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TPE #90: The Google Ads Success Formula: how 20% of actions drive 80% of results

Apr 22, 2024

Read time: 8 minutes

GM, Miles here with issue #90 of The PPC Edge!

Last week, I shared the 3-step framework to future-proof yourself and stay relevant by becoming a T-Shaped Google Ads Specialist.

You will have 1 core expertise: Google Ads.

On top of that, you’ll be competent in many other things that will stack on top of your existing Google Ads skillset, making you extremely powerful and relevant.



Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Deeply master Google Ads.

Step 2: Become a business partner for your clients by developing essential business skills.

Step 3: Future-proof yourself with a complementary skill that stacks on top of Google Ads.

In today’s issue of The PPC Edge, I want to dive deep into step 1: “Deeply master Google Ads”.



This is the most important step and the absolute foundation of your career.

But how do you master Google Ads without getting overwhelmed by all the possibilities?

I’ve broken the road to mastery down into a process with actionable steps.

Let’s dive right in!


Mastering Google Ads is about mastering the fundamentals.

Listen up:

❌ Mastering Google Ads is not about finding the right buttons or reading news updates…

❌ And it’s also not about using advanced tactics…


βœ… Mastering Google Ads is about DEEPLY understanding the platform…

βœ… It’s about doing the fundamentals well, over and over and over and over

So you ALWAYS have a plan for what to do (especially when the results aren’t great).


Here’s a huge mistake most Google Ads Specialists are making: they only chase shiny objects (aka advanced tactics).

But it’s the “boring” fundamentals that drive 80% of your results.


Listen, I love advanced tactics. But only for advanced accounts. You’re always better off sticking to the fundamentals first before you even think about advanced tactics!


I see so many posts on LinkedIn from people who say you need to focus on the fundamentals…

But they never mention what those fundamentals are.

So let’s zoom in on the fundamentals for success with Google Ads (the 20% of your actions that drive 80% of your results).

Master these, and you’ll have a toolkit you can use to grow nearly any account.

Do the fundamentals well, and you’ll be ahead of 90% of PPCers.


The fundamentals for success with Google Ads.

I break down the fundamentals into 7 main categories:

  1. Conversion Tracking & Data Input
  2. Goals & KPIs
  3. Campaign Structure
  4. Targeting
  5. Creatives
  6. Bids & Budgets
  7. Landing Pages



All of these could be individual newsletters, but I’ll give you the “TLDR” for each.


1: Conversion Tracking & Data Input.

Conversion tracking and data input are the absolute foundation for success with Google Ads.

So you better have a proper setup πŸ˜‰.

If you don’t properly feed the algo:


❌ You will get suboptimal results.

Google’s Algorithm needs a lot of conversion data to function properly. If you don’t maximize the data input, it will lead to inconsistent results.


❌ You will restrict the algorithm from learning properly.

Without enough conversion data, the system takes longer to learn what works and what doesn’t, extending the learning phase.


❌ You will have inaccurate predictions.

The system may make less informed and less accurate predictions about which bids will result in conversions, resulting in inefficiencies.


❌ You will spend your budget inefficiently.

Budgets will be allocated less effectively, resulting in inefficient spend.


But tracking is a huge mess (due to ad blockers, third-party cookie and consent issues, privacy regulations, etc.)



You need to go beyond the basics to properly track conversions in this day and age:

  • Lay the foundation with Google Ads Conversion Tracking (preferably with Server-Side Tagging).
  • Use Offline Conversion Tracking (essential for Lead Gen!).
  • Enhance your dataset so you have more data to work with (Enhanced Conversions, Consent Mode etc.)
  • Measure real business results (qualified leads, sales, profit).
  • Use first-party data to steer the algorithm in the right direction (not only with tracking but also with other data sources like your product feed and audiences).


Good data = good results.

Bad data = bad results.


Prioritize proper conversion tracking over everything.

Whoever has the most high-quality, relevant data, wins.

Check out issue #79 of The PPC Edge if you want a step-by-step guide to ensure you track as many high-quality conversions as possible.


2: Goals & KPIs.

When I just started working together with Bob, he told me he NEVER launches a campaign if he is not aligned with his client on the goals and KPIs.

He told me setting goals upfront is absolutely crucial for success with Google Ads:


βœ… It helps you measure success.

By defining your goals and targets upfront, you can easily measure (and report on) your campaigns’ effectiveness.


βœ… You are aligned with your client.

Nothing better than feeling fully aligned with your client, while in pursuit of mutual goals (within your target KPIs).


βœ… You have total focus.

A clear set of goals and targets provides focus and helps determine your overall strategy and tactics. You can easily identify leaks, making your optimizations effective and impactful.


On the contrary, if you don’t set clear goals and KPIs, you can’t properly measure your campaigns’ effectiveness, you will not be aligned with your client, and you’re operating without focus.

So ALWAYS make sure you have discussed your client’s goals and KPIs before you launch your campaigns!


3: Campaign Structure.

Your campaign structure is one of the biggest drivers of performance (and control).

It has a huge impact on:

  • How you influence the algorithm.
  • Your bid strategies.
  • Your targeting.
  • Your spend.


You must understand the ins and outs of each campaign type so you can make informed decisions on what to use and when.

  • BoFu: When do you choose Search? Shopping? Performance Max? Or a mix?
  • MoFu/ToFu: When do you choose YouTube? Display? Demand Gen?
  • Consolidation vs. segmentation: what to choose when?

If you don’t understand the mechanics of each campaign type, you will make a lot of costly mistakes (resulting in overlapping targeting, poor performance, and cannibalization).




4: Targeting.

You must deeply understand how targeting works with Google Ads. If you don’t, you will make a LOT of costly mistakes.

  • How do keyword match types work (especially Broad & Exact)?

  • What’s the difference between keywords and search terms?

  • Why does a search term get conversions via a Broad Match keyword,

    but it completely bombs when you add it as an Exact Match keyword?

  • How does targeting work in multi-channel, black-box campaign types like Performance Max and Demand Gen (and how does this impact and cannibalize on your other campaigns)?

  • How does Optimized Targeting work (a seemingly simple toggle that can truly ruin your. campaigns when used improperly)?

  • How does audience targeting work (what’s the difference between audience TARGETING and audience SIGNALS)?

  • What’s the role of Customer Match Lists on targeting/bidding?

  • How do Dynamic Search Ads work, and are they best used in ad groups or individual campaigns?

  • How does pMax target new vs. returning users?

  • What’s the difference in targeting between Video Action and Reach campaigns?


You can only answer these questions with a DEEP understanding of Google Ads.

I listed them to trigger you to think deeper about Google Ads. How often have you found yourself guessing when setting up your campaigns?

Stop guessing, and start making informed decisions.


5: Creatives.

The next thing you must deeply understand to confidently drive results with Google Ads: how to create creatives that drive clicks and conversions.

This does not only apply to Responsive Search Ads, but also to all other creative types you find in YouTube, Display, Performance Max, and Demand Gen campaigns (images, videos, “extensions”).

  • How do you set up, test & analyze optimal ads with limited performance insights (allowing you to make the right, informed decisions)?

  • How is this different for RSAs vs. pMax vs. Feed optimization vs. YouTube?

  • How do you differentiate your ads from competitors (especially when everyone is using the same auto-generated AI crap)?


6: Bids & Budgets.

Bid management is all about deeply understanding how Google’s Smart Bidding algorithm works.

What it comes down to is this: Smart Bidding uses hundreds, if not thousands of contextual user signals we can’t see to determine bids on the auction-level.

Here are just a few examples of those signals:


Image Source: Google


Your only goal is to figure out how to make Google’s algorithm work FOR YOU, instead of AGAINST you.

βœ… If you understand how Smart Bidding works, everything falls into place.

❌ If you don’t understand how Smart Bidding works, you will make costly mistakes.

You must deeply understand how to:

  • Manage ROAS/CPA targets
  • Ramp up bid strategies
  • Increase/decrease budgets in a safe way without upsetting the algorithm and risking performance dips (within your budget).


Most people are just guessing with their bid strategies, targets, and budgets… So deeply understanding how Smart Bidding works gives you a HUGE edge.

Smart Bidding is the connective tissue in your Google Ads strategy.



Your conversion tracking and data input, campaign structure, targeting, creatives, bid strategies, and budget management are all tied together by Smart Bidding.

It’s absolutely foundational to success with Google Ads, so take the time to DEEPLY understand how the algorithm works.

It will give you most of the answers you need to successfully launch and scale Google Ads campaigns.


7: Landing Pages.

The last step of the fundamentals is to understand how to create landing pages that drive conversions.

By taking control of your clients’ landing pages, you take control of the entire customer journey.

You don’t have to be a CRO expert, and you don’t necessarily have to create your own landing pages…

But you MUST be able to challenge your clients if they don’t have an optimal landing page.

Bob manages all the landing pages for his clients. Here’s an example of a B2C Lead Gen client with a 20% conversion rate (macro conversions = quotation requests).



That’s absolutely nuts.

I don’t know what the average conversion rate is for Lead Gen, but it’s nowhere near 20%.

Just imagine how much more you could help your clients if you increased conversion rates by 10-30%… Let alone 100-300%…

You can have:

  • Perfect conversion tracking.
  • Perfect goals & KPIs.
  • Perfect campaign structures.
  • Perfect targeting.
  • Perfect creatives.
  • Perfect bid strategies.

But it all doesn’t matter if your landing page sucks.

What happens AFTER the click often has a bigger impact on performance than what happens BEFORE.

So start taking control of your clients’ landing pages. You’ll do yourself a huge favor.


How to make it simple for yourself to master the fundamentals of Google Ads.

Let’s make it even more simple.

When it comes to success with Google Ads, you ultimately just want to know:

  • What are your goals and KPIs?

  • Who is your target audience?

  • What does your ideal campaign structure look like to reach them?

  • How can you target your audience?

  • How can you write your ads to generate clicks?

  • How can you persuade users to convert on your landing page?

  • How are you going to set up your tracking so you measure as much as possible?

  • How are you going to let the Smart Bidding algorithm work FOR YOU,

    instead of AGAINST you (what bid strategies do you need to leverage)?


And these timeless principles apply to (nearly) all campaigns:

  • Your tracking setup is the absolute foundation for success with Google Ads.
  • You need to be clear on your goals and KPIs.
  • Your offer and landing page are the backbone of your results.
  • Your data input (feeds, conversion tracking, audience segments etc.) is crucial to guide the algorithm in the right direction.
  • Your campaign structure gives you the control you need to grow and scale.
  • Your bid strategy and budget allocation determine your scalability.
  • You need ads that resonate with your ideal customer profile.
  • You need to continuously optimize your campaigns.


Remember: the boring fundamentals drive 80% of your results.

I love fancy advanced strategies, but only for fancy advanced accounts.

90% of accounts are better off sticking to the fundamentals.



Most people will be chasing fancy-sounding advanced tactics.

But if you master the fundamentals, you’ll be ahead of 90% of PPCers:

  1. Conversion Tracking & Data Input
  2. Goals & KPIs
  3. Campaign Structure
  4. Targeting
  5. Creatives
  6. Bids & Budgets
  7. Landing Pages


If you want our help mastering Google Ads, check out The PPC Hub, our membership for experienced Google Ads Specialists who want to be and stay on the cutting edge of PPC.

TLDR — you’ll get access to:

  • Exclusive courses.
  • Exclusive resources.
  • Our community forum.



If you want to upgrade your skills and become the best Google Ads Specialist you can possibly be, then The PPC Hub is made for you.

Feel free to check it out and join us here.

Hope that was helpful.

See you next week!


Miles (& Bob)


And whenever you're ready, here's how we can help you further:

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