24 Jan Why Does My Business Need to Use Google Ads?
There you are, having coffee at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast and networking with your table companions when the topic of Google Ads comes up. The café owner next to you says he’s gotten 25% more business since starting them, while the day spa owner across from you says they were a waste of money and time. So, they may ask, what has your experience with Google Ads been?
Don’t feel at a disadvantage if you’ve never used Google Ads (although you will be if you don’t start)! This is the time to learn what they’re all about, and how they can not only improve your leads and conversions, but position you as the voice of authority among your tablemates as you tell your own success story.
What are Google Ads?
Launched in 2000 as Google AdWords, Google’s advertising platform was rebranded in 2018 as Google Ads. As we covered in our July 19, 2019 blog post – “How to Use Google to Boost Your Business” – Google Ads is online advertising that lets you target the type of customers you want, reaching them right when they’re searching for your products or services.
These pay-per-click (PPC) ads that appear in Google’s search results pages can be an ideal way to generate traffic that converts into customers. Because Google Ads are paid advertising, your company’s ranking in Google’s organic search results don’t affect the ad’s placement. This is a great solution to get higher visibility and more traffic to your site if your site isn’t on the first page of results. Google Ads quickly get attention and prompt clicks – as long as you get them in front of the right people, using the right tactics! More on that later.
Why use Google Ads?
“Google Ads is an effective way to drive qualified traffic, or good-fit customers, to your business while they’re searching for products and services like the ones you offer,” writes Christina Perricone for HubSpot. “With Google Ads, you can boost your website traffic, receive more phone calls, and increase your in-store visits.”
In addition to search results pages, ads are shown on the Google Display Network – a group of more than two million websites, videos and apps where your ads can appear – which Google describes as follows:
“Display Network sites reach over 90% of Internet users worldwide*. With the Display Network, you can use targeting to show your ads in particular contexts (like “outdoor lifestyles” or “cnn.com”), to particular audiences (like “young moms” or “people shopping for a new sedan”), in particular locations, and more.”
Writing for Hootsuite’s AdEspresso, Brad Smith notes that “… Google Ads has millions of advertisers using their ad networks to turn searchers and internet users into leads and sales. It’s estimated that in 2020, 36 cents of every digital advertising dollar will be spent on Google Ads.”
Advertising dollars go where the eyeballs are, and Google is an integral part of life, handling over 70,000 searches per second on any given day – with the average person conducting between three and four searches per day.
Perricone breaks down additional reasons for using Google Ads:
- Google Ads have a click-through rate of nearly 8%, with display ads yielding 180 impressions each month. For consumers ready to buy, Google ads get 65% of the clicks, while 43% of customers buy a product they’ve seen on a YouTube ad (for the uninitiated, Google owns YouTube).
- According to Google itself, advertisers make $8 for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. Clicking on this link will bring up Google’s Economic Impact Report for 2018 (the most recent), which is a very worthwhile read for those interested.
- Your competitors are using Google Ads. Perricone notes that even if your business is ranking organically for a search term, “…your results are being pushed down the page, beneath your competitors” if you’re not in the game.
Know the rules before you play – and bring your A game!
So what about the Negative Ned day spa owner? Why didn’t Google Ads produce a good ROI for his business? He probably made some common mistakes. But before you can recognize poor strategy and missteps, you need to know the right way to craft a Google Ads ad and how to target it.
Perricone and Smith each provide an extensive guide to Google Ads for those who want to brave it themselves. Even if you don’t, the guides are still recommended reading so you’ll know what Google Ads involve, and be empowered to have a well-informed conversation with the digital marketing agency you choose to create the ad campaigns for your business.
As mentioned earlier, Google Ads is PPC advertising, where the advertiser pays per click on an ad. This is the most common type of paid ad campaign. Google Ads is based on a bidding system, where you select the maximum bid amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. Naturally, the higher the bid, the better the placement.
Google Ads offers four main types of advertising – different options built for your business, with greater integration
Big changes are underway for how Google Ads advertising appears on results pages. Looking for those old familiar search ads? As The Verge reports, Google has begun rolling out a new look, in which paid ads appear very much like organic search results. The only giveaway is a small black-and-white “Ad” icon, formatted to resemble a favicon. What some users may criticize, businesses will praise. However, there’s the risk that users may click on your ad, mistaking it for an organic result, and leave without converting – thus costing you money (unless you set a cost per acquisition – more on that later)! If you decide to take the DIY route, spend a lot of quality time on Google Ads to learn all about this brave new world.
Search ads – The most popular choice, they target specific keywords that you want to be found for, and now show up among organic Google search results.
Responsive Display ads – According to Google, responsive display ads are replacing responsive ads as the default ad type for the Display Network.
Video ads – Ads must be hosted on YouTube (which is also a search engine). Available video ad formats include: skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, video discovery ads, Outstream ads, bumper ads and YouTube Masthead ads.
App ads – This avenue is for businesses with a mobile app they want to promote. Unlike other Google Ads campaigns, Google designs the campaign – not you (or your digital marketing agency).
An excellent option for e-commerce businesses is Google Shopping. Powered by Google Ads and the Google Merchant Center, Google Shopping allows online e-commerce stores to sell products directly on Google. This option displays product images, brand names, reviews and pricing.
Keywords and money make the world go ‘round
The two main considerations for advertising through Google Ads are keywords and budget. These are the areas in which Negative Ned most likely experienced his pitfalls. Keep in mind that numerous factors go into creating a Google Ad campaign – the purpose of our humble blog post is to just acquaint you with the territory.
Keywords – Key to successful ads
You may already be familiar with the importance of keywords in Google search results. They’re just as important in your paid ads. Select keywords based on which search queries you want to display your ad among. As we often advise, it’s essential to anticipate user intent, rather than focus on individual words. This is because Google matches your ad with search queries based on the keywords you select.
Negative keywords are a list of terms that you do not want to rank for. These are somewhat related to your intended search terms, but fall outside the area of what you sell or want to rank for.
Budget – be a smart bidder
Basically, the amount you bid on keywords depends upon your budget and goals. Perricone covers the following primary bidding strategies:
Automated or manual bidding – Automated bidding allows Google to adjust your bid based on those of your competitors. You can set a maximum budget, and Google will work within a range to give you the best chance at winning the bid within those limits. Manual bidding allows you to set the bid amounts, giving you the ability to reduce spending on low-performing ads.
Branded search terms – While this may not apply to every business, branded terms are those with your company’s or unique product name in them, such as “eZnet CRM.” Bidding on your own terms gives you domain over these search results pages and helps you convert prospects. The other reason: competitors may bid on them if you don’t!
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – Instead of spending money to convert prospects into leads, set a CPA and only pay when a user actually converts into a customer. It may cost more, but you only pay when you acquire a new paying customer.
The take-home message
Google Ads is a great way to grow your business, providing you allocate your marketing dollars to the right places, learn to use it properly, have a solid bidding strategy and know how to track your spend. You could earn bragging rights at the next Chamber of Commerce breakfast, and give Negative Ned some helpful advice!
As you can tell, crafting Google Ads campaigns can easily become a full-time job in itself – and few small-to-mid-sized businesses have the necessary bandwidth. That’s what Virtual Stacks Systems is here for! Consider us your dedicated digital marketing department for all things Google – including Google My Business, Google Ads, SEO services and website design – among many others.
Contact us today to learn more and get started!