Your Guide To Google Ads
You want to get your business and brand out there in front of customers, right?
Google Ads offers a way to do this no matter what part of the sales funnel you want to appeal to.
But, it can also be a colossal time and money suck if you don’t know what you’re doing which makes it a tough place to “experiment”.
This is why we thought we’d put together an introduction to creating and running Google Ads which is one of the biggest platforms for digital advertising on the planet.
Google Ads? What’s That?
Google Ads is a platform designed by Google where companies can pay money to make their advertisements appear in strategic places in the search results depending on how you want the ads to appear.
Also called “pay per click” advertising, Google Adwords is one way to get your business seen on page one of Google. While SEO can take time to get your business on page one of Google, Adwords can make your link appear there potentially as soon as your campaign is live.
The concept is simple enough. It all starts with a desire to get your business seen on the first page of the search results. We’ve all seen the first few listings with an “Ad” icon beside them. This all starts with someone creating a list of keywords that he or she wants to bid on. The goal is to bid high enough along with some other things to get your ad listed first on page one whenever someone types in the relevant terms you’ve bid on.
Of course, you have to set a budget for your Google Ads campaign. Your ads will be displayed as long as your budget isn’t exhausted for the month. Once that happens, your ads will simply stop displaying for the time being.
For example, Acme Brick can create an advertisement to show up when people search for “brick building materials near me” and related searches. The ad will point to one of Acme’s landing pages on its website to foster a conversion, like a page to order bricks or a brick selection guide, depending on the goal of the ad.
There are a wide variety of strategies you can use when running Google Ads.
Why Try Google Ads?
259 million unique visitors interact with Google or some kind of Google property every day, with 4.8 billion daily interactions (3.5 billion in the United States) and growing. Google is responsible for over 92 percent of the worldwide search engine market share.
Revenue from Google Ads topped an enormous $146.9 billion in 2020, responsible for nearly 81 percent of the search giant’s entire revenue.
Businesses can make a lot of money on Google Ads.
Keep in mind, that when someone is ready to make a purchase, Google Ads receive 65 percent of the clicks.
By comparison, up to 43% of customers purchase a good or service they see in a YouTube advertisement. (And users on YouTube upload 30,000 hours of content per hour. Any guesses on who owns YouTube? (Spoiler alert: it’s Google!)
Rather than waiting for an SEO campaign that may take a few weeks to generate leads, Google Ads can place your brand in front of your target audience as soon as you start paying for the ads. While ads may be more costly for upfront investment per advertisement, the ROI can be well worth it.
Google Ads is a flexible platform, allowing you to run all types of advertisements to grow your target audience and get more business.
Types of Google Ads You Can Run
Google gives you several options for advertisements on its platform.
Search Ads are the ones that appear on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) as if they look like a search result. But, then, again, that’s sort of the point.
The beauty is that the ads can show up above the first organic search result. On a mobile device, an ad that appears first will be the most prominent thing on the screen. Considering that more than 60 percent of consumers look up information on their smartphone when they want to know something, the odds of your ad appearing in front of someone are good.
While search ads will have the word “Ad” in bold letters to the left, and the link and verbiage of the advertisement appear next to it, Google has played with that on and off over the years. People have accused them of making that icon harder to read to confuse browsers and get their clicks.
Responsive ads allow you to mix variations of headlines (30 characters) and descriptions (90 characters), and then Google chooses which combinations are most relevant to the people searching for your products or services. Google’s algorithm tests responsive ads until it finds the right one or the one that gets the most clicks, before sticking with that one for the rest of your campaign.
The main advantage of Search Ads is that you can appear above your competitors in a search.
Do you sell a product? Google Shopping Ads allow you to promote your product or line of products first in Google SERPs above everything else. Do a search for “vacuum cleaners” to see what we mean.
Shopping ads will display an image of the product you’re selling, the rates it gets from users on your website, and a brief product description. This type of advertisement is extremely helpful when Google determines the search intent of a keyword is to make a purchase for a product. Selecting the Shopping Ad will take a user directly to the product page so someone can buy it.
Local Search Ads
Does your company provide services to people within a specified area, like a plumber, delivery service, or dentist’s office?
You can create an advertisement that will appear on what’s called the Local Pack of Google Maps, which appears below Search Ads and above organic search results. Some people refer to this section as the “3-Pack” where you’ll see a map and a business listing with their Google reviews.
When you do a search for something in your local area, like “pizza near me,” you’ll see the top three pizza places in your area based on your location. Google’s algorithm determines which three businesses appear in that search.
When you purchase a Local Search Ad, the goal is often to get someone to call your business or come to your store.
A Local Search Ad looks just like an ordinary result for Google Maps’ local pack except it has the word “Ad” next to it.
The advantage of this type of ad is that you have the opportunity to appear above your competitors in a search.
Display Ad campaigns have images or videos that can appear as advertisements on websites, even the ads of your competitors, so long as the websites are part of Google’s Display Network.
Websites can opt into the Google Display Network, mostly because they want to benefit from someone clicking on an ad since Google will pay websites per click for every Display Ad someone chooses.
The benefits of these ads are that you can put your brand in front of your target audience no matter what website they click on in the Google Display Network.
Video ads on YouTube are enormously popular. Anywhere from 10-second soundbites up to 10-minute movie scenes, YouTube Ads can show up as a video at the beginning or in the middle of a video, or as a little pop-up in the corner of a video.
YouTube Ads offer a way to get your brand in front of eyes in an audio-visual way that goes beyond just text and an image.
Apps are a great way to get the most information about your target audience when they upload your app to their smartphone.
You can market your app through advertisements on all of Google’s channels plus Google Play. Do you have a sleek new shopping app that you want to get out there? Make it appear ahead of the competition on Google Play.
You have plenty of choices based on what you want to accomplish through Google Ads, whether you want brand awareness, to get someone to sign up for a newsletter or a direct sale for one of your products or services.
What to Consider Before Getting Started With Google Ads
Investing in Google Ads can be a short- or long-term commitment, depending on what you want to accomplish.
The good news is that there are no contracts involved. You can simply turn your Google search ad campaign on or off whenever you like.
Here are some of the top considerations to mull over (in order that we thought of them!):
1. Campaign Goals
Set the goals of your campaign before you invest a single cent in your Google Ads.
Ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Can my staff handle an influx of inquiries?
- How much do I want to spend per month?
- Can I set aside time to create the ads?
- Do I have time to handle and optimize your campaign?
- What do the KPIs look like for my Google Ads campaign
Your goals will affect your approach to the campaign.
2. Your Industry
The competitiveness of your industry can determine your overall ad costs per click. The reason is that Google measures how much certain keywords show up in a monthly search, called search volume, for the sole purpose of helping to determine how much Google Ads cost.
Here are two hypothetical examples.
1) You own a coffee shop in a crowded urban space in downtown Chicago. Your competition is fierce with five other coffee shops within two blocks of your location, particularly in the morning as people arrive for work but also at lunchtime when people look for meal options. Your budget for Google Ads is $3,000 per month, which you split three ways among Search Ads, Local Search Ads, and App Ads (because people can order coffee through your app). You’ll need people to buy around 1,500 cups of coffee in a month to get a good ROI, but with 100,000 people working in downtown Chicago every weekday, you’ve got a good chance of becoming more visible to your target audience. People searching for coffee shops in Chicago is a very popular keyword on mobile devices, searched 7,500 times per month in the local area, so your cost per click will likely be higher compared to keywords with a low search volume. High-demand keywords have higher prices, in general.
2) You own a manufacturing company that specializes in making high-grade aircraft engine parts that you supply to aircraft and aerospace companies. Because more and more private aerospace companies are coming into the business and many firms are expanding operations, you want to become visible to people searching from their desktop computers for the term “aerospace parts suppliers.” Your Google Ads budget is $3,000, and Google notes that this keyword appears in a search an average of 40 times per month in the United States. Your cost per click is likely to be lower in this case. However, you only need one qualified lead to sign a $10 million contract to see an enormous return on investment with the Google Ad buys.
What are the main differences between these two Google Ads campaigns?
- A) The buying cycle. People buying a cup of coffee happens within minutes of finding a coffee shop. An aerospace company signing a contract with a parts supplier can take a year or two to come to fruition.
- B) Locality versus worldwide. The ads for coffee shops in downtown Chicago are hyper-local, while the search for aerospace parts suppliers is worldwide.
- C) Keyword search volume. Unlike the search for coffee in downtown Chicago, the one for aerospace parts suppliers has a very low search volume. Thousands more people will search for coffee in a given month, while just a handful of people will search for aerospace parts suppliers.
- D) Consumers are going to search for a coffee shop in downtown Chicago on their mobile devices, while an aerospace company exec will search for a parts supplier on a desktop computer in their office.
All four of these considerations will factor into how you create an ad for these target audiences.
Always consider what your competition is up to. When you search relevant keywords to your business, what are your competitors doing around paid ads?
If you’re an insurance agent in San Francisco, search for keywords you want to rank for and look at the ads that appear first, because those are the ones that Google has determined are the most relevant for your search terms.
You may even want to click on the Google Ad to see what the landing page experience is like because you’ll need a great landing page to bring people to once they click on an ad.
Keep in mind, that when you click on their ads, you’re costing them money and not paying them, so remember this when you launch your own ad campaign.
Budgeting is an art form when it comes to Google Ads. You can set a maximum monthly budget ahead of time, but several factors will determine how fast that budget runs out over a particular month.
1) Daily spend. How much do you want to spend per day? Because of the way Google processes bids for ads, you can limit your daily spending so you don’t go over budget. The drawback is that you might run out of your budget before the busiest part of the day hits, so you’ll want to consider this.
2) How many people do you want to reach? Your daily budget may evaporate quickly if you’re trying to reach many people all at once. Your search volume, as determined by Google, will help you figure out how many people might see your Google Ad during the day.
3) Competition. How competitive are your keywords? How many other companies are bidding on the same keywords? If you have two competitors for the same ad space, your cost per click will likely be lower compared to having five competitors because the demand for those keywords is lower. Once another competitor enters the race, your cost per click may rise. It’s like an NCAA basketball bracket office pool. The more people who enter, the higher the prize money. The same is true here. The more companies that pay for ads, the higher the costs will be for everyone.
4. Potential ROI
There is a simple way to think about ROI for your Google Ads.
What is your average customer worth?
Think about what you do and how much you make per customer. Since the average budget for Google Ads is around $1000/month, only run ads for services or products that can bring that amount in. If you sell cups of coffee for $2, you’ll need 500 cups of coffee to break even on that $1,000. If one contract lands you $5,000 in monthly revenue, your ROI will be higher for that ad spend.
Google Performance Max
Google launched its Google Performance Max platform in October 2020, so it’s one of the newest aspects of Google Ads.
How it is supposed to work is that Google’s algorithm determines how to spend your monthly ad budget where it deems it to be most appropriate.
You need to give Google Performance Max some headlines, ad descriptions, images, and even some short videos to work with. Then the algorithm determines how best to fit the pieces together, and it will place ads in the right places for maximum visibility among Search Ads, Local Search Ads, Display Ads, and YouTube.
For example, you’re a physical therapy clinic in Atlanta with a monthly Google Ads budget of $2,000. Google Ads notes that on weekdays between 9 and 11 a.m. and 2 and 4 p.m., the search volume for “physical therapists near me” in Atlanta goes up, so Google will place a search ad during that time.
However, between 7 and 9 p.m. on weeknights, more and more people in the city search for videos about the best exercises to do when your legs hurt which might be appropriate for your physical therapy clinic. You might see an ad on a YouTube video.
On the weekends and early in the morning, Google notes that people search on Google Play for fitness apps as they go for jogs or work out, and your clinic happens to have an app that patients can use to speak directly to a physical therapist.
Google does all of the hard work of managing your campaign with Google Performance Max. It determines how best to spend your ad money, but you have to decide if that’s really in your best interest since Google’s idea of what’s best for your business might be different from your own.
SEO & Web Design for Landing Pages
SEO and web design also factor into your Google Ads. Every Google Ad needs a landing page to point to. The experience on that landing page can lower your cost per click based on Google’s landing page quality score metric.
Google’s algorithm will assess quality scores for both the ad and the landing page it points to. The ad is graded on a percentile score between zero and 100, the higher the score the better. A landing page score will range from 0 to 10, with a higher score being more advantageous because a better landing page score will lower your cost per click.
Some companies that can improve a landing page score from 4 to 8 can lower their costs per click by as much as 60 percent in some cases.
How do you improve landing page quality scores?
1) Have keywords in the right places. Your Google Ads will have keywords in them. In fact, you can put as many keywords into them as you can while still sounding natural. Google will look at well-placed keywords on the landing page your ad points to, such as in the titles and subtitle headings, with any internal links, and in the body copy to see if the keywords are relevant to the ad. The key is relevancy. How relevant is the landing page to the ad?
2) Improve user experience. User experience talks about how well users interact with a landing page. Are the conversion points above the fold? Can you easily navigate the page? Are there a ton of ads on the page? Is the path to a conversion clear?
3) Quicken the site speed. Google considers site speed on mobile because users increasingly need to see landing pages that load quickly on their mobile devices. Improve your site speed on mobile-optimized pages to make the user experience efficient to improve your landing page quality score.
Now that you have some things to consider when it comes to running Google Ads, it’s time to do a little research.
Do Your Homework
The best way to see what’s out there for Google Ads is to perform relevant Google searches with the terms you want your ads to show up for.
Putting in a Google search will show you what ads if any, appear for your target market. Look at the ads to see how they are designed. Click on them to look at the landing pages for the ads to identify how they approach user experience on the landing page and how you can improve on it. If the ads and the landing page look and work very well, consider mimicking that type of campaign.
Research all possible places where Google Ads can show up, including a Google search, Local search, YouTube, and even ads on the Google Display Network and Google Play store. See what these ads look like. See how a user can interact with them and what the landing pages look like.
Dive into what keywords are the most relevant to your ads and what they may cost with the Google Keyword Planner. This tool will let you see how to put the right keywords in front of the right target audience.
Glossary of Common Google Ads Terms
You’ll hear many different terms associated with Google Ads aside from the ones we’ve already mentioned. You’ll need to know these terms to understand how Google Ads works.
- Campaign. A Google Ads campaign consists of ad groups. Think of a campaign as the overall budget and ads you want to set up for a particular marketing push, like a campaign for summer fashion and then one for winter fashion. You can run multiple campaigns simultaneously in your Google Ads account.
- Ad group. An ad group entails a set of keywords, budgets, and targeting methods for a singular objective within the ad campaign. For example, you have a weekly sale on summer fashion at your clothes boutique in Lawrenceville. You have three different ad groups: Men’s, Women’s, and Kids. You can have multiple ads in a single group.
- Ad extensions. Google may suggest various ad extensions that make your ads more user-friendly with additional information about your business, such as a phone number, address, hours, and even a coupon code.
- Ad rank. Google will show you where your ad ranks on a page compared to others. The top-ranked ad appears first on a Google search. Your ad rank takes into account your ad quality and the bids you make for ads, among other factors.
- Click-through rate. The rate at which users click on your ads. The CTR is measured by the clicks (people clicking on the link in the ad) divided by the impressions (the number of times the ad appears in a Google search) times 100 to get a percentage. The average CTR for Google Ads can range anywhere from 1-8 percent depending upon the industry and the device being used.
- Call to action. Abbreviated CTA, it’s the verbiage on the ad that convinces people to click on it, like “Buy Now” or “Redeem Offer” or similar wording.
- Auction. Once Google determines your ad is eligible to be shown, it goes through an auction against other ads. Ultimately, the auction determines your cost per click. You can tell Google if you want to limit your ad to a certain cost.
- Cost per click. For a Search Ad, Google doesn’t charge you until someone clicks on an ad. Cost per click lets you know the efficiency with which your ROI delivers. A lower cost per click generally indicates a well-performing ad.
- Headline. This refers to the top of the ad’s verbiage, limited to 30 characters, that grabs someone’s attention.
- Description. Limited to 90 characters, this is where you put more keywords, a sentence, or a quick description that shows what the ad is about.
How to Use Google Ads
Now that you’re familiar with Google Ads, here is a brief look at how to use the platform.
- Link to Google Analytics. You probably have Google Analytics set up on your website. You’ll need to link your Google Ads account to Google Analytics so you can track conversions. Make sure you connect to Google Analytics 4, which will be the only analytics Google uses starting in July 2023.
- Utilize UTM codes. Google Analytics tracks how users interact with your website’s landing pages. You can attach UTM codes to the end of landing page URLs to track various ads. For example, you’re running a sale on hiking boots. You can alter your main URL, www.boots.com/hiking, and change it to www.boots.com/hiking?utm_source=BootsCampaign&utm_medium=GoogleAds When you see this URL in Analytics, it shows you the source of the where the click came from.
- Track conversions. The entire point of Google Ads is to improve conversions at some point during the campaign. Set up conversion tracking in the ads and on Google Analytics to give you a better idea of your ROI.
- Integrate with your CRM. Connect Google Ads with your CRM so you can instantly reach out to someone who clicks on an ad, whether it’s an email or a phone call.
How to Choose Keywords
Google has seemingly limitless options for keywords you can choose from to help you target your audience.
Start by looking at your own website. What keywords are important to your high-level products or services? Then think like your ideal customer. What terms would your customers use to find your website?
Use tools to gauge what keywords are best. Google’s Keyword Planner we already mentioned. There are other, third-party tools you can use too that are probably a bit more user-friendly (but they often cost money). Ubersuggest is one of our personal favorites.
Never let Google pick your keywords for you. You are, after all, the expert on your business model.
Google will often make your ad show up for way more searches than you intend. When you add negative keywords to your Google Ad, it will prevent the ad from showing up in certain searches. For example, you want a shoe ad to appear in searches for sneakers but not sandals. So you would add the negative keyword “sandals” to the ad.
Choosing keywords is an art and a science. As you get better at it and refine searches, you will see what keywords work and which ones don’t.
Once you have your keywords you want to show up for, it’s time to bid in Google’s auction.
Google gives you a choice for manual or automated bidding. We recommend automated because all you need to do is set a maximum bid you’re willing to pay based on your budget and Google optimizes the rest.
Should you bid on branded keywords? Probably only a good idea if your branded keywords consist of common terms. If your company name is Bricks Unlimited, then you may want to bid on those keywords to preserve your space in that domain. Your competitors could even bid on your branded keywords to try to get them to show up in the same ad space you do.
A cost per acquisition (CPA) bidding strategy usually costs more, but it is an efficient way to ensure you only pay for leads in ads that convert to actual customers.
Ad Extensions to Consider
Google Ads gives you options for extensions that make your ads more appealing to your target audience but also increase conversion points.
- The phone number for people to call you for a sale.
- Sitelinks, which allows the ad to show more than one URL to your site for the ad. This is a powerful extension because it takes up more space at the top of the page with your ad.
- Location extensions show your phone number and address if you want people to show up in your physical store.
- Offer extensions with coupons, discounts, and discount codes.
Top Mistakes People Make With Google Ads
You could make a few common mistakes in your Google Ads campaign that will increase your cost per click.
- Running ads to your home page. Rather, create landing pages specifically tailored for each advertisement to get your landing page quality score the best it can be to lower your cost per click and increase your ad ROI.
- Not picking negative keywords. If you don’t pick negative keywords, your ads will show up too many times and you’ll get too many irrelevant clicks, which increases your costs. Negative keywords help you refine the search intent of your target audience.
- Not setting a high enough budget. If your budget is too low, your ads will stop running early in the morning. You need to set your budget that is effective at bringing in business while creating ads and landing pages that lower your costs.
- Not hiring a Google Ads expert. Digital marketing experts like Make It Loud can help you with Google Ads campaigns. Contact our team and we’ll talk about how to start a great Google Ads campaign for your company.
When it comes to making data-driven decisions in marketing, running a Google Ad campaign will give you more data than you can comprehend at a glance. This is both a positive and a negative since people often get lost in the data and don’t always understand which metrics mean the most to their business. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an expert to turn to.
Call Make It Loud if you’re interested in adding Google Ads to your marketing mix.