This article was updated on August 7th inline with Google’s rebrand of “Google Adwords” into “Google Ads”. The information within this blog hasn’t changed, but the nomenclature has been updated. Thanks for reading!
Following up on our blog, Should I Spend Money on Facebook Marketing, we thought we’d keep it going and talk about other popular marketing platforms that businesses can use. So today we’re going to be talking about the big-boy of online advertising: Google Ads (Formerly AdWords).
These are the ads with which you’re probably most familiar. It’s nigh impossible to Google something without being served an ad (unless you’re running an ad-blocker), heck I saw about 30 while gathering specific information for this blog, and several of those I clicked on!
So, is Google Ads (Formerly AdWords) right for your business, and should you spend your money there? Let’s talk.
Should I Spend Money on Google Ads (Formerly AdWords)?
Short answer: If you are directly selling a product, have a direct conversion goal or have an online service, then you should definitely at least consider Google Ads. If you don’t have any of these, then be very careful with Google Ads, as you’re going to be spending a lot of money and have a hard time making it back directly.
Long answer: Google Ads is one of the best tools to reach a customer in a buying position. People go to Facebook to ask friends for recommendations and then browse a newsfeed. People go to Google for direct product questions, reviews, and price comparison. Google Ads is about getting a customer’s attention, letting them know why your product is superior and converting them to a purchase with as much consumer accuracy as possible.
On Google alone, there are over 4.4 billion searches per day. Somewhere in these 4.4 billion questions is a person looking for a product or service you have, and a well-placed ad could be the difference between you winning and losing that customer. On the other hand, every single one of your competitors that follows that line of thought drives the price up for the group of keywords that you’re choosing from. So the cost per click can be much higher than something like, say, Facebook marketing. It turns into a game of “who can spend the most?”
How Does Google Ads Work?
Unlike Facebook, Google Ads is pay-per-click only. While on Facebook most people optimize per 1,000 impressions or conversion, Google Ads follows a straightforward formula: A user clicks, you pay. In this way, it’s a simple, trackable conversion and gives you an easy 1:1 for your money spent. What this also means is that everyone who clicks eats away from your budget, qualified lead or not. How do you know if a “click” is going to be a qualified lead? Simply put, you’ll never have 100% control over the person who clicks on your ad, but you can control placing the ad in front of people who are more likely to be qualified leads.
We’re going to look at the three most common methods of ad creation within Google Ads: Search Network, Display Network, and Remarketing Ads, and show you how you can use Google Ads to your advantage.
The Search Network is the backbone of the Google Ads experience. These are the ads you see at the top of Google for almost every search you make online. All of your Search Network ads are going to revolve around sets of keywords that you choose that are related to the subject of your Search Network ad.
For example, let’s say you own a store for sports equipment and you have a special on hiking boots. You can run an ad with the keyword “boots” and show your ad to anyone searching for the term “boots,” but then anyone searching for work boots, ski boots, leisure boots, and every other type of boot has a chance to see your ad. This is bad! We need to be very specific with our keywords when using the Search Network and use phrases people are using to search. Now, instead of just “boots,” you might use “hiking boots, best hiking boots, hiking boots sale, [store name] hiking boots, hiking boots [zip code/town], [Brand] hiking boots,” and so on. By adding all of these extra words and qualifiers, we are narrowing the people looking for just your specific products and qualifying those clicks bit by bit. Google Ads even has a keyword planner designed to group keywords for you based on your particular landing page and related keywords.
The Display Network is your tool for getting graphic or text ads for your product or service around the internet. While the Search Network might be constrained only to the Google search page, the Display Network is not. The Display Network is everywhere since Google pays a pretty penny to people who run ads on their websites. When choosing where to place your ads, you have a few options:
- You can select specific websites IF the webmasters allow you to
- You can select websites related to your industry topics
- You can select affinities for your audience and target people who fit those profiles
- These are high-level interest “buckets” that Google puts people in: movie lovers, animal lovers, sports enthusiasts, etc. They are quite broad and meant to help guide ads to the right person more than they are intended to target a specific group of people. Anyone who might fit this group is dumped into one of the buckets.
And then there are combinations of all of the above. Display Network gives you a wide range of options across the internet, so take advantage of it! It’s a great tool and works best with a little help from remarketing, which we cover below.
Perhaps the most powerful of all things Google can do is Remarketing. This is where someone interacts with your ad and is later served a followup or reminder ad that you set to increase the chance that they’ll come back to your site and convert (assuming they didn’t convert the first time). With remarketing you significantly increase your chance of getting a conversion, and it is honestly one of the greatest tools Google has available. You can choose how long after the first engagement a user will see a followup ad, and you can offer better or more specific deals to drive a higher conversion rate.
We will be writing a whole guide on remarketing in the future since it’s very involved and SO helpful that we want to do it justice, so keep your eye out!
Things to Consider
Now we have people looking just for hiking boots, but if you’re in Milford, Massachusetts and someone from Denver, Colorado clicks on your ad, they probably won’t be visiting your shop anytime soon. While this might be fine for someone with an e-commerce shop selling general goods, it’s not ideal for a local store or business. Luckily you can use the targeting to narrow down the geographic area in which your ads will show up. By selecting towns, states, regions, or a specific mile radius from your locale, you can be secure in knowing that a local target audience is seeing your ad.
Google has four other ways that you can target specific demographics based on which part of the Google Ads services you are using: age, gender, parental status, and household income.
The following stats will also include potential demographics for video ads which are not covered in this blog, but are a great tool for the digitally minded company looking to make an impact online!
Demographic targeting for Search, Display, or Video campaigns can include:
- Age: “18-24,” “25-34,” “35-44,” “45-54,” “55-64,” “65 or more,” and “Unknown”
- Gender: “Female,” “Male,” and “Unknown”
Demographic targeting for Display or Video campaigns can include:
- Parental status: “Parent,” “Not a parent,” and “Unknown”
Demographic targeting for Video campaigns can include:
- Household income (currently available in the U.S., Japan, Australia, and New Zealand only): “Top 10%,” “11-20%,” “21-30%,” “31-40%,” “41-50%,” “Lower 50%,” and “Unknown.”
Just another great way to narrow down your audience!
Google has some great built-in tools to make sure your ads cost you as little as possible while still winning the bidding war for the best placement. It makes sense for them because as keywords get more or less competitive, advertisers will flock to the lower paying keywords and spend just as much (if not more) on those keywords than the more competitive ones.
Enhanced CPC is a learning algorithm that changes how much you spend per click by optimizing your bid and position, and weights certain keywords based on performance to get you the most out of your money. This is worth using on almost every campaign you have! Unless you’re employing a bidding strategy automated by yourself (in which case you probably don’t need this article), then we recommend enhanced CPC. It’s the best choice for the budding Google Ads user!
The Keyword Planner mentioned at the top of this article is a potent tool you can use to get ideas for different ad-sets. It should never be the end-all to your keyword planning, but it will give you a reliable starting point to get a few keyword pools together for different ads. It works by either scanning your website for keywords and providing a list of keywords and related terms, or by taking your keyword input directly and giving you associated keywords to help build out your keywords pool. It’s fast, easy, and always worth doing.
So, should you use Google Ads? If you’re selling a product directly then yes. If not, then be careful about wasting money. Google Ads is a black hole for your hard earned dollars if you’re not careful. But with the proper strategy, planning, and some friendly help, you’ll be on your way to making money on the internet’s most prolific ad platform.
Do you need help with your next Google Ads campaign? Contact the pros at Pixel Press Media. We have years of experience on the platform and have no problem giving you an idea of what your company can expect. Give us a shoutout! We’re here to help your business succeed by getting you in front of the right customers, every time.