You might think you know your way around Google AdWords, but do you really? Even the most expert marketers can overlook aspects of AdWords that they should be investing time and attention into. You could let your campaigns plateau, or you could outpace the competition ten to one by ensuring you have the seven key pillars to mastering AdWords installed in all your campaigns. Read on to take your digital marketing from stagnant to overwhelmingly successful.

Structure & Quality Score

How many campaigns do you have running simultaneously? How many ad groups do you have per campaign, and how many ads do you have per ad group? The structure of your account should be carefully balanced to ensure that not only are you running the correct number of campaigns for your business, but that those campaigns are well-organized to optimize your spend and bring in the highest ROI. Well-organized accounts will also keep your quality scores high. If a single keyword can trigger ads across multiple ad groups, your ad scores will lower, causing your ads to fail to show and wasting your ad spend.

Actionable tips: don’t have more than 2-3 ads per ad group to allow for the most robust A/B ad testing, and write your ads with keywords represented in the copy to keep ad quality scores high.

Ad Creative

Recently, Google introduced a new ad type called Expanded Text Ads which provide more information and thus take up more room on the search engine results pages, giving your brand more visibility. Their old ads, simply called standard text ads, have been phased out. However, many companies still use the standard ad text format without upgrading to Expanded Text Ads. Ad copy is also important to consider, as ad copy that does not contain your keywords will lower quality scores and again prevent your ads from being shown to searchers.

Sample of Ad

Actionable tips:
make sure your ad copy is relevant to the keyword being searched, and keep your ads updated in the latest formats to be sure that you take full advantage of the opportunities Google AdWords offers.


Keyword segmentation is of critical importance in keeping an account organized and reliably serving ads to all searchers. That is, your keywords need to be properly separated by topic, category, and campaign in whatever way best suits your product or service. This includes using negative keywords, which will prevent your ads from triggering for irrelevant searches, saving you money. Constant keyword and query research is needed to ensure that the most relevant keywords are always being used in your ads and that your keywords are not too broad, or too narrow, for the audience you’re trying to reach.

Actionable tips: implement negative keywords, conduct constant keyword research, and add keywords as needed to help drive your conversions higher.

Bidding Optimization

Many marketers allow AdWords to automatically set bids for them. However, automatic bids don’t necessarily take into account performance, demographics, or device performance. Allowing automatic bidding, or simply setting the same bids for all keywords, can not only result in wasted spend but can also drag down your conversions and ROI when high-performing keywords aren’t given the budget they need to reach the greatest possible audience. All bids should be set manually to account for individual keyword performance, the demographics of your audience, and the devices that your audience prefers using.

Actionable tips: start using manual bidding as soon as possible to control your spend, pull back bids on poor-performing keywords, and increase spend on the keywords and platforms that are bringing in the highest conversions.


Though not applicable to all advertisers, shopping is essential to implement if your business is retail or direct to consumer. Google Shopping is a powerful tool that can allow you to be seen even more times on the search engine results pages: in a text ad, in the organic results, and then in the Google Shopping results that will show at the very top of the page or in the right column. The more real estate your brand name can claim, the more your brand will stay top of mind, so utilizing shopping is of paramount importance to beating the competition.


Actionable tips: make sure your shopping campaigns are properly segmented, accounting for the keywords you’re using and the category the product belongs to.

Traffic/Device Targeting

This topic is related to bidding optimization, but is specific to device targeting and traffic. Google AdWords allows advertisers to raise or lower bids depending on which platform the ad is showing on: mobile, tablet, or desktop. These bid adjustments can have a huge impact on how much your ads show on these platforms, and knowing which platforms your audiences are using the most, as well as actually converting or making their purchases on, can help you save money. If you target devices your audience isn’t using, you could be missing out on impression share and even conversions that would contribute to your bottom line.

Actionable tips: pay attention to the amount of traffic each platform gets when searchers are looking for your brand and keywords and optimize your spend to focus on the platform that sees the highest conversions.

Growth Opportunities

Even when advertisers have solidly built accounts with great segmentation, appropriate bidding, and organized structure, they can forget one last critical aspect: future opportunities for growth. A business should never just be satisfied with coasting by or breaking even. To keep your brand top of mind with current customers and also reach new audiences, your brand needs to focus on the growth opportunities that AdWords affords. This can include YouTube advertising, dynamic search ads, remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), display prospecting, and Gmail Sponsored Ads targeting. The possibilities are nearly endless depending on your resources and what options will work best for your products or services.

Actionable tips: consider converting existing video into paid YouTube ads, building remarketing lists out of emails gathered from your site, or building a prospecting display campaign.

With these seven pillars of AdWords fundamentals, your account should be robust, organized, targeted, and built for growth in the future!