Just like building a perfectly optimized post-click landing page, there is a science and artistry to creating high-converting, low cost-per-click, Google Ad campaigns. If you’re considering spending any amount of money on ads to reach your target audience, then you’d better spend it in the right place. Google Ads was launched just two years after becoming the leading search engine. Google’s advertising platform came on the scene in October 2000, named Google AdWords initially, but later rebranded to Google Ads in 2018. On average, businesses make $2 in income for every $1 they spend on Google Ads. Given Google’s expansive reach, chances are you’ve seen and probably clicked on a Google Ad, and so have your potential customers! It is essential to know some basic best practices, so you can maximize your results without wasting any budget.
- Let’s start with the basics. Any mistakes you make during your initial account setup process could derail the success of your campaigns later on.
- Setup landing pages: Your Google Ads campaign is only one part of the equation. The user experience after they click on your ad is equally as important. It is important to take a step back and ensure you have a strong landing page. Optimize your landing page for conversions with captivating images, a lead form for easy submission, and compelling copy. You will see a spike in your Google Ads conversion rate once your landing page is part of your conversion game plan.
- Connect account with Google Analytics: This step is crucial as it will allow you to view and analyze potential customer activity on your website after an ad click or impression. Another added value of connecting your Google Ad account with Google Analytics is you’ll have the ability to create custom audiences and applying them with AdWords. Linking your accounts is important when it comes to retargeting and remarketing.
The truth is, setting up your paid campaigns on Google is relatively quick and easy. The platform takes you through the process step by step with helpful hints along the way. If you have your ad copy and/or images, then setting up your campaign could take no more than 10 minutes! Where the magic happens is optimizing your ads to ensure they are reaching your audience and delivering results. Let’s walk through this together!
Identify Your Keywords
The first step of your campaign is identifying keywords to help guide your efforts. Think about how your target audience will be searching — what are their biggest pain points? For example, say your company is in the solar energy space, and your customers tend to search for “eco-friendly energy solutions.” You may want to use both eco-friendly and solar energy as your keywords to ensure you capture the right audience. If your company only operates in a particular area or city, you will also want to use geography-based keywords. If you’re a Houston area catering company leads coming in from Austin or San Antonio won’t be helpful. To avoid this, use keywords like “catering company Houston.” If you’re having trouble coming up with keywords for your business, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool can help. Not only will you be able to find keywords that could work for your business, but you’ll get insight into the popularity and average cost of each keyword. Lastly, you may want to include negative keywords. Adding negative keywords can be helpful if your business has a similar name to something unrelated to your product or service. Using negative keywords will ensure your ad does not appear on the search page for that term, thus ensuring your ad is being seen by your target demographic, which will help increase your conversion rate and not eat up your budget.
Create your Campaign
Google Ads allows you to create many campaigns, and each campaign consists of ad groups. Ad Groups, by their very nature, contain which keywords your ads will show on, what your ad will say when shown, and where the users are directed once they click on the ad. So in this section, you are deciding who to advertise to, what to say to get them to take action based on your ad, and where they land on your website. It is imperative to keep a single message or theme within your Ad Groups to ensure you aren’t sending mixed messages or confusing your target demographic. You can select from one of the three campaign types on Google Ads: search, display, or video.
- Search Ads: Search ads are text ads that are displayed on the Google search results pages. The benefit of search ads is that your ad is displayed in a place where most searchers are already looking for information.
- Display Ads: Google has a network of websites in various industries and with an array of audiences that in to display Google Ads. Known The benefit of placing your Google Ads on the Google Display Network is that you can narrow in and target your customer persona. For example, let’s say you’re a check guarantee provider, and your target audience is automotive dealers (because they accept a lot of checks for down payments). You could target the “autos” sub-section of Forbes Business, to better reach your target demographic as they read content from Forbes. These usually are image ads that draw the user’s attention away from the content on the webpage.
- Video Ads: These ads are displayed before or after (and sometimes in the middle of) YouTube videos. Remember, YouTube is a search engine, too. YouTube is the second largest search engine right after Google. With the right keywords, your ad will be placed with the right video to reach your target consumer.
Setting a Location
Once you have determined which ad type you will be running, it’s time to set the location your ad will appear. If your product or service can be sold anywhere, selecting a broad reach will be to your benefit. If you have a location-specific product, the best strategy is to hone in on where your target demographic is located and set that as your location parameters. You can further specify your results by entering locations that you don’t want your ad to appear, meaning specific zip codes, cities, or states will not see your ad.
Track Your Conversions
As a final step, you will want to set up conversion tracking. Conversion tracking lets you know precisely how many customers or leads you have acquired from your ad campaigns. Tracking your conversions is not a mandatory step, but we highly recommend it, so you’re not left guessing the ROI of your ads. Conversion tracking allows you to track sales on your website, app installs, or calls from your ads, among other activities.
Now that you’ve created your campaign, it’s time to setup your bidding strategy. Something to keep in mind is that the cost of a click can change throughout the day depending on the volume of companies bidding on a specific term. Take a moment to think through which bidding option works best for your budget and goals:
- CPC: Cost-per-click, only charges you when someone clicks on your ad. CPC is a good option if your goals are focused on increasing traffic to your website.
- CPM: Cost-per-thousand-impressions, is used in the display network. If your goal is to get your ad in front of as many people as possible, then this would be a good option.
- CPA: Cost per acquisition is a more expensive option, but you are only charged when a person who clicked on your ad converts into a sale.
- Manually Set Your Bids: This option allows you to choose what you’d like the CPC to be for any given keyword. This can be helpful if you’d like to monitor your keywords and bidding. It also gives you the freedom to target in any way that may be beneficial to your company and goals. For example, if you are a sporting gear store and know that the start of soccer season is approaching, you may want to focus more of your budget towards soccer-based keywords for a month.
- Automate your bids: This option allows Google Ads the the ability to set your CPC for keywords while staying within your budget. This can be a great option if you are new to Google Ads. This is also a good option if you want to optimize your budget but don’t want to spend time monitoring and adjusting your campaign as keyword prices rise and fall throughout the day.
Always be Testing
Like every aspect of your digital marketing strategy, you should consistently test new strategies in Ads. This is how you ensure you are offering quality ads to your potential visitors and customers. You never want to let your account run on auto-pilot. If you aren’t getting the results you’d like, then think about how you can rework your strategy. Make sure you are diving into the data regularly and reviewing and analyzing your results. Regularly checking-in on your account can help you quickly catch any low performing ads and help ensure you don’t waste precious budget. As a small business, if you don’t have the bandwidth to be checking and retool your Google Ads daily, then you may want to outsource to a digital marketing agency, like BriteIdea Marketing Group!
Given Google’s expansive reach, Google Ads should be a part of your paid strategy. We hope this breakdown and tips have you feeling more confident to navigate the Google Ads landscape. If you have any questions and would like to schedule a consultation, we’re only an email away!