Few years ago, I used Google Ads for a while. I started with adding keywords, countries and budgets. After that I waited for clicks. Every other day Google was displaying new keywords and I gladly accepted them along with other recommendations from them. Basically I spent the money hoping that customers will come and buy my product without really getting into the way that Google Ads work.
Last week I got back to Google Ads. But, I decided to go really slow and to be careful as much as possible. I started with a small budget as well to see how it will go, with the intent to raise the stakes after I figure out what is the best thing to do.
These are the things that I came across to:
The default in keywords are "broad match". This means that Google will show your ad to any search query that looks like the keyword that you added to Google Ads. This can be something completely different from the product/service that you are selling or the location that you sell to. So chances are high that your money will be spent on clicks by users that searched for something else.
Therefore, I changed to "search phrase". This means that Google will show your ad only to users whose search queries contain your words. But, a search query can contain a word that combined with your search phrase makes the whole search query not applicable to your product. Again, money is spent not in the right way.
Today I changed to "exact match". I will see tomorrow how it will go.
The Google Ads page shows basic information about your campaigns. If you want to see more meaningful information, you will have to connect it to Google Analytics.
After I connected them, in the Analytics menu I went to: Acquisition > Google Ads > Search Queries. Now I can see how much each search query costs per click, users, bounce rate etc. And now comes the interesting part. I select one search query and:
So, no users, no sessions, no bounce rate and no pages. But, apparently there were two clicks by no users who did not have any sessions and did not visit any pages. And those clicks are to be paid, of course.
It is easy to set up a daily budget. But, if you want to set up a different budget for every day, there is no option for that. Even if you dig into the more "advanced" sections of Google Ads. For example I want to put more budget on the weekend days. And apparently you have to write a script to do that. I found this. It's a 600-line script that does something similar to what I need. Is this something that nobody needs so people have to write so much code for something simple?
Apparently CPCs are going much higher than zero-point-something that I was used to see few years ago. So there is one keyword that I consistently receive information that it was not shown on the first page. My max bid was $3, and the message showed that it was below $4.2. So I put $5, and next day I see the same message but with $5.3. So I put max bid of $6, and next day I see that it was not displayed on first page because the minimal bid was $6.9. Now I will put $10 to see if is going to require more.
Google Ads paired with Analytics have a LOT of options. But, for me it is hard to find what I find useful. For example I really like the Realtime option in Analytics where I can see what page is currently viewed and from which country is that user. But what I cannot find is how to see in one place in realtime from where this user came from, which page they went to, how much time they spent before going to another page etc. And this is even more important for Ads, to see the flow of every user that clicked on the ad, and not just to see averages and totals.
I think that Google wants us to spend more money on advertising without offering more control on how we spend. All those built-in options are just scratching the surface of what could be done. And if you try to go deeper into something more advanced, you will find that it is made to be hard to get control of it.