google-adwords-logoGoogle AdWords is perhaps the most popular and commonly used advertising platform available. Not only is it incredibly flexible, but it is packed with features that are specifically designed to help you get more out of your marketing strategies. Unfortunately, most people fail to get the most out of their advertising platforms, simply because they don't know how to unlock the beneficial features it offers.

It's no surprise that marketers have trouble keeping up, however - Google is constantly updating, removing features that don't work, adding new ones, and even changing the way that existing concepts function. However, failing to check out some of the most underused features of AdWords could be having a significant impact on your PPC performance.

If you're looking for ways to bury the competition, the following five features on Google AdWords could help you to improve you platform success by a significant percentage.

1. Layered Demographic Targeting

If you've been running a business for some time now, you should already know the value of demographics and demographic targeting. Using these pieces of valuable information, you can target customer personas, customize your advertisements, and refine outcomes with demographic combinations and exclusions designed to truly improve your targeting efforts.

The demographic targeting tab is an area of your AdWords account that you should start getting to know as quickly as possible. Through this tab, you can view performance in your strategies by age range, gender, and other crucial demographics to your particular market. What's more, when you turn on demographic combinations, you can layer various demographics to see metrics such as click through rate, CPC and more.

2. Google Display Ad Builder

The display ads that you create on Google can be vibrant and exciting image advertisements, but not many people realize that a significant amount of the ads that are considered as "display" ads are simply text ads.

The important thing to realize here is that the same tactics you use to optimize your text adds to increase click through rate will still apply in your display ads. Unfortunately, text ads have a far lower click through rate than dynamic ads - so what can you do to make a difference? The Display Ad builder lets you utilize engaging, eye-catching, and animated images with much higher CTRs.

Through Google's Display Ads Builder, you can utilize a wide range of display formats, and you don't even need photo editing skills to take advantage of the benefits.

3. Automation

Automation features can be incredibly useful in any advertising platform, saving you time, helping you to prioritize certain actions, and more. However, it's important to be careful utilizing these features, as they can cause significant problems if they are poorly applied.

There are a number of different things that you can automate through Google AdWords, including using the feature to turn a campaign off after you've hit a certain number on your budget, or enabling certain campaigns during particular hours on particular days.

One helpful idea may be to attempt automating your bids based on important factors such as bound rate and other metrics. This will help to make sure that you get the most out of your advertising budget, without overspending.

4. New Advertising Extensions

Although social extensions are no longer displayed with various ads on Google Search as of the end of 2015, there are still numerous ways you can improve your ad using Google Ad Extensions. They offer a great opportunity to draw in functionality and attention towards your ad, and they can even help you to boost your click through rate too.

A good way to maximize the success rate of your advertising extensions is to stay on top of the latest releases and beat your competitors by adding new extensions that apply to your business on a relevant level. Keep in mind that sitelinks may not have a huge impact on your overall conversion rate, but they only take a small amount of effort to improve, and that tiny increase in work could be enough to upgrade your CTR significantly.

Also, it's worth keeping in mind that using sitelinks will help to improve the quality score for your keywords in AdWords, which can be useful to your campaign on a completely different level.

5. AdWords Reporting

Finally, when it comes to underused features on advertising platforms, few are so neglected as the various reporting options that AdWords offers. Although combing through huge amounts of data to figure out what's working in your campaign may not seem like a great deal of fun - it's essential to improving the success rate of your strategies.

With reporting, you can see the performance of your advertisements and learn more about the things that you may need to change in order to improve your overall success rate. After all, the aim of any advertising effort is to get the maximum results for your budget, and doing this means testing again and again to find the combination of efforts that is the most lucrative for your particular promotion and business.

Topics: Demographic Targeting, Google Adwords, PPC, Google Advertising, PPC Performance

Sarah Butera

Written by Sarah Butera

Advertising Account Manager at http://www.exactdrive.com. No rabbits in the pot. Just a helping hand.