One of the most common questions we get is: will adding more budget to your Google Ads campaign improve your performance?

Inevitably, in every engagement, we are asked this question in some way, shape, or form.

The answer is no, not necessarily.

Some situations call for increased budgets, but before you start throwing your hard-earned cash at a Google Ads campaign, consider these 11 ways to improve your ad performance (without touching your daily budget).

  1. Check Your Settings
    It seems like such an obvious thing, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we’ve found that we often overlook the simplest answers in trying to find the root cause of a poor performing campaign. Check to make sure you have not unintentionally restricted your performance by assigning settings that are more harmful than helpful. Some examples of this might be setting goals that restrict your bidding strategies, not allowing Google to optimize best performing ads, or selecting the wrong networks for a campaign.
  2. Try Expanding or Restricting Geography
    Speaking of settings, consider your geotargeting. If your targeting is too limited, your audience might be too small to perform (especially if your keywords are hyper-specialized). On the other hand, If you have a limited budget and large geography to cover, you might be spreading that budget too thin to compete with others bidding for the same keywords. Find out where you have the best performance and narrow your focus there.
  3. Try a Different Bid Strategy
    Google Ads has a wide range of bid strategies for advertisers to utilize – both those you manage yourself (manual and enhanced manual CPC), and those automated by Google (Smart bid strategies). Take some time to understand the pros and cons of all of them, test them in your campaigns, give your campaigns plenty of time to complete the learning algorithm and build on the performance.
  4. Are You Reaching KAL Nirvana?
    KAL Nirvana refers to when there is optimal Keyword-Ad-Landing Page alignment in an account. Your Keywords match your ads, which match your Landing Page. It’s a pretty simple but effective rule to live by. Ensure that you’re using your keywords in the headlines of your ads, and that the content of the ads relates to the content on the page you’re sending people to.
  5. Check Your Quality Score
    We can’t talk about KAL alignment without also talking about Keyword Quality Score. Quality Score is a measure by Google, on a scale of 1-10, how ‘deserving’ of a keyword you are on average. The factors affecting Quality Score are: Ad Relevance, Landing Page Experience, and Expected Click-Thru-Rate. If you’ve checked your KAL alignment, then Ad Relevancy and most of the Landing Page Experience should be taken care of. But Expected CTR tends to be a little harder to pin down. Make sure that you’re making your ads compelling at the same time you include all those Keywords. If the ad is boring and not compelling, you will have a low CTR, and potentially, a low Expected CTR (We’ll speak more to this a little later).
  6. Try Expanding or Restricting Keywords
    When it comes to keywords, there are typically three major points you’ll want to check off.

    1.) if you have too few Keywords, or those words are highly restricted (by either match type or hyper-specificity), you’ll want to check to see if there are any missed keyword opportunities. You can do this through the search terms report, the keyword planner, or going to a 3rd party site to see if there are related terms you might have missed.

    2.) Like geography, having too many Keywords in your account might limit your performance, especially if you have more expensive terms than others (or more popular traffic-wise, but not necessarily driving conversions). Focus on the most valuable keywords first and then expand later once you see a flow of leads.

    3.) If you feel like you have a good balance of keywords, but performance still seems poor, or you are driving a lot of irrelevant traffic, make sure you are updating your Negative Keyword list frequently to get rid of clicks that have nothing to do with people interested in your products or services.

  7. Try New Ad Copy
    Let’s face it if your ad copy is boring, the likelihood that someone will choose you over a competitor is pretty slim. Even if you followed the KAL alignment rules, it does not guarantee a click – just reasonable placement. Give your audience a reason to click on your ad. Rely on benefit statements that speak directly to a pain point you solve. Answer their questions directly in your ads.
  8. Try a Different Offer
    98% of searches done online are done on Google. If you do business in a highly saturated market (or even if you don’t), you’re competing with everyone else who wants to provide similar services as you. If the first instinct you had in launching keywords was sending all your traffic to a sign-up or contact us page, and you do not see the performance, it might be time to take a couple of steps back up the content funnel. In the age of information, people need trust signals. Just like you would not buy just any car without knowing that the brand is good, your potential leads are not just going to take your word that you’re the best solution to their problem. Give your audience content around their pain points. Educate them on the solutions available. Earn their trust. Then you can send them to your contact page.
  9. Try a Different Campaign or Network
    You must ask yourself if you are reaching your target audience in the right way. Sometimes, it might be better to find your audience before they find you – in which case, a display campaign with in-market or custom intent audiences may be best for you! Maybe getting traffic to your site is not the problem – it’s getting people to sign up or purchase once they’re there! A highly targeted remarketing campaign may be exactly what you need.
  10. Try a Different Platform
    Hear me out – I know this seems like we’re saying spend more money just on a different advertising source, but the truth of the matter is, Google isn’t for every business. It would help if you also kept in mind where your intended audience would consume your advertising the best. A small, local design company may find that Google is too competitive for their budget. But Facebook and Instagram allow them to showcase their capabilities to other local business owners. Also, consider that Microsoft Ads may be a cheaper alternative to reaching your audience on a search engine (Learn more about Mircosoft Ads HERE).
  11. Give It Time
    This one might seem like a cop-out, but consider this: on average, it takes between 7-14 days for Google to complete its initial learning phase of any new campaign (according to Google’s algorithm). But it takes four weeks before Google has enough data to start optimizing a campaign based on performance. Give your advertising a chance to optimize. (And don’t make significant changes while it’s in a learning phase. That will reset the clock!)

Advertising is not a perfect solution. It’s not the instant gratification some people make it out to be. It takes time and constant optimization and testing, and an understanding of how the system works.  So, before you touch your wallet, ask yourself if there is room for improvement elsewhere. We guarantee there is.

Need help optimizing your campaigns? We would love to hear from you!

Ashley Kirchmyer is a Digital Marketing Manager on the Will Marlow Agency Team who loves helping clients understand every aspect of the digital marketing process and how it affects their bottom line. She holds certifications in Google AdWords Search and Display, as well as a certification as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional.

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