The world of digital advertising is filled with recommendations and “hot takes.”
Some advertisers proclaim, “Broad match is terrible” while others say, “Broad match is amazing!”
There’s little room for nuance. And every time I speak about the benefits of broad match, for example, I’m guaranteed to get some negative reactions—even though I acknowledge that broad match isn’t an option for all advertisers. And, in fact, my team and I still use exact match, and even phrase match, in some accounts.
Microsoft Ads also divides people. I wrote an article recently where I encouraged advertisers to exercise caution with Microsoft Ads because of recent platform changes. As I predicted, I got a lot of “But we’re doing great with Microsoft Ads!” feedback, which misses the point. If you’re doing great with Microsoft Ads, that’s great! Keep at it. Because I wasn’t telling everyone to stop. I was just telling them to be careful.
The topic of whether or not to bid on brand also sparks a lot of argument. When an advertiser comments that they bid on branded keywords, someone will always pipe in with some variation of: “You bid on brand? Shame on you for wasting your (or your client’s) money.”
Generally, I’m pretty pro-bidding on brand. But even so, there are many instances in which we don’t. There’s no strict wrong or right way to do it.
There’s no ONE right way to manage a Google Ads program
Ninety-nine percent of the time, these differences of opinion come from our different experiences. We all serve different clients in different industries. So it’s not surprising that something that works well for some accounts may perform horribly for others.
So, given all the conflicting recommendations out there—what’s an advertiser to do? What course of action can you take that’s not going to risk messing up your Google Ads account?
7 safe bets to keep your Google Ads account healthy
Fortunately, there ARE some things you can safely do with your Google Ads account that won’t backfire—or spark a heated debate.
Here are seven safe bets:
1. Opt out of automated messaging
Google has had automated messaging as a feature for a long time, but I have yet to see it generating any positive outcomes. Usually, advertisers don’t even know it’s turned on until someone spots online ad messaging that doesn’t represent their brand well. Then there’s a mad scramble to figure out how that message got approved—only to discover that Google Ads created it automatically based on their website copy.
To avoid that scenario, turn off automated messaging.
2. Create a messaging roadmap
A messaging roadmap is always a useful tool for advertisers and stakeholders. Viewing all your messaging in one place helps everyone visualize what ad messaging is being used and gives them an easy way to review and approve it.
3. Implement conversion tracking
Conversion tracking is another no-brainer task to undertake. Only with conversion tracking data can you make informed decisions. You can see what’s working and what’s not—and optimize campaigns to provide value and engagement.
Conversion tracking is also important for automated bidding—the AI behind the tool also needs these signals to work well.
4. Populate all appropriate assets
Google advertising today is about so much more than text ads. You have lots of options to utilize images, videos, and logos in your advertising, especially with Google’s omnichannel campaigns.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to populate all appropriate ad assets (formerly known as extensions) to convey additional information to prospects and take up more real estate on SERPs.
5. Align expectations with your budget
You can also never go wrong by proactively setting expectations with stakeholders—and ensuring that those expectations are aligned with your budget. Sometimes, stakeholders will have lofty ideas for their Google Ads accounts, in terms of clicks, conversions, and/or attributable revenue.
While having lofty goals is great—you’ll need a budget that’s sufficient to get you to those goals.
6. Create a test-and-learn document
You’ll probably never have enough budget to test every idea that you’d like to try. But don’t discard those ideas when they arise. Put them into a test-and-learn document that you can turn to when you do have the budget for it.
This type of documentation is particularly valuable as you start planning for 2024!
7. Create positive post-click experiences
No matter what type of business or product you’re advertising, you need to secure the trust of your visitors after they click on your ad and go to your landing page or website.
Use case studies, testimonials, and other social proof on your landing pages to build that trust. Keep designs simple and mobile-friendly—and make sure pages load quickly so you don’t lose leads before you hook them.
Don’t let differing opinions stop you
Digital advertisers will always disagree about different parts of Google advertising.
So, if you’d like to play it safe, start with the recommendations above.
Then, when you’re ready, you can wade into more contentious territory by going slowing and testing to see what works for you and your Google Ads account.