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We’ve Tried A LOT of Google Ads Strategies – These 5 Are the Most Effective.

What started out as a rather simple marketing channel has become increasingly complex over the years. Creating a Google Ads campaign was once a matter of writing a handful of words, nominating a few target keywords and crossing your fingers that searchers would click, and that those clicks would convert.

How times have changed. Google has since added a wealth of functionality to its namesake advertising channel, from front-end extensions to back-end insights.

But with greater functionality comes greater complexity. A Google Ads strategy can now take all manner of forms, and it can feel impossible to know the best way to approach your next campaign. But we have some good news: at Traction we’ve done the homework for you.

Having spent years refining our Google Ads strategies, we’ve found some strategies to be more effective than others, and many to be criminally underused. If you’re looking to enhance an upcoming campaign, here are five of the best ways to do it.

1. Optimise your PPC ads for voice search

An ever-increasing number of people are looking for a hands-free internet experience. Perhaps you’re one of them, navigating the net through your phone or smart speaker, chatting with Alexia, Siri, Bixby or Google Assistant. Voice search feels more natural and organic, and it can take a fraction of the time that typing does.

But are your PPC ads constructed in a way that acknowledges the rise of voice search?

There is one major difference between traditional search and voice search: length. Traditional searches are compact – in an effort to save time and effort, you throw only the most important words at Google. But voice search is so efficient that people speak more naturally, forming complete sentences and asking complete questions.

Your first job is to check if your campaigns are receiving voice search, which you can do by checking the search query report. If they are, identify your keywords, and include them in natural, long-form questions and statements.

2. Put your best deals up in lights

If the aim of your campaign is to sell, sell, sell, the ‘Promotion Extension’ feature might soon be your best friend. An eye-catching addition to your PPC ad, this feature allows you to display a special offer in a dedicated field below the main text.

Google itself claims that ad extensions result in a CTR increase of 10-15%, a significant figure in what is a game of fine margins. You can use Promotion Extension to promote limited time offers, retail holidays, and any other noteworthy sales events. They are particularly useful in the lead up to a special occasion, whether Christmas, Mother’s Day, Black Friday or a return to school.

Simple to set up and amend, you can utilise Promotion Extension all year round, updating it to the next occasion whenever the last one passes.

3. A guaranteed way to outrank competitors

The Target Outranking Share feature delivers a way to increase the chances of outranking your competitors. It should be noted that we aren’t talking about your website on the search engine results page (SERP) – that is and always will be a meritocracy, and the only way to outrank your competitors there is to invest in SEO. But you can pay to outrank your competitors on Google Ads, with your bid automatically adjusting in response to theirs.

This strategy works best for companies who find themselves fighting against one specific competitor, and who always seem to get outranked. It can ensure you take market visibility and market share from this competitor, although you need to be wary that like any automated bidding strategy, this does come at the cost of control. Be aware too that the focus of this strategy is not on conversions and revenue, but rather visibility.

That said, in the right circumstances this can be an incredibly effective strategy, with this online shopping mall increasing web traffic by 30% off the back of it!

4. Block non-customers with negative keywords

Let’s say you’re an Indian restaurant looking to attract diners. You’ll obviously be looking to target people who search for things like tikka masalabiryani and naan… unless those people aren’t looking to eat these things at a restaurant, but rather cook them at home.

In these cases negative keywords can be every bit as important as target keywords. Negative keywords attempt to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your Google Ads campaign by negating those search queries that are close to what you’re looking for, but that aren’t quite it.

In the example above, you might list negative keywords like ‘recipe’, ‘ingredients’ and ‘how to cook’. When a user types these terms in, Google will ensure your advertising budget isn’t wasted on these non-customers.

5. Let your audience ‘click to call’

The most successful marketing and ad campaigns are those that remove as many hurdles as possible for the target customer, and make the purchase process as simple, swift and pain-free as possible. This is the idea behind the click-to-call extension, which has become a mainstay of local search.

The click-to-call extension offers users a simple and instant way to get in touch with you. It places your phone number within the Google Ad, and as the name suggests, it allows them to call you in a single click. With almost half of all Google searches having local intent, adding your number can prove to be a very effective Google Ads strategy.

How effective? In 2013 Google commissioned a study into the click-to-call feature, and found that 70% of mobile searchers used it. If you haven’t activated this extension, you’re missing out.

While the little text boxes themselves might look simple, there are a surprising amount of features on offer in Google Ads, which leads to a surprising amount of complexity in creating an effective strategy.

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