Most small business owners have heard of Google Ads and know they should be using the platform but feel they simply don’t have the time to learn. While hiring a digital marketing agency to run your Google Ads for you is one solution, it’s still helpful to have somewhat of an understanding of how it all works.
What Are Google Ads and How Do They Work?
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, are a type of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform. An advertiser (including many small business owners like yourself) pays to have their ad shown to relevant audiences by picking keywords—specific to their business that searchers might use on Google—and “bidding” on them.
To get started in Google Ads, you choose what type of ad campaign you want to run:
- Search | Text ads shown among the listings on a Google search engine results page (SERP).
- Display | Text, image, video, or rich media format ads that are shown on web pages in the Google Display Network, which includes a collection of websites that have partnered with Google and agreed to show Google ads.
- Video | Ads between six and 15 seconds long that appear on YouTube.
- Shopping | Product listing ads for eCommerce stores that are featured in Google Shopping and search results.
- Universal App | Ads that promote an app across Google’s Search, Display, and Video networks.
If you’re just getting started with Google Ads, search ads are a great option to start with. Here’s how those works in a nutshell:
- A person searches for something in Google. Let’s say they’re searching for roofing companies in their area of Minnetonka, Minnesota.
- You, the owner of a roofing company in the area, previously bid a certain amount of money to have your website show up every time a user types “roofing companies in Minnetonka” in a Google search.
- Your website appears somewhere on the first page of results—if you bid enough money (more on that in a moment). It will have a little green box that says “Ad” next to the site URL, but otherwise looks pretty much the same as the organic results on the page.
- If the person clicks on your website, you pay Google Ads. The amount depends on how much you’re willing to pay for each click, which is called cost-per-click (CPC).
Google is not the only place you can use paid search to reach your target audience; other search engines like Bing operate their own advertising networks. But for today, let’s just continue our focus on Google Ads.
Bidding On Google Ads
Of course, if you’re willing to pay for your ad to be displayed, so are your competitors. This is where bidding comes into play.
While creating your ad campaign, you’ll select keywords along with the maximum bid amount you’re willing to pay per click. Theoretically, the higher your maximum bid, the more likely your ad will appear. For search ad campaigns, you’re bidding in hopes of ending up near the top of the first page of Google results.
However, even if you have the highest bid for a keyword, there is no guarantee your ad will appear highest on a SERP—or even at all. That’s because Google uses a metric called Ad Rank to determine where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads.
Google says: “Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the context of the person’s search (for example, the person’s location, device, time of search, the nature of the search terms, the other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.”
To sum it up: You need a quality ad and a decent bid in order to compete with other ads.
Benefits Of Google Ads
If you provide products or services customers typically need in a timely manner and are likely to search for online, Google Ads offer a cost-effective way to generate leads.
- Google Ads allow you to target “high-intent” keywords potential customers use when they are searching for your products or services.
- Your ad copy and extensions can be used to highlight the things that make your business unique. Tip: Use call extensions to encourage potential customers to contact you directly from your ad.
- Tracking ad performance and campaign results is simple. You can even see which keywords are generating the most leads and adjust your bids to prioritize those keywords.
Tips For Placing Ads On Google
While there are many ways to optimize your ad campaigns, here are a few tips to help increase your ROI:
- Know your audience | Identify exactly who you’re trying to reach and what their problems and motivations are. This will help you create ad and landing page copy that encourages customers to take action.
- Be willing to test your creative | Even if you know your audience well, sometimes you have to experiment to find the right creative for your ads and landing pages. Try different images, language, and placements of your calls-to-action to see which ones resonate best with your target audience.
- Try remarketing ads | If someone leaves your website without buying anything, you can encourage them to come back through remarketing ads.
If you need help setting up Google Ads and creating a digital marketing strategy for your business, contact Triton Commerce! We’ll create a strategy tailored to your specific goals and work with you to set an effective marketing budget.