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8 min read

How to optimize your paid search strategy

10/7/20 11:04 AM

Any online advertiser can create a Paid Search campaign, but Paid Search success is only as strong as the strategy behind it. Below, GSM covers some of the top ways to strengthen your Paid Search campaigns across budgeting, audience targeting, and campaign structure.


  • AI budget allocation and Google’s Smart Bidding: AI helps generate sales by dynamically setting the price of products based on factors such as their demand, availability, and the consumer’s profile. This helps businesses automatically adapt to fluctuations in the market and change pricing based on individual consumer behavior.

    Google’s Smart Bidding helps your dealership optimize its bids using machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value in every auction. Smart Bidding automatically adjusts your bids based on a wide range of data and contextual signals such as information about a person or their context at the time of the ad auction (device, location, previous searches, websites visited, etc.). When combined with negative keyword lists, your ad budget will go even further and drive qualified traffic.

    Below are the six types of automated bidding strategies you can use to stretch your budget farther:
    1. Maximize clicksAutomatically sets your bids to help you get the most clicks within a target spend of your choosing.
    2. Target search page location: Automatically adjusts your bids to help you get your ads to the top of the page or the first page of search results. 
    3. Target cost-per-acquisition (CPA): Automatically sets your bids to help you get as many conversions as possible while reaching an average cost-per-acquisition goal that you set. 
    4. Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC): Automatically adjusts your manual CPC bid up or down based on each click's likelihood to result in a conversion. 
    5. Target return on ad spend (ROAS): Automatically sets your bids to maximize your conversion value, while trying to reach an average return on ad spend. 
    6. Target outranking share: Automatically raises or lowers your bids to help your ads outrank ads from another advertiser. 
  • Dayparting: Dayparting can help your dealership take advantage of your audience’s optimal viewing times. When your dealership is only open around 12 hours a day, there’s no need to keep your ads running around the clock—especially if you are reaching daily ad spend thresholds early in the day.

    Dayparting is a budgeting strategy that allows advertisers to schedule ads to run during certain times of the day or certain days of the week. This helps dealerships reduce wasted ad spend and more effectively target audiences when your dealership is open.


  • In-Market: Google In-Market Audiences help advertisers reach potential customers while they’re actively researching, browsing, or comparing the types of products and services you sell. Google deems a user as being in-market for a product or service by considering clicks on related ads, the content of the pages and sits he or she visits, the recency and frequency of the visits, as well as subsequent conversions.

    Another added benefit is that in-market audience targeting allows dealerships to connect with consumers right before they make a purchase decision. Google helps advertisers leverage real-time data to present the right offer at the right time to consumers who are most interested in your products and services—regardless of what site they’re browsing. Showing up at the right time is half the battle but showing up with the right offer seals the deal.

  • Retargeting/Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): Although not new, but definitely underused, a Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA) is a Google Ads feature that enables advertisers to customize their search ad campaigns for users who have previously visited their site.

    RLSAs do not automatically show ads to users because they are on your remarketing list. Users have to be actively searching on Google using the keywords you are bidding on within your search campaigns to see your ad. This helps you grow leads and conversions with the users who left your site without converting (buying something, submitting a form, downloading something, etc.).
  • Customer Match: Customer Match is a Google audience targeting strategy. Google’s sophisticated technology allows advertisers to use their online and offline data to reach and re-engage their customers, and users who are similar to their customers, across Paid Search, Gmail or other email accounts, YouTube, and Display.

    Google uses Google account data and connects the data you provide to link it to the appropriate Google accounts. When these customers sign into their Google account, they will see your dealership’s ads as they browse the Search Network, their email (does not have to be a Gmail account), YouTube, or via Display ads. This helps your dealership advertise to consumers who have interacted with your business, or similar businesses, via online and offline actions across Google accounts.

  • Hispanic: Hispanic audiences are a critical demographic to target quite simply because this audience is the fastest-growing segment of the American population. Creating a “triple targeting structure” for each campaign broadens your reach to Hispanic auto consumers across English and Spanish browsers and languages:
  1. Spanish keyword(s) and a Spanish browser: reach consumers with their browser language search set to Spanish who are searching keywords in Spanish.
  2. Spanish keyword(s) and an English browser: Reach consumers with their browser language set to English who are searching keywords in Spanish.
  3. English keyword(s) and a Spanish browser: Reach consumers with their browser language set to Spanish who are searching keywords in English.
  • Negative keyword strategy: A negative keyword strategy allows you to exclude search terms from your campaigns to focus only on the keywords that matter to your customers. This helps put your ad in front of relevant and interested users, while also reducing costs by having your ad appear only for the search terms you want. If you have search terms that aren’t performing well or helping you meet your goals, add them as negative keywords. This prevents your ad from showing to people who are looking for something you don’t sell or offer.

    Adding terms that are irrelevant to your business as negative keywords help ensure the users that see your ad are relevant and more qualified. For example, a Jaguar dealership may want to include negative keywords such as “Jaguar pet”, “Jaguar attack”, or “Jaguar + city + zoo” to make sure its ads do not show up in unrelated ‘Jaguar’ searches.


  • Ad Extensions: A paid search ad extension is a way of expanding your advertisement to provide additional information to users, giving them more reasons to choose your business. Extensions help increase an ad’s click-through rate by including critical features such as call buttons, location information, links to specific parts of your website, and more. Learn how to pick the right ad extensions for your business here or download the ultimate ad extension cheat sheet here.

Campaign structure best practices:

  • Include at least 5 keywords per Ad Group
  • Individual or account-based campaigns should have:
    • At least 6 Sitelinks
    • At least 1 Structured Snippet
    • At least 4 Callouts
  • Rotate your ads for “Best Performing Ad” under Ad Settings
  • Utilize Location Extensions and/or all relevant extensions
  • Apply a negative keyword list and monitor your Search Terms Report to add low performing keywords to your negative keyword list
  • Ensure “Search Partners” is on in your Account Settings (this allows your ads to appear across not only Google but its partner websites, including YouTube, Amazon, Gmail, Shopping, Maps, and more)
  • Use Automated Bid Strategies to increase performance and save budget
  • Bid on your top-performing Audiences, Locations, Devices, and Keywords
  • Recommended Automotive campaign structure:
    • Keyword + Make
    • Keyword + Model
    • Keyword + Make + Audience
    • Keyword + Model + Audience
    • Competitive Make Keyword + Audience
    • Competitive Model Keyword + Audience
    • Competitive Dealer Keyword + Audience

There’s a multitude of audiences, targeting strategies, and structural changes you can use to take your Paid Search campaigns to the next level. If your dealership is interested in testing out the strategies discussed above, you can reach out to for more information.


Written by GSM

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