1. Make sure brand terms are in their own campaign
Make sure all your own-brand search terms (such as company name and own-brand product names) are in separate campaigns from non-brand search terms.
Add your brand terms as negative keywords to all non-brand campaigns.
Your own brand terms will have a much higher natural ROAS than non-brand terms and will subsidies the performance of non-brand terms if in the same campaign. This allows Google to bid on non-brand terms that may not be profitable.
2. Don’t use Target Impression Share
Target Impression Share allows Google to prioritise the users who are least likely to convert. Read more here.
3. Move all campaigns to Target ROAS
Move to Target ROAS gradually to verify that it works better – there will be a learning period where Google will overspend as it takes time for Google to understand the conversion rates of different audiences/signals.
You will need to have at least 15 conversions a month in the campaign to run Target ROAS.
Initially, you can set your ROAS Target to be similar to or slightly higher than you have been achieving with your prior bidding strategy. After a few weeks you can start optimising further/pushing the ROAS target higher.
You can add a max. CPC to your Target ROAS by including the campaign in a portfolio and then setting a max. CPC on the portfolio bid strategy. (Tip: include max. CPC in the bid strategy name so you can pull that into reporting as a reminder that there is a max. CPC applied to that portfolio bidding strategy).
4. Use Experiments and Campaign Target ROAS simulator to drive the most lifetime CM3 from your campaigns.
Lifetime CM3 is the customer-level profit over the lifetime of a customer.
For an e-commerce business this is all the revenue from a customer over say 2 years (the lifetime) minus all the costs associated with that customer’s orders (COGS, shipping, card payment, customer service, marketing spend etc.)
There is a Target ROAS that drives the most lifetime CM3 and we want to find what that is for each campaign or portfolio of campaigns.
We can use Experiments and/or the Campaign Target ROAS simulator to do so. Read more detail about tracking campaign performance and taking action.
5. Don’t mix keywords/ad groups that have very different intrinsic ROAS in the same campaign
Google will use your high-performing, high-ROAS keywords/ad groups in a campaign to allow it to bid on low-performing low-ROAS keywords.
In this situation, neither set of keywords/ad groups is optimised. Read more about why keywords/ad groups in a campaign should have similar ROAS.
6. Don’t mix products that have very different intrinsic ROAS in the same campaign
Similarly, products have different intrinsic ROASs and mixing products with a wide range of ROAS in the same campaign will mean high ROAS products subsidising low-performing ROAS products. Read more about tracking performance
7. Think about your Attribution – Google Analytics’ (GA4) data-driven attribution is a good option.
Optimising your CM3 is dependent on how you attribute revenue to a channel. An attribution model that attributes more conversions to paid channels will require more paid channel spend to optimise CM3 than an attribution model that attributes more conversions to free channels.
Google Ads’ conversion value is likely to be a best-case scenario for conversion value from a Google Ads campaign as any non-google-ad part of the customer journey gets no credit.
A last (non-direct) click attribution model can undervalue top-of-the-funnel contribution and might be the worst case for the contribution made from Google Ads (and mean you invest less at the top of the funnel than you should).
We think a good option is GA4’s data-driven attribution.
Google intelligently models customer journeys – comparing journeys (that convert and don’t convert) with or without certain steps to try and understand the contribution of each interaction in a journey to the conversion and therefore the fairest way to apportion credit to each interaction.
Google can also link journeys across devices and browsers if users are logged-in to their Google Accounts and have ads personalization turned on. It also fills in the gaps of journeys it can’t directly view through its understanding of journeys it can view.
Mapflo is a really helpful tool for stitching together data from GA4 and Google Ads. You can also import GA4 conversion data directly into Google Ads (see points 8 and 9 below).
Read more about Attribution and GA4’s data-driven attribution model.
8. Activate Google signals in Google Analytics (GA4)
Activating Google signals within GA4 means that cross-device conversions are automatically exported to Google Ads. This means that you can start optimising your campaigns based on the cross-device data-driven attribution model – see section 9 for how to test this.
A cross-device conversion happens when a user clicks on an ad on one device (say a mobile), goes to your site and browses a product and then purchases the product later on a different device (say a laptop). If the user is logged in to their Google Account on both devices and has ads personalization turned on then Google can join these customer journeys and give some credit to the Google Ad clicked on the mobile device for the conversion.
By joining customer journeys together Google gets a more complete picture of the user’s interests and purchase intentions (as it can see one user’s activity on multiple browsers/devices) which means the quality of your audience data improves (google uses its understanding of a user to decide the likelihood of that user converting and therefore the appropriate amount to bid on an ad for that user).
It also allows you to show remarketing campaigns across devices for users logged in to the Google accounts and with ads personalization turned on rather than be reliant on remarketing campaigns solely targeting users on the browser where a cookie is stored.
9. Test using GA conversions as a conversion action in Google Ads
Activating Google signals allows conversion data to be exported to Google Ads. Google Ads can leverage this data to understand the customer journey better and bid more efficiently (note that GA4 requires 10,000 conversions a month for the detailed modelling to work).
Make sure you have linked your Google Ads and GA4 accounts.
You can add a new conversion action within Google Ads that uses imported GA4 conversions.
Normally Google Ads optimises to Google Ads conversions, claiming credit for any conversion that has a Google Ad interaction.
GA4 conversions more fairly attribute conversions based on the contribution of each interaction whether driven by a paid or free channel.
To add GA4 conversions as a conversion action go to Tools and settings > conversions > + New conversion action and select Import > Google Analytics 4 properties > web.
This automatically creates a primary conversion action which means Google Ads will start bidding based on these conversions (you will be effectively doubling conversions if the existing primary conversion actions are left in place).
Once you have created the new GA4 conversion action then change it to a secondary conversion action. This means you can see the number of conversions it is driving but it does not affect the bidding.
The GA4 conversions must be the cross-channel data-driven attribution model rather than last (non-direct) click attribution model. If you use last (non-direct) click model then you diminish the credit given to top-of-the-funnel advertising and you’ll end up turning off top-of-the-funnel campaigns as it will look like they don’t work (and overspending on bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns that are given too much credit).
Once the GA4 conversion action has been running for a while then you can test making the GA4 conversions a primary conversion action on one campaign.
On the Tools and settings > conversions page click on Purchase > edit goal and make Purchases not an account-default goal
For each campaign you should then be able to select which purchase goal you would like that campaign to optimise against (go to the campaign > settings > Goals)
then select GA4 for that one campaign. Make sure all other campaigns are still using the Google Ads conversions as the goal.
If you are confident that GA4 conversions are working correctly – check that you are not getting an unexpected number of say ‘Internal’ attributed conversions – then you can start optimising to GA4 conversions on the remaining campaigns.
Ultimately you can make Google Ads conversions a secondary conversion action – which means you can see the number of conversions as a part of All Conversions but Google Ads will not use it to optimise the campaign.
If all goes well you will now be optimising your campaigns using the fairest attribution system, leveraging Google’s very sophisticated modelling.
10. Plug the gaps in user journeys and targeting with Enhanced Conversions, Customer Match and data-driven attribution
Enhanced conversions means parsing to Google the hashed email address (or other identifying information such as phone number or physical address) at the point of conversion. Google can then match that customer data to users signed in to their Google Accounts with ads personalization turned on, enabling Google to connect an ad that that user may have interacted with on other devices/browsers to the conversion (thus increasing the interactions that Google can connect to the conversion).
Customer Match is about uploading a list of your customer email addresses into Google so that Google can similarly match your customers to users signed in to their Google Accounts with ads personalization turned on. This increases the percentage of people Google Ads can identify as existing customers.
The uploaded customer match audience will appear in ‘Your data segments’ and can be applied to campaigns as a targeting or observation audience.
Activate Data-driven attribution: This more fairly credits the campaigns that drove a conversion and gives more weight to top-of-the-funnel campaigns. Google says:
‘Data-driven attribution uses your conversion data to calculate the actual contribution of each ad interaction across the conversion path. Each data-driven model is specific to each advertiser’.
Data-driven attribution looks at all the interactions – including clicks and video engagements – on your Search (including Shopping), YouTube and Display ads in Google Ads. By comparing the paths of customers who convert to the paths of customers who don’t, the model identifies patterns among those ad interactions that lead to conversions. There may be certain steps along the way that have a higher probability of leading a customer to complete a conversion. The model then gives more credit to those valuable ad interactions on the customer’s path.
This means that when you’re evaluating conversion data, you’ll see which ads have the greatest effect on your business goals. And, if you use an automated bid strategy to drive more conversions, your bidding will use this important information to help you get more conversions’.
Activate data-driven attribution from Measurement > Conversions > Edit settings > select ‘Data-driven’ from the attribution model drop-down menu. Data-driven attribution is only available if there are sufficient conversions for modelling.
Note – this only looks like distributing credit across paid ads. The cross-channel data-driven attribution model via GA4 distributes credit across all paid and free channels.
11. Decide if Performance Max (PMax) is right for your business
Performance Max has lots of good things going for it – it leverages Google’s smart bidding, can find new audiences and search terms to bid on and is simple to manage as one Asset Group can power ads across search, shopping, display, discovery, Gmail and YouTube.
However, be aware:
Bidding on brand terms (your company name and/or own-brand product names)
You cannot add brand terms as negative keywords through the Google Ads interface.
In its implementation guide to Performance Max, Google says ‘Reach out to your Google rep to help you implement Negative keywords’. In our experience they are are a little reluctant to add negative keywords but will eventually if you are persistent.
Without adding your brand terms as negative keywords, Google Ads can bid aggressively on your brand terms in shopping and search ads.
This is bad for two reasons:
- It is likely your brand terms will have a high conversion rate. Google can therefore bid aggressively on these terms and still achieve the campaign’s overall Target ROAS (but at a CPC much higher than you would likely spend on a separately managed search brand campaign).
- The high ROAS on your brand terms allows Google to bid more aggressively (and potentially unprofitably) on non-brand terms in the campaign.
If you use Performance Max without negative keywords implemented then make sure you have a separate brand search campaign. This brand search campaign takes precedence over PMax when there is a match to a keyword on the search campaign and means you can manage the ROAS of brand terms on search ads at least (leaving only shopping ads to appear for brand terms via PMax).
How Search and Performance Max campaigns perform together
Performance Max can power Search ads. Your Search campaigns only take precedence over PMax if the user query matches a keyword (of any match type), otherwise, the campaign with the highest ad rank will be submitted into the auction.
We think this means that PMax search Ads could show for negative keywords in your search campaigns – i.e. your diligence in adding negative keywords comes undone by PMax campaigns bidding with Search Ads on these keywords anyway.
One fix is to ask your Google rep to add a lot more negative keywords to your PMax campaigns than just your brand terms (note this will also stop shopping ads from showing on these terms too.)
The other option is to create a new search campaign that has your negative keywords added as normal keywords but with a very low CPC (make sure it has enough budget though as if it runs out of budget then the campaign will not be entered into the auction and the PMax campaign will take precedence) – this campaign should not spend much money but in theory should stop PMax entering the auction for these keywords.
How PMax and Display perform together
There is a similar issue with Display ads. You may have diligently constructed target audiences for your Display campaigns but these will broadly be irrelevant as PMax can decide which audiences to show ads to and over-ride your Display campaigns.
No Experiments; no audiences
You can’t run experiments on PMax so it becomes harder to find the optimal Target ROAS to run at (though you can use the Campaign Target ROAS simulator). You can’t segment into new and repeat customers (though you can target just new) which means Google will probably bid too aggressively on repeats as they tend to have a higher conversion rate.
A black box
You don’t get a lot of reporting on PMax.
The one helpful report is the ‘Insights > Consumer spotlight > Search terms grouped into categories’ as this gives a split of conv. value via your brand terms as well as a fantastic list of search terms that generated conv. value and impressions.
This is a really useful report for generating real-life keywords for search campaigns plus insight into new audiences.
Hard to control what keywords should match to a campaign and products
See section 12 below – if you have private label or higher converting products in a separate campaign it is harder to force those campaigns to show for the generic terms you want them to show for than if you use a regular shopping campaign. (If someone searches for ‘fridge’ then you want your highest converting/best margin fridge to show rather than the lowest converting/lowest margin fridge. You only want that low converting fridge to show for a precise search for it).
You can try and get Google to do what you want using the Target ROAS on the campaigns but with a regular shopping campaign you can use negative keywords to manage traffic better.
PMax is much easier to set up and run than a regular shopping campaign plus it has a wide reach across different ad placements.
However, it is a black box so hard to see what Google is doing and you have to be super careful with brand terms.
If you have a high volume of company brand term searches and Google won’t add your brand terms as negative keywords then you may want to use run separate Shopping; Display; Discovery; Search campaigns rather than PMax – though there will be more set-up and maintenance.
Even if Google adds your negative keywords it means that a shopping ad won’t show for your brand terms (whereas with a regular shopping camapign you can have shopping ads appear with a low CPC).
With PMax it is also much harder to get the right campaigns to trigger for certain search terms. You may find regular shopping campaigns allow for more precision.
12. Get the most from Performance Max if you do use it
If you decide to use Performance Max rather than other campaign types then:
- Ask your Google rep to add your company brand terms as negative keywords. If you choose not to do this then use the Insights > Consumer Spotlight report to check that a low percentage of conv value is coming from brand terms.
- If you have own-brand (private label) products then make sure they are in a separate campaign.
- Your own-brand products should have high margin, low CPC (when specifically searched for) and, if well-priced, a good conversion rate. Having your own-brand products in their own campaign allows you to optimise your ROAS for these products. We don’t want products with very different intrinsic ROAS in the same campaign.
- Try and get own-label products to show for generic searches (i.e. if you own a site selling your own and third-party radiators then use the Insights report to check that generic search terms, like ‘radiator’, are showing an own-label radiator (which we assume has better lifetime value) than a third party product. You can achieve this by asking your Google rep to add negative keywords to the third-party campaign or try and manipulate with the Target ROAS. The challenge might come where you have to put the campaigns on a lower ROAS target that you would ideally want to get your own-brand campaig to trigger for generic searches.
- When first creating a campaign use Audience Signals to give Google a steer on the most likely high-converting audiences for your campaign.
- Try splitting your largest campaigns into a new customer only and all customers (a proxy for repeats) so you can optimise for new and repeat customers. Read ‘Is a new customer worth more than a repeat?‘
- If Search campaigns are important for your business, then be careful using PMax (which can also use search ads):
- If you haven’t got brand terms as negative keywords in your PMax campaigns then make sure you have a Search campaign with your brand terms in (that is not limited by budget) running so that you can control Search Ads from brand terms better (and probably pay a much lower CPC than if the Search ad is powered by PMax).
- If there are particular keywords you don’t want any Search Ads showing for then create a Search campaign with these keywords but with a max CPC of say £0.01 to stop PMax entering ads for these searches.
- If Search campaigns are important for your business, then be careful using PMax (which can also use search ads):
- If you don’t have private label products you will still have some products that convert better than others (or have higher margin at the same conversion rate).
- Put these high conversion/margin products into a separate campaign. You want to optimise each campaign to generate the maximum CM3 while making sure generic terms trigger the high conversion/margin campaign. Google should want to do this as the higher conversion campaign should have a higher revenue per click and more qiggle room for a higher cost per click (which Google wants) but if the ROAS of the higher conversion campaign is much higher than for the lower conversion campaign then Google may push the lower margin campaign for generic searches.
- Use the Campaign Target ROAS simulator to work out the optimal Target ROAS for each campaign. Read more on tracking performance and taking action.
13. If you are on Target ROAS bidding strategy then don’t run out of budget. If your actual ROAS is lower than your Target ROAS then you are not optimised
You want as much volume as you can at your Target ROAS, so don’t limit the number of conversions because the campaign runs out of budget.
If your campaign has an actual ROAS much lower than the target ROAS then this suggests that despite Google bidding as aggressively as it can it still can’t hit your target – you are letting the campaign run as inefficiently as possible with no constraints for Google to bid sensibly. Move your Target ROAS to be lower than the actual achieved and then optimise as guided in the section: tracking performance and taking action.
14. Check your Cookie Management process is right for your business and activate consent mode if you allow users to disable cookies
There are several different approaches to how a user can manage cookies on your site.
There is a trade-off between providing control to the user on how they are tracked on your site and being able to track conversions and optimise marketing spend.
Read our high-level options on how to manage Cookies. If you allow users to disable tracking cookies then you should implement consent mode. Consent mode allows your conversion tag to ping Google Ads when a conversion occurs in a privacy-safe way.
15. For businesses that capture leads – make sure you feedback the success of leads for more accurate ROAS and better targeting
The easy way to use Target ROAS with form submission is to feedback to Google a fixed value for each form submitted (or each email subscriber).
Let’s say you own a home insurance company and the first step in the purchase funnel is for users to complete a form to get a quote for their home insurance.
You might have 1,000 users click on an ad of which 200 complete a form to receive a quote, of which 50 then go on to purchase insurance. You are happy to spend £100 acquiring each customer, so you set up Google Ads to give a conversion value of £25 each time that someone completes a form with the expectation that one in four people then go on to purchase the insurance.
A much better way is to feed back to Google the actual people who converted and the value of those conversions – this means you can optimise to a real ROAS rather than an estimated ROAS, plus, very importantly, Google can start targeting people that buy insurance rather than people that complete forms.
There are two ways to set up this feedback loop:
- Set up offline conversions import Using GCLID (Google’s unique ad click identifier). You’ll need to change your form and CRM to capture the GCLID of a click. It’s a bit more work but will mean less handling of email addresses and phone numbers. You can also adjust conversion values using GCLID – so, say for email subscribers you can start by assigning all subscribers an average value but update later with new values if subscribers are interacting with your site/emails.
- Enhanced conversions for leads. This might be quicker to implement as doesn’t require a change to your CRM, but if you schedule your conversion value data uploads then you’ll need to hash any email address and/or phone number before upload (You don’t need to hash on a manual upload) and involves PII (personal identifying information) escaping the CRM system.
The most important conversion is purchase but you could also set up secondary action conversions for form submission and/or qualified leads (if you have that as an interim stage) so you can see the conversion funnel.
16. Split large campaigns between new and repeat customers (for e-commerce businesses)
Existing or repeat customers know your brand already. They might be on your email list. They might visit your site directly and or have a higher click-through rate on your paid ads or organic listings. We think for most e-commerce businesses existing customers:
- Have a higher conversion rate than non-customers
- Are likely to have a higher proportion of free sessions in their customer journey (but if they have a paid session then Google Ads will claim all the conv. value for that conversion)
Google will likely bid more aggressively on these users because of the higher expected conversion rate (read more about how Google bids). However, users who already know your brand may not need to be served the absolute top bid, plus, versus a new customer, when a repeat customer converts Google Ads is likely to have lower attributable credit for the conversion due to a customer journey with more free interactions.
Repeats behave differently from non-customers and to optimise lifetime CM3 it’s best to handle them separately. Read how we suggest managing repeats versus new customers.
Make sure you use enhanced conversions and customer match to provide a comprehensive list of existing customers to Google.
17. If you sell private label products (in addition to third-party products) then make sure you split these into separate campaigns
If you are selling third-party and own-brand products then you may find that you have higher lifetime value for own-brand products (private label or PL) as they are likely to have inherently higher gross margins and (as your site might be the only place those products can be bought) higher repeat purchase and lifetime value versus third party (3P) products which can also be purchased on competitor sites.
You want to make sure your 3P and PL products are in separate shopping campaigns so:
- You can optimise the PL campaigns on a different ROAS (this could be a lower ROAS because the lifetime value might be higher or a higher ROAS because the CPC on these PL terms should be lower as less direct competition).
- Target generic search terms (such as ‘tennis shoe’ rather than ‘Adidas tennis shoe’) with your PL products rather than 3P products [you can also add generic terms as negative keywords to your 3P search and shopping campaigns]. For PMax (where you can’t add negative keywords via the interface) ask your Google rep to add negative keywords to the 3P campaign or if that fails you might be able to set the ROAS target on the PL campaigns to push generic terms that way.
18. Avoid duplicate transactions
If you record a transaction as a view of the ‘thank you page’ then include the transaction ID as part of the URL. This avoids recording duplicate orders and you can match ‘check-out URLs’ to orderIDs.
19. Conversion value rules
Conversion value rules let you set rules that edit the conversion value fed into Google Ads (based on the user’s location, device or audience – say repeat versus new customers).
We can see the merit of conversion value rules but on balance think the change in reported conversion value is confusing and there are ways to achieve the same goals without adjusting conversion values. Read more about conversion values rules and alternatives to using them.
20. Add Promotion details to your ads
Make sure on-site promotions are communicated via your ads
Promotions on shopping ads
Shopping Ads promotions are managed within Google Merchant Center Feed. You can include benefits such as free shipping or a returns policy.
The first ad below shows a sale promo with the original price and discounted price. The middle bottom ad includes a benefit of 100-day returns
For Search Ads, use promotion extensions to show promotions. Promotion extensions can include time-frame and coupon codes.
Think about matching campaigns to promotions
For some industries/companies, Google Ads is only viable as a marketing channel when products are on promotion (as the conversion rate gain considerably offsets the reduced margin).
In this case, it might make sense to only advertise products that are on promotion – which means setting up your campaigns to reflect your promotion schedule and pausing and unpausing campaigns as and when that category (or even group of items within a category) is promoted.
Use seasonality adjustments
If you are running a campaign for full-priced products and then you put the products on a short-term discount/promotion then you can use ‘Seasonality adjustments’ [Tools & settings > Bid strategies > Advanced controls > Seasonality adjustments] to let Google Ads know that you are expecting a significant change in conversion rate during this period. Google says that this is particularly good for promotions lasting 1-7 days.
Google Ads says it will automatically adjust campaigns for seasonality – this option is for short-term promotions [confusingly called seasonality adjustment as it’s an adjustment to the already priced-in seasonality!]
21. Use Extensions
You can add extensions to your ads at no cost and the additional information on your ad should improve the click-through rate and your ad’s credibility.
Most helpful is the ability to flag live promotions. Read more about extensions.
Got to: Ads & extensions > Extensions. Click on ‘+’ to add a new extension. You can select which campaigns to activate each extension on.
Here is an example of an ad with multiple extensions:
22. Get Ad copy right
Use keyword insertion to insert into the copy the words or phrase from the search query that triggered that keyword. This means you can avoid duplicate or very similar messages in your headline such as below (which duplicates the message around ‘best insurance’ three times:
Pin the most important headlines so that they always appear in a prominent position (rather than letting Google rotate through headlines).
Think about what the key selling point for your business is versus competitors and potentially pin that as a core headline (if you are long-established for example).
23. Remove all broad search keywords and swap out DSA campaigns
Try removing all broad search keywords from a campaign (as long as you have covered all the important keywords with phrase match) – perhaps remove from one campaign or ad group at a time so you are comfortable with the impact.
If you have been running DSA campaigns (Dynamic Search Ads) then look at the search terms that are triggering bids – if these search terms are being matched to keywords in other ad groups then try turning off the DSA campaigns (make sure that you are still bidding on important keywords in other campaigns though – the search terms that have been triggering DSA campaigns may give you ideas on new exact match keywords to add, or If you are running PMax campaigns then the Insights section gives great ideas on search terms that are converting).
We view DSA campaigns as like broad search, which allow Google to bid on a very long tail of terms (a lot of which are not relevant at all).
If you do keep DSA campaigns running then add your brand terms as negative keywords.
Note: brainlabs suggests broad search can have a significant impact on your campaign performance (though in our experience it is the exact match keywords triggering under the banner of broad match that drive performance). Brainlabs see that very low intent from broad search can work if married to a very low CPC. Try putting broad search into a separate campaign with all exact and phrase match terms added as negative keywords and see what works best for your business.
24. Make sure your conversion tracking is set-up correctly
Make sure your Google tag is working and that you’ve linked Google Ads to Google Analytics.
You can set up different conversion events (such as purchase, phone call, form completion, add to basket) and decide whether each conversion is a primary action conversion event (which Google Ads will optimise to) or a secondary action conversion event (which is for observation only and not optimised to).
You can additionally manage the conversion windows and whether to include enhanced conversions or not. Read more here.
You can check that your Google tag is set up on every page of your site via Tag Coverage summary. Go to Tools & Settings > Set-up > Google tag > Admin > tag coverage
25. Use a naming convention for your campaigns and ad groups
Include in the campaign name and ad group name details about the campaign type; product data; audience; brand|non-brand; objective.
You can use data in the campaign name to group and segment campaigns by region, products etc. It makes it easy to aggregate say all brand vs non-brand spend or all spend on a category or region.
26. If you allow customers to call your company then activate phone tracking
If you display a phone number on your website for prospective customers to call then Google Ads can substitute that phone number with a forwarding number that is only displayed on your website if someone comes to your site via a Google Ads click.
When someone calls that Google forwarding number and stays on the line for a set amount of time (that you define, such as 30 seconds) then that call can be counted as a conversion and you can set a fixed conversion value.
You can also include that forwarding number as an ad extension that appears on Google Ads. If someone clicks on the phone number to make a call then there is a cost charged by Google (like normal CPC).
If you record the phone number of the caller, the call time and ultimately whether that person purchased then you can import phone call conversions to provide a more accurate conversion value (or indeed whether the person converted at all) which gives you a more accurate ROAS and helps Google target people most likely to ultimately purchase rather than just make a call.
27. Use All Conversions for a better understanding of conversions or insight into the purchase funnel
Each conversion event you create can be set up as either a Primary Conversion Action (which means it will be included in Google’s optimisation) or as a Secondary Conversion Action (which is for interest/observation only and not optimised on).
Primary Action conversions appear in ‘conversions’ and ‘conversion value’.
Secondary and Primary Actions appear in ‘All conversions’ and ‘All conversion value’.
You can use the dimension ‘conversion action’ to segment all conversion data by the different conversion actions in reports.
You can add a secondary conversion action to:
- Measure secondary conversion types (such as email sign-ups)
If you are an e-commerce site then you can add a secondary conversion action of email subscriber. The campaign can still be optimised to target purchases but you can now see how many sign-ups the campaign is also generating (and if you give each subscriber a value, or even better use gclid to feed back some measure of the quality of the sign-up) then this additional conversion value may help you spend more on the campaign as you are assessing its true value better.
- Add funnel steps (such as add to basket)
You can create an ‘add to basket’ conversion action and set it as secondary conversion action. Through All conversions you can see how many people completed this step in the purchase funnel.
- Understand the impact of different conversion windows
You can create a secondary conversion with the same purchase conversion action as the primary conversion but with different conversion windows – allowing you to isolate the impact of shorter or longer conversion time-frames or view-through conversions [note that the secondary conversion will include all primary as well so needs some maths to do the comparison or use the conversion action dimension to segment].
- See GA4 cross-channel data-driven conversions
If you link Google Ads to your GA4 account, activate Google signals and create a new conversion action in Google Ads that imports GA4 conversion data (see points 7, 8 and 9 in this article) then you can see how many orders this attribution model attributes to each campaign (when you add as a conversion action it will by default be added as a primary conversion action – make sure you change to secondary conversion action or your campaigns will start optimising towards these GA4 conversion values too).
28. Local campaigns
If you have physical store locations then you can promote to nearby users on Google Search Network, Maps, YouTube, Gmail and the Google Display Network. Find out more.
29. Check your campaign locations are correct
Check that your ads are only displaying in the appropriate regions. If you are only targeting French customers then make sure you limit your ads to only show in France.
You can see locations targeted for an individual campaign in that campaign’s settings or create a report which shows the location of all campaigns.
30. UTM or Value Parameter Tracking
You can add a tracking parameter in addition to gclid on links.
Google Analytics will use the gclid to parse tracking information. If you are using a different web analytics tool then you will need to add an additional parameter which that tool can extract information about the click such as campaign and ad group.
Go to Account > Settings > Account Settings > Tracking
We believe Tracking template is for the redirect to a third-party tracking site if you are not using Google Analytics.
Final URL suffix is where you can add parameters. We recommend using dynamic terms which will insert the campaign id of the campaign, for example. Here’s an example Final URL suffix:
Note, the Final URL can also be set up at the campaign level.
31. Tips on creative
Here are some Google articles on how to optimise your creative:
32. Link Google Analytics to Google Ads
There are a few benefits of linking Google Analytics and Google Ads – allowing Google Ads data to be seen in Google Analytics and e-commerce transactions to be imported into Google Ads (which can then be used as a primary conversion action – see tips 7-9)
It also allows for cross-device conversions to be imported if Google Signals is activated.
33. Set up and test reporting Conversions with Cart Data
If you supply COGS data as a part of your feed then you can see products purchased and margins associated. Learn more
34. See historic changes to the account
Click on Change history (the last option on the vertical left-hand side menu). It can show historic changes for the whole account or individual campaigns (either filter by campaign or go to a campaign and then click Change history.
By default, the timeline chart doesn’t display. Click the down arrow at the far right of the horizontal menu to display.
35. If your website tracking goes down then use ‘Data exclusions’ to inform Google so it can exclude this time-period from their optimisation tools
Go to Data Exclusions (Tools and Settings > Bid Strategies > Advanced controls > Data exclusions) for dates when tracking pixel wasn’t working so data from those days is excluded from Smart bidding modelling.
>>> Read next article: Appendix 1: How to set-up audience segments
>> Purchase an ANALYSIS OF YOUR GOOGLE ADS ACCOUNT
The interactive video below highlights some of the analyses we cover:
Please be really careful making changes to your Google Ads account
- Google doesn’t always respond how you (or we) think it will. The way we think about Google Ads may not be the best set-up for your account.
- Only change one thing at a time.
- If possible, always use an experiment to test a change – particularly for significant changes such as moving bidding strategy to Maximize conversion value (Target ROAS).
- Protect your financial downside by testing with limited spend in the experiment/change. Note that moving to a smart bidding strategy requires a learning phase where Google may not be efficient.
- Be careful if adding/removing primary conversion actions – changing what Google is converting to can radically change what and who Google targets and how much it’s willing to spend.
- Remember, all changes to your account are at your own risk. Mapflo shall not be liable for any damages; losses; lost revenue or lost profit.
Glossary of Terms
AOV = Average Order Value
CM1 = Contribution Margin 1 = revenue minus COGS (cost of goods sold) in an order.
CM2 = Contribution Margin 2 = margin on an order after all costs directly attributable to that order such as COGS, shipping, payment fees, customer service etc. (except for marketing).
CM3 = Contribution Margin 3 = CM2 less marketing spend. An ‘Estimated CM3’ value uses an assumed CM2 %.
CPA = Cost Per Action. In this report taken to mean cost per conversion or cost per order.
Keywords = words or phrases (assigned to an ad group) that match a user’s search term and trigger Google to bid to show an ad.
Lifetime CM3 = CM3 from all orders (or subscription payments) for a customer.
Profit = CM3 less all fixed overheads (such as salaries and office rent). Hence Optimising CM3 also optimises profit at the same cost base
ROAS = ‘Return On Ad Spend’ = conversion value divided by cost. A ROAS of 400% means you get four pounds of revenue back for every pound of ad spend.
Search term = the word or phrase that a user searches for on Google.