Google Ads for Saas
Picture of Caio Primamarca
Caio Primamarca
Media Manager at Prima Marca

The Ultimate Guide to Improve Google Ads for SaaS Companies

Whether you’re a hands-on SaaS Founder, CMO, or Marketing Manager, this comprehensive guide aims to get your Google Ads campaigns performing profitably.

With 85% of the top 100 SaaS companies (Salesforce, Hubspot, Atlassian, Freshworks) using Google Ads, it’s safe to say that it’s a crucial component of SaaS marketing. For most SaaS companies, Google Ads represents the lion’s share of their paid acquisition budget and leads—free trials, demos, MQLs & SQLs.

However, without an airtight strategy, Google Ads can quickly become a costly nightmare. This guide provides a detailed blueprint, including step-by-step instructions and screenshots, to help you strategize, build, and optimize Google Ads marketing campaigns for SaaS companies.

For example, consider this successful metric:

Successful strategy for a SaaS company on Google Ads

Why Running Successful Google Ads for SaaS Companies and Marketing Campaigns is Hard

1. Supply and Demand:

Google Ads is intent-based marketing. You can only capitalize on relevant searches for your SaaS company, leading to a finite supply. High-intent traffic, such as searches for “CRM Software,” is even scarcer.

2. Competition:

With market saturation, the cost per click (CPC) in Google Ads marketing is expensive and increasing. Your SaaS company needs a strategy to scale customer acquisition while keeping costs manageable.

Turning Google Ads Marketing into a Growth Engine

Google Ads is complex and constantly evolving. Our clients have seen a 78% increase in MQLs from the same budget and a 40% decrease in Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). Here’s how we do it:

Step 1: Know Your SaaS Metrics

Before launching any paid acquisition strategy, know your SaaS metrics. Key questions to answer include:

  • What is your target cost per acquisition (TCPA)?
  • What is the average lifetime value (LTV) of a customer?
  • What is your current payback period?

Example:

For example a company that is a 2-year-old self-service SaaS with a single-tier package for $59 per month can estimate a customer LTV of 24 months and decide to invest $10k monthly into Google Ads. However, they experience a 30% churn rate, severely impacting their ROI.

Step 2: Conduct a Google Ads Opportunity Analysis

An Opportunity Analysis reveals the monthly traffic for your keywords, the approximate cost to acquire new customers, and the expected new MRR. Here’s how to perform one:

Requirements:

  • Google Ads Account
  • List of competitors’ websites
  • Download this template
  • Monthly ad spend budget
  • Well done tracking and tags via Google Tag Manager

Download the Ratio and Opportunities for Google AdsTemplate

Process:

  1. Log in to Google Ads and use the Keyword Planner tool.
  2. Research keywords relevant to your SaaS company’s services.
  3. Group relevant keywords into AdGroups.
  4. Use competitor terms and branded words in your keyword strategy.
  5. Input data into the Opportunity Analysis template to understand your campaign’s potential performance.

The next step is crucial. While you’ve created the AdGroup name, the keywords are not yet saved in the plan. Ensure you click “Add Keywords” in the blue pane to save them in the AdGroup.

Beyond the core services you’re analyzing, we recommend including a segment for competitor terms. Why? If someone is searching for your competitor’s name, they are likely a prospective customer for you as well. In fact, many of our clients generate over 60% of their overall conversions from competitor terms, making this a strategy we always implement from the start.

Screenshot of Google Ads Keyword Planner

Step 3: Implement Winning Google Ads Strategies

Strategy #1: Smart Naming Conventions

Efficient naming conventions save time and make it easier to navigate your campaigns. For example:

  • TOF – Search – USA – Branded – All Types
  • TOF – Search – USA – Competitors – Broad

Strategy #2: Manual Bidding

Start with manual bidding to gather sufficient data before switching to automated strategies. Regularly review and adjust bids based on keyword, audience, device, time of day, day of the week, location, age, gender, and household income.

Strategy #3: Offline Conversion Tracking

Track offline conversions like MQLs, SQLs, and closed deals using tools like HubSpot or Salesforce. This data helps identify which keywords or segments are not generating qualified leads.

Step 4: Funnel Strategy

Understand the user’s journey from the first visit to conversion. Use audience lists to create middle-of-funnel campaigns targeting users who have previously interacted with your site.

Benefits:

  • Higher likelihood of conversion on subsequent visits
  • Allocate budgets effectively
  • Tailor messaging with incentives and offers
  • Increase bids for top positions

Step 5: Add Audiences as Observation to Campaigns

Use in-market audiences to connect with consumers actively researching products. Start with the observation setting to gather insights and adjust bids based on performance.

A study by WordStream shows that the average conversion rate for B2B using Search is 2.41%, and for Technology, it’s 2.09%. Our SaaS clients typically achieve higher rates, averaging just below 3%.

Remember, these figures are merely benchmarks. Even with the most optimally configured Google Ads account, success hinges on your website’s ability to guide users smoothly toward conversion goals. Without a well-optimized website, you risk attributing failure to Google Ads instead of addressing the real issues. It’s crucial to delve into your data with Google Analytics, monitoring bounce rates, time on site, pages per session, and funnel flows to understand user behavior. Identifying and fixing these site issues early is key to achieving profitability with Google Ads marketing for your SaaS company.

Step 6: Bid on Competitors’ Brand Terms

Bidding on competitors’ terms can generate significant conversions. Use the Auction Insights tool to identify competitors and craft creative ad copy that highlights your unique selling propositions.

Step 7: Use Search Term Reports to Influence Blogs

Review search terms to identify less intent-driven keywords. Create blog content that answers these queries, positioning your company as a thought leader and building trust. Use audience lists to retarget blog visitors with conversion-focused campaigns.

Optimizing Your Google Ads Campaigns

To understand the impact of Google Ads, you need to know which metrics to optimise:

  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Payback Period
  • Churn
  • LTVRatio

LTVRatio:

An ideal LTVratio is 3:1, meaning for every dollar spent on acquiring a customer, three dollars are generated throughout the customer’s lifetime. If your ratio is less than 3:1, your current strategy isn’t scalable.

Conclusion

By understanding your SaaS metrics, conducting a thorough opportunity analysis, and implementing strategic Google Ads campaigns, you can turn Google Ads into a powerful growth engine for your SaaS company. Remember, what gets measured gets optimized, so track your metrics closely to ensure profitability and scalability.

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Whether you're a hands-on SaaS Founder, CMO, or Marketing Manager, this comprehensive guide aims to get your Google Ads campaigns performing profitably.

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