Stop Neglecting These 4 AdWords Features

Mike Fitterer
Four AdWords Features That You Need to Use Now

Ahh, the time-honored mantra of “A _____’s work is never done.” It turns out if you search for “job is never done” and pull up images, everyone is apparently busier than everyone else. A curious paradox, but we’ll leave that alone. The obvious ones include “woman, mother, man, marketer, and teacher” just to name a few. But, did you know that “The Emperor’s” work is never done? Ditto for a “diva.” Oh, and apparently you can lump a “cat” and a “wizard” into that lot.

I can’t solve the cat’s problem, but we know a little about digital marketing, and a little more about paid search, so let’s start there.

In helping new clients with AdWords audits, or when we’re kicking off longer-term PPC management, we run into AdWords accounts that are flat out over-optimized. Although that’s often a relatively straightforward fix, it’s a shame because of the opportunity cost of the time that went into tweaking that paid search account to the Nth degree. Take that time and go produce killer content, work on your SEO, or experiment with a new channel.

But in other cases, the scramble to do all the things means we pop the proverbial hood only to find that the most basic, effective PPC tools are going unused.

So here are my suggested must-do items in AdWords for better PPC results without over-extending yourself. Disclaimer: this list might change a bit depending on the size of your business, and your unique audience.

Ad Extensions

Let’s go with simple first. If you’re not utilizing ad extensions within your account it’s time to start ASAP.

Ad Extensions provide marketers with an avenue for drawing more attention to ads within search results. Well-constructed ad extensions help to improve click volume and click-through rates.

So, which ad extensions are the most important ones to have? Well, definitely sitelink extensions. Not only do they take up a nice amount of ad real estate on search engine results pages, but they also serve the purpose of sending people to a targeted page of their choosing – likely not the same default landing page attached to a given ad.

And for extra credit try getting into the “Visual Sitelinks Beta.” With this Beta, advertisers can have thumbnail images also show up with an ad’s sitelinks for mobile position #1 results. If you have beautiful product images this Beta is a must!

Callout Extensions are another must-have. Advertisers can create 2 – 6 callouts highlighting business features such as “free shipping” or “24/7 phone support.” They allow businesses to promote their biggest selling points, especially relative to competitors, giving potential customers a better feel for why a given product or service is right for them.

Similar Audiences

One of the most challenging aspects of marketing is bringing in new, qualified, customers. Creating visibility and trust among folks that have never heard of you. Figuring out how, where, and when to target people you want to attract to your product or service is not an easy task.

So, why not use pre-existing resources to help you out? Chances are you have audiences you’re using for remarketing. With Similar Audiences (either search or display) you can target people identified by Google as having “similar search behavior” to those within your audience on Google’s network of sites (shopping included).

The beauty of this audience is that, due to their similarities with your existing audience, they should naturally be more inclined to click on your ads, leading to improved CTR and ultimately conversion figures. Sounds good, right?

The only big grain of salt for Similar Audiences is that you do need to think understand how Google can and can’t flag an audience as similar, and have someone monitor your campaigns closely to make sure you’re getting the ROI and click-thru you expect.

Customer Match

I loved the book Permission Marketing from Seth Godin. It’s so widely accepted at this point that it seems silly to say, but people on your house email list have already shown some sort of positive feeling for your business by signing up. Why on earth would we not use that to gently surface a message to those folks, in the places they visit outside their inboxes?

With Customer Match, you can upload an email list as an audience. Once the list has been uploaded, Google will do its best to match emails up with corresponding Google accounts. All of a sudden, you can tailor a message to warm prospects with Google based accounts (Gmail, or Google Office for instance). And you can serve that across Google’s giant network of sites, as well as the search engine itself.

Even better, remember the similar audience lists we talked about earlier? You can create similar audience lists stemming from your customer match lists and target those folks as well.

Bing Ads Import

Wait, what? I thought we were talking about AdWords opportunities? Well, slight change of plans because Bing Ads gets overlooked a lot, which is an opportunity for you the savvy marketer.

Bing Ads accounts for roughly 20% of the paid search market. No matter how you slice it, and regardless of Google’s larger share, that is a lot of search activity. It’s also worth noting that some searchers use Bing exclusively, so those individuals receive 0 exposure to AdWords-based efforts.

Given the prospect of missing up to 20% of your addressable market, having a solid presence on Bing is a wise decision for most advertisers.

The best part, though? In an effort to drive share of digital ad dollars, Bing makes it REALLY easy for marketers to port over campaigns from AdWords.

After clicking that link and signing in you can choose which campaign to transport to Bing. Some customization for the Bing Ads platform will be required, but with a pretty modest effort getting started on Bing is feasible for anyone.

That said, deciding which campaigns to run and setting starting budgets may be more of a challenge. The simplest campaign strategy to get started is intuitively to just carry over the top performing campaigns in AdWords and build from there. As for spend, a safe rule is to start with 1/4th of the current spend on AdWords and scale based on results.

Remember, Bing has its own audience, with its own unique, behavioral quirks. You wouldn’t set-it-and-forget-it on AdWords because you’re a smart marketer. The same rule applies everywhere.

In Summary

If you were missing any of these tools and tactics, or haven’t touched them in too long, consider your paid search to-do list “set”. If you don’t have sitelink and callout extensions running in AdWords, make getting both in place a priority. Assuming you’ve checked that off the list, more advanced targeting options like similar audiences and customer match within AdWords are great next steps.

And, of course, don’t forget about expanding on AdWords success with Bing Ads. By starting from your top performing AdWords campaigns and a limited budget you’ll be setting up the account with low risk and solid upside.

Ready for more? Take a look at this guide on auditing an AdWords account for additional strategic suggestions.

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  1. Two thoughts:
    1. Visual sitelinks are dope but SOO hard to get approved. Also, hard to measure/optimize since their serving is seemingly so limited (maybe that’s because I’m not lucky enough to have a massive account like the ones pictured)
    2. It would be great to get more insight into how Google determines where to rank your ad when you have similar audiences applied. With straight up RLSA it makes sense, they’ve been to your site. But essentially any query you match for is a “similar” audience to your own if your keywords are in good shape, so how do they categorize this audience and prioritize ad placement?

    1. Thanks for the comment, John! The normal quality score rules still apply with similar audiences.
      The best way to make sure you prioritize placement is by including a positive bid modifier. Doing so will indicate your willingness to pay a bit more for clicks from that segment than you are for clicks from any-random-visitor. That will help ensure ad impressions for similar audiences are given priority each time an auction occurs.

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