If you advertise with Google Ads, you should pay close attention to the settings when setting up your campaign. Because Google’s default settings are unfortunately not always in the advertiser’s interest and often not easy to find.
The functions and options in Google Ads are constantly being revised and developed – a lot is going in the direction of automation. Some settings are preselected and, from Google’s point of view, should make the advertiser’s work easier and point the way. However, if you don’t question these settings, you quickly hand over control to Google without even realizing it. It is therefore important here to examine and understand everything. A (of course not complete) overview of important settings:
One of the most important settings at account level first: As a standard setting, ad suggestions generated by Google are automatically applied if this is not actively displayed. Unfortunately, Google’s ad suggestions are not yet fully developed and have many errors. We strongly advise against this.
Automatic ad extensions
Automatic ad extensions go in a similar direction. These are also automatically played out by Google unless you actively deselect them. These include dynamic sitelinks, snippets, but also longer headlines and seller ratings. Experience has shown that these extensions are not bad at all, especially the seller ratings are even advisable. However, if you have very precise requirements for your wording, you should not rely on the automatic extensions. The setting itself can only be found if you look carefully: Under Ads and extensions -> Automatic extensions -> More -> Extended options , the individual extensions can be deselected:
There are also a few things to consider at campaign level. When creating a new campaign, Google first asks for the goal. The background here is that Google can then give different recommendations depending on the goal. Sounds very good at first glance, but at second glance you will notice that this limits your options. For example, not all bid strategies can be selected for all goals.
The selection of the campaign types follows immediately afterwards. If you choose shopping or display here, the new campaign will be created as a smart campaign by default, unless you tick the standard display campaign that is not recommended by Google. With smart campaigns, however, you completely hand over control to Google – what remains is a black box and virtually no optimization options. With smart display campaigns, for example, target groups cannot even be stored. Smart shopping campaigns also mix remarketing and shopping campaigns. Two campaign types for which you normally have completely different goals and which should therefore not be mixed up. If you want to control and optimize your campaigns, you should definitely refrain from using smart campaigns.
The language settings should also be considered. English is always specified as standard. This setting is definitely recommended for display campaigns, but the setting should be questioned for search campaigns. Because this is the language setting of the browser the user and not necessarily the language in which the search is being made. If you leave it at this setting, you will not reach, for example, users who have set a different language (e.g. mother tongue) as their browser language but live in America. One possibility here would be to select all languages and therefore the location USA. This would ensure that all users in USA could be reached. The increased range can of course also increase costs, so it is important to weigh up and test.
Which brings us to the next point: the location. The standard setting here is ” Users in my target regions or users who are interested in it (recommended)”. This setting is generally recommended, you should just be aware that not only users are advertised at the specified location, but also those who are interested in the location. In addition, for a year now this option has also included users who are regularly at this location .If you really only want to reach the users at a certain location, you should therefore select the option “Users who are currently or regularly in my target regions”. But here, too, one should bear in mind that the determination of the position is not always reliable, especially on desktops and tablets.
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You should also pay attention to the alignment:
- If you create a search campaign, the targeting is automatically set to search network, search network partner and display network.
- If you create a Shopping campaign, the alignment is automatically set to the Search Network, YouTube, Gmail, and Discover set
Advertising with search network partners is often, but of course not always useful. However, this can easily be evaluated ( via segment -> network ) and decided accordingly. But if you don’t want to end up on YouTube with your shopping ads or with your text ads on the display network, you should remove the tick.
Display: Extension of the alignment
One setting to keep in mind in display campaigns is to extend targeting. This can be set for each ad group and is set to “Level 1 (conservative)” by default. This extends the previously set orientation (e.g. target groups), i.e. increases the range. This setting also sounds good at first. However, if you really only want to reach the stored target group, you should deactivate this expansion. Otherwise, you run the risk of addressing users you don’t even want to reach . For example, if you want to address your website visitors with remarketing, you will not benefit from Google simply adding similar users to the list of website visitors.
However, this setting is also not that easy to find in the Google Ads interface. To do this, go to Target Groups -> Edit -> Edit Target Group Alignment in the Google Ads interface in the display campaign
Display: frequency capping
Another setting that should be considered in display campaigns is the option for frequency capping. The default setting is for Google to optimize the frequency with which ads are shown. However, this is just a nice way of saying that there is no upper limit and that the system can do what it wants. Display ads can therefore quickly have the opposite effect, namely that users feel followed and are thus discouraged from buying .Depending on the goal, a limit should be set here.
Every setting, be it on account, campaign or ad group level, should be critically examined. There are many hidden settings lurking on Google that you should know, especially if you want to maintain complete control over your Google Ads account yourself. This list is of course not complete, but it should point out some settings that you may not have thought through beforehand.