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How to optimize paid search with Google Analytics

If you already us Adwords, then you are missing clicks and wasting dollars if you aren’t also linking it up with Google Analytics! Here are 5 ways to optimize your paid search performance with some simple Google Analytics hacks.

The standard process for running AdWords campaigns is: plan > run > monitor > optimize.

The optimize part might sound scary due to the overwhelming amount of data available. But what if I tell you it doesn’t have to be?! Knowing what to analyze will make paid ad optimization a walk in the park. In this article, we will look at how to optimize paid search with the help of Google Analytics.

There’s a good reason for not relying solely on AdWords to optimize your ads. AdWords helps you mostly with budgets, costs, clicks, and conversions, but there is still a lot of data to analyze to draw meaningful conclusions. Google Analytics tells you what users do on your website between a click to conversion. Some basic analytics dimensions and metrics like bounce rate, devices, pages per visit, location, etc. can already give you a way to optimize your ads in a better way.

First Things First

To get the relevant AdWords data into Analytics, it’s necessary to link both the accounts. Linking Adwords and Analytics account is an easy process and requires you to have admin rights to the respective accounts.

Once that is taken care of, let’s look at five ways in which Analytics can help you optimize paid campaigns.

1. Bid Adjustment

Bid adjustment lets you manage bids based on user context. You can adjust bids based on the device usage, keywords, location and ad delivery schedule.

Evaluate which device types bring more clicks and conversions, and increase their bids accordingly. For example, if an eCommerce website notices that most of the conversions are coming from a mobile device, they can go for +30% bid adjustment for mobile devices to get a better ROI.

You can implement this strategy for top performing keywords, locations and ad schedule as well to optimize your campaign.

2. Keywords

Google Analytics can help you with the specific keywords that drive traffic to your website. See which keywords drive more conversions. If you are using different match types for the same keyword, you can add a secondary dimension called Keyword Match Type to compare its variants and continue with the best performing keyword.

Now, if you look at the AdWords dashboard exclusively, you might find a bunch of keywords that are driving no conversion. You would be tempted to pause them because they are draining your budget. In such cases, refer to the behavioral metrics like bounce rate and pages/session in Analytics to understand whether they are yielding no results.

Tip: Use top performing keywords in the display URLs of your ad copies. This will make your ads look more relevant leading to a better CTR.

If Search is your domain, don’t miss this handy infographic on the state of Enterprise SEO. An MTA exclusive!

3. Search Queries

Search queries section gives you the list of queries that triggered your ads in SERPs. Use this report to find inspiration for new keywords to be added to your campaign.

You will also find that some irrelevant queries that trigger your ads due to the similarities in certain keywords. Identify such queries and add them in the negative keywords list in your campaign so that your ads are not displayed for irrelevant searches.

Tip: The search queries report will give you a list of queries. Similar to keywords, find relevant queries (keywords) from the report and incorporate them in your ad copies. This will again help you boost the CTR.

4. Geographic Targeting

For the first few campaigns, marketers usually choose the carpet bombing approach to reach out to masses and slowly narrowing their target. This approach works for B2C brands. But what if you’re a B2B company or you’re on a small budget? How will you optimize the budget so that your message is delivered to the right audience? In such cases, tap into the Geo data (Audience section) of Analytics. Find out the states, cities which bring you more traffic, low bounce rate, higher average time on page and start with those locations and optimize as the campaign progresses. You would have already saved a few good bucks in the process!

5. Landing Page Optimization

You have shortlisted the best keywords, and the ad copy is convincing. Your ad is generating an excellent CTR, but you still see low conversions. You are perplexed because despite being everything perfect, you are still not able to drive conversions. The problem might be lying in the landing page.

Landing pages usually get ignored during the optimization process due to the complexity in figuring out the elements which are not working.

If your landing page is performing poorly, go for A/B testing to find out the cause of it. Notice if pages/visit metric is high. It might mean that your users are not able to find the offering on the landing page. Run two variations of the landing page and measure the results. Observe the bounce rate; average time spent and conversions/goal completions to see if the landing page is engaging and converting users into customers.