5 Advanced AdWords Strategies You Can Implement Today

Does your competition know about these advanced switches and dials in AdWords? Image by Marcin Wichary via Flickr.

As Google AdWords gets increasingly competitive, we search marketers have to sniff around for treasure.

Sometimes that treasure comes in the form of advanced switches and dials found deep within the AdWords interface – the little PPC campaign tweaks that make your ads more relevant and keep you ahead of the competition.

I’m here to share five of those tips and tricks. Let’s get to it.

1. Test in-market audiences

Ever wonder what Google does with the enormous amounts of data they’re quietly collecting about all of us as we sail through a variety of Google products and Google-tracking-infused websites?

A recently-released AdWords feature called in-market audiences makes use of this treasured info.

The idea behind this feature is to allow advertisers to look beyond demographics and target users who have demonstrated that they’re in the market for a specific product based on their web behavior.

Because Google knows when a visitor is actively researching and comparing products, or clicking on similar ads and converting, they can leverage this data to help advertisers reach potential customers on various sites across the web.

Here are some of the available in-market audiences and where they appear in AdWords:

In-market audiences allow you to leverage Google’s data to target customers who have shown that they’re in the market for your product.

Let’s say you’re a car dealer and you want to market to people whose web behavior has indicated that they’re planning on buying a new car soon. This feature is a great way to get after this audience using a rich volume of Google’s data.

You can (and should) layer in-market audiences on top of the keywords you’re already targeting in your search campaigns.

2. Try out AdWords dynamic ads

Standard remarketing serves up ads without knowing which specific product a visitor looked at on your site.

But Google recently launched the ability to do product-specific remarketing. Especially for retailers, this is a feature worth testing.

With a little help from your friends at Google, you can determine which products people looked at and serve up remarketing ads featuring those very products.

In other words, you can give people exactly what they want.

Here’s what a dynamic ad looks like:

As you can see, I recently checked out some socks on Amazon. Don’t judge.

Now as I hang out elsewhere on the web, they’re reminding me that I looked at this item but never bought it. As you can imagine, this remarketing tactic creates highly relevant ads that convert quite well.

Want to give it a go?

Here’s a detailed guide to setting these up.

3. Customize ads with real-time updates

You know that urgency is an important component of high-performing ad copy, but who has time to constantly run promotions, update coupon codes and tweak ad text accordingly? Not you.

That’s why Google has introduced a handy set of scripts that the layman ad copywriter can understand.

For example, you can now tell Google, “My sale begins today and ends in 14 days, so update my ad copy accordingly every time you show it.” You can even use this strategy down to the hour: “Webinar starts in two hours – don’t forget to claim your seat.”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many other dynamic elements in the ad you can control, too. Take the example below, where everything highlighted in yellow is dynamic:


You can now encode the product name (ProWhip 300), product detail (5-quart), price ($199) and promotion end date (5 days).

Before this type of customization was available, old school AdWords retailers would have to set up a massive spreadsheet where inventory was cataloged and updated. This way, Google could pull in the appropriate product model, pricing and sale parameters.

Now, you can do this with a teeny bit of code simple enough for us online marketers to wrangle directly within the AdWords interface. The times they are a changin’.

For more information on real-time updates, check out this article.

4. Schedule ads to correspond to your sales bandwidth

There’s nothing more frustrating than paying for leads that have gone cold. So why do we run ads that drive leads at 3 AM when there’s no one there to call them back?

In some businesses, your customer will wait for that call – but others are different. When a lead is hot, it’s hot, and after a few hours have passed, a burning need becomes a passive query at best.

To maximize return on ad spend, some companies use ad scheduling religiously. Check out how a PPC ad scheduling strategy drove a 69% improvement in cost per acquisition.

It’s found under advanced campaign settings and it looks like this:


This is especially useful if, say, your offices and sales team are located in the Netherlands while your prospects loom large in the US. Or if you determine that your audience is more likely to purchase at a certain time of day.

This simple tweak helps you ensure that you only pay for leads that are hot off the press.

5. Don’t let competitors drain your ad budget

Your competitors are clicking your ads – I guarantee it. There’s a golden hack you can employ to keep from paying for these clicks.

The hack? Use IP exclusions.

There’s a trick for how to discover and block your competitors’ IP addresses, precluding them from ever seeing your ads again. And I’m going to teach it to you.

First, you need to determine your competitors’ IP addresses. You may need to try a few different tactics:

  • Find an email from the company. You can locate the IP address by looking at the email header content. This article explains how.
  • Locate the IP address for the company’s domain name. Here’s an eHow article explaining how to do this. Sometimes companies use a different IP address to browse the web than the one their site is hosted on, so this can be tricky. Give it a shot.

Once you have the IP addresses, just scroll down to “IP address exclusion” in your AdWords settings and paste them in. Here’s what that screen looks like:


And voilà. Their IPs are now blocked.

Test your way to better ROI

As with any marketing strategy, not all of these tactics will work for everyone.

Ultimately, most search marketers will tell you to test nearly everything. Because you should.

It’s my hope that across these five ideas you’ve been able to find something inspiring.

Which one of these tactics will you try next? Did we forget any of your favorite tricks? Let us know in the comments.

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About Igor Belogolovsky
Igor Belogolovsky is a Bay Area-based revenue marketer who’s really excited it’s snowboard season. He has optimized more AdWords accounts than he can count. Igor is Cofounder of Clever Zebo, a hands-on marketing agency focused on paid advertising and conversion funnel perfection.
» More blog posts by Igor Belogolovsky


  1. Guerrilla Marketing

    These strategies are big help in any business especially to those who are just starting. If you are in search for a good lead for your products and services, you must really find a good means to make it visible to your targeted market. Thanks for sharing this one.

  2. Andriy

    Lol. #5 is brutal. Other then that pretty cool stuff. Thanks

  3. Aamir lehri

    Really Awesome tips for getting started with Adword i will surely use them when i started a campaign on adword
    Thanks for sharing keep the work up

  4. Dustin Cederholm

    I’m glad you posted something that was more than just a beginner level tutorial. These are great tips to navigate the always competitive world of PPC. I especially like using #1, in-market audiences. Thanks for posting!

  5. khalid Al-hussani / Shopping Windows

    I joined unbounce over six months ago, and I never let any of their posts pass me, even if it was something I can’t use now I save it because I know I’ll need it soon, and I always do. I have so much info from unbounce that I had to get External hard drive to save all the data, I even named the drive Unbounce, for real.

    Now about this post, # 5 is very important and for sure I’ll read all the details in it as soon as I finish this comment. I still consider myself newbie and have a lot to learn but I know I’m losing money and it’s not because I’m doing somthing wrong, I spend hours on my campaigns daily to avoid costly mistakes. # 5 is a great help that I’ll follow step by step because I think that is where most of my ad budget going.
    Again thank you for another educational post, and looking forward for more Unbounce posts .

  6. Igor B.

    Thanks for your thoughts & feedback, guys!

  7. John Refield

    On #5, Google supposedly tracks and filter these types of clicks for you, but if you feel your competitors are indeed engaged with malicious ad clicks, there are analytics services (like clicky) that track and report by IP addresses. I would install it, research your competitors IP’s and track the click throughs, and then you’ll have a record you can present to Google to get reimbursed for those clicks.

    Info from Google on that here:https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/42995?hl=en

    • Unique

      Thanks JOHN for clicky.com

      This article was very useful and i found that remark where you mentioned about clicky extremely helpful


  8. Goran

    Also, exclude all of the universities (unless you’re trying to sell them something) if you target broad modified and/or keywords that are on top of the funnel. That way you’ll remove all of the people researching / writing papers on similar topics. My 5c

  9. Tony Short

    The IP address exclusion is a very good tip. I agree that the competition is clicking. Thank you for the tips.

  10. Syed

    Absolutely incredible article.I get more info afer reading your post.This post is practical for all students.All tips are great. Thank You so much.

  11. Narendra Wetkoli

    Its really great information to me,I am currently doing ppc for wipro and tcs so its very helpful to me.

  12. Nicolas Colombres

    This are real usefull tips!

    Thanks guys!

  13. Nicolas Colombres

    We will definitly try the IP exclusion in two of our campaigns. Thanks for this tip!

  14. Asma

    Nice information .Now i m going to use PPC for my site socialmarketleader.com i hope i will get better result

  15. Corey Zeimen

    I have seen dynamic ads with count down timers work time and time again.

    Bonus tip: Use another countdown timer on your landing page for superior results!

  16. James Cambourne

    The IP exclusion tactic is particularly strong when your search terms can be difficult to distinguish between customers in the research phase and customers that are ready to buy. Finding these are difficult but definitely worth the time – thanks for the tip!

  17. Igor B.

    @Tony @James absolutely! @Corey, yes, great tip, countdown timer on the landing page can help lift conversion as well. Glad you guys found this post useful.

  18. Dami

    This will definitely help my adward campaign. I’ve spent so much with little turn over.
    Thanks Guys

  19. Dami

    This article has really help me a lot. You just saved me lots of money. Thanks guys, great work!!

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