11 Strategies for Optimising Ad Relevance

Daniel Bianchini // Co-founder

Marketers commonly hear complaints about Google Ads not performing well, with budgets being rinsed and little to no return on investment. But PPC advertising is often misunderstood leading to poor execution with missed opportunities to optimise Google Ad relevance.

A big part of Google Ads delivery is based on its Quality Score, which is a measurement of an ad’s relevance, click-through rate, and landing page experience. This is how closely matched the ad is to the user’s search terms and intent.

When done right, these can be incredibly effective. Google Ads boast a 4-6% click-through rate, far surpassing social media’s average of 1.2%.

That’s how by considering every stage of the user journey, Common Ground helped Drive Fuse optimise Google Ad relevance to great effect. Using ads that targeted users looking at broad terms, brand-focused terms, and subscription alternatives, Drive Fuse saw a 17% over-target increase in sign-ups, while also lowering its CPA by 25%.

That’s why when starting any new Google Ad campaign, consider these questions: Are the keywords split into themes? Is the keyword included in the title, ad copy, and display path fields? Is the landing page relevant and user-friendly?

This article will look at how to optimise Google Ads relevance and provide simple, easy-to-follow suggestions.


Understanding Ad Relevance in Google Ads

Ad relevance is based on several factors that will impact the overall Quality Score. Google will consider if the ad matches the search intent by analysing the location of the user, keyword themes, copy, and landing page experience.

These can vary depending on the optimisation strategy. By creating different clusters of Google ads, multiple keyword themes can be targeted and used with different ad relevance strategies to improve ROAS.

Depending on the goal, different campaign types, placements, and formats will be most effective.

For example, a B2B SaaS company can leverage Google Ads to lower its CPA by streamlining its ad groups and keyword choices, leading to an increased paid conversion rate of 162%.

But importantly, the best optimised Google Ad campaigns will be run by people who are reactive to changing consumer behaviour and industry trends. This means keeping abreast of current news in the industry and what solutions users will be looking for.

Thanks to the cost of living crisis, concerns rose about hikes in energy prices. Octopus Energy addressed this by creating a series of reactive, optimised Google Ads that helped secure over 2 million customers and a huge increase in brand awareness.


11 Strategies for Optimising Ad Relevance

With the right knowledge and strategies, Google Ads can go from intimidating to the best weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. Effectively optimising Google Ad relevance and implementing responsive adjustments to ad placements and formats can provide significant increases in campaign success rates.

Here at Common Ground, we’ve put together a list of 11 tips and strategies for optimised Google Ad relevance.

1. Keyword relevance:

Keyword relevance is… key. Consider the keywords usually targeted, and if they align with search intent. The closer the alignment, the more likely the ad is to be served to a subset of people who will click through.

Structure the campaign around groups developed from thorough keyword research. Then, keep them in mind for every aspect of the ad, including the copy and title.

Another common tactic that considers keyword relevance involves positioning the company at the top of searches related to competitors or alternatives for specific well-known brands.

2. Compelling ad copy

It’s not just about choosing the right keywords, but utilising them and the rest of the copy in a way that’s attractive to readers. Ensure there’s a clear, concise message and a strong call to action that is specific and relevant to the ads’ recipients.

Other best practices include highlighting a unique selling point such as a key feature, personalising ads based on user intent, including statistics to back up messaging, or creating urgency by targeting people’s FOMO. For example, optimise Google Ads with the countdown customiser to tell potential customers of a special offer ending in ‘X number of days’.

3. Landing page alignment

This is a crucial step in optimising a Google Ad campaign as it directly affects its Quality Score. The landing page must be directly relevant to the ad delivering it.

If the ad copy mentions a sale or USP, for example, the landing page should also address that specific detail.

This allows for a seamless and consistent journey that improves customer experience and increases the likelihood of conversions.

4. Ad extensions

Ad extensions, now known as Google Assets, add additional pieces of information to optimise Google ads and extend their reach. By including one or more Assets the ad increases the space it takes up in search results. This provides greater visibility and more information to the user.

If a real estate company is targeting specific locations, for example, it can add an Asset that will include sitelinks for specific home types in that locale in its SERP.

5. Audience targeting

Keyword clusters with targeted messaging are only effective when coupled with a strategy that takes every part of Google Ad relevance into account. First and foremost, they need to be delivered to the right people, and that’s where audience targeting can elevate a keyword cluster’s theme and approach.

If a particular subset of people, based on age, gender, location, etc., are searching for specific terms, ensure the target audience segments match those demographics. This will ensure the messaging reaches the right people, based on their interests and search patterns, increasing the click-through rate.

6. Dynamic Keyword Insertion

The good news is that not all Google Ad optimisation needs to be done manually. The highly targeted keyword approach we’ve already discussed is made easier with AI.

Using Google’s Dynamic Keyword Insertion tool (DKI), Google Ads will choose the most appropriate term from an ad group based on the user’s search. This increases the relevance and effectiveness of the ad for better optimisation.

7. A/B testing

A/B testing improves Google Ads optimisation. Using this strategy, a marketer can gain insights into which ad variations perform better, and be reactive to changing industry trends. Ad success can inform further optimisations leading to a more effective and optimised Google Ad relevance strategy.

8. Ad placements and formats

There are nine different Google Ad campaign types that inform placement and ad format:

  • Performance Max campaign (across all Google channels)
  • Google Search (text ads)
  • Google Display (image-based)
  • Video (delivered on YouTube)
  • App (delivered across Search, Display, Play and YouTube)
  • Local (delivered across Search, Display, Google Maps and YouTube)
  • Smart (AI-driven campaigns)
  • Google Shopping

Experimenting with these formats and placements enables individuals to tailor their ads to the most effective platforms for their business.

9. Ad scheduling

Scheduling Google ads allows visibility optimisation for peak user engagement times, making the ad spend more cost-efficient. The campaign can be set to match or complement other marketing initiatives. It can also target users at a specific time to enhance their experience and customer journey, providing information when they are actively seeking it.

10. Negative keywords

Including a negative keyword in a campaign ensures the ad won’t appear in searches containing that specific term.

For example, if a PPC ‘SaaS campaign for SMEs’ is appearing prominently in searches for Enterprise businesses, add ‘enterprise’ to the negative keywords list to prevent this from occurring.

11. Utilising ad customers

Retargeting and optimised targeting are two highly effective strategies to optimise Google Ads.

Retargeting allows the individual to leverage information on those who have already interacted with existing ads; increasing the likelihood of response and a higher ROAS. By adding a lookalike audience based on the characteristics of existing customers, the reach of the PPC ads is extended to a similar user group, enhancing the potential engagement and conversion rates.


Implementation Guide: How to Optimise Google Ads

Using split A/B testing, change one or two small elements of a campaign to see which version is more effective.

This allows for greater analysis within Google Analytics and the ability to trial different messaging, images, ad position, or formats with the same subset of an audience to see what performs best.

For example, the search term “Best CRM for small businesses” delivers this ad from Bigin:

Bigin has considered both the actual search term and its intent, leading to a well-optimised Google Ad. Not only have they used a title that immediately highlights their software as “the best”, but also emphasises that it’s designed specifically for small businesses, as per the search term.

This is something repeated in the ad copy itself. By including the additional longtail phrase “powerful yet simple CRM” they are showcasing their expertise in which type of CRM a small business would be looking for.

A good A/B test here would be running the same ad with a different call-to-action, or messaging theme to measure which has a better success rate.

The good news is running A/B tests are relatively simple:

  • Go to Campaigns > Experiments > Custom Experiments
  • Choose the campaign > Set up goals to measure success metrics
  • Choose traffic and budget split
  • Select any relevant Advanced options
  • Make the relevant test adjustments to the campaign
  • Schedule start date and duration

These tests often involve a lot of repetition, with small tweaks and changes based on close data analysis.  A well-optimised ad, that when clicked delivers a landing page that’s highly relevant and targeted, will achieve a high Google Ads Quality Score. To attain this, keep the messaging consistent and on-brand from the ad to the website, to build trust, boost visibility, and streamline the customer journey.


Measuring Success: Tracking Ad Relevance Performance

Every stage of a Google Ad optimisation strategy should be informed by the Ad Relevance and analytics. When Ad Relevance aligns with user needs, it drives higher click-through rates, which in turn leads to a higher number of lead conversions, purchases, sign-ups etc.

But not every ad is successful immediately, the first time it’s delivered. Taking into account how the Google Ad influences later customer purchases is a difficult metric to track, but one that should be taken into account. This can be done in two ways:

  • View-through conversions: Those who saw the ad, didn’t interact, but later purchased something/signed up etc. on the site.
  • Assisted conversions: Those who clicked the ad and then later, independently visited the site to complete the conversion process.

These campaign performance analytics allow a deeper dive than foundational PPC metrics. They provide a more holistic understanding of user behaviour and the influence of Google Ads on the later customer journey.

It is essential to understand the relationship between ad relevance and a campaign’s success rates. By niching an ad down to target specific keywords and search terms, informed by analytics data, the ads delivery is optimised. As a result, the likelihood of the user converting is increased.

Optimising Google Ad relevance is 100% necessary for achieving a high ROAS from campaigns. Many marketers will shy away from Google Ads due to their perceived fiddly nature and the lack of success others experience. But when executed effectively, they present an incredible opportunity for businesses, with high click-through and conversion rates.

At the heart of the Google ads campaign should be consideration of the ads’ relevance to its audience, and utilisation of data-driven tools to inform decision-making.

It’s an ad type that requires constant evolution and adaptation to be at its most optimal. But, done well, it can completely overhaul a business’ reach and conversion percentages.

If this all seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is the perfect Google Ad campaign. Try and implement just one or two of these recommendations and tell us here at Common Ground the difference they made!

Daniel Bianchini // Co-founder

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