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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Google Ads

Google is quite possibly the most powerful online advertising platform out there.

You can run ads to generate more leads and revenue. You can sell more products online. And you can bring more traffic to your website.

Best of all, Google Ads are relatively simple to execute.

Why Google Ads?

Google is the most popular search engine in the world, receiving 3.5 billion search queries a day and an estimated 700% return on investment.  It’s used by people everywhere to ask questions from “How many ounces of flour equates to one cup?” to “What is the best outfit for a first date?” These questions are answered with a combination of paid advertisements and organic results.

Ok, so advertising on Google makes the most sense from an ROI standpoint – based on the massive amount of daily users – but what are the tangible benefits to advertising on Google?

Google Ads are:

  • Scalable
    • If you create a Google Ads campaign that is converting at a profitable rate, there is no reason to cap spend on that campaign. Just hop back into your Google Ads account and bump up your PPC budget. Your leads and profits rise accordingly!
  • Measurable
    • With detailed conversion tracking, Google Ads PPC is one of the most measurable of online channels.
    • Google Ads is more transparent, providing tons of PPC metrics.
    • Quickly determine if your campaigns are sucking or returning ROI.
  • Flexible
    • Google Ads provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns.
    • Hyper-target the audiences you most want to reach.

In addition, specific keyword match types for example, only show your ad to people who search for an exact keyword you specify, like “Vegas hotels” – filtering out traffic on general terms related to Las Vegas or hotels.

Google Ads Best Practices

Google Ads typically perform quite well without in-depth optimization. However, in order to get the biggest bang for your buck, it’s important to do your research.

What are your competitors doing successfully? How could you implement optimizations into your campaigns to maximize performance?

  1. Use ad extensions to display product images, a phone number, a mega-pack of links to your site, and your physical location.
  2. Narrow your audience by location, time of day to be targeted, language, browser or device type.
  3. Access an enormous network of non-search users on properties like Gmail and YouTube.

1. Using Google Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are additional bits of information about your business that can be added to your Google text ads. These extensions can automatically pull info from your Google My Business profile or be populated manually. Both types of Google Ad extensions can have value: automatic extensions are convenient, while manual extensions offer powerful customization.

Currently, you can enrich your text ads with 10 types of extensions:

  • Sitelink Extensions: additional links you can add to your search ad to allow searchers to view all your various offerings up front
  • Location Extensions: show the address of your business as well as hours of operation directly in your search ad; this is a fundamental action to ensure more traffic to your storefront location; must connect a ‘Google My Business’ account to Google Ads to enable location extensions
  • Affiliate Location Extensions: these help potential customers find the best, and nearest, retail stores that sell your product; most useful for large brands that are sold nationwide
  • Structured Snippet Extensions: these provide advertisers with three additional header lines of text to include meaningful business information
  • Call Extensions: allows the business telephone number to be shown on the ad; on mobile devices, users can use this extension to directly dial your business
  • Message Extensions: shown on mobile devices, and allows the searcher to contact you via text message; message extensions cannot be tracked for conversions
  • App Extensions: this extension allows you to add a mobile app download button next to your ad; a customizable call to action can be included beneath your ad
  • Callout Extensions: like Sitelink Extensions, but without clickable links; allows the advertiser to provide additional information and relevance regarding your ad; can help improve the click-through rate and the conversion rate
  • Price Extensions: allows the advertiser to display products and/or services alongside their prices directly in the ad; price extensions only appear if Google ranks your ad as #1
  • Promotion Extensions: allows the advertiser to include coupons, sales and other deals in their ad; you can schedule promotion extensions within Google Ads for custom holidays and promotions that are exclusive to your business

However, extensions don’t always appear when your ad is shown. It depends on:

  • Your ad’s position and Adrank; and
  • Whether Google predicts the extension will help or hinder your ad’s performance.

2. Narrowing Your Google Ads Audience

Google lets you narrow your ad’s audience to better reach those who are most likely to be within your target demographic. You can define your audience based on specific demographics, locations and devices – including the ability to exclude users who are outside your niche.

3. Leveraging Google’s Non-Search Network

The Google Ads platform gives you the option to display your ads across numerous non-search networks affiliated with Google. This feature is what earns Google Ads its status as the most versatile international advertising platform.

Google’s extended network includes channels such as:

  • YouTube TrueView For Action: videos ads that include a direct call-to-action. You only pay when the user elects to view your video. Targeting specific keywords and utilizing call-to-action buttons can greatly reduce your cost-per-click.
  • Smart Shopping: this new campaign type uses automation to optimize bidding for maximum ROI. It’s extremely efficient for advertisers with small budgets.
  • Display Remarketing: these are image ads shown on Google’s partner sites to users who have visited your site in the past. Remarketing is a great campaign to move the user to conversion.
  • Gmail Ads: text ads that appear in users’ promotions inbox in Gmail. If the user clicks, they are brought to a display ad, which will direct the user straight to your landing page.

Types of Google Ad Campaigns

Google gives you plenty of ad campaigns to choose from. The campaign you select will determine where people will be able to see your ads – so your choice should be based on your specific advertising goals.

Some of the most commonly used campaign types are:

  • Search Network Campaign: ads appear in Google Search results (and on other Google sites) when users search for relevant keywords. Your ads are displayed to people who are looking for information related to the content of your ad. The goal of a search network campaign is to generate a specific user action: sales, leads, phone calls or clicks to your website.
  • Display Network Campaign: display ads appear to users while they’re browsing online, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail or using their mobile device and apps. These campaigns can help promote your brand, generate product awareness, or increase sales and leads.
  • Shopping Campaign: these ads use Merchant Center product data to show users an image of your product, along with the price and the name of your store. They help to promote what you’re selling, drive traffic to your store (online or offline) and find you more qualified leads.
  • Video Campaign: display video ads by themselves or along with other streaming content on YouTube and across the Google Display Network.
  • App Campaign: app ads appear across Google’s mobile platforms such as mobile Search, Google Play, the YouTube App and the Display Network. These ads can be used to encourage users to install your app or make in-app actions.

Google Ads Terminology

Marketing terminology can be daunting. We’ve provided a comprehensive breakdown of some of the most popular Google Ads terms to help you navigate.

AdRank

Your AdRank determines your ad placement. The higher the value, the better you’ll rank, thus a higher chance of getting clicks. Ad Rank is determined by your maximum bid multiplied by your Quality Score.

Bidding

The higher your bid, the better your placement. Your three bidding options are CPC, CPM, or CPE.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

The amount you pay for each click on your ad.

Cost-per-mile (CPM)

The amount you pay for one thousand ad impressions when your ad is shown to a thousand people.

Cost-per-engagement (CPE)

The amount you pay when someone takes a specific action with your ad. You chose this engagement action when you create your campaign.

Campaign Type

The format of your ads and where your ads will appear.

  • Search ads: text ads that are displayed among search results on a Google results page.
  • Display ads: typically image-based and are shown on web pages within the Google Display Network.
  • Video ads: between six and 15 seconds and appear on YouTube.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The number of people who click through to your website from your ads.

Conversion Rate (CVR)

A measure of form submissions versus the number of total visits to your landing page. The higher your CVR, the greater the proportion of visitors that turn into leads.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

A type of advertising where the advertiser pays per click on an ad. PPC is not specific to Google Ads but is a very important metric to track when running your campaign.

Quality Score (QS)

A  number determined by Google that rates the quality and relevance of your ads and keywords. Higher quality ads and keywords perform better with your audience. New keywords automatically start out with a Quality Score of 6. Per WordStream:

  • A good Quality Score for branded keywords is between 8 and 10.
  • A good Quality Score for high-intent commercial keywords is 7 to 9.
  • 7 is a good Quality Score for low-intent keywords.

Get Started With Google Ads

Advertising on Google is an effective way to support a Lead Generation strategy. If you’re looking for guidance or agency experience in the Google Ads realm, contact us today!

Google Ads vs Google Adwords Express: Why Google Ads Wins Every Time

So, you’ve been looking at different types of Google advertising and you are deciding between Google Ads and Google AdWords Express. Let us help you with this: Google Ads vs Google AdWords Express? Google Ads wins 10 times out of 10.    

Let’s look at what these two are and why the decision to pick Google Ads over Google AdWords Express is an easy one. 

Businessman using Google Analytics in the office on the touch screen of his laptop.

What is Google Ads? (Formerly Google AdWords) 

When you search on Google, you receive a list of search results. Have you ever noticed that the top search results may have a green ad square in the top left corner? These are ads from Google, known as Google Ads.  

If your website doesn’t rank as well as others, Google Ads allows youwebsite to be shown higher in search results based on the keywords you are targeting. The intent is that when users search for a keyword, results show your ad result near the top, and users will click your result first.  

Yes, this costs money, but it can be effective if you are starting out, haven’t broken through the top contenders in your industry, or would like more leads/customers.  

What is Google AdWords Express? 

Similar to Google Ads, this advertising platform that is often attractive to small businesses. It’s often used because of the ease of set up and hand-off ongoing management it offers. Set up your account in 15 minutes and Google does the rest of the work? Say no more! No website? Don’t worry – users can call you directly with one click on your ad. 

Essentially, Google AdWords Express is marketed as an “easier” version of Google Ads that can be set up quickly. Although you don’t have to do the groundwork after the set-up, the quality of groundwork is where the issues lie. If it seems too good to be true – it probably is. 

What’s the Difference? 

Sure, Google Ads and Google AdWords Express seem similarbut the difference is the control over your monthly monitoring and optimization.  

If you aren’t familiar with Google’s advertising or don’t have the resources to manage Google Ads, Google AdWords Express seems like a less overwhelming option. Who wouldn’t trust Google to manage their own branded ads? While it’s not like they’re scamming you, they aren’t offering the manual optimizations that truly get the best bang for your budget. 

Let’s look more closely in terms of the lack of control and management where Google AdWords Express falls short.  

Why You Should Avoid Google Adwords Express 

No ROI 

There is no “conversion tracking” in Google AdWords Express. Yes, your ads are still showing for brand awareness, which is important, but having tracking to show how many people have contacted you or completed an action on your website is huge. This proves what your return on investment is and can justify the cost of advertising on Google.  

Trust us, your financial controller will agree. 

Broad match keywords 

This means your ads will show up on more keywords than needed. In turn, there are more opportunities for users to click on your ads and for Google to charge you.  

Kickpoint provides an excellent example for this: If AdWords Express bids for edmonton catering companiesbroad match keywords can end up showing to edmonton pig roast companies. Reason being, is they can generally be related in catering terms, but chances are this catering company would definitely not offer pig roasting. This leaves you with users searching for pig roast companies clicking on your ads and Google charging you, all for the user to realize you don’t offer that type of catering and leaving your website. 

No keyword choice 

Similar to broad match keywords, you cannot choose your keywords – Google does this for you. You can’t add any new keywords, you can only turn on/off any keywords that Google has chosen for you. This goes back to the note above about more opportunities for users to click on your ads which means more of your money in Google’s pocket.

No negative keywords 

This is a huge bonus when advertising on Google. This means you can remove any unwanted keywords associated with terms users may search for in relation to your industry.  

Not sure what keywords you would want to avoid for advertising? Here’s an easy one to avoid: FREE.  

Add-on extensions  

Add-on extensions can be many things: call-outs, site links, structured snippets, locations, or options to directly text/call the company. These appear at the bottom of your add to all work together to make the search results appear more dynamic.  

This extension builds up your ads and add extra information that users may be looking for – which is a bonus you would be missing with Google AdWords Express. 

Bidding Options 

Do you have one keyword producing the best results, while your other keywords are simply helping to hit your daily budget with no conversions? Bidding adjustments allow you to allocate a larger percentage of budget to your keywords producing better results and less on the others.  

This means your ads with the better performing keywords will show more often and optimize your ad spend to utilize these to produce more conversions – and better results for you. 

Unfortunately, Google Adwords Express is unable to change the bidding on different keywordsleaving all your keywords being shown an equal amount – for good or bad. 

How Do I Manage Google Ads? 

Are you unsure of how to manage Google Ads?  

Google offers some great free resources including some video tutorials that can help you get started. 

Don’t have time to constantly manage Google Ads?  

We offer Google Ads set up and optimization and can manage your ad account with all the above-mentioned things that Google Ads offers. Get in touch with us and see how we can help!