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Google Ads for SaaS: The Ultimate Guide For Big Wins

SaaS (software-as-a-service) brands can jump on board Google Ads to build successful ad campaigns – with or without the help of a specialized SaaS Google Ads agency.

Whether your end goal is lead conversion or brand awareness, or anything in between, implementing pay-per-click (PPC) ads within your digital marketing strategy can see a sizable return-on-investment. 

This article looks into how to create the most profitable Google Ads for your SaaS business.

1 – SaaS PPC & B2C/eCommerce PPC: What’s the Difference?

While it may seem that the two have very few obvious differences, that’s not the case. On the contrary. Understanding the nuances is crucial for the outcome of your campaign. 

There are two fundamental differences, which are:

1.1 – B2B PPC has a Lower Lead Volume

When working with B2C (business-to-customer) or eCommerce, the lead volumes will be larger than that of SaaS PPC (pay-per-click). This is because generally the size of the audience will be bigger, thus will generate a larger volume of leads in a set period of time. This isn’t the case for lead generation for B2B companies advertising within a set time period.

If you’re dealing with a client looking to liaise with you for a digital marketing campaign, it is important to highlight these features and make them aware of realistic expectations – whether they’re a B2B or a B2C brand.

1.2 – B2B Sales’ Cycles are Longer

Simply put, B2C/eComm sales are shorter because there are less stakeholders involved in the buying process.

With B2B, various stakeholders harness the power to influence decisions. Also, typically a B2B company will embark on a longer contract, which automatically means the sales process is longer.

2 – Google Ads in SaaS Business: The Best Strategies

If you’re new to Google Ads for your SaaS ad campaign, here are some of the best strategies to implement when building your ads:

2.1 – Be Thorough with Your Industry Research

This means covering the entire industry during your research process.

It also means familiarising yourself with industry lingo/jargon and ensuring your team, plus any third-party companies you’re working with, are all on the same page regarding various terminology.

Sometimes industry definitions can appear similar or the same, but may have different meanings across different areas of the industry. An example of this would be enrollment services (payor or provider) – while they may be considered synonymous, on the contrary, the former is more technically correct for the role.

When conducting your industry research, keyword focus is crucial. It can help you find the most accurate words and phrases to help elevate your campaign, and it can ensure you’re correctly using any industry jargon. Using a keyword planner goes a long way.

2.2 – Implement Smart Naming Conventions in Your Strategy

While this won’t actually influence or dictate your campaign’s overall performance, it will enable quick and easy navigation around your account and will allow you to instantly recognise aspects of the campaign, such as audience targeting via ad groups, etc.

Giving recognisable names to these areas will help you if you need to go in and edit any areas of the campaign in later days. Also, it helps any other account-users from your team understand where everything is.

Confused about how to go about the naming process? Here’s a good formula to follow:

[Funnel] – [Network] – [Location] – [Campaign Name] – [Match Type]

This will help you and any other account-users identify the campaign’s objective, as well as what keywords may be in place. Both of which will save much time and confusion!

When it comes to naming ad groups, be mindful that Google will alphabetise your group names, so if you are focusing on specific keywords that, for example, may require higher bidding, etc., it is wise to put a note in brackets after the specific keyword to show its status. For example, you could put (Best) after the best keyword, so that other account-users can discern the relevance of the keywords.

2.3 – Funnel Strategy Patience

We all know that the buying process/lead conversion is rarely an overnight event. Oftentimes, it can be days, weeks, or even months before the lead eventually converts. This is usually because the client will want to conduct ample research to ensure the product/service behind your brand’s campaign will be worth investing in. This means patience is required.

This can be frustrating, but there are ways of monitoring where the lead is at any time within the sales funnel. The best ways of seeing this data is via:

  • Google Ads attribution time lag report
  • Google Analytics in Conversions
  • Multi-channel funnels
  • Time lag reports

A large portion of PPC success for B2B SaaS advertisers is being aware of the funnel and keeping it deployed within the structure of a campaign. It is a fundamental part of understanding our leads and when (and if) they choose to convert. It also helps us understand the buying journey from our audience’s perspective, which can be invaluable for future campaigns. 

You can also use Google Analytics or Google Ads to create campaigns for audiences in the middle of the funnel to help guide them to the end of their buying journey. These are called “middle of funnel” campaigns. 

This is why having a strong understanding of the funnel is crucial for conversion success.

Other benefits include:

  • Highlighting leads who have interacted with your brand online before (but haven’t converted) and who are familiar with you and may convert via a campaign.
  • You can (and should) assign a higher budget to garner as much conversion success as possible.
  • You can use a current campaign as a “middle of funnel” campaign and just alter the text where it is needed to ensure it’s more focused on that particular audience.
  • You have the freedom to increase keyword bids to optimise their success.

2.4 – Observe Your Campaigns by Adding Audiences

This is where “in-market audiences” come in handy.

In-market audiences allow you to reach out to potential leads who are in the research phase of their buying journey and who are comparing and contrasting particular products or services across any Google-owned platforms (this include YouTube).

In-market audiences will help you drive conversions because they help you to connect with a buyer at the near-end of their buying journey. 

If your campaign is a “Search” campaign, you can include in-market audiences as either an observation or a targeting setting.

If you’re wondering what in-market audiences to include, we suggest that you use all of them. This is because their shared common interests and conversion history create data that is extremely influential for specific lead conversion at a specific level of the funnel.

This data can be provided by Google Analytics – but you will need to ensure this feature is turned on.

2.5 – Targeting Intent Segments + In-Market

In-market segments provide the opportunity to display your ads to audiences who are considered “in the market”. This means they have been conducting their research and are getting close to making a final purchase. This data is compiled via Google’s algorithm, which is extremely accurate in discerning buyers’ journeys.

Also, if you use Google’s custom intent, the platform can accurately discern traffic in a similar manner to that of in-market audience data, otherwise known as “custom intent audiences”. But unlike in-market audiences, you get more control over who sees your ads because you can alert Google to show them to audiences based on specific actions. This feature is also based on your keywords research.

The purpose behind these two audience targeting methods is to heighten your conversion rate. Although you will be paying a higher click-through-rate (CTR), this is still a profitable option, as it means you will draw in more conversion-ready audiences, as opposed to audiences who aren’t sure they’re ready to convert.

2.6 – Start with a Manual Bidding Strategy 

Google Ads offers more than one way to control your bids, as well as adjusting them once your campaign has gone live. Some of these options are automated, but in the initial stages of your campaign, it is wise to stick with manual bidding. This is because you may find the traffic you generate is irrelevant and the CTR is low.

Once your campaign has taken off and has started to receive your target conversion rate, then you can look at going auto with your bidding. But in the preliminary stages, it is best to stay manual.

If you’re considering adjusting your bids, you will need to regularly monitor your keyword dimensions, including audience, device, gender, location, time of day, day of week, age, and household income. 

If you wish to experiment with automated bidding, do so on a test or “dummy” campaign. This allows you to monitor success without losing profit or harming your business.

2.7 – Landing Page Design

The quality of your landing page paints a very important picture of your brand to your audience, so make sure yours is top-notch. Poorly designed or difficult to navigate landing pages are extremely off-putting and will have a devastating effect on your conversion success. 

Campaigns will (or should) enable your brand’s landing page to feature well in Google’s search engine results page (SERPs), so once you’ve gone through the trouble of building your campaign and actually getting your audience to stop by, you then want to make sure they stay and convert. A badly-designed landing page will not accomplish this.

Anything such as slow loading, errors, low-quality text and images, etc., is very off-putting and will not inspire much confidence within the service or product you’re trying to sell. 

Your landing page should include clear, concise, simple instructions/information, and a prominent call-to-action (CTA). Always think quality over quantity.

2.8 – Keyword Competition 

One of the biggest challenges with advertising via Google Ads is keyword competition. 

If you’re struggling to bid on your desired keywords, try gently modifying them to something similar. Also, be mindful that you cannot use brand names as keywords. Doing so will penalise your account and you won’t be able to launch your campaign.

2.9 – B2B Remarketing Campaigns 

Many B2B marketers are failing to take advantage of the power that is held within remarketing campaigns. But if they were, they would understand its numerous benefits:

  • You can target them with similar campaigns and rework the content to suit them in this stage of their buying journey.
  • Even if conversion isn’t the objective of your campaign, B2B remarketing campaigns are an excellent strategy for building brand awareness.
  • It’s inexpensive, because the CTR is lower. This is because the user has already been flagged by Google data-pulling as someone potentially engaging, therefore your campaign is less competitive, which results in a cheaper cost of clicks.

Conclusion  

Marketing via Google Ads for SaaS can be extremely lucrative, providing you’re hot on your research (both industry and audience), regularly monitoring your metrics, and taking full advantage of everything Google has to offer to help you generate campaign success.

If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through LinkedIn advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at info@getuplead.com to speak with someone on our team.

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