A majority of big SaaS players as well as emerging startups are relying on Google Ads for reaching out to their potential customers. However, only a few are able to get their strategy right for desired success. If your campaign is not SEO optimized, you will just be wasting your budget on low-quality leads. So, how do you make it work?
Here is your complete guide to Google Ads for Saas!
Why Companies Face Challenges with Google Ads for SaaS
- Google Ads for SaaS capitalize on search intent that is relevant to your SaaS company. Therefore, companies need to identify high intent or ‘bottom of the funnel’ traffic that most accurately aligns with what the target audience is looking for and what your company offers. This significantly reduces the pool size.
- The SaaS market has become highly competitive in the last few years with the launch of a plethora of products. This has led to market saturation. Moreover, since there is a limited supply of high-intent traffic, the cost per click (CPC) is also increasing, and scaling growth is getting a bit more difficult.
- Google continually makes changes on its platform.
Regardless of your lead churning process and optimized pricing, you still need to grow your subscribers whilst lowering cost per acquisition (CPA).
Before You Begin…
- Understand your SaaS metrics
It is important to understand metrics for any paid acquisition or campaign. Before you could work on improving your strategy, you should have certain metrics in place. For instance,
- What is your target cost per acquisition (TCPA)?
- What is the average lifetime value of your customer?
- What is your payback period?
This information can impact investment decisions—many SaaS companies make mistakes by adding ad spend in their customer acquisition cost (CAC) calculation but do not include all other sales and marketing expenses.
Here’s an example, if your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is $95 and you are spending $200 to $300 to acquire that one customer, it is just a complete waste of your money and resources.
Understanding your metrics well can give you the power to scale your business profitably.
- Do an opportunity analysis
A majority of companies just focus on keyword research when it comes to opportunity analysis. Whilst it is clearly critical, you need more input.
You can carry out deep keyword research using Keyword Planner as well as other platforms such asSEMRush, MOZ, etc.
Pro tip: Bid on your branded words as well as your competitor’s terms.
Your opportunity analysis can help in the following ways:
- The monthly traffic for keywords that are included in your plan
- Approximate cost of acquisition for new customers
- The new MRR you can generate or receive (if you know your backend conversion metrics)
Here’s how you can carry out your own opportunity analysis using the following template.
Image source: Farsiight
- Access your Google Ads account
- List your competitors
- Calculate estimates using this sheet
- Wok out your total monthly ad spend budget
Apart from that, fix loopholes in your website early on and consider bounce rates, time spent on the website, page/sessions, visitors’ journey through the website, etc. Remember, it’s not just about your Google Ads copy!
Google Ad for SaaS: Strategies for Your Company
Here are some practical tips to help you ace Google Ads for SaaS strategy.
#1 Adopt smart naming strategies
This tip is more important for navigating through your account quickly and has no direct relation to your Google Ads performance. With this naming convention, you can recognize ad groups based on goals, campaigns, targeting, etc., and also know the keywords that fall under that group.
Here’s an example.
<funnel stage>- <network>- <location>- <campaign>-<match type>
Moreover, since Google Ads sorts the names in A-Z order, naming them incorrectly can make your search more difficult.
#2 Don’t shy away from manual bidding
Google Ads provide bidding strategies—it automatically sets the bids based on the historical data so as to increase the likelihood of your ad being clicked or converted. However, not many marketing experts recommend using these strategies unless there is enough data to support over 15 conversions in 2 weeks. If not enough data is provided to make adjustments to your bid, then it may just lead to a high CPC and eventually a higher CPA.
It is advised that you invest your efforts in adjusting your bids manually, especially in the early stages of the campaign. You should regularly review and change bids or bid adjustments until your reach the desired outcome.
Bid adjustments: Audience, Device, Time of day, Day of the week, Location, Age, Gender, and Household income.
Tip: You can check bidding strategies by running a duplicated experimental campaign but it may split your traffic. In case your experimental campaign doesn’t work and is terminated, you still have the original campaign and you can divert the traffic.
#3 Design a mirrored campaign
Many experts recommend creating a mirrored campaign, especially for B2B models which have high CPC. If you want to reduce your CPA whilst searching for new keywords, a mirrored campaign can make a difference. You can create two identical campaigns—set keywords to exact match type and the other with broad, match, modified (BMM). Here’s how you can do it.
The BMM campaigns have lower budgets than the exact campaign as the objective here is to find new keywords that you have not covered earlier. You can identify which keywords receive impressions or conversions regularly. These critical keywords are added to the exact match campaign and thus, help to increase the impressions on the exact traffic you want for higher budgets.
Tip: Make sure that the exact match keywords are added as an exact match negative keywords in the BMM campaign.
#4 Implement a funnel strategy
It is important that you understand your user journey. In fact, taking an action like going for a free trial may take days to months. That’s why you should know how long all traffic from different sources takes to convert successfully.
Having a funnel strategy in place can help increase conversions and also lower CAC. You can push your customers through different stages: awareness, consideration, and then finally, decision. Many marketers go wrong in applying funnel to their Google Ads for SaaS. You should use the data from Google Analytics to create middle funnel campaigns to give a nudge to your users. Here’s why this strategy works!
- Users already familiar with the website and your service are more likely to take action.
- Assign dividual budgets to such middle funnel campaigns, thus avoiding overshooting your budget in top of the funnel campaigns.
- Change the key messaging of your ads. For instance, go for limited-period offers or share incentives so that they expedite their decision-making.
- Increase bids on unique keywords to get in the top search result.
#5 Target in-market audiences
In-market audiences enable you to connect with consumers who are actively looking or comparing products on Google Display Network publishers, Youtube, or other partner sites. These audiences can help you connect with potential customers who are on the last leg of their buying journey, thus, giving you a better conversion.
You can use this as a remarketing list in your campaigns as targeting or as an observation setting. Here’s the difference it will make.
If in-market audiences are used as targeting, then your ad will be displayed to users who fit those criteria. This may limit your reach.
Instead, if an in-market audience is added as an observation, then you would still continue to receive insights into useful metrics but the ad will be shown to users who do not fit the criteria.
Moreover, you would eventually start seeing which of your in-market audiences are performing. These insights can help you to increase or decrease bids or exclude the in-audience market, helping you lower your CAC.
That is why an observation setting is recommended in the early stages.
#6 Make bids on your competitors’ brand terms
Surprisingly, there are chances that your competitors are bidding on your brand terms! So, you need to get going. You can find out what competitors you want to bid on by accessing the “Auction insights” tool in your existing campaigns. You can compare your performance with others who are bidding in the same auction as you are.
It is important to note that you can bid on their brand terms but not use those keywords in your ad copy. Additionally, you can get creative with your ad copy based on your competitors’ terms to highlight why you are better and why users should choose you.
#7 Make use of the search term report
Search term report gives you insights on the terms or phrases users have used to get your ad clicked or shown in search results. Now, these terms may be quite different from your keyword list and you should use them to find new keywords as well as negative keywords.
Here’s the golden rule: Since high-intent keywords are limited when it comes to SaaS companies (leading to high CPCs), identify keywords that have less intent but are high up in the funnel.
Many experts recommend using these search terms for addressing queries using blogs or articles on the website. Additionally, you can use this visitors list for a remarketing campaign to nudge them toward conversion.
Google Ads for SaaS is a powerful marketing platform to drive conversions if done right. Make use of the practical tips discussed above to make strategic decisions. As the Google platform continues to evolve, make sure to revisit your strategies so you are not stuck on old methods!
To know more about how we can help your SaaS company with a successful Google Ads strategy, get in touch with us today!