7 steps for HubSpot users to dramatically increase Google Ads ROI

If you’re using Google Ads, then HubSpot should be reporting a positive ROI on the ad spend…once optimized - with the landing page themselves being a critical part of the journey.

I’ll cover the ‘Google Ads’ aspects in much more detail again, but the aim of the blog post is simple:

Follow the steps below, and make these changes…

Step 1: Check the traffic source

Before you do anything else, understand the nature of the traffic coming into any landing page.

If you’re using either a) Performance Max as a campaign type, or b) Broad Match as a keyword match type…stop it.
 You are wasting money ‘to learn’ - and you don’t need to ‘teach the algorithm’. 
What you need is this…
To very precisely understanding (the best you can) the search terms the person is putting into Google, when they then see/click your ads. 

If you’re running B2B ads, I’ll argue (and provide evidence) all day long that [exact match] and “phrase match” is like spearfishing - whereas every other approach is like using a trawler net.

Step 2: Search terms

Next, go to Google Ads and look at the Search Terms area…
(Click Campaigns, Insights and reports, then Search terms)

These are the ACTUAL terms people are putting into Google Search, which in term trigger your ads.
This step is the secret sauce if you’re not doing it already.

It’s the difference between what you’re like to be happening (keywords/clicks) and what’s actually happening (search terms/ads being shown).

If there is a mismatch in your expectations, then change accordingly e.g pausing keywords, or adding in more negative keywords.

Step 3: Check the content of the landing pages

Now, go back to your landing pages and consider whether the Search terms (i.e. the traffic, when they click) are landing on ‘the right page’ i.e. is it super-relevant to their original search enquiry.
My bet… it won’t be.

As such, proceed to Step 4…

Step 4: Reconfigure the Adgroup structure

This step is about changing Adgroup structure so you’re matching the keywords within a group to the landing page, now you know actual search terms that are triggers.

If you think about it, it’s obvious…
An Adgroup serves up ‘the same ads’ to the keywords within that group.
As such, if you have TOO many keywords in an adgroup you are extremely likely* to mismatch the landing page with some keywords.

*one exception will be if you’re using HubSpot’s smart content capabilities…

smart rule categories_PYB blog image

For more info please see here.

But for most people the (now old school) way of Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAG) remain the best way to be in control.
Think about it this way…
Imagine there only two levers within your campaigns:
1) Improve the click through rate 
2) Improve the conversion rate on the page

You can improve 1) through more spend through either a) more spend per click, or b) better ad copy
You can improve 2) by…well, there are SO many ways, including…

Step 5: Match the keyword intent to the landing page ‘type’

Actually, this is the extra secret sauce (congratulations for reading on to receive a second serving…)

Any person searching ‘around a topic’ (i.e. just exploring) are using different keywords to a person looking to purchase. 
If you mismatch your page type to the nature of the search enquiry, then you (most likely) won’t get the conversion.

To quote Ricky Gervais, just because you like music, doesn’t mean you want to purchase 10 drum lessons.

I’ll call this the ‘Watch Shop Conundrum’ 

Let’s say you own a Watch Shop
Some people are:
Interested in the concept of time and space,
Some people want to know the time,
Some want to buy a watch, others want to buy a smart watch
And maybe a few want to buy an antique Rolex

You wouldn’t treat each person arriving in your shop the same, so why would you present the same landing page each time.

For instance, let’s say you’re selling ‘risk management software’ and your landing page is oriented toward ‘signing up for demos’...
If you run Google ads for the keyword [risk management] then you have a mismatch i.e. your ads are ‘top of the funnel’ (and quite possibly even poorly chosen) and your landing page is MOFT/BOTF i.e. give me your details and you can have a demo.

Now, let’s say you do have ‘the right people at the wrong stage’, then you can ‘shift up or down’ a level with your page intent. If someone is more at an exploratory stage (TOTF) then giving them an easy route to accessing information e.g. a guide is STILL a good way to go. If someone actually wants to receive a phone call and connect with a human, then having a contact form (MOTF) could be the ideal match.

There is a lot of ‘art’ to the decision making, based on the data - and by ‘art’ I mean a conceptual assessment of the information presented by both HubSpot and Adwords, and then making suitable changes. The aim is, this dance in the mind between art & science will deliver a verifiable output i.e. in this case, a conversion of the right nature.

Afterall, proof of this recipe is in the pudding.

Step 6: Add more negative keywords

The fact is, this next step is ongoing - and should start even before you build up some data.
Stopping any ads showing when someone types in ‘free’ before your phrase match keywords, for instance, is probably a good move.

To do this, on a very regular basis during your campaigns…
Go back to your Google Ads account and look over the negative keyword list.
If there are ANY irrelevant terms showing up, then add them as a negative keyword.

Now, here’s the thing, with Google equating ‘this’ with ‘that’ via something called ‘Close Variant’, you’ll find that certain keywords - even when the intention is [Exact Match] - still slip through the net.

This is fine if you want to widen your reach, but you may well find it doesn’t have specificity and matching between the search term and the landing page itself.

Step 7: Consider the role of targeting ‘mobile devices’ from the Ads campaigns

Unless your primary CTA is a ‘phone call’, then it’s harder to optimise landing pages on mobile for conversions i.e. via a ‘form’.
Btw, you’re welcome to prove me wrong.

What is certain is this, if you’re using a mobile - consider the following:

  • Improve your landing page performance (every 1/100th of a second counts)
  • To do this, start by looking at Google Page Speed Insights score, and the mobile tab in particular.
  • Perform a check whether your page looks ‘good’ (and performs the task at hand) across multiple devices
  • Review your onscreen interruptions e.g. ‘pop ups’ that arrive too early (except in a online shopping scenario where 10% discount off your first order for opting into our newsletter), you probably are just being a nuisance.
  • Same thing with live chats - test it, but I’m if you’re seeing ‘form conversions’, then the chat button is likely to just get in the way on a mobile device

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Whilst PYB were initially brought on to onboard HubSpot, we (the Marketing team) continued to work with them after onboarding was complete, to ensure we best utilised HubSpot as a campaign-integrated CRM. Predominantly working with Martin, we've used HubSpot to manage paid campaign activity for LinkedIn and Google, as well as supporting our sales teams with PDF's and automated emails for MQL's/ SQL's. Plus Your Business have been a dedicated support throughout, offering a very agile and responsive service to ensure we get the best "bang for our buck" with sponsored activity such as InMail and PPC. I'd definitely recommend them to any business looking for campaign/ CRM support.

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Head Of Marketing, SMS Plc