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A Complete Breakdown of the AdWords Opportunities Tab

Claudio Dominguez

9 years ago



The Opportunities tab is a great tool that gives you ideas and options for expanding your current campaign(s) and improving your current performance. You can think of the Opportunities tab as an assistant who customizes opportunities for your account. It can help you discover new keywords and improve your bids, your budgets, and more.

All these ideas are created after the system looks at your account’s performance history, your campaign settings, and your Google search volume and trends. It automatically generates opportunities that could improve your performance.

Most of these opportunities are valuable, and you should definitely take them into consideration. However, you should never just blindly trust all that you see here. You have to be the judge and decide if the opportunities suggested are ones you want to apply and if you want to apply them in the way the system is recommending you do. There are some things that you need to watch out for before accepting them. Let me walk you through the ones I have found that you need to be careful about.

Adding new keywords may affect your properly themed ad groups

This tool is great for finding new keyword ideas and expanding your campaign to get more traffic and conversions. However, you should be careful when using the keywords that are shown in the Opportunities tab. Some of the things that could be wrong with these are:

  • Keywords may not fall in the ad group in which AdWords is recommending that you place them, which is very common is you have properly themed ad groups.

  • Some keywords are “related” to your product or service but don’t provoke the reaction that you want from users.

  • Some keywords just don’t make any sense and shouldn’t even appear as suggestions.

To avoid making any mistakes when adding keywords, I recommend that you always download all the available keywords that appear as opportunities. You will then be able to review them using Excel and add them accordingly to your campaign using AdWords Editor or through the interface. To download the opportunities, you just need to click on the download button.

Raising the budget may not be necessary

As soon as you have a campaign that is shown on a “Limited by Budget” status, you receive an opportunity telling you that you should raise your budget. This is something that you want to take into consideration by all means, but it is not advice that you should blindly follow. Before you raise your budget, you need to consider if your current spending is right and if there’s anything you can do to reduce costs that are not producing conversions. Some steps you can take before raising the budget include but are not limited to:

  • Pausing keywords that have accrued high costs and haven’t resulted in conversions.

  • Change your schedule to eliminate those hours of the day that are not resulting in conversions but are accruing significant costs.

  • Excluding search partners, if they have a CPA that’s too high.

  • Lowering bids on keywords that have a great position to balance what you pay for every click without losing your positioning.

  • Looking for new keyword opportunities that may allow you to drive relevant traffic at a lower average CPC.

In an ideal world, you should only raise your budget on campaigns that are producing a good amount of conversions for you but that are not getting all possible traffic due to a constraint in your budget. To make more informed decisions about your bids and budget management check this post:

Raising bids may not be the step you need to take

Raising your bids is another option that may be tricky. Before falling into the habit of just raising your current spending, you need to consider what other options are there. The first thing that you need to look before raising bids is your quality score.

Remember that the formula for Ad Rank that will give you your position in every auction is calculated by combining your bid with your quality score. Therefore, if you are trying to improve your positioning, then you should first look at how to improve your quality score before raising your bids. For some ideas on how to improve your quality score, I recommend these three steps:

Now, if there is no way for you to improve your quality score or you know that because of the nature of the keywords, you will not be able to do it easily (i.e. branded keywords for a brand that you don’t own), then you still need to assess whether or not it is a good idea to raise the bids on these keywords. Some of the questions that you can ask yourself before raising a bid are:

  • Is this keyword really that relevant/important to pay the amount that is recommended by the system in order to get a good average position with it?

  • If you get a lot of clicks for the keywords with the new bid, will it be likely that those will translate into profit, taking your profit margin and a possible CPA into consideration?

  • Has this keyword demonstrated good performance in the past with its previous bid?

Even if you make the decision to raise the bids, you should give the keyword(s) some time to analyze and test if this raise proved to be a good idea. If it wasn’t, you can go back to your previous bid.

Adding new ad groups with the nomenclature given may confuse you

Most of the ad group ideas I have seen in the opportunities tab repeat the name of the ad groups I already have and just include something extra. Most of the time, it only includes a number 2 in the existing ad group name. No one should ever use this naming convention for their ad groups. As we need to build properly themed accounts and campaigns, we need to be very precise with our ad group names. They need to be specific to the type of keywords found in each ad group.

There may be some ad groups that you need to segment and divide. Similar to what you should have done with keyword ideas, you should download the information presented here and use Excel to divide your ad groups properly. You can use the Excel template for AdWords I created for the easy upload of these new ad groups.

Sometimes you just don’t get opportunities

Sometimes you simply won’t get any opportunities reflected in this tab. This typically happens if you have a campaign with little traffic and little money spent. In this case, you need to be able to find your own opportunities. Some ideas that can help you regarding where to get opportunities to include:

  • Doing keyword research, which is something you need to become an expert on; and using the keyword planner and other tools, which will allow you to get your own keyword ideas and find new areas to expand your campaign. In order to learn more about keyword research, delve deeper into outposts about keyword research.

  • You need to test new bids. At the end of the day, there is no guaranteed bidding formula, and you will never really know if a new bid will be the perfect one. You can start by just testing new bids and increasing them in small percentages. Test new bids and compare their performance week after week until you find that sweet spot you’re looking for.

  • The “Limited by Budget” status is a clear indication that you need to raise your budget. Start by optimizing your campaign’s spending. When you know that you are spending just what you need to, you will need to raise your budget. Using the experiments tool will allow you to test your changes on just a portion of the auctions if you’re afraid of complete implementation. Use this feature whenever you feel like your change may be too drastic.


Know How To Implement Your Opportunities

As I said at the beginning of this post, the opportunities tab is a great tool that will assist you in getting new ideas on how to improve and expand your campaign(s). It just happens that these new ideas are not always be 100% applicable to your campaign. This doesn’t mean that this feature is the bad guy of the movie; it means that you need to be able to properly analyze and implement the ideas that it gives you.

Just follow some of the best practices outlined when implementing changes through the opportunities tab, and you’ll find only good suggestions when using this feature.