How to use Dynamic Features in Google Ads

How to use dynamic features in Google Ads

Are your ads lacking creativity? Then it’s time to embrace dynamic features in your Google Ads campaigns.

In this blog, we cover how you can implement two popular dynamic features into your campaigns – dynamic keyword insertion and countdown timers.

What is dynamic keyword insertion?

Dynamic keyword insertion allows you to automatically update ads with the keywords in your ad group that trigger ads to show. For example, If you are advertising men’s watches you can use the keyword insertion code Headline: Buy {KeyWord: Mens Watches} to automate this advert displaying. Google Ads will try to replace this bracketed section with one of the keywords in your ad group such as “gold men’s watches”, “men’s black watches” & “men’s silver watches”. If the keyword can’t be replaced then it will just use “men’s watches”.

How can you use dynamic keyword insertion for Google Ads campaigns?

If used correctly, dynamic keywords can lead to an improved Click-Through Rate because the ad has been dynamically updated to match a users search enquiry. A user is more likely to click on an ad that closely matches what they are searching for.

This is also a useful tactic if you want to target long-tail keywords that have a good search volume. Compile a list of search terms and if there are any that have a good amount of impressions and clicks then you might want to target these using keyword insertion. It is important to ensure that the number of characters doesn’t exceed 30.

If you have a campaign for your competitors, it is vital that you do not use dynamic keyword insertion in your ads. Whilst it is legal to bid on your competitors brand term, you cannot use the brand term in your ad copy.

What are countdown timers in Google Ads?

This feature can highlight the end date of a sale and can create a sense of urgency amongst customers. Timers countdown by day, then by the hour, then by the minute. Furthermore, countdown timers can be used to improve the click-through rate of an ad – for more information about how to improve your Ads CTR, read this blog here.

How can you use countdown timers for Google Ads campaigns?

Countdown timers are another great dynamic feature available on Google Ads. they can be used as part of the ad copy and are ideal for e-commerce businesses that want to create excitement around sales.

Countdown timers can be created when you create an ad in Google Ads and they are fully customisable. They can be set to a specific time and date for either the time zone where the business is based or where the customer is based, therefore if the retailer sells products worldwide then the timer can be set to different time zones. Note: It is important to make sure that your ad copy allows for the additional 8 characters that the countdown customiser code generates.

READ NEXT: 13 Tips To Optimise PPC Campaigns and Make The Most Of Smaller Budgets

Online PR - newspaper

How to get media coverage for your business in seven steps

As a small or start up-business, trying to get in the media is an important strategy, but can often feel like a daunting, nay impossible task. Where do you even begin? And do you need a big budget to make a difference?

At Cedarwood Digital, we work with clients with a variety of budgets from small-scale to larger campaigns. So we know first-hand that you can make an impact, regardless of size or budget.

We’ve rounded up our top tips and broken down the process of how to get media coverage for your business, so you can start a media storm. 

1. Understand what is valuable to journalists

  • Content that offers a new and interesting angle
  • Data-lead content
  • Eye-catching images

When creating a press release, make sure to bear in mind that journalists receive countless similar emails a day. You need to be sure to provide something valuable that they can’t get elsewhere. Try to make sure your content is something new, with research to support or challenge thinking.

Surveys that provide journalists with interesting and topical statistics are a great way to get your business featured in the press. Whilst there are companies that will run surveys for you, these can be costly, so SME’s can benefit from using their own customer databases to conduct surveys and research.

Images are also crucial for a strong press release, as we live in an increasingly visual world. Supplying a few strong images to support your press release saves the journalist time and energy sourcing a relevant image themselves, and could be the decision-maker for whether or not your story gets featured.

2. Know your target audience

  • Personalise press releases for each publication
  • Include regional and local press

Work out an angle to spin your story to make it relevant and interesting to the readership of any publication that you’re looking target. Try not to generalise content and send it across all genres of media – this will be clear to the journalist and look lazy. It’s best to brainstorm and research topical news, upcoming events or media trends in that domain that your content can be linked to.

Don’t neglect regional press, as a local angle can also be a great hook. Though regional publications will have a smaller audience than nationals, they offer the chance to showcase news and features on a local scale and can be easier to get featured in than bigger publications. If you’re offering research and statistics that cover the whole of the UK, try breaking your research down into key city demographics so that it is more relevant to regional publications. For example, if you have conducted a survey that investigates adult usage of mobile phones in the UK, you could break the results down into cities to make the statistics more relevant.

3. Create a list of media contacts

  • Use paid media databases or free tools
  • Make connections over social media

Though you may already be familiar with a few key publications you would like to target, it’s essential to expand your horizons and discover more outlets that may be interested in covering your story. Fortunately, there are multiple online resources to help you to create a thorough media list – including niche, trade publications to nationals.

Response Source, Vuelio and Gorkana all offer subscriptions to media databases, allowing you to gain access to a wealth of influential journalists’ contacts at top publications. Or for those with smaller budgets, websites like offer the chance to search a limited number of journalist contacts for free. Both Twitter and LinkedIn can be also be good places to start for building connections – monitor #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter to look out for relevant feature opportunities and connect with interesting journalists on LinkedIn.

When building your press list, make sure you pay attention to digital publications as well as print. Getting featured in digital publications is not only good for PR but also for your website’s SEO rankings. Links to your website from popular online publications will help boost your website’s overall SEO (more info on this here) and so the online publishing world should form an integral part in your PR strategy.

4. Research the targeted journalist

  • Know the topics that journalists like to cover
  • Pay attention to deadlines
  • Don’t harass journalists

Once you’ve built your press list, make sure to pay close attention to detail when sourcing the relevant journalists’ contact details. Research who you need to contact, considering their speciality and position within the company, and then you can approach the target publication to source their details and preferred method of receiving information. You don’t want to come across as rude or unprofessional to journalists by getting their details wrong.

Make sure to stay organised with deadlines and publications dates to avoid pestering journalists when they’re working against the clock. There’s no problem in getting in touch to ask if a certain topic is of interest, but don’t harass them. If you’ve followed up twice via email and have still not had a response, then unfortunately the journalist is not interested in your pitch.

5. Design your press release to make an impression

Present your press release in a way that is as easy as possible for a journalist to dissect. Generally, try to stick to the following rules:

  • Immediately summarise the essence of the content in the first paragraph
  • Don’t use technical terms which aren’t accessible, and avoid just stating facts
  • Try to support your story with evidence or statistics if possible
  • Be black and white with information you provide – making claims about your business that you can’t back up will be complicated and unprofessional
  • Detail your contact information at the end of the press release, and make sure to be efficient and available for follow up calls
  • Include ‘Notes to the Editor’ at the bottom of your release. This is where you can include useful background information that does not feature in your press release, such as an overview of your business’ services, how you conducted your research for your press release or a brief history of your business. Then you’re ready to press send!

6. Add supporting information & special extras to the press release

  • Offer interviews, case studies and photographs
  • Consider exclusivity for larger publications

To give your press release a bit more zest, it’s worth considering what extra support you could provide to each journalists. Publications often want to get unique angles on stories to avoid duplicated articles, so offering think about offering a case study, interview or photograph to sweeten the deal.

If you have a larger publication in mind that you are eager to work with, then you could offer them the exclusive on the story first, as being featured on one large publication with a significant audience could be more worthwhile than features on ten smaller publications.

7. Build relationships with journalists

  • Be a reliable contact

For long term benefits, provide news and content on a regular basis to journalists, stick to deadlines, make yourself available for interviews and comment.  This way you will create a great reputation for yourself as a useful contact and build a relationship with the press. Don’t be intimidated when getting in touch with a journalist – if you’ve followed these steps and consistently deliver, your media coverage will soar in no time.

READ NEXT: 5 simple lead generation ideas

How To Target Customers With Adwords Audience Targeting

How to target customers with Google Ads audience targeting

As the consumer market becomes more competitive, one of the key factors that can drive success is ensuring that your audience is being targeted in a granular way.  In this blog post, PPC Executive Anna Simpson explains how you can use Google Ads audience targeting to hone in on your potential customers.

What is audience targeting and how can my business use it?

Audience targeting is a feature that can be utilised in Google Ads which allows advertisers to be specific when choosing who sees their ads. This is done by taking into account factors such as:

  • What users are actively researching
  • When users are showing intent to purchase

This allows you to optimise your campaign spend to target the people most likely to purchase or enquire – every advertiser’s dream!

In-market audiences: reach your potential customers

In-market audiences have been available on Google’s Display Network since 2014 and were rolled out into the Search Network in July 2018. This audience targeting allows advertisers to reach potential customers who are currently browsing, researching and comparing similar items/services to your business. This means that they’re in the market for, and actively considering, buying a service or product like yours.

To define this audience, Google takes into account factors including clicks on related ads, the content of the sites and pages that the users are visiting, and the recency and frequency of visits. This is a great way of catching customers right before they are ready to covert making it a really effective way of targeting.

There are currently 508 different in-market audiences which you can choose from in your Google Ads account – so it’s more than likely that you’re able to find something relevant to your business from this huge range! After applying this audience strategy to your campaigns, you can add bid adjustments. This tells Google that if a user falls into the in-market category that you have applied, then you would like to bid more so that your ad appears for these particular users.

Note: bid adjustments will not be available with automated bidding strategies as this is taken into account within the strategy algorithms.

Businesses can improve the likelihood of a consumer converting with them instead of a competitor by using this method of targeting.

How do I set up in-market audiences?

If you think your business would benefit from using in-market audiences, then you can easily add them to your current campaigns. Select the campaign that you wish to apply the audience in, click on the audiences tab and then click on add new audience. Before you choose your audience type, ensure you have selected targeting or observation – whichever one suits the aim of your campaign the best. The option for in-market audiences is the second one down on the table so go ahead and select the most relevant category for your business. Each category has a drop-down menu which means that the audience can be narrowed down further to target even more specifically – so make sure you don’t miss any!

Custom intent audiences: be in control of who you target with display

Are your display campaigns under-performing? Then it’s worth exploring custom intent audiences. This is a really powerful new feature that Google introduced in November 2017. The feature allows you to define and reach your own ideal audience to target people who have shown intent to purchase your business’ products/services. Interested? I don’t blame you. There are two ways in which custom intent audiences can be implemented: auto-created or completely manual.

Let’s dig into the auto-created segments first – these are created specifically to your account, so segments you may see in one account could be completely different in another. This is because Google analyses the campaigns and data that are in the account already and uses its machine-learning technology to create audiences. Google takes into account keywords and URLs that appear in content that users are browsing whilst researching a specific product/service, and uses these insights to create an audience based off what Google sees from this, as intent to purchase.

Manual custom intent audiences have the same basis as this, except you can choose the URLs and keywords that you want to target rather than Google doing this for you. You want to ensure that the URLs and keywords all have a common theme so that Google can understand your ideal audience – best practice is to add around 15 as a total. It’s important that the keywords and URLs that you add relate to the product/services that the audience would be researching; think like a customer – which websites would you visit in order to make an informed decision before converting?

Custom intent audiences are a really great way of creating a granular audience, targeting users who are showing intent to convert. Allowing these audiences to be set up to be business specific shows that there is great potential for campaign success, as well as for the future of display advertising.

How do I set up custom intent audiences?

Select the display campaign that you would like to implement custom intent audiences in and then click on the Audiences tab down the side of the interface. Click on Add Audience and select either targeting or observation method – whichever is most suited to your campaign. The custom intent audience is located on the second line of the table and once clicked on you will be able to choose between auto-created segments (which you can browse through and select) or you can click Create New Custom Intent Audience. Make a start on adding the keywords and URLs that you would like to use if you’re creating your own. As you add more information, the estimated number of impressions for this audience will be visible, giving you a great indication as to how many people are likely to see your ad.

Following these steps will make sure that your ads get seen by the right people – now you can sit back, relax, and watch the conversions flood in!

Looking for more tips and tricks on how to elevate your Google Ads? Then check out the following blogs:

READ NEXT: How to use Dynamic Features in Google Ads

READ NEXT: 6 Ways To Improve Your Google Adwords Click Through Rate

Improve Adwords CTR

6 ways to improve your Google Ads click through rate

Is your latest Google Ads campaign not delivering the results you were hoping for? Then it’s time to increase your click-through-rate. In this blog, PPC Executive Anna Simpson explains how to enhance your CTR, and why it’s so important.

What is click-through rate & why is it an important metric?

Click Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of total ad views that result in clicks – this, therefore, gives good top-level insights into the campaign and can help to identify any issues.

CTR is also a factor which is taken into consideration in Google’s Quality Score formula as Google uses “expected click-through rate” as one of the criteria which determines your ad position and cost per click (CPC). It’s important to maintain a good CTR because this not only means more traffic to your site, but also will help to increase your keyword quality score. In turn, this will give your ads the maximum potential to rank higher whilst lowering your CPC – a clear example of an effective campaign.

Countdown timers

Countdown timers allow you to let potential customers know about current sales or booking deadlines within the ads, all for the same CPC. Adding this feature to your ads can create a sense of urgency, as the customer will be able to see how long is left until the end of your sale or before a deadline is met.

Countdown timers are a dynamic feature, so they’re automatically updated each day until the end of the countdown – meaning no manual work is required once these have been set up. Creating this urgency means that people are more likely to click on the ads because they don’t want to miss out on the limited offer, giving a higher chance of improving both click-through and conversion rate.

Ad extensions

There are many different extensions that you are able to include on your ads, including:

  • Call extensions – adding a phone number to encourage interaction
  • Sitelink extensions – creating additional links to other relevant pages of your site
  • Callout extensions – adding short text to your ads to highlight business USPs
  • Structured snippet extensions – highlighting specific aspects of the products/services your business provides

The great thing about ad extensions is that they are of no extra cost; Google automatically shows your chosen extensions if they believe that it will improve the performance of the ad. Having extensions also gives you greater ad visibility as it will show up more prominently in the search results, meaning greater chance of CTR – what’s not to love?

It’s important to assess what the main goals for your business are, as you can match relevant extensions to boost your chances of generating your required action. If you want more store visits, location extensions would be ideal so that potential customers know where to find you from the outset. If you provide many different services that you want to mention at a first glance, then structured snippets would be a perfect way to highlight these and may be the difference between a potential customer clicking on your ad over a competitor. The possibilities are endless!

Call to actions (CTA)

You may be using call to actions already in your ad copy without actually realising the positive impact that these can have on the performance of your ads. Call to actions are short phrases usually at the very end of the ad that encourage potential customers to take a certain action such as ‘Find Out More’ or ‘Book Today’.  Doing this means that customers are given a direct instruction after viewing your advert. By making the next step for the customer clear, a well-placed CTA can be the difference between your ad receiving a click or being scrolled past.

A/B Ad testing

A/B ad testing is a great way to gain insights into how your ads are performing and which ad copy works better than others. By doing this, you are able to test different combinations of headlines and descriptions to see which work well together, giving you a better understanding of what information makes potential customers want to click on your ads.

It’s also important to use this to trial different styles of ad copy to see how this affects the CTR. Different businesses have different audiences and this is a key factor in creating successful ad copy. This is dependent on the type of business and the conversion action that you want customers to take – some customers may want to see credentials and awards, some may want to see USPs to choose you over competitors, and some may want more descriptive ad copy. Giving customers what they’re looking for is critical to increasing CTR.

Regular bid adjustments

Ensuring that you regularly monitor and adjust your bids is key to CTR. Bidding too low on keywords will see your impressions suffer due to your ads being in a lower position, and consequently, your CTR will be negatively impacted a because your ad isn’t being seen as much as it could.

The best way to review and adjust your bids is most importantly making sure that you’re bidding high enough to appear on page one of the search engine results. This gives great exposure for the ads, as most users only browse the first page. Although it may be tempting to implement first position bids so that your ad appears right at the top of search results, this isn’t always the best practice.

You need to ensure that your ads are cost-effective and being in position one doesn’t always equate to high CTR/conversion rate. It’s important to bear in mind that users often “shop around” and browse between the top 3 advertisers rather than solely clicking on the top ad. Therefore by bidding effectively, you are able to gain essentially the same amount of exposure as the first position advertiser – but for a lower CPC.

Expanded text ads

Expanded texts are a great new addition to Google Ads, allowing you to create ads with 3 headlines and 2 90-character descriptions. This means that you now have the space to give more detailed information within your ad copy to portray the correct messages to your target audience. It’s also important to note that having more text means greater visibility because these ads will stand out to potential customers over other short standard text ads.

The additional headline allows you to highlight your business’s USPs, promote special offers or create a call to action to give that extra persuasion to get your customer to click-through. One last benefit of expanded text ads is that due to the additional text, you can to target long-tail keywords, giving more chance of appearing for related search queries that may have a lower CPC due to the smaller search volume.

Did you know: Cedarwood Digital also offers in-house Adwords training programmes with company Director Amanda Walls. View our full list of training options here.

Why Are Links Important For SEO

Why are links important for SEO, and how can I get them?

If you’re in the digital marketing world, you’ve undoubtedly heard that getting backlinks from other websites is crucial for SEO. It’s important to utilise anything that can help to boost your website’s search ranking, so we’ll shed some light on why links are so important and teach you how to build them yourself.

Why are links important for SEO?

Building backlinks to your website (getting other websites to link back to yours) sends out a trust signal to Google that your website has good authority, and therefore should be ranked higher. However, this depends on the type and quality of the website that posts the link. Essentially, if a quality website which Google trusts links back to your site, Google determines that you too are a quality website, so should be ranked higher. You can work out the quality of a website by checking its domain rating on websites such as Ahrefs or Moz: the higher score the better.

However, Google can also penalise for backlinks which it sees as unnatural. For example, spamming forums, creating tonnes of directory listings, paying bloggers on fiver to link to your website are unnatural ways to build links, which in turn will lower your position on Google. It is far better for SEO to secure a few strong links a month than to build hundreds of low-quality backlinks in a short space of time.

Hence, you should always ensure that links have a natural connection to your business, which you can achieve with the following techniques.

Brand reclamation


It’s always great exposure when a publisher features your brand in their article, though sometimes they will mention a brand without linking back to the brand’s website. Whilst this can be frustrating, it’s easy to maximise this opportunity and secure a link from a high-quality website. Most of the hard work has already been done because a journalist has already noticed and written about your brand. Simply drop them an email thanking them for featuring your business and request a link to your website be added to the page in case their readers want to find out more.

Tracking brand mentions online is very easy to set up so that you don’t miss these opportunities. There are several web-monitoring tools that help you do this, such as Google Alerts (free), Ahrefs alerts and Gorkana. Some publications may have editorial policies not to include external links, but it’s always best to email and check.

Media tools


Now that GDPR is in place, media databases with opted-in contact details of journalists are more important than ever for sourcing good quality PR opportunities and contacts. There are a variety of tools you can pay for, as well as free databases that scrape public email addresses from across the web.

One relatively cost-effective way to find feature opportunities is through journalist alerts. These are email alerts that journalists send out to source contacts or information for the features that they are writing. You can then respond to queries that are relevant to your brand, offering information, images, product reviews or quotes. Not only do these tools allow you to effectively build links in a natural way, but they also allow you to develop relationships with key journalists in your market without the need of a pricey media database. Building your own database of journalists that you have successfully worked with makes it easier to work with them again in the future, as you can either contact them with valuable content or they may contact you with relevant upcoming features to you.

Local links


Big-budget content campaigns can bring in a lot of high quality links, but exploring your local link opportunities can also be a good cost-effective way to build links on a smaller scale. Investigate whether you have any current connections that you could source a link from. Is your Managing Director an alumni of a prestigious university? If so, perhaps they could make a donation or share their business expertise on their website. Is there a local charity you could work with? Or a local group linked to your industry? Explore current connections that your staff and management have to see if there are any natural links that could be secured by sending an email.

Competitor analysis


If a key competitor outranks you for several of your keywords, performing an analysis of where their links are coming from is a great way to see what kind of outreach work they are undertaking. Tools such as Ahrefs enable you to identify which publications your competitors are receiving links from, as well as spark ideas for potential outreach content.

Are there any high quality review websites that your competitor has a link on? If they do and your brand doesn’t, then this can be an area to explore. Do they have any links from high quality bloggers? Again, if they do then you can contact the blogger who wrote the article to introduce your brand and highlight what you can offer them, should they be planning any articles which you could contribute to.


Looking for more tips on outreach and link building? Check out these easy-to-action tips we picked up at Brighton SEO in how to secure links for your website.