Are you using these 9 valuable Google Ads features?

2020 Google Ads Tips

As with all things Google, Google Ads have made some significant changes over the last few years. While some of these have been minor updates, we have seen some significant updates that change the way PPC is managed and optimized. In this post we highlight the 9 most valuable Google Ads features of 2019 based on our experience. While not all of these features are brand new, we consider them to be the most valuable when running a successful Google Ads account:

1) Call-Only Ads

Google’s Call-Only ads are a unique targeting strategy aimed at driving calls directly to your business from Google’s search results. These ads only appear on devices able to make phone calls and are a great way of driving leads if phone calls are important to your business.

Pros:

  • No website needed to set up

  • Simple to start using

Cons:

  • Less ad real estate to work with in ad copy

  • Only to be used to drive phone calls and no other conversion types

For more information directly from Google and to get started, use this guide.


2) Drafts & Experiments

Most marketers have a niggle at one stage or another to test things or try a new marketing strategy. For testing anything from ad copy variations to landing pages, Google Ads Drafts and Experiments are your best friend. This feature within Google Ads allows you to set up a draft based on your original campaign for example and then make a change to run an experiment alongside your original campaign. Its is the perfect platform for testing!

Pros:

  • Many elements within a campaign can be changed to run as an experiment depending on what you would like to test

Cons:

  • You must have a running live campaign to run the experiment against

  • It doesn’t work on campaigns using shared budgets

We have used this feature within Google Ads many times. Sometimes with success and sometimes a lesson is learnt. Either way, we love this feature. Should you wish to run a test, use this guide to get set up.


3) Google Ads Scripts

Scripts within Google Ads are a great way to automate various internal functions within your Google Ads account. A snippet of Javascript can be used for a number of functions including reporting, bidding and bid management. These are extremely customizable and can be tailored to your unique requirements within Google Ads.

Pros:

  • Save time by automating tedious processes

Cons:

  • Tricky to set up initially, especially without a coding background

We have not used Google Ads Scripts much but we are aware of their time saving capabilities. We are very “hands on” with our accounts but we will be testing some scripts in 2020. To get started on some great script ideas, check out this post.


4) Lead Form Extensions

A relatively new feature in Google Ads, this allows an extension to be added onto an ad and for potential visitors to fill in a form, instead of going directly to the website. In essence, it bypasses the need for the user to fill in an enquiry form on the website.

Pros:

  • Fairly easy to set up in Google Ads

  • Allow visitors to contact you before visiting your website

Cons:

  • Still in BETA

  • Leads need to be downloaded manually and can only be manually integrated with a CRM

We are not currently using this feature due to the lack of integration with regular email addresses. We do however think that if you are using a CRM, it would definitely be worth a try.


5) Smart Bidding

This is a no brainer. Do you want better results and more time for strategy and less time spent adjusting individual keyword bids? Smart Bidding uses machine learning to “optimise” a number of factors to achieve your desired outcome within a campaign:

Pros:

  • Saves times adjusting various factors in your campaign

  • Great to use if you are managing multiple campaigns and accounts

Cons:

  • Less control over data

  • Smart Bidding still doesn't understand your unique business needs so performance is not always better than with manual control

We personally use Smart Bidding a lot. We experiment with various types and find what works best. We manage multiple accounts and it saves a lot of time. To learn more about the various Smart Bidding options, read on


6) Responsive Search Ads

Created by Google to simplify the ad creating and testing process, responsive search ads make use of a number of headlines and descriptions which Google can then test at auction and optimise your ad performance by showing the best combinations:

Pros:

  • Ads are eligible to appear in more auctions, allowing for more impression share

  • Google takes care of the testing process by showing the best performing combinations of headlines and descriptions

Cons:

  • These do not always perform better than expanded text ads

  • More creative work is needed to set up

We have used these in our own accounts and results have been good. We recommend having at least 1 responsive search ad per ad group to test against other ad formats. Learn more


7) Remarketing Lists For Search Ads

A technique which we find is often underused is called RLSA or remarketing lists for search ads. This feature allows you to tailor your search campaigns based on whether a user has previously visited your website. This often means that visitors have a higher chance of completing a conversion on a repeat visit, making them valuable to target.

Pros:

  • Target more qualified and valuable users

Cons:

  • They don’t always perform better depending on the type of product or service you offer

We highly recommend setting up a RLSA campaign, we suggest this technique to all of our clients and have had great success remarketing to previous website visitors who have more chance of converting. Find out more.


8) Life Events Targeting

A relatively new feature to Google Ads, Life Event targeting allows you target specific audiences, rather than just keywords. Gone are the days where we rely on just keywords to target a mass of visitors who are at different stages of their buying cycle. Three options exist here, including College Graduation, Marriage and Moving. 

Pros:

  • Highly targeted to specific visitors

Cons:

  • Still somewhat restricted in terms of options available

We haven't used this feature, due to the fact that the targeting options are limited but we do think these will expand over time. Have you tried Life Events Targeting with success? Learn more about it here.


9) Google Ads Dashboard Recommendations

Google completely revamped Google Ads in 2017/ 2018 and one of those changes was the addition of a tab available in the left of all accounts called “Recommendations”. This tab provides a central place in which Google highlights key areas within your account to improve upon. The recommendations can provide some quick wins to implement or show you something you might have missed within your account. We’re all human after all.

Pros:

  • Easy to access and understand within Google Ads

Cons:

  • Recommendations are not always valid or beneficial to your unique business needs

Conclusion

These 9 features are what we consider to be important based on what we have tried and tested through years of running successful Google Ads accounts. There are also a few features which we have not yet tested, but we are excited about their capabilities. They each have their own unique benefits but we always suggest testing what works for your business and its unique needs. 

We predict that machine learning will become more advanced within Google Ads over the next year, allowing for more automation, but with that comes the risk of letting Google “do it all”. You still need to decide what is working for your business, and develop strategies that push your business in a positive direction with the help of more automation and new features.

It's important to understand your unique business needs and make use of Google Ads strategies which align with these. As machine learning becomes more advanced, so does the plethora of techniques one can apply to a Google Ads account. We advise to make use of a Google Ads specialist and preferably, an agency with Partner Status and a proven record of running successful Google Ads accounts.

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