Targeting Your Google Ads For Enhanced Performance

Targeting Your Google Ads For Enhanced Performance

Reduce click-budget and improve conversions in your dental Google Ads campaigns

Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is becoming increasingly popular (and necessary) as part of comprehensive dental marketing campaigns. As we’ve discussed earlier, Google is dedicating more space in search results for ads and decreasing the scope for traditional free search results.

For example on mobile ‘phones unless you scroll, all you see on the first results page you are presented with, is ads and local results. Considering that on average 60% of all web traffic is now from mobile devices, it’s not hard to see why the “pay to play” advertising age is now firmly with us.

Given the above, it makes very good business sense to optimise your Google advertising, as click-budgets, i.e. the money you pay directly to Google, do not come cheap if you want to get good traction with your campaigns. This is particularly so in areas of high competition where, for example, a click on an implant or ortho ad could cost £5 or more.

Too regularly we see DIY campaigns which are set up in-house by dentists or dental team members with little or no experience. This includes the use of the Google Ads “Express” format which is designed to make the job much easier for the inexperienced. However, very often the result is a campaign which is poorly optimised and leaks budget through lots of wasted clicks and lack of proactive management. To counter this, it really does make sense to employ a pay-per-click professional or be prepared to spend a fair amount of time learning the Google Ads interface and learning by trial and error.

Basic optimisation

If you are keen on trying the DIY approach, the following parameters must be addressed as a minimum. Remember that you also need to revisit the ads configuration regularly as setting up is not “fire and forget”. Google Ads is a dynamic auction and as such needs intervention to keep the account optimised.

Hierarchy and granularity

It is absolutely essential to segment your campaigns by topic at quite a granular level. So at the campaign level you might choose “dental implants” then use 3 or 4 ad groups within the campaign to represent different aspects of the implant topic. For example your ad groups might cover single implants, denture stabilisation, full arch replacement etc. The more you break it down, the easier it is to control and optimise. Your account quality score will also benefit from this and in turn reduce your click costs. This granular approach is quite time consuming but will work much better than what we usually see in DIY campaigns i.e. a single campaign, perhaps one or two ad groups and hundreds of keywords rammed in without too much thought.

Keyword selection and matching

It’s all too easy to select as many keywords as you can think of or simply load everything which Google suggests, but this isn’t really the best way to go. Following the granular approach mentioned above, it’s best to stick to a small selection of keywords per ad group and then use appropriate matching tools to make sure that your ads only show for specific searches. Google is relaxing some of the keyword matching parameters but it is still possible to home in on just the types of searches you want to target and eliminate those which lead to wasted clicks.

Negative keywords

This is an important area which is often neglected. As well as selecting and matching keywords to searches you want to target, you can also exclude searches made using negative keywords you select and enter. This list of keywords also needs to be updated regularly to keep them current. Google provides a tool in the ad management console where you can see which searches triggered your ads and you need to scan these regularly to pick out the negatives.

Ad text and landing pages

Google is very keen for your campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords and landing pages to be relevant to the searches you are looking to attract. So an implant campaign needs to be very specific about this and ensure all elements of the set-up are configured with this in mind. This is not just important for your keywords but for you ad text and your landing pages too. So for the implant example, your ads will perform much better if you ad text is carefully crafted and your landing page is implant specific. You can read more about landing page configuration elsewhere in our dental marketing blog.

Ad extensions

This is another neglected area by DIY advertisers. Google offers a set of tools whereby you can “extend” your ads to make them stand out really well when displayed in the search results. For example, you can add website site-links, telephone numbers, location information and more. Whilst it does take some time to learn what these do and how to set them up, they are very worthwhile and do lead to better click-through rates.

Location targeting and ad scheduling

One of the really flexible and useful features of Google Ads is that you can target them very specifically by location. So for example, a dental implant campaign might best be targeted to areas where you believe the population is best able to afford the procedure. You can select broad radius targeting, specific named locations or even drill-down to postcode level. This is essential if you want to avoid wasted clicks from time-wasters or even those who may be curious but have no real scope to take up the treatment.

You can also schedule when your ads will appear, for example avoiding enquiries when no-one is in attendance at your reception.


The features above are the some of the top ones when it comes to building your Google Ads campaign. There are quite a few other parameters which experienced users will also use, however by understanding the basic ones above and learning how to use them, you will be on track to optimising your campaigns, reducing click costs and increasing new patient enquiries.

If you would like more information or help with your Google advertising initiatives, please call the Dental Media web marketing team on 01332 672548 for more advice.