Creating a Conversion Rate Optimization Plan for Google Ads
Different marketing campaigns will have different goals, but conversions will always be a focus of digital marketing. The practice of systematically optimizing our ads to increase our conversion percentage is known as conversion rate optimization. There are many aspects of CRO in digital marketing, but today our focus is on Google Ads.
Whether your working with clients or for yourself, marketers are focused on maximizing their return on ad spend, and having an effective conversion rate optimization strategy is a vital part of doing this. With that said, let’s lay out a plan for conversion rate optimization for Google Ads.
Use Keywords that Convert
As marketers, we are tasked with balancing not over-limiting our audience size while not wasting money with clicks from the wrong audience. It’s an obvious answer, but keywords are the first place to start when optimizing for conversions. In this process, you will want to consider both your goals and the ways in which users search out your offerings. Here are a few best practices for this part of your ads CRO strategy.
Focus On Quality of Keywords
Again, we don’t want to just focus on broad keywords that have large, and mostly irrelevant, traffic. Look at what your customers are actually searching for. Use long-tail keywords when possible to be as direct as possible. Remember that the goal is to drive conversions, so focus on using keywords that will have a high conversion rate.
Keep Ad Groups Focused
Along with focusing on quality with keywords, we want to have quality ad groups that again are designed with conversions in mind. We don’t want to create ad groups with 20-plus keywords in them hitting a wide audience where it will be impossible to have ad content perfectly aligned with our keywords. Keep ad groups on the smaller side with very like keywords.
Test Out Single Keyword Ad Groups
If you want to take it one step further, single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) are the way to go. With these, you are able to create ad copy that is laser-focused on the keywords and search terms that you are going after. If you create focused landing pages (we will touch more on this in a bit), you will be able to positively affect your keywords’ quality scores. According to Google, “Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions”. This means that higher scores will be a good indicator of your success.
You have two options when building out SKAGs. You can truly do one keyword per ad group or you can set it up so that each ad group has three (now that broad match modify and phrase match are merging) variations with each match type.
Either way, SKAGs give you more control and more insight into performance so you’ll want to consider this while planning out your CRO strategy.
Monitoring Keyword Performance
Like all aspects of a CRO program, let data be your guide. Make sure to set clear goals for click-through rate, quality score, and conversion rate, and monitor your keywords to make sure that they are hitting these goals. Be willing to pause out words that aren’t working and to do ongoing keyword research to add new words into the mix as you continue to learn about your customers and the way that they search.
Conversion Rate Optimization Targeting
Targeting is another vital component of a solid Conversion Rate Optimization plan. Google provides us with a good amount of targeting options which allows us to put the right ads in front of the right users. Here’s the list of targeting options from Google:
- Custom Intent
- Similar Audiences
Our focus today is on Conversion Rate Optimization, not a deep dive on targeting. However, here is the Google support page for targeting if you want to learn more about these options. For our purposes, we want to set up tests with targeting.
Once you identify the targeting options you want to proceed with you will want to set up some tests with audiences being your only variable. For instance, you will build two identical search ad groups and just A/B test the audiences against each other. You can use an affinity audience on one and an in-market for the other and run for a month and see which works best. Then you can continue to set up these tests and make adjustments to your account as you learn which targeting options work best for you.
Ad Copy Testing
There are a few elements to consider here when testing your ad copy. Like our other tests, you’ll want to develop some sort of cadence to testing and this can vary for everyone. That said, 30 days is usually a pretty fair parameter to start with. It’s our suggestion that whatever you choose for a length of time, keep it consistent as you continue to test for your ads.
Test Out Different Headlines
Headlines are the first thing users will see in our ads. We should be testing different headlines and different orders of the headlines to see which will work most effectively.
Test Out Different Descriptions
Descriptions are our chance to create value and present our offer to our users. Again, set up a testing cadence for this and find out which copy resonates most with your audience.
Test Out Different Calls to Action (CTAs)
CTAs are what drive our users into action and get us clicks and hopefully conversions. Start testing these out and see which ones work the best for your users.
Testing Landing Pages & Offers
Your landing page(s) experience and the quality of your offers will be crucial in determining the results of your campaigns. The barrier to entry in to launch some ads on Google is pretty low. Yes, we can quickly launch a “learn more” offer and send users to your ‘Contact Us’ page on your website. However, this won’t create high click-through rates or conversion rates. Let’s look at how we can take a CRO approach to both of these.
Landing Page CRO
The first thing we want to do for our landing pages is to set them up according to best practices.
- Create Pages for Each Ad Group
- Use keywords in our Headlines and On-Page Copy
- Remove Navigation on Landing Pages
- Keep the Form Above the Fold
- Use High-Quality Images & Video
- Keep the Focus on Getting Users to Complete Your Form
With these bases covered, here are a few tests that you can run to test to improve your conversion numbers.
- Test Your Form on the Left VS on the Right Side of the Page
- Test Different CTA’s on Your Form Submit Button
- Test Different Colors on Your Form Submit Button
- Test Different Images and Videos on Your Landing Pages
There are certainly more, but these are an excellent place to start. As with all of our work, make sure to set up proper reporting so you can make the most informed decisions possible as you work through these.
Ad Offer CRO
Testing out ad offers is a bit of a different process because we can’t keep all of our other elements the same when switching offers. Different offers will have an effect on our CTA’s and general offer positioning in our ads. Still, keep as much the same as you possibly can and test out these different offers to see what work’s the best with your prospects. Here are a few offers that we can test out.
- Content Offers (White Papers, Guides, EBooks, etc)
- Product or Service Demos
There are a lot of variations off of these, but these are a good place to start.
Build Out Your CRO Progam Today
In most ad campaigns our goals are to improve conversions and thus this should be our focus. The last thing we want to do is just build out campaigns to run as is for long periods of time. The overall point we have tried to lay out today is that there are a lot of options when it comes to setting up CRO tests for your Google Ads work.
In a previous piece, we also talked about turning website visitors into leads, and that remains our goal. Clicks are great, but conversions are better. In that article, we talked about analyzing the data and we have touched on that several times today as well. In digital marketing, we have to let data be our guide. As we set up and run these tests, we can’t be married to any ideas coming into the tests. Listen to what the data from your users is telling you.
Get started today and let us know if we are able to help you with Digital Marketing Services at all.