Hey gang, this is Justin Croxton here from Propellant Media. I mean, there’s checklists for days that are out there for developing a campaign within the Google Ads platform. And I mean, once you’ve become initiated in the process, you do get to a point where you don’t need a checklist, you just know what to do, it’s like secondhand nature. But this is a pretty good one that we use here internally here at Propellant Media. And so, I mean, there’s a couple ways to look at this. First, you can look at it from the perspective of developing a campaign, particularly in search and we’re not talking so much about the display campaigns themselves. But if you’re talking about just search in general, then we have a portion of the checklist that helps solve that.
But then we also have a checklist for just some standard optimizations. There’s a number of other things that we do from an optimization perspective, whether it be developing scripts so that the system can optimize itself, alerts that you can set up, all really cool things that you can do within the platform. But for the sake of everyone that’s out there, I really want to try to keep this punchy and to the point as much as I possibly can. And so, for a second, imagine that you were developing a pay-per-click advertising campaign for yourself. And maybe it’s for a client, maybe it’s for your own organization, whatever it may be. These are the standard practices that if you use this from a launch perspective, you’re going to win just about every single time.
This helps reduce at least 50 to 75% of the waste on the front end of a campaign. It puts you to a place where you can actually spot check any errors or performance of your campaigns as a whole. Really, really good stuff that we try to go through. And so, I’ll talk about this for a second and you’ll see where I’m coming from. When you’re thinking about a campaign or any Google search campaign is broken out into about four different layers. The first is the campaign itself, the second would be the ad group, we’ll talk about that. The third would be the text or the ad copy and the fourth would be the keyword strategy. So, this is the checklist that we use here internally at Propellant Media. I mean, it’s not a perfect system, but I’d say it works for at least 60 to 70% of campaigns that we develop for clients across the board.
So, here are the best practices, hear me out and I think you’ll appreciate this. The first, when it comes to at the campaign level, I want you guys to really focus on going into the campaign settings and look at these different things. For example, you only want to have one product or service per campaign. So, if you’re running a campaign or running several campaigns for a client, let’s say a client is a personal injury attorney, I wouldn’t necessarily lump all of their keywords that’s related to being an attorney within just, how do I say this, within just one particular campaign. Maybe they do trucking accidents, maybe they do car accidents, maybe they do motorcycle accidents. Those could realistically be three separate campaigns and ultimately, three separate themes.
And so, you always want to look at, from that perspective, when you’re developing your campaign, that’s the first thing we focus on. Second, we also like to look at the ad scheduling. So, if you’re really focused on leads and leads that you’re trying to generate during certain times of the day, you don’t want to have the campaign running after 7:00 PM or something along those lines so we really try to make sure that that’s been set up properly. A lot of times we’ll have clients and we’ll notice that they’ve set up and we do some audits for folks. We’ll notice that they have set up a campaign that includes display select, which is a no-no when you first start a campaign. And they’ll even have search partners network set up, that too is not a good idea in most cases.
If you start with the search network, which is primarily those individuals that go directly to the Google platform to do a search, that’s more than sufficient. And then, if you want expand from there over into of the search partners network, you can certainly do that. But I do that with caution and I do that with the perspective that you should have conversion tracking set up, we’ll talk about that in a little bit. But when you’re first starting your campaigns, focus on the search network, don’t do anything within search partners and never start with display select. Next, we like to split our ads evenly. I think nowadays with responsive text ads, you possibly don’t really need to do that as much.
So, if you have two or three responsive ads, then maybe that does make sense, but it’s still a nice thing to do in certain instances so if you want to do it, you certainly can it’s not going to hurt, but it can certainly provide you with some good intelligence if you are split testing several different ads, ad copy, if you will. Location targeting, this is a big one. A lot of times people, there’s a certain place within location targeting where you can check off the actual location of individuals that, they may not even live in that area but they’re searching in that area. So, if I live in Philadelphia but I’m doing a search in California, I might type in the word California personal injury attorneys but I can pull up that search if I’m in Philadelphia if I have that button checked off within the location targeting settings within the campaign itself.
You only want to reach people who are in that location. And just so everyone’s clear on what I’m talking about here, let’s see here. Just want to give everyone the stylized example because this stuff really, really, really, really matters. So, if you come over here to settings …
Come on, come on, here we go. You come over here to settings, and then you scroll down to this guy right here, presence. You want to only target people in or regularly in your targeted locations, you don’t want to target people who express an interest in your targeted location. That’s usually a recommendation, even for individuals that are targeting folks all around the United States, it just really helps with the waste. We’ve noticed that across the board, we highly, highly suggest that. Next, your bid strategy. Usually starting off, we do make it a max cost-per-click bid, we usually range it anywhere from 10 to 15, 20 bucks, depending on the competition within the market.
But usually we’ll start there, but you have to have your conversion tracking setup, whether you’re tracking phone calls, form submissions, whatever, you need to have something, some sort of a conversion, micro conversions versus macro conversions. You got to have conversion tracking set up so that eventually you can switch to a maximized conversion strategy, then possibly a CPA bid strategy and maybe even a ROAS bid strategy as well, very, very important. And then last but not least, you really want your name and conventions to be proper. You want them to make sense, you want to give yourself the space when you’re looking at reporting to be able to spot check performance at the campaign level a lot faster.
This really makes a difference long term and helps speed up your time to look at things and analyze the data and the performance across your campaigns. So campaign settings, that’s usually what we’re looking at. I mean, there’s a number of other things but this is a real quick stylized example. Then at the ad group level, we have two different ways in which we build ad groups here at our agency, at Propellant Media. The first are what we call SKAGs, those are Single Keyword Ad Groups. This has been a really powerful strategy, particularly knowing that Google has made it more difficult for us to determine which keywords are producing the highest, the best fruit for our clients.
I mean, that hasn’t been removed altogether, but when we’re spot checking campaigns, we’re able to see stuff in a much more quicker fashion and make optimizations a whole lot faster and improve the overall performance of our campaigns, where we’re doing what’s called Single Keyword Ad Groups, that’s when you have a keyword per ad group versus putting 10, 20, 30, 40 keywords in one ad group, so that’s really helpful. But then, there are certain cases where like, if we’re running a brand campaign, then we might actually just build one ad group or two ad groups and we’ll put a lot of the brand terms within that one ad group. Or if we’re really trying to go with a particular theme and there’s not a lot of keywords to go with, we may still utilize five to 10 keywords within that one ad group itself.
In those cases, I think it’s fine but if you’re dealing with 50, 60, 70 or more keywords, and I think Single Keyword Ad Groups in thematic, specifically in thematic campaign infrastructures, I think it really does matter at that point. So, now that you’ve gone through your campaign settings and your ad group development, then you’re able to put your responsive text ads within your ad groups effectively. So, responsive text ads, usually we would do three to four extended text ads but by the time folks have listened to this, the extended text ads are probably going be removed. And so, I’m just going to delete this altogether. And then in this case, you can focus on one to two responsive text ads per ad group.
Sometimes we’ll use what’s called keyword insertion as well, that helps with click-through rates from time to time, we do like to utilize that. For those who don’t know responsive ads, responsive ads are where you are given the opportunity to insert 15 headlines for descriptions and the Google system will just find the permutations that’s going to perform the best for you. We typically recommend at least 10 headlines and that you fill out all four description lines with some great variations from call to actions. Some responsive text ads that includes the keywords that you’re going after really, really makes a difference from a performance standpoint.
Some of the other things that we have in our checklist, we’ll look at all of the extensions that we can utilize. We’ll look at the call extensions, we’ll look at call-outs, image extensions if that feature has been turned on within your Google Ads account. Structured snippets, site links, location extensions. And then, also we’ll utilize what’s called dynamic image extensions as well, where you can actually dynamically pull images directly from your site that gets pulled into your ads as well, really helps with the overall performance of your campaigns and your click-through rates.
I was talking about ad copy already but I’ll talk about it one more time. The one thing that we really try to do is we try to get client buy-in. We don’t just simply build the ads ourselves, clients have so much more context than us. But the one thing that I will say, it’s really nice when you can include numbers, you can get pricing, having an ad that’s customized when needed really makes a difference. Having quotation marks, things that just, how do I say this, things that will draw the eyes to your ad really makes a difference. Those benefits of your product or your service that you’re trying to promote really makes a difference. And then last but not least, we try to have our ad copy not be sentence cased, we really try to have it be title cased.
So, what that means is that you will only have the first letter of each word that’s going to be capitalized. It’s just a much more professional look within your ad copy. You’ll notice that within a lot of video ads that you might see out there really, really is clean and also just looks better visually. So, we always go with that approach. And so, as part of our checklist, as we’ve built a campaign and we’re spot checking a campaign after the fact, then we get to our keyword strategy. I know here as part of our checklist, we say 50 to 100 keywords, that’s not always going to be the case and it doesn’t always have to be the perfect standard. But it is important to have a good number of keywords as long as they are absolutely relevant to the brand and the services that you’re promoting.
And the other thing to note is that, as I was talking about the personal injury attorney example, you might have three different campaigns, one that’s for truckers, one that’s for car accidents, one that’s for motorcycles, and then you can actually develop 20 to 30 keywords per each campaign, that too is okay. And so next thing, we typically like to go with phrase and exact match only. Google lately has really been pushing folks to go with broad match and they use their smart bidding strategy. I’ve done that too many times and tested this theory out too many times and their argument is that they’re able to target the user rather than just the keyword itself that can translate into a good conversion for your brand. But in our experience, the cost per actions go up quite a bit even if it’s still generating leads.
Also, you have to be incredibly diligent in adding a ton of negative keywords on a regular basis. I’ve seen it just too many times, it doesn’t work as well. So, always start with phrase and exact match, never start with broad match. When implementing, if you’re implementing a cost-per-click big strategy, I said big, bid strategy. Initially, always bid exact match 50 cents higher than your phrase match to start with. It’s just a standard practice, we like to go with that approach typically. As a strategy, once you’ve found all your terms through the Google keyword planner, you need to mark off the ones that you want to use. So, sometimes we know folks out there that will be lazy and they’ll just download a ton of keywords from Google keyword planner. And they won’t, I mean, they’ll just download all the keywords and they’ll use that as their keyword list. Don’t do that.
Download the keyword list, have a clear understanding of the business and the client that you’re working with and click off, literally pick, handpick all of the keywords that’s relevant and build them out into separate themes, relative to the products and services that your client or that your own brand is promoting. It’s just a much cleaner and effective way to ensure that you’re not starting off with a ton of waste within your campaigns. Next, once you’ve done all of that, take that same keyword list and send that to your internal team, send that to your clients so you can get their buy-in. Because the last thing, I mean, if you think about it, the keywords, that is your audience essentially. Those keywords represents your audience. And if in marketing, if you get the audience wrong, everything else you’re just wasting money at that point.
So, if you get buy-in from the client, that gives you the ability to ensure that you’re not wasting as much as … I give you a great example working with a client, a spray foam insulation company. And if you think about it, you can offer the service of spray foam insulation but there’s also a lot of products that are out there and there’s also people that are just trying to do a DIY product, DIY foam insulation themselves. And so, you can imagine that, you don’t want to show up for the word product spray foam insulation or spray foam insulation home Depot, or DIY spray foam insulation, you only want to show up for people that are saying, “Spray foam insulation near me, spray foam insulation service or service companies.” You got to look at it contextually from that perspective and if you do, you’re going to win more times than not.
As part of our checklist, we’re also looking at the negative keyword strategy. So, you want to add a lot of keywords on the front end. We have a really extensive list that we can share with everybody if you ask for it. But we have a ton of negative keywords that are broken out into people that are looking for jobs, people that are looking for different careers, DIYers, price, city, states, a lot of different keywords that you can add as negatives to ensure that you’re getting as much waste out of it on the front end as possible. And then, one thing that we’ll double check is we like to leverage just an overall negative keyword list that we may be able to use across multiple campaigns. And so, when we’re building out our negative keyword list, we’re saving that as a negative keyword list itself so that we can use that across multiple campaigns that we may be building out for a client long term.
And then last but not least, conversion tracking setup. If you don’t have Google Tag Manager, it’s a lifesaver. Have it installed on a client’s website, if you don’t have, if a client’s really trying to measure phone calls having a software like CallRail installed really does help you measure phone calls. But the bottom line is you must absolutely have call tracking or excuse me, conversion tracking setup, period. It’s an absolute must. I don’t care whether you’re measuring leads, application, phone calls, something, I mean, even if it’s critical button clicks, micro conversions, you got to have something set up because if you don’t, you can’t move to a max conversions bid strategy, a CPA bid strategy, a ROAS bid strategy, you can’t do any of those things.
And so in doing so, at the very very least, if you are measuring phone calls, then you can at least have your call extensions set up so you can measure individuals that have called one of your call extensions as an example. And so, there’s certainly a number of other things that I’m missing here, but this covers 80% of the work that you would have to do from a foundational infrastructure perspective for any of your Google Ads campaigns. And honestly, after spot checking, then you launch your campaign. Again, this is just talking about search campaigns, we’re not talking about display or YouTube video campaigns, just search. And so, once you’ve gone through that process, now you can move over to, “Okay, I’ve launched my campaign,” now you can spend the first week to two weeks really optimizing it.
And typically, we’ll talk about it in a separate conversation but we’re usually in the campaigns about two to three times a day in the first week and then it trickles out from there, but we’re still maintaining a level of consistency because sometimes clients will want to build out new campaigns, we want to make certain that certain campaigns aren’t competing against each other. And so, this is a checklist that we use. I mean, we have one that’s a lot more extensive than this, but this is gold right here, I’m to telling you right now. So, I hope this was helpful everyone, thanks for taking the time, greatly appreciate it and I’m sure I’ll talk to you all soon.