Important factors that will help increase the efficiency of your AdWords campaigns in 2018

Ad Copy: Provide a Variety of Ads to Choose From

These days you are required to give Google freedom of choice when it comes to ad creatives. When you provide several ad variations for the same keyword set (at least three variations are recommended now), it helps ensure the best user experience.

This is easier said than done; just think of the work required to write three ads for each of your 100 ad groups. However, we have some tips to make things easier.

Reimagine Your Current Ads

The easiest way to start, look at your existing ads and modify them. When it comes to ad copy, there is always something to improve and/or a different variable to test.

We recommend experimenting with unique selling propositions (USP). For example, if you were promoting an SEO tool, your USPs could be a free trial, the number of keywords in the database, SEO awards received, etc. Once you know what your USPs will be, it is time to figure out which one works best for your online audience.

Grab New Ideas From Competitors
The techniques listed above help expand your ad set, but only to a certain extent. Sooner or later, everyone runs out of inspiration. So the next step, borrow ideas from your competitors. Let’s take a look at how you can easily find and analyze hundreds of ads from your niche, all in a couple of clicks.

Use the new SEMrush Ads Builder tool for this. It helps you find ideas:

By keyword (Example: you sell bikes and want to see some ad examples of other bike shops).

By domain (Example: you know a competitor’s domain that sells bikes and want to explore their ads). 
If there is an ad you liked and you want to save it as a template, hit the ‘Use as template’ icon and fill in the “New Ad” pop-up box:

Here you can tweak ad copy making sure you stay within the character limits (1), get additional ideas for ads (2), get an instant ad preview (3) and, finally, assign the newly created ad to a determined campaign and ad group (4).

It is that simple. Lather, rinse and repeat until you are satisfied with the number of ad creatives you have collected.

Note: Check and make sure you have enabled “Ad rotation” in your AdWords account settings. Otherwise, all your efforts could end up being a waste of time.

Ad Formats: Use Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a type of format that provides extra information about your product or service. Your ad gets “extended” and becomes more visible on the search results page. Sometimes you can hit the jackpot and occupy almost all the space above the fold:


Ad extensions positively influence click rate, and they help users get necessary information faster. Also, based on our experience, they contribute to raising quality score and, hence, to reducing CPC.

The extension types that benefit your ad most are:


  • Sitelinks (1)

  • Callouts (2)

  • Structured Snippets (3)


Note: Up to three ad extensions can be displayed at once. If you add more, it will be up to Google to decide which three to choose.


Keyword Research: Clean Up Negative Keywords

Handling negative keywords has always been a challenge, but as of late, it is being watched with even more caution. There are two problems when it comes to negative keywords:

  • You are using them where you shouldn’t be (and losing traffic).
  • You aren’t using them where you should be (and losing money).


The first case is quite simple yet happens often. So for example, you have not sold tandem bikes for years (and had the word “tandem” in negative list), then you started to sell them again. But your PPC specialist forgot to remove the word from negatives, and now you are left wondering why you are not getting any traffic for this keyword. To avoid this situation, check your negative keyword lists regularly and bring the relevant keywords back to life.

The second problem is much more challenging, but is important to deal with because it can be a way to noticeably reduce your CPC.

Let’s say you sell downhill bikes, tandem bikes, BMX bikes and so on, and use keywords with broad or modified broad match in your campaigns. This is what your keywords and ads may look like:


When a user types in “downhill mountain bike”, Google will look for relevant ads to display and find only two of your ads matching the query.

This can cause your ads to start competing against each other, making the competition level and the CPC grow.

The solution will be to add the words causing this unnecessary competition to the negative keyword list:


However, adding keywords manually will only work for relatively small keyword lists. Imagine you have dozens of product categories, there can be hundreds of intersections.

Inside our PPC Keyword tool, we have a handy feature that allows you to bring to light the conflicting keywords and add them to the negative list in one click.

Device Targeting: Integrate Mobile to Your Campaigns


According to Google’s studies, 69% of smartphone owners turn to mobile search first in the moment of need, 76% of those searching for something nearby visit a related business within a day and, finally, 28% of these searches result in a purchase.

Given these impressive stats, as of 2017, mobile campaigns are considered an important factor for evaluating the overall quality of advertisers’ AdWords accounts. For PPC specialists this means new opportunities, but also new challenges. Mobile users are different, and should not be treated as the desktop users. 


Apart from the evident need to have a fast and mobile-friendly website in 2017, there are two important things to do, if you want to win the mobile ad race:

1. Conduct Mobile-Specific Keyword Research

Many search terms are not equally popular on desktop and mobile. Their CPC may differ as well.

So, if you want your mobile campaigns to bring you meaningful results, mobile-specific keyword research is essential. A great deal of keyword research (finding related keywords and long-tail keywords, analyzing CPC and seasonal trends, etc.) can be done in SEMrush both for desktop and mobile.

And, with the mobile-first index looming on the horizon, we have added mobile analytics data for 17 countries (including the UK, Canada, Australia and non-English speaking countries) to our tools, so if you target customers outside the US, this update is for you. 


2. Adapt Your Ad Copy to Micro-Moments

The term “Wine bar” searched from desktop can mean someone is making plans for next Friday night. But, “Wine bar” searched from mobile (especially on a Friday night) is different; a person is much more likely to be ready for a party and searching for a place to go to immediately.


These “intent-rich” searches from mobile devices are called “micro-moments” and, according to Google, can be divided into four categories:



In micro-moments, time, screen space, and (often) speed of the Internet are limited. People want you to fulfill their needs without delay; this is what you need to express in your ad copy. Be very specific and deliver value explicitly when it comes to your mobile audience. Example:




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