Case Study: Audit and Implementation. Google Ads Campaigns for Kayak Tours


The subject of this case study is the audit and implementation of Google Ads campaigns for a kayak tour company based in Wisconsin.

Despite having a well-designed website and numerous reviews across various platforms, the company was struggling with the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.

The client approached us with a clear problem: their campaigns were not performing as well as they had hoped.

Services Utilized: Google Ads Audit, Google Ads Setup, Google Analytics Setup, Landing Page Audit
Problem Statement

Upon initial inspection, we identified several key issues. The account had poorly set up campaigns and lacked conversion tracking.

However, the client had properly set up Google Analytics, which allowed us to analyze the campaigns and discover a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of 138%. This was a clear indication that there was room for improvement.
Since Google Analytics was not connected to Google Ads, it was necessary to manually consolidate data on effectiveness.
Initial Strategies and Actions

Our first step was to conduct a thorough audit of the Google Ads and the landing page. We identified several weak points and developed a plan to address them.

  1. Linking Google Ads and Google Analytics 4: We linked Google Ads and Google Analytics 4, enabling the ads to see conversions and allowing the algorithms to optimize better. This integration provided us with valuable data that we could use to improve the performance of the campaigns.
  2. Website Optimization: Given that the site had a high mobile traffic rate (84+%), we prioritized fixing the mobile version of the website. We identified and addressed issues related to mobile responsiveness, page load speed, and user experience. This ensured that mobile users had a smooth and enjoyable browsing experience, which is crucial for conversion rate optimization.
  3. Conversion Tracking Setup: We set up conversion tracking to accurately measure the effectiveness of the campaigns. This allowed us to track key metrics such as conversion rate and ROAS, and make data-driven decisions to improve campaign performance.

These initial actions laid a solid foundation for the optimization of the Google Ads campaigns. They addressed the key issues we identified in the audit and set the stage for the further improvements we implemented in the next phase.

Before starting the work, we conduct a thorough audit to assess what has already been done and, utilizing the accumulated statistics, create a detailed improvement plan.
Additionally, we conducted an audit of the landing page and compiled a list of recommendations for improvement that should significantly enhance effectiveness.

Results of Initial Actions

While setting up new campaigns, we decided not to stop the previous ones. Interestingly, our actions had a positive impact on the old campaigns as well, which started to perform slightly better. The ROAS increased to 236%, and we observed an increase in engagement rate and engagement time.

Further Steps and Strategies

Following the initial actions, we embarked on a series of steps to further optimize the campaigns.

  1. In-depth Keyword Research: We conducted in-depth keyword research using tools like SEMrush, competitor analysis, and Google's Keyword Planner. This led us to identify 410 relevant keywords, a significant increase from the initial 20. We also refined the negative keywords based on comprehensive research and search term history, expanding the list from 9 to over 500.
  2. Campaign and Ad Group Organization: The keywords were then separated into 6 campaigns and 24 ad groups, leading to a more organized and relevant account-campaign-ad-group structure. This structure allowed us to target specific audiences more effectively and manage the campaigns more efficiently.
  3. Ad Creation and Optimization: We wrote 48 new relevant ads for each ad group, using keywords, calls to action, and the company's benefits for customers. We also added 4 new assets and fixed the old ones. This ensured that our ads were compelling, relevant, and effective in driving conversions.
  4. Retargeting Campaign Optimization: We rearranged the retargeting campaigns, turning off low-performing audiences and focusing on regular retargeting directly for website visitors. This allowed us to re-engage visitors who had previously shown interest in the client's services, increasing the chances of conversions.
  5. Display Schedule Implementation: A new display schedule was implemented: standard display during business hours and reduced-rate displays during off-peak hours. This ensured that our ads were displayed at the most optimal times to reach our target audience.
  6. Geographic and Interest-Based Targeting: Our optimization strategies focused on capturing all targeted traffic in the customer's location and expanding reach to people from nearby locations and states interested in kayak tours. We used broader keywords and display ads for this purpose. This strategy allowed us to reach a wider audience and attract potential customers who were already interested in kayak tours.
  7. Continuous Monitoring and Optimization: Google Ads is not a "set it and forget it" tool. It requires continuous monitoring and optimization to maintain high performance. We regularly reviewed the campaign performance data and made necessary adjustments to ensure that the campaigns were always performing at their best.
Results and Additional Improvements
These steps and strategies led to significant improvements in campaign performance. We saw a 69.29% increase in clicks and a doubling of the conversion rate from 2.09% to 4.05%. Conversions increased by 228.72%, and revenue increased by 200.78%.

We also made additional improvements such as integrating UTM tags to facilitate tracking in external analytics systems and increasing bid amounts for desktop platforms due to their superior performance and ROAS potential.

However, not all campaigns performed well. Campaigns using broader targeting on search didn't yield satisfactory results, as people from distant locations have a much longer decision cycle. In this case, display ads were more suitable. We turned off our testing search ads for other locations in favor of display campaigns.

In the end, we identified two campaigns that drove 90% of all conversions with a remarkable ROAS of 648%. This case study demonstrates the power of thorough auditing, strategic planning, and continuous optimization in improving the effectiveness of Google Ads campaigns.

It's important to note that Google Ads is not a "set it and forget it" tool. It requires constant attention and optimization to achieve and maintain high performance. The results we achieved in the first two weeks after the start of the new campaigns are a testament to this. We managed to increase the ROAS from 138% to 648%, significantly exceeding the client's initial target of 500%.

However, we believe there is still a lot of room for improvement. We have identified new growth points and insights that will allow us to further outperform the client's initial expectations. Our work continues as we strive to further optimize the campaigns and deliver even better results.

In addition to Google Ads optimization, we also developed a plan for landing page optimization. The client's development team is currently working on implementing these improvements. We anticipate that these landing page enhancements will further boost conversion rates and ROAS, contributing to even more impressive results in the future.

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