After you learn the basics of how to advertise on Google and get comfortable with the program, it’s important to learn how to make Google Ads campaigns that generate a strong return on investment (ROI).

To do so, it takes time and effort. You’ll need to follow Google Ads best practices and come up with the right strategy through trial and error.

Let’s go over the tips and bidding strategies you need to create the best Google Ads campaign for your small business.

Acing the Google Ads Fundamentals Assessment

Part of their Academy for Ads, the Google Ads Fundamentals assessment, is a great way to learn the basics of advertising on Google. Upon completing the course and evaluation, you’ll earn a Google Ads certification. This allows your business to gain the Google Partner badge to display on your marketing materials and legitimize your efforts.

The course teaches you the bare-bones fundamentals of using the Google Ads platform:

  • Quality score and ad rank
  • Setting bids
  • Getting keyword ideas
  • Differences between the Google Search Network and Google Display Network
  • Google Ads best practices

The Academy for Ads and Google Ads Fundamentals assessment are great tools when you’re just starting out.

However, they’re limited in what they can teach you. You’ll get a good understanding of what Google wants you to do and how to begin, but you won’t get any in-depth strategies to help you beat the competition.

Google Ads Best Practices

You can have a great strategy, but your ad won’t win any bids if you don’t follow Google Ads best practices. Start with the basics:

Know Your Audience

One of the best tips for writing Google Ads is simple: know your audience.

Perform market research and reflect on your business and its products to find the right audience for your ads.

Is your product geared to one gender, age group, race, location or special interest? Advertise to them. They’re the customers that matter most.

If your products attract a lot of different people, or you want to target a new market, great. Always try to consider the wants and needs of all groups you want to reach, then tailor the ad copy to them. Doing so will help you make the best Google ads for your audience.

Create Ads for All Devices

According to Statista, less than half of all Google searches were done on a desktop computer as of the fourth quarter of 2019. Therefore, it’s more important now than ever to make your ads tablet and mobile-friendly.

You used to be able to create different ad versions for different devices and choose the best Google Ad placement for each, but that’s no longer the case. Instead, you have to create ads that look and perform great, whether they’re seen on a desktop search result or a mobile app.

Google responsive display ads take this one step further, asking you to give them multiple headlines and descriptions to create automated advertisements. Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) will choose the best “assets” to use, depending on the device.

Include Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a great way to improve your ad’s quality score and raise its click-through rate (CTR) on the Google Search Network. Since both of those directly affect the ad rank that decides whether you win an ad auction, it’s best to include them when possible.

There are 5 main types of ad extensions, each with their purpose and benefit. While you can allow Google to automate these and other add-ons based on their criteria, it’s best to be hands-on. That way, you can ensure consistency in the message you want out there for your business.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions promote other landing pages on your website within your ad. They can be used to direct customers to about/ contact pages or to others you want to draw attention to.

A great Google ads tip is to use sitelink extensions to generate clicks.

As you can see in the Google ad example above, the catering company used sitelink extensions to position themselves better. They tell customers they can trust them, as well as hitting a pain point that may draw in searchers looking for last-minute catering services.

Sitelink extensions also take up more real estate on Google search engine results pages (SERPs), making your business stand out from the rest.

Call Extensions

Adding call extensions allows customers to call your business with just one click. Google doesn’t allow you to include phone numbers in your ad copy, so this is the best way to promote calls to your business.

Getting customers on the phone increases your chances of earning their business and limits any shopping around they may do on other sites.

Location Extensions

If you’re trying to beat out local competitors, it’s best to make Google ads with location extensions embedded in them. Location extensions allow you to add your address and phone number to an ad on SERPs.

Like call extensions, they don’t cut into your ad copy space.

Callout Extensions

Callout extensions give you the ability to add 25 extra characters that draw attention to details of your product/ service. You can highlight sales, promotions and other reasons customers should choose you.

This is  a good place to add pricing details that don’t belong with the rest of your ad copy.

The best Google ads use ad extensions that give customers the right information.

App Extensions

Optimizing Google Ads campaigns with app extensions allows you to promote your company’s mobile app.

Choosing to do this will include an “install” button under your ad, increasing the odds of earning a download.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Employing the right strategy in the Google Ads bidding process is essential if you want to reach as many customers as you can.

Bidding too high can mean you win a higher percentage of the ads you bid on, but will run your budget dry. Bidding too low can get you more clicks for your money, but it will also keep you from winning desirable ad placements.

The best Google Ads bidding strategies for your business will vary. Each business is different, and so is every campaign.

Still, there are some ways to maximize your ROI and get the most out of your Google ads.

Automated Bid Strategies

If Google is anything, it’s intuitive. To that end, Google tries to make it easy on advertisers by automating Google Ads bidding strategies for them.

When creating a campaign, you can let Google set your maximum bids for you. Simply input your monthly budget and tell the AI what your goal is for the campaign:

  • Maximize clicks
  • Maximize conversions
  • Target cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Target search page location (TSPL)
  • Target outranking share

Maximize Clicks

This tactic is precisely what it sounds like. This option automatically optimizes your Google Ads campaign to drive the most clicks within your daily budget.

Maximize Clicks is a good idea for businesses that rely on a certain volume of web traffic to generate revenue, like selling ad space on Google AdSense.

Maximize Conversions

If you choose to maximize conversions, Google’s AI will place precedence on ad placements that are more likely to get you in front of paying customers.

This strategy is good for eCommerce sites.

Target Cost Per Acquisition

Setting a target cost per acquisition goes one step further than maximizing conversions.

With this Google Ads bidding strategy, Google will still try to convert as many customers as possible. However, they will comply with the average cost you’re willing to pay for each customer. Some will exceed your set limit, while others will fall below it to even out your costs.

Target CPA is a choice for budget-conscious retail sites, including startups.

Target Search Page Location

Targeting search page location allows you to focus your efforts on getting the best Google Ads placement on the Search Network.

Instead of bidding for ad placements that may go under the radar, this strategy tells Google to aim strictly for real estate more likely to appear on the first search page.

Setting up your Google Ads bidding strategy this way may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s cost-prohibitive to many businesses working with a set budget.

Target Outranking Share

The target outranking share option is a great choice for highly competitive markets. Choosing it tells Google to outbid ads from competitor domains, which you give to them.

Doing so raises your quality score, which can lead to beating the competition for precious ad space. You can optimize your efforts by inputting how often you want to outrank the competitors, as well as setting maximum budgets.

Managing Automated Bidding Strategies

If you want to go with one of these effective automated strategies, you’ll want to keep close tabs on them. Failing to do so could leave you displeased with your Google Ads performance at month’s end.

You can set up notifications for when bidding gets low or high, you’re not winning many bidding auctions and more.

This way, you can step in and change your strategy when your results fall below or exceed expectations.

Manual Bidding

Choosing a manual bidding strategy can make it tough to manage your campaign, but it can also yield the best Google Ads results if done well.

The biggest roadblock for controlling the bidding yourself is time. Unless you have a dedicated marketing employee with time to spend on your Google Ads campaigns daily, some things may fall through the cracks. Your ad spend could get out of control, or you could miss out on opportunities to get more results.

Still, there is value to monitoring your bidding performance more often. You can see opportunities where lowering or increasing bids can get the most out of your ad budget.

Enhanced Cost Per Click

Enhanced CPC is a manual strategy that sprinkles in help from Google’s AI to drive performance.

This Google Ads bidding strategy lets you manually set your target cost per conversion (much like the target CPA strategy) and then adjusts it based on each auction. If the ad placement is more likely to lead to a conversion, Google will go above the limit you set to win it. If it’s less likely, the bid will go down.

The goal is to average less than your maximum budget while still targeting the motivated customers that generate revenue.

Using enhanced CPC is a good idea for businesses that want more control over their bidding but like the idea of having Google lead them to high-value customers.

Google Ads Tips

Use these Google Ads tips to make Google ads that win bidding auctions and stand out to customers.

Create and Monitor Ad Groups

One of the best Google Ads features is the ability to create ad groups. This allows you to link keywords that promote similar products or have similar target audiences.

For example, a clothing store with advertisements for women’s jeans and shoes can create campaign ad groups that let them use the same audience settings for each.

Make sure to monitor the performance of keywords within each ad group to target the ones that make sense for your goals.

Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner

While Google does its best to suggest keywords when creating your campaign, it’s best practice to use the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool.

Picking the right keywords is the key to getting your ad in front of the right customers, so you want to be sure you’re targeting what makes the most sense.

The Keyword Planner shows you information on search volume, making sure you use your ad spend on search terms that have higher potential. Be sure to consider how relevant the keyword is for what you’re advertising. You don’t want to spend money on traffic if it’s not likely to get you the sales results you want.

You can also get the average CPC for each keyword, letting you know how competitive it may be to try and rank for it. It could make sense for smaller businesses to target keywords with lower search volume if the CPC falls within its budget.

Finding these opportunities can help you beat competitors with much larger budgets.

Learn How to Optimize Google Display Ads

Using the Google Display Network is a great way to remarket to old customers and engage new ones with compelling visual content. But, you have to make sure to create great Google display ads.

If you create custom images, make sure to follow the guidelines for each banner ad size. Make sure to make the ad pop, but don’t go too overboard. A clean, professional look that appeals to whatever type of audience makes sense for your industry will perform well.

Content goes a long way to optimizing Google display ads campaigns. Make sure your ad copy and images match the audience you’re trying to reach.

Optimize Google display ads to reach and engage customers..

The Google display ad example above does a great job of this. The webpage is about employees in the 18-34 age group, making it likely that young workers could be interested in reading it.

The banner ad targets workers by posing a question. It then calls them to action by making a choice. Once clicked, you’re taken to a page that explains how these little decisions influence how you should invest, selling readers on the benefits of investing with Vanguard, the advertiser. The ad isn’t selling a product itself, but using psychology and good target marketing to get a potential customer to a place where the business can work to convert them.

If you’re advertising on Youtube or using video ads on other sites, focus on quality and message. Use high-quality cameras or animations, and make sure your edits are clean. You can lose credibility if your videos don’t meet the high standards modern consumers have.

Customers are attracted to short, concise video ads that address their problem and give them a solution (your product/ service) quickly.

Write With the Customer in Mind

One of the best tips for writing Google ads is to empathize with your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. What pain points do they have? How does your product solve them? How much is pricing a factor?

Understanding what goes through their mind is necessary for creating the best ads, especially on the Search Network. Once you dissect your target audience, you can apply that knowledge to your product to create an ad that puts a spotlight on your business. Include a strong value proposition that differentiates you from the competition and touches on the customer’s wants and needs.

Use Google Ads Examples to Formulate a Plan

It’s important to know your audience. It’s also important to know your competitors. Once you’ve found some worthwhile keywords in the Keyword Planner, type them into Google and see examples from ads that currently pop up.

Look at what those businesses have in their ads. What are they doing right? What can they do better? Answering these questions can help you formulate your plan of action.

If they’re winning ad space that you want, you must learn how to beat them. If their content is lacking, you can beat their ad rank with quality ad copy and win the bidding auction with a smaller budget. If they have a great ad, consider whether you can take it one step further.

If the competition is too high for your small business, you can always target keywords that offer more opportunities.

Look at Google display ad examples to see what works. Use them to identify trends and successes that you can apply to your ads. You can look outside of your industry to get ideas that your competitors haven’t thought of, putting you ahead of the pack.

Create the Best Google Ads

Use Google Ads best practices, bidding strategies and tips to create the best Google ads for your business.

Focusing on the customer is the most important part of the process. If you can do that, you’ll choose relevant keywords and create great ad copy. This will increase your quality score and, in turn, your ad rank.

The higher your ad rank, the lower your average CPC will be— regardless of what bidding strategy you choose.

Making the right choices optimizes your Google Ads campaign’s performance, targeting the right customers and generating higher ROI.

Get weekly business insights & expert advice to help grow your business.