“I don’t know. Google it.”
Ahh, yes. The mantra of our generation.
It’s no secret: search engines are the lifeblood of all information. Looking for a new lunch spot? Google it. Forgot how to jumpstart a dead car? Google it. Want to know the results of the 1994 World Series? Who knows that, man? Just Google it.
Since everyone and their dog is using search engines… put your ads on them! Paid search ads are an effective way to spread awareness, especially to those who are already searching for their product or service. It puts your product top of mind (and at the top of the search results).
But creating paid search ads and hitting “go” isn’t enough. They aren’t air fryers. They’re more like delicate houseplants—they need nurturing, care and daily affirmations. After you set them up and the results trickle in, you’ll start to learn what’s working and what isn’t. Making small adjustments (sometimes every day) is the key to optimizing your paid search campaigns and making your dollars count.
What exactly does all that mean? Let’s take a look at what The James Agency’s media team evaluates when making daily optimizations to paid search accounts and why those optimizations are important.
Check the spend
Arguably the most important part of our daily optimizations: spend pacing. Some days, you might not reach your daily budget. Others, you might exceed it. That’s where your paid search. manager steps in. We get in there with our own eyes and expertise to control how much our clients spend on daily paid search campaigns.
Let’s use Google Ads as a foil. It uses an average daily budget model to automatically optimize and control your budget. This can be helpful (and efficient, at times) because Google automatically optimizes the spend for days that search traffic might be higher. However, we don’t want to necessarily leave your money up to the dark wizardry of the Google learning algorithms. Your money is too important to overspend or underspend solely on Google’s glorified guess (in our opinion).
Add negative keywords
In paid search accounts, there are two kinds of keywords that optimize your ads. The first are simply called “keywords”—words or phrases that describe your product or service, used to show your ads to people based on their search topic relevance. Conversely, “negative keywords” prevent your ads from being triggered by certain words and phrases that might be irrelevant to people’s searches.
For example, if you own an eyeglasses company, you may want to add “wine glasses” and “drinking glasses” to your negative keywords list. Otherwise, your ads for eyeglasses might show up for someone searching for a sweet set of wine glasses.
If the wine consumer isn’t paying attention and clicks on your eyeglasses ad, they’ll quickly bounce off your website, and you’ll still get charged for the click. Yikes.
Both Google Ads and Microsoft Ads provide lists of search terms, which are words and phrases that a significant number of people have used before seeing your ad. It’s difficult to predict what search terms your platform’s algorithm will match your keywords against, so it’s critical to check the search term list EVERY DAY!
Make bid adjustments
Bid adjustments let you increase or decrease your bids for certain targeting methods including location, device or ad schedule. This helps you gain more control over when and where your ad is shown. Sometimes a click is worth more if it comes from a specific location, at a certain time of day or from a specific device type.
Let’s check out an example. If you increase the bid on an ad by 15% on mobile devices, your $10 bid will become $11.50, meaning you’re willing to spend $1.50 more for a bid on mobile devices. This is useful if one of your campaign’s goals is phone calls to your business, since those searching on a cell phone for your product or service may be more likely to make a call than someone who is searching on a desktop computer.
Since bid adjustments are a useful way to capitalize on your best performing or most important locations, devices or times, it’s best to monitor this data closely to ensure you’re bidding effectively.
Check the optimization score
Platforms like Google Ads and Microsoft Ads have an optimization score—real-time estimates of how well your paid search campaigns are set to perform. At 100%, your account can run at its full heart- swaying, tear-jerking, click-encouraging potential.
Along with the optimization score is a list of recommendations that can help you optimize each campaign. These recommendations are based on your business objectives and unique campaign data, and applying or dismissing the recommendations changes the overall optimization score. Since automation isn’t always reliable, it’s important to determine if the recommendations are truly aligned with your campaign goals before making a decision on whether you should apply or dismiss them.
Because the optimization score is real-time, checking it daily (maybe even a few times a day) ensures that your campaign is always doing its job.
Did you get all that? I know, lots to take in. But the ongoing management and optimization of your paid search account can make the difference between reaching the right folks and looking at a sad set of quarterly earnings.
Ready to go to the next level with your ads? Reach out to The James Agency and we’ll set your paid search campaigns into maximum overdrive.
Hannah Evans is media buyer at The James Agency. Hannah’s responsibilities include launching campaigns and proactive management and reporting across digital and traditional media channels. Hannah graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration. Hannah’s analytical mind and quick problem-solving skills provide her with the natural ability to strategize successful campaigns.