Demystifying AdWords Functionality To Lift Your ROI

Fergus Clawson

Jun 06, 20175 min read
Demystifying AdWords Functionality To Lift Your ROI

Last month we at Blueclaw teamed up with SEMrush to deliver a webinar on demystifying the most powerful aspects of AdWords functionality. If you missed it, it is available right here - 

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For those without a spare 54 minutes to watch the webinar, this short blog post gives a rundown of the key elements of the webinar, going from ad targeting and content, to scheduling and bidding. 

Ad Targeting

Search Partners  

Advertising through AdWords doesn’t necessarily mean that your ads are only shown on Google channels - but with extended reach must come a special focus on targeting. Enabling advertising on Google Search Partner sites means your ads can be shown on hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as YouTube and other Google sites.

With limited scope for modification, using the full Search Partner network is not for everyone. The most important thing is to do a segmentation of network including partners so you can see what is going on.

Language & Locations

There is a natural tendency to target ads to people based on the language of the country ads will be shown in. However, this can mean missing big opportunities to target populations who may live in one country but have their Google language settings in a different language.

 For example, the UK has a significant population of people who use Google in the following languages: 

As former German Chancellor Willy Brandt said "If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.

Targeting users who, for example, use Polish language settings doesn’t mean that your ads appear in Poland - ads are still only shown in the countries and regions you specify, but without needlessly excluding potential customers

Location targeting is still best carried out using keywords i.e. ‘lawyer Birmingham’ and so on.

Targeting terms such as these captures the intent of the searcher - and combining terms such as these with focusing ads based on the recorded location of the searcher (by city, town, postcode, region, county) will give much greater granularity of targeting. 

Knowing your customer is key - the more data you have on your customer the more targeted you can get but it takes a mixture of knowing the targeting options available within Google, as well as a focus on the terms that show intent to buy.

Radius targeting is under-used but should be applied with a bit of caution - it is heavily based on IP and wifi data so it is important to use other ways to factor in location info. 

To maximise ROI, it is also worth excluding people in your target location as appropriate. For example, someone searching for ‘holiday homes Devon’ who already lives in Devon is likely not a potential customer - and may well be a competitor.

As we emphasised in the webinar, the goal is to apply a range of targeting options. Applying location targeting with bid modifiers can lead to big wins.

Upping bids based on location can take your best-performing ads event further, especially if followed up with awesome landing pages.

Device Targeting  

Device targeting is more important than ever, as user traits differ significantly by device. With mobile account for a majority of searches, it is particularly important to ensure that ad targeting and corresponding landing pages deliver a seamless mobile experience to maximise ROI. 

Again, applying customer insight is key - what do your potential customers hope to accomplish on mobile, and how can your approach to PPC help?

Targeting ads to mobile devices based on the type of questions and queries you feel customers may be more likely to have, when using a mobile device, is a great start.

If there is scope to bring mobile searchers direct to your location, it may be worth bidding more. Alternatively, if you offer products and services that are a more considered purchase, think about ways to capture data from a mobile search and then get in touch with them at a later date.

One under-used aspect of AdWords is call-only campaigns, which are great for businesses that simply want to increase inbound calls. For mobile users, this may be the logical next step rather than reading through a site on a mobile device. 

As ever, bids can be increased or decreased depending on the value of the traffic and channel - but it all comes back to knowing your options within AdWords, and knowing your customers. 

Ad Content

Targeting is only part of the battle. Ads must be engaging, perfectly written, and make full use of appropriate extensions & add-ins to maximise your real estate on the page, build customer confidence, and increase relevant clicks. 


The extensions you should use differs depending on your industry, and the type of business you have. If you are an e-commerce business, the options are very impressive - including highlighting of individual products, best sellers, and features directly within the text ad in the search engine results page.

This approach can make a single ad go a lot further - ad allows potential customers to choose the click that best meets their needs. 

With corresponding landing pages and content of high quality, you should see your conversions rise. Ad extensions include:

The goal of extensions is to provide greater confidence and clarity.

Sharing more information within your ad reduces the chance that someone will click without fully knowing what lies on the other side, this should save budget from ‘wasted clicks’ and minimise bounce rates; good news for your organic search strategy.

Ad Scheduling and Intelligent Bidding

Scheduling, Settings & Modifiers give the ability to pay more for the clicks you value most, while also keeping options open to potential business from elsewhere. 

Controlling cost and maximising ROI is vital - and (thankfully) Google is being more helpful than ever.

 Applying data from AdWords performance, Analytics and your own customer insight will help you to determine whether or not to alter bits and ad scheduling according to time of day, customer profile, geography and more.

Whatever approach you take, it is important to regularly re-evaluate customer behaviours and appetites change, especially season to season. In demographic bidding, success is based on tight targeting without pushing away potential customers.

As such, bids should be weighted towards target audience but with an element of caution - consider exclusions and target your ideal customers to make the best use of budgets. These under-used targeting and bidding options can be combined to produce game-changing results, with a very significant difference in click cost, depending on the attributes of the potential customer

To conclude, our key recommendation is to always make an effective strategic decision based of as on much qualitative and quantitative data as you can. 

Although AdWords functionality is continually expanding and can be hard to keep up with - and we have only really scratched the surface here - the good news is that these developments are all designed to help rather than hinder, and PPC advice is never too far away.

Ultimately, maximising ROI from AdWords hinges on knowing the platform, and knowing your customers.

New Ebook


Author Photo
Fergus ClawsonI'm CEO of Blueclaw - an award-winning digital marketing agency that specialises in creating serious results from integrated digital marketing strategy. From SEO, PPC and conversion rate optimisation, to content marketing, PR and social, we're experts in delivering profitable web traffic. Working across a wide variety of industries, we gather a lot of data and insight that we're happy to share. We're always ready to talk digital -
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