It’s been a bumper year for US tech giants. Despite Covid-19 taking its toll on much of the economy, the ‘Big Four’ tech companies – Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google – enjoyed earnings of over $5tn in the second quarter of 2020. (Yes, that’s five trillion dollars.)
One could be forgiven, then, for cheering the UK government’s new digital earnings tax. By applying a 2% levy on “revenue from search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces”, the UK treasury hopes to bring the notoriously tax-averse tech giants to heel. At last, some protection for small and medium-sized businesses and the high street.
Except the plan seems to have backfired.
In September, Google announced it will pass the cost of the digital services tax on to sellers. Any business or individual selling through Google Ads or YouTube must now pay a 2% fee. This follows Amazon’s recent decision to slap a 2% charge on all third-party sellers. Facebook is expected to follow suit.
The bottom line is that Google Ads are now a tad more expensive. But a 2% hike in costs is a drop in the ocean compared to the huge ROI from a successful paid search campaign. A smart Google Ads strategy allows your business to reach the audiences that matter most – all while leapfrogging your competitors.
So, instead of grumbling about the tech titans’ latest move, try implementing these three easy fixes that will boost your Google Ads performance and ensure your business has the last laugh….
Tip 1: Make use of Google’s ad credits and grants
Google isn’t shy of handing out freebies to new and existing Google Ads customers. New accounts are today eligible for a £120 credit after spending £120 on any Ads campaign. Meanwhile, existing customers can cash in on a new $340 million credit pot for small and medium-sized businesses, rolled out in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Eligible businesses will have already seen these credits appearing in their accounts from July 2020 – so make sure you are using yours.
Google’s philanthropy doesn’t stop there. Non-profit organisations can apply for a special Google Ad Grant worth up to $10,000 (£7,770) per month, matched in-kind on their Ads spending.
Wearing our cynic’s hat, it’s the sort of largesse that a trillion-dollar company with “creative” tax arrangements can afford. But why not make the most of it?
Tip 2: Use appropriate keyword matching
Incorrect keyword matching is one of the most common issues when auditing our clients’ Google Ads campaigns. It’s a pet peeve of our PPC experts and a sure-fire way to waste your Ads budget.
But what exactly is keyword matching? Simply put, keyword matching is used to control which searches on Google will trigger your ad. Choosing the correct match type – either broad, phrase or exact – can help make or break your campaign. For customers on smaller budgets, we suggest avoiding broad match keywords in favour of phrase match and exact match keywords. If in doubt, be specific.
Of course, Google Ads keyword matching is only one part of a successful paid search mix. Read our PPC services page to learn about the importance of in-depth keyword research to maximising ROI.
Tip 3: Stop wasting budget on keywords that don’t convert
Individual keywords are a fickle lot, and some may not perform consistently over time. Keywords that brought droves of customers to your site in 2020 may fall flat in 2021. Marketers need to act quickly to pause keywords that fail to convert over a decent length of time, even if they have converted in the past.
Bear with us while we use a Fantasy Football analogy: imagine your star midfielder has failed to score a goal or provide an assist all season. He may have racked up the points last year, but this season has seen a barren patch. Your loyalty to him is starting to look foolish – a savvy manager would swap out the offending player for a new face. It’s the same principle with keyword budgeting (although not quite as much fun…)
Of course, you should allow your Google Ads campaign to run for a few months before drawing any clear conclusions from the performance data. But if some keywords just aren’t converting, be ruthless.
P.S. – Don’t forget to negative match all inappropriate keywords. There’s no surer way to waste an ad budget than by using similar keywords that are completely unrelated to your business.
At Carica Media, our door is always open to businesses looking to improve their PPC. Whether you need a professional audit of your current Google Ads campaigns or require a whole new campaign from scratch, we can help. Get in touch via our contact page or us call directly on 01798 873635.