Online advertising is critical for any business, small or big. So, whether you’re well-versed in digital marketing or not, you have probably heard of Google Ads, formerly known as Google Adwords. And in case you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, we strongly suggest you do.
Although it might sound pretty straightforward, it takes time and effort to figure out Google Ads and set up your ad campaigns properly. By saying that we mean not just creating a beautiful ad, but also making it convert leads into customers and bring you money.
Here are some of the most vital Google Ads basics you need to know before jumping into the confusing advertising world and setting up your first ad campaign.
P.S. You can thank us later.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that allows you to display banners, search ads, product listings, and rich media (video, audio, and other interactive content) within Google and a plethora of partner apps and websites. That’s why it’s so widely-used among marketing experts.
Of course, as you’ve already guessed, advertising on Google isn’t free entertainment (if we can call it so.) Yet, it’s one of the most popular advertising platforms. It’s an effective way to reach your target audience, drive qualified traffic, and boost sales on your website.
There are two main types of Google Ads: search and display.
Search Ads appear in Google’s search results and can consist of two headlines, description, a link, rich snippets, and other extensions. They’re triggered when users’ Google search terms match the keywords in your ads.
Display Ads include such ad formats as dynamic text and banner ads. They appear on millions of various websites in the Google Display network that your prospects are most likely to visit.
Depending on your target audience, Google Ads lets you advertise on desktop and mobile. Since Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, you shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to reach your customers faster.
How does Google Ads work?
Now that you know what Google Ads is, it’s time to learn the mechanism behind it.
In short, if you want customers to see your ad, you have to bid on keywords. The bigger your bid, the bigger the chance your ad will appear at the top of the results page. Simple as that, but not really.
Bidding determines the position of your ad and how many people will click on it. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the right keywords and know their competition. The most popular keywords get up to six ads on page one, so, ultimately, your ad doesn’t have to be the first to reach the desired audience.
Google Ads offers a few bidding strategies, among which manual and automated are the most used ones.
If you choose manual bidding, you just enter the amount you’re willing to pay per one ad click, and it stays fixed until you decide to change it.
If you opt for automated bidding, you enter the maximum daily budget for your ad campaign and let Google optimize it and determine the bid price.
You have three options for bidding:
- CPC (cost-per-click) – the amount you pay for every click on your ad.
- CPM (cost per mille) – the amount you pay for one thousand ad impressions; that is when a thousand people have seen your ad.
- CPE (cost per engagement) – the amount you pay when someone engages with your ad.
Another important aspect of Google Ads you have to keep in mind is Quality Score. It’s Google’s rating of quality and relevance of your keywords and paid ads. That’s why it’s essential to make sure your landing page is relevant as well as the keywords you use in your ad. The higher your quality score, the less you’ll pay per each ad click.Here’s what you can do to improve your quality score:
- Thoroughly research keywords and monitor the new ones
- Create relevant ad groups
- Experiment with ad copy to improve click-through rate (CTR)
- Build high-quality landing pages that are relevant to your ads
- Don’t forget to add negative keywords to save money
You should also be aware of your Ad Rank. It’s your Quality Score times the maximum bid you’ve selected. These two metrics determine which position your ad is going to take in search engine page results (SERPs.)
To put it simply, Google Ads will analyze your Quality Score + Ad Rank + Maximum Bid and compare them against your competitors. It might sound complicated, but it takes Google Ads only a few seconds to do it and decide how much your Cost Per Click (CPC) is going to be.
Of course, there’s much more to creating successful advertising campaigns. Still, if you manage to remember these Google Ads basics, you’re one step forward towards making ads bring more customers to your business.
The Top Benefits of Google Ads – Is it Worth it?
There are a lot of things you should take into consideration before launching your first Google Ads campaign, and the main one is, of course, money. Since we deal with running advertising campaigns every day, we can state that Google Ads does work and is definitely worth it.
However, we don’t want to sound biased. So, we asked a few online marketing specialists and small business owners to share their experience with Google Ads and the benefits it has for their business.
1. Get seen by prospects for search terms and keywords that your website does not rank high organically
“With Google Ads, you control the keywords and search terms you show up for, which plays a large part in creating the right conversions and leads. It can take six months or more with an aggressive SEO strategy to rank organically. Plus, there is no guarantee that you will rank on page one, spot one, or in the map pack for the most profitable keywords. Whereas with Google Ads, as long as the campaign is set up correctly and your bid is high enough, you can show up at the top of the page for any keywords you choose.”
Gabriel Bertolo, Founder of Radiant Elephant
2. Cover the #1 (Google) and #2 (YouTube) places that your customers are searching with one singular platform
“YouTube gets over 2 Billion views a day, and Google now processes over 40,000 searches per second!! To put your brand in front of that many eyeballs using the same platform can explode your business. Plus, you can move your marketing dollars from one channel to another seamlessly to take advantage of seasonal trends or to increase click-through optimization. It’s no wonder why so many billions of ad dollars are spent with GoogleAds when you can easily reach the top two search engines in the same dashboard. It’s a fantastic advantage.”
Jimmy McMillan, Owner of Heart Life Insurance
3. Target customers who have the intent to purchase as opposed to window shoppers
“We are a medical site, and instead of targeting people who are looking for information about health content but are not ready to purchase, we have been able to focus our ads on keywords for users who are looking for online medical experts. Furthermore, because Google’s Ad Network has a wider penetration on the internet, users who are using Gmail, browsing news sites, or sites that have free content are exposed to your ads. This is especially useful for retargeting our users who have already used our service. By remarketing our service to them over Gmail, popular free games, or their partnered network, our brand stays top of mind creating repeat usage and more engagement.”
Melissa Robertson, VP of Communications at Your Doctors Online
4. Instant brand awareness and lead generation
“The key factor for any small business owner is knowing their numbers, such as their break-even point on ads. I.e., The maximum they are willing to spend per lead while still remaining profitable after all expenses. Knowing these numbers combined with the proper tracking such as phone calls and lead forms makes google ads a truly incredible and affordable lead generation source for most businesses. Also, google ads gives a business owner control over how full their pipeline is, Ie. How busy they are! Going on vacation? Lower the daily budget. Looking to hire and expand, raise the budget, or add new services or locations. It’s as easy as that!”
Michael DellaVecchia, Director Of Marketing at Digital Media Motion
5. Get transparent data from PPC campaigns
“With Google Ads, you can see exactly who is interacting with an ad, where they are located, their approximate age, gender, device, and most importantly, the keywords they used to find an ad. This data helps advertisers further refine their strategy to pinpoint potential customers even more. Compared to offline advertising, where data is limited, Google Ads provides a wealth of information.”
Jeff Romero, Co-Founder of Octiv Digital
6. Ultra-precise targeting
“Do you want to target potential customers who are ages 18-35, reside within a certain zip code, between the hours of 8 am-5 pm, and are interested in how to make a ham sandwich? Great! You’ll be able to do that and so much more with Google Ads. Plus, you’ll be able to appear before searchers within just a few hours after setting up your ads and having them approved.”
Christopher Grozdon, CMO of DASH-SEO
7. The ability to compete on par with bigger companies
“In our experience, the top benefit of Google ads is the ability for new companies, or companies who haven’t been focusing on SEO, to instantly compete for page one position on the most used search engine. Climbing up the organic rankings of Google takes a fair amount of time. Still, Google Ads allows you to start driving traffic, leads, and ultimately revenue almost immediately.”
Kevin D’Arcy, Chief Marketing Enthusiast at ThinkFuel Marketing
Start here! How to set up Google Ads (+Checklist)
Once you start exploring the Google Ads dashboard more and trying to set up different ad groups, you’ll realize that it’s far from being the easiest task ever. So, here’s how you can set up a Google Ads without extra hassle.
Go to www.ads.google.com and set up an account. You can do it using your already existing Gmail account or create a new one. We’d recommend setting up a new account to use it specifically for Google Ads management, or use Google Analytics Login. Otherwise, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of emails you’re going to receive.
Set up your time zone and preferred currency. Please, note that it’s impossible to change the currency after the setup, you’d need to create a new account if you decide to change your primary currency.
Set up your billing information. You can choose between automatic and manual payments.
Link Google Analytics and Google Ads and site metrics to get Google Analytics data like time on page, page per session and bounce rate.
Import Goals and ecommerce transactions from Google Analytics to let Google algorithm know what your business goals are and learn how to target users better.
Link Search Console to see Google organic queries and use them in Google Ads campaigns.
Link Google My Business to display customer ratings.
Create custom remarketing audiences in Google Analytics and share them with Google Ads account.
Recommended remarketing settings:
- Limit to 5 times display remarketing
- Remove the audience that purchased recently
- Create audiences that purchased a long time ago
Recommended remarketing lists:
- All Visitors – to get a list of anyone who’s visited your site before.
- Abandoned Cart – for visitors who add something to their cart and leave without buying.
- Product Viewers – those who got to a product page on your site.
- Previous Buyer – those who have purchased before.
Import the negative keywords list to avoid bidding on irrelevant terms.
Create your ad.
Google Ads FAQs
1. How much do Google ads cost?
When it comes to the advertising cost on Google Ads, there’s no exact number. It depends on your industry, services, products, budget, location, and competition. However, here’s the approximate price:
- CPC (Google Search Network) – $2-5 per click
- CPC (Google Display Network) – $1 or less per click
2. How long does it take for google ads to work?
If you’re a new Google Ads user, it might take some time until your ads and billing information are approved. Usually, you’d need to wait up to 24 hours or more to see the updated data. Once your ads are running, you’ll be able to get instant results and gather valuable information about your prospects.
3. Do Google ads work for small business?
If you’re a startup or a small business, Google Ads gives you a chance to be discovered by potential customers and compete with more prominent and well-established companies. It’s a great way to appear on the first page of SERPs while waiting for your organic SEO efforts to kick in.
Although it can be quite confusing, knowing Google Ads basics is essential for setting up successful advertising campaigns and avoiding breaking the bank. We know it takes time and experience to learn how to nail every single campaign. So, if you aren’t sure where to start from, check out our Google Ads Management Services and have people discover your business as soon as possible.