Advanced AdWords Strategies to Boost Up Your ROI

Let’s start with some numbers

The average conversion rate on AdWords text ads is less than 3%. On display ads, it’s less than 1%. You will pay $2 or more per click for the 97% of people who didn’t convert. With that kind of odds, it can be hard to get a decent AdWords ROI. To make things even worse, it’s getting more expensive to run ad campaigns all the time. Ad spend across industries has gone up approximately 24% a year over the past several years.

But there is a light at the end of this tunnel that leads to you optimising your AdWords ROI.

You can take clear steps now to significantly reduce your cost per click while increasing your conversion rate which translates to higher revenues at a lower cost.

Let’s look at how it’s done!

Don’t just look for what is not performing well in your campaign, look for areas that would have a big impact on your ROI if it was working better. See what campaigns and ad groups within each campaign represent the greatest share of your overall paid search budget. Once you’ve identified the most critical areas of your campaign to optimise, start by taking a look at your Quality Score. Improving it will help you reduce your cost-per-click in relation to the position of your ads.

So, to start from the beginning, what is ROI (Return on Investment) in AdWords?

ROI is the ratio of how much profit you’ve made from your ads compared to how much you’ve spent on those ads. In order to measure your Google Ads ROI, you will have to track conversions. Conversions are actions that you want your customers to take on your website after clicking your ad. It can be a purchase, sign-up, or downloads, etc. Use conversion tracking or Google Analytics free tools to help you track conversions in your account. ROI is the most important measurement when it comes to running ads because it shows the real effect that Google Ads has on your business.

Here are some AdWords strategies to boost up your ROI.

1. Add Negative Keywords

Negative keywords allow you to selectively filter who sees your ad, based on their search queries. You should use negative keywords when you want to ensure that your ad doesn’t show for a particular word. By preventing your ad from showing on irrelevant searches, you save money on wasted clicks and create more opportunities for it to display on searches that are relevant and could lead to conversions. With using negative keywords, you will improve CTR (click-through rate), conversion rate, and quality score. You need to do negative keyword research on an ongoing basis. Many PPC marketers do negative keyword research weekly, but negative keyword research at any time can only help a live campaign. Mine search query reports for dips in conversion rate or Quality Score. These are indicators that your ads are being shown on irrelevant searches and negatively impacting your campaign performance.

The important tactic to successful inheriting and optimising a PPC account is to build a negative keyword list. Having a comprehensive negative keyword list can significantly improve not only your CTR, but also your conversion rate.

Here is a list of resources you can use to build a robust negative keyword list:

Search Query Report

Run a Search Query Performance report to see all the search queries that have triggered your ads. If you see any irrelevant terms, add them as negative keywords to your ad group or campaign.

Google Keyword Tool

Within the AdWords interface, you can use the Keyword Research Tool (located within the Tools section of AdWords). Enter 2 to 4 keywords that you would like to target, in order of relevance. Check the Keyword column for any search queries that are irrelevant to your product or business and that you don’t want triggering your ads. Click the downward-pointing arrow in the Match Type column for each keyword that you want to add as a negative match. Select Negative, and the term will be added to your list as negative keyword.

A thesaurus (or

A thesaurus is great for expanding not only your negative keyword list but also your main keyword list. If you are advertising in a competitive space, missing a single negative keyword and having your ad displayed for a search that will never convert can be extremely expensive. Using a thesaurus can be a fast and easy way to find negative keywords. Why make finding your keywords more difficult than it needs to be?

2. Use Single Keyword Ad Group

SKAG stands for Single Keyword Ad Group. These are just as they sound: One keyword per ad group, with its own set of ads. Those are ad groups designed with a one-to-one relationship between the root keyword and the ad.

So, what are the main benefits of this approach?

  • Skyrocket CTR
  • Better Quality Score
  • Lower Cost per Click
  • Lower Cost per Acquisition
  • Single keyword ad groups – Better ROI
  • More control
  • A cleaner structure

3. In-Market Audiences

In-market audiences use Google’s massive amounts of search data to analyse behavioural signals. This allows advertisers to target users who are actively searching for products at a time when they are ready and willing to buy them. To qualify someone as being in-market for a specific product or service, Google takes into account clicks on related ads and subsequent conversions, along with the content of the sites and pages they visit and the recency and frequency of the visits. In this way, Google accurately categorises users so you can target those most interested in your offerings.

Why you should use In-Market Targeting?

In-market audiences can drive incremental conversions, helping you to connect with consumers as the last step before they make a purchase decision. Leveraging real-time data and a powerful classification system based on demonstrated in-market behaviour, these segments can help you to present the right offer at the right moment to those most interested in your products and services. Use in-market audiences in combination with Remarketing to drive highly qualified users to your site and improve overall remarketing efficiency for your campaign.

4. Remarketing List for Search Ads

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) are Google AdWords feature that allows advertisers to tailor their search campaigns based on whether a user has previously visited their website (or app), and the pages that user viewed. This way you can better tailor your search campaigns to target more qualified and valuable users who are already aware of your website. When used well, RLSAs can result in more efficient use of ad spend, better conversion rates, and better ROI. This also means your small budget will last a lot longer than on standard search ads, because the users seeing your ads are potentially a more qualified audience as they must already be aware of your brand having already visited your site.

RLSA is the great combination of demographic bidding, remarketing, and keyword targeting.

Here’s how and why it works:

  • Demographic bidding: These people are qualified buyers (i.e., they can afford to buy your stuff).
  • Remarketing: These are the people who have recently checked your stuff.
  • Keyword targeting: These people are searching and ready to buy your stuff right now.

You want to target a narrow audience – one that meets the above three criteria – with your paid search ads.

5. Custom affinity audiences

Custom affinity audiences give you the opportunity to target different audiences and doesn’t limit you to the predefined segments that Google has for in-market, affinity, etc. This is especially helpful if you’re selling products that are super specific or niche. You can create audiences using keywords, URLs, places, and even apps.

What are the advantages of Custom Affinity Audience Targeting?

Compared to other audience targeting methods, Custom Affinity targeting offers advertisers several unique advantages. These include the ability to target:

  • AdWords search
  • An audience based on specific URLs
  • Users that visit your competitors’ websites
  • Consumers that use specific keywords and search terms
  • Consumers who use specific apps

What’s more, is that you can layer custom affinity audiences with additional targeting to create an even more refined group of users.

6. Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion (or DKI) is a feature offered by both AdWords and Bing, which will allow you to dynamically insert a keyword into your ad copy. In simpler terms, dynamic keyword insertion will allow you to customise your ad copy based on the search terms that someone might be searching with aka queries. It’s an advanced feature offered by both platforms, which helps make your ad copy more relevant while using a generic ad for a variety of keywords.

Dynamic keyword insertion is especially convenient and can be important to use in businesses where there’s a large inventory of the same item like E-commerce stores. It will allow that business to market that item without having to create numerous ad groups, by saving time, money and energy.

The Importance of Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic keyword insertion is important to a business’s ad campaign because it can be a valuable asset that can greatly increase the click through rate. On the other hand, it can also get you in trouble if not used properly. So, be sure to double check that your ad groups are all aligned with tightly themed keywords allowing your advertised messages to make sense.

What are the top benefits of using DKI?

  • More Specific Targeting: The beauty of dynamic keyword insertion lies in the fact that it enables you to create ads containing text that automatically relates to a search query. As a result, people are much more likely to click on the headline that is closer to what they were searching for.
  • Bolded Text: Google search bolds dynamic keyword insertions. This makes your ad stand out from the rest, and will consequently help pick up the click-through rate.
  • Increased Quality Scores: Google rewards Google Ads advertisers based on the quality and relevance of their ads to a searcher’s query. This is measured by an estimate called Quality Score. By implementing dynamic keyword insertion, you can increase the relevancy of your ads, and in turn, improve your quality scores. According to Google, higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.

Remember that you can control the capitalisation of words in the dynamic text, by changing the way “keyword” appears in the dynamic keyword insertion code.

Here are some examples to keep in mind:

keyword = german chocolate cupcakes

Keyword = German chocolate cupcakes

KeyWord = German Chocolate Cupcakes

If you have a number of long-tail keywords in the ad group, be smart with your substitute text. Ensure that it is highly relevant to the ad group, so you can still capture the attention of the searcher. Most importantly, remember that the best way to assess whether Dynamic Keyword Insertion is benefitting you is to test your ad performance! We recommend always running at least two ads per ad group. To test whether DKI works for you, try running a split test with a standard ad against an ad using DKI. Monitor your click-through rates and conversion rates to determine whether DKI is doing the trick!


Google AdWords can be an effective tool for driving new leads and increasing your bottom line, but it’s important to remember to tailor your landing pages for each keyword you use. Don’t forget to use Google reviews for social proof and limit your ads to a geographical area. You will see your conversion rates and ROI increase in no time.

Be realistic with your ROI expectations and keep a watchful eye on your competition. AdWords is very much a mechanical marketing tool that depends on an advertiser’s ability to leverage the technology in creative and clever ways. To optimise campaign performance, focus on ROI, but invest in leveraging the tools and features that Google provides.