After auditing and taking control of many Google Ads accounts in the past years, here are the most common reasons why businesses struggle to get more value out of their budget and develop further growth.
#1 You rely on Google Analytics goal import for your account conversions / you don't track conversions at all
If you're optimising your Google Ads campaigns or making any decisions based on conversion data, make sure that your account uses Google Ads conversion pixel instead of Google Analytics goal import as the primary tracking method. Otherwise, you can be confident that there are potentially 15-20% more conversion data in volume and data richness available to enhance your campaigns and inform your decision-making.
Due to an additional layer of conversion tracking path from user actions on the website to your Google Ads account and some consent management differences (and many more), Google Analytics goal import won't keep up with Google Ads conversion tracking pixel, overall showing fewer conversions and conversion value at a delay and not as accurate compared to Google Ads conversion pixel.
Often, a few conversions more or less can make or break your campaign bidding strategy to ramp up and perform much better. Make sure Google Consent mode has been set up, and if possible, Enhanced conversions as well to get the most juice out of conversion tracking.
The conversion tracking aspect of a Google Ads account is often overlooked, as many long-running accounts have outdated setups that require review and updating. The conversion tracking part is Nr. 1 place I would look to be sure that account is set for further success.
#2 You don't know what is your product (sub-category) level target/break-even cost per acquisition (CPA) or ROAS
Here is one particular case study: We overtook account management with a single CPA goal for all Search campaigns across Google Ads and Bing with four very similar types of products (services). Not long after we learned that there is one product with a notably higher margin than others and as a result, the target CPA for that product can be set higher than for other products.
Fast forward a couple of months of bidding strategy changes and optimisation, and we saw +282% more conversions year over year with just a +2.28% CPA increase for the same product. While various factors contributed to this improvement, one thing was evident: understanding product-level cost efficiency targets can dramatically enhance results by adjusting target constraints and scaling campaigns.
Using a single target CPA or ROAS for different products with different margins will cause some segments to be consistently restricted by the target, holding back their ability to fully scale (target is too low). On the other hand, some product segments will not get the opportunity to explore their potential because the target is set too high. The only winning segment will be the one actually matching that single target KPI.
If you have different margin products or services, recalculate your targets and communicate that to your team, it may bring a big difference.
#3 You do not know how are broad match keywords performing for every single product
Gone are the days when broad match keywords were used to just waste spend and most of the time disappoint. Based on our learnings in the past year or two, powered with Smart bidding strategies that rely on accurate conversion tracking, broad match keywords have the potential to double your product results. Still, it will depend on every product and for a bunch of them, it will not perform as well as for others. But by not trying it out, you can leave an unchecked space for new opportunities.
To use broad match keywords effectively, you must have a stellar self-negative keyword structure, as it can and will cross-target all your account keywords if not managed correctly at the campaign and ad group levels. Also, broad match keywords will absorb other keyword search terms and their results, so be cautious about giving too much credit to them.
An unrevealed opportunity (hack) in broad match type is their ability to maintain the same quality score as other keywords in the ad group for a wider range of search terms, such as competitors or numerous product models. You might not want to add these search terms as target keywords individually due to potentially low data volume or quality score, but broad match keywords can help capture and make use of them.
Overall, broad match type keywords are a great tool to discover new opportunities you haven't observed previously. If they perform well within your Smart bidding strategy, keep them enabled. If not, use them to generate new keyword ideas, and periodically re-test to find new keywords before disabling them.
You can significantly improve Google Ads performance by addressing these three critical aspects:
1. Accurate conversion tracking with Google Ads conversion pixel.
2. Understanding product-level target CPA or ROAS to make informed bidding decisions.
3. Exploring the potential of broad match keywords for better reach and keyword discovery.
By addressing these factors, you can more effectively optimize your campaigns, uncover new opportunities, and ultimately, improve your overall results.