6 Vital Google AdWords Opportunities Tab Tips

Michael Wiegand

Google provides a list of expansion ideas on a periodic basis right in your account under the Opportunities tab:


The tab almost shines as you hover your mouse over it.

Keyword suggestions, bid suggestions, potential volume – they provide the works:


It's a veritable Smörgåsbord of PPC goodness!

This seems like a slam dunk. It’s not. Google wants you to spend more money in AdWords. End of story.

Their suggestions are only based on that, not on what you’ll get out of it.

But there are some contextually great things in here, it just takes a keen eye to sort them out.

Here are my 6 tips for weeding through this list and getting something out of it:

1. Put it in a matching ad group

Make sure the keywords they’re suggesting have at least one word in common with the phrases already in the ad group.

2. Create a different ad group

If the phrase they’re suggesting is still relevant to your business, put it in a different ad group! Or start a new ad group to house it. (If there isn’t an ad group that it can naturally fit in.)

We do social media "training", but it shouldn't go in the "seminar" ad group.

We do social media "training", but it shouldn't go in the "seminar" ad group.

3. Pick better match types

They’ll suggest all manner of match types in their lists. Make sure you’re comfortable with it. Change it to phrase or exact if you’re not ready to open the flood gates:


Phrase instead of Broad? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, there’s no way to modify the query to include, say, modified broad match anchors. So if you’re looking to go that route, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way.

4. Use proposed bids, to start

Google also provides you with a specific bidding option on the keywords that you choose to add from the list. While it may seem too aggressive, using “Proposed CPC” will help establish you with a higher ad position and quality score.

It’s just plain faster for getting a leg up in the auction:


Anything to get a leg-up on Quality Score, eh?

5. Find negatives easily

If the keyword proposals they offer look irrelevant, consider adding them as negative keywords:

Yeah... we don't *do* business in Houston, ya'll.

Yeah... we don't *do* business in Houston, ya'll.

And don’t worry about excluding the whole phrase. Just make a note of the one word in the phrase that you want to exclude and do it manually later.

6. Start a (fairly scientific) experiment

If you’re not sure about the changes, you can always test ’em! By default, Google will let you run a 30-day experiment on any of the changes they suggest:


Set it and don't forget it!

To make things even more convenient, they’ve got a handy little reporting mechanism to show you the progress you’ve made during the test period compared to the same stretch of time pre-test:


This may be costing me less money, but is it killing my conversion volumes?

Bottom-line: The AdWords Opportunities Tab is a brilliant discovery and optimization tool – if you know how to harness it. Happy sifting!

Michael Wiegand
Director of Analytics

In nearly two decades as a marketer, Michael's experience has run the gamut from design, development, direct mail, multivariate testing, print and search. He now heads Portent's analytics practice, overseeing everything from Google Tag Management, to CRM integration for closed-loop analytics, to solving ponderous digital marketing questions. Outside of work, he enjoys recording music, playing D&D, and supporting Seattle Sounders FC.

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