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16 Google Ads Features to Boost Your Performance + How to Use Them

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Google Ads features are useful tools that help manage and optimize campaigns. Here are 16 we use every day along with how to use them.

16 Google Ads features you should know about:

  1. Above-The-Fold CPM Bidding on the Display Network
  2. Ad Scripts for automation and efficiency
  3. Time-lag reporting
  4. Dynamic product remarketing
  5. Seasonality adjustments
  6. Data exclusion
  7. Account-level automated extensions
  8. Your audience insights
  9. Countdown ads
  10. Google Analytics audience
  11. Advanced audience segments for focused campaigns
  12. Google Ads Editor for streamlined campaign management
  13. Pmax Placement Reports
  14. Value-based bidding
  15. Value rules
  16. Campaign-level broad match keywords

Amidst a whirlwind of digital advertising, with an astounding $190.5 billion earmarked for PPC ads in 2024, it’s a head-scratcher that many marketers still aren’t fully harnessing the capabilities of Google Ads.

This guide is your golden ticket to change that narrative. We’re not just skimming the surface here; we’re diving deep into the lesser-known but immensely powerful features of Google Ads, featuring expert insights from HawkSEM associate director of SEM, Rachel Corak.

What are Google Ads features?​


Google Ads features are a suite of tools within the advertising platform designed to aid you in creating, managing, and optimizing your PPC campaigns. These tools cover everything from the basics (like keyword targeting and ad format selection) to the more advanced, like automated bidding and detailed performance analytics.

These features continually evolve as Google refines its platform, unlocking new avenues to enhance your ad campaigns and better connect with your target audiences.

New york, USA - january 24, 2019: Google ads menu on device screen pixelated close up view

(Image: Adobe Stock)

16 Google Ads features and how to integrate them​


It’s often the hidden gems in Google Ads that can help you create highly competitive, targeted campaigns. While the spotlight often shines on popular tools, a treasure trove of lesser-known features is also available for you to use. Here are some of our faves.

1. Above-The-Fold CPM Bidding on the Display Network​


Above-the-fold CPM (cost-per-mile) bidding ensures your display ads pop up in the most visible parts of a webpage – the section seen before a user scrolls (AKA above the fold). This feature is a game-changer for campaigns focusing on brand awareness, as it maximizes your ad’s visibility.

How to use it​

  • Combine with targeted display campaigns: Use Above-The-Fold CPM bidding with highly targeted display campaigns, including video ads, to ensure a relevant audience sees your ads.
  • Use with remarketing lists: Pair it with remarketing lists to recapture the attention of users who have previously interacted with your site, increasing the odds of conversion.

2. Ad Scripts for automation and efficiency​


Ad Scripts are an underrated tool in Google Ads. These scripts, a blend of automation and efficiency powered by Google AI, let you automate everyday tasks, like bid adjustments or pausing campaigns based on specific criteria.

Over half of digital marketing agencies say their ad spend management has grown in the last year (2023). It’s important to look for ways to automate and streamline workflows to maintain efficiency while the volume of work increases – and the automation that ad scripts offer can do just that.

With a bit of JavaScript knowledge, you can customize scripts to suit your unique campaign needs, saving time and increasing efficiency. Or you can use existing scripts that other marketers have created and shared online.

How to use it​

    • Automate routine tasks: Implement Ad Scripts to handle repetitive tasks, like adjusting bids in your search ads and shopping ads or scheduling ads for peak times.
    • Custom scripts for specific needs: Develop custom scripts tailored to your campaign’s unique requirements, such as scripts that adjust bids based on stock levels or promotional periods.
    • Make adjustments: Make changes to CPA, keyword bids, budgets, and many other campaign settings.

3. Time-lag reporting​


This feature offers insights into the time lag between a user’s first ad interaction and completing an action, such as a purchase on your landing page. Understanding this time lag is crucial for refining your remarketing strategies and bidding decisions.

How to use it:​

  • Adjust remarketing strategies: Use time-lag insights to tailor your remarketing, especially if data indicates a longer decision-making process.
  • Bidding strategy adjustments: Modify your bids based on the average conversion time lag. For products needing more contemplation, consider increasing bids for recent interactors.

4. Dynamic product remarketing​


Dynamic product remarketing is great for ecommerce and creating personalized advertising. It targets potential customers who visited specific product pages on your landing page but didn’t convert, making your ads supremely relevant.

How to use it​

  • Optimize Google Tag setup: Make sure the ‘id’ parameter in your Google Tag is on point for effective remarketing.
  • Collaborate with developers: Work closely with your team to ensure the Google Tag captures the correct data, particularly for ecommerce sites.

5. Seasonality adjustments​


Seasonality adjustments are a crucial tool for marketers using intelligent bidding strategies. This feature lets you inform Google’s algorithm of expected changes in conversion rates due to seasonal factors, ensuring that your bids are adjusted accordingly during these periods.

Traditionally, seasonality adjustments are utilized for Shopping campaigns. However, if you advertise for a business that experiences seasonality, (think snow removal or pool cleaning) it could be useful.

How to use it​

  • Anticipate seasonal trends: Employ seasonality adjustments during times of expected conversion rate spikes, like holiday seasons.
  • Informed adjustments: Base your adjustments on historical data and market predictions to aid the smart bidding algorithm.

6. Data exclusion​


Data exclusion lets you omit specific data from your overall campaign data, which is crucial when facing issues with conversion tracking or abnormal conversion drops.

How to use it​

  • Identify anomalies in conversion tracking: Use data exclusion to omit periods where you know your conversion tracking data is inaccurate, such as during website downtime or tracking outages.
  • Prevent misleading bidding adjustments: By excluding this data, you ensure that the smart bidding algorithm is not making decisions based on flawed information, maintaining the integrity of your campaign performance data.

7. Account-level automated extensions​


These extensions can vary from sitelinks and callouts to structured snippets, offering potential enhancements to your standard ad formats.

Essentially, Google uses its algorithms to analyze your website and automatically create extensions that it believes will improve your ad performance.

While automated extensions can be time-saving, they may not always align with your desired messaging. Being mindful of these automated extensions and tweaking them as necessary can ensure that your ads maintain the intended impact. Corak recommends users turn this off to maintain more control of messaging and branding.

How to use it​

  • Review and customize: If you keep this feature on, regularly review the automated extensions that Google generates and customize them as needed to ensure they align with your campaign goals and messaging.
  • Balance automation with control: While automated extensions can save time, it’s crucial to maintain a balance between automation and manual control, especially regarding messaging and branding.

8. Your audience insights​


Corak says she says this is one of her favorite “obscure” features. The audience insights report is a feature that gives you a deeper understanding of your customer base by analyzing data collected by GA4 or your conversion tag. This tool can reveal valuable insights about in-market audiences and affinity segments, informing your targeting and ad copy strategies.

How to use it​

  • Analyze audience segments: Dive into the “Your data insights” section to understand which in-market and affinity audiences you’re indexing highly for. This data can inform your targeting and ad copy strategies.
  • Use the benchmarks: See how your audience performs compared to a benchmark audience.
  • Apply insights to creative strategy: Use these insights to tailor your creative and messaging, aligning your campaigns more closely with the interests and behaviors of your target audience.
  • Understand demographic data: Gain valuable insights into your audience’s demographics so you can adjust ad text, bid modifiers, and more.

Here’s how to get there. “[Navigate to] Tools & Settings → Audience Manager → Your Data Insights. You can view how your audience compares to benchmarks according to Google,” explains Corak.

Screen-Shot-2024-03-12-at-12.04.25-PM-768x370.png

(Image: GA4)

Screen-Shot-2024-03-12-at-12.04.42-PM-768x370.png

(Image: GA4)

9. Countdown ads​


Countdown ads are an innovative ad modifier that creates urgency by counting down to a specific time and date. This dynamic format is particularly effective for promoting time-sensitive events like sales or special promotions. You can only add these to responsive search ad and dynamic search ad types.

How to use it​

  • Highlight limited-time offers: Use countdown ads to emphasize sales or promotions, compelling users to take action before time runs out.
  • Enhance seasonal campaigns: Leverage these ads during peak shopping seasons or for specific events to capitalize on increased consumer interest.
  • Experiment with countdown durations: Test different countdown lengths to find the most effective time frame for driving engagement and conversions.

10. Google Analytics audiences​


What is the Google Analytics integration?

Google Ads allows you to use Google Analytics to create detailed, targetable audiences for your campaigns. This integration enables you to build complex audiences based on user behavior and interactions over multiple sessions.

How to use it​

  • Create behavior-driven personas: Use Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics to track detailed user interactions and build personas based on these behaviors.
  • Develop custom audiences for targeted campaigns: Create custom audiences in Google Analytics based on specific user behaviors and import them into your Google Ads account for more focused campaign targeting.
  • Use in-market and affinity audiences: Use In-Market and Affinity audiences to target or exclude users based on their online behaviors and interests, allowing for highly personalized advertising.

11. Advanced audience segmentation for focused campaigns​


Leveraging audiences in Google Ads campaigns is often underutilized, particularly in B2B marketing. Advanced audience segmentation involves creating distinct groups, such as past converters, the top 1% of customers, and all visitors. These segments allow for more targeted and effective bidding strategies.

  • Create multiple segments: Develop at least three distinct audience segments for an all-encompassing approach. This can include segments like past converters, the top 1% of customers, and general site visitors.
  • Layer audiences on existing campaigns: Apply these segments to your existing campaigns. This method allows for nuanced bid adjustments and targeted visibility.
  • Use ‘Targeting vs. Observation’ settings: Choose between ‘Targeting’ for direct audience engagement or ‘Observation’ for insights-driven strategy enhancement. This clarity in settings can significantly impact your campaign’s performance on Google search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Bid adjustment based on audience interaction: Modify bids for specific audiences, such as those who have previously interacted with your brand or watched your YouTube videos. This focused approach can lead to higher conversion rates and improved quality scores.

12. Google Ads Editor for streamlined campaign management​


The Google Ads Editor is a comprehensive management tool for Google Ads campaigns. It’s designed to help with bulk changes and optimizations across multiple campaigns and keywords, making it an essential tool for effective pay-per-click campaign management.

How to use it​

  • Bulk edits and adjustments: Use the tool for bulk changes, such as bid adjustments, CPCs, or ad copy updates across various campaigns and ad groups.
  • Enhanced organization and efficiency: Organize your campaigns and ad groups efficiently, ensuring that new campaigns can be set up and existing ones can be managed with ease.
  • Device-specific bid adjustments: Take advantage of device-specific bid adjustments to cater to the growing importance of mobile traffic.
  • Search and filter capabilities: Employ its search and filtering functions to find and modify specific campaign elements quickly.
  • Batch uploads for time efficiency: Use batch uploads for faster implementation of changes, which is crucial for agile campaign management and rapid response to market trends.

13. Pmax Placement Report​


Corak says we shouldn’t overlook the Pmax placement report. Within this report, you can see all of your ad placements in one place. Why is that important? This campaign type shows across all of Google’s networks, which include Gmail, YouTube, Display, Discover, and Search, so there are many placements you can appear on.

Currently, you can only see impressions, but Google is adding new metrics to reports all the time, so you’ll likely see even more data in the future.

How to use it​

    • Brand protection: Use the data to eliminate irrelevant placements and protect your brand.
    • Budget conservation: A better understanding of your placements will allow you to adjust your budget efficiently.
    • Create new ads: When you better understand placements, you can craft your copy for those placements.
    • Content suitability: Based on what you see in the report, you can choose to exclude apps, specific placements, or even adjust content themes or types.

To get there, “Go to Insights & Reports → Predefined Reports → Other → Performance Max Campaigns Placement. You can exclude these placements for better quality ads, although it is a manual effort,” Corak explains.

Screen-Shot-2024-03-12-at-12.50.43-PM-768x396.png

(Image: GA4)

Screen-Shot-2024-03-12-at-12.51.20-PM-768x382.png

(Image: GA4)

14. Value Based Bidding​


Value based bidding helps you give Google more information about your conversions. You can give more data to machine learning so it can learn which conversions mean the most to you. Sharing offline conversions with values will give a better picture of your customers. The values you assign will play directly into how well the bidding strategy, Maximize Conversion Value, works.

“Value-based bidding is a feature that can be very beneficial for lead generation as it helps guide the algorithm toward understanding your highest-priority conversion actions,” explains Corak. “This allows you to build stronger funnels and send Google greater signals to improve targeting within machine learning.”

How to use it​

  • Weigh conversions: Tell Google which conversions you value most by assigning values to your conversions. This can be done for lead gen and not just ecommerce.
  • Improve performance: Giving Google more information about what actions you value will drive better performance.
  • Customer segmentation: Provide Google with data about the most valuable customers so that your campaigns will drive more conversions.

15. Value rules​


You can make campaign-level adjustments to exclude or assign value to device, location, or audience segment. Think of it as bid adjustments for smart bidding.

How to use it​

  • Exclude poor performing segments: For instance, mobile devices don’t convert well; you can tell Google they’re not very valuable.
  • Give more weight to segments: If an audience segment converts well, you can increase the value adjustment to focus more on the audience.

16. Campaign-level broad match keywords​


Hidden in the campaign settings is a setting that swaps all keyword match types to broad match keywords in the entire campaign. This is used with conversion and conversion value smart bidding.

How to use it​

  • Scaling campaigns: If you want to scale your campaigns, you could use this to discover new keywords. However, you’ll have to watch your search query report like a hawk and add negative keywords regularly.
  • Low volume terms: If the keywords you’re targeting have low volume, you might use this to change the match types and cast a wider net. Think of it as a discovery mode allowing machine learning to take over and find your audience.

Google Ads is always evolving​


One of the best things about Google Ads is that it’s not a static platform. It’s always evolving to meet both advertisers’ and users’ needs. For instance, value rules attribution models, Smart Shopping, and expanded text ads have all been phased out and Performance Max and Demand Gen campaigns have come into play.

“Google is typically ahead of the curve in the world of PPC and generally leads the charge in terms of innovation,” says Corak. “Currently, Demand Gen campaigns are new and unique to Google. Their algorithm and machine-learning capabilities in general are far more advanced than most platforms.”

The takeaway​


By delving into the lesser-known and new features, you can unlock a wealth of new tools to enhance your campaigns. Whether it’s leveraging the immediacy of countdown ads, the precision of Google Analytics audiences, or the strategic use of Above-The-Fold CPM bidding, each feature offers unique advantages to refine your ad strategy.



The post 16 Google Ads Features to Boost Your Performance + How to Use Them appeared first on HawkSEM.
 
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