What is Google AdWords? Let us introduce you.
Google AdWords launched almost 20 years ago! (Feel old yet?) It’s the real millennium bug of the year 2000 that has changed the course of digital marketing indefinitely. So significant is AdWords, some nerds in the PPC (pay per click) space actually celebrate its birthday – which in case you were wondering is the 23rd October. (But not us..we don’t do that).
From humble beginnings, AdWords launched with 350 advertisers. It has evolved into an incredibly robust, customisable, optimisable, data rich PPC powerhouse. The service simplified its name to Google Ads in 2018 and now generates almost 116.3 billion in revenue for Google.
So… clearly the most popular advertising platform on the web has a few good things going for it. But, as with everything there are some cons too. Here’s our ‘all you need to know’ guide for Google Ads newbies.
How does Google Ads work?
Google Ads is an advertising service which essentially enables businesses to present advertisements to their target market, while they are active online.
There are two advertising networks. Search, and display locations. Each with their own pros and cons that may or may not suit different businesses and campaigns.
Search advertisements are text ads that appear in the top of Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when a user puts a search query into Google, or other partner sites in the search network that publish text ads:
- Google Search
- Google Maps
- Google Shopping
- Google Video
- 100’s of Non-Google websites including YouTube
Display ads are image or video ads with a small amount of accompanying text. They will appear on the Display network on platforms like Gmail, YouTube and Apps.
According to the latest…over 650,000 apps serve Google Ads
What’s PPC all about?
Unlike your traditional newspaper or magazine ad, it’s not as simple as booking your spot. But the great thing is…you don’t pay for your ad at all unless someone chooses to take a good look at it. The pay-per-click system means you only pay for your advertisement when someone clicks on your ad.
What makes this so effective is that your ad is presented only to people who have searched for a chosen keyword term that you believe is relevant to your business. They’re literally searching for what you’re looking for!
How does AdWords PPC pricing work?
The platform operates on an auction system where your ads are held in a pool of advertisers bidding advertising dollars so that they can be presented to an audience fitting a particular criteria. Advertisers identify keywords that you want to bid on, and nominate the maximum you want to spend.
The item up for grabs in this auction is prime real estate at the top of the SERP’s. Whether your bid is chosen over your competitors depends largely on your ‘quality score.’ This is the relevance and quality of your ad, determined by a range of factors in order to ensure your ad is useful and relevant to Google users.
- The quality and relevance of the landing page to which the user is directed when they click on your ad.
- The relevancy of the text within your ad. It should be a well written and concise message outlining the features and benefits of your product or service, and include a clear call to action.
- Keyword relevancy. They keywords you have chosen should be relevant to your particular industry or business.
- CTR (Click through rate). This is a ratio of proportion of people who see your ad and how many actually click through (click on it). Ads that get lots of clicks are deemed ‘relevant’ and are therefore rewarded.
The better your quality score, the higher your ‘ad rank’ and therefore the more you’ll be able to squeeze out of your ad budget.
How do you check your AdWords quality score?
- Click on the Campaigns tab
- Select the keywords tab
- Click the white speech bubble
- Check on the landing page experience of visitors, relevance of ads and CTR rate as expected.
How to define your Google Ads bidding Strategy
To take part in this exciting digital auction, you need to have a bidding strategy in place. This includes setting a daily budget and/or bid maximum for cost-per-click. Google allows two basic types of bidding, automated and manual.
Automated: Set a daily spend limit guide for Google and allow them to do the job while you count clicks.
Manual: A more advanced version usually required to get better results when you’re competing for high value keywords. Manual bidding can be high maintenance.
In addition to choosing manual or automated bidding you can set up an advanced bidding strategy with alternative bidding methods.
Alternative bidding methods include:
CPM Bids can compete with both CPC and CPA bids. The CPM is used to determine the effective cost per 1000 impressions for both CPC and CPM.
If you’re optimising your ads for conversions, CPA bidding allows you to set a defined conversion metric (such as new subscriber or PDF download). Rather than paying Google every time someone clicks on your ad, you’ll pay Google when they follow through on your defined conversion.
The average Cost per Acquisition (also known as Cost Per Action) is $48.96 for search and $75.51 for display ads.
AdWords Pros and Cons
Google Ads Benefits for Entrepreneurs
- Flexibility in bidding strategies, format and keywords: In almost twenty years of refining and perfecting this PPC model, much has changed. There are literally dozens of different variables to help you create the most bespoke, personalised campaign connecting your unique business to your ideal customers!
- Measurement and evaluation: Data! Wonderful data, oh how we love to analyse. If you want to see what’s happening behind the scenes and how people are interacting with your site, you can! Provided you have set up analytics and tracking, and know how to decipher the mumbo jumbo.
- Speed and efficiency: This is the speedy way to get seen online. SEO is important; but relying on organic optimisation to bring traffic to your site and improve rank can literally take months to years to see results – IF you’ve optimised your site correctly. With Google ads, you can see results almost instantly, and it supports your SEO efforts.
- Controllable budget: What’s it going to cost? You decide! With the pay per click model you pay only for actual visitors to your page. There is no minimum spend, and Google makes it easy to set your maximum daily budget.
- Reach and relevance: You have access to one of the largest audiences and you can target them for relevance! Keywords, demographic and location targeting helps you find your ideal customers – or more importantly, helps them find you!
Disadvantages of AdWords
- May not be the best way to reach customers for your company: There are several reasons for this, your demographic simply might not be searching Google for you. Competition and therefore cost-per-click might just be too high. Not all search engine visitors look at, or trust Google ads.
- Every click is chargeable. You’re charged for clicks regardless of whether or not your visitor has converted into a customer. You could pay for any number of clicks before you make a sale and get a return. If you don’t set things up properly, or monitor your campaign closely, you can lose money fast.
- Can be very competitive: Big companies have big ad budgets and they will muscle you out of the game if they need to. If you’re in an industry where there are deep pockets amongst your competitors, your advertising dollars might be better invested elsewhere.
- No competitor data is shared. You can’t see what the competition is up to, what their maximum budget is, or whether their campaigns are successful.
Despite the disadvantages, Google AdWords has continually proven its success with results.
Businesses typically make $3 for every $1.60 spend on Google Ads
Popular AdWords alternatives
For every idea the Google bots, Gods, or programmers have, it seems Jeff Bezos and the Amazon crew might have others. Ad business is booming over at the eCommerce giant, with some advertisers moving more than HALF of their Google Search Ad budgets over the Amazon instead! eMarketer reports that Amazon has become the third largest digital advertising platform behind Google and Facebook. Which conveniently leads me to…Facebook.
Facebook advertising vs AdWords
With 2 billion monthly active users Facebook is well worth a visit with regard to advertising. Facebook collect a lot of data on their users…so there’s virtual holiday of targeting fun to be had. Have you ever noticed searching for a new pair of shoes online but deciding not to purchase them… and then seeing the same pair advertised online in a Facebook ad on your newsfeed later that day?! Retargeting and remarketing previous site visitors as they browse their fav social platform is extremely powerful.
What’s best for your business?
It’s still the Google show out there. The digital giant remains #1 in the search engine space with 72% of total market share. As the most popular and dominant player, the ROI for a well set up and managed campaign is undeniable however…
Different campaigns, goals and audiences will suit different platforms, we need to be where our customers are online, and all of your efforts (despite how big or small) should be refined, tweaked and analysed to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Regardless of your niche, considerable PPC rewards are out there. If you have a trusted professional team in your corner, you have every chance of success. It would be remiss of you to not explore all relevant avenues, or discuss your options with your marketing team. If you feel like you’re not getting the most bang for your buck out of your digital advertising dollars – you’re probably right!
At Anchor Digital, our professional team can help you understand and maximise your Google Ads. Ultra-targeted, faster profits, less work and clean, crystal clear results. What more could you ask for in your ads?