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Best Analytics Tools to Use for Digital Marketing

What are Analytic tools and how are they useful?

Analytics tools are software that helps businesses collect, process, and analyze data to understand their online performance and make informed decisions. These tools provide valuable insights into various aspects of a business’s digital marketing strategy, such as website traffic, number of visitors, the sources of traffic, and user behavior on the website.

Web analytics tools 

These can help businesses understand which marketing channels are driving the most traffic and make informed decisions on where to focus their efforts. These tools help businesses track and analyze data in real time, allowing them to make quick and informed decisions based on the latest data. This can help businesses stay ahead of the competition and make the most of their digital marketing efforts.

Social media analytics tools 

These are designed to help businesses track and analyze their social media performance. These tools provide insights into the reach, engagement, and impact of a business’s social media campaigns. Social media analytics tools can help businesses understand how their social media efforts are resonating with their audience and make informed decisions on how to improve their strategies.

Email analytics tools 

These are designed to help businesses track the performance of their email campaigns. These tools provide insights into email opens, clicks, and conversions, and offer a range of features to help businesses create and optimize their email campaigns. Email analytics tools can help businesses understand the effectiveness of their email campaigns and make informed decisions on how to improve them.

With so many analytics tools available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best ones for your business. Here are some of the best analytics tools for digital marketing:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that provides insights into a business’s website traffic and user behavior. It is a free tool that offers a wide range of features, including audience demographics, acquisition channels, and real-time data.

One of the key features of Google Analytics is its ability to track and analyze website traffic. Businesses can see how many visitors they are getting, where they are coming from, and how long they are staying on their website. This can help businesses understand which marketing channels are driving the most traffic and make informed decisions on where to focus their efforts.


Hootsuite is a social media analytics tool that helps businesses track and analyze their social media performance. It provides insights into the reach, engagement, and impact of a business’s social media campaigns.

Hootsuite offers a range of features for businesses to track and analyze their social media performance, including the ability to schedule and publish posts, track engagement, and measure the impact of campaigns.


Mailchimp is an email analytics tool that helps businesses track the performance of their email campaigns. It provides insights into email opens, clicks, and conversions, and offers a range of features to help businesses create and optimize their email campaigns.

Mailchimp offers a range of features for businesses to create and send email campaigns, including templates, A/B testing, and automation. It also provides insights into the performance of these campaigns, including the number of emails opens, clicks, and conversions.


SEMrush is a comprehensive analytics tool that helps businesses track and analyze their search engine performance. It provides insights into keyword rankings, backlinks, and paid search campaigns.

SEMrush offers a range of features for businesses to track and improve their search engine performance, including keyword research, technical SEO analysis, and backlink analysis. It also provides insights into paid search campaigns, including ads, spends, and performance data.


HubSpot is a powerful analytics tool that offers a range of features for businesses, including website traffic analysis, lead generation, and customer relationship management.

HubSpot provides insights into website traffic, including sources, behavior, and conversions. It also offers a range of features for lead generation, such as forms and pop-ups, and customer relationship management, including email and live chat.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is another popular social media analytics tool that helps businesses track and analyze their social media performance. It provides insights into social media metrics, such as reach, engagement, and sentiment, and offers a range of features for social media management, including scheduling and publishing.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is another popular email analytics tool that helps businesses track and analyze their email campaigns. It offers a range of features for email marketing, including templates, automation, and A/B testing, and provides insights into email performance, such as opens, clicks, and conversions


Analytics tools are an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. They help businesses track and analyze their online performance and make informed decisions. The tools mentioned above are some of the best analytics tools available in the market and can help businesses of all sizes and industries.

We hope this article helped you learn something new and added value to your time. Want to stay up to date with the latest in digital marketing? Catch us on social media on our handles below and we’re there to help you.

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Trends in search advertising

With the discontinuation of ETAs or expanded text ads on 30th June 2022, RSAs or responsive search ads are the only present option. This being just the starter, there is a series of small changes brought about in the whole Google ads ecosystem. Here’s how you can tackle the situation for the best outcomes.

First, let’s understand how RSAs work and what is the basic infrastructure of the ad. Responsive search ads were introduced in the market back in 2018 and were selected as the default format in early 2021. Ever since then, responsive ads have been the way to go for all the digital marketers out there. 

RSA’s work highly relies on machine learning and Artificial intelligence to process huge amounts of data and sieve out the most relevant results to serve the user. This enables advertisers to access a huge amount of user data processing with a tap and lets you create multiple variations or versions of the same content.


RSAs optimize your provided keywords and assemble them in an order that is predicted to give the best results, fulfilling the user intent. You can input up to 15 unique headlines and 4 lines of description. Now the AI will analyze all different headlines and break them to create thousands of potential headlines or combinations of headlines or search results.

The advertiser can also opt for NOT jumbling or optimizing their headlines to meet specific user intent or to ensure the specific call-to-action commands. This can also be used if the advertiser is trying to make a specific part of their content visible. This flexibility between the old and new ways makes the transition from ETA to RSA easier and gives the advertiser yet another reason to shift to the new ecosystem for the better. Either way, they ain’t got a choice.

Another huge benefit of RSA is Google’s elite algorithm that can do all the testing for the most effective ad format instantly without the need to post multiple ads and run them in the testing phase to determine the best version of their ad post.


This, however, does have a few drawbacks too. Recently, advertisers have been reporting the lack of reporting and insights that Google provides about what’s working. Collectively, Google does show which group of ads is performing and what kind of conversions it’s bringing in, what it doesn’t tell is the set of keywords and combinations are the real deal sealers. Although studies have shown that RSAs have increased the conversation rates by even 200% more than their ETA counterpart. 

If the insight problem is solved soon and if the advertisers start getting a more distinct picture of what’s working and what’s not, then the user base for RSAs will feel much more appreciated and will aid the understanding of the advertiser over their ad campaign. 

RSAs are just making things easier for advertisers as each RSA can generate thousands of different combinations of possible outcomes eradicating the need to create multiple ads within the same ad group. The new interface asks you for distinct assets with straightforward keywords integrated into them and all of this can later be evaluated through something called the strength report. 

Range of manual control

Pinning certain assets reduces the number of combinations Google can formulate. Though this gives more manual control over the ad performance, advertisers can try eradicating the same pins in a similar post to see if the automation provides any inflated benefits. Results show highly increased conversions and the conversations with RSAs cost roughly half as many ETAs in many cases.

The only requirement for RSAs to work efficiently is high amounts of data, Google itself recommends the use of broad match keywords. The more data provided to the machine, the better the AI works at processing it and understanding the pattern the data conveys.


Advertisers really do not need more manual control if the AI is ready to do the same work much faster and without the additional hard work. What we need to do is to embrace the new era of AI-integrated search advertising. Machine learning-powered optimizations are the new future of all of the digital marketing, and you start integrating it with your daily work ethic for a seamless transition.

If you have any questions, make sure to drop them down in the comments and subscribe to our newsletter to never miss similar valuable content coming your way!

Search Marketing

how to improve your Google Ads quality score quickly

In the year 2000, Google ads started as a small venture with merely 350 customers, snap back to 2022, the company’s raking in $54 billion in the first quarter of the financial year.

Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, with over a billion users has become a large competitive playground for businesses around the world. To decide if your ad is worth ranking above organic results, Google goes through your Quality score.

Your quality score times your pay-per-click bid equals the Google Ad rank. But what is a quality score? Well if that’s your first question, you’re on the right track, here are answers to 4 FAQs about Google Ads quality score.

  1. What is a quality score?
  2. What are the different types of quality scores?
  3. Why are they important?
  4. How to improve your quality score?
  1. What is a quality score?

Essentially, a quality score is an average of multiple factors which simply display your relevance with user intent and your performance concerning content quality. Quality score will ultimately decide where your ad ranks on the Google search result page.

Here are the factors responsible for your quality score:

Expected CTR – If your content is appealing, it has a higher chance of being clicked on, which later translates to your Click Through Rate (CTR). The expected CTR of your page is one core factor for your quality score.

Landing page UX – Once the user clicks on your ad, the experience of the user while navigating through your webpage will decide if the user stays or leaves your site. As a rule of thumb, the first page or the landing page should be the point of attraction in your ad.

Relevance – Having a beautiful UX is not enough, the primary goal here is meeting the user’s intent and for that, your page should be relevant enough for the user. Your page should deliver what it seemingly promised in the ad.

The quality score is also an indicator of the effectiveness and future success of your ad. It can also be an indicator of possible improvements that might be required.

  1. What are the different types of quality scores?

Now that you know the factors that affect your quality score, let’s see what kind of different quality scores exist. Here are the various types of it, talked about in more detail.

Keyword quality score

This is the one you’re all familiar with, keywords are nothing less than the backbone of a good ranking page. They primarily decide the ranking of your site on the first page of search engine results. 

It works exactly how it sounds, keyword quality score is decided by the number of users using your keywords to reach their desired results. The ranking of your current keywords will decide the ranking of your ad.

The ranking of keywords is also dependent on multiple factors like the relevance to the user intent and expected click-through rates of the keyword.

Landing page quality score

CTRs are useless if the retention on your page is poor, so Google determines your content quality by testing your landing page relevance. The conversion of a user to a customer is heavily dependent upon this quality score.

Ease of navigation and transparency of policies are factors that will decide if the user stays on the page or leaves. Your page should be unique, and informative and provide quality content in a concise format to save the user valuable time.

The user should be assured that the ad they clicked on, displays and delivers what it promised, and this eventually builds brand loyalty in new users.

Mobile quality score

More than half the world’s total internet traffic is from mobile devices and these count for phones, tablets, and other similar devices. This said it becomes a core factor to give you a quality score.

These are also the only devices that consider the location of the device as a decisive factor. Therefore, your ad ranking might be different on a mobile device than on a web browser.

Account level quality score 

While Google doesn’t approve of this quality score officially, many experts believe that it exists. ALQS seems to be an accumulation of all the other QS and judges the overall response and performance of your site. 

The accounts that are older and more consistent seem to rank higher than the newer advertisers, even if the strategies are the same. This made marketers believe that there’s this one more ranking factor that judges consistency and account quality level.

Ad group quality score

The Ad group quality score can be taken as the official version of ALQS, the only difference being that it’s a kind of feedback-based QS. How the site is perceived and accepted by the audience are the factors that affect AGQS.

This lets you differentiate between poor-performing ads and ads that are performing well overall. By putting more effort into poor-performing ads, you can improve your overall average. This clearly proves that QS doesn’t rely solely on keywords.

  1. Why are Quality scores important?

Google’s pride lies in its user base and customer loyalty, therefore keeping its users satisfied is its foremost responsibility. Quality score signifies the relevance with user intent to Google.

To keep its customers satisfied, Google will rank those Ads which will be the most productive for the user. QS is also the deciding factor for the success of your page regardless of Google’s inclination towards user satisfaction.

46% of total Ad clicks are on the first 3 ads of the first page of Google search results, states SEO tribunal. The key to ranking in those first three lies in your QS. 

  1. How to improve your quality score?

Knowing the importance of a quality score, it’s equally important to know how to improve it and rank on the top charts. It should be noted that improving your QS involves much more than prioritizing keywords and ad groups. 

Here are a few ways you can improve your QS, a few of them or a combination of all might suit your business well, go through them and you’ll know what works the best for you:

Ad groups and keyword structure 

Ad groups are a set of keywords that are similar in context and fit into the same bracket of a particular target product. Take, for example, the Parker Vector Gold fountain pen, if a user is searching for this product, it will be put into several product brackets.

Fountain pen, Parker pen, Premium fountain pen, and refillable fountain pen would be some common product brackets that this product will be classified into. Keyword structuring focuses more on individual ad groups and their optimization.

Taking the same example, the product Parker Vector Gold fountain pen can be understood as a particular series of pens by a brand, Parker. So breaking down the name of the product into distinct keywords will make it easier for your product to be found. The keywords can be formed in this format – Parker, Parker vector, Parker vector Gold.

Optimal headlines 

Apart from inserting keywords in headlines, you can opt to add location. Adding the user’s nearest possible locations will make the ad more relevant to the user. Another tactic could be adding a countdown timer to sales and special discounts, it creates a sense of urgency.

Data reports and statistics

Impression share is the number of times your ad is viewed versus the number of times it was expected to be seen. Analyzing the reports after your ad goes public and calculating the impression share tells you whether your ad is performing the way it should or not.

Negative keywords

While using the right target keywords is important, it’s equally important to terminate the possibility of a user landing on your page for a different purpose. Marking keywords that are not related to your site is important so that an unintended user doesn’t leave with a negative experience on your site. 

Landing page 

Optimize your landing page to grab the user’s attention at the first glance. The promise should be kept, that is, what the user saw on your ad, should be present on your landing page. The keywords being searched should be visible on your landing page.

Moreover, the page should provide value to the user and their intent should be fulfilled. Presenting the user with the exact link-ups to their desired sections of your site will earn loyalty. If the user intent is fulfilled, your bounce rate will automatically decline and will be marked more relevant by Google.

Site speed 

Navigating through your site should be smooth and easy. According to Marketing Dive, 53% of users abandon the site right away if it fails to open in the first 3 seconds. Slow speeds will increase your bounce rate and thus cut down your quality score. 

Using Google’s free site speed tool you can analyze your site speed and work on the further improvements needed to make it better. Site speed can make a ton of difference and can be the gap between user and conversion, so work on it carefully.

Search Marketing

how and why you should use Google Ads for video

Google AdWords was launched in 2000, just two years after the search engine. It works as a pay-to-click marketing strategy for digital consumers. In 2018, the name of the platform was changed to Google Ads. 

Although the Google marketplace is full of potential leads, its popularity makes it a competitive environment. At the end of 2019, 90% of internet users saw ads on the platform. And the cost of keywords is rising, making these campaigns more and more expensive. This shift has led to questions like “what can I do to avoid overspending and still meet the demands of an oversaturated market?” 

Google Ads may be full of marketers, but the roads are still unbeaten. Video is a great example of an untapped resource with a lot of growth potential. 

 Let’s take a closer look at how Google Ads appear in videos and how to make them work. 

  Google Ads for Video 

 The most commonly used YouTube video ads are called TrueView ads and come in three formats. 

In-stream ad: As the name suggests, an in-stream ad is played during a YouTube video stream. The video host, also known as a YouTube partner, agrees to display advertisements for financial compensation. They usually appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a stream. In-stream ads are useful because they allow the viewer to skip the ad after five seconds and return to their video. Unlike other types of PPC content, these ads don’t charge you if the viewer doesn’t watch your ad for at least 30 seconds. 

 In-Search: Unlike inbound content, search ads are tied to keywords. When a YouTube user searches for your keyword, your ad will appear in the results window. If the commercial is clicked, it will be loaded. This method lacks the safety net of the five-second pass rule, but it has its advantages. For example, your ad is more likely to reach your target audience if it is served with a search term. 

 Display ads: Finally, display ads are those that appear in the sidebar or search results. They are marked with the indicator “advertisement”. Once clicked, you will pay for the ad. These ads are very specific and ensure that the viewer wanted to see your content. Unlike other forms of advertising that are self-fulfilling, the viewer selects the ads as they wish. 

 Previously, a fourth option was available, which offered the viewer a choice between three ads to watch a video of at least 10  minutes. This format has been deprecated in favor of alternative TrueView styles. 

 Linking ads to video 

 Before you start linking ads to streaming videos, you need a Google and YouTube account. Once you’ve set them up, create a Google Ads account. Now you are ready to connect and start your campaign with these simple steps: 

 Link accounts 

 Select the settings option on your Google Ads page and proceed to link your accounts. YouTube should be one of the options listed in the account dashboard. If you have multiple YouTube channels, you can select the ones that are relevant to your ad. 

 Create and define campaign terms 

 In the Ads panel, select ‘campaigns’, ‘add campaign’ and then ‘video’. The tool asks you to decide if you want to increase brand awareness or brand awareness with your video. Once the campaign is selected, give it a title and set how much you spend per day. The campaign conditions you must define are: 

  •  Start and end date 
  •  Stream language and countries  
  •  Is the video searchable, in-stream or display 
  •  Your bidding strategy 
  •  Performance Graph 

 One of the advantages of this ad strategy is that it targets the audience according to demographics and interests according to objectives. This flaw appears in the People tab and allows you to cancel your target consumer: 

  1.  Age 
  2.  Gender 
  3.  Family 
  4.  Income 
  5.  Life Events Parties 
  6.  Interests or Close Relationships 
  7.  Your Past Interactions 

 Choose your placement by clicking on the websites or YouTube. channels you want your ad to appear on. You can also choose keywords and categories that are relevant to your target audience. 

 Run and monitor your ad

 Once the ad process is complete, all you have to do is publish and save. Ad metrics reports show how your ad is performing and where it needs improvement. 

 5 Tips for a Successful Video Google Ads 

 Now that you know how Google Ads and YouTube work together, here are five tips for a successful campaign: 

 1. Create an ad that people want to see 

 Instead of designing an ad that consumers don’t mind pausing the video for, design an ad that they want to watch from start to finish. Think about your target audience and the videos that will appeal to them. The key to a successful video ad is to make your audience forget it’s an ad. 

A unique way to present a brand and reduce the appearance of advertising is to make it interactive. For example, if you were a shoe company launching a new line of sneakers, you might be tempted to create an ad. Instead, why not show viewers something they’ve seen and design the ad as an ongoing educational video? 

 2. Show real consumer opinions 

 Nine out of ten consumers read reviews before buying a product or service. It became natural to see what others had to say before trying something myself. As a marketer, you can take advantage of this fact by including real customer testimonials in your video ads. 

An example of this is the 2017 Hello Fresh video campaign featuring a couple named Tre and Rich. At the beginning of the video, Tre explains why he started using the service and how it benefits their home. This style of marketing is relatable and evokes an emotional response, two things that equate to successful advertising. 

3. Keep It Short and Sweet 

 This is a particularly useful tip for ads that appear in the middle of another video. You are distracting the consumer from the original link they clicked. If the content is short and sweet, the chances of the viewer letting it finish increases. According to the guidelines, you should aim to keep your ads between 12 and 20 seconds. 

. Research before you write 

 Understanding what your target audience wants to see is essential to a successful video advertising campaign. Find out which YouTube ads are performing well in your industry and which videos are showing them. 

You can also ask your audience directly what ads they would like to see and where. Use a poll on your social media or send a motivating email survey to collect data. 

 5. Get inspiration from previous content.

 You’ve done your research; You know your audience. You probably already have plenty of content posted on blogs and social media to prove it. Instead of trying to create brand new ads from scratch, take inspiration from past content. Editing your own content into a new video is a great way to give your audience something you know will be a hit. 

 Clear Google Ads Traffic Jams With Video 

They call it the information highway, so it’s no surprise that digital marketing feels like rush hour traffic. 63% of consumers say they are happy to click on a PPC ad, so Google Ads is definitely a desirable route in addition to organic search. 

Cars stuck until 17:00 may not be delayed. blocked, but marketers are much happier. Video marketing uses proven PPC ads in a less crowded environment. Invest in PPC video marketing and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of standing out in your industry or niche.

Search Marketing

programmatic advertising #101

Online advertising is a hundred and twenty-nine billion dollar industry now. For the first year ever, digital ad spend is set to exceed traditional media spending. overall this is great news for businesses as online advertising offers more options, lower cost, and more flexibility than traditional media advertisement. But one of the big challenges with all of these bells and whistles of online advertising is figuring out how to select what platform to advertise on. There are certainly more options available than ever and it can be overwhelming for businesses. Have you ever wondered how many ads you see in a day? The truth is, we are exposed to hundreds of ads while we browse through content on our mobile phones, desktop, or even connected TV. These ads are carefully created to target one single individual-  You!! In fact, from person to person, ads differ, even when they are looking at the same type of content simultaneously. So how do brands deliver targeted ads on thousands of apps and websites? This is where programmatic advertising comes into the game and changes it. 

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising is data-driven, and ad buying and selling with the help of Real-Time Bidding. It connects publishers and brands in milliseconds before the website is even loaded. We browse through tons of content on the internet every day free of charge. However, in order to make quality content, some apps and websites also known as publishers or content creators need to generate revenue to do. They get help from ad exchanges also called SSPs( Supply Side Platforms). Ultimately brands want to reach internet users in order to promote their products and services. They aim at delivering targeted ads to their customers across the web, and they do the same by purchasing advertising space. Brands should make use of DSPs or Demand Side Platforms to facilitate this transaction. Advertisers and agencies use media platforms like DSPs to set up their digital campaigns. To buy and sell digital inventory across thousands of websites and apps, the programmatic Advertising ecosystem uses automated technologies. This entire process takes place in less than 400 milliseconds. While advertisers leverage DSPs to run their campaigns, publishers leverage ad exchanges to monetize their inventory. Alon with this, the possibilities for creative formats are endless, which brings advertising campaigns to life through display, video, native, and CTV. 

SSPs or Supply Side Platforms is an ad tech company that works directly with publishers.  A publisher would be an app or a website. anyone with an online presence who creates content could also be counted as a publisher. An SSP will work with hundreds or thousands of these individual publishers’ apps, and websites, and offer them the ability to put their ad inventory onto what is called the open exchange. On the other side, DSPs or Demand Side Platforms are ad tech companies that work directly with advertisers and agencies. For advertisers, they provide inventory at scale and efficiencies not found with direct partnerships. The differentiating factor of DSPs is the number of partnerships that they have and the technology used to execute the buy. 

Generally, advertisers look for age, gender, location, and the content of the publisher. They want to make sure that they are targeting the right audience. The tech companies get a bunch of different information and they can get none, all, or any combination of age, gender, location, content, as well as ad size, engagement history, bundle ID or IP address, device ID, and sometimes PII(Personal Identifiable Information), which is illegal to collect without a user’s consent. That information includes your actual name, email address, phone number, or home address. Oftentimes, everything is encrypted. 

How does Programmatic advertising work?

In order to help automate and streamline the ad-buying process, programmatic advertising uses Artificial intelligence and real-time bidding. In short, programmatic campaigns allow you to specifically focus on a target market, budgets, and goals for a campaign. Ad experts at companies like WebFX configure the campaign and use AI to place ads across dozens of ad networks to reach your audience. This all works in a similar fashion to how a lot of modern investing programs work. You should specify what percentage of your portfolio you want to invest in various stocks and bonds, what your risk tolerance is, and software programs can help you determine the best way to financial success. Putting AI to work for an ad campaign can be very powerful. 

Advantages of programmatic advertising

  • Access to dozens of ad networks.

It can be time-consuming and TDS to set up individual campaigns on each platform. Programmatic advertising automatically connects different platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Instagram, Simpli.fi, AdsWizz, Pandora, and more. You can get maximum visibility across multiple networks with one expertly crafted campaign.

  • Highly targeted campaigns 

Through the power of AI, your acts are only shown to the people who fit your specific target market. Instead of guessing what sites and keywords your market is utilising, programmatic advertising has this step built-in.

  • Your campaigns are delivered across devices.

Programmatic campaigns reach the doorstep of the users, no matter where they are, whether it’s a tablet, mobile, or desktop. This allows for running a true Omnichannel strategy for your ad campaigns. If your business has a definite and crystal clear target market that you want to go after, programmatic advertising is certainly a very good option to consider. You cast a wider net with the digital ads and then you have access to a large number of ad platforms but also very targeted campaign elements.

Search Marketing

5 essential steps to keyword research

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is all about getting organic traffic to your webpage. This differs from SEM (Search Engine Marketing) because we’re not talking about ads here, it’s all organic. 

Be it an online store, a personal blog, or an infographic, you need to have a plan for optimizing your appearance in the search results. We have a complete guide on how to get started with SEO, but for now, let’s discuss the most important factor about it – keywords!

What are keywords?

Simply put, keywords are terms that are closely related to your post’s topic and show up from time to time in your content. These terms should be words that are common and would be used by a common user to find the content that they need. 

You must identify these terms, as repeating them throughout your page would mark your content as “relevant” to Google. Once Google knows that your content is valuable, it’ll automatically start ranking it higher.

Keyword search in 5 quick & easy steps

To get you started, we’ve simplified the process into 5 easy to follow steps. Have a quick look and you’ll be ready to roll.

  1. Define
  2. Brainstorm 
  3. Filter
  4. Inspect
  5. Prioritize


The first step is to find the intent of the user and find relevant keywords and further content to satisfy the user. This step can be further divided into 4 steps.

  • Be clear about what is your page’s central topic. Research each topic one by one instead of searching everything together. One thing to remember is to avoid topics with high search volume and high competition or have a low search volume, making them harder to search for.
  • Be aware of the user’s intent. Understand what the user needs with the topic and if your page has satisfactory information for them.
  • Having a rough idea of the user’s intent and need, the next thing to do is to see if your page has a page with relevant and satisfactory information. This is called the landing page, it should be impactful and informative. 
  • Extract the Seed keyword, this is the broadest keyword surrounding the user intent. You will later use this Seed keyword to find more specific and relevant keywords.


Here’s when you start extracting more keywords out of your Seed keyword and build a group of relevant keywords revolving around the user intent. Focus on quantity over quality, as soon as a word is relevant, add it to your list. We will divide this step further for better understanding.

  • Think from the user’s perspective and understand what the user wants to see on the landing page. Synonyms, adjectives, or even verbs of the relevant words are potential keywords.
  • Using Google’s search console’s performance report, find keywords that already rank on search results and can be inserted on your landing page without a visible transition.
  • Use Google keyword planner to boost your findings. Search for your Seed keyword on Google keyword planner and analyze the results. Review and replace your keywords or even your Seed keyword if the suggestions are better.
  • Use competitor research tools like Ubersuggest, SERanking, and SEMRush. By entering the landing page of your competitor’s landing page with your Seed keyword, you can find more relevant keywords that match the user’s intent.


One of the most essential steps of all, filtering will give you a limited number of useful and effective keywords. Simply put, this step is exactly the opposite of the previous step, here you must opt for quality over quantity. Let’s break down this step further.

  • Aim for the sweet spot and filter out no less than 6 and no more than 20 refined keywords keeping the user’s intent in mind.
  • Go ahead and use tools like Google Keyword planner or paid tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush to aid your filtering process.
  • Cut out keywords that are less relevant and have low search volume. Even keywords that have good search volume but would be suitable for some other page of yours can be cut off.


This transition is just an additional step to make sure you don’t carry any unnecessary content with you.

  • Revisit the keywords one by one and check their monthly search volumes one last time.
  • Use the keywords with the higher ranking the most, and the ones with the lowest rankings and search volumes the least.
  • Keywords with high search volume and have an overall broad meaning should be termed as difficult keywords, use more difficult keywords according to their ranking and not based on their search volumes.


Here’s when you put everything together on a final list and start implementing the keywords across your page. Here’s how you can classify them and decide which keywords should be used the most.

  • Pick just one primary keyword, this keyword should be selected wisely as it will be the reason for most of the traffic you get through keyword SEO.
  • Pick two secondary keywords and distribute them across the landing page. They must have a good balance between search volumes, difficulty, and relevancy.
  • Lastly pick your tertiary keywords, these are the least important to you but still help you rank. A maximum of 20 keywords are selected as tertiary, though these keywords have low search volumes, they are still relevant to the user’s intent.


Add this finalized list of keywords to keyword ranking software like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Wincher, or Moz.

Use your keywords in crucial keyword elements like titles, headings, and body. Conduct this research every few months and keep your page updated with the trend.

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Search Marketing

Why Google Hiding Keywords is Great for Marketers

It seems everyone is whining and in a tizzy about Google not providing organic keyword data in Analytics. While I believe it diminishes the value of analytics somewhat, I would argue that it’s a great move that will help content Marketers. I’ve written in the past that SEO is Dead and I’ve watched as the industry has slowly gone away. This may be the last nail in the coffin.

If I sound happy about it, it’s because I am. I wrote this in an interview with our marketing automation clients, Right On Interactive:

Google’s move to block the tracking of all keywords makes marketers’ lives more difficult, but not impossible. Marketers will still be able to monitor click-through rates using Webmaster data to understand how organic traffic is impacting their overall inbound marketing efforts. If anything, this continues to make us better marketers. We should be focused on writing content that’s valuable to our audience and listening to our audience – not chasing keywords, manipulating sites, and seeking out links to artificially grow our search rankings.

This is especially good news for the average business that doesn’t have the budget to invest in SEO strategies to generate keyword-rich content throughout the web to artificially inflate the ranking of their content. Most of us can’t compete with large companies and an industry that has grown to billions of dollars. Where there’s a financial benefit to cheat, companies will cheat. And the industry has been cheating (and cheating and cheating). Many of the players are delusional about their strategies but it’s clear that Google is not. Google wants organic traffic to be organic, not driven by wealthy SEO companies that have million-dollar sandboxes to uncover ways to cheat and get their clients ranked. Google’s change is hurting those folks – not you.

And, while you won’t be able to attribute a specific keyword to a specific prospect, you will be able to know that person arrived organically and from what page they did. Knowing the topic of the entry page your prospect arrived on your site on will help you to better understand the content that’s providing value. And doing keyword research and competitive research can still uncover opportunities for finding and writing additional content that will be found and be of value. Search optimization is a foundation for any content strategy, but writing and sharing better content (written, spoken and visual) will always outperform tweaking page titles or keyword density in a page.

The gap provided between Webmaster data, Content data, and Analytics data should help you sharpen your ability to develop great content. Instead of jumping to the keywords section of analytics, you should be diving into the traffic by page title to understand which articles are providing the most traffic to your company. Keywords were distracting and made many marketers lazy. They just kept writing crap to drive more traffic based on keywords instead of focusing on the overall content that was attracting the most attention.

There’s really no data that’s leaving a hole in your ability to develop a fantastic content strategy. You can still review Webmaster data to understand the keywords that are driving the most content – but you can apply it to the content that’s driving the most views and conversions. Understanding the context around the keywords you were writing about can provide a ton more insight into what’s popular or not popular.

As an example, focusing on ‘google keywords not provided’ could lead me to a few blog posts about the trend and alternate solutions. Instead, I’m focused here on how it’s going to help marketers. That context should ultimately prove more valuable to my content strategy than just tossing a keyword combination around! The context around your keywords should be a focus of your attention as well!

Featured Search Marketing

Microsoft Announces Private Search, New Ad Units, Paid & Organic Social Integrations & More

Microsoft has unveiled a number of new features and technologies including private search, new ad units & more. Here are the highlights!

Microsoft unveiled several new features and technologies at Microsoft Advertising Elevate. In addition to new ad units, the announcement included new tools and technologies that are noteworthy even for businesses that aren’t currently advertising with Microsoft, such as private search technology and an upcoming small business hub with paid and organic social integrations.

Private Search For Microsoft Bing API

Microsoft is now empowering publishers to give consumers more options for privacy-first experiences. This feature is specifically designed for their search partner network, and is currently being used by Duck Duck Go.

Private Search is hosted on Azure with a setup that incorporates a private search proxy between the private search site or app and Microsoft Bing’s private search API. This would allow Bing to deliver results without ever receiving the search term.

The search partner will send the search request to the private proxy. Fraud detection would happen through the private search proxy and then the private search proxy would pass through an anonymized user agent and anonymized IP through to Bing’s Private Search API. The API would return search results and ads.

This would prevent personal data from being shared with other Microsoft services, including Bing, by anonymizing the user agent and IP, and by withholding the search query.

The search partner will be responsible for anonymizing the user agent and IP and they must comply with Microsoft’s policy in order to be eligible to use Private Search.

New Price Comparison Beta

Microsoft’s Edge browser has a feature that delivers discount codes in a flyout panel format. They’ve now announced a beta that would allow folks using Microsoft’s shopping features will be eligible to show up in that panel as a price comparison.

The ads will be delivered in the flyout within the toolbar when browsing product pages on Edge or through Collection by saving a product and manually clicking to view price comparisons.

This unit would enable businesses to deliver product listings to relevant consumers while they’re browsing the sites of other retailers.

These listings will pull from existing Merchant Center feeds so no further work is required for businesses that already have shopping campaigns created.

Best of all, since it is in an experimental phase, these placements are currently free – businesses will not be charged for the clicks on these ads.

The price comparison feature in Edge is a great example of where Microsoft is trying to provide a great experience for users (find the best deal!) and gain additional exposure for the products in advertisers’ feeds. Consumer research shows that most folks comparison shop at some level and price comparison surfaces this information automatically. It’s a win/win. – John Lee, Microsoft Evangelist

The metrics will be reported under the “O&O other” traffic segment within Microsoft Ads.

This is currently in beta within the US and the listings will only show on desktop, within the Edge browser. To request access to any of the Microsoft Ads’ betas, reach out to your Microsoft Ads account team or support.

New Video Extension Beta

Microsoft has announced a new beta that would allow advertisers to include multimedia extensions to their ads. The extensions are eligible to show alongside other ad extensions and, as with other ad extensions, advertisers will be charged when prospects click the ad unit.

Video extensions is an inflection point in the evolution of the SERP. Searchers are hungry for more information and we know that video is one of the most consumed forms of media for research (and more, of course!). This extension surfaces video at the point of search to improve and enrich the user experience. – John Lee, Microsoft Evangelist

Clicking the ad unit will result in the video expanding on the page with a CTA in the lower left-hand side.

If a prospect clicks the video extension and then clicks the ad unit in the same session, the advertiser will only be charged once.

The extensions currently only deliver on desktop but mobile is coming soon.

Videos must be uploaded and can either be uploaded from a local directory on the computer or a publicly accessible filer server location, such as OneDrive, FTP, Dropbox, etc.)

This is currently an open pilot within the US, CA, DE and AU with FR and IN coming soon.

New Ad Units for Property Promotion and Tours & Activities

Similar to the new automotive ad units that Microsoft recently announced, these new units are feed-based units that will promote vacation rentals (Property Promotion Ads) as well as tours and attractions (Tours & Activity Ads).

Property Promotion Ads

Property Promotion ads show in the top two slots on the hotel grid on Bing Maps, when someone delivers for hotels, or properties with certain amenities, in a specific location. The ads will deliver on desktop.

The first click on a Property Promotion ad will expand the listing to allow the user to select dates and proceed to booking. Advertisers will only be charged for the second click when users visit the site.

In order to run Property Promotion ads, advertisers will need to have Hotel Price Ads set up. To be considered for Property Promotion Ads, advertisers must provide at least five images and the star rating (which is currently optional in the feed for Hotel Price Ads but required for Property Promotion Ads).

Advertisers will have the option to add bid multipliers for Property Promotion Ads within Site Type.

Property Promotion ads are currently being piloted within the US only.

Tour & Activities Ads

Tour and Activities Ads will be triggered for travel intent and travel experiences intent queries to help advertisers promote their local experiences.

The ads will deliver on the Bing SERP when a user is searching for things to do in a specific location. When delivered on the SERP, advertisers are eligible for up to three ad placements.

The ads can also be delivered on Bing Maps when the user searches for a destination or is looking for things to do in a particular area or when they hover over Maps landmark pins.

Tours and activities in Bing MapsA Potential Placement for Tours and Activities Ads

Bing maps tours and activities adAds Can Show When Searchers Search for a Destination

Last but not least, ads can deliver in the Bing Travel Guide as a carousel under the header image and destination description.

Microsoft travel guide tours and activities ads Tour & Activities Ads Can Deliver Within Microsoft Travel Guides

These ads could be a good fit for single-day or multi-day tours, theme parks and attractions, museums, cultural experiences, adventure and outdoor activities, food and dining, and educational experiences and classes.

These ads will show on desktop. To run Tour & Activities Ads, advertisers should visit Tools > Business Data > Dynamic Fields within the Microsoft Ads UI to set up their feed.

Tour & Activities Ads are in an open beta within the US and the UK. To request access to any of the Microsoft Ads betas, reach out to your Microsoft Ads account team or support.

New Audience Network Features: Facebook Import, Video Ads, & Geographic Expansion

Microsoft also unveiled new Audience Network announcements including a new Facebook Import option for native campaigns, video ads on the audience network, and expansion into New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

Check out this post to learn more about these new Audience Network announcements and features, which also includes clips from Marketing O’Clock as Microsoft’s Evangelist, John Lee, discusses each of these new features.

Expanding Auto-Bidding Options

Microsoft plans to expand its auto-bidding options. Target Impression Share is currently in pilot and Portfolio Bid Strategies are coming soon.

Coming Soon: Unified Smart – an SMB Hub for Multi-Channel Campaigns & Social Media Management

Microsoft announced that. Businesses will be able to create “Smart Pages”, which allows businesses to set up a website for their advertisements to use as a landing page. The website is intended to be used as their webpage for all sources; meaning, they could also use this site as a destination for ads run on other networks.

Coming soon: Unified Smart campaigns, which will enable advertisers to set up campaigns in a simple interface where advertisers choose their goals, input their URL (which could be their  Smart Page but does not have to be).

For search campaigns, advertisers will be able to choose keyword themes. Unified Smart goes beyond search, though. Advertisers would be able to target audiences on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with ads. Linkedin is planned as a later addition.

The current plan is for advertisers to have one budget which is shared across all channels.

Unified Smart’s audience targeting is AI-based, using data points from setup inputs, business type, the URL, and other information shared.

Businesses will also be able to post to their social channels and respond to comments all from the Unified Smart interface.

Unified Smart will track calls and/or conversions, visits, time on site, visits to specific pages, and more so that businesses can monitor the performance of their efforts.

Expanding into New Geographies

In addition to all of the new releases that Microsoft has announced, they’re also continuing to expand into additional geographies. Microsoft plans to expand into 29 new countries in 2021. They haven’t yet announced which countries will be part of the expansion.

Requesting Access to the New Betas

To request access to any of the Microsoft Ads betas, reach out to your Microsoft Ads account team or support.

Search Marketing

Four Google Ads Trends to Watch

There are a couple of trends within the Google Ads world that keep cropping up and catching our attention. While no one can make any promises, these four trends are good indicators of the direction PPC marketing will be headed in 2021. Check it out:


1. Hello, Trend Lines in Digital Advertising Spend

At first blush, the numbers don’t look great (see: Airlines). Back in Q2 2020, especially, at the outset of lockdown and quarantine, things looked downright grim. We mentioned the travel industry, in which paid search ad spend on Google declined by 47 percent.

Even though traditional advertising spend is going through some things, some people are still forecasting growth in 2021 digital ad budgets. This, despite the relative flux affecting so many ad budgets. According to the latest research from IAB, “buyers with at least ballpark budgets project +5.3 percent ad spend for FY2021 vs FY2020.” That’s a start! In its Global Digital Ad Spending Update Q2 2020, eMarketer predicts a 17 percent increase in digital ad spend for 2021.

This might be why so many Google Ads people are predicting that any lulls in spend, cost, and competition will be short-lived—a “v-shaped recovery,” if you will. Indeed, many marketing teams already have their sights set on a 2021 bounce back, in which digital ads promise to play a prominent role.

After all, businesses still get a $2 return for every $1 they spend on Google Ads (according to Google Economic Impact). It remains an effective way to reach targeted audiences with highly targeted and timely ads, even while the global pandemic continues to grip the world.

2. Hello, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

A reduction in manual tinkering ought to be welcome news to the ears of any Google Ads professional. Which is exactly the idea behind responsive search ads (RSAs). Powered by Google AI, RSAs automatically optimize your headlines, ad copy, and CTA variations based on audience and search terms. All you have to do is supply the content (time to hire some copywriters).

Since their introduction in 2019, RSAs have proven quite effective. Here are a few data points to support that claim:

Not bad right? Sometimes, machines, algorithms, and AI really are more efficient than their human counterparts. In fact, RSAs have proven so effective that Google is pushing to make RSAs the default option. The search engine behemoth might be phasing out expanded text ads altogether, so keep that in mind.

3. Speaking of Google Ads Optimization …

More broadly, the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) within the Google Ads space are becoming far more sophisticated. This should be welcome news for marketers looking to squeeze every ounce of return they can out of their digital advertising budgets in 2021.

First and foremost, AI has been shown to more accurately target audiences and reach them when they’re most ready to buy. New automation technologies can predict click-through rate (CTR) and conversions, giving marketing brass more time to guide strategy and shape messaging. Today, most of that magic is built right into your Google Ads platform, often without much fanfare.

One of the central developments that many PPC marketers are using to make their campaigns more effective is Google Smart Bidding. Essentially, Smart Bidding is Google’s way of helping marketers get more out of their ad spend through automated “bid strategies” powered by machine learning.

Now, does Google Smart Bidding do it all for you? Not quite. At a high level, though, Smart Bidding was developed to “set more precise bids tailored to each and every auction.” Where you take it is up to you, but there’s real potential to identify and act on trends, behavior patterns, and even seasonal changes much faster than a human might be capable of.

4. Behold, the Rise of Video Ads

Much the same way you can target topics, keywords, and demographics with traditional Google Ads, you can launch Google Ads video campaigns to surface timely ads while people consume their favorite YouTube videos. It’s yet another effective way to reach what has become a wide and deep pool of viewers.

Don’t forget, after all, YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. An estimated 60 billion U.S. users access YouTube daily. In the United States, YouTube has achieved a market reach of around 90 percent, with two billion logged-in users as of 2019. And engagement and views are at historic records, with YouTubers seeing 20-30 percent more views.

For brands trying to break in and expand their reach, YouTube is kind of like advertising at the Super Bowl.

Video ads are effective for a simple reason: you have a captive audience. Video ads are displayed while people are already looking at the screen watching their favorite videos, inherently driving more impressions and, potentially, engagement. With Google Ads, you currently have five options for video ads:

  • Skippable in-stream
  • Bumper
  • Non-skippable in-stream
  • Outstream
  • Ad sequence
  • We recommend you take a look at the create a video campaign section in Google Ads Help for more detail on how to take advantage of these different video ad types. Frankly, you could devote an entire role to this aspect of your PPC mix, depending on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go.

Updates and Changes You Should be Aware of

Trends are one thing, but there are some recent changes to the Google Ads platform itself that will have a bearing on your 2021 strategy. We’ve earmarked the five changes we think will be most impactful, and that we’re advising our own clients to consider.

1. Privacy Concerns Prompt Google to Limit Data Availability

The ability to derive intelligence around keywords, target audiences, and demographics is essential for PPC marketers. It’s how we strategize, optimize spend, and build out campaign creative. Unfortunately, at least for us, the pool of available data is going to get a bit smaller in 2021 and beyond.

In response to increased scrutiny around data privacy, including new legislation such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), access to keyword and search query data will be even more limited in 2021. Google now limits the availability of search data, including query information in its widely used Search Terms Report. You’ll only be able to see data for terms “searched for by a significant number of users,” a change that has generated a fair amount of hubbub on the PPC forums.

Maybe this is a win for protecting user data, maybe not. Obviously, Google and other software giants see the impetus to respond to data privacy concerns. In fact, Gartner predicts that 80 percent of marketers will “abandon personalization” by 2025 due to worries about data and privacy blowback. And Search Engine Journal estimates that 91 percent of people are concerned about what data companies like Google are getting from them.

The debate rages on. For advertisers, the implications of this more limited data set are multifold. At a high level, filtering negative keywords, optimization tasks, and keeping campaigns as efficient as possible will all become more difficult. Just think about it: what good is knowing that someone clicked a PPC campaign target keyword without knowing the term that the user clicked? It makes allocating ad spend far more difficult.

2. Google Makes Shopping Ads Free, Worldwide

Of course, it’s not all restrictions and limitations. You’ve probably noticed the expansion of certain search engine results page (SERP) experiences on Google to include a shopping tab. This is where companies can display product listings for certain keyword searches and, potentially, drive traffic to their marketplaces (and capture more sales).

It’s now free for all businesses to sell on Google, which means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.

In the past, merchants would have to pay to put listings on Google. Now, Google is opening the floodgates: the company recently announced that it’s free for all businesses to sell on Google. For a search engine that gets “hundreds of millions of shopping searches” every day, this is a big leveling of the playing field—and a tremendous opportunity for businesses to get their slice of the pie.

Shopping ads are sort of a big deal. According to data from Smart Insights, shopping ads drive more than 76 percent of retail search ad spend, while generating more than 85 percent of all clicks on Google Ads or Google Shopping campaign ads. There’s just a whole heck of a lot of people who come to Google looking to shop.

Here’s Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google:

“For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings. If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the free listings, and for new users of Merchant Center, we’ll continue working to streamline the onboarding process over the coming weeks and months.”

At a basic level, advertisers have an opportunity to surface their product listings in unpaid Google search experiences. So for the eCommerce folks, we recommend getting set up with Merchant Center and checking out the prerequisites needed to take advantage of free shopping ads. As Ready points out, advertisers already using Shopping ads will be able to augment their campaigns with free listings, providing more ways to reach target audiences and drive conversions.

3. New Custom Audience Tools for Better Segmentation and Targeting

Remember when you used to have to configure custom intent and custom affinity separately? Google just combined both into a single “custom audiences” tool available in Audience Manager. Essentially, Google has streamlined your ability to target people through YouTube, Gmail, Display, and Discovery ads, while making this form of personalization a bit more transparent for the end user.

This is Google’s way of automatically choosing the right audiences for your ad campaigns based on all of the information you specify. In terms of keyword targeting, you can now target based on “People with any of these interests or purchase intentions” and/or “People who searched for any of these terms on Google properties (such as Google.com and YouTube)”.

Again, this is yet another development in the move toward intent-based targeting and personalization, which Google is getting really, really good at. From a strategic standpoint, now is probably the time to revisit your Google Ads audiences through the lens of interest, intent, and keyword searches.

We recommend that you see About audience targeting for more information directly from the source.

4. YouTube and Discover Lead Capture

We mentioned the impact of video in the first section. Assuming YouTube and Discover are part of your Google Ads mix, you’ll want to tune into this update to Google Ads. Now, using extensions, you can capture leads directly from Google Ads campaigns on YouTube and Discover. This assumes, of course, you meet Google’s eligibility requirements (USD 50,000 total ad spend in Google Ads being the biggy among them).

Embedding a lead capture form in an ad that displays after a user expresses interest is just a better journey, when you think about it. Rather than sending someone off to a landing page, which requires more effort on their part and yours, why not give them the form directly? All you have to do is put together the ad creative, tell Google Ads whether you want more leads or more high-intent leads, and configure the field you want to be included in your forms.

5. Start the Countdown and Unleash Your Image Extensions

While it’s not quite as splashy as RSAs or the ability to capture leads from Google Ads, “countdowns” are an exciting new twist to Google Ads (see: Highlight upcoming events with countdowns). Essentially, you can now add countdowns to your ad text, alerting users to special events or offers that are coming to a close at a certain time.

Countdowns are yet another way to capture attention and build urgency with your ads. The most obvious use case is within the eCommerce space, where apparel vendors, for example, can compel people to click through and shop for seasonal sales that are closing soon.

That’s not all! As noted in Search Engine Land, you can now add image extensions to certain Google Ads as well, a “single right justified image alongside your ad.” Honestly, we think it looks great and gives advertisers yet another way to spice up their ads and win eyes on what have become rather crowded pages. Between image extensions and countdowns, vendors have plenty of tactics to get more people clicking through to their pages from ads.

Big Takeaway: Targeting and Timeliness Matter

There’s just no getting around it: PPC advertisers—or any marketers, really—need to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of closely defining their audiences. Of getting to know who their target market is, when their time of need occurs, and what they need to hear in that time of need to take action.

Looking back at the Google Ads trends and updates that we’ve earmarked for 2021, this timeliness and audience targeting emerges as a common theme throughout. Matt Gove, Chief Consumer Officer of Piedmont Healthcare, put it nicely in a recent interview with Cardinal Digital Marketing:

“We still use digital as much or more than any other channel. Specifically search, we spend a great deal, like a shocking amount of money, on trying to own search. Because we know healthcare is one of those disciplines where people do a great deal of searching at the time of need. So we’ve got to be able to capture people’s attention while they’re there, but we’re also doing more and more these days.”

“Searching at the time of need” should be plastered on the wall, cubicle, and window of PPC marketers, shouldn’t it? Chryssa Rich, Director of Marketing for Primary Health Medical Group, echoes this sentiment in another interview with Cardinal:

“We run lots and lots of Google ads. They all have outstanding click-through rates. Our best performing ads have about a 14 percent to a 15 percent click-through rate because we get really specific and really focused on when and where those ads are delivered and what the people are searching for.

Again, what Chryssa and Matt are telling us is that they find the most success when they can get really specific about the when, where, and who of their Google Ads campaigns. To us, this remains the fundamental underpinning that will guide PPC marketers in 2021 and beyond, no matter how the tools and tactics themselves evolve.

Search Marketing

10 Common Mistakes In Google Ads

Staying on top of Google Ads features and potential problems can be challenging. Here are 10 common issues in accounts to watch out for.

Despite every Google Ads account having its own quirks and challenges, there are many commonalities that emerge.

After auditing hundreds of them over the past 13 years, I’ve noticed that many of the issues or mistakes found tend to fall into one of a few categories.

These can be things ranging from messy data output to wasting thousands of dollars because of a sneaky Google Ads setting.

While on their own they may not be account killers, frequently there’s more than one happening at a time.

These issues often pile on top of each other, creating results that are ultimately nowhere near what they could or should be!

In no particular order, here are the top 10 most common mistakes found repeatedly in Google Ad accounts.

1. Outdated Conversions

Once upon a time, you would place a Google Ads conversion tag on the conversion page, and that was that. It fed in pixel fires from that page.

Such a simplistic measurement also meant a lot less room for error.

Nowadays, advertisers use conversion tags on any number of pages, import conversions from CRMs like Salesforce, use call tracking, and import conversion events from Google Analytics.

This additional view of the conversion journey is invaluable, but it also means there can be a lot of noise. It’s harder to realize when conversions are double-counted, or if old ones are still populating.

If all of those old conversions are part of CPA calculations or bidding algorithms, it messes with bidding decision-making.

The Conversions area in Google Ads should be checked at least quarterly. Scan to check for anything outdated or old that should be removed.

Answer the following questions:

  • What are we tracking?
  • Should all of those factors be counted as a conversion in all calculations, or only a few?
  • Where does the tracking come from – the Google tag, a Goal imported from Analytics, an imported file?
  • Is there anything left that is a dead conversion that we should delete to keep the conversion interface clean?

2. Geotargeting Options

This is a sneaky one by Google.

When setting up a new campaign, you choose your geotarget.

There’s a sneaky expansion menu a lot of people forget about under Location options.

Opening this reveals the default way Google will show your ads, and here is the culprit:’

This means your ads will show outside your geographic target based on Google’s definition of a user “showing interest” in the locations you’ve chosen.

To see if this is affecting your results, you can dig down into Reporting and see it split by users physically in the location, versus when it’s just an “interest.”

In the Reports area, add a column for Location type. You can then filter by Physical Location or Location of interest:

If the interest-based location is dragging down your results, go back to your Locations setting, and choose the second radio button for Presence.

This will only show it to people physically located in your desired area.

3. Regional Trends

Speaking of location-driven decisions, there’s frequently a lack of location-based bid modifiers or decision-making.

It’s easy to overlook this when many managers rely on automated bidding.

However, when using manual bidding, eCPC, or maximizing clicks, this can make a big difference.

Many accounts run nationwide and at times, you see accounts set up to target the U.S. with nothing more granular.

It’s very likely you’ll see patterns of cities or states that have better or worse performance.

This can be handled through bid modifiers, but that doesn’t address other major issues: device modifiers, budget allocation, and ad copy, to name a few.

Large cities tend to eat budget, which can be OK if the metrics work in their favor.

But sometimes they don’t.

Occasionally, there are differences in device usage among different geographical areas.

For example, with cities that have a lot of commuters, you will sometimes see better conversion rates on mobile devices since they’re browsing and shopping while they sit on public transportation.

Check the Locations section in your Campaigns, and drill into the city levels for opportunities to tighten up your bidding.

4. Revisiting Ad Schedule Modifiers

As with a lot of bid modifiers, there’s a trend of setting up ad schedule bid modifiers and forgetting about it.

Performance during the time of day can change seasonally.

Revisit it at designated intervals with good data samples to make sure you stay relevant during the prime times of the day.

5. Messy Keyword Matching

With broad match types, Google picks the keyword a search term is matched to but doesn’t always choose the same one consistently.

You wind up having one search term matching to multiple different ad groups, usually with varying levels of performance.

The easiest way to see this is by exporting your search terms and using a quick pivot table.

Drop your search terms in, and then pick count of Ad Groups.

It’ll show you the number of ad groups a term is matched to.

You can also drop the Ad Group in as a sub-field to the search term, which will then list under each search term which specific Ad Group it popped into.

This used to be something to focus on for broad match only, but I now recommend doing it for all match types. Since Google relaxed its match rules around Exact Match, you will probably find more surprises here than you used to!

Obviously, we want it to match the best-performing one.

This means setting it as an exact match negative to the Ad Groups or Campaigns where we want it to stop matching.

This forces Google to match it the way you want.

6. Not Utilizing Experiments for Testing

To be fair, the platform doesn’t make this easy to figure out, which is a shame.

The Experiments feature is a great way to run a more controlled test once you get past the odd way you have to set it up.

You can test all kinds of elements, like the bidding mechanism or even landing pages.

In accounts where I’ve struggled to get an even distribution for a landing page test, the Experiments setup has come in handy.

I simply duplicate the Campaign and change the URLs in the ads.

Because I can specify the percentage of traffic I want to receive in the experiment, I can create a more controlled setup vs. leaving it to the meager Google Ads rotation options.

To get started on creating an Experiment, choose the Campaign you want to create a test for and hit the “Drafts” button in the upper right.

From there, you can create a non-running version of the Campaign, change the parts you want to test, and then choose to launch it as an Experiment for a pre-determined length of time.

A more recent addition here is that option for Ad Variations. You can launch a split test on copy way faster than having to manually upload a bunch of ads like you used to!

7. Lack of Bidding Strategy

There are many reasons accounts may still use manual bidding.

Often, there are more complex business metrics that determine the relative worth of a click – metrics that Google can’t see, or take into account.

These situations make human error a factor, and a strong bidding strategy can be left behind.

Keywords with a $1,006 cost per conversion should not have the same bids as those generating leads at $96.98.

Read up on bidding options and test different methods to find the one that yields the best results.

8. Adding Audiences for Observation

It’s easy to forget that searches happen across a wide range of potential customer types.

Google has a lot of information on users at this stage of the game.

Frequently, they will behave very differently, but it’s nothing you’d see in the search data because they search the same terms.

Adding Audiences and observing their results is a basic Marketing 101 function that is easily skipped over out of habit.

However, the data here is great not only for discovering new bid adjustments but also in finding audiences to target on other platforms like YouTube.

9. Missing or Disapproved Ad Extensions

So many accounts are missing Ad Extensions and/or have some that are disapproved.

I commonly see the missing Structured Snippet extensions, disapproved phone numbers (ack!), and disapproved Review Extensions.

Beyond the enhanced real estate these extensions give advertisers on the SERP, they can also help to pre-qualify clicks better (using things like “starting at” pricing, as an example). They may also give more information to encourage a click from a user.

10. Watching Partner Performance

By default, a new search campaign will have Google Search Partners checked as a placement.

This isn’t always a bad thing!

Sometimes partner sites generate some nice, low CPAs.

Make sure if you launch with it, you take a look as data accrues to see how it’s doing.

You can do this by choosing the Segment option in the top right, and picking Network (with search partners).

Of note here is that this is an “all or nothing” setting.

‘Include Google search partners’ is either running or it’s not, and advertisers cannot refine it any further than that.

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