How To Make Google Ad Campaigns Work (& Get Results)

If you just wrote up a headline and a bunch of text for your Google Ads, you might get impressions and clicks but that won’t do anything good for your business.

Writing Google Ads in a way that works for your business is part-art, part-science, and a whole lot of strategy (not including the monstrosity that Google Ads is as a platform).

Here’s the thing with Google Ads (or Facebook Ads or any paid ad platform for that matter). While you do your fair share of mistakes or don’t take any action at all), you’ll continue to spend on your ads. That’s money lost. It’s also a huge opportunity cost.

As a business, it doesn’t make sense to throw away money and opportunity down the drain now, does it?

Here are a few solid ways to make your Google Ads work harder.

Be Strategic About It (No Spray and Pray)

You know what most advertisers do with Google Ads? They set up their Google Ad campaigns, launch these campaigns, and wait for potential customers to click through those ads to make a purchase right away.

When was the last time you sat with a credit card in your hand ready to purchase anything that you’ll find through an ad?


That’s now how people make purchases (and those random purchases that might happen don’t count). Customers have a journey they take when it comes to making purchases.

First, they are made aware of your brand (and your p[roducts) through your ads. Then, they’ll think about it. They’ll sit, ruminate, discuss, plan, compare, read up, do some research, and then think some more. Then, they might buy.

What do you about it until they are ready to buy?

The only way to make sure they buy from you is to build sales funnels. If you are an ecommerce store, for instance, give away a discount coupon (delivered as a welcome email by using an email autoresponder).

So before jumping in with hands, feet, and a wad of cash, do this: Think about:

  • What are you going to offer (your customers need that nudge. Something to persuade them to take action).
  • How do you plan to communicate your offer? (Ads & landing pages)
  • How you are going to deliver what you are going to offer (email message? Onboarding series?)

When you do manage to get the attention of your potential customers and then have them signed up, nurture your potential customers with email autoresponders (use Drip or Mailchimp) and wait for the magic to happen.

Build the Right Workflows (Ads, Landing Pages, Email Autoresponders)

As mentioned above, you’ll need sales funnels (er, to make sales happen). Don’t expect people to buy the moment they land on your store.

The exact kind of workflows you’ll build will depend on your business type, the offers you’ll make, whether or not you have other products to upsell or cross-sell, and more.

Here’s how a typical workflow might look like, for an ecommerce store:

  • Create an ad that announces your product with a “Grab the discount” call to action.
  • When users click on this ad, they arrive on a landing page that helps showcase your product along with a button that users can click to sign up for the discount.
  • Once they sign up, an automatic email (delivered by Mailchimp or Drip or others) welcomes them to your store and delivers the coupon.
  • Several more emails will follow the first email to nurture your potential customer until they are ready to buy.

Watch this Video If you are wondering how to setup email autoresponders using Mailchimp.

According to Jonathan Dave of Unbounce, once your Google Ads account has been set up properly 90% of your improvements will come from only from your landing pages.

Make Google Ads Relevant

When users search on Google, there’s an itch they want to scratch. They have a problem and they are looking for solutions. On your part, it’s not enough to “outrank” your competition or bid higher for keywords.

What you really need is a way for your ads to be highly-relevant for what your users are searching for (as long as it’s your business to solve their problem).

According to Google,

In Google Ads, “relevance” refers to how useful your information is to your customer’s search. When determining relevance, we look at several things within your account, including your keywords, ads, and landing page, and we consider how closely related they are to someone’s search term.

  1. Your keywords are phrases that you think people might use to describe your product or service.
  2. Search terms are phrases that people search for.
  3. Your ad is the advertisement that can appear on a search results page.
  4. Your landing page is the web page that you want people to land on after clicking your ad

Remember that with Google Ads, you don’t have to get clever or smart; you’d just have to be relevant.

Your customers are looking for “Accounting experts”. Be sure to add “accounting experts” in your ads.

Are they looking for black socks? Then, include black socks. Like this ad by Blacksocks

Go easy on Locations (Don’t Pick Countries)

What do you normally do when you start a Google Ad campaign? You’d choose the type of campaign and the location, won’t you?

For most businesses, choose a “country” is an overkill, as far as Google Ad Campaigns are concerned.

Instead of choosing a full country, you are better off if you choose:

  • A single city or town (especially if you are a local business).
  • A marked area defined by local pin codes or a radius of a few miles.
  • The top 5 biggest states, towns, or cities (when you choose a country)

More often than not, you won’t need to start your Google Ad campaigns with an entire country (or more than one country), especially when you are just starting out.

Be Choosy With Audiences

You should always have a broad and dedicated campaign with the objective of getting traffic to your landing pages. You can target your potential customers in a particular location (you can still dial it down as explained above).

What works even better (on top of the general campaign above) is a campaign that’s a lot more specific and targeted. Using Google Ads features such as:

  • Audiences
  • Custom Affinity audiences
  • Lists of audiences similar to your existing customers
  • Lists of specific audiences that visited your website (or specific pages of your website).
  • In-market audiences (for specific categories)
  • Shopping cart abandoners

Keep one or two campaigns broad and generic. Make sure the rest of your Google Ad campaigns are more targeted and specific by using audiences and lists above.

Use Your Competition (Competitor Targeting)

Chances are that your business isn’t a monopoly. If so, you have your competition to deal with. Instead of sitting there and worrying about competition, use your own competition to your advantage,

Take the case of email marketing providers, for instance. There are several players in the market such as Mailchimp, Drip, and others. The chances are that users are going to type in a specific brand or email marketing tool into the search bar.

If you type “constant contact” into the search bar, here’s how other brands (such as Percolate, Campaign Monitor, and Zoho) who’ve used competitor targeting strategy on Google Ads will show up:

Image Credits:

But then, it makes sense to be a little careful with your competitor strategy on Google Ads. Stay mindful of legalese, trademark infringements, and more. Brad Smith of Adespresso has a lot more to share about Google Ads Competitor Strategy.

Use Branded Keywords (Stay on top)

If your brand is popular, it doesn’t mean you sip pina colada on a remote island. Use your brands popularity to your advantage. When customers are using your actual brand name while searching on Google, you don’t want to show up somewhere on the 7th listing on search results. Instead, you want to show up right on top.

Here’s what you get when you type “Unbounce” or “Unbounce landing pages”.

It’s usually cheaper to bid on your own brand name. You also get to stake a flag in the ground and mark your territory for good (Hint: use your brand name as a keyword and use top of the page bids).

Plus, the search volume is usually low compared to more generic keywords that your business relates to. For instance, people searching for “unbounce” will be far less compared to “landing page builder” or “landing pages” — which are both slightly expensive keywords to bid on.

Leverage Google Ads Dynamic Text Features

You could use several different ways to make your Google Ad text dynamic (and hence more relevant). These are smart ways to change your Google Ad Copy text with variables depending on user input.

Within Google Ads, you have several ways to use Dynamic Text by inserting a special character ({) where you want the dynamic text to appear (for most cases below).

For Instance, you could:

  • Use Countdown feature (to bring in FOMO and trigger user action). The countdown feature in Google Ads allows you to use both the COUNTDOWN (Counts down to a set time, adjusted to the timezone of the person searching) and GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN (Counts down to a “global” time consistent with your account’s time zone. If the ad says “ends in 4 hours” in California, it will also say “ends in 4 hours” in New York) feature
  • Deploy Ad Customizers: Specific parameters that’ll change within your ads ( such as products, prices, inventory count, features, etc.).  To do this, you’d first need to create attributes and ad attribute data
  • Dynamically Inserted Keywords: Automatically update your ads with the keywords in your ad group that caused your ads to show (as in the example below) by inserting the target keyword in the following format: {KeyWord: Chocolate}

Image Credits: Google Ads

Use Google Ad Extensions (all of them)

It’s horrendous to see a Google Ad campaign without those Ad extensions. When you use Google Ad extensions, you get:

  • A chance to add a little more content (and context) to your Google Ads.
  • Free, expanded real estate for your ad when it shows up on search.
  • Give users a lot more information to bite on.

It takes all of five minutes to add your Google ad extensions (either on the campaign level or on the ad group level) and it helps users with more information and context while they see your ad. Plus, you get to occupy a lot more real estate when your ad shows up on search results.

Use CTA (within your Ad Copy)

You do know the AIDA model of advertising, don’t you?

AIDA → Attention. Interest. Desire. Action

Image Credits: SmartInsights

Most businesses and advertisers forget the “Action” part of the AIDA model while they write Google Ads.

Awareness does happen. There’s some interest there (since Google Ads are triggered on intent-based search anyway). Hopefully, your ads invoke desire. But where’s the action?

“Get 10% Off”’

“Sign Up Now”

“Grab The Limited-time Deal”

Not that hard to write, right?

Michelle Morgan of Wordstream has a handy little graphic that gives away some of the best calls to action snippets that you could use within your Google Ad copy to lend a sense of urgency, to invoke some action, and to boost your Google Ad CTR (Click through rate)

Go ahead. Copy that. Use these Calls to Action at the end of each ad you create.

Choose Bidding methods Wisely

Before you get anywhere near Google Ads bidding strategies, it’s critical that you consider your objectives. What do you plan to achieve with your Google Ad Campaigns?

  • Are you interested in reach and branding?
  • Do you want to generate traffic to your website?
  • Do you want potential visitors to take action on your site? [ Sign up for a lead magnet, a newsletter, a free trial, etc?]
  • How about making potential customers call you?

If your business depends on Inbound calls from potential customers:

Learn more about why Call tracking is crucial and how you lose if you don’t use it.

Find out why Call Tracking is Absolutely Necessary

8 Call Tracking Tools You Should Know About

When you get down to it, manual CPC gives you complete control over bidding management. All other bidding strategies

Google Ads allows you all sorts of bidding methods starting from Manual CPC (Manual Cost Per Click).

There are especially two bidding strategies (manual) that are focused on getting you more clicks from your ads: Maximize Clicks and Manual CPC.

Other types of bidding strategies are mostly automated such as enhanced CPC, Target CPA (Cost per Acquisition), Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), and Maximize Conversions.

Depending on your strategic goals, you also have other bidding strategies such as Target outranking share, target search page location, and more.

Read more about Google Ad Bidding strategies

Brad Smith of Adespresso has a helpful and detailed guide on Google Ads Bidding Strategies.

It’s complex to choose the right strategy. For that reason, it really helps when you are clear about your goals and what you intend to do with Google Ads.

1 thought on “How To Make Google Ad Campaigns Work (& Get Results)”

Comments are closed.

Some of the links in posts and elsewhere are partner links and affiliate links (the only way I keep some money flowing in). You can purchase some of these products and I make commissions which keeps the lights on. You never pay more. Sometimes, you get discounts. Thank you for understanding. Here's the Aff Discloure Policy (if you love that kind of stuff).