PPC optimization for Google ads

A successful Pay Per Click (“PPC”) campaign in Malaysia requires CONSTANT monitoring and optimization to ensure you are getting the highest ROI possible.

A PPC strategist is a full-time job on its own due to the amount of work needed for proper optimization of each Google ads campaign.

Without proper optimization, you are letting the ads run on its own on autopilot and you won’t be able to get the results you desire for the campaign.

In this article, we will discuss the top 10 ways to fully optimize your PPC campaign. You can perform this optimization weekly or monthly, depending on your current resources and time.


Top 10 Ways to Optimize PPC Campaign

1. Click Through Rate

2. Search Impression Share

3. Quality Score

4. Add Negative Keywords

5. Review Ad Schedule

6. Set Location Radius

7. Assess Auction Insights

8. Check Active Ads Status

9. Investigate High Invalid Clicks

10. Adjust Bidding for Location, Device, and Ad Schedule


PPC Optimization 1: Click Through Rate

Click though rate (“CTR”) is the ratio of the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of impressions x 100%.

For example, if you had generated 10 clicks from 100 impressions, your CTR would be 10%.

You will be able to check the CTR in the overview of each ad account:

CTR Overview

The higher the CTR, the better it is as you are generating the clicks to your website instead of those clicks going to your competitors’ website.

Check your CTR for EACH ad, if it’s below 3%, there is room for improvement.

Here’s what you can do to improve CTR:

1. Create engaging ad headline and description. Think from the user perspective, what would make the user click? Put yourself in their shoes. Here are 195 power words you may include in your ads.

2. Promotion offer. If you are currently running a promotion, showcase the details in your headline or description. Include numbers to be more specific (e.g 25% discount for December 2018)

3. Explain your unique selling proposition (USP). Why you are better as compared to your competitors?

4. List the benefits of your products and services.

5. Create multiple ads for testing, this will help you identify the type of ads that works well to generate clicks.

When should you optimize CTR: Weekly basis


PPC Optimization 2: Search Impression Share

Search impression share is the percentage of impressions your ads had gotten as compared to the total numbers of impressions your ad could have gotten.

If you have a low search impression share, it means your ad is NOT shown for most of the time on Google. And when your ad is not shown, your competitors’ ad will be shown instead.

To view this data, go to Campaign > Click on Columns > Modify Columns > Competitive Metrics > Tick the 3 boxes (screenshot below)

PPC Search Impression Share

The formula are as follows:

Search Impression Share + Search Lost IS (Budget) + Search Lost IS (Rank) = 100%

If your search lost IS (budget) percentage is high, it means that your budget for the campaign is too low, causing your impression share to decrease.

If your search lost IS (Rank) percentage is high, it means that your ad rank (quality score and bid) for the campaign is too low, causing your impression share to decrease.

Check your search impression share, if it’s not 100%, is it due to budget lost or ad rank or both?

Here’s what you can do to improve Search Impression Share:

1. If it’s due to budget, increase your campaign budget and you will observe a higher impression share.

2. If it’s due to ad rank, increase your max bid for the ad auction based on the percentage lost (e.g if your Search Lost IS (Rank) is 25%, increase your max cpc by 25%.

3. Decrease your location radius, the smaller the location targeting, the lower the potential impression share. This is a great solution if you couldn’t increase the total budget or max bids.

4. Adjust ad schedule. Instead of showing your ads at all times, only select the working hour of your local business. This is another alternative solution if you couldn’t increase the total budget or max bids. We will discuss this further in the 5th tip below.

5. Improve your ad quality score. This will lower your search lost IS (rank).

When should you optimize Search Impression Share: Weekly basis


PPC Optimization 3: Quality Score

Quality Score is an indication of the relevance and quality of your Google ads.

Each keywords in your campaign gets a Quality Score of 1-10, where is 1 is the lowest score and 10 is the highest.

Quality Score is made of 3 main components:

1. Landing page experience – relevance of keywords in your landing page to the ad

2. Ad Relevance – relevance of keywords to the ad

3. Expected CTR – compelling ads

To view this data, go to Campaign > Keywords > Click on Columns > Modify Columns > Quality Score > Tick the 4 boxes (screenshot below)

Check each ad group and keyword, if the Quality Score is below 6, work on the 3 main components above.

When should you optimize Quality Score: Weekly basis


PPC Optimization 4: Add Negative Keywords

One of the keys to a successful PPC campaign is choosing what keywords NOT to target.

A negative keyword allows you to exclude certain words from your campaign and ensure your ad clicks are relevant.

For example, let’s say you selling women running shoes, you can exclude the keyword “men” as your negative keyword. If a person types men running shoes into Google, your ad will not appear.

Adding negative keywords will prevent your ads from getting unnecessary “wasted” clicks in the future.

To add negative keywords, go to Campaign > Keywords > Negative Keywords > Click on the + button to start adding.

PPC negative keywords

We also recommend reviewing your search term report (next to negative keywords) daily to add in more negative keywords.

The search term report will show you what users are typing into Google and subsequently clicking on your ad. If you see any word that doesn’t fit your product, add them to the negative keyword list.

The more negative keywords you add, over time your ads will perform better.

When should you add negative keywords: Daily basis


PPC Optimization 5: Review Ad Schedule

By default, Google will spread your budget and show your ads equally all day during the 24 hours period.

Depending on your budget, you could adjust the setting on your Ad Schedule and ONLY show the ads during your business working hours.

For example, if your business operates from 9 to 5pm and closes on Sunday, you can set the ads to only appear from Monday to Saturday and 9 to 5pm.

If someone is searching on Tuesday at 7pm, your ads will not appear.

However, if you have the budget, we recommend letting the ads run all day for the first month. By the end of the month, you will get data on your business’ best performing day and time of the day.

Using this data, you can allocate a higher budget for this day and time.

To review your ad schedule performance, go to Campaign > Ad Schedule > Check Day & Hour

When should you review ad schedule: Monthly basis


PPC Optimization 6: Set Location Radius

Instead of setting your targeting to country or state, we recommend setting a location radius.

For example, if you run a local business, set the radius to 10km from your location. By doing this, only people who are within the 10km radius can see your ads. This will bring you higher quality customer and prevent people who are staying too far from seeing your ad.

Here’s an example of the location radius setting:

ppc location radius targeting

Once you are seeing results with the 10km radius, you can slowly increase to 12, 15, or 20km and so forth until it stops working.

The key is to start near your location, get clients in this radius, and gradually increase the radius from there on.

When should you optimize Location Radius: Monthly basis


PPC Optimization 7: Assess Auction Insights

Auction insights will show you 2 key data – Impression Share and Average Position against your main competitors

The first data, impression share refers to the percentage of impressions you receive divided by the total impressions you are eligible to receive. The higher the percentage, the better it is as your ads would be shown on Google most of the time.

Aim for at least 70-80% impression share, and refer to PPC Optimization #2 above on the ways to increase your impression share.

The second data, average position is your position on Google versus your competitors. Ideally, your average position should be 1.0 – 2.0, which means your ad is either in the first or second position each time a person searches for your keyword on Google.

When should you optimize Auction Insights: Weekly basis


PPC Optimization 8: Check Active Ads Status

The next optimization is a quick one. To ensure your ads are running, check the status of the ads once a month.

Head over to Ads & Extensions and check on Status:

google ads status

All ads’ status should be “Approved” for your ads to be running smoothly.

If the status of your ads is “Approved (Limited)” or “Disapproved”, contact your PPC agency or local Google ads support to diagnose the problem and get the ads approved.

When should you optimize Ads Status: Monthly basis


PPC Optimization 9: Investigate High Invalid Clicks

Invalid clicks are clicks on your ad that are considered illegitimate, from malicious software or they could simply be accidental clicks.

Google identify invalid clicks based on their system of filtering out IP address, duplicate interaction, time of interaction, and other patterns. For those clicks identified as invalid, Google will not charge you for the click.

This will help protect advertisers from click fraud and ensure the ads are only spent on prospects and buyers that are interested in your services.

However, if you notice high invalid clicks for your campaign, you may inform Google’s support to investigate further.

Here’s how to access your invalid clicks data. Go to Campaign > Click on Columns > Modify Columns > Performance> Tick the Invalid Clicks

When should you optimize Invalid Clicks: Monthly basis


PPC Optimization 10: Adjust Bidding for Location, Device, and Ad Schedule

This is the final optimization for a successful PPC campaign.

Adjust the bid price and bid higher for location, device, and ad schedule that are generating the conversions.

Here are the three sections where you can increase the bid price:

Start by testing with a 10% bid increase, and gradually increase if you are generating higher conversions.

For example, increase bid for locations, devices (mobile or desktop), and ad schedule (ad timing) with the highest conversions

When should you optimize Bidding: Monthly basis


Recap of PPC Optimization:

1. Assess CTR and tweak ads to improve click-throughs  – weekly

2. Aim for a high search impression share to dominate your competitors – weekly

3. Improve Quality Score by optimizing the 3 main components – weekly

4. Add negative keywords to ensure ad clicks are relevant – daily

5. Review ad schedule and allocate a higher budget for best-performing time and day – monthly

6. Set location radius near your business location and assess performance – monthly

7. Assess auction insights for impression share and average position – weekly

8. Check active ads status to ensure all ads are 100% approved – monthly

9. Investigate high invalid clicks to prevent click fraud – monthly

10. Adjust bidding for location, devices, and ad schedule – monthly



And that’s a wrap!

Optimize your PPC campaign with these 10 steps and you will dominate your competitors on the PPC platform.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this PPC optimization guide, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or email us at info@axceldigital.com