4 Steps to Optimizing Conversions with Google Adwords

When it comes to optimizing conversions with Google Adwords, there are four steps that you’ll learn about in this post. When properly implemented, these steps will enable you to create better ads that convert more visitors into leads and/or more leads into customers. We’ll do a brief overview of the steps and then go into more detail about each one in each section.

The 4 Steps for Optimizing Conversions with Google Adwords

1) Targeting your ads in alignment with the stages of the buyer’s journey and of your sales funnel. These get broken down.

2) Optimizing conversions with tracking pixels

3) A/B testing your ads to see which approaches work better than others

4) Copywriting tips to help you with writing good copy for your ads to increase conversions

1) Goals

Your overarching goal for Adwords and any ad for that fact will be different based on what part of the sales funnel you’re focusing on. Without goals, you will get nowhere in your marketing efforts, so it’s important to set them from the beginning.

You can target users based on where the goal of where they are in the buyer’s journey or you can target them based on goals for your sales funnel. Just make sure that you are targeting your target customers based on their customer profile and buyers persona.

A) Your Adwords Goal(s)

Your Adword goal could be any of the three parts of the buyer journey in the inbound marketing methodology. The three stages of the buyer’s journey, as you can see below, are:

using the buyer's journey to target the right people to optimize conversions with google adwords

1) Awareness stage – Creating awareness for your brand, which in this case, you’d probably want to get email subscribers by offering them a piece of free relevant or contextual content.

2) Consideration stage – Targeting potential customers by giving them the necessary information to properly consider your product or service when compared to others brands’ offerings.

You could be giving them pricing information, features comparisons, and differentiators among others.

3) Decision stage – Targeting users who are ready to make the decision to purchase a product or service.

The best ways to target these types of individuals are by offering them:

  • Coupons
  • Exclusive offers with bonus benefits
  • Free trials
  • Discounts specifically for users with abandoned shopping carts
  • Showing them jaw-dropping customer value by beating out the competition in every way or solving a completely unsolved problem that your target audience has. A benefits or features page will do well for this as a landing page. You just have to select the AdWord that matches closely to your product/service. “Solution for XYZ” could be a target keyword.

You can also target people based on a goal in your sales funnel and I break this down below.

Popular Keywords vs Long Tail Keyword Search Traffic

About 80% of search traffic goes to long tail keywords, which are keywords that are 3+ words. So, you might have more success and less competition by targeting long tail keywords rather than one or two-word keywords.

keyword length for optimizing conversions with google adwords

B) AARRR: The Five Stages in the Sales Funnel

Based on the acronym ARRRR, there are five stages in the sales funnel, according to Dave McClure, a founder of 500 Startups.

The Stages Are: Acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue.

And below is an infographic table describing them.

AARRR Pirate Metrics Table - optimizing conversions for google adwords

As you can see, it also makes sense to target someone based on the most important part of your sales funnel at that time.

I break AARRR down below.

Acquisition and Awareness

If you want to spread awareness about your brand, you can do that.

However, don’t expect to see any significant or immediate return on investment aside from getting some email subscribers.

Google Adwords are often expensive, especially for more popular adwords. I recommend to use your money wisely by not overdoing your ad-spend for something like this.



If you want email subscribers, then you can direct people to a specific landing page designed to help you get conversions.

Account Signups

When it comes to getting people to sign up for accounts, you can most easily place ads and market people to sign up for free accounts so they experience some benefits of your product or service. Free trials work well and freemium products work well, too.

Customer Retention

You can help retain your current users by using the remarketing tactic, by using your existing list of customers, or by using a segmented audience from your email list of subscribers who actively engage with your emails whether it’s by open rate or clicks.

When targeting repeat visitors, you can set up a goal flow within your analytics, let’s say it’s Google Analytics, and target each user that’s completed three or more page views in a session.

The more page views, the more interested the person is about your product or service.

In addition, you can upload data files of individuals’ email addresses and market to your “Customer Match” audiences.

So if you have a set group of people in a spreadsheet that you want to target with Google Adwords, you can do that.

Pretty sweet, eh?


Referral marketing is an awesome way to get new visitors and potential site-users and is considered one of the best ways to go viral if you can get enough buzz.

When one person refers another person, the referrer is vouching for your product or service.

That creates social proof, and social proof is very good because it signals approval from peers.

Virality from Referrals

Referral marketing can also go viral if you’ve built a virality aspect into it with viral marketing tools and you can use a Google tracking pixel with your viral tools to target people with your Adwords. The pixel will be mentioned in the next major section.

You can hold referral contests for participants to win something cool. The more people they refer to you, the more entries they get to win.

This is a great viral tactic.

Or, you can create a referral program where referrers get bonus perks from you that will help them, get money, or get credits towards one of your products.

With campaigns like these in place, putting up ads for them can make your product or service go viral.

The key to starting virality is to target people who already use and love your website, app, or service.

However, you’ll likely want some referral or viral marketing software to help make it easier. Check out the post 16 of the best viral marketing tools to get traffic and leads fast to learn more about

Pixel tracking codes or remarketing can help you target these people.

Similarly, you can search for similar audiences of your returning visitors.


Let’s say you’re looking to get people to purchase your product or service.

You’ll want to target the same demographics of the people who’ve already purchased from you. You can use remarketing for this.


You can target people who are searching Google for keywords that correspond with purchasing a product or service like yours.

Five examples:

  • “x product comparison,”
  • “top productivity software”
  • “productivity software pricing comparison”
  • “cheapest payroll software”
  • “Quickbooks pricing”

2) Optimizing Conversions with Tracking Pixels

Conversion Tracking

“With Adwords conversion tracking, you can see how effectively your ad clicks lead to valuable customer activity, such as website purchases, phone calls, app downloads, newsletter sign-ups, and more.” – Google

It’s a no-brainer that you’ll want to set up conversion tracking for any and all Google Ads.

If you haven’t already done this for your Google Adwords, then learn how to set up conversion tracking here.

This is a huge part of helping you measure your goals and track how visitors use your site.

Tracking Pixels

Tracking pixels are 1×1 pixels that you can create and place in different types of software of yours which your users interact with. They then track what that user does so that you can re-target those people later on. Pretty neat, right?!

Eventbrite created a great how-to for setting up a tracking pixel with Google Analytics in combination with its software. It shows what to do with the universal analytics tracking which is a newer standard of tracking code.

3) A/B Testing

A/B testing is one methodology of how to growth hack. This is a pretty simple concept. You want to test the click-through rates of people clicking on your ads by using two ads.

One of them is your control and the other is the variable with ONE change in it.

AB testing infographic used for conversion rate optimization and optimizing conversions

The purpose of the test is to test a hypothesis that the variable advertisement will get more clicks because of ________________. (you fill in the blank)

The change could be a change in color, it could be a different tagline or a slight change in your call to action (CTA).

Once you get between 300 and 400 views for each, compare the click-through rates for each one. Record your results and wait until you have at least 1000 views, for higher statistical significance. Whichever is has the best click-through rate is the winner.

The winner becomes your new control for your next experiment as you create another ad as a B-test to find the better performing ad.

Shoot for the moon and don’t stop until you’ve found some real winners.

4) Copywriting Tips to Help You With Adwords

Copywriting is how you will make your ads work for you. It is the act of wording your ads to attract potential customers.

All Adwords experts have learned a significant amount about the best practices for wording their headlines and ad-copy.

Writing Great Headlines

Check out this post to help you learn How to Write Headlines That Drive Traffic, Shares, and SEO – CoSchedule.


AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. This formula can be used to create powerful ads that get people to click and buy. You want to catch your audience’s attention, capture their interest enough to click on your ad, drive up their desire in a way that might make them mentally salivate, and get them to take action with a strong call to action.

5) Bonus Tips

Check out these free Adwords Tips, Strategies, and Resources from Google. You can also take the Google Academy Adwords course from Google – it’s free!


If you take the above steps to increase Google Adwords conversions, then you will no doubt be on your way to achieving your sales goals. It make take time, but you will get there.

Try to be patient, diligent, record your tests and findings, and your proficiency with doing Google Ads will most definitely increase — and so will your sales.

If you’re looking for more ways to get leads, then I suggest reading our post: 10 Key Lead Generation Strategies to Grow Your Startup

What Google Adwords strategies or tactics have you found to be especially helpful?

Get more helpful startup and marketing content like this delivered to your inbox.

Carl Potak
Carl is the Founder and CEO of StartupDevKit, an online startup incubator and accelerator with the mission of supporting and empowering early stage startups with education, resources, and mentoring to help founders and their teams not only succeed, but reach their highest potential.

Carl has been building and growing startups since 2007 as a founder, consultant, marketer, and recruiter. He's the author of the book Startup Survival Secrets, earned a certification in Inbound Marketing from HubSpot Academy, earned a certification in Google Analytics from Google, earned a Bachelor's Degree from Binghamton University, and achieved Eagle Scout as a young adult.

2 Responses to “4 Steps to Optimizing Conversions with Google Adwords

Share Your Thoughts!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top