their Google Ads location targeting to match what appears on their website. See below for a screenshot of what this looks like.

Google Ads Location Targeting

Areas to Consider Tidying Up:

  • Demographics (age, gender)
  • Ad schedules
  • Devices
  • Locations

Task 2: Clean Up Your Ad Extensions

Why It’s Important?
Another area to clean the clutter from is your ad extensions, which offer important unique selling points and information to people that might entice them to click. Examples include contact information, promos, pricing, or links to specific pages on a website.

Google Ads Extensions Examples

Using quality data (as defined in Task 1), evaluate your copy, landing page destinations, and extensions’ performance metrics to identify what’s working and want isn’t. Once this is done, you may want to pause low performing extensions and apply lessons learned from those working well.

Areas to Consider Tidying Up:

  • Extension level: account; campaign; ad group
  • USPs that might make people click or convert
  • Extensions’ copy and landing page UX (sitelink versions only)

Ad Group Level

Task 1: Pause Low Search Volume (LSV) Keywords

Why It’s Important?
Now that you’ve addressed some campaign issues, it’s time to go deeper by scrubbing your ad groups’ keyword lists. Over time, low performing keywords can take up space and get in the way of making quick decisions and producing reports with clean data. Because of this, you’ll want to begin by identifying and pausing ones with low search volumes, or those producing very little search traffic on Google; one exception would be seasonal keywords. To avoid pausing them, look at the previous 6-12 months worth of data to identify trends.

Low Search Volume Example from Google Ads

Cleaning Instructions:

  • Filter for LSV terms
  • Extend date range to at least one year to make sure you avoid pausing seasonal KWs
  • Identify low or 0 impression terms
  • Pause all LSV terms meeting this criterion

Low Search Volume Filter Google Ads

Task 2: Pause Low Impression Keywords

Why It’s Important?
Like above, low impression keywords can make your Google Ads account cluttered and harder to update in the future. This activity also helps you identify other issues impacting your account performance, e.g. ads not showing for trademark or formatting issues.

Cleaning Instructions:

  • Filter for all keywords with less than 50 impressions over the past 6-12 months
  • Once you’ve identified keywords matching this criterion, you have three options for next steps:
    • Pause all low/no impression keywords that you do not want to live based on the above
    • Divide keywords into separate ad groups to see if they perform better
    • Create new ads for this ad group and see if they trigger engagement for these keywords

Low Impressions Filter Google Ads

Ad Level

Task 1: Clean Up Your Ad Copy

Why It’s Important?
You’re in the final stretch now! After tidying up your campaigns and keywords, you’ll want to tighten up your individual ads. Like you did previously, it’s ideal to examine data from as broad of a timeframe as possible so to get an accurate sense of which ones are delivering results and which ones are not.

Got your ads sorted by your most important KPI (impressions, clicks, or conversions)? You may want to automatically pause those underperforming and exit your account, but I’d recommend another approach: review your ads’ copy. One of the most important things to keep in mind is the relationship between ad and landing page copy and conversions.

More than ever before, potential customers want answers to their queries fast AND accurate. To make sure your ads get you results, try to write ad copy that mirrors the landing page you’re directing people to. Don’t just take my word for it; check out this study by Moz. A company experienced an 8% increase in its conversions after cleaning up their ad copy.

Ways to Clean Up Your Ads:

  • Enhance your CTAs —> Move away from general / overused “Learn More” to something powerful, like “Discover” or “Get”
    Grammar
  • Ensure copy mirrors what is shown on the landing page you’re linking to
  • Make customer benefits easy to understand and clear
  • Research and try to match copy to searcher intent

Task 2: Clean Up Your Ad Visuals – Display Network Only

Why It’s Important?
For ads running on the Display Network, visuals are just as important as the copy. The images you use need to grab the attention of customers and entice them to click on your ad. Bottom line: Your ad image must set you apart from all the other campaigns out there and resonate with your target audience.

Ways to Clean Up Your Ads:

  • Avoid too much text on visuals and are properly sized for the ad format you’re using
  • Use imagery that is relevant to your business —> ideally, it’s not stock!
  • Use images that compliment your landing page’s
  • If including copy, make sure it relates to searcher intent / target audience

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