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11 Google Ads Optimisation Strategies for Better Conversions

by Oren Greenberg on

Updated on 14 June 2022


The paid search landscape has changed a lot since Google Ads (then known as Google AdWords) first launched in 2000. That said, businesses continue to pay large amounts for ad placements on search and display listings, with a greater than 35% increase in total online media spend in Q4 2021 alone.

However, despite the obvious value that paid search provides businesses, it is not without its challenges. While on the one hand consumers are becoming increasingly choosy and more brand agnostic than ever, there is also constant technical complexity due to constant interface changes. This can make it harder to target audiences and means that small mistakes can cost a fortune. Coupled with the sheer magnitude of paid advertisers, it’s just harder than ever to get noticed in all the noise. 

But cutting through the clutter and getting noticed is not impossible. In this article, we break down 11 Google Ads optimisation tips for increasing return on ad spend (ROAS), higher customer lifetime values (CLV), lowering cost per acquisition (CPA), and improving clickthrough rates (CTR).

Boost conversions with 11 advanced Google Ads Optimisation strategies 


In this article, I will run you through 11 vital Google Ads Optimisation steps you can take to significantly better your click through rates (CTR), lower your cost per acquisition (CPA) and ultimately get you a much higher return of investment (ROI) that what you have been seeing.  

1. Use accelerated delivery instead of standard

Most entry-level Google Ads guides advise you to stay away from accelerated delivery and for good reason. Accelerated delivery only works if you plan your budget allocation perfectly and there is a solid, data-backed reasoning for it. Otherwise, you could quickly run out of money or exceed your target CPA.

However, accelerated delivery can be a powerful tool to achieve the following: 

Increased brand awareness:

If you keep your campaign budget uncapped (but leave the overall daily budget intact), you can use accelerated delivery to ensure maximum brand coverage and CTR. This is well suited to early-stage startups or brand awareness campaigns.

Ad scheduling:

Accelerated delivery also works well with ad scheduling. For instance, your historical data may show that you get your best CTR between 15:00 and 18:00. You can then run your ads for those three hours only and use accelerated delivery to ensure that your ads are delivered at that time. However, if you use accelerated delivery without being sure of your best time, you might spend your budget before this time starts. 

For timed services:

Accelerated ad delivery is the perfect solution for time-sensitive or short-term offers. For instance, if you are a cafe serving afternoon tacos, you want your ads to run locally from 13:00 to 17:00. If you are running a promotional offer right before a festival, accelerated delivery can ensure your ads show only for the duration of your offering.

For testing and troubleshooting:

Accelerated delivery can be a life saver for an underperforming campaign. It gives you the opportunity to test your creative copy, targeting, bids, and other settings as quickly as possible. But this requires active management to ensure that you don’t deplete your budget too quickly. 

To enable accelerated delivery, look for the settings tab under the relevant campaign. In the “Bidding and budget” section, enable the option from under the delivery method.

2. Use Dynamic Keyword Insertions (carefully)

Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) is another powerful tool that is often ignored by beginner and intermediate Google Ads users. DKI lets you create dynamic ads by replacing a predefined code in your ad with a search user’s query.

A customer is more likely to notice and click on an ad that contains their exact search words than a generic ad. For example, you have an ad group for your shoe store that includes keywords like “shoes”, “leather shoes”, “best leather shoes”, etc. With DKI, a user that searches for “shoes” will see the word “shoes” in the ad copy, but one that searches for “leather shoes” will see the words “leather shoes” in the same ad.

This provides users with more relevant ad text in a single template ad. Google Ads generates a customised ad for each customer’s keyword search, as long as their query keyword triggers at least one of your ad group keywords.

In the example below, you can see how dynamic search ads look for various queries around the word “chocolate”. You can see why a dynamic ad is more likely to generate clicks.


Headline: Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate}

Google Ads will try to replace the code inside the {} with one of the keywords in your ad group when there is a match with a user’s query, for instance, “dark chocolate”, “sugar free chocolate”, and “gourmet chocolate truffles”. If it finds no matches or if the keyword is too long, Google Ads will replace the word with the base, “chocolate”. Here’s how it works:

Note that you can control capitalisation by the way you write the code:
keyword=“dark chocolates”
Keyword=“Dark chocolates”
KeyWord=“Dark Chocolates”


Let’s look at another example with the query “compare credit cards” (notice how Google makes the replaced keyword text bold, making the ads stand out even more):


While DKI is clearly a powerful tool, it is important that you steer clear of these potential pitfalls:

Potential Trademark Violations

Since you are not using an actual keyword, Google’s trademark violation check does not get activated for DKI. Therefore, if a user searches for “John’s coffee shop”, your dynamic ad is going to use those exact words. While it is legal to bid on competitors’ brand keywords (and you should be doing it too), it is illegal to display those words in your ads. It can lead to some legal hot water.

Typing errors in DKI code

We are all human and mistakes happen. In the case of DKI, keystroke errors can look really bad. An extra or missing space, wrong punctuation, or misspellings can mess with how your ad displays. For example, where the advertiser used “DKI:” instead of “keyword:” and missed a space: {keyword:Thinga Majigs} instead of {keyword: Thinga Majigs}

Misspelt search query by user

Sometimes, the mistake can come from the user’s end, often to hilarious but ultimately painful results for you as the advertiser. While bidding on misspelt keywords is a trick that marketers have been applying for ages, when it comes to DKI, it can go horribly wrong. To avoid this, make sure all misspelt keywords belong to a separate ad group and do not use dynamic keywords for this group.

3. Customer reviews

If your service, product, or app has at least 100 unique reviews of minimum four stars, you are eligible to display them as part of your ad through the seller rating extension. The reviews have stars, links to the reviews (verified by Google), and text snippets.

Positive customer reviews establish trust and increase your CTR. Also, if you are already using quoted text in your ad, the review extension will free up precious real estate.

However, even if you have added reviews, they might not always be displayed due to a number of factors. Some of the common ones are your ad’s relevance score, available space on the search results page, and combining other extensions.


Google does not charge you for clicks on reviews. However, standard ad click CPC still applies. We have seen CTRs go up by 10% in many cases thanks to reviews.

Useful customer review information:

  • Reviews are only displayed on desktop and on the search network.

  • Reviews are available in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch, and Italian.

  • Reviews are required to focus on your entire business instead of a specific product or service.

Always ensure that the reviews you include are distinct from the ad text. Otherwise, you’ll end up repeating text in the same ad. If you don’t see reviews on your ads, it might be for one or more of these reasons:

  • The reviews are not from a publication or organisation.

  • Your business name is repeated in the review text.

  • You are using a review that is more than a year old.

  • You made changes in the original review text (don’t fix typos or punctuations, just choose a better review).

4. Measure smart goals


Consider using behavioural conversions like online sales, leads generated, newsletter subscriptions, downloads, long user sessions, and number of pages seen (deep visits). Google calls these “smart goals.”

This measurement ensures that you are not cheating yourself with isolated KPIs. Smart goals help you understand who your high-value customers are and where they are coming from, helping you to optimise your website or app for them.

Google applies machine learning to generate smart goals from thousands of websites that have opted into sharing anonymous conversion data. Using this information, Google extracts dozens of variables that work together to make a conversion happen: device, browser, session length, and page views per session.

However, keep in mind that Google’s algorithm creates smart goals benchmarks for the top 5% of traffic generated by Google Ads, but then applies it to all traffic, including visitors who don’t come in through Google Ads.

5. Run keywords through a Google suggestion tool

There are a number of available keyword suggestion tools. Apart from Google’s own Keyword Planner tool, try or As you type keywords into the Google search box, you receive a number of auto suggestions. These tools use these recommendations to create a list of keywords.

The tool predicts the search terms most closely related to your keyword. Ubersuggest usefully segments these discovered keywords alphabetically. It is another way to discover long-tail keywords that your research did not find.

6. More keywords do not equal better performance

Ad groups should ideally contain 20 to 25 keywords, and certainly not more than 30. This is a guide rather than a rule, but you want closely related keywords in an ad group so that it is easy to create ad copies for them.

To be clear, the greater consideration is the relevance of the keywords and how they tie into the ads, rather than the number of keywords you’re using.

But ad groups with too many keywords are a problem and here is why: If you are running a campaign with a daily budget of $30 and it has 30 keywords with an average CPC of $1, it is likely to get 30 clicks per day. If you then add another 20 new keywords to the list, the campaign now has 50 keywords, still with an average of $1 CPC, and all of them trying to fit into your $30 budget. This means that your daily budget cannot fit the demand that your keyword list is generating. 

Therefore, it is always a good idea to remove underperforming keywords whenever you are adding new ones to get the best out of your budget.

7. Strive to be in the top three spots on a mobile device

With over 50% of search traffic coming from mobile devices, your ad rank is more important than ever before.

There is less advertising real estate available on a mobile device, and the competition to get ads served in that tiny space drives up costs. As more and more advertisers move into the bidding game, your ad’s position determines its success. If you are not in the top three spots on the SERPs on a mobile device, your potential customers will probably not see your ads.

You can regularly review your average position on mobile devices by going to settings > select device. Run a separate mobile ad campaign and apply the same tactics mentioned here but be ready to bid higher than you would in the desktop world.

8. Use dimensions and day-of-the-week reports

Optimise for your campaigns for different days of the week. A simple yet powerful Google Ads feature is the dimensions view that displays your Google Ads account’s performance for different sets of criteria.

Under dimensions, select “Day of the week” to understand how your ads are performing on different days of the week. Generally, ads’ performance metrics improve during the middle of the week, and then taper off towards the weekend. This differs by product and industry, so the key is to identify when your ads are performing well and optimise your budget and bidding for those days.

You can also split the data into months or quarters. This is helpful if you run seasonal ads and need to forecast when you should start a campaign or end it. For example, if you sell warm clothes, you might notice that your ads peak between October and February.

9. Add bounce rate and average time on site to your report

Bounce rates and average session length are two key parameters that show how well your keywords are converting and whether your landing pages are delivering the goods. High average time on your site and low bounce rates indicate that you should allocate budget to these keywords. 

You can also gauge how well landing pages and conversion CTAs are aligned. If your keywords generate high session length but also high bounce rates, it means that people are happy to consume your content, but are not incentivised to move down the conversion funnel.

On the other hand, low session length but low bounce rate indicate people are already convinced of your services and are moving through your site quickly, looking for the offer or service you are selling. This group might convert well or at least move far into the conversion funnel.

10. Combining ads and organic ranking

If you are concerned that ads on search result pages where you already rank well might eat into your free organic clicks, make sure you substantiate your hunch with solid reports.

Filter for queries that have comparable organic and paid clicks and check how your listings perform when there are organic results, only ads, or a mix of the two.

You can also validate this by turning ads on and off and using analytics to measure the impact on total traffic. More often than not, ads significantly increase your traffic on pages where you already rank. But since there is no universally validated rule on how these combinations behave, you need testing to make an informed, data-driven decision.  

11. Rethink your PPC optimisation formula

One of the most common maximum CPC formulas is: 

Max CPC = CPA target x Conversion Rate (CR)

However, you can use a more detailed calculation to achieve a better CPC.

Let’s look at a sample 30-day data from a converter campaign:


Keyword 1 is improving in performance over time while Keyword 2 is declining. If we calculate the CR over the 30 days, we get a uniform CR that doesn’t take variability into account.

To fix this issue, Filipe Reis, a PPC expert, designed the following formula to find the effective conversion rate (eCR):

eCR = 25% x CR3 + 35% x CR2 + 40% x CR1

CR3 = conversion rate 3 and 4 weeks ago
CR2 = conversion rate 2 weeks ago
CR1 = conversion rate of the last 7 days.

Note: The keywords must have 3 or more conversions in each period for this formula to work.

Because the Max CPC varies between low and high competition keywords, the equation uses a bid adjustment (BA) variable  and is the ratio between Max CPC and Average CPC. 

Note: To use the BA, it is necessary that the keyword gets at least 3 clicks in the analysis period.

Here’s the final formula:

Max CPC = CPA target x (CR3 x 25% + CR2 x 35% + CR1 x 40%) x BA

The data this formula generates should not be used over long periods. In fact, Max CPC should be calculated every 7 days.

These 11 powerful steps can help you turn your Google Ads campaigns into a conversion-generating machine. While it is a complex, recurring task to manage a Google Ads campaign efficiently and effectively, the results are worth it. The size and structure of your business determines whether you take care of this yourself, or employ the services of a specialist agency. 

When you design your outbound marketing approach, it is important to also focus on creating a consistent inbound strategy. This helps you better identify your target audience to generate a lead funnel that supports your paid acquisitions.