Far too often, I see B2B companies get caught in a cycle of initially getting leads from Google Ads, heaping more money in, getting more leads and then being disappointed that those leads are poor quality and not progressing down the funnel. This is a hefty topic and you could go throw in debates around lead scoring, efficacy of nurture flows and the role of the SDR. However, for the purposes of this blog, I will talk you through 10 top tips that can be applied across accounts to improve Google Ads lead quality.
1: Import Google Ads Conversions from your CRM
Google’s bidding algorithms are clever. Really clever. But it can’t manage what it can’t measure and the quality of its performance is dependent on the data being fed to it. Therefore, it only makes sense to give Google the same data that you are evaluating performance from.
Typically we would recommend beginning by importing different lifecycle stages: Lead, MQL, SQL, Opp. This gives a firm foundation of understanding of the top-level quality of these leads and gives Google enough data to prioritise bidding towards quality not just quantity.
Above all, importing lifecycle stages as conversion actions and setting them up as columns to review against campaigns, ad groups and keywords allows you to infer better insights around what areas of your accounts are bringing quality leads not just quantity. This should inform a raft of optimisations going forwards that put your account on the right track.
2: Give Each Google Ads Conversion Action a Value
Related to the above sentiment of Google’s bidding algorithm of not knowing what it doesn’t know, assigning a value to each conversion action can help Google prioritise quality over just quantity.
How you assign quality is a whole other debate, one option is to understand what is the typical revenue produced by a closed won PPC lead and work back. 50% of opps = closed won, fine, set the value of an opp at 50% of the closed won value, and so on and so forth. Another option is to set an arbitrary value for example you can set an ebook download at 1 and a demo request at 10. Once you have assigned each conversion action a value, switch to a maximise conversion value bid strategy so the bidding system takes quality into account.
Getting as accurate to the conversion's real value is recommended for best results but not necessary. Remember, you are just telling Google to prioritize bidding towards a conversion that is of higher value to your business.
3: Properly Set Up Tracking Between Google Ads & CRM
What underpins everything that has been said so far is the ability to pinpoint where leads are coming from right down to the keyword. It is important that whatever CRM you are using you have properly configured with Google Ads. Both Hubspot and Salesforce have tracking templates that you can place on Ad URLs to feed the machine the data it needs to pinpoint where a lead is coming from.
4: Check Intent of Keywords
Before starting any campaign detailed keyword research is required to get a sense of the space and separate your transactional buyers from your low intent informational searchers. Take for example something like employee wellbeing software - you could bid on “wellbeing software” but then get a whole load of people looking for a personal wellbeing app, you could bid on “wellbeing at work” and find a load of struggling employees looking to improve their situation. But, what about “employee wellbeing dashboard”, now that’s something specific that an HR leader would search for.
Before launching campaigns or testing keywords it is a good idea to search the keyword and see what sort of content is being served in return by Google. Is it transactional product pages or informational blog pages? Is it relevant to your target persona or geared towards another group entirely.
If you can be sure from your research that your target persona would be searching the keyword you're bidding on and would be looking for the content you are serving, you are already well on your way to producing a successful campaign.
5: Restrict Match Type of Keywords to Exact / Phrase & Razor Sharp Search Term Review
Google has become increasingly liberal with its match types and also incredibly encouraging with pushing the “spend big, go broad and the machine will figure it out” approach. If you have followed the tips so far you might be in a position to do this as your bid strategies are set up correctly. However, the likelihood of this working is highly dependent on the amount of conversion volume coming through your paid campaigns, and for many B2B SaaS businesses this volume tends to be incredibly low. Especially, when you are starting off with small budgets.
That’s why to begin with we recommend restricting match types to Phrase / Exact so that the search terms you are appearing for are more similar to what the keywords being bid on. Once you have a solid base, you can scale up by testing broadening certain keywords later on.
Alongside restricting match types it is also incredibly important to be reviewing search terms daily and excluding search terms that are too broad, low intent and not really relevant to your business. I repeat. If you don’t want to waste money, review search terms daily and exclude any that are not relevant to your business.
6: Make Sure Search Campaigns are Opted Out of the Display Network
Google has been incredibly sneaky here, when setting up a new campaign you are by default opted into the display network and I can’t count the number of times that I have seen this within a client’s account. Performance from the display network on a search campaign is 99% of the time absolutely shocking and the quality of the leads is even worse.
This is often because the quality of the inventory on display network is very poor and most of the time not the sort of websites that would be looked at frequently by your personas. Think kids games, crossword solvers or jpg to png converters etc etc…
Therefore, we recommend always opting out of the display network and focusing your budget on the search network to improve lead quality.
7: Bid Down on Mobile
Mobile conversions tend to be poorer quality. Why? If you are doing research on your next big SaaS product that is going to revolutionise your department, are you doing it on your phone? Possibly. If you are looking to book a demo on your next big SaaS product, are you doing it on your phone? Probably not.
Now of course, there will be some relevant people who are searching on their phone. However, the problem is the % of people who are not relevant increase exponentially when you move from desktop searches to mobile searches. A great way to check this is to look at GA and look at bounce rates and average session duration by device. You will find that the amount of engagement on the desktop is often higher.
As most searches now are on mobile, you can have a double edged sword of most of your budget going on mobile where relevance is lower. That’s why we recommend bidding down on mobile. I often say start with -75% and then work up and down from there but it is up to you how severe you want to be. Applying a -100% modifier will also exclude mobile entirely which is an often if bid modifiers are not applicable with your chosen bid strategy.
8: Ensure Location Targeting is only set to bid on people who are in your target location
Is your budget being wasted on locations that you don’t want to bid on? This catches out many clients because they select the relevant locations to target and assume that this is only where Google will serve ads. However, what people overlook is another option that Google has for location targeting that gives the option of: “people in or who are regularly in your location” and “people in, or who show interest in, your targeted location”. I know. Interested in this location?! This can lead to all sorts of users from far flung locations receiving ads because Google has determined that these users are interested in the location you have actually targeted.
9: Apply Detailed Demographics as Observation
Detailed demographics are an audience that can be added to search campaigns and these include audience segments such as company size & industry. Adding these audiences initially as observation and seeing what % of users are fitting in each bucket is a good way of getting a sense of the sort of people your ads are attracting through your ads.
Whilst it is not crystal clear how Google defines these audiences, if you are tight on budget and have certain industries / company sizes that are completely out of your target persona, excluding these audiences is always an option.
There it is, our top 9 tips for improving B2B lead quality from Google Ads are:
- Import Google Ads Conversions from your CRM
- Give Each Google Ads Conversion Action a Value
- Properly Set Up Tracking Between Google Ads & CRM
- Check Intent of Keywords
- Restrict Match Type of Keywords to Exact / Phrase & Razor Sharp Search Term Review
- Make Sure Search Campaigns are Opted Out of the Display Network
- Bid Down on Mobile
- Ensure Location Targeting is only set to bid on people who are in your target location
- Apply Detailed Demographics as Observation
For more information about B2B PPC and how B2B Hackers can help you bring in high quality leads by reading the rest of our blog here, or our services page here