How to Create Google Ads Campaigns for Tech, B2B and SaaS Companies
Google advertising evolves rapidly, with constant changes in advertising formats, technologies, keyword functionalities, and methods for launching and optimizing advertising campaigns. In this article, I will discuss the latest methods for launching advertising campaigns in Google Ads as of 2024, which we currently employ at our agency.
This article is designed for those who have prior experience in Internet marketing and are familiar with the basic terminology of Google Ads.
2.1. General Search Ads
2.2. Brand Search Ads
2.4. Performance Max
4. Wrapping Up
The Basic Principle
In the following sections, I will outline the key principles for launching initial advertising campaigns.
Disclaimer: This article assumes that you’re using Google Ads for the first time and don’t have any previous campaign history or existing data.
The current setup (number, complexity, details) of advertising campaigns that we use is much simpler than it was before. We do not use SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group) — collecting a huge number of keywords, detailed division of campaigns into groups by keywords, launching a large number of advertising campaigns at once.
We are running fewer advertising campaigns that use a simplified structure.
Are you a SaaS or B2B tech company seeking growth? Submit your request now and will offer new ways to boost your sign-ups, demos/trials and paid users base
The Primary Task of the Launch is to Accumulate Data
Our B2B SaaS PPC agency has transitioned away from manual bids and complex strategies, opting for simpler structures in our advertising campaigns.
Initially, the main goal is to accurately collect a sufficient amount of correct and necessary data instead of maximizing conversions (sales) or decreasing cost per action from scratch.
In the last statement, every word is important.
“Accurately” — our experience shows that it’s not just the amount of data and the rate of data accumulation that matters, but also:
- distribution of data over time;
- weekly performance of advertising campaigns
- patterns of behavior within these campaigns on a weekly, daily, and monthly basis.
“Sufficient amount” refers to the necessary threshold of data required before setting initial target values (caps) for CPA (Cost Per Action) or ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). Specifically, it is essential to accumulate at least 30 conversions per ad campaign in the 30 days following the implementation of the cap.
A cap is a limit or target value set for Google Ads campaigns that utilize the Max Conversions and Max Conversion Value automated bidding strategies.
“Correct” — before launching advertising campaigns, we set up analytics and track both micro- and macro-conversions. However, after the launch, it’s common to encounter bugs and errors, often of a technical nature. These issues can result in incorrect tracking, loss, or distortion of data on real traffic. It’s crucial to identify and resolve these ‘growing pains’ that emerge with real traffic before proceeding to scale up the advertising campaigns.
“Necessary” — we’ve concluded that, given the current circumstances, it’s not recommended to start advertising campaigns on Google Ads unless they are integrated with CRM systems. This integration should include the transfer of offline conversion data, such as lead qualification, invoicing, and receipt of final payments, to the advertising accounts.
We conducted advertising campaigns targeting only the US market for an outsourcing company. The campaigns were optimized for conversions, but in this case, the conversions were only initial requests, even without qualification.
Initially, we agreed with the client to integrate CRM post-launch. However, the CRM integration was delayed. Meanwhile, the advertising campaigns began to yield conversions (form submissions) and showed positive trends, scaling up with an increasing number of leads. Despite this, a significant issue arose: the client’s sales team struggled to contact these leads, leads were from India, not the US, contrary to our targeted settings which aimed to exclude traffic from India and similar countries.
Consequently, the advertising campaigns became adept at attracting these unqualified leads, which did not progress through the sales funnel.
Based on these outcomes, we’ve established a rule to only launch campaigns after setting up the entire depth of the funnel, moving away from the ‘let’s try and see, we’ll adjust along the way’ approach.
Check out our article on PPC for SaaS where we explain how to generate high-quality leads at the bottom of the funnel specifically for SaaS businesses.
The Structure of Advertising Campaigns
In this section, I provide the universal list of advertising campaigns essential for businesses initiating their journey with Google Ads. This includes recommended budgets for starting, types of bidding strategies with detailed explanations and justifications, outlining why this particular setup is effective. These recommendations are versatile and applicable even in highly competitive markets, such as the USA and UK, and within highly competitive niches.
Let’s look at each advertising campaign in more detail, and why we set exactly such strategies and settings at the start.
General Search Ads
Our marketing approach is based on the idea that there’s already a demand for the product or service we’re promoting through Google Ads. In other words, people are actively searching for what we offer; hence, there’s no need for us to create market demand. This forms the basis of one of our fundamental advertising campaigns.
This is one of our core advertising campaigns.
We avoid dividing an advertising campaign into multiple segments unless there is a clear necessity. Different business lines, however, are separated. For instance, if you have a fintech company with distinct products, one targeting individual users and another for corporate clients, we would create separate ad campaigns for each product line.
In the past, we used to categorize keywords for ad targeting into two groups: ‘hot’ and ‘near-targeted’, creating separate campaigns for each. However, we have since shifted our strategy. Now, we focus solely on actual direct keywords. Google’s keyword match types and Performance Max campaigns will naturally capture all related near-semantic keywords, eliminating the need for separate campaigns for these types.
Each ad group in a search campaign should contain a minimum of 5-6 keywords. These keywords are typically 4-5 words long and are set to broad match. Additionally, though it’s optional, we may include 2 to 3-word targeted keywords, but only in phrase match or exact match types.
Example: Here is a potential set of keywords for an ad group aimed at promoting a service for renting residential proxies in the USA:
- buy residential proxy usa
- residential proxy service price
- unlimited residential proxy service
- buy residential proxy IP us
- premium residential proxy service us
- “buy residential proxy”
- “residential proxy price”
- “residential proxy service”
Keywords without quotation marks are set to broad match and are chosen to specifically indicate the user’s commercial intent — that is, the intent to make a purchase rather than to seek information on how something works or how to configure or connect it.
Keywords enclosed in quotes are set to phrase match. Currently, phrase match in Google Ads functions similarly to the broad match modifier used in 2021. This means Google may ‘expand’ these phrase match keywords, incorporating synonyms or selecting alternatives it deems similar in meaning.
Why Is the Daily Budget Set at $50-70 and Not Higher
When employing the Max Conversion strategy without a cap (limit), there’s a substantial risk that Google might initially focus on search queries related to competitors. This is because it deems these queries relevant to the direct keywords you have set.
“Keyword” refers to what advertisers set as their targeting criteria, indicating what they want to advertise or “want to promote.”
A “search query” is the actual search phrase or query entered by end users. When a search query is entered, Google or another search engine matches it with advertisers’ keywords and selects among them those whose ads to display to that specific user.
Search queries containing competitors’ brand names inherently have a low-quality index because they are often irrelevant to your brand. This results in significantly higher costs per click for such search queries, sometimes considerably higher than the costs for your direct keywords.
For example, we often see that the cost per click for our direct keywords when targeting the United States is around $2-3. However, within the same niche or industry, the cost per click for keywords (search queries) related to your competitors’ brands can range from $60 to $80.
If you choose to start with a daily budget of, say, $300 to $500 for a Google Ads search campaign, either for quicker results or because of a large advertising budget, it’s important to remember that the campaign lacks limits on the desired conversion cost. In this scenario, Google will likely allocate most, if not all, of this budget toward acquiring search queries related to competitors.
Furthermore, conversions generated from these competitor-related search queries often have lower conversion rates compared to direct keywords, especially branded keywords. As a result, conversions from competitor-related search queries are inherently more expensive, particularly at the initial stages of the campaign, if they occur at all.
To prevent this, we intentionally set a lower budget for our search advertising campaign at the beginning, even if we can allocate more funds. This approach allows us to gather data gradually, and based on actual performance data, we can then make informed decisions about gradually increasing the daily budget.
Why We Don’t Set Target CPA and Target ROAS Right From the Start
The logical question arises: why don’t we address the issue of targeting search queries related to competitors by setting Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) and Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) limits?
The answer: there is no historical conversion data available in the account, and as a result, the advertising system cannot effectively learn and optimize. Consequently, the following scenario is likely to occur.
First, Google will attempt to determine your niche based on the keywords you’ve selected, as well as the ads and landing pages. Subsequently, Google will rely on industry data for the identified niche (and this niche assignment by Google is not disclosed to advertisers) for optimization and training purposes, rather than utilizing your conversion data from the ad account.
Following this, your ads will typically run for 2-3 weeks and then gradually experience a decline in impressions and traffic, until the advertising will not stop completely.
Are you a SaaS or B2B tech company seeking growth? Submit your request now and will offer new ways to boost your sign-ups, demos/trials and paid users base
Brand Search Ads
A common question is whether it is necessary to run Brand Search ads, especially if your site is already ranked high for these queries in regular search. The answer is that you should always.
The reasons are as follows:
- For new advertising accounts, the most crucial aspect is to accumulate conversions. This ensures that the conversions are attributed to the advertising account and the advertising system. Branded queries typically have the highest intent, meaning that the likelihood of conversions originating from such queries is also higher. As a result, you will begin to receive data about conversions in your advertising account more quickly. The system will then start to analyze the audience, their behavior, and those who have made conversions on your site.
- The cost of this type of traffic is typically very low, meaning that initiating an additional brand campaign usually incurs minimal financial expenses.
- Protection from competitors. If you haven’t set up your ads for branded queries, there’s a high likelihood that eventually, ads from your direct or indirect competitors will start appearing in response to these search queries.
- Having branded advertising enhances your visibility in search results. This means that both your ad and your website appear in regular search results, thereby increasing the chances that a user will click on either your ad or your website. This approach lowers the chances of users ending up on a review site, a site with a similar name, or a competitor’s site, especially when competitors display ads for search terms related to your brand.
The strategy we use for brand search companies is Target impression share, with absolute top mode and max bid $2.
This strategy allows you to aggressively buy any display ads for search queries that are related to your brand, as well as aggressively defend against competitor ads.
A small budget ($10-$15 per day) for an advertising campaign (since branded traffic is inexpensive) is enough to start.
It’s crucial to exclude any search queries that are not directly related to your brand from such a search campaign. This ensures that only pure brand-related traffic is targeted. Further details on this topic, particularly regarding post-launch strategies for advertising campaigns in Google Ads, will be discussed in a separate article.
When working with brand search ads, we monitor the proportion of purchased impressions that achieve the absolute top position (where our ads appear above the regular search results at the top of Google’s results page). If this proportion falls below the target of 90%, we can consider gradually increasing the maximum bid (the highest amount you are willing to pay per click) to above $2. It’s crucial to ensure that only branded search queries are included in the brand search campaign.
Competitors Search Ads
The approach and goal are akin to campaigns targeting your brand queries, but in this case, we aggressively target competitors’ traffic.
We understand that our ads will be less relevant to these specific search queries, resulting in more expensive traffic and a higher cost per click. Therefore, during the customization stage, we set a modest advertising budget (about $10-$15 per day) and a low bid limit (a maximum of $1 per click). We aim to acquire as much ‘competitive’ traffic as our budget allows.
At the same time, this advertising campaign also serves to enhance brand awareness. Even if you don’t receive clicks (and hence don’t pay for them), your ads are still displayed in response to searches about your competitors. This helps in introducing users to your company, product, and service. This approach is particularly effective when you are new to the market and targeting search queries associated with established competitors.
This is a special type of advertising campaign that combines search, online, shopping (if that applies to you), display, video, local (on maps) advertising all at the same time.
This is a relatively new tool in Google advertising. It’s important to understand how to effectively implement it — including proper launching, training, optimization, and making necessary adjustments. Read more in our Performance Max guide.
At the outset, we don’t allocate significant budgets to this advertising campaign either. Initially, we dedicate time to training the campaign. Then, we gradually introduce a cap, such as Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), and progressively scale up.
Typically, this campaign type demands a considerable amount of data and time for initial training and optimization. On the flip side, it offers the potential to significantly scale your overall results from Google Ads. This is because it encompasses not just search advertising but also all other ad formats on Google, including video and display.
Microsoft also has Performance Max. Find out how the two leaders in PPC differ in our article comparing Google Performance Max vs Microsoft Performance Max.
Remarketing Display Ads
Classic remarketing is particularly vital when users do not immediately decide to purchase your product or service, which can be due to a lengthy decision-making cycle, high cost, or other factors.
Through remarketing in Google Ads, you continuously remind users about your company, nurturing their interest until they engage with you, whether that’s by registering for your service, submitting an application, or making a purchase. The specific action depends on your industry and product.
Additionally, this approach partially serves the purpose of brand awareness. By ‘surrounding’ the target audience that has already shown interest in your brand, you enhance their knowledge about your product and company.
Given that the remarketing audience is typically small, such advertising campaigns do not demand large budgets and usually run at a steady, gradual pace.
Results of Adopting Discussed Strategies
Below, you will find an example illustrating the implementation of a Google Ads campaign setup on a new account, as I have described earlier in this article.
In the article, I discussed the initial setup and fundamental principles of advertising in Google Ads. I explained which advertising campaigns we launch at the beginning, the reasons behind choosing specific campaign strategies and settings.
However, I did not delve into the post-launch activities, which are crucial. This includes the training and scaling of advertising campaigns, understanding when and how to make changes, monitoring key metrics and campaign parameters, identifying important aspects to focus on, and interpreting graphs that show the dynamic changes in campaign performance. You can find more detailed information on these topics in our SaaS library.
Founder & CEO at Lira Agency.
Why is PPC important for a business?
PPC is a powerful tool for business for several reasons:
- Target audience: PPC allows you to fine-tune ads for the target audience, which increases the likelihood of attracting interested customers.
- High relevance: Ads are seen by users who search for specific keywords or visit sites with similar topics.
- Pay per result: Pay per click (PPC) means you only pay when a potential customer clicks on your site.
- Instant results and flexibility: Unlike SEO, which takes time to achieve visible results, PPC advertising can bring in customers immediately after the campaign is launched.
- Analytics and optimization: PPC provides detailed analytics about user behavior. This allows you to optimize campaigns, improving results and reducing the cost of customer acquisition.
- Branding: Even if users don’t click on your ad, they see it, which creates brand awareness.
How is advertising for tech, B2B and SaaS companies different from other industries?
Products and services in these sectors typically have longer sales cycles compared to other products and services. This means that campaigns should be aimed at attracting potential customers at different stages of the sales funnel. Also, the target audience is narrower and more specific.
How to launch ads on Google?
How to measure the effectiveness of Google Ads campaigns for B2B?
You need to track not only the number of clicks and impressions, but also pay attention to the quality of leads, conversion rate and return on investment (ROI). Tools such as Google Analytics can help you track these metrics.
How often should I optimize my advertising campaigns?
To continuously improve the performance of your campaigns, it’s crucial to regularly assess and adjust key elements. Make it a habit to routinely analyze your campaign results, fine-tuning aspects like keywords, targeting, ad copy, and budget allocations. This ongoing process of refinement ensures your campaigns remain effective and efficient.