Google Ads Insights

Part 4of4: Confusing Conversion Tracking Tags

If you like Google Tag Manager then you’ll be relieved to know that you can use it to install Google Analytics & Google Ads conversion tracking.

Essentially everything you saw in Parts 1-3 can be done via Google Tag Manager.

So in this final Part 4 I’ll take a “high level overview” of how to implement conversion tracking through GTM.

STEP 1: Link Analytics & Ads

Google Analytics and Google Ads must talk to each other. Here’s how to link them together.

STEP 2: Install Google Tag Manager

Maybe you already have GTM? But if not, here are the instructions to install Google Tag Manager.

STEP 3: Install Google Analytics

Remember, we’re doing EVERYTHING through Google Tag Manager. Follow these instructions to install Google Analytics using GTM.

Now create a goal/conversion in Google Analytics and import it into Google Ads. Instructions to do so.

STEP 4: Create A Conversion Action

In Google Ads create a ‘conversion action’. When you do this Google Ads gives you an Event Snippet. In the Event Snippet code is a Conversion ID and a Conversion Label, which Google Tag Manager needs.

Locate your Conversion ID and Conversion Label because you will use them in Step 5. They are on a single line that looks like this …

gtag(‘event’, ‘conversion’, {‘send_to’: ‘conversion_id/conversion_label’

See these detailed instructions regarding the above 3 paragraphs.

STEP 5: Install Google Ads Conversion Tracking

Now you are ready to install your ‘Google Ads conversion action’ using GTM. Instructions.

NOTE: Make sure not to miss the part about installing the Conversion Linker.

But keep in mind, all of the above is a summary. To get the step-by-step details follow the links.

Part 3of4: Confusing Conversion Tracking Tags

In Part 1 we installed the Google Analytics tracking code to create goals/conversions inside Google Analytics and import them into Google Ads.

♦♦REMINDER: To do this you must first link Analytics & Ads together.

In Part 2 we ignored Google Analytics. Instead we implemented conversion tracking inside Google Ads.

But I know who you are.
You’re the spoiled one who wants everything. You want both. So that’s what we’ll do here in Part 3.

I will start by assuming you’re already using Google Analytics and that it’s linked to Google Ads. This means you installed the Global Site Tag (gtag.js).

Now you want to implement Google Ads conversion tracking. Problem: it also uses the Global Site Tag.

If you blindly install it, your website will now have 2 Global Site Tags. You can only have 1.

How do you merge 2 conversion tags?

When you create your conversion action, Google Ads gives you the Global Site Tag code. At the bottom of this JavaScript snippet is a single line…
gtag(‘config’, ‘AW-135792468’); (just an example)

That’s all you need.

Instead of copy/pasting the entire tag, just copy this line and paste it at the same location in your EXISTING Global Site Tag. Remember, you installed it when you set up Google Analytics.

Now all that’s left is to add the Event Snippet to your ‘conversion confirmation page’ (see Part 2).

‡‡If you didn’t like anything you saw in Parts 1-3, help is on the way. That’s because you can do all of this using GOOGLE TAG MANAGER.

And you guessed it, that’s Part 4.

Want more? Watch these 2 videos:
Implementing Sitewide Tagging
Sitewide Tagging by Academy On Air

Part 2of4: Confusing Conversion Tracking Tags

In Part 1 we looked at installing the Google Analytics tracking tag, which you can then use to create goals/conversions inside Google Analytics and import them into Google Ads.

♦ Reminder: the name of this JavaScript tracking code is Global Site Tag (gtag.js).

But what if you want to set up conversion tracking directly inside Google Ads?

Furthermore, I will assume that Google Analytics is NOT installed on the website. In other words, nobody did Part 1.

To set up conversion tracking in Google Ads you must create conversion actions. Notice the plural. As many as you need.

When you create your conversion action, Google Ads gives you the Global Site Tag code. Now do the same as in Part 1 — copy/paste it into the HTML <head> section of the ENTIRE website.

♦♦ But don’t forget what I said. I’m assuming Google Analytics is NOT installed. Now you know why. You would end up with 2 Global Site Tags on the website.

Stick with me.
I called this series “Confusing Conversion Tracking Tags” for a reason.

When you create a conversion action, Google Ads gives you a second piece of code called the Event Snippet.

You also copy/paste this code into the HTML <head> section, but only on specific pages.

Put it ONLY on the web pages that represent when a conversion has occurred: purchase confirmation page, opt-in thank-you page, after-form-submission page.

That’s it.
Now you’re ready for Part 3:

  • Part 1: Conversion tracking using ONLY Google Analytics
  • Part 2: Conversion tracking using ONLY Google Ads
  • Part 3: Combine the two

Part 1of4: Confusing Conversion Tracking Tags

There are 4 ways to install/implement TAGS for Google Ads Conversion Tracking.

Who said more options are better? I want names.

Let’s untangle the confusion in this 1st of 4 emails.

Conversion Tracking Using Google Analytics

Q: What tag do you install on your website?

A: Your Google Analytics Tracking Tag.

This is that small snippet of JavaScript code that contains your Google Analytics ID. You install it on every page inside the HTML <head> tag. It’s called the Global Site Tag (gtag.js).

Notice I just used 3 names that all refer to the same thing:

  • Google Analytics Tracking Tag
  • Google Analytics ID
  • Global Site Tag (gtag.js)

These 3 names show up in blogs, instructions, articles. Just remember that they’re referring to your Google Analytics Tag.

Got it?

When To Use Google Analytics For Conversion Tracking

#1 When you create Goals (conversions) in Google Analytics and import them into Google Ads.

♦ NOTE: Google Analytics GOALS = Google Ads CONVERSIONS

#2 When you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform and import the conversions into Google Ads.

If either of the above is your ONLY ONLY ONLY source of conversions, then there is nothing else to do. You’re done.

Did I repeat “ONLY” enough?

What if you change your mind and want to create conversion actions inside Google Ads. Sorry, you can’t. Hence the word ONLY.

In that case you will have to do something else.
That’s PART 2.

Are You Afraid To Experiment?

Running experiments with your client’s or company’s Google Ads account sounds scary.

After all, it’s NOT “Monopoly money”, it’s THEIR money.

But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. That’s because the first part of creating an ‘experiment’ is to first create a draft.

A draft in Google Ads is a duplicate of an existing campaign. In that regards, it’s nothing like a draft in writing, where you start from a blank page.

Quite the opposite.

You choose a campaign. Make a copy(draft) of it. Open the copy(draft). And now you’re free to make all the changes you desire … without affecting the original campaign.

That’s because the draft isn’t running. It’s NOT actually doing anything. Nothing scary about it.

You can create as many of these drafts as you want, for as many campaigns as you want.

And here’s a side tip:

Drafts are also an excellent tool for learning some new ideas without having to worry about “messing up” your client’s or company’s campaigns.

Now when you’re finished making changes to the draft, you have 5 options:

  1. Save the draft and return later to make more changes.
  2. Delete the draft and start over.
  3. Delete the draft and start over with a different campaign.
  4. Apply your changes back to the original campaign.
  5. Convert the draft into an experiment.

. . . That last item is why the menu item is called Drafts & Experiments.

Want more?

Watch a short intro video for implementing Drafts & Experiments.

What Are YouTube TrueView Video Discovery Ads?

YouTube advertising options expand every year. (…just like my stomach says wife).

Can’t keep up?

Today let’s look at ‘YouTube TrueView Video Discovery Ads’. Sorry, Google doesn’t like short names.

Where Do These Video Ads Appear?

  1. YouTube Mobile App Homepage: now that’s some prime real estate
  2. YouTube Mobile Web:
  3. YouTube Watch Pages: as a ‘related video’ or as an ‘overlay’ on another video
  4. YouTube Search Results Page: just like “regular search” the video shows alongside organic results

A TrueView Video Discovery Ad uses a thumbnail image and 3 lines of text. The text description shows underneath the thumbnail or to the right.

“Great Brady” …more work for me?

No. Relax will you. You don’t have to do any work here. Google AUTO-GENERATES 4 thumbnail images that you get to choose.

BUT WARNING. Calling this a ‘video thumbnail’ is misleading. That’s because when you click the image it DOES NOT PLAY an embedded video. The click takes you to the video watch page or to your YouTube channel where you can see the video.

♦ To finish, there are always 2 required steps when implementing Google Ads video advertising:

  • You must upload the video to your YouTube channel.
  • The video must be public or unlisted (NOT PRIVATE).

…Just a brief intro to get your creative juices flowing about your numerous video ad options.

Go forth and create.

What Are Local Search Ads?

«When using the Google Maps App I sometimes see an ad as the first business listing. How do I create these ads?»

This ad type is called Local Search Ads and you will see them more often because they show up in other places — NOT just inside the app.

These ads also have the benefit of containing a ‘click-to-call icon’ so you can call the business.

Here’s a list of where Local Search Ads appear:

  • On the Google Maps web browser page (
  • On when you click “More Places”.
  • (The two above also apply when using laptop or desktop computer.)
  • Inside the Google Mobile App when you click “More Places”.
  • Inside the Google Maps App.

♦ How To Create Local Search Ads

There are several required steps to get these ads running. I’ll summarize them for you.

  1. Your client’s business must have a Google My Business listing. If they already do, you should review it to make sure it’s 100% accurate before paying for advertising.
  2. Enable Location Extensions, which is how you link Google Ads to Google My Business.
  3. To do the above, your email address must have admin access to your client’s Google My Business listing (…and to Google Ads of course).
  4. Create an Ad Group and write 3 ads.
  5. When you create your ads, make sure to target & bid by location. Also found on the left side menu under ‘Locations -> Targeted’.

If you have ‘local business clients’ but haven’t implemented Local Search Ads, start today.

What Are Google Ads Bidding Signals?

Machine learning. Smart bidding. Automated bidding. Auction-time bidding.

We see these terms a lot. But let’s get real. What do all those fancy words mean?

To simplify it, let’s look at a component they have in common – SIGNALS. When somebody performs a search, signals give hints as to the Searcher’s intent.

And there are many of them. So now the question becomes…

«What SIGNALS does Google look at to set your bid price? Here are a few:»

  • Search Network Partner: There are thousands of partner websites. Google changes bids based on where ads appear.
  • Demographics: Age, gender, interests.
  • Operating System: Windows, Mac, Android, Apple iOS.
  • Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox.
  • Browser Interface Language: The default language that the User set their browser to.
  • Ad Characteristics: Will the ad perform best on a mobile phone? Desktop computer? Or inside an app?
  • Remarketing List: What remarketing list is the User on? When were they added to the list?
  • Day & Time: When does this type of ad get the most clicks and conversions?
  • Location: Even if you don’t set up city location targeting, Google will still use the Users location to set bids.
  • Device: desktop, mobile, tablet, TV.
  • The actual search query: The words that the User typed. Yeah, I’d say this one is important.

Different Landing Page Per Ad Group

A higher Quality Score means your ads can appear in the top positions for less money. The best advertisers don’t pay ‘retail price’ to show up there.

“Great Brady, but what does that have to do with landing pages?”

Because landing page experience is 1 of 3 components of Quality Score (expected click-through-rate & ad relevance are the other two).

And one of the best ways to improve ‘landing page experience’ is with a dedicated page as the target for each ad group… whenever possible.

Notice the “whenever possible”. That’s because I live in the real world of day-to-day online advertising so there could be reasons why your client’s website doesn’t allow for this.

« But You Should Always Try. »

So now the question is…

“What makes an awesome landing page experience that will keep Google happy?”

  • ◊ Ad title (or part of it) should be title of landing page
  • ◊ text from ad description should appear at top of page
  • ◊ Put ad description text in bold on the landing page
  • ◊ User’s search query should be in both ad & landing page

The key concept here is MESSAGE MATCH across search query -> ad -> landing page.

If you create dedicated landing pages with these 4 items, your cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition will go down.

…And you’ll be further up the search results page.

Just Write More Ads

“Just write more ads.”. It sounds too easy.
But you would be surprised at how many accounts I see with just one ad inside ad groups.

I get it.
Writing multiple ads (3-5) for every ad group can be boring. Tedious. Even annoying.

With so few characters allowed in a text ad, how in the world are you supposed to come up with 5 different creative ads that all target the same topic or theme?

And if you’re crazy enough to use ‘Single Keyword Ad Groups’ your writing job just got significantly harder.

« But if you want to DOMINATE your competition, writing numerous ads (…and often) is a priority. »

So here’s one strategy I use for multiple ads per ad group:

  1. Start by writing 5 ads
  2. Using the ‘optimize rotation setting’ Google will show the best of the 5 ads
  3. After 6 months delete the 2 worst
  4. Write another ad (1) and let go for 6 months
  5. Delete the worst ad and write another
  6. Repeat every 6 months with 4 ads always running

♦ The strategy is simple: with optimize ad rotation Google will always show your best 3 ads. Your part is to simply identify the 4th one, delete it, and write another.

More importantly, this solves your “ad writing fatigue” problem. For each of your ad groups you only have to write 1 ad every 6 months.

Switch From Manual To Automated Bidding

Afraid of change? Don’t be.
But you should at least know what to expect when it occurs.

Below are a few items you should pay attention to when switching from manual to automated bidding.

When you make the switch you could get the ‘Limited By Budget’ notification. Don’t worry; this is normal. That’s because all automation (& not just Google’s) requires a certain amount of data to function.

The notification means your daily budget is depleted well before end-of-day.

No problem but you must “raise your cap”. SLOWLY increase your budget every 2 days until the message disappears.

When we humans decide to try something new we go through a ‘learning phase’. Algorithms are no different. The moment you flip the automation switch your ad campaign goes into a learning period.

Leave the campaign alone for 2-3 weeks (except to SLOWLY raise your budget as i mentioned above).

During this time machine learning is trying different combinations, experimenting, learning by trial-and-error. The algorithm also uses prior historical performance.

The most important advice I can give you is… “don’t make any decisions about the effectiveness of automated bidding during the learning phase”.

You could see your cost-per-click increase. Or your conversions decrease. But this learning phase is NO INDICATION of how automated bidding will perform over time.

Sometimes you might see your ad campaign with different statuses.

Keep in mind that pausing and unpausing a campaign, or making significant changes can throw it back into the learning phase.

Status changes that occur by going «in and out of the learning phase» can affect the performance of automated bidding.

Google Shopping vs Shopping Actions

I have a new acronym for you – GSA.
What?… That’s Google Shopping Actions.

Which is usually followed by the question: “Okay Brady, how does GSA differ from good old fashion Google Shopping?”

So glad you asked. Keep reading…

Google Shopping Actions is an ‘online marketplace platform’ that lets retailers list their products across numerous Google properties:

  • Google Search
  • Google Assistant
  • Google Home
  • Google Mobile App

‘Google Shopping’ uses a pay-per-click advertising model.
Not so with GSA. You only pay when a product sells.

Which means Google Shopping Actions uses a commission model: 12% of the purchase price. So the list above is NOT the important distinction.

◊ What is?

Normally you pay based on cost-per-click, cost-per-view, cost-per-conversion, or cost-per-thousand-impressions.

“GSA doesn’t charge for any of that.”

Instead, Google collects 12% of the product’s sale price.

Now think about it.
Online shoppers click your ads all day long BUT your client only pays when somebody buys.

◊ This new concept alone should cause you to consider GSA.

What Does The 12% Commission Get You?

  • Zero Admin Problems. Google takes care of customer returns plus customer support.
  • Customer Data. Retailers get a customer’s name, shipping address, email address (so you can build your marketing list). You don’t get that on Amazon.
  • Repeat Business. With this customer data retailers can use purchase history to sell more products to their existing customer base.

Life Events Targeting For YouTube And Gmail

Moving… Marriage… Graduation…
I know you have experienced at least one. These are “guaranteed to happen” life events — so leverage them with a YouTube or Gmail ad campaign.

If you have clients that provide products/services that touch any of these activities, you can acquire new customers by targeting the ‘Google Ads Audience’ called Life Events.

A few that come to mind:
wedding photographers; storage & moving companies; furniture companies; apartment location services.

“But how does Google know that people have recently experienced one of these events?”

By using machine learning to analyze User’s online behavior:

  • A woman searches for wedding or bridesmaid dresses
  • A mother searching for a graduation gift
  • Someone visits websites for “condos for rent”

But the beauty of Life Events Targeting is that you don’t have to stress about keywords. None required. And if you haven’t noticed by now — “non-keyword advertising“ is a direction Google is chasing.

Create a new campaign and choose VIDEO (for YouTube ads) or DISPLAY for advertising inside a User’s Gmail inbox.

« For clients that own a local business, Life Events Targeting could be the growth they’ve been waiting for. »

In-Market Audiences For Search

With Google’s focus on machine learning we have more ACCURATE audience targeting options than ever before. One of these is your ability to target people who are “in the market searching for your product/service”.

What is ‘In-Market Audiences For Search’?

«  An audience of Users that Google has determined are actively researching or considering buying a particular product or service. These audiences focus on getting conversions from people who are most likely to buy RIGHT NOW. »

But how does Google’s machine learning determine the above?

  • Collecting search query data
  • Analyzing Users’ online activities
  • Content of websites they have visited
  • Frequency of visits to the same website
  • Ads that people click on
  • Previous purchases or conversions

Let’s look at two examples to understand how Google Ads categorizes people into in-market audiences.

EXAMPLE #1.  A User performs the search “new model corvette”. The next day the same user searches for “compare corvette models”. A week later the User clicks on a Display ad showing some Corvettes for sale.

EXAMPLE #2.  In one day a User visits 3 different websites related to beaches in the Caribbean. The following week the same User visits a few websites that sell beach products. 3 days later the User is browsing websites that sell vacations to the Caribbean. The User’s browsing behavior indicates that he/she might want to purchase a Caribbean trip very soon.

Are you looking for another way to lower your cost-per-conversion? Try In-Market Audiences For Search.

Location Extensions In YouTube Ads

Since YouTube joined the Google Display Network (GDN) you can leverage this marriage in several ways. One of them is to show a local business address with directions underneath your video ads.

Didn’t know that was possible on YouTube?

It’s done via your Location Extension and shows in a separate box below ‘TrueView In-Stream’ video ads or underneath ‘bumper’ ads.

If you’ve heard the term “hyper-local advertising” — this is a perfect example. And your clients will love it.

It brings advanced location targeting into the video advertising world. Even better… your client doesn’t have to create new videos to take advantage of it.

« Great. But how does it work? »

If a NEARBY User is on YouTube and has expressed an interest in the local business, then the Location Extension is eligible to appear in a box underneath In-Stream and Bumper ads.

Assuming you have already enabled and configured your Location Extensions, NO additional configuration is required. Nice.

The goal of course is to attract more “foot traffic” into your client’s store or office. It’s the essence of HYPER-LOCAL ADVERTISING.

So… for your part.
Confirm that your Location Extensions are correctly setup, but most importantly, that they are 100% accurate.

3 Advanced Bid Adjustments

You have probably used bid adjustments for device types and locations. Or maybe you use them to lower your bids from midnight to 5am.

But these are the most common bid modifiers. Let’s look at 3 advanced ones that maybe you have never used.

If you have clients that sell an expensive product or service then you should consider raising your bids according to your target audience’s income level. If done correctly you will see that as income goes up so does your conversion rate.

This “targeting by income level” is available in…
(Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, US).

This rarely used bid modifier is for the Display Network. If you look under Advanced Bid Adjustments you will see a link for Top Content.

Here you will see a list of your ad campaigns that have a high number of impressions on web pages that Google determined to have “the most popular content”. These pages get more traffic and more visitor engagement than other websites.

Obviously you want more of your Display ads to appear here. This is where you increase your bids by applying the «Top Content Bid Adjustment».

If you are using Call Extensions then you’ll like this one. Look under Advanced Bid Adjustments on the left side panel. Here you will see a column metric called ‘Interaction Coverage’.

This represents the percentage of time that your Call Extension was shown when it was eligible to be shown.

If your ad has 100 mobile impressions, and the ‘Interaction Coverage’ column says 40%, then your Call Extension was displayed 40 times. But it was NOT shown in 60 of your ads.

Not good. You want your Call Extension to appear more often. No problem. Apply a Call Bid Adjustment here.

Don’t Search For Your Own Ad

I’m sure you have heard the advice… “you shouldn’t perform searches for your own ad”.
And then you say to yourself… “no problem as long as I don’t click it”.

Bad Idea and Here’s Why:

♥ Click Through Rate Will Decrease
CTR is calculated using your number of clicks divided by the number of impressions your ad receives. Simple math tells us if you search your own ad but don’t click it, this will cause your click-through-rate to go down.

♥ Quality Score Will Decrease
One of the components of Quality Score is ‘expected click-through-rate’. You can see where this is headed. As you just read above, your CTR goes down and as a consequence so will your precious Quality Score.

♥ Impressions Will Decrease
The default ‘ad delivery method’ is Standard Delivery. This means that Google will “spread out” your ad impressions throughout the day. So if you search for your ad (and do it too often), you could actually be taking ad impressions away from customers.

♥ Ads Don’t Show Every Time
Even if you have a beautifully optimized campaign, this doesn’t mean your ad will appear every time somebody does a search. Human nature says that if this occurs to you, guess what you’re probably going to do — search for your ad again. Now you are really making things worse.

3 Essential Location Reports

Do you know where your Visitors & Buyers are coming from? No, I mean do you REALLY know?

You can with these 3 LOCATION/GEOGRAPHIC reports:

  1. Geographic Report: Shows your potential customers’ physical locations, OR locations that they had shown interest in.
  2. User Locations Report: Shows ONLY the physical location of your potential customers
  3. Distance Report: Shows the distance between the location that triggered your ad and your closest business location.

Read closely the definition for Geographic Report because it has a fundamental weakness regarding a ‘LOCAL’ product or service: “locations that they had shown INTEREST IN”.

So depending on how you set up your ad campaign, a person can be anywhere in the world and appear in the Geographic Report (…even if you only have a LOCAL business).

But that’s not what you want. You want to know where all of these people are from (including those who aren’t in the local area but expressed an INTEREST).

What’s the solution?

You must OVERLAY the User Locations Report. Now you can see that people from the other side of the planet have expressed an interest in your local product or service (down to their country and city).

To finish up, you can do the same with the Distance Report: see how far away people are that have expressed an INTEREST (…but are not physically located nearby).

Audiences Instead Of Keywords

Perhaps you’ve heard the “rumor” that Google is placing less emphasis on keywords. Or maybe at this point I’m just “stating the obvious”.

If so, what’s the replacement for keywords? AUDIENCES

So instead of targeting keywords, we target humans. You know… the people who actually buy what you’re selling.

Makes sense to me.

In the Google Ads dashboard you will find everything about audiences inside Audience Manager. This is one of the tools under Shared Library. It contains 3 components: «Audience Sources, Audience Lists, Audience Insights».

So how about a quick review of the different AUDIENCE SOURCES that you can use to create Audience Lists (also called remarketing lists)…

  • Customer Data: Collect Visitor email addresses or phone numbers so you can show ads to them while they use Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail
  • App Analytics: Connect an app analytics tool such as Firebase to your account so you can remarket to your app Users
  • Google Play: Create remarketing lists based on your current app Users and in-app Purchasers
  • YouTube: Show ads to Users who have visited your channel, plus track what they do after watching your video ads, and get clicks with call-to-action overlays
  • Google Analytics Tag: Import audiences that you created in Google Analytics so you can show ads to them via Google Ads
  • Google Ads Tag: Collect data from your website so you can show ads to your website Visitors


After you choose one of the above Audience Sources you are ready to create an Audience List (or Remarketing List) based on that source.

Inside Audience Lists you can also see any remarketing lists that you created previously.

Seller Ratings In Google Ads

« How do you put SELLER RATINGS in your ads? »

You don’t!
Okay I confess, it’s “sort of” a trick question.

That’s because Seller Ratings are an Automated Extension that Google sometimes inserts into your Search ads or Shopping ads.

I’m sure you have noticed those 4 or 5 bright yellow stars that often appear underneath a text ad? That’s the Seller Rating Extension.

But relax. Google won’t ruin your client’s business by showing 1 or 2 stars. The minimum rating is 3.5.

Regardless, I mention today’s topic regarding Seller Ratings to remind you that it’s possible to turn off Automated Extensions.

  • Dynamic Sitelinks
  • Dynamic Callouts
  • Dynamic Structured Snippets
  • Automated App Extensions
  • Automated Location Extensions
  • Automated Call Extensions
  • Seller Ratings
  • Longer Ad Headlines

How to disable ALL or SOME of the above…

On the left side menu select «Ads & Extensions», and then «Automated Extensions» tab at top. Look for the «3-dot ‘more’» icon on far right and click «Advanced Settings»

On the screen you will see the list of all Automated Extensions. They’re ON by default. You can turn OFF any of them.

All The Video Ad Formats

It’s tough to keep up with the different formats of video ads that Google offers. Here are the 5 currently available…

Outstream Ads:
Mobile-only (or tablet) video ads that play inside apps or on ‘video partner websites’. They start playing with the sound off, but the User can tap the video to hear the audio.
Bumper Ads:
6-second videos that play before – during – or after another video. They are available on YouTube, apps, video partner websites. You pay based on «cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM bidding)».
Discovery Ads:
These are the video ads that appear next to the related videos on YouTube or on the YouTube search results page. You create this type of ad using a video thumbnail and some text.
Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads:
15-seconds (or shorter) video ads that play before – during – or after another video. As the name implies, Users must watch the ad before they can see the video they originally clicked on. You pay based on «cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM bidding)».
Skippable In-Stream Ads:
A video ad that plays before – during – or after another video, BUT with the option to skip it after 5 seconds. You can choose to pay by «Cost-Per-View (CPV bidding)». This means you will pay when a User watches for 30 seconds or clicks on the video ad.

Cost-Per-Click on the Google Display Network

« How does cost-per-click work on the Display Network? »

Google Ads uses an ‘auction system’ to decide which ads to show and in what order. The ad auction for the Search Network and Display Network are quite similar except for one key difference — INCREMENTAL CLICKS.

But first… keep in mind that your ‘Max Cost-Per-Click’ is NOT what you actually pay for a click. You will pay what’s required to rank higher than the ad position that’s directly below you.


On the Display Network what matters most is “viewable ads”. Therefore, you will pay what’s required to rank higher than the ad below you, but only for incremental clicks.

A particular web page has 2 ad positions to fill. Let’s assume your ad might receive 7 clicks if it shows in the most visible top position, but only 4 clicks when it appears in the second ad position.

The 3 additional clicks are called INCREMENTAL CLICKS because they allowed your ad to continue showing in the top position.

So… for those 3 ‹incremental clicks› you will pay what’s required to rank above the other ad. But for the remaining 4 clicks you will pay a lower price — the cost if your ad had actually appeared in the lower position.

Stated another way: Even though your ad was clicked 7 times for being in the top position, you only paid “full price” for 3 of those incremental clicks.

Local Business – Stop At 50 Mile Radius

If you have local business clients that… “serve customers at the customer’s location”, then it’s common practice to set a SERVICE AREA RADIUS.

Great. So to get more business your ambitious Google Ads client tells you to set the distance he will travel to 100 miles. Here’s why that doesn’t work…

Google’s goal is to give Users RELEVANT information that matches what they searched for.

But even in remote locations, the search results page on your phone rarely shows local businesses that are 50-100 miles away. Even if it exactly matches the type of business the User is looking for.

We can deduce from this that the Google algorithm doesn’t consider a business that is further than 50 miles to be RELEVANT to the user. I hate driving — I agree.

How do I know?
I tested it. And I have read a few blog posts stating similar results.

Even though “Joe The Plumber” doesn’t mind driving 75 miles to fix a toilet, Google doesn’t believe that’s what the customer wants.

Dynamic Search Ads Questions Answered

I field plenty of questions regarding DYNAMIC SEARCH ADS (DSA). Let’s tackle just 2.5 of them…

♦ Will DSA interfere with my “regular” keywords?
In a perfect world… NO. Think of DYNAMIC SEARCH ADS as your backup for unknown keywords. If you have other keywords in your campaign that could also be used for DSA, the ads for those “regular” keywords get displayed IF they are an exact match.

♦ How can I be sure my DSA campaigns are working?
Find the ‘Website Coverage’ column in the Google Ads dashboard (add it if you must). This metric tells you the percentage of pages from your website that Google has indexed to serve as DSA auto targets.

NOTE: If this is a new campaign you should wait at least 3 days before you check the status of DYNAMIC SEARCH ADS.

Beat Your Competitors Using Auction Insights

If you’re not using the Google Ads AUCTION INSIGHTS tool to spy on and beat your competition — you should be.

Here’s what you can discover…

◊ Who Are Your Biggest Competitors:
Look at the ‘Overlap Rate’. This identifies how often another person’s ad received an impression in the same auction that you did. Now you know who REALLY is your competition instead of who you THINK they might be.
◊ How Much Are Your Competitors Spending:
Look at the ‘Impression Share’. This one is just an estimate so let’s take a simple example. If your Impression Share is 35% but your competitor’s is 70%, you can “guess” that their Google Ads budget is double what yours is.
◊ Identify Competitor Campaigns That Are Performing Better Than You:
Look at the ‘Position Above Rate’. This describes THEIR position above YOU. (Ouch.) You might not like what you see. But now that you know you can do something about it.

Don’t Forget Video Remarketing

We Advertisers constantly read about the power of ‘remarketing ads’. True enough… but I hear very little regarding the specifics of VIDEO REMARKETING. Let’s have a look:

I’m really referring to people who have seen your YouTube videos, so step #1 is to link your Google Ads acccount and your YouTube channel. Go to  TOOLS -> LINKED ACCOUNTS  to complete this.

That was easy:
Now you are ready to create video remarketing lists that you can use with 3 campaign types: Search Network, Display Network, Video campaigns.

Next up:
Go to Tools -> Shared Library -> Audience Manager. Here you will see the menu item AUDIENCE LISTS. Click the blue ‘+’ button, choose YouTube Users, and you’re off to the races.

Once your YouTube Remarketing List reaches 100 members (unique YouTube Viewers), you can use it for campaign targeting with Search, Display, Video.

You can of course use the YouTube Remarketing List any time you create a new campaign, …but you don’t have to wait. You can take an existing campaign (or Ad Group) and do it now.


  1. Go to the Campaign or Ad Group that you want to add a remarketing list to
  2. Click the AUDIENCES menu item on the left sidebar
  3. Add your YouTube Remarketing List as the target
  4. Select the options that fit your situation

Advertise To All English Speakers

« So you want to advertise to English speakers all over the world? Sounds easy, right? »

You’re probably thinking, “I’ll just select ENGLISH under my campaign language setting and then write some ads.”

But you are ignoring something of extreme importance: much of the world speaks English as their SECOND LANGUAGE. English is NOT their native language. Think about the 28 countries of the European Union. Or how about India, South America, islands…

“So what” I hear you saying.

So the English speakers in those countries will probably have their WEB BROWSER LANGUAGE set to their native language. This means your ad will NOT appear even if they type their search in English instead of their native language.

Did you catch that last part?

Why does this happen?
Because the campaign language setting that I mentioned at the top refers to the language that your web browser or Google account is set to. You chose English, but they have theirs set to something else, …their native tongue.

What’s the solution?
I always select All Languages for my campaigns and then target by country (or large geographic area). Problem solved.

How The Google Ads Auction Decides

Have you ever wondered EXACTLY how the ‘Google Ads Auction’ determines which ads to show? Here it is…

  1. BUDGET: Does your campaign have enough daily budget remaining? If not, NO ad.
  2. AD DELIVERY: If your campaign does have the budget, ‘Ad Delivery’ decides how quickly to show your ads (accelerated), or less frequently but throughout the day (standard).
  3. AD ROTATION: You have the budget; speed of delivery has been determined; ‘Ad Rotation’ decides which one of your ads to show.
  4. BID: What is this ‘Maximum Cost Per Click’ you are willing to pay for someone to click this ad?
  5. QUALITY SCORE: This helps determine your “REAL” cost-per-click. If it’s too low you will pay more.
  6. THE SEARCH: This includes the User’s search query, location, time of day, device used, etc.
  7. AD FORMAT: This includes the text, ad extensions, ad variables, dynamic ads, etc.

There you have it. That’s the infamous Google Ads Auction.

Now your job is to decide where on the Search Results Page you want your ad to appear, how often, and what you want that ad to look like. Your decision will dictate how you configure all of these settings.

Ad Frequency Capping On GDN

« What is Ad Frequency Capping? »

One of the biggest villains of social media advertising is “AD FATIQUE”.

You know what that is. Your brain stops noticing advertising when it sees the same ad  << …hour-after-hour …day-after-day …week-after-week >>

It’s also known as “Banner Blindness”.
Did you know there are still advertising banners at the top of web pages? Oh yeah, I don’t see them either.

Regardless of what you call it, it’s an equal villain on the Google Display Network. When AD FATIGUE goes up, click-through-rate & conversion rate goes down. Wayyyyy down.

Bummer. What’s the solution? — Ad Frequency Capping.

Ad Freqency Capping specifies the number of times your ad will be shown to an individual User over a fixed time period. You can set this ‘maximum cap’ at 3 levels: Campaign, Ad Group, Ad. You can even go more granular by segmenting by day or week or month.

If you are running ads on the Google Display Network but haven’t checked your Ad Frequency Cap in a long time, do it now.

Or maybe you ignored this step entirely when you originally configured your GDN campaign. Bad move, because your click-through-rate and conversion-rate could be dropping as you read this.

RLSA-Only Advertising Campaigns

Have you seen those infographics that show the most expensive Google Ads keywords? Wow, it hurts to look at. But you don’t have to be in one of those industries to feel the pain of sky high cost-per-click.

Not painful enough?
What if your client or boss gives you a puny budget to spend but wants to make a million $dollars. Got you with that one didn’t I.

Here’s a solution for both: ‘RLSA-only Campaigns’
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

With this strategy your ads from RLSA-only Campaigns will only be shown to people who already know your name or brand because they have been to your website previously.

Why does that matter??? The REMARKETING data speaks:
* 2x-3x conversion rates
* 2x-3x click-through-rates
* cost-per-click reduced by 50%

So if you are fighting a small budget or high CPC, trash your “regular” campaigns, and make the switch to RLSA-only Campaigns.

“Do it now before your Client (or Manager) calls again.”

Measuring Campaign Performance By Location

We all know that our advertising campaigns perform differently in different areas. But do we spend time taking action based on this fact? Let’s do it now.

It all begins with the 3 Location Reports inside Google Ads:

  1. User Location Report
  2. Geographic Report
  3. Distance Report

In this email we’ll look at the definition of User Location Report: It shows ONLY the Users’ physical location, IGNORING any location they might have shown an interest in.

In other words — “where are my potential customers located the moment they click my ad?”

The User Location Report shows your ad performance at an ultra specific level (…even down to zip code or an airport) so you can make adjustments to your bids & budgets. Obviously you’ll want to move money to the best performing areas.

Go to Locations on the left side menu, then Geographic Report -> User Location Report. Here you will see the standard columns of data for all your locations.

But not good enough. The power is in segmentation. Check the box for one of your “large” locations and then look at the options under the drop-down menu labeled SELECT VIEW.

State, Union Territory, City, Postal Code, Airport, Neighborhood

Quality Score: What Does NOT Matter

« What does NOT matter regarding Quality Score? »

We Google Advertisers spend plenty of time talking about how to improve our Quality Score. You might get the impression that EVERYTHING matters.

Here Are 3 Things That Don’t Matter

Ad’s Location on the SERP Does NOT Matter:
That’s because the ‘Expected Click-Through-Rate’ is normalized for each ad position. The ‘Expected CTR’ of ad position 1 is quite different than #4.
Running Ads on GDN or Search Partners Does NOT Matter:
If you are heavily invested in the Google Display Network or Search Partners Network — smart idea. And don’t worry if they underperform the Search Network because this will NOT affect your Quality Score.
Your Account Structure Does NOT Matter:
I’m very particular about how I organize my account. But I could have the best organized Google Ads account on the planet and it won’t increase my QS. That’s because “Google’s Official Position” states that there is NO SUCH THING as an ad-group-level / campaign-level / account-level Quality Score.

(Regarding that last statement… yes, I do recognize that some folks outside of Google have argued that an account-level Quality Score does exist)

Do You Know This Phrase Match Tactic?

I’m sure you have read it (…and heard it) a dozen times — complaints that “Exact Match is no longer EXACT”.

There is a solution…
But I rarely see it…

It only makes sense. When you are on Amazon or Bing or Google and you want to perform an EXACT MATCH search, what do you do?

You put “quotes” around your search phrase to make it EXACT. Why not do the same with your Exact Match Keywords?

You know the ones… the keywords that you really do want to be EXACT.

(…And it gets even better)
When I implemented this switch to PHRASE MATCH in 3 campaigns, my cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition went down.


Start with Long Tail Keywords:
Identify your ‘4-5 word keywords’ and switch them to “Phrase Match”.
Monitor the results for 1 week:
Check your Search Terms Report every day for 1 week (or longer) to find the irrelevant search queries that sneak in.
Add negative keywords to remove these bogus terms:
That’s because when you switch to Phrase Match your impressions increase because other words are allowed BEFORE & AFTER the target phrase.

Congratulations, you are now back to a real “EXACT MATCH”.

Repeat the above with your ‘3 word keywords’.

Keep monitoring and adding negatives. Watch your CPC and CPA go down.

Bid Adjustments Key Points

Bid Modifiers in Google Ads get a bit confusing. How about a quick summary of the significant concepts:

  1. Set BID ADJUSTMENTS in these places: Demographics, Calls, RLSA, Location, Device, Ad Schedule, Targeting on GDN, Top Content on GDN & YouTube.
  2. The above are CUMULATIVE — percentages “stack on top of each other”. EXAMPLE: you set a 5% bid adjustment for mobile, and target your RLSA audience with a 10% adjustment. Ads to your audience on their phones will increase 15%.
  3. An exception is for LOCATIONS. If I set a 15% bid adjustment for Colorado (the state where I live), and 20% for Denver (capital city), it will NOT be 35%. Ads targeted at Denver will get a 20% bid adjustment because it is the more specific location.
  4. To completely EXCLUDE your ads from showing on a specific device type set the bid modifier to -100%.
  5. An ad group bid adjustment takes PRECEDENCE over bid modifiers set at the campaign level.
  6. An exception to the above rule occurs when you set a -100% DEVICE bid adjustment on a campaign. Any DEVICE bid modifier on ad groups will be ignored.

Watch Out For These Problem Metrics

Let’s talk Google Ads Metrics shall we? I know… boring topic, but stay with me.

Specifically, I want to look at problem metrics. Meaning that if you see these in your campaign it should cause an immediate red flag in that brain of yours.

Money Spent but NO Conversions:
You spent money on clicks but after a few month’s time zero conversions. Don’t get paranoid though. It could be that your ‘conversion tracking’ is broken. If not, take one Ad Group and replace all the ads with some new ones.
High Ad Impressions but Low CTR:
If you see this head straight to your Search Terms Report. Identify which queries have the most impressions compared to how many clicks they get.
Ad in Position 1 but FEW Clicks:
Wow, your ad must not be very appealing because everybody is skipping past it. Time to “go back to the drawing board” and get creative.

Expand Your Ad Impression Share

« How does your ad impression share actually increase? »

1) Your ads must be shown more often
2) Your ads must be shown in more unique places

Many people are not aware of the 2nd answer.

But now that you are, what can you do to improve your ad impression share?

  • Move(allocate) your budget to campaigns that deliver more ad impressions
  • Expand the reach of your local-only campaigns
  • Expand your audience size
  • Increase your budget and bids (we all know this last one but I had to throw it in anyway)

Look At The PARTS, Not The WHOLE

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with too much data coming from Google Ads?

When I reach that point I take one tactic: “Look at the PARTS, not the WHOLE”

In other words, focus on segments of your data.
Here are two examples:

1) Don’t look at performance by campaign; look at performance per device. Head straight to the DEVICES menu and evaluate your campaign by comparing the performance of desktops vs tablets vs mobile phones vs TV screens.

This granular view will give you better insights than looking at the whole campaign.

2) Here’s a similar concept. Instead of looking at your campaign by the week or month, filter it down to look at days or times of day.

For example, I was curious to know how one of my campaigns performed during the weekends only. So I took 3 months and segmented it into 13 weekends (Excel spreadsheet comes in handy).

Why do this? Because this segmented view gave me some hints as to changes I should make. Changes that would not have occurred to me if I had only looked at entire weeks.

Work WHERE & HOW you want
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