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Google Ads by Johnathan Dane Review

Updated: Jan 8

This review is only for 1 course in CXL's growth marketing minidegree. For all the others please head over to the index here

Before I took the course​

  • I had already managed 2 google ad accounts. One for a SaaS company and the other for a construction company.

  • I got the official google ads certifications but I only learnt the basic navigations and features of Google Ads.

  • I wanted to learn how experts managed their ad accounts. I was decent, I'd say. There were many moving pieces that I couldn't understand but I was doing good. Around 3-5 CTR and a high conversion rate. My goal to take this course was to get better at Google Ads. Read on to know if I actually found the course useful

Was it worth it?

  • I learnt a TON.

  • Johnathon was kind enough to actually show the real data of the accounts that he was managing.

  • Each lesson was divided into 3 parts (intro and background, walkthrough, assignment). I kind of skipped all assignments.

  • The second thing I liked was that the course was well structured. They've added a feature that lets you skip to any part of the lesson. Sometimes I skipped the intro because I didn't really want to know 'why' doing X was important. I already knew that X was important and just needed to know how to do it.

  • There were a handful of under the sleeve tricks that were shown to us. I hadn't even thought of approaching google ads with that mindset. So those were good. I'm not sure you can find them elsewhere except for this article and on CXL

​What did I learn?

In the Keyword Planner Tool, don't restrict yourself to typing keywords in the search box or just adding your website details. Instead take the top performing article for the keyword you want to rank for and see all the other keyword opportunities you are missing. For example, my business is to sell craft beer. I quickly search for craft beer online. Nice, now I see a wikipedia article and a few reddit posts. I copy those urls and feed it into Google's Keyword Planner tool to see if it returns any keywords. I quickly look for any keywords that I missed out on and add them to my ad group. Perfect!

  1. Facebook = Good at identifying demographic data. Google = Bad at identifying demographic data. By demographic data, I mean gender, age group etc.

  2. Tools to use: Moat, Whatrunswhere, Spyfu/Ahrefs/Semrush. Use them to get keywords and what ads competitors are running. Don't trust the data.

  3. You need to match the search intent with the message, which is kind of obvious. Hot lead - stronger message. Cold lead - weaker CTA.

People seeing your ad on display network - cold intent. See the ad on search network - hot intent.

  • Ad content to be produced for colder audience: Coupon, Checklist/ Cheatsheet, Toolkit, Calendar, Podcast, Email Course, Swipe File, Infographic, Whitepaper, Industry stat. ​

  • Medium warm: Quiz, Coupon, Video Course, Live demo, Tickets, Giveaway, E-books, T-shirts, Demo, Trial, Case Study, Webinar.

  • Super hot: Consultation, Quote, Purchase, Demo, Trial.

Types of keywords

Layer audiences on top

Can I show ads to people who searched for xyz term and are on my email list? YES

Where can you go to do this? Audiences

Custom audiences lets you create your own Venn diagram of audiences. For example, only show ads to people who searched for your product in the last 30 days + are in your email newsletter + and are interested in Pinterest.

Observation: adjust bid for individual keywords.

Target: just meet these requirements and we good.


Want to use a broad keyword? This is how you do it effectively.

—> create a separate campaign for that keyword.

—> set the lowest CPC possible.

—> add all your core keywords in the -ve list so no cannibalism happens.

—> mine for keywords and add them to your core group.

Dynamic ads:

Search ads that show based on the content of your site.

Single word ad groups with all types: Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) are ad groups in Google Ads with just one keyword in them. They help PPC marketers gain more control and a cleaner account structure.

Google Ads Editor:

Google Ads Editor is a no-cost, downloadable application that lets you work offline and make bulk changes quickly and easily.


Google Ads scripts provide a way to programmatically control your Google Ads data using simple JavaScript in a browser-based IDE.

Split ad testing:

Minimum 2 ads for each ad group if you want to set it up. For every ad group, always have two competing ad texts running at the same time

Conversion tracking:

What are you tracking? Define a conversion. It could be a purchase. It could be simply downloading a whitepaper.

Don't redirect people to your homepage. Direct them to relevant sub pages.

More stuff

How search and display differ and how should you treat them?

The search network allows us to show up when people are actively looking for our product or service at a certain time. The display network allows us to advertise our business to people based on their interests or what they’re looking at. So the 2 types have different targeting criteria, and optimization that’s why it’s better to treat them separately.

Keyword is different than a search term:

Search term is what people search on the website. Keyword is what you bid on.

All keywords have different conversion rates, but different sales rates too

  • Awareness: how to engage my users

  • Interest — Consideration: actionable social media marketing tactics

  • Consideration — Action: sign up for a growth/digital marketing course

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