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Google Ads for Science

Matt Rafferty

Google Ads (Formerly AdWords) in Science, Healthcare and Engineering

By Matt Rafferty MChem. - Search Engine Marketing Specialist

Digital Marketers and Scientists share a lot of transferable skills. Having initially come from an analytical chemistry background where I was used to crunching numbers, interpreting results and planning long experiments, I naturally took an interest in data and the analytical side of campaign planning.

The skill set was very similar: meticulous planning, execution and understanding results that can be optimised and refined. As Digital Marketers, we utilise a variety of different analytics tools alongside AdWords to optimise results, present and plan campaigns.

The Science of Advertising

Keyword Research

Any campaign begins with the client outlining what they would like to promote or target, which can be:

  • A specific product
  • A brand name
  • An application area

This information is used to suggest keywords (single words or phrases) that relate to their goal and the current outlook for the paid search market in the given area. Following the keyword research, the client then confirms the strategy.

GoogleAds Snippet


This comes after the ads have been set up and have run for at least one month, we then use the data provided through AdWords in Power BI where we analyse what worked and what didn’t.

Review your Google Ads Strategy

There is always a refinement process so where the advert has a particularly low CTR or conversion rate, we will swap it out for a modified ad into that particular group. We also monitor and address any issues with negative keywords.


When the campaigns have been optimised from the ground up, the growth is monitored. This is then used to re-evaluate where the budget is spent, how accurate the keyword research is and the effectiveness of the negative keywords. The ideal scenario would involve an increase in the conversion rate with a maintenance of spend and relative CTR.

Useful Ad Tools

There are literally hundreds of SEO tools available nowadays, I’m going to explain a few which I find most useful in my day to day role.

Keyword Planner

Keyword planner is a great place to start, however there are some limitations with it; if you haven’t got ads already running then your search volumes will be an estimated range. The competition value and pricing structure are particularly useful as well as the ability to simulate the different areas where the keywords are searched for geographically. Overall it is a good place to start but it should not be your only tool to use for keyword planning.


Spyfu gives competitor insights on a variety of different fields as seen below. What is especially useful is their competition section and shared keywords enabling to see which areas your competition are ranking for. This can be used in conjunction with your own organic keyword ranking tracking tools (such as SEMRush) and can enable you to target these both organically and with a paid search campaign.

Spyfu Snippet

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a useful alternative to Keyword Planner when starting out your campaigns and research as you are not limited by financial spend: It enables you to see the CPC, search volumes and competition for the keyword searched as well as related keywords and gives you the option to export them in a handy a CSV file. However, there is no geographical filter on it, so you would have to use a separate VPN to display the different results globally.

SEO Minion

SEO minion is very useful for searching without a VPN and seeing how certain keywords rank across different countries. It can also highlight your domain within the results, which then allows you to identify and address any weaknesses in your organic search results. Furthermore, it has a handy tool which helps to check your own On-Page SEO and highlights any issues which may be having a detrimental effect.

What is a Remarketing Campaign?

A remarketing campaign is a type of campaign that is based on targeting people that have met certain requirements on your site, so you want to show them a specific ad or series of different ads to induce them to click or come back to your site.

It takes a lot of resources to attract someone to visit your site and to see them visit a couple of pages and just disappear may seem like a waste of time and effort… But the hard work is already done! Re-marketing campaigns are great for re-engaging with visitors who have already expressed an interest in your site.

Where will your adverts be seen?

The ads can be seen across a variety of different areas including Youtube, Gmail, and other sites that participate within the network.

How specific can you be with targeting in AdWords.

Targeting in AdWords can be as specific as you want it to be, the filters allow for specific days, times, locations, devices, as well as a host of other filters which can be explored for more advanced targeting options.

The Bottom Line

We had a client working within the Life Sciences space who was spending $15K+/month on AdWords. Even though they were able to track an average ROI of around 200%, they had never actually reviewed their strategy. They asked us to review, optimise and test their keywords which resulted in us halving their monthly bill which increased their ROI to 400%+.

Paid vs. Organic

Any search engine strategy should be based on ranking well organically as the quality of your own site is intrinsically linked to how well you paid ads will perform.

Find out more about how to reduce your AdWords spend with our tried and tested strategy.

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Posted by Matt Rafferty

Matthew graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a first-class masters degree in chemistry in 2017 and moved into freelance medical writing before joining AZoNetwork. During his time at AZoNetwork Matthew has been deeply involved with analytics, in particular Power BI. Both AZoNetwork and clients alike have benefitted from his unique analytical skills, gaining insights from big data sets where few dare to tread! In his spare time, he is a keen climber and mountaineer travelling to various places throughout the world as well as being a classical guitar teacher and session musician.

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