Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM, Video | April 25, 2017

AdWords Campaign Settings Best Practices

Hello Fellow Advertisers! Today I’ve put together a video that goes over some of the default AdWords campaign settings best practices. I’ll discuss which ones I like, and I’ll also review some of the more dangerous ones that you should be aware of so that you’re not hemorrhaging money on the search network. Enjoy!


Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of my video blog series. I’m your host, Nick Rennard. I’m the Head of Search Engine Marketing here at Digital Reach Agency.

Today, we are going to be reviewing some campaign settings within Google AdWords that I feel oftentimes get overlooked. A lot of the times when we get handed campaigns from clients, whether they were passed down from previous agencies that they’re not working with them anymore, or maybe they tried handling them internally, and we are doing an audit on their account, these are some of the settings that usually they’re just left on by default, ’cause people never really check them.

I wanted to create this video for you guys today to be able to be aware of what they are, what they do, and what our recommendations are for adjusting them. You’ll see that I have the AdWords Editor up here. I’m gonna go ahead and create a new campaign here by just hitting this “Plus Campaign” button. We’ll click on that new campaign that we just created. You’ll see here the basic settings in this box in the bottom right here, this is what we’re gonna to be going over.

The first thing I want to review is something called Search Partners. You can see right here, this little drop-down box, the default is to set Search Partners to, “Enabled.” Now, this is a little bit misleading on Google’s part, I feel. If you set up an AdWords campaign, let’s say you’re a novice to AdWords, you would assume that your ads are only being displayed on Google. That’s actually not the case by default. Google has partnered with what they call search partners. They’re partnered with other companies, like I think Ask Jeeves is one of their partners, Amazon I believe is a partner, I’m not sure what the full list is. I’m sure if you just look up Google AdWords search partners, the list will come up. I’ve looked at it before, but it’s been a long time. And what that means is that your ads are actually going to show up on more than just Google. It’s going to show up on those other search partner networks as well when people are looking up the same keywords that you’re trying to target. By turning this on, you’re actually increasing the total amount of impression share that there is to be had out there.

The reason that I feel that this is a little misleading, and I don’t know if I would call it shady, but it essentially is just putting your ads in front of more people to try and make Google more money. I don’t really like that. I would rather that Google by default turns this off. What we recommend is that if you don’t know how your ads perform on the search partner networks, then what you should do is turn it on to begin with and let it run for maybe one, two, three months, depending on how much you’re spending, just until you have enough data to look at and make a judgment call on whether or not you want to be running on search partner networks. At that point, what you can do is you can go into “Ad Words” and you can see how your ads perform on the search partner networks. I recommend you just look up the Google support page on how to look that up, it’s pretty straightforward. If the performance on the search partner networks is good, then go ahead and leave it on. If it’s bad, then you’ll want to come in here and select this to “Disabled,” because if it’s bad then you don’t want to be spending money on it. So just be aware that the default is that this will just be on in any given campaign unless you manually turn it off.

All right. The next thing I want to go over here is “Device Bid Adjustments.” I actually have quite a few blogs, and I know that my techs that work here with me have some blogs on device bid adjustments as well. You’ll just want to keep in mind that your ads can show up on desktop, mobile and tablet. We have seen that tablet, in terms of lead generation, is very poor overall. It’s similar to the search partner network in that we’d recommend that you run it for a little while and analyze your data before making a judgment call. I am always going to say that I’m gonna let the data do the talking, so you need to gather the data first, analyze it, see how these devices do for you, and then apply bid modifiers appropriately.

That being said, a lot of people have websites that are, maybe they’re not fully set up for mobile or other devices, or maybe you don’t wanna be showing up on desktop because you’re trying to get people to, I don’t know, maybe it’s a more mobile oriented product or service, in that case you would want to … Like to shut off desktop we would just make this say -100%, and that’ll apply a negative 100% bid modifier to anyone who’s coming from desktop. Same thing for mobile, you can do minus 100. Another thing you can do is if you do review the performance and, let’s say, you see that desktop does a lot better than mobile, you can always come in here and add like a plus 10% modifier to desktop and a minus 10% modifier to mobile, and that’ll help you reallocate some of your spend from your underperforming devices to the ones that are doing better.

All right. Next on the list is Enhance CPC. I hate this setting. This is a setting that I actually do consider to be very shady by Google. Enhance CPC, what it is, I, first of all I highly recommend you look this up and educate yourself about this setting. Enhance CPC, in one or two sentences, it allows Google to increase your bids on any given keyword by up to 30% if it’s capable of generating a click by increasing it by that much. So that means that if you’re bidding $1, and $1 isn’t going to win the auction, but $1.30 will win the auction to get your ad to show, then it’s gonna bid 30% more, in that case, in order for your ad to show up in the auction. This is really just a way for Google to inflate your bids by 30%. I know that if a Google rep was on the call with me right now that they’d say, “No, this is trying to help you and we’re just trying to make it so that your ads show more.” It’s total horseshit. Don’t listen to that. This setting is absolutely a scam, and if you are managing your bids manually you should not be using this setting at all.


If you are doing week over week reviews, and you’re doing optimizations in the campaigns, then increasing the bids by 30% or decreasing by 30%, or any change like that, is something that you should be handling manually based on the performance of your keywords. It is not an auction by auction thing. This setting is really just a way for Google to inflate your bids, I’m not a fan of it. I highly recommend that if you’re managing your campaigns that you make sure that this is turned off, ’cause it’s just gonna lead to a higher cost per click.

All right. Next up is, “Frequency Capping,” that’s this one right here. The default here is to have no cap on frequency capping. So what that means is if you have a remarketing campaign, for example, that ad can show to the same person 6,000,000 times, and it will just keep showing, and showing, and showing, and showing. Hence no cap. What you can do with the frequency capping, for example, if you feel that you just keep seeing your ad everywhere and you feel it’s kind of annoying, you can click this Edit button and you can add a cap, let’s see, this is for display network campaigns here. So you can add a cap of like ten impressions per day, so people can only see that ad as they are browsing around on other sites a certain amount. You could even set that cap to weekly or monthly. Anyways, this is just a setting.

I don’t think that it’s bad to have no cap on your frequency capping, I think it’s fine if something like a remarketing ad is being plastered everywhere. Honestly, using like the remarketing reference, something like that is used for awareness anyways, and remarketing campaigns are really good for generating a ton of impressions for very cheap. So, I have lot of clients who don’t … They want to cap their frequency. I’m not a huge fan of capping frequency, I’d rather just let the ads show, but if that’s something you want to do, if you want to limit the amount that people are seeing it so it’s not flooding them, I’m also not opposed to the idea. I just think that if it were my business I would just kind of let it run, unless I had a really good reason to shut that off for whatever reason. Anyways, that one’s up to you. I don’t really have any recommendations or best practices on that one.

All right. The next one here is gonna be the second to last one. This is “Ad Rotation.” Ad rotation by default is going to be set to this setting here where it says, “Optimize for clicks.” This is a little scammy, but not nearly as much as enhance CBC. The reason it’s set to optimize for clicks is because Google makes money off of clicks. Imagine that. So if they are showing the ads that are getting clicked on the most then Google is making the most money. It is not for you. It is not to try and make you more money. What we would recommend in this situation, we would always recommend that you be running an A/B split test, so have one ad that is showing one line of ad copy, and another ad that’s showing another line of ad copy. Another example of an A/B split test would be like one add, let’s say you had two ads A and B, they’re both the exact same in terms of how they look on the surface, but one goes to like a white paper download and another goes to a demo request, and then you can analyze the performance of those after a month or two of running it, and see which of the assets is generating better leads for you.

There’s a lot of variations of that, rotations that you can do. I highly recommend you check out our blogs on A/B split tests and ad rotations. We have a lot of good resources there. The default here, again, is to set it to “Optimize for clicks.” I would never use this, and if you are doing an A/B split test you’ll wanna change this to this last setting here called, “Rotate indefinitely.” And that means what it’s gonna do is it’s gonna split the traffic evenly between your ads. Some people have three or four ads running at a time, which is fine if you want to do that, but it will essentially split the traffic between all of those. So that way, at the end of four months.

The problem with turning it on to optimize for clicks is Google’s just gonna funnel all of your traffic into one ad that has the higher click rate, whereas this one splits the data between all of them so that way you can have statistically significant data on all of your ads to determine which one is the better performer. Overall, if you leave it on optimize for clicks, Google is just gonna show the one with the higher click rate, which is fine, it’s not terrible, but I prefer to analyze our A/B split test and take into consideration more variables than just clicks, for example, cost for conversion data is something that I would say has significantly more weight than something just like clicks. ‘Cause if I told you that ad A generates 100 clicks and ad B generates 90 clicks, Google would want you to show for the 100 click ad. But if I were also to say that ad A generated two conversions and ad B generated 50 conversions, all of a sudden that 90 click ad is looking a lot better. So that’s why we would much value something besides clicks and we’re not a huge fan of that setting.

The last one I want to go over here is targeting, oops, let’s go back here. Targeting method. The default here is, it’s called, “People in, searching or viewing pages about my targeted location recommended.” This one’s fine. The way that this one works is that if you have a campaign that’s running, let’s say, in the Unites States. Let’s say you’re advertising for data analytic software, and your ads are running in the United States. If someone in India, or China, or anywhere outside of the United States goes to Google and they type, “Data Analytic Software in the United States,” or, “USA Data Analytic Software,” or something that has the name of the country that you’re advertising in in their search query, then they’re gonna show your ad even though that user is outside of your geographic targeting.

The reason that this isn’t so bad is that someone who’s outside of the United States Googling a term with the term, “United States,” in it, might actually be interested in buying software in the geographic targeting that you are trying to show for. So it’s not terrible, but if you leave this on then your analytics is going to get, I guess, more flooded with data from other countries outside of the ones that you’re trying to advertise for. If you’re like a local business or something, you definitely want to turn this off. If you’re trying to get people to come to your store then this setting is useless, ’cause if someone were to type, I don’t know, let’s say you’re a bike repair shop or something like that and you’re only servicing to people that are within a several mile radius of the city that you’re in, but then someone who’s 3000 miles away types bike repair in your city … Well, I don’t know. I mean, I’m trying to come up with an example off the top of my head.

It’s not the worst setting. What we do recommend is setting this to, “People in my targeted location,” here, the second one, and that’s gonna limit it to only show to people that are actually in your geographic location, it will not show to people outside of it even if they have that like, “In the United States,” in their search term. So it’s just a cleaner way of managing your geographic settings by adjusting that from the recommended on there. Although, if you use the recommended one on this one that’s also fine.

Anyways, these are six of the settings that I wanted to review with you guys today, on what Google sets by default and our recommendations on what we would do with them.

I hope this video was helpful and I will plan on seeing you guys in my next video blog. Thanks for watching.

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