By Ezra Firestone & Brett Curry | September 29, 2021
Google Search ads haven’t been interesting in like 10 years…
That’s coming from Brett Curry, the CEO of OMG Commerce and the award-winning Google expert I’ve depended on for years —
But he thinks that’s about to change post-iOS.
If you’re feeling the pain of shorter retargeting windows, higher CPMs and lower returns from privacy updates, then Google Search ads may offer a solution.
In this post, you’ll learn about 3 winning Google Search Ad campaigns Brett is running that aren’t greatly impacted by privacy updates, including:
- Non-Branded Search Ads to Cold Traffic
- Retargeting Ads for YouTube with 863% ROAS
- New Dynamic Search Ads with 30% Lower CPAs
This training is originally from Brett’s presentation at my recent Mastermind meet-up in January, 2021.
Hopefully it can help you offset costly effects of iOS 14.
Think You’re Too Niche for Search Ads? Think Again.
If you already run Google Search ads and want to cut to the chase, you can scroll down to the next section…
But if you’re new to Google ads, then you may have the wrong idea about whether they can work for you to convert cold traffic.
The short answer is yes, they can.
As Brett puts it, there are basically only two types of businesses: demand capture businesses and demand generation businesses, and both can benefit from running Search ads.
1. Demand Generation
If you’re like me — a pro-age brand in a market dominated by anti-age products — you’re more of a demand generation business.
There aren’t a lot of people searching for the keyword “pro-age”, so there isn’t a lot of pre-existing demand for me to capture. I have to generate it myself through storytelling on Facebook and YouTube.
Then, I can run what are called branded Search ads to capture anyone who searches for my brand specifically (a relatively small group).
2. Demand Capture
Demand capture businesses (Brett uses auto parts as an example) don’t have that problem. You don’t really shop for brake pads or a muffler unless you already have a perceived need for it — so the demand for your product already exists.
If you’re in this type of business, then you probably run a lot of what are called non-branded Search ads. Non-branded keywords are terms like “muffler” and “brake pads” that have a ton of search volume to begin with.
(If you don’t, then Brett can teach you how in Smart Google Traffic.)
Luckily, most of Brett’s clients actually fall somewhere in the middle:
“I believe that even if you think you’re demand generation you probably have the ability to get business through Search.”
That means you can be running Google Search ads top-of-funnel, even if you sell niche products, which is good news if you’re struggling on Facebook right now.
Here’s the first campaign Brett is running for my brand:
Campaign #1: Non-Branded Search Ads to Cold Traffic
Search ads have been mostly table stakes — low risk, low reward — compared to the millions I’m spending on Facebook and YouTube.
Until a few months ago, Google Branded Search ads were reserved for smaller retargeting audiences, bidding on keywords like:
- Boomsilk, etc.
Basically, to see my old Search ads you needed to know my brand already. For everything else — cold traffic and mid-funnel retargeting — I was sticking with YouTube and Facebook ads.
But as Brett shows you in the video above, he’s been getting great results running non-branded Search ads to cold traffic since the start of 2021:
Awesome clickthrough rates, great CPAs, and very cheap conversions:
- 7.64% clickthrough rate
- 80¢ cost per click
- $36.67 conversions
My average order value is north of $80, so I’ll take $36 conversions all day. Again, this is to cold traffic — these people had no idea what my brand is or what it does, but they’re searching for non-branded keywords related to my products, like:
- “Makeup for older women”
- “Eye makeup for older women”
- “Makeup tips for older women”, etc.
With this campaign, now you can reach some of those prospects who might have slipped away on Facebook because of privacy restrictions.
And here’s where it gets really good: while our ability to retarget people on Facebook has gotten worse post-iOS 14…
You can use this same campaign for retargeting to reach anyone who’s seen your ads on YouTube — with incredible results.
Campaign #2: Retargeting Ads for YouTube with 863% ROAS
Now, unlike Search which is still a relatively small channel for me, YouTube is a major channel for customer acquisition.
Since we started scaling our best Facebook ads onto YouTube, there are even months where we spend more on YouTube ads than Facebook ads. (You can read more about how we scaled our Facebook ads onto YouTube here.)
But just because someone watched one of our YouTube ads doesn’t mean they remember our brand, even if they’re interested. According to Brett:
“What we find is that someone may see a YouTube video and something about it resonates with them, they like it, but then they can’t remember the name…
They go back to Google as a next step and they find BOOM! through a non-brand ad, and they convert.”
Still, all of that first-party user data feeds directly from YouTube into Google Search, and that makes it relatively protected from privacy updates.
When Brett took this same non-branded campaign he was running to cold traffic and used it to retarget warm audiences of video viewers, the results were massive:
- 4,800+ Conversions
- CPAs Dropped from $36 to $6
- ROAS Jumped to 863%
So much for table stakes!
Campaign #3: Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)
The last type of Google ads strategy that Brett includes in this clip is called Dynamic Search Ads.
DSAs are similar to Facebook’s Dynamic Creative Ads where their machine learning actually writes your ad copy for you:
“Basically you’re just giving Google a URL and a description for your ad, and then Google’s picking keywords and Google is crafting the headline.”
Now, that’s a lot of creative control to hand over to Google and Brett and I used to avoid these — but over the last year they’ve become really powerful.
And not just for me, but with average results like these for many of his clients:
- 15% More Clicks
- 35% Higher CTRs
- 30% Lower CPAs
I know you’ve read a lot of negative things about first-party data in this post, but Dynamic Search Ads are one area where your brand can really benefit.
And there’s another reason Brett recommends testing DSAs: keyword research.
According to Google, 15% of daily searches are phrases they’ve never registered before. With DSAs, you can put Google’s machine learning to find new keywords and new audiences for your brand.
Wakeup Call! Diversify Your Traffic Sources
In my ad accounts, the dramatic decline in Facebook performance from iOS 14 has already leveled off — but this is still a wakeup call:
If you are over-reliant on a single traffic source, then your business is always going to be in danger.
Whether it’s new privacy restrictions, algorithm updates or something we can’t even predict yet…
Diversifying your revenue channels to include Google and YouTube is like buying insurance for your brand — except in this case you don’t have to pay for it, it pays you — and it’s something every business owner should do.
Otherwise you’re just one misfortune away from going bust. So if you aren’t running Google Search campaigns yet, then consider giving these three a shot.
And if you’re already running Facebook campaigns at scale, then go read Brett’s article on how to copy those same winning campaigns onto YouTube:
Brett Curry is the Co-Founder and CEO of OMG Commerce — a Google Premier Partner and an award-winning Google and YouTube creative agency. He’s overseen $100 million in ad spend for his clients and manages all the Google & YouTube ads for Ezra Firestone’s $125 million ecommerce brand. Brett is also the lead instructor of Smart Google Traffic and YouTube Kickstart Blueprint.