Introducing Google Ads
The Google Ads platform is one of the best digital marketing tools available to small businesses. It drives consistent round the clock traffic to their website, promoting their product or service to the people that matter most. The ads appear as the user enters specific keywords in Google Search looking for something they are already interested in. A successful Google Ads campaign can increase:
- Visitors to the website or physical store
- Online sales
- Number of calls
- Numbers of leads
Google as a leader in Search Engine technology can guarantee access to a broad audience and can transform sales. The Google Ads platform is not difficult to navigate but businesses need to set up their campaign strategically, so they get maximum results. It is important to realise that ads appear based on an auction system where each ad competes for the top spot. Google also uses a Quality Score in order to score ads and decide which one to show. A high Quality Score indicates that both the ad and the landing page are relevant and useful to the user. Every business aims for the highest possible Quality Score.
Before moving on to discuss the actual structure of a Google Ads campaign let’s introduce the Google Ads Dictionary which explains the relevant terminology.
Google Ads Dictionary
CPC: Cost Per Click, the advertiser pays only when someone clicks on their ad
CPM: Cost Per 1000 views, payment per 1000 views (banner)
CTR: Click Through Rate = Clicks / Impressions, number of clicks on the ad compared to number of views
Ad Groups: Multiple ads that form groups with the same set of keywords and targeting settings. Ad Groups contain 10 to 20 keywords which trigger text ads (2 or 3 per group). Text ads direct user to the landing page.
Campaign: The sum of the Ad Groups with the same budget and settings. Campaigns typically surround broader themes according to the marketing strategy.
Ad text: The written text of the ad as it appears to the user. There are specific guidelines that ensure ads get approved. Each Ad Group has 2 to 3 ads leading to the same Landing Page.
Landing page: The immediate destination when the user clicks on the ad. It is important that the landing page is relevant and optimised.
The following image (courtesy Wordstream) explains the schematics of the Ad Words Account.
Search Network: Ads appearing in Google Search and Search Partners according to keywords
Google Display Network GDN: Ads appearing in Google’s Display Network of websites, videos, You Tube, etc.
Setting up a Google Ads account
Having discussed the basic vocabulary, it’s time to address the process of setting up a Google Ads account. This article highlights the basic elements of a winning strategy, bearing in mind that he structure of each account can evolve over time.
1. Setting specific goals
It is important to set up a specific strategy from the outset and decide on a specific goal for each ad campaign. It can be increased traffic, more customer visits, more sales, etc. This is an important aspect of crafting a tailor-made campaign that will achieve targets.
Clear goals will also enable the Google Ads platform to provide the best setting options for the campaign to succeed. For example, for two different marketing goals, it is recommended to set up two different campaigns. A campaign with a Leads goal for getting leads and a campaign with a Sales goal for getting more sales.
The structure of the Google Ads account should be consistent with the structure of the company website so that it meets customer expectations. The structure needs to take under consideration the products and services that are on offer, and feature those that are the most valuable.
The right structure should also be relevant to the geographical location. If locality is important, it is advisable to work on a geographical map indicating areas of interest. This will determine the effectiveness of the campaign since location targeting is an important aspect of Google Ads.
2. Setting the budget and the bid strategy
Setting a budget controls the overall cost of the campaign. The budget is decided on a daily level per campaign, and the advertiser decides on the Maximum Cost Per Click, Max CPC or bid. Google Ads offer the option of automated bidding that uses data in the system and optimises bidding for each campaign. This is recommended for new users as it is most effective. The campaign’s average daily budget controls the overall expenditure.
3. Ensuring the ads appear
This is the stage where the campaign is built. Specific ad groups are created, each having a unique set of keywords and a minimum of 3 ads. Ad groups are assigned the keywords which will trigger the ad.
Keyword search is necessary in order to identify those relevant for each group. This would mean keywords that aren’t too competitive and have high quality scores and high search volume. It is also important to avoid negative keywords which cost money without delivering conversions. Specificity and detail help ads be more relevant and thus perform better.
4. Writing the text for the ads
The text in the ads needs to be directly linked to what the customer intends to buy. For solid ads it is important to have clarity of purpose and include at least one keyword in the ad headline. The ad copy needs to be clearly relevant and offer a straightforward solution to the customer, thus creating conversions.
Considerations when writing text for the ads:
- Character limit
- Best practices
- Landing Page. It is important that the ad matches the landing page. The advertised product or service must be clearly visible so that customers find what they expect.
- Google Ads approval guidelines. Ads need to get approved, so they need to match high quality standards in terms of writing and editing. Text ad requirements include no extra spaces, no unclear URLs, no peculiar capitalisation or exclamation marks.
5. Adding extensions and add-ons for more impact
It would be advisable to consider extensions such as a call button, extra links or extra information. They make the ad larger and more engaging. Visitors are more likely to take action.
Common extensions are:
- Sitelink extensions lead people to specific pages on the website like a specific product. When someone clicks or taps on the links, they can skip right to what they want to know or buy.
- Callouts offer more space to add text. When customers see ads with callouts, they see a larger ad with more detailed information about the business, the products and the services.
- Structured snippets show underneath the ad text in the form of a header and list. They highlight specific aspects of the products and services in the ads.
6. Continuously improving performance
Setting up the Google Ads account is not the end of the process. It is important to monitor performance and make changes accordingly. Google Ads offer conversion tracking which informs about actions after the customer engages with the ad. For conversion tracking a separate code is assigned to each landing page the visitor sees after converting. Monthly analysis of the collected data (conversions and conversion rate) enables the improvement of the site relevancy, and the optimisation of each landing page. Impressively less than 50% of the accounts utilise this valuable tool. Checking performance systematically will ensure adjustments can be done timely, thus improving the conversion rate of the campaign over time.
For a small business a Google Ads account can make all the difference; it can strengthen the brand and drive sales and leads. Google is providing a platform that is relatively easy to navigate, however a good understanding of the system is required. All parameters need to be carefully considered to ensure Google Ads are cost efficient and deliver results.
A successful advertising campaign requires meticulous planning, and here is a recap of the main steps for creating a comprehensive strategy.
- Setting specific goals for each ad campaign
- Setting the budget and the bidding tactic
- Ensuring ads appear, using appropriate keywords
- Writing the text for the ads taking into account the Google guidelines
- Adding extensions and add-ons for more impact
- Monitoring and continuously evaluating performance with conversion tracking