Where is the first place you turn when you’re ready to buy something?
Your answer may have been the local grocery store or the closest mall superstore in years past, but now most of us would quickly say Google.
Google is not just a place to search for the best answer to your burning questions, like how many legs a caterpillar has (the answer is 16, by the way) and what fruits you can’t have during pregnancy (stay away from pineapple and papaya!).
It’s also the most popular online marketplace for connecting you with the advertisers from around the world who offer exactly what you’re searching for. Location, language, and company size is no longer a barrier with Google.
Capitalizing on being the popular search engine on the web, Google Ads has completely revolutionized the way advertisers sell products and services to users. But do you know how to advertise on Google?
What is Google Ads, and why does it matter?
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, turns the largest search engine on the internet into a marketplace for business owners to sell their goods to customers who are looking to make a purchase. Their main goal is to connect consumers with the best option based on what they are searching for.
When we look at what PPC ad types are available, there are two that lead the pack. You can create a Google AdWords campaign that allows you to place ads on a desired search engine results page (SERP) depending on the keywords you want to optimize your paid ad for.
You can also advertise your offer through Google Shopping, an easy-setup option that allows you to highlight your product with a photo thumbnail and a direct call-to-action to buy the product.
This is called a product listing, which differs from the traditional text ads that pop up in Google SERPs. It can be a great fit for retailers and ecommerce shop owners who want to capture the sale as quickly as possible.
Google Ads: How to advertise on Google
Since so many consumers are coming to Google when they are ready to buy something, it makes sense for advertisers to convert users where they already are. Now the question becomes how do you rank well and show up more prominently in Google Ads against other competitors? It comes down to a few factors.
Keyword competition not only affects the price of your PPC ads, but it also affects how your paid ads will be chosen among your competitors. If there are hundreds of wedding photographers or stationery designers wanting to advertise on Google for the same set of keywords, how does Google decide which to show?
It comes down to your quality score and cost-per-click, among other factors.
Your Quality Score can have a big impact on how successful your PPC ads can be because it directly affects the cost of your ads. Yes, that means there is something you can influence that will actually save you money in the long term!
Okay, now that I’ve got your attention, we can talk about what goes into your Quality Score. It is affected by the relevance and accuracy of your PPC ad along with your website’s overall user experience.
When you have these factors working together, you’ll come out on top of competitors with a higher Quality Score.
It can also be influenced by the relevance of your click-throughs (meaning visitors who click on your ads find what they are searching for so they interact with your ads more frequently), the history of your Google Ads account performance, your landing page quality and copy, and a myriad of other factors.
You must take a “long game” approach with increasing your Quality Score, but it will help you not only with optimizing your PPC ad campaigns but also your SEO.
We’ve talked about PPC advertising at length in our Complete Guide to SEM Marketing article, but the important thing to know is that Google charges based on ad clicks.
Your cost per click (CPC) is calculated by your competitor ad rank divided by your quality score and adding .01 to the total to get your CPC. The average CPC is around $2.00 but it depends on the saturation of your industry and the competition of your desired keywords.
When you are ready to create a Google Ads campaign, you’ll be setting up what’s called a CPC bid. This means that multiple competitors will be bidding for the same keywords so Google determines a cost for each competitor in order for them to secure top placement on the SERP. That’s where we all want to be!
Types for how to advertise on Google with your first PPC campaign
Not all Google Ads are created the same. Some types are better for certain products and services than others so it’s important to know what will work best for you. You can also experiment with each type to see how successful it is, but we’ll help you skip a few steps by giving you a breakdown of each one.
Text ads are here to stay in Google SERPs. While they may not be a fit for every product, they are still the primary way that advertisers create PPC ads on Google. These will continue to stay pinned at the top of the SERP on the first page, the most prime real estate on the web.
Smart Ads are the wave of the future because advertisers can be up and running with their new Google AdWord campaign in minutes. Not only that but each PPC ad is optimized based on its primary conversion goal. It can generate new website visitors, phone calls, mobile buyers, and brick-and-mortar store visits.
With over 500 million hours of video watched on YouTube, the time to create video ads on Google is now. Through YouTube, Google Ads connects consumers from all demographics to advertisers who have something to sell. Video ads allow you to create engaging, visual content that helps you stand out and become more memorable. We talk more about YouTube paid advertising later in this Tradecraft issue.
If you are a content creator who owns a website, you can turn it into extra cash by monetizing your influence with Display Ads. Advertisements can show up as a banner image to create an interactive, engaging experience on any website that partners with Google Ads.
How to advertise on Google: The top tips
With a better understanding of how Google Ads works, you can now set up your Google Ads account by connecting it with your existing Google account or signing up for a new one. Once you’re inside the platform, you’ll see a variety of options to help you get started.
Before you jump in, we want to leave you with a few tips to help you set up your first Google Ads campaign. Keep these in mind before you start putting dollars behind your campaign and send your first CPC bid to Google. You’ve got this!
Start with low competition, long tail keywords
If this feels like a lot of buzzwords packed into one recommendation, don’t worry. We’ll break it down.
We suggest starting with keywords that aren’t highly competitive because, remember, competition drives up the CPC price. The higher your CPC, the more you’ll be paying for your ads.
If you are testing your Google Ads campaign, you’ll want a good sample size to help you analyze trends and see how well your PPC ad is performing. If you choose highly competitive keywords (like “blogging full-time”) that already have a lot of interest in your industry, you may want to go after a long tail keyword.
Long tail keywords are three to four word phrases that specifically speak to your ideal customer and what you are selling. Instead of “blogging full-time”, you could say “blogging for stay-at-home dads” if that is primary audience. The competition will be lower, allowing you to have extra room in your budget to experiment.
Choose your ad copy and imagery wisely
With a standard text ad, you’ll want to spend time testing and tweaking your ad copy until you find a fit that generates the most amount of conversions. The first line you write won’t always be your best one, and that’s completely okay!
That’s another reason why we included the A/B testing email subject line feature in our email marketing software because testing only helps you get closer to optimization! You can use the same A/B testing approach with your PPC ads to help you get to peak conversion.
Your imagery also matters! In display and video ads, your imagery is the first and most important thing your audience will see. Be aware of your visual branding guidelines and keep your elements consistent and cohesive. The more relevant and clear the image is, the better.
Check your brand name to bid on
It’s possible that consumers are already searching for your brand name. If so, they could be seeing advertisements from other competitors before they see your organic search result. That’s not what you want!
Instead, we recommend bidding on your own brand name, especially as you see you traffic increase. Keep an eye out for “brand bidders” who want to entice users who are looking for you to visit their website instead.
The easiest traffic for you to convert is the traffic that is directly searching for your brand so it’s a good idea to bid on your own brand name.
Use negative keywords
Negative keywords can actually have a really positive impact on the performance of your Google AdWords campaign. It’s seems counterintuitive, but here’s what we mean.
When you curate a list of negative keywords, you are essentially telling Google that you don’t want to show up for search queries from users who are searching for something else entirely.
We love the example Neil Patel shared on creating a PPC ad for “glasses”. If you don’t specify any negative keywords, your paid advertisement for wine glasses could show up next to eyeglasses. That creates a lot of confusion for the user which hurts you as the advertiser and Google’s user experience.
Instead, focus on creating a list of negative keywords that eliminates people who aren’t really looking for what you are offering. You want to prioritize people seeing your ad that have the highest search intent, meaning they are directly searching for your target product.
Optimize the landing page your keywords lead to
Speaking of landing page, you may already know from reading other articles in this Tradecraft issue that driving your paid ad traffic to a dedicated landing page is the best way to convert your visitor. This is because you are able to tailor the imagery and language on the landing page for your specific audience and offer.
You could test and tweak your PPC ad copy, but if you aren’t testing your landing page copy as well, you might be missing out on conversions unknowingly. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do I have one clear call-to-action (CTA) on my landing page?
- Is it easy to find my CTA?
- Does my image tell the story of my offer? Is it relevant?
- Does the color palette and typography match my visual branding guidelines?
- Does my copy directly speak to my ideal customers?
- Does my copy address my customer’s pain points before offering a direct solution?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may have a few things to tweak before you republish your Google Ads campaign.
Categorize your AdWords campaign by device type
While it’s important to have your landing pages designed to be mobile-friendly, you may want to think about what device your ad will perform best on.
If you want to convert mobile visitors, you probably don’t want to invest in long, horizontal banner images that can hardly be seen on mobile. Instead, a text ad might be best.
If you filmed a high-quality video that you can’t wait for users to interact with, you might want it to show up primarily on desktop so people can see it on larger screens.
No matter what you choose, make sure that you keep an eye on your analytics to see how your PPC ad performs.
Utilize remarketing techniques
Have you ever thought about buying a new pair of shoes, only to find that a few days later you see an advertisement for the same pair? It must be a sign, right? Not quite.
The truth is that marketers have been tracking your searching and buying habits so they can better market their products and services to users who are already interested. By clicking their offer, you are expressing interest and might find yourself targeted by the company’s remarketing campaigns.
Why do companies spend time remarketing their products to people who have already searched for them but haven’t bought anything? It’s typically easier to convert someone who is aware of your brand and has already interacted with your offer than someone who is brand new.
Remarketing can be very effective when used wisely. We’ve seen it work well for ecommerce shop owners who use it in their abandoned cart email marketing strategy and for PPC advertising, but it can be utilized for virtually any kind of entrepreneur.
What can Google AdWords campaigns do for your online business?
Let’s find out! If you’re interested in learning how to advertise on Google, we have a downloadable checklist to walk you through each step of your first Google Ads campaign.
You’ll feel more accomplished than ever as you check off each step in your own time. It can be fit into any schedule, so take it at your own pace and get ready to discover new possibilities with Google Ads!