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5 Ways to Upgrade the Links in Your Google Ads

October 19, 2018

Many marketers and advertisers obsess over ads: you tweak the text, carefully choose landing pages, test out CTAs, and adjust your bids regularly. Ad spending is continuously growing and shows no signs of slowing down, so this constant attention is called for. Creating focused, well thought-out ads is as necessary as ever.

Google Ads links always working gif

Links are the touchpoint between your brand’s website and prospective customers. Even though marketers are aware of their importance, they often overlook adjusting their links to maximize impact on their advertising campaigns.

In search ads, links are eye-catching because of their color and provide marketers with the opportunity to stand out. In sponsored social posts, they can act as a strong CTA. And in every type of ad, they can provide vital insights that will inform your overall strategy.

If you want to get the most out of your advertising campaigns and make sure each ad is as impactful as possible, here are five ways to upgrade the links in your ads.

#1: Try deep links to boost app engagement and improve ROI

Deep links are a great way to improve mobile ads and bring users further down the sales funnel. These links bring prospects directly to a specific screen in an app or prompt users without the app to download it. Deep links are an effective way to boost app engagement, reduce bounces, and increase conversions.

Google Ads deep linking infographic

Image Source

Think about it. Advertisers spend so much time optimizing landing pages, and with the surge in mobile advertising, deep linking is the best way to engage with users who have their app downloaded.

Those who have downloaded your app are already engaged and interested in your brand. Don’t target them with ads that just lead to your website or open the homepage of your app; improve the user experience by taking them exactly where they want to go.

In their ads, marketers can call on prospects to complete a certain action from buying products to booking requests. Then, with deep linking, they can send users directly to the relevant app page that can facilitate this. The easier it is for users to carry out this action, the more likely they are to convert.

This all adds up to a better ROI.

Note: Deep linking can be tricky and may require some backend work, so you should employ the help of your development team to set them up. Whether you want to deep link to an Android or iOS app, check out this beginner's guide to get started.

#2: Use display URLs and site link options wisely

Choosing the right landing page is a big part of moving prospects through the sales funnel effectively. On the product pages of your website, URLs can get quite long, especially if you’re running an ecommerce site. But when composing search ads, you can choose to insert a display URL so you can present a neat link to those who see your ad.

The Google Ads’ display URL feature lets marketers choose the link to feature in their ads. This can be shorter, more comprehensive, and more appealing than the ad’s destination URL.

This feature also helps improve the aesthetics of your PPC ads. And you can use it to let users know what page the ad leads to or to feature a CTA that will entice viewers to click.

For example, if Amazon wanted to create a search for this page:

www.amazon.com/Paperwhite-High-Resolution-Display-International-Version/dp/B00QJDU3KY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535123611&sr=8-1&keywords=kindle

It could display a link like:

www.amazon.com/KindlePaperwhite

or

www.amazon.com/Buy-A-New-Kindle

The below ad from Adidas links to this extremely long URL:

www.adidas.ie/?cm_mmc=AdieSEM_Google-_-adidas-Brand-B-Exact-_-Adidas-X-X-Brand-_-%27adidas&cm_mmca1=IE&cm_mmca2=e&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9Le-yICG3QIVAbTtCh3BOgiFEAAYASAAEgIzJ_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CJfI_9KAht0CFcym7QodjCQB6w

Google Ads links based on location

Display URLs are quite flexible, but they must have the same root domain as your destination URL. This is to prevent spammers featuring misleading links and tricking people into clicking through to their site.

You can also let surfers decide their journey and choose the page that is most relevant to them with Google Ads’ site link extension. This feature lets you link to several web pages in your search ads. Often, advertisers will link to key content. This is ideal if users just searched for your brand’s name.

Google Ads links sitelink extensions

Sitelinks can be added to all your ads or at the ad group or campaign level. They can help prospects find exactly what they are looking for and they stand out on SERPs.

#3: Set up URL tags to monitor the effectiveness of your ads

Most marketers monitor all of their marketing activities so they can see what’s most effective and confidently assign their budgets. This is no different for advertising. While most ad platforms provide analytics, using UTM tags on your URLs is useful for showing you detailed data on your ad clicks all in one place.

All of the information will show in Google Analytics, where you can compare it with other marketing campaigns and channels.

Google Ads has an auto-tagging option and, since a recent update, you can now edit this tag information without losing your ad stats. Just be aware that these tags will only work in Google Analytics. If you are using another analytics platform to track your marketing or if you want to add tags across all your advertising links, you can also add UTM parameters to your destination URLs manually or use a UTM builder.

#4: Boost click-throughs with branded links

At Rebrandly, we found that branded links can boost the CTR of links on social media by up to 39%. So if you’re promoting posts or tweets, you might want to feature a branded link. You can also use these URLs as part of your PPC ads to improve engagement too.

Google Ads links branded link on twitter

In Google, a high click-through rate will improve your ads’ Quality Score, and this can decrease costs.

Branded links can really help an ad or post stand out, because they are completely customizable. You can use them to create a strong CTA or an eye-catching statement.

If you do decide to try out custom links in your search ads, be sure to enter it as the main destination link, rather than the display URL. If needed, you can also change the destination of your ad’s URL without losing any stats.

#5: Route traffic depending on device, location, and other factors

HubSpot’s Smart Content will allow you to display different content depending on the user’s location, device, and many other factors.

Google Ads links HubSpot Smart Content

Image Source

If a user’s IP address shows they are coming from the UK, you can direct them to a landing page for your English website, or ensure the pricing is displayed in pounds. You can also set up page routing based on the UTM tags featured in the link they click on. This will mean a better user experience for visitors.

This approach to link routing can also be created with the help your development team.

Now, upgrade those links!

Although often overlooked, links can give your ads a much-needed edge. Links can increase click-through rates, improve user experience, and even boost conversions, so consider upgrading yours today.

About the author 

Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the link shortener empowering marketers to put their brand on their links. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.