74% of brands who use Google Ads say it’s a huge revenue driver for their businesses. But that doesn’t mean the #1 advertising channel in the world still doesn’t intimidate or confuse many users.
Here’s a question – how many times do you Google something before making a purchase? And how many times do you click on the first result?
Well… that top result is often going to be a paid ad.
More than 45% of businesses have implemented Google Ads into their digital marketing strategies. It’s a tactic that can show quick results while increasing website traffic, increasing brand awareness, and generating leads.
Let’s talk through how to build a Google Ads strategy and best practices for putting a program together.
PPC, or pay-per-click, is an advertising model that refers to dynamically-placed ads on a site, platform, or content network where the advertiser only pays when users click on the ad. Google Ads is a type of PPC advertising format. In fact, it’s the most popular one in the world, with more than 4 million advertisers.
Google’s PPC ads are important; make no mistake!
They should be included in your digital marketing plan as they are an essential part of an integrated strategy. Google ads can bring amazing results, especially when used to complement other facets of your marketing efforts.
Here are some specific benefits of Google Ads:
While Google Ads are pretty easy to start executing, it takes time, understanding, planning, and preparation if you want to be successful.
First of all, Google Ads offers three different types of ad types you should be aware of:
Through search advertising, ads are shown in search engine results when someone searches for a keyword you’re bidding on.
Display advertising combines images, text (either accompanying the image or on the image itself), and a URL. These ads are placed on websites or apps that are part of the Google Display Network (GDN) – which makes up 90% of websites across the web. They can be static with a unique image or animated with multiple images and changing text. Responsive Display Ads are becoming the preferred type by Google, which allows users to upload images, logos, headlines, and descriptions in one space and gives Google the ability to control variations and test what works best. Display ads vary in shape and size to fit different ad areas on a web page.
YouTube ads are video ads placed on YouTube or in search results. These video promotions have different formats:
Another thing to keep in mind is that Google Ads is organized into different layers: your account, campaigns, ad groups, and ads.
Within your account, you will create your campaigns, which have their own budget and settings that determine where your ads appear.
Within a campaign, you have your ad groups that each contain a set of similar ads and keywords.
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of ads within Google Ads and its structure, let’s take a look at what tools and best practices we must keep in mind to set up successful Google Ads campaigns.
There are endless keyword tools out there. Some of the ones we’ve used at Site-Seeker are Semrush, SpyFu, and Ubersuggest.
However, Google Ads comes with several features, including the Keyword Planner. Our team uses it together with other tools to find the most appropriate keywords that we should be bidding on.
Targeting long-tail keywords is a valuable strategy used within PPC campaigns for several reasons. Long-tail keywords are multi-word queries, are highly specific, have a lower cost and less keyword competition. Also, they typically lead to higher conversion rates.
Once you develop your keyword list, you should sort and organize them into what will become your ad groups. Finally, make sure to use the chosen keywords both in your ad copy and landing page to build your quality score. Quality score is a factor that Google uses to determine the relevance of your ads to the searcher – and it can improve your rank position and reduce your cost-per-click.
Optimizing your PPC campaigns should be an ongoing effort. However, be thoughtful when you implement your changes.
Some changes, like adding negative keywords, are great to do regularly. Weeding out search terms that don’t pertain to your ads will save money and help avoid erroneous clicks.
But when making significant changes to your ads or campaigns, the ads platform will go through a “learning phase.” Any time you make these changes (like a big audience shift, new ads, new bid strategy), it resets the learning. So, give Google some time to adjust and learn. It’s recommended to allow at least 3-4 weeks before making any big changes again.
The best way to know if your Google PPC ads are working is to compare them to previous data. Are you getting more clicks? A better click-through rate? More conversions? If not, that’s the time to reevaluate and test something new.
If your ads are all performing well, but you don’t see conversions, check your landing page and test conversion rate optimization (CRO) methods – i.e., a new call to action (CTA) button, shortening the form, a new headline, etc.
It may seem harmless to search for your ad, but continually searching your keywords and not acting on them will signal to the search engine that your ad isn’t relevant to that term. This may cause your ad to show less frequently or cost more.
Also, remember not to click on them. Beyond further skewing your data, it will cost you money and use up your budget!
For more tips, don’t forget to download our free Google Ads Best Practices one-pager.
If you’re ready to start creating a search campaign, I have some recommendations for you.
Keyword Planner comes with Google Ads and is free. Use it to learn details about the keywords you want to go after, such as search volume, competition, and cost-per-click.
If possible, don’t include more than 5-10 keywords per ad group. This way, it will be easier to create specific ad copy around a single topic.
When you create your ad copy, remember that you can provide up to 15 headlines (up to 30 characters each) and 4 descriptions (up to 90 characters each) for a single responsive search ad. Then, in any given ad, Google will select up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions to show in different combinations and orders. The algorithm will eventually learn what combinations perform best and will display those more often.
Make sure to keep your ad copy concise and specific and always include a call to action. Popular CTAs in top-performing text ads include: get; buy; shop; try; learn; build; sign up; discover; click. Some of these words may not be applicable to your business, but they can be a good starting point for building your ad copy.
The cost-per-click can fluctuate depending on your geography, keywords, and competition. We’ve seen some clients with as low as $0.10 per click and clients as high as $150 per click. Use Google’s Keyword Planner for preliminary research to get an idea of how far your budget will go, but don’t spend outside your means!
Do you want to target a specific country, state, or zip code? You can do that (and you should)! Geotargeting can help you maximize your budget by spending only in areas that you serve or want to do business in.
Affinity audiences and in-market targeting can help whittle down potential viewers of your ad. Maybe your target audience falls within a particular age range, or they’re actively looking for a new car, or they belong to a large corporation with over 10,000 employees. By adding additional levels of targeting, you can get in front of the right audience and better control your ad spend.
What do you want your ads to do? Drive traffic to your website? Build awareness? Generate leads?
Set realistic goals for your business and know that your goals can change. For example, if you’ve just launched a new product – your customers may not be aware of it yet. Awareness might be your first goal, and then traffic to your website to inform them of additional specs and descriptions might be a secondary goal. Once you gain enough traffic, you can adjust your goals to conversions.
If you’re measuring leads/conversions, a conversion rate or cost-per-conversion is a great metric to benchmark. When in doubt, compare your results to the previous period’s performance. If your business has seasonal fluctuations, do year-over-year comparisons.
Also, try to spend a couple of hours every month monitoring your campaign and giving your program care and attention. For example, look at what keywords perform best and adjust your bidding, and keep adding negative keywords to prevent bad traffic from consuming your budget.
PPC can truly be a game changer.
One of our current clients, a company that designs and builds mezzanines, saw big results. The Google PPC program led to 150 qualified leads and conversions in just one year, equating to new deals and revenue that offset the cost of the program and then some!
By targeting the main areas of their consumer base and validating their conversions, specifically phone calls and form fills, we’ve been able to use that data to further target new users.
We’ve also been able to see what keywords were popular and leverage that information to create new content and edit existing pages to target those terms better.
Considering its reach and authority, Google Ads should be a part of your digital marketing strategy.
Use the best practices and action items we shared as a starting point. You’re ready to start exploring the world of PPC and create successful Google Ads campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads.
If you need any support, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to answer your questions and help you set your PPC campaigns up for success.
Hooked On Marketing With Corinne And Carlotta is a 4-episode video series about how to enhance your business’s digital presence through digital marketing.
This series aims to provide you with an in-depth understanding of 4 different marketing strategies and tools that are available today and how they can help your business grow its online presence. These include Search Engine Optimization, Google Ads, Lead Intelligence, and Account-Based Marketing.
Each episode covers tools for success, real-world applications, success stories, and actionable items you can start implementing today.
Hooked On Marketing is led by Carlotta Bartolini and Corinne Dunston, Account Managers and Digital Marketing Specialists at Site-Seeker. They are accompanied by Coco, their monkey mascot.