If you’re looking for increased digital marketing success this year, Google Ads (formerly called AdWords) can help. Google has continued to tweak it’s advertising platform and some of these changes allow for extra targeting, meaning that you are able to reach a very qualified audience.

Since Google has added more ad slots in recent years, the increase in digital content makes it increasingly difficult to rank organically. These factors make Google Ads a platform worthy of adding to your digital marketing efforts.

The following five hacks will help you reach your specific audiences and improve your click-through rates. Try using each of these tips together and you will surely be off to a great start with Google Ads.

1. Add As Many Extensions As Possible

Extensions can completely transform your ads’ appearance. They allow you to add additional information to your advertisements. And by adding extensions, you’re lengthening your ad to take up more real estate on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). All of these factors combined make your ad more valuable to searchers, meaning that your ad is more likely to get clicks.

Google allows you to add the following extensions to your ads:

  • Sitelink ExtensionShows links to specific pages of your website. This means that you are able to highlight additional pages on your website beyond the link on your ad.
  • Callout ExtensionShows descriptive text. This allows you to highlight additional features you may not have been able to fit into the text of your ad. Each callout extension can be 25 characters in length.
  • Structured Snippet Extension – Highlights specific aspects of your product or service. Structured snippets are only available for pre-defined categories that Google offers, such as Amenities, Destinations, Shows, Styles, Courses, etc. While the list keeps expanding, there may not be a category that applies to your specific business.
  • Call ExtensionHighlights your phone number. You can add a number for potential customers to call. This is especially helpful if your ads are primarily viewed on mobile and you handle most of your business over the phone. Google does allow you to track calls that come from your ads.
  • Message ExtensionEncourages people to send your business text messages from your ad. You can receive typed messages either directly to your phone, or Google will forward the message to your email address.
  • Location ExtensionShows business information like your location and business hours. Google will add business information it has through your Google My Business profile. Pair those two platforms to enable this feature.
  • Affiliate Location Extension – Shows all your businesses affiliate locations. If you utilize a retail chain, you can add these locations so that people know that the product or service they are looking for is available at a location near them.
  • Price ExtensionAllows you to highlight specific prices of your product or services. You can add up to five products or services in one extension. Google allows for the price, a short description, and a link to the product page. That way, when people click on a specific product, they will be taken directly to the right page on your website.
  • App ExtensionEncourages downloads of your app. If you have an app and want your potential customers to download it directly from your ad, you can feature it as an extension.
  • Promotion ExtensionShows specific sales and offers. If you are trying to highlight a specific deal or offer, promotion extensions will allow you to add that information to your ads. You can also set time limits so the extension will stop running when the promotion ends.

Add as many of the above extensions as you can to make your ad helpful to searchers and improve your CTR.

2. Make Sure You’re Using Google Audiences

Google Audiences allows you to target searchers with specific interests. If you have specific demographics that you are trying to target, Google will now allow you to set a preference based on who the searcher is (parental status, marital status, education, or homeownership status) and what they are searching for.

Google also allows you to re-market to people who have visited your website in the past. Upload a list of visitors and Google will show your ads to that specific audience when they search for terms that you are targeting through your keywords. This is especially important if you have a longer sales cycle and it takes more interaction points before a lead becomes a customer.

3. Get Very Specific With Your Locations

Do you have specific areas that you want to target? Do certain locations bring in better leads and more customers? Make sure that you are targeting those locations as closely as possible.

If you really only care about specific neighborhoods, look up that area’s zip code and make sure that your ads are being shown to that zip code specifically. The broader your targeting, the less qualified leads you’ll bring in through Google Ads.

Additionally, if you absolutely don’t want your ads being shown to specific areas, be sure to exclude those locations in your targeting. Maybe you only sell a product to the continental United States. If that’s the case, be sure to exclude both Alaska and Hawaii as locations so that you aren’t spending money on clicks from areas where people can’t buy your product.

4. Adjust Your Bidding Based on Your Goals

Google allows you to adjust your bid based on a variety of factors (including both location and audiences). By adjusting your bidding, you ensure that you’re using your ad spend in ways that make sense for your business.

If certain cities represent better leads for your business, make sure to adjust your bid up so that your ads receive a higher position and are shown more often when someone searches from that location.

If you start to notice a pattern where people are clicking on your ads more often when they search for a specific keyword and are converting at a higher rate, adjust your bidding up so that you win a higher share of impressions for that specific keyword.

Conversely, you may not want to compete as heavily in certain areas or for certain keywords. You can also adjust your bidding down so that Google doesn’t show your ads as often for terms that don’t convert at a high rate.

Adjust your bidding to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS) for Google Ads. You’ll see higher returns when you spend money in the right places for the right searches.

5. Watch Search Terms Carefully

The Search Terms tab on Google Ads allows you to see what search terms your ads are showing for. Using this section is a great way to identify negative keywords and to find additional keywords to add to your campaigns and ad groups. You can also begin to identify keywords that may need to be an exact match vs. phrase match vs. broad match. If you are only using broad match keywords, chances are that your ads are ending up in a lot of searches that may have nothing to do with your business.

Check search terms to see what terms your ads are showing for on a monthly basis. Are you getting a lot of impressions for a search term, but not a lot of clicks? It might be time to optimize that ad and try to improve your CTR. Are your ads showing for a term that has nothing to do with what you offer? Be sure to add that term as a negative keyword.

By understanding where and how your ads are being shown, you can optimize your keywords and ensure that your ads are only being shown on searches that represent opportunities for your business.

Google Ads Success Is Incremental

These hacks for Google Ads represent a well-rounded approach that can be used to optimize your ads. Be sure to re-explore your changes every quarter and document the effect it’s having on your overall account. You may find that you are initially too conservative in your bid adjustments or that you missed out on potentially really positive extensions.

Ultimately, Google Ads is only one tool in the digital marketing toolbelt. When it is used in conjunction with SEO, social media, email marketing, and automation, it is the most powerful. Bring what you’ve learned about your company on other platforms to your Google Ads and you’ll find success this year and for many years to come!