The Art of Balancing Google Ads Best Practices: A Comprehensive Guide by MKTG Plan
Understanding the Ingredients of Google Ads Best Practices
Google Ads best practices come from a plethora of sources. These include Google Ads representatives, the Help Center, official certifications, auto-apply and manual recommendations, ad strength suggestions and automated assets to a certain extent. Yet, interpreting and applying these best practices can prove confusing. As MKTG Plan, we are here to provide insights on how and when to critically apply the so-called ‘Best Practices’.
On Dealing with Google Ads Representatives
When a call from ‘Google’ shows up on your phone, it can feel thrilling. However, it’s often a junior Google representative or perhaps a third-party service who are aiming to meet their targets, not necessarily seeking the best for you. It’s critical to keep in mind that as advertisers, the ultimate goal is to yield the highest results with the smallest budget, while Google Ads’ goal is to make you spend more.
An understanding of this relationship helps in logically navigating through Google Ads’ best practices. Let’s delve further to uncover common pitfalls and the successes of Google Ads:
Pitfalls & Successes of Google Ads
Automated Bidding – A Double-edged Sword
Automated bidding is an area of contention within the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) community. The accusation is that automated bidding strategies are designed to make advertisers spend more. However, various A/B tests indicate that correctly set up automated bidding strategies outperform manual ones most of the time.
Although automated bidding is a best practice, there are certain scenarios where its effectiveness is questionable. As it stands, Google Ads does not provide clear guidelines about optimal setups. So, if the performance of your automated bid strategy seems sub-par, take time to review certain parameters before giving manual CPC a whirl.
Growing with Broad Match Keywords
Google Ads have also been pushing for broad match keywords as they facilitate more efficient and expansive targeting. A number of studies have shown broad match keywords to outperform phrase match keywords. While this is generally a good practice, it is advisable not to use such a match type without proper consideration.
It’s important to ensure there is sufficient down-funnel data before entrusting Google’s AI to generate optimal results. Regrettably, in an effort to maintain privacy, Google has limited search term reporting, thus affecting visibility.
Upgrading to Data-driven Attribution
Data-driven attribution (DDA) is another AI-guided initiative. However, Google has not been transparent in explaining the mechanics of DDA, thus creating room for conjecture and skepticism. Certain questions and doubts that may arise include – What if the purchasing journey data available to Google Ads’ algorithms is inaccurate? What will DDA base its conversion rate distribution on?
Despite these uncertainties, DDA is still a recommended best practice, provided that its limitations are acknowledged and addressed accordingly.
Adopting Performance Max Campaigns
Performance Max campaigns are heavily advocated by Google. Establishing an optimal media mix through Google’s AI shows promising results. But like previous advanced Google offerings, there are limitations that must be considered.
Adopting Performance Max is not a mindless task, it requires a certain level of preparedness on the advertiser’s part. It inevitably raises questions about revenue data, purchasing journey, current media mix based on non-branded and non-retargeting traffic, and the willingness to forego valuable marketing insights.
Best Practices vs. Context
Dispelling the illusion of ‘one size fits all’, the importance of contextual understanding and application of PPC strategies cannot be overstated. For instance, a business dealing in gift cards, understands the high seasonality of their market and the speed at which customer journeys conclude. In such cases, Google’s DDA or Performance Max offerings may not be the optimal strategy.
Similarly, for a subscription-based business, indiscriminate retargeting may prove ineffective as most visitors are already paying customers. In such instances, a focused, context-driven strategy outperforms generic best practices.
As a premier data marketing agency, MKTG Plan promotes strategies that go beyond data dependence. While Google Ads and other ad network’s best practices offer valuable insights, they should be viewed critically, especially when pitched as ‘AI-infused’. It’s crucial to keep the context and unique needs of your business in mind when navigating through these practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Google Ads’ main objective is to encourage higher ad expenditure.
While it’s often more effective, it lacks clear guidelines for optimal setup and its effectiveness may vary depending on situation.
No, each business has unique needs and context. It’s important to adapt best practices to align with specific business requirements.