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10 months ago (31/01/22) 268 Views

How search campaign works?


How a search campaign works

Who has never seen a paid ad in Google? One of the strengths of Google Ads is certainly that of being able to organize, with a minimum expenditure of energy, an advertising activity among the organic search results of the search engine. A search campaign has keywords as its main targeting options . Through the careful choice of keywords we make our campaign able to match all the actual searches that users could carry out, showing them a text-only ad. A search campaign has four matching options:
  • generic
  • phrase, symbol quotation marks “”
  • exact, square bracket symbol []
  • generic modified, + symbol
From the most “open” correspondence (the generic one) to the most stringent one (the exact one) we can direct our campaign to show ads only to a specific set of queries , ignoring all the others. Naturally, a campaign can make use of multiple keywords, with different correspondences, managed in one or more groups, according to the needs of the architecture we are planning to build. A research campaign, it should be emphasized, aims to intercept users who are aware of the problem they want to solve or, at most, willing to investigate a topic by looking for useful information. They are invaluable in all those cases where your audience already knows or somehow masters the vocabulary needed to take the first step towards your product or service.

Ads for search campaigns

A search ad , we said, is made up of text only. In particular, it gives up to three titles (of up to 30 characters each) and two descriptions (of up to 90 characters each). It seems like a lot of space available, but as always in these cases the maximum yield is obtained by adequately weighing the characters and information to be communicated. Recently introduced are the responsive ads for the search network , which allow you to manage multiple titles and descriptions. Once these “assets” have been uploaded for the ad, the platform will autonomously find the best combination to achieve the desired results. Google recommends – and it’s good advice – to have at least two standard and one responsive text ads in each ad group, so you can think about different variations while observing the distribution of results.

Ad extensions

Have you noticed that sometimes above or below an ad on the search network there are other texts, telephone numbers, addresses and other useful ideas for clicking? In all of these cases you are looking at ad extensions . Extensions are real… add-ons for announcements, which we can create to add value to the message and thus make the final announcement more contextual. Extensions are different and Google often adds or changes some details about their behavior. The most used extensions are:
  • callout extensions (short additional texts)
  • sitelink extensions (clickable texts, with relative description)
  • location extensions (address and telephone number)
  • call extensions (clickable phone number)
  • price extensions (information on products and price ranges)
  • structured snippet extensions (set of values)
The careful selection and configuration of ad extensions affects ad rankings , increasing their quality and allowing our offer to be more effective than its competitors . Don’t underestimate them!

How a display campaign works

Remember when I mentioned that a search campaign is mainly useful for intercepting users who, like saying, already know in some way what they want? A display campaign, on the other hand, allows us to intercept users who have not yet necessarily taken action to solve their problem, but are part of a potential audience . Through a display campaign we can show image ads (banners) on third-party sites. In this case, the targeting options multiply to offer us the nuances necessary to show the right banner, to the right person , in the best context. The targeting options available range from:
  • Audiences
  • Subjects
  • Keyword
  • Placements
  • Demographics
By choosing audiences we focus on the person who is to receive the ad. What topics are you interested in? What products do you usually buy or compare? In this first scenario we are not particularly interested in which site our user can go to, but only in which group of people he may belong. Through the arguments, the direction changes. In this case we are no longer interested in the person in the strict sense, but rather the site on which users go. In fact, by choosing a topic , we show our ads on all sites that refer to a specific topic, regardless of the type of people who visit that site. But what if we wanted to reach the sites whose pages deal with a particular theme? This is the job of the keyword targeting option . It is sufficient to indicate a set of terms to guide the campaign in all those contexts within the Google Display Network in which a specific theme is treated.
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Even more in detail, we have the placements . You see, normally by choosing any of the previous targeting options the placements section shows the domains, apps or videos in which the ads were delivered. In this section we can remove some placements that we do not consider suitable , focusing the campaign even better. Additionally, placements can be used as an “active” targeting option. That is, we can indicate some specific domains in which to show ads, ignoring any other targeting options. Of course this is a restrictive option, which must be used with due awareness. Finally, the demographics . We can limit the delivery of our campaign to a specific age group, gender or parental status. Unlike what can happen in other contexts (such as in Facebook Ads ) it is good to limit the restriction on demographic data, since the risk is to excessively reduce the delivery of ads.

Ads for display campaigns

There are two types of ads available for the display network:
  • uploaded
  • adaptable
Through the uploaded ads, well, we simply upload graphic material according to the platform requirements (file size, format and weight). In these cases, it is necessary to provide for all the formats and dimensions necessary to match the available positions. If one of the formats needed to show an ad is missing, the ad will simply not deliver. Through responsive ads , similar to what already happens for the search network, we load “assets”. Images, videos, titles and descriptions and let the platform find the best combination to adapt the message to the context and space available.

The numbers that matter

Data analysis is one of the most important moments in any marketing activity and advertising in Google Ads is no exception. The platform allows you to get to a considerable level of detail, starting from the highest level – the one that shows “All campaigns” – moving on to the analysis of a campaign or its ad group. A single ad or one of the targeting options. In short, a considerable amount of data is collected at every moment in which the campaign is delivered. If an option can be configured, it will likely collect data and have a dedicated table or chart. Juggling the collected data can therefore make a real difference. Regardless of the level at which you are – let’s imagine for the moment we find ourselves analyzing the yield of “All campaigns – the platform shows at the top a graph on which it is possible to report up to two metrics, for example the” impressions “and “click”. Observing the trend on the graph of a precise metric can make evident a trend that would not be so easily observable in the table. Below the graph, in fact, a table in which several columns report the metrics with which to effectively evaluate our campaigns. Some of the more common columns in Google Ads show:
  • Impressions (the number of times the ad was served)
  • Clicks (the number of times the ad was clicked)
  • CTR (the percentage ratio of clicks to impressions)
  • Cost (the amount spent by the campaign)
  • Average CPC (the average cost incurred per click)
If conversions have been configured on the platform – which we will discuss shortly – columns are made available that also report:
  • Conversions (the number of times the set goal has been achieved)
  • Cost / conversion (the cost incurred for each conversion, obtained by dividing the cost incurred with respect to the conversions generated)
  • Conversion rate (the percentage ratio between the number of conversions and the interactions obtained with the ad)
Are these all the columns you need? Absolutely not. In Google Ads, there are many other so-called “custom” columns that we can add and order at any level, for increasingly specific analyzes. The use of custom columns and above all the choice of custom columns to observe is what most stimulates an advertiser over time. Each product or service, each customer for whom we manage an advertising campaign, deserves a careful choice of the values ​​to be monitored through specific columns.

Analytics in Google Ads

If Google Ads already offers excellent detail on the progress of a campaign or one of its components, it is through the section dedicated to reports that we can take the classic extra step. You see, building a relationship isn’t something that happens to others. No, not even if you and only you start the countryside. No, not even if the campaigns are related to your brand or your products or services. Building a report means saving time. Sure, the creation can take a few hours and require light maintenance from time to time. But it is the best and most effective way to always have the right data in sight. How to get started? Google Ads offers three different scenarios for producing or consulting reports: predefined reports (ex. Dimensions), reports and dashboards .

Predefined reports

Predefined reports are a great entry point for anyone who has never made analytics their daily bread. It is these many predefined reports, formerly called “dimensions,” which individually address different nuances of almost any type of campaign.
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The purpose of these reports is twofold. On the one hand, illuminating some nuances of the campaign through metrics that we may not know or have forgotten. Did you know that you can see how your campaigns are performing by time of day? And that you can get an insight into the telephone calls obtained? It’s all in the predefined reports, one click away. On the other hand, these relationships are a solid basis from which to start for the creation of an ad-hoc relationship. Open a predefined report, edit its columns and save it with a new name. Here is your new custom report.


As you may have guessed, reports instead allow us to start from scratch in the design of an exportable document. The platform offers several options, able to satisfy every type of need:
  • table
  • line graph
  • bar chart
  • bar chart, stacked
  • scatter chart
  • Pie chart
  • bubble chart
Once we have chosen the type (for example “table”) we will be able to build our report by drawing on (almost) all the information managed and shown on the platform. We will choose information on the detail to be observed in the row and information on the performance to be reported in columns. An interesting aspect? It is always possible to switch from one type of report to another, for example from “table” to “line chart”. By choosing to proceed in this sense, the platform will ask us what information to carry if the two report formats are not completely compatible. Think of a pie chart, which by its nature can only handle one level of detail and performance information – transferring a complex table in this format would be impossible. Each report can be downloaded in different formats or scheduled to be sent to a mailbox at regular intervals.


Finally, the dashboards. Real “white tables” to be popularized by drawing on the… relationships we have created. Once we have created a complete set of reports, we can group them in a single board, defining their position and size. It may sound trivial, but that’s exactly the strength of a dashboard. A dashboard has the particularity of orienting all the reports it contains with respect to a single date , making data analysis very fast and precise even for those who do not have the same experience as ours. In fact, even the dashboards can be exported to PDF for sharing with the customer or the work team. Compared to more complex (and flexible, it is fair to say) solutions, such as data analysis in Google Data Studio, a dashboard in Google Ads is a simple but effective solution for many scenarios.

Remarketing in Google Ads

Anyone who approaches advertising will sooner or later hear the term “remarketing”. What exactly does it mean and how can a remarketing approach to your campaigns significantly change their behavior? Remarketing means, greatly simplifying the concept, intercepting with our ads users who have already interacted with them, clicking them or navigating more or less in depth on our site. On the platform, through the data sources, we can collect traffic from different sources: from our site, from YouTube, from the Google Play Store. By connecting a data source we populate lists of users (anonymous, of course) that we can use to guide our campaigns. The simplest way to deliver a remarketing campaign is to set up the Google Ads tag on all pages of our site. By connecting Google Analytics , in the same way, all the traffic that we are already collecting through the Google analysis tool can be made available as a target audience. And when the data sources have populated lists in Google Ads what happens? Well, we can cut these lists into sub-lists, in order to precisely define who, among all the audience, should be interested in our campaign. A simple remarketing strategy can start by reaching with an ad, perhaps a display campaign, all the users who have seen our site in the last 30 days. However, as you can quickly guess, the real magic happens when we work on much more precise sets (for example everyone who has seen a product page) in a much shorter time frame (for example, in the previous 10 days only). The most important thing to remember to take the first step in remarketing strategies is that a campaign becomes such (it becomes “in remarketing”) simply if at least one of the available segments (related to traffic on our site, for example) in “targeting” mode. This is the greatest awareness to be achieved: the simple application of a segment in “targeting” (ie restrictive) mode gives a new flavor to all the other options with which a campaign can be configured. For a search-type campaign, we could think of intercepting all users who carry out a search only if they have already been visiting a specific section of our site, or have seen a product, in the last 14 days. For a display campaign, we might consider modifying the message by delivering a vertical ad with respect to a certain product category only to users who have recently visited that specific category. Applying a remarketing audience to a campaign takes little more than a click, but it changes things dramatically.
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Plotting a conversion

Any marketing action can be said to be satisfactory if it brings tangible, measurable results on which it is possible to make decisions regarding the effectiveness of the tactics used. At this point it is good to mention the dynamics that move conversion tracking in Google Ads. On the platform it is possible:
  • monitor conversion actions that have taken place on our website
  • monitor actions that have taken place within our app
  • monitor phone calls
  • import results from Google Analytics (or other sources)
By choosing to track a “website” conversion , we ask Google Ads to provide us with a conversion tag to be installed in the HTML code of the page reached. It is an ideal solution for all those businesses that have a clear and unambiguous “conversion happened” page, such as a landing page that collects leads, directing users who have filled out the contact form to a thank you page. A conversion that “takes place on the website” may have a value, always the same or different from time to time, in order to attribute an economic consideration to the value share. If the thank you page is the final confirmation of a fixed value consulting service reservation, then it will be good to indicate this value in the conversion options. If it’s a lead, with a little more computational difficulty, you might consider assigning a value to each lead collected. On the other hand, an “app” type conversion allows us to monitor actions such as the installation of the app from Google Play, any in-app purchases after clicking on our ad or any other conversion action configured and tracked to -hoc through Google Analytics and Firebase. This is a slightly more technical and very useful aspect when we have active “app” type campaigns. This is followed by “phone call” conversions which are made available if at least one call-type ad extension or at least one call-only ad is active on the account (and in particular on a search campaign). Setting up a phone call conversion allows us to recognize all the calls originating from our campaign, also separating the missed calls. Do not underestimate this type of opportunity, especially to be able to share valuable data with your customer about the actual response of your campaign in terms of phone calls generated. An interesting aspect of telephone-type conversions is to be able to establish a minimum threshold, in number of seconds, after which the conversion can be said to be achieved. Useful for not counting who has the wrong number or was not for us. Finally, importing a conversion from Google Analytics allows, once the two platforms are connected, to import as conversions all the objectives present in Analytics, including transactions, if e-commerce tracking is active. Of course this is the ideal solution if our site is an e-commerce and we want to monitor in detail the transactions generated through our campaigns. At this point you may be wondering: What conversions should I track? Well, a good way to start is to separate the conversions between micro and macro. On the one hand, micro conversions can require the user to simply reach a key page, or (by importing them from Google Analytics) to reach a minimum number of seconds per session or pages viewed per session. Micro conversion is anything that has no economic value, but represents a necessary step to bring the user closer to conversion. On the other hand, macro-conversions. Mainly leads and purchases, monitored through a few simple conversion actions that (often) bring with them an economic value and allow you to evaluate in detail the health of your marketing strategy.

Get Google Ads certified

As with many of its tools, Google offers the ability to get certified for Google Ads through the SkillShop platform . The advantages of obtaining the certification are different: from demonstrating the skills acquired to potential customers, up to their contribution towards obtaining the status of Google “partner” for the company we belong to. There are six certifications available and they cover the most interesting areas of the platform: the search network, the display network, videos, shopping ads, app campaigns and results measurement. To pass the certification it is necessary to correctly answer 80% of the test questions, in a maximum time of 75 minutes. All this can be done from the comfort of your home in front of the monitor (keeping an eye on the timer!). If the test is not passed, it will be necessary to wait 24 hours before making a new attempt. Once obtained, the certification is valid for one year, after which it will be necessary to carry out a new test. If an employee of a company passes one of the certification exams in Google Ads, the company meets one of the points required to obtain the partner badge that recognizes their specialization.

In conclusion

Yes, Google Ads is truly one of the most interesting platforms for intercepting your next customer on the net for great lakes student loans. Ready to get started?

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