Everything Game Developers Need To Know About Google Ads Keywords

by Game Marketing Genie, on 20-Apr-2021 11:05:41

Reaching your target players in the right place at the right time with the right message is essential. Google Ads is one of the platforms that allow brands to achieve this feat, with search ads helping you promote your products and services to relevant searchers.

However, let’s not forget that online users have a habit of ignoring online advertisements. A recent study by Infolinks found that 86% of consumers experience banner blindness. This means that they simply ignore banner advertising - but don't worry, there are ways around this!

To prevent your ads from getting ignored, they need to be relevant and address the searcher's concerns. This starts with identifying the right keywords to ensure your ads show up for relevant searches.

In this article, we’ll explain what Google Ads is and guide you on how to choose the right keywords for your campaigns.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is a paid advertising platform offered by Google. It used to go by the name Google AdWords, but the service was rebranded to Google Ads in 2018.

When you sign up for Google Ads, your ad gets shown alongside organic search results for a targeted keyword.

Google Ad example

Figure 1: Example of a Google ad. Source: Hootsuite

As you can see in the above picture, the advertisement is identical to the organic search results except for the bolded “Ad” banner on top of the listing.

Search advertising is a great way to promote your game since it allows you to appear on Google at the exact moment when users are looking for your products. If done correctly, this can help you turn ordinary people into players for your game.

What is a keyword, and why is using the right ones so important?

Keywords are the words and phrases people type into Google when looking for your products or services. Well-chosen keywords ensure that your pay-per-click campaign is seen by searchers looking for the products or services you offer.

Google matches your ads to the terms people are searching for to help you reach the customers you want, when you want them. Besides helping you attract the right customers, the right keywords improve your campaign's click-through rate and reduce your advertising costs.

The work you do and the products you sell determine the keywords you can use for your advertising campaign. For example, if you sell puzzle games, you can have "puzzle games" as a keyword for your ad campaign. When people type “play puzzle games” on search, your ad will appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Ultimately, you only want to reach the audience that will benefit from your game. You don't want to reach too broadly, so if you offer a battle royale FPS game you cannot have just "video game" as your keyword since you may attract people who aren't interested in your product.

Be sure to research the right keywords using data, past game marketing strategies, and industry research. For more information on conducting the best research, check out our sister company's blog that is Your Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research.

You also want to be where your audience is, so you don't lose out to competitors. That’s why it’s advisable to work with a Google Ads agency to find the relevant keywords you should add to your campaign to attract the right audience to your company.

Keywords search

Positive keywords

These are the keywords you want your video game to show up for. They are used to ensure your ad is triggered when a certain word/phrase is searched for. Since you’ll be charged every time a searcher clicks on your ad, the keywords you use should be very specific and relevant to your game. This way, your ads get displayed to the right audience that you can convert into paying customers when they land on your website.

The trick to identifying positive keywords is to think like your target audience. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and try to imagine the words they’ll type into Google when looking for your products. The phrases you come up with are the positive keywords you should add to your campaign to attract searchers who are predisposed towards buying from you.

Another thing to bear in mind when choosing your keywords is to ensure the terms you settle for are not too general. General terms like “video game” and “RPG” can bring a lot of traffic to your site, but they may end up attracting users who aren't interested in what you're selling. If you sell a single-player roguelike horror game and create an ad for the general term "video game", your ad will generate a lot of traffic, but this could include people looking for kids' games, multiplayer games, simulation games and other types of games you don't have. This will reflect negatively on your game, making it hard for you to rank favorably for other search campaigns.

Instead, go for long-phrase terms that relate to your studio's offers. A keyword like "single-player horror game" is highly targeted, and it'll help you generate the right traffic to your website. Consult a Google ads specialist to help you find successful keyword combinations for your search advertising campaigns.

Positive word on green background

Negative keywords

When creating your keyword list, don’t forget to include negative keywords. Any Google ads expert will tell you that failing to do so could result in your ad showing up for search terms that aren’t important to your campaign. This will help you control your search advertising costs and keep your ads as targeted and relevant as possible.

The main reason for including negative keywords in your Google ad management plan is to prevent your ad – and, by extension, your company – from appearing in search queries that are offensive or irrelevant to your game. For instance, if you sell high-end appliances or furniture, you will be targeting affluent customers, and you can add terms like “bargain” and “cheap” to your negative list to prevent your ads from appearing alongside those words.

Creating a negative keywords list is good when your game isn't quite related to a keyword, such as the example we've highlighted above. It will also ensure that your audience doesn't get misled and land on your website only to find that your offers differ from what they were looking for.

Excluding certain keywords will also help you improve your click-through rate. This is because it prevents your ads from showing up for search terms that aren't important for your campaign. As a result, your targeting gets enhanced, and your ads get shown to searchers that are looking for and have an intention of buying what you’re offering.

Negative text on orange background

Making them work together

Google rewards relevance when ranking websites after a searcher performs a query. For this reason, you want the keywords you choose to be as relevant as possible to the ad you've designed and the landing page people will arrive at when they click the link.

To achieve this, you need to ensure the keywords you choose (positive and negative) complement each other. Use the negative keywords as a filter to exclude undesirable terms from triggering your ad. This will weed out irrelevant traffic to your site and ensure that only those who matter to your studio get to see your ads.

When choosing the positive keywords for your campaign, don’t settle on one phrase you think is popular with your audience. Your customers use different terms when looking for your products online, and you could miss out on a lot of traffic if you don’t add these terms to your campaigns.

So, make sure to list all the variations in your keywords when setting up your Google search advertising campaign. These may include synonyms, colloquial terms, alternative spellings, and both singular and plural forms of your keywords. You can even add the common misspellings of your target terms to your list. This will ensure your ad still gets displayed on SERPs even when a user makes a spelling mistake when performing a query.

Expanding your keyword match types increases the visibility of your game online. It ensures your game gets matched to many people with purchase intention for your game marketing objectives, resulting in more traffic to your site and eventually more sales.

Two women working together

Want to learn more about digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a vast industry, and you need a strong understanding to master it. That's why we've compiled all of our best resources to create the ultimate guide to digital marketing. Check it out here: Everything You Need to Know About Digital Video Game Marketing.


You need Google Ads campaigns to succeed. Your customers are looking for your products online, and search ads will help you connect with your potential customers. Running effective search engine campaigns can be difficult if you’re doing it for the first time. You need help finding the right keywords that will enable you to connect with people interested in your products.

The team at Game Marketing Genie can help. We are a Google Ads game marketing agency that understands how to create impactful search campaigns. We will help you choose the right keywords that will bring a lot of potential customers to your website while keeping your advertising costs low.

Are you looking for a game marketing agency to help you promote your video game? Here is our marketing strategy to set you up for success.

Topics:Video Game MarketingDigital Marketing StrategyDigital MarketingGoogle AdsSearch Advertising

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