Paid Search Management: 6 Actionable Ways To Boost Campaign ROAS

Published by Pedro Campos on

paid search management

Your Google paid search account has seen better days. It´s not by lack of management or supervision. You´re checking it and tweaking things constantly yet still not getting the results you want.

You know there´s gotta be more juice on that orange. You have a great product but you feel like constantly missing the mark on your ROAS targets, lately.

It could be because of more competition, changes in cost per click, or even a pandemic. While these things can impact performance, there are a couple of other things you should do to minimize that impact and still get a solid return on ad spend.

In this article, we´ll cover what those things are and how you can apply these today.

Paid Search Management Best Practices

One of the best tips I can give you on paid search management is to start by optimizing high-volume campaigns. It´s very easy to waste time managing ads if you don´t have a clear goal.
Focus on the campaigns that are driving the most impressions. From there, you work on improving the others, where you might not be getting much traffic.

It´s also quite common for advertisers to over-optimize. Sometimes is based on fear of overspending or on the notion that the more they optimize the better results they´ll get. The opposite is true. Tweaking your campaigns beyond what´s required can hurt performance.

You need to have enough data to make smart optimizations. When it comes to paid search management, oftentimes less is more. “How much is enough data?”
That will depend on many variables but you shouldn´t optimize any campaign that has had less than 1,000 impressions. I´d say, wait until you get at least 1,000 impressions and 50 clicks. This isn´t set in stone but will give you something to aim for.

#1 – Create Excellence Search Ads

So many advertisers neglect the critical role quality ads play in achieving great results. Truth be told, sometimes, it´s not because they don´t know what to do but don´t want to take the time to do it.

When we audit ad accounts and see that responsive search ads are incomplete, I immediately see an opportunity. An opportunity to improve ad rank and ultimately get your ads in front of more people.

paid search management

Google gives you 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Why would you just fill out half of that? Paid search is getting more competitive. You need to bring your A-game to the ad auction.

#2 – Expand Negative Keyword Lists

If you´re seeing that your keywords have a low expected CTR, it could indicate they´re being triggered by irrelevant terms. The best way to find out is to check your search terms report. If you see any irrelevant terms to your offering, simply add them as negative keywords.

When you have a solid negative keyword list, Google will better match the user´s search term to your keyword. This means higher CTR, lower CPC, and better quality score. When all these metrics improve so does your ROAS.

You might be wondering, “what match type do I use for negative keywords?”
In most cases, you want to use phrase match. That will give you enough flexibility for your ads to show and still prevent irrelevant searches from triggering those ads.

Google ad extensions give the user more information about your business and are displayed before they click on your ad. The more information you have on the ad the more qualified that click will be.

#3 – Build Dedicated Landing Pages

The way organic search works is a bit different from paid search. Organic users are typically looking more for information rather than to purchase a product. On the other hand, paid search users are typically in a rush and need more relevant site experiences.

Also, when you´re paying for traffic, you need to make sure your landing page experience is spot on. If it´s not, that traffic will end up costing you more.
For this very reason, your paid search landing pages need to have these characteristics:

  • lighter, fast loading time
  • fewer navigation menus
  • focused on one product, offer or category
  • call-to-action above the fold

You could be sending PPC traffic to your homepage now. That´s a good starting point but not ideal long-term.

Plus, you need to make sure the ad and landing page are congruent. For example, if your ad is showing for “product X alternative”, you should be sending traffic to a page that compares your solution to your competitor´s.

#4 – Use All Relevant Ad Extensions

This is another simple solution that can work wonders for your business. Google gives you a long list of ad extensions to choose from. However, they only recommend three:

  • sitelink extensions
  • structure snippets
  • callout extensions

From personal experience, I´d suggest you add those three plus all the relevant for your business. Those might include:

  • price extensions
  • call extension (company phone number)
  • location extension (physical address)
  • image extension
  • promotion extension (ecommerce deals)

Ad extensions are super important for you to maximize ad spend. The reason is that they give the user more information about your business. That information is displayed before they click on your ad.

So, the more information you have on the ad the more qualified that click will be. This prevents you from wasting your budget on people that most likely were not even buyers in the first place.

When you´re paying for traffic, you need to make sure your landing page experience is spot on. If it´s not, that traffic will end up costing you more.

#5 – Layer Similar Audiences With Keywords

If you have a solid amount of data about your users, then you can use this tactic. Remember that your seed Google audience, the one they used to create a similar, needs to have at least 1,000 users in it. The time window will depend on the original audience.

For example, you need at least 1,000 purchases in the “Purchase – 30 Days” audience for it to be available as a similar audience. Google creates similar audiences automatically, so you don´t need to worry about it.

paid search management

If you don´t have that amount of data, you can also layer keywords with in-market or affinity audiences. However, they might not give you the best results, especially if you´ve never tested them.

Also, keep in mind that layered targeting will narrow your campaign reach. The difference in traffic will depend on your keywords´ search volume, bidding strategy, and match type. For example, the more volume, the broader the match type, the more you can use layered targeting.
When it comes to bidding, strategies with low tCPA or high ROAS targets will naturally restrict spending.

#6 – Bid Higher On Top Converting Locations

It might seem like a contradiction but hear me out. High converting locations are not wasting ad spend. They´re simply telling you where to put your budget. By bidding higher, you´ll get more of the same, in this case, more conversions.

Now, what is considered high converting?
Well, anything above the campaign average. If the average for all locations in that campaign is 5%, you want to increase the bid on anything above that.

I would recommend segmenting your locations by city or state if you´re only targeting one or two countries. For example, if you´re targeting the US, split it by states. Then, you´ll have much more control over the bids.

Your Paid Search Management Strategy

Pretty simple right?

With these 6 tips, you should already have a better idea of how to improve your campaigns´ ROAS. Let´s recap so you don´t forget:

  • create responsive search ads with all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions filled out
  • add irrelevat search terms as negative keywords
  • make sure your landing pages are congruent with the ads
  • use callout, sitelink extensions and structured snippets plus any other ad extensions relevant to your business
  • layer keywords with audiences, preferably similar audiences
  • bid on high converting locations and segment them as much as possible

Now, we´d love to hear from you. Which of these will you apply today to start getting better results?


Pedro Campos

Pedro is a Portuguese-born who fell into the media buying world by chance after watching a video ad online. These days, you can find him running Advertongue, an agency helping global brands grow and scale efficiently by turning native advertising into profit. Outside work, Pedro enjoys traveling, Mexican food, adventure sports, and action-packed movies. Hard to get him to drop a good book too, especially those from legends of the ad business.

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