With Google having approximately 90% market share in the UK, and with ranking a site organically becoming more time and resource intensive, for a lot of businesses, paid search is a crucial part of the marketing mix.

Google has been putting more emphasis on mobile search, so much so that it removed the right hand side PPC ads from its search results earlier this year to bring the appearance of the SERPs in line with its mobile-first ethos. Businesses need to take note, and plan accordingly.

Consumer behaviour is evolving and smartphone adoption is booming; so how can businesses utilise AdWords to capture valuable real-estate - without spending a fortune?

Entice and deliver

Write compelling ad copy that explains what you are offering, use a great call to action, and when a user clicks the ad, make sure the landing page is relevant to the keyword and meets users’ expectations. Make the most of expanded text ads too.

Using Ad Extensions to extend your reach

Extensions are a great way of taking up more space in SERPs and while they are not guaranteed to show, when they do, on a mobile device you are likely to be the only result above the fold!

App extensions - Mobile and tablet only. Shows a link below main ad text that sends people to the app store or begins downloading the app.

Call extensions - Allows people to click to call your business straight from SERPs from a mobile. Choose to show on all devices, or mobile only.

Location extensions - Helps people nearby to find your nearest shop or give you a call. Also shown in Google Maps.

Review extensions - Showcases positive, third-party reviews from reputable sources.

Sitelinks extensions - Adds links to deeper pages of your website.

Callout extensions - Adds descriptive text to ads to help people find out about additional services or USPs. Cannot be linked to other pages.

Message extensions - Mobile only. Allows users to send an SMS text message to a business.

Price extensions - Adds price to a text ad.

Structured snippets - A list of the types of products or services you offer, relevant to the ad copy, which appears under the ad.

The extensions you use will depend on the type of business you run, but it’s well worth experimenting with as many as possible, as different combinations of Ad Extensions can be shown at once.

Location, location, location

For businesses with a physical location that they want to drive footfall to, or provide a service for locally, geo-targeting is a pretty easy nut to crack as it is a matter of advertising within close proximity of the business location. A well-written ad and highly relevant landing page coupled with a reasonable bid should be sufficient to secure a decent ad position under most circumstances.

It gets more complicated when businesses want to advertise outside of their local area, and even more so when dealing with campaigns that are national and international. It takes a big budget to show ads across an entire country, but this might be a necessity, particularly for e-commerce sites, so how can advertisers optimise by location?

If you're showing in position three or lower within a specific location, but receiving a high number of impressions, chances are your ads aren't even being seen. To fix this, you've got two options: Add the location (to your campaign) and increase the bid to try to improve position, or you can cut your losses, reduce the bid, and reinvest it in areas that have performed better historically to maximise ROI.

Timing is everything

As with location-based targeting, the time of day that ads are shown can make all the difference. If ads are set to run 24/7, budget will be spread thinner, limiting the number of impressions the ads will receive at peak times. It is worthwhile analysing when users are most likely to be online to tailor ad schedules accordingly.

Typing or tapping?

User behaviour is different depending on the device being used, and understanding this will determine how you develop your strategy.

By analysing device type vs. time of day, bid adjustments can be modified to ensure that maximum exposure is being achieved. For businesses with a physical presence, factoring where people are when they are searching is important too.

Conducting thorough analysis of an AdWords account can reveal many opportunities, preventing money being thrown down the drain. Optimising a campaign takes time, and it will need to be an ongoing activity, but it could make all the difference if you are up against a competitor with a bigger budget to capture more real estate and increase traffic considerably.


By Victoria Spall, senior account manager at Browser Media


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