3 key actions for Google Ads success in 2020

29 January 2019

Google Ads experienced some major changes in 2018, to find out what these were read more.

Google Ads experienced some major changes in 2019 -  with machine learning technologies and advanced audience targeting leading the way in Google Ads innovation, we look at 3 key measures which businesses should take to stay ahead and ensure Google Ads success in 2020.

In this blog we will discuss the three 'A's' of Google Ads success - Audiences, Attribution and Automation. This includes using detailed Audience targeting; Attribution models and how to choose the right one for your business; and how you should be using Smart bidding strategies within your Google Ads campaigns.

Utilise Audiences

Google made a range of new detailed audiences available in 2018 that are key to advertising success. These features, combined with existing ones, work together to provide more data and insight that ever before into who your users are, how to reach them, and how to expand.

In-market for Search

In-Market Audiences use machine learning to analyse many search queries and browsing activity to predict purchase intent. In-Market Audiences for Search can help you target users more effectively whilst they are at the last step of their purchase journey - using them on your generic keywords will help make them more efficient from a last click perspective.

Remarketing Lists for Search (RLSA)

RLSA is a feature that allows you to customise your Search ads campaign for users who have previously visited your site, tailoring your bids and ads to these visitors when they're searching on Google and search partner sites.


Combining Dynamic Search Ads and Remarketing Lists for Search (DSA RLSA) allows you to utilise your remarketing lists to target your previous site visitors who have then gone on to search for a related term on Google, where they are then presented with a Dynamic Search Ad.

Similar Audiences

Similar Audiences work to identify new potential customers whose search behaviour is similar to that of people in your remarketing list.

Custom In-market for Display

This feature enables you to reach the ideal audience for your business by targeting users based on their online behaviour within the last 30 days. This hyper-relevant targeting method lets you create an ideal audience based on URLs they have visited, or Apps they have used in the last 30 days, indicating that they are actively researching a product or service. You can reach out to these users on the Display Network during their research phase, introducing them to your business.

YouTube Custom Intent & Detailed Demographics

With more than one billion users, YouTube is a massive opportunity to advertise to consumers while they are engaging with video content. With Detailed Demographics, audience targeting is taken one step further, segmenting users based on their demographics and lifestyle, such as Parents (by the age of their children) or Graduates (based on their highest level of educational attainment)!

With YouTube Custom Intent, we can also target users with Video ads who have searched for certain terms on Google in the previous 7 days

Update Your Attribution Models

A typical user journey touches on a multitude of channels and devices from initial research to final conversion. Attribution modelling is the process of analysing this full funnel and what touchpoints a user made to influence the final conversion

So what Attribution model should you use? Below is a list of Models, how they work and when you should use them.

Data-Driven Attribution (DDA)

DDA uses Google's machine learning technology to determine how much credit to assign each to click in the user journey, thus giving credit for the conversion based on all previous data available. This will appear within your account if you have adequate data.

DDA summary:

  • Leverages your account data and Google's machine learning capabilities
  • Conversion type must have 600 or more of the same conversions (all sales, all phone calls, all enquiry forms) and 15,000 clicks within each 30 day window
  • Discover which keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns play the biggest role in helping you reach your business goals
  • Helps you to optimise your bidding based on real data within your account.
  • When to use: If you have the available data above, always use DDA.


Time Decay

The Time Decay Attribution model regards the touchpoints closest in time to conversion, of the most importance and therefore assigning more credit. Fundamentally, the more recent the interaction, the more value it receives.

Time Decay summary:

  • Conservative growth
  • Short path to purchase
  • Businesses or products with low competition
  • Low investment product
  • Market leader
  • When to use: If your product is a less considered purchase (eg. you own the brand space).



Position-Based Attribution credits 40% to both the first and last interactions, with the remaining 20% distributed evenly amongst the middle interactions.

Position-based summary:

  • Fast Growth-orientated
  • Longer path to purchase
  • Businesses or products with higher competition
  • High investment product
  • New to the market
  • When to use: if your product is a more considered purchase (i.e. something users will spend time researching before buying).


Last Click

Last Click Attribution gives 100% of the credit for a conversion or a sale to the last click a visitor made before she or he proceeded on the website to complete that action. This model gives credit to the last source that drove a consumer to convert.

In summary

If possible we would recommending using Data-Driven Attribution. This is the most intelligent approach, which gives credit for conversions based on how people search for your business and decide to become your customers.

We would avoid outdated Last-Click attribution at all costs. We like to think of it in terms of having a hangover! If we consider going out for a night in town, you may start off with a cocktail, then move on to have some beer, and if you're brave enough a few shots of tequila.

At the end of the night, you finish with a bottle of water to rehydrate from the carnage of the night. In the morning you wake up with a hangover. A Last Click attribution model would attribute your entire hangover to the bottle of water as this was the last thing you consumed before your hangover - It doesn't consider any of the drinks you had before that actually caused the hangover.

Therefore it's important to move to an attribution model that more accurately reflects all of your consumer's behaviours and paths to conversion rather than just the last action they took.

Making the Model Switch

So what happens once you make the switch? Once you switch your Attribution Model, you may see decimal conversion data as the credit for one full conversion is allocated across multiple campaigns. Brand conversions may also drop as the full funnel is attributed to the conversion. But don't panic! Allow at least one full conversion window to compare your data.

After you switch, it is also essential that you monitor the impact this has made. Things to consider:

    1. Analyse. Compare the Models and how the results differ. You can now add Attribution columns into your Google Ads account to compare your current model with historical data.
    2. Act. How does this affect your campaigns? Generic keywords and Display campaigns that previously haven't converted may see conversions.
    3. Your results will now look very different, does your strategy need to change based on this? Look at campaign structure and where you are allocating budget.


Utilise Appropriate Automation Strategies

Smart Bidding is a set of automated bid strategies that uses machine learning to optimise for conversions or conversion value. It is important to utilise these depending on your business goals and budget for success in 2019.

Smart Bidding Strategies include:

  • Target CPA: This particular Google Ads Smart Bidding strategy sets bids to help gain as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition; in other words, the average amount that you'd like to pay for a conversion.
  • Target ROAS: Target ROAS allows users to bid based on a target Return on Ad Spend. When reporting through conversion tracking, this bidding strategy then predicts future conversions and associated values from this reported data. For this bidding strategy to become effective, your campaign must have at least 20 conversions in the past 45 days.
  • Maximise Conversions: This bid strategy automatically allocates bids to help get the most conversions for your campaigns, whilst spending your budget. Using advanced machine learning to optimise bids and offer auction-time bidding, this approach effectively utilises historical information and evaluates contextual signals.


Find out more about bidding strategies in our blog: Loud Mouth Live: Bidding Strategies


In summary, make sure to use the most detailed audience targeting, utilise smart bidding strategies to get the most out of your budget, and update your attribution models to accurately analyse your full conversion funnel!

Need help with Google Ads? Get in touch!



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