Google AdWords – What Is It and Why It’s an Important Digital Marketing Tool!
What is Google AdWords?
Google AdWords is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising which can draw traffic to your website, increase brand awareness and allow a business to reach more customers quickly without a significant investment in time or money. PPC is online advertising in which advertisers pay ONLY when a user clicks on their ads during a search using Google. These ads appear at the top (and sometimes at the bottom) of search results so they are the first listings that users view and most likely will click on. You can identify them by the small, square “Ad” icon found under the ad title.
The websites that appear below these ads in the search results are called “organic listings.” Organic listings are websites that closely match the search criteria a user has indicated based on a ranking system which determines how valuable the content is, relevance to the topic, expertise of the source and many other factors that the algorithms deem important. However, in order for your website to organically appear on the first page of Google search results, it takes a significant amount of time and effort with frequent updates to your website with fresh, relevant content. This process is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. If you do not have the time or inclination to become an “SEO expert,” than a Google AdWords campaign is your best alternative to achieve a page one ranking on Google.
What to Consider When Creating an AdWords Campaign
Here we’ll provide a helpful overview of the Google AdWords advertising platform and some of the basic concepts behind PPC Advertising. This is not a full explanation of all the features and settings available in Google AdWords – that would fill a small library!
When setting up your campaign, you will first need to decide which network is best for your campaign. The available options are: Search Only, Display Only or Search combined with Display. However, when choosing the Search AND Display combination, certain demographic targeting is not available. It’s better to create two separate Search and Display campaigns and tailor each to your specific target demographics.
Google Search Only
With a Search Only campaign, your ads will only appear in Google’s search results.
In addition to Google Search Only, Google also provides a Search Network which enables your ads to appear in Google Shopping, Google Maps, and Google search partners, such as AOL.
The Google Display Network includes a group of more than a million websites, videos, and apps, such as YouTube, Blogger, and Google Finance, where your ads will appear.
The ability to reach people who are searching from a mobile device is appealing, as these users are most likely on the go and potentially ready to make a purchasing decision. Mobile searches are increasing, but not all sites are mobile friendly. If your business falls into this category, opt out of mobile PPC until your site has been coded to be “responsive” to mobile devices offering the user a better viewing experience. For ads shown on mobile devices, it may be wise to use different copy or bid amounts, and to try features like “click to call.”
Google AdWords Bidding and Budgets
When determining what type of bidding strategies you should use in your campaign, first consider your marketing goals. Each bid strategy is suited for different types of campaigns and advertising objectives.
- If you would like customers to take a direct action on your site, and you’re using conversion tracking, then it may be best to focus on conversions. Smart Bidding lets you do that.
- If you would like to generate traffic to your website, focusing on clicks could be ideal for you. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding may be right for your campaign.
- If you would like to increase brand awareness, focusing on impressions may be your strategy. You can use cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding to put your message in front of customers.
- If you run video ads and would like to increase views or interactions with your ads, you can use cost-per-view (CPV) or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) bidding.
- If you run video ads and your goal is to increase product or brand awareness, you can use cost per view (CPV).
In an effort to achieve a top page position, many companies bid more than would make sense from a purely economic standpoint. First, determine how much a PPC sale is worth to you, and multiply that by your average PPC conversion rate. The resulting number is the most you should pay per click, regardless of your ranking. It’s rarely worthwhile to pay a high premium to rank #1. We test to find the sweet spot for our clients – usually somewhere between #2 and #3 page position.
Search Keywords Setup and Matching Options
Whether you want to optimize your site for organic search, or get the most out of a Google AdWords search campaign, focusing on the appropriate keywords is a critical step.
No matter how hard you try, it’s tough to brainstorm every keyword possibility. What’s more, the relative popularity of various keywords is often hard to predict. Even Google’s Keyword Suggestion Tool can be remarkably inaccurate.
Google AdWords Match Types
Match types specify the parameters used to determine whether your ad is eligible to show for a given search. There are 4 options for keywords matching: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match and Exact Match.
Broad Match is generally the default and Google would love for you to bid only on broad match keywords. This will ensure your ads appear when keywords, or anything Google considers a synonym, appears in any part of a search. It opens the floodgate to an abundance of unqualified traffic and can be a very costly option!
We almost always recommend Phrase Match or Exact Match for our clients. Liberal use of negative matches can also minimize unqualified traffic. A “negative keyword” is a word that will not display your ad in search queries that you consider irrelevant to your business or scope of your campaign. Therefore, a Google search containing one of your “negative keywords” will not show your Google AdWords ads in the user’s search results.
The chart below illustrates the different match types from broadest search parameter to narrowest.
|Match Type||Special Symbol||Keyword Example||Ads may show on searches that||Search Example|
|Broad Match||none||aircraft charter||include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations||buy air charter|
|Broad Match Modifier||+keyword||charter+aircraft||contains the “+” modifier term which captures close variations in any order. Effective for long-tail searches||aircraft charter|
|Phrase Match||"keyword"||"aircraft charter"||are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase||private aircraft charter|
|Exact Match||[keyword]||[aircraft charter]||are an exact term and close variations of that exact term||aircraft charter|
|Negative Match||-keyword||-cost||are searches without the term|
Tips for an Effective Google AdWords Campaign
Create Multiple Ad Groups: In each of your campaigns, you can create a group of ads that targets specific keyword, make sure the keyword is in the ad title in each ad group.
Create Multiple Ads: Create at least 3 ads for each Ad Group. Having just one or two ads can negatively impact your rank position, especially if you target multiple keywords.
Use Extensions: Pay attention to Google’s recommendation’s for extensions, such as sitelinks and structured snippets. These dramatically increase your ad’s visibility, and can raise click-through rates by two or three times.
Create Landing Pages: Your Pay-Per-Click ads drive traffic to your site, but it is the landing page that closes the sale. It’s best to not link every ad in your campaign to your home page where visitors will be required to hunt for the product or service they are interested in. You want your Google AdWords ad to include a direct link to a designated landing page that relates to the sales message in your ad. The landing page is where you can easily track visitor conversions into leads and potential buyers.
Monitor Your Quality Score: In addition to bid amount, your ranking is determined by your Quality Score – a number from 1 to 10 (low to high) determined by the relevance of your ad and the landing page to the search term, and your historic click-through rate, among other factors. Improving your Quality Score is one of the best ways to rank higher without having to increase your bid amount.
Success is an Ongoing Process
To be successful with PPC advertising, you need to monitor its effectiveness on a frequent basis – testing various ad copy, bid options, keywords, etc. Doing so will significantly improve your Google AdWords campaign ROI – reducing your cost per click, while improving conversions and quality of leads generated.
On a final note, It’s always worth exploring Google’s suggestions for your Google AdWords account, but proceed with caution. Do not automatically accept all suggestions – some are helpful, others are designed to add more money to Google’s bank account and will not necessarily do the same for yours!