How to Advertise on Google to Boost Your Small Business
For many small businesses, establishing an online presence can feel like quite a mountain to climb. But failing to explore and utilize all the digital marketing tactics that can virtually introduce your brand to your target audience can ultimately cost you considerable business in the long run, especially if you’re not investing in paid advertising campaigns on Google.
Google Ads aren’t just a fad or phase in the world of paid advertising; over the years, they’ve proven to be one of the most effective means of digital marketing, putting small businesses in front of the eyes of prospective customers actively searching for products or services relevant to your company. In fact, research shows that around 63% of people have clicked on a Google Ad at some point in their online activity, and 80% of people find advertising on Google to be more trustworthy and credible. Still, most small business owners haven’t heard of Google Ads or maybe 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 understand how it all works.
What Are Google Ads & How Do They Work?
Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is a 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.
Just Getting Started? Choose Search Ads
If you’re just getting started with Google Ads, search ads are a great option to start with. Here’s how those work 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 appear whenever 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 for 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 to use paid search to reach your target audience; Other search engines like Bing operate their own advertising networks. 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 and 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 that your ad will appear highest on a SERP – or even at all. That’s because Google uses an Ad Rank metric 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 the 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 offers a cost-effective way to generate leads, including:
- Google Ads allows 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 generate the most leads and adjust your bids to prioritize those keywords.
Simply put, Google Ads allows small businesses to compete online with bigger companies by giving them more visibility to local consumers actively searching for the products and services your business offers.
Here are just a few ways that small businesses should utilize Google Ads to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of their paid advertising campaigns.
Targeted Reach & Visibility
Advertising on Google gives small businesses targeted reach and visibility, giving them a higher probability of connecting with prospective customers online. When users enter relevant keywords, Google's search ads appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). This ensures that small businesses reach a highly relevant audience in specific regions they choose to target who are actively seeking what they offer.
For instance, a local bakery can advertise on Google to appear on the first page of search results when users search for "freshly baked goods near me.” The more local, relevant search results your advertisements show up on, the bigger reach you have for attracting new clients to your brand.
Google Ads offers flexible budgeting options, making it cost-effective for small businesses. They can set a daily or monthly budget based on their advertising goals and adjust it as needed. Additionally, Google employs a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where businesses only pay when users click on their ads. This ensures that small businesses maximize their ad spend by paying for actual user engagement.
For example, a boutique clothing store can set a modest budget and monitor its campaign's performance, adjusting bids and targeting options to optimize results within its budget constraints.
Measurable Results & Performance Tracking
Google Ads provides comprehensive analytics and performance-tracking tools that allow small businesses to measure the success of their advertising campaigns.
Through the Google Ads dashboard, businesses can monitor key metrics like click-through rates (CTRs), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI). This data enables them to make data-driven decisions, refine their strategies, and allocate resources effectively. In fact, a digital marketing agency can track the performance of various ad campaigns for their small business clients, demonstrating the value and impact of their advertising efforts.
Local Targeting Capabilities
Google Ads offers powerful local targeting capabilities for small businesses serving specific geographic areas. By leveraging location targeting, businesses can ensure their ads are displayed to users within a specific radius or in particular regions. This allows small businesses to focus their advertising efforts on the areas where their target audience is most likely to be located.
For example, a local landscaping company can use location targeting to show ads to users within a 20-mile radius, ensuring their ads reach potential customers in their desired service area.
Ad Customization & Extensions
Google Ads provides various customization options and ad extensions that enhance the visibility and impact of small businesses trying to advertise in their local markets. Ad extensions allow businesses to include additional information, such as phone numbers, links to specific pages on their website, or location details, within their ads. This provides users with more relevant and useful information, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.
Let’s say you’re a local pet grooming salon that’s looking to make booking appointments more convenient and accessible for users. You can use ad extensions to prominently display your phone number and include a "Book Now" button directly in the ad, making it as easy as possible for users to contact and schedule appointments.
Google Ads offers remarketing features that allow small businesses to reconnect with users who have previously visited their website or interacted with their brand. By placing a tracking pixel on their website, businesses can show targeted ads to users who have demonstrated an interest in their products or services. This helps reinforce brand awareness and encourages users to return and convert.
For example, an online retailer can use remarketing to display ads showcasing products that users previously viewed but didn't purchase, enticing them to revisit the website and complete the purchase.
Enhanced Mobile Advertising
As mobile device usage continues to rise, advertising on Google enables small businesses to reach their target audience effectively on smartphones and tablets. Google Ads provides mobile-specific ad formats and targeting options, ensuring businesses can optimize their campaigns for mobile users. For instance, a food truck can create mobile-optimized ads that display location and click-to-call buttons, making it easy for users to find and contact them while on the go.
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 their problems and motivations. This will help you create an ad and landing page copy encouraging customers to act.
- Be willing to test your creative | Even if you know your audience well, sometimes you must experiment to find the right creative for your ads and landing pages. Try different images, language, and your calls to action placement to see which resonates 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.