Improve performance and reduce ad waste in Google Ads

Published at Jun 2, 2024

Improve performance and reduce ad waste in Google Ads

app placements

In Google Ads placements, apps refer to specific mobile applications where ads can be displayed. These apps are part of the Google Display Network and can include various types of apps, such as games, utility apps, or social media apps. Advertisers can target specific apps or app categories to show their ads to users who are using these apps

To exclude low-quality app placements in your Google Ads campaigns, you can follow these steps:

  1. Using Google Ads Editor:

    • Open Google Ads Editor and select the account you want to exclude apps from.
    • Select “Get Recent Changes” at the top of Google Ads Editor.
    • In the “Manage” window, expand the “Keywords and targeting” section.
    • Within this menu, select “Mobile app categories, Negative” and click the “+Add negative mobile app category” button.
    • Select the campaign or ad group level and select the options you want to exclude mobile apps from.
    • Select “All Apps” from the list and click “OK.”
    • Select “Post” to push these changes live to Google Ads
  2. Using the Google Ads Interface:

    • Navigate to your display campaign within the Google Ads dashboard.
    • Click on ‘Content’ and then click on ‘Exclusions’.
    • Click on the blue pencil icon and click ‘Edit ad group targeting’.
    • Once the page loads, click on ‘Placements’ and then click on the pencil icon next to ‘Excluded placements’.
    • On the tab where it says ‘Browse’, click the tab next to it labelled ‘Enter’.
    • Enter mobileappcategory::69500 and click ‘Add Placements’.
    • Then scroll to the bottom of the page and click save

These methods allow you to exclude all mobile apps from your display campaigns, which can help reduce waste and improve the overall performance of your ads.

zombie products

“Zombie” products in Google campaigns (PMAX, Standard Shopping, Dynamic Display, Demand Gen, and YouTube) campaigns refer to products that have not received any impressions or clicks in a specified period, usually 30 days, often due to various factors such as low demand, outdated products, misaligned pricing strategy, inventory forecasting, inventory problems, and poor product feed optimisation.

Additionally, Google’s Shopping algorithm prioritizes SKUs that have performed well historically, which can contribute to the lack of visibility for certain products. that said, identifying “Zombie” products is a laboured process which involved anything for Google Ads scripts to data analytics.

To remove zombie products in Google Ads, follow this checklist:

Identify Zombie Products:

  • Run a Google Ads script to identify products with no impressions in the last 90 days
  • Export the data to a Google Sheet and sort it by product ID

Create a Supplemental Feed:

  • Create a supplemental feed with the product IDs and a custom label for the zombie products

  • Upload the feed to the Google Merchant Center

    Create a New Campaign:

  • Create a new campaign specifically for the zombie products

Remove Zombie products:

  • Remove zombie products from the previous campaigns so you only have your winning products inside

Monitor Performance:

  • Monitor the performance of the new campaign and adjust as needed to optimize for the zombie products

By following these steps, you can effectively remove zombie products from your Google Ads campaigns and optimize your advertising strategy for better performance and ROI.

Follow the link if you want to delve deeper into Zombie products in Google Ads

kids channels

Kids channels on YouTube are channels that primarily cater to a younger audience, typically children under the age of 13. These channels often feature content that is educational, entertaining, or both, such as nursery rhymes, cartoons, and educational videos.

To exclude kids’ YouTube channels from your Google Ads campaigns, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “Tools & settings” > “Placement exclusion lists”

  2. Click the ”+” button and choose “New list”

  3. Name the list and paste in the list of channel URLs

  4. Click “Save”.

  5. Apply the exclusion list to your desired campaign

By excluding these kids’ channels, you can prevent your ads from showing on content that is unlikely to generate valuable traffic or conversions for your business. This helps optimize your Google Ads campaigns for better performance and ROI.


To exclude locations in Google Ads, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account and select the campaign you want to edit

  2. Click on the “Settings” tab, then expand the “Locations” section

  3. Enter the name of the location you want to exclude in the search bar and click “Exclude”

  4. Repeat step 3 for each location you want to exclude

  5. Click “Save” to apply the changes

You can also exclude multiple locations at once by:

  1. Clicking “Advanced search” and checking the box next to “Add locations in bulk”

  2. Pasting or typing the names of up to 1,000 locations you want to exclude, one country at a time

  3. Clicking “Search”, reviewing the results, and clicking “Exclude all”

Some key things to keep in mind:

  • Excluding locations is different from targeting locations. Exclude areas where you don’t want your ads to show, even if you’ve targeted them
  • You can exclude countries, states, cities, or specific regions within a country
  • Use negative keywords as an alternative to exclude states or cities

By excluding irrelevant locations, you can optimize your Google Ads campaigns for better performance and ROI by preventing clicks from areas where you don’t want to advertise


In Google Ads, placements refer to specific locations where ads can appear on the Google Display Network or YouTube. These placements can include:

  1. Websites: Specific websites or pages on a website where ads can be displayed
  2. Mobile Apps: Mobile applications that partner with Google to show ads
  3. Video Content: Videos on YouTube or other video platforms where ads can be displayed
  4. Ad Units: Individual ad units on a page, such as specific sections or areas where ads are displayed

Placements can be managed through the “Content” section in Google Ads, where you can add, edit, or exclude specific placements to target your ads to specific audiences and locations

landing page

A landing page is a standalone web page designed with a single focus or goal, known as a call to action (CTA). It is the first page a visitor encounters after clicking on a link from an email, ad, or other digital avenues, crafted precisely to achieve one goal: conversion.

Unlike traditional web pages cluttered with information and options, a landing page is laser-focused, reducing distractions and focusing on a specific demographic to deliver a customized message that aligns with the visitor’s objectives. Key elements of a landing page include a captivating headline, a clear call-to-action button, lead capture forms, social proof, and a compelling closing argument.

The primary function of a landing page is to capture information from visitors in exchange for something valuable, such as a retail offer code or ebook, making it a strategic tool in a marketer’s toolkit for lead generation, sales conversion, market testing, and content delivery. Landing pages play a crucial role in digital marketing campaigns by channeling visitor interest into concrete leads or sales, encouraging meaningful engagement with the brand, and providing invaluable data for optimizing future marketing initiatives

To set up a landing page test in Google Ads, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click on the page menu at the level you wish to test your landing page.
  3. Click on the tracking template of the campaign you wish to test.
  4. Click on the “Test” button.
  5. Click on the “Ad groups” page menu.
  6. Click on the tracking template of the ad group you wish to test.
  7. Click on the “Test” button.
  8. Click on the “Ads & extensions” menu.
  9. Mouse over the ad that you want to test and click the pencil icon.
  10. Click the arrow in the corner to expand the editing view.
  11. Click on “Ad URL options” to see more options.
  12. Click on the “Test” button.
  13. Click on the “Keywords” menu.
  14. Click on the tracking template of the keyword you wish to test.
  15. Click on the “Test” button.

negative keywords

Google Ads negative keywords are terms that you add to your Google Ads account to prevent your ads from being triggered by irrelevant search queries. These keywords are used to optimize your Google Ads campaigns by ensuring that your ads are not shown for search terms that are unrelated to your business, products, or services. This helps to save your budget and improve the performance of your campaigns by targeting only the most relevant searches.

To monitor negative keywords in Google Ads, follow these steps:

  1. Regularly Review Search Term Reports: Analyze the “Search Terms” report in your Google Ads account to identify low-performing queries with below-average click-through and conversion rates. Look for irrelevant terms triggering your ads and add them as negative keywords to avoid wasting your ad budget

  2. Utilize Automation Tools: Consider using automation tools that streamline the process of identifying and implementing negative keywords based on performance metrics. These tools can continuously monitor campaign performance, ensuring that your negative keyword list remains up-to-date and effective

  3. Check Search Query Metrics: Regularly review and update your negative keyword list by analyzing search query metrics over time. This helps you refine your list and ensure that your ads are not triggered by irrelevant searches

  4. Add Negative Keywords ASAP: If you identify a search term that is not relevant, add it as a negative keyword immediately. This prevents the term from triggering your ads in the future and helps you avoid wasting ad spend on irrelevant clicks

  5. Consider Match Types: Understand the different match types for negative keywords (exact match, phrase match, broad match) and use them strategically to refine your targeting and avoid blocking valuable traffic

  6. Regularly Review and Update: Irrelevant search terms evolve, so it’s essential to regularly review and update your negative keyword list to ensure that your campaigns are targeting the most relevant searches and maximizing efficiency

By actively monitoring and managing your negative keywords in Google Ads, you can refine your targeting, reduce wasted ad spend, and improve the overall performance and effectiveness of your campaigns.

low performing keywords

Low-performing keywords in Google Ads are keywords that are not meeting your campaign goals in terms of clicks, conversions, or return on investment (ROAS).

To identify underperforming keywords in your Google Ads campaigns, follow these steps:

  1. Analyze performance metrics: Look at key metrics like click-through rate (CTR), quality score, and conversion rate. Filter out keywords with a CTR below your industry average, quality scores lower than 5/10, or low conversion rates

  2. Use date range comparisons: Compare keyword performance over different time periods. A keyword might be seasonal or could have dipped recently due to market changes

  3. Segment data for better insights: Break down your data by device, location, or time of day to see if underperformance is specific to certain segments

  4. Utilize Google Ads reports: Use the reporting feature to create custom reports focusing on keyword performance metrics

  5. Set up automated rules and alerts: Configure rules to flag keywords that fall below certain performance thresholds like CTR, CPC, or conversion rate

  6. Check keywords with a high bounce rate: Be cautious, as bounce rate can be affected by factors beyond just the keyword, so review landing page and keyword history before pausing

  7. Focus on your goals: If maximizing brand awareness, look at impressions and pause keywords with few. For traffic, focus on clicks and CTR. For sales, prioritize conversions

  8. Monitor quality score: Keywords with low quality scores indirectly hurt overall campaign performance and may need pausing

  9. Pause keywords with low clicks, high costs, and low conversion rates: But first ensure it’s not an issue with your landing page or website driving customers away

By regularly monitoring these metrics and optimizing underperforming keywords, you can improve the efficiency and ROI of your Google Ads campaigns. Consider pausing keywords that consistently underperform, while allowing time for newer keywords to gain traction.

negative dynamic targets in DSA

Negative dynamic ad targets in Google Ads allow you to exclude specific pages from your Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) campaigns. This is useful for preventing your DSAs from serving ads on pages that are not relevant or desirable for your campaign goals.

Negative dynamic ad targets work alongside negative keywords to give you more control over which search queries trigger your DSA ads and where they lead. By proactively excluding irrelevant pages, you can improve the relevance and performance of your DSA campaigns.

To set up negative dynamic targets in dynamic search campaigns, follow these steps:

Add negative dynamic targets: In the ad group settings, click on the “Ad group settings” tab and then click on “Negative dynamic targets.” Here, you can add specific webpages or categories that you do not want to target with your dynamic search ads. This ensures that your ads are not shown for irrelevant searches and saves you from wasting ad spend on non-converting clicks

Use negative keywords: In addition to negative dynamic targets, you can also add negative keywords to your dynamic search campaign. This helps to further refine your targeting and prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches

Monitor and adjust: Regularly monitor your campaign performance and adjust your negative dynamic targets and negative keywords as needed. This ensures that your ads are targeting the most relevant searches and maximizing conversions

By following these steps, you can effectively use negative dynamic targets in your dynamic search campaigns to improve performance and reduce waste.

portofolio bidding strategies

Portfolio bidding strategies in Google Ads are automated, goal-driven bidding strategies that allow you to optimize bids across multiple campaigns to reach your performance goals. They provide a single place to quickly change bidding settings for all campaigns that use a specific portfolio bid strategy.

You should use portfolio bidding strategies in Google Ads for several reasons:

  1. Improved Performance: Portfolio bidding strategies leverage the data from multiple campaigns to optimize bids, leading to better performance and higher ROI

  2. Increased Efficiency: By grouping multiple campaigns together, you can manage bids more efficiently and reduce the complexity of managing individual campaigns

  3. Enhanced Data Insights: Portfolio bidding strategies provide a single place to view performance data across multiple campaigns, making it easier to analyze and optimize your campaigns

  4. Flexibility: You can apply portfolio bidding strategies to new campaigns or existing ones, allowing you to adapt to changing campaign goals and performance needs

  5. Automation: Portfolio bidding strategies automate the bidding process, freeing up time for more strategic tasks and ensuring that your campaigns are always optimized for maximum performance

  6. Better Targeting: By combining data from multiple campaigns, portfolio bidding strategies can better target specific audience segments and improve ad relevance

  7. Cost Savings: Portfolio bidding strategies can help reduce waste by optimizing bids and targeting more effectively, resulting in cost savings and improved ROI

  8. Scalability: Portfolio bidding strategies are ideal for large-scale campaigns or those with multiple ad groups, as they can handle complex bidding scenarios and large volumes of data

  9. Integration with Shared Budgets: Portfolio bidding strategies can be linked to shared budgets, allowing for more efficient budget allocation and management across multiple campaigns

  10. Advanced Features: Portfolio bidding strategies offer advanced features like automated bid adjustments, which can further enhance performance and efficiency

By leveraging these benefits, portfolio bidding strategies can significantly improve the performance and efficiency of your Google Ads campaigns, ultimately leading to better ROI and more effective advertising.

Follow the link if you want to delve deeper into Portfolio bidding strategies in Google Ads

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