Should You Use Google Ads for Your Business?
The ultimate test in marketing is able to pull numbers to your side. This is one challenge that requires constant research and market study. With digital marketing, you have a wide variety of options to consider. All of these options have a common goal: increasing clicks, conversions, and revenue.
Now, after you create what you consider as a perfect landing page for your organisation, the next task is ensuring that people actually “land” there. Google provides you with the necessary tools to help with this “little” challenge. Firstly, you need to optimise your site; then, go out of your way to attract real numbers through adverts. Of course, all of these are enabled at a cost.
When it comes to landing page promotion, Google Ads is one of the most prominent in the market right now, making it the most obvious choice for you. In 2020, Google generated $146.92 billion in total ad revenue globally. This was a $12 billion increase from the previous year.
The company generates advertising revenue through its Google Ads platform, which enables advertisers to display ads, product listings and service offerings across Google’s extensive ad network to web users.
According to Statista, Google was responsible for almost 90 per cent of global desktop search traffic. The company holds a market share of around 90 per cent in a wide range of digital markets, having little to no domestic competition in many of them.
With such global internet dominance, why wouldn’t you want t get a piece of Google’s extensive internet use and following?
Google Ads allows you to promote your business offers to your target audience via dedicated ads and post-click landing pages.
What is Google Ads?
Google ads are Google’s online virtual advertising program. This tool is applied across Google’s applications, properties, platforms and software. This program allows businesses to create short videos, infographics, demonstrations, etc., that will help brands reach their audiences.
It is essentially a means of reaching out to your target audience to communicate your offers at particular periods on specific products and services. In exchange for providing you with an open platform, Google’s charges you per click. Meaning, for every click the ad attracts, you need to pay the company. Otherwise known as pay-per-click
Marketers and businesses alike rely upon Google ads as a product promotion tool since it allows them to;
- Fish for more customers from places where people go looking for information
- Attract more customers
- Customise adverts based on what specific users do and consume.
- Reach your target audience
Some may ask, why and when does a specific advert feature prominently on the advertising platform? Well, the platform is essentially an ads marketplace. Here, you as a business have to pay to get your ad on the air. To rank better among other many adverts, you have to even pay more.
The Google Ads network is divided into two categories:
- The Search Network. Advertisers place text ads on the search engine results page.
- The Display Network. Advertisers place display ads on a vast number of websites across the internet.
A detailed discussion on these two is handled herein.
Google Ads Search Network
If you have been keen enough on your search engine, once you plug in your search query, at least the first or second results at the top are PPC ads.
Here is an example;
Input’ web design Tewkesbury’ in the google search panel. Now, wait for feedback. Here is what I found:
From Google My Business, the engine will synchronise and find local businesses in the area of search, i.e., Tewkesbury. The results generated first covers businesses in the said local area. Also, note that before every response on the results page, there is the word ‘ad’ before the web identity since ads and the organic search results appear almost similar, with the exception of the ‘ad’ tag. The tag is supposed to help you not to cause banner blindness in users.
How Does Google Ads Work?
Google has a pool of ads that clients have paid to be shown on the engine. What the company does is that whenever a visitor enters a search query in the search panel, Google goes through the pool and decides which ads are convenient and in line with the field. Essentially, the auction system is used in this case. In this system, if more than one advertiser is bidding on a keyword that Google decides is relevant to the user’s search query, an auction is automatically triggered.
The advertisers are invited to bid for the ad space based on the keyword. They decide how much they want to spend and create keywords groups that are paired with ads and corresponding post-click landing pages.
It is from these paired keywords that Google chooses one relevant keyword that is linked to your ad – after having won the bid and enters it on the engine. This is what the users see. Ad ranking is also key in getting the most clicks. Therefore, where the ad appears is crucial.
Ad rank determines your ad’s position on the SERPs. It is calculated immediately by the user types in a keyword triggering the said ad. Now, Google determines Ad Rank based on two key factors; maximum bid and quality score.
Here’s an equation consisting of the above factor variables-
Ad Rank = CPC Bid X Quality Score
Maximum CPC Bid
CPC, Click-Per-Cost, is the amount you commit to paying Google for every click your ad attracts. A maximum CPC bid is used in the calculation of your ad’s Rank. Essentially, this is the amount of money you select to pay for every click during bidding. If your bid is the highest, it is automatically posted and may rank above the rest.
I used the word “may” above deliberately to dispense any confidence that once you outbid your competitors that your ad will obtain the highest rank. On the contrary, providing the highest bid is just but a step towards achieving this. Google also requires your quality score to best Rank your ad.
The quality score has everything to do with the way an ad and ad group and the landing page relate with what the user is searching for and how likely they are to click on the ad. The score ranges from 1 to 10.
Factors determining your quality score-
- Expected clickthrough rate (CTR)
- Ad relevance
- the post-click landing page experience
Google defines CTR as “a ratio showing how often people who see your ad or free product listing end up clicking it.” Clickthrough rate (CTR) can be used to gauge the performance of your keywords, ads, and free listings.
CTR is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown:
Clicks ÷ Impressions = CTR.
e.g. if you had four clicks and 100 impressions, then your CTR would be;
4/100 = 0.04. in percentage, you multiply by 100 to give 4%
Each of your ads, listings, and keywords have its own CTRs that you can see listed in your account.
A high CTR is a good indication that users find your ads and listings helpful and relevant. CTR also contributes to your keyword’s expected CTR, which is a component of Ad Rank.
Google defines expected clickthrough rate as “a keyword status that measures how likely it is that your ads will get clicked when shown for that keyword, irrespective of your ad’s position, extensions, and other ad formats that may affect the visibility of your ads.”
The expected CTR determines whether your keyword is likely to get a user to click your ads. AdWords essentially takes into account the past performance of keywords based on your ad’s position. Google provides an expected CTR for a keyword of your campaign based on the assumption that the search term will match that keyword exactly.
When a user has typed in the search query, and the auction is taking place, Google AdWords calculates a more accurate expected clickthrough rate based on the search term, type of device and other auction factors.
Your expected CTR can have three statuses – average, above average and below average.
An average and above-average status signify that there are no major problems with the keywords’ expected CTR when compared to all other keywords in the Google AdWords network.
A below-average status, on the other hand, means that you might want to make changes to your ad copy so that it relates more closely to your top keywords.
The expected clickthrough rate is a prediction; the status helps you determine how the keyword performs within your campaign and also across all other advertiser’s accounts. The expected CTR is calculated by not factoring in the ad position and other factors that affect ad visibility, such as ad extensions etc.
An important thing to remember about expected CTR is that it’s different from the clickthrough rate value that you see in your Google AdWords account.
Ad relevance is a status that measures the message match between your keyword and your ad.
The three main ad relevance statuses include,
- below average,
- and above average.
You can use the ad relevance status to help identify which keywords aren’t relevant to your ad and make changes accordingly to enhance the ad impact on the audience.
Post-click landing page Experience
Google measures post-click landing page experience by determining ad relevance. The post-click landing page experience status describes whether the page provided a good experience for the visitor who landed on the page after clicking the ad.
Google Ads display network
Display ads are the banner ads you see on websites everywhere. For example,
The Google Display Network helps brands connect with their audience using different forms across various platforms such as YouTube. The Display Ad Network includes over two million websites that reach over 90% of people on the internet.
Google uses contextual targeting to match ads to relevant websites in the Display Network. The search network analyses the content of each webpage and determines its main theme. This is then matched to your ad using the keywords and language you’ve selected, the visitors’ recent browsing history and location, etc.
You can select the types of web pages where you want your ads to appear; you even have the option of blocking your ads from web pages you think aren’t relevant to your business.
How to set up an ad campaign
Ad campaigns allow you to place ads across Google’s vast network of search results. You can set up and run multiple ads campaigns at one time to target your site users.
Enter your email and website address and begin.
Give your campaign a name and select the following campaign settings:
- Location and Language
- Bidding and Budget
- Ad extensions
- Additional Settings
You can now proceed to keyword selection and ad creation.
Identifying keywords that your audience is likely to search and using them to create your ads leads to increased clicks. This is a keyword optimisation strategy.
Here are some keyword optimisation tips:
Think like your customer – the best way to know what search queries a customer is likely to use is to put yourself in their shoes. Besides, you can use data collected, including ads clicked on, location, search history, etc., to predict these keywords. From these search queries, create standard keywords that are likely to be used by your audience and link them to your ads.
Target specific keywords – from this pool of keywords you have, select and group them according to similarity, then choose those that are related or revolve around the services or goods that you offer.
Choose relevant keywords – google recommends having groups of about 5 and 20 keywords. However, focusing on much smaller groups may turn out to be cos effective than huge keyword groups. In all of these, we are looking for relevance. Also, long-tail keywords prove valuable for your campaign as they are longer and more specific keyword phrases that your audience is likely to use when they’re searching for a solution to their problem.
Use negative keywords – add negative keywords that help control campaigns that your ads appear in. Adding negative keywords ascertains that your ad isn’t clicked by someone who’s not your target audience.
Negative keywords help streamline your campaign and only appeal to the target audience that is more likely to click through and convert.
You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to create keywords for your ad campaigns. It helps to estimate how many clicks a keyword is likely to get in a day.
Creating Ad Groups
An ad group contains one or more ads that target a shared set of keywords.
Components of a Google Search Network Ad
A Google Search Network text ad has these components;
Headline: visitors first see a headline on your ad. Most have two, separated from each other by a dash. Each ad headline can have up to 30 characters.
Display URL: The display URL consists of the domain from your final URL.
Description text: this gives details on what you are offering. It can consist of 90 characters.
|Headline 1||30 characters|
|Headline 2||30 characters|
|Headline 3||30 characters|
|Description 1||90 characters|
|Description 2||90 characters|
|Path (2)||15 characters each|
Optimising Search Network Ads
Optimisation involves improving a campaign or part of it. It starts with continuous testing and data collection. And ultimately ends when the data collected is used to improve the components.
Ad optimisation best practices
Think like the customer
For maximum exposure, you need to get into the head of your customer. This is possible when you have data on your audience. Remember, they are there to find a solution to a problem. And, we earlier enumerated those reasons why people come to your page it is either for information, to transact or because they are lost and are trying to find a specific site.
Your objective is to distract their movement by capturing their curiosity using your ad copy. Using your offer, you are going to then convert that click into a sale. To ensure this happens, you have to use phrases and terms that capture the customer’s imagination and use them as headlines and description texts.
All the ads generated in the results have relevant headlines, which means the visitors are likely to click them. You should include at least one keyword from your ad group in your ad headline to establish relevancy and increase the chance of getting a click.
Include a statistic in your ad
The principle of social proof is pegged largely on numbers. Number usage is more eloquent, clearer and louder than when texts are used. Therefore, to showcase the value in your offer, invoke this principle. Use numbers in your ad copy.
You can use your pricing plan in your ad to immediately communicate to visitors how much they’re going to have to spend. When you say affordable costs, a customer is likely to wonder how much is affordable. But writing 30% off, you have invoked this principle, and the likelihood this visitor actually proceeds to purchase this product is high.
Add Details that Help Your Audience Reach a Decision
Most times, companies compete on level ground, meaning that it is possible that the firms have the same copy and motto that attracts clicks. For instance, ‘award-winning’ See case in point:
At least two of the above-highlighted case examples have words such as ‘eCommerce and website’ in the description text. Whenever such a scenario occurs and a majority of the ads displayed have similar description text or that which is close enough with your competitors’, then whether your ad is clicked or not is a matter of pure chance.
However, say you added a few more specific details about the service; you are essentially differentiated from your competitors. A case example is in the above illustration; check the first ad and the last two. Without too much thought, a visitor will likely click on the first ad than any of those succeeding it.
Add Relevant Ad Extensions
Add extensions to help expand your ad with additional information. This serves to expand your description, thus helping you to attract clicks.
You can use the following extensions with your ads:
- Location Extension
Site and brand legitimacy is an essential element in digital marketing. Showing your location goes a long way towards mitigating this. By doing so, you are essentially telling users t trust you. Besides, they can take up the opportunity to actually visit your physical address. And all this can be necessitated by an ad.
The following is an example of a location extension:
- Callout Extension
Callout extensions promote unique offers tailored for your visitors. They include ‘free shipping’, ’24 hour customer service’, ‘pay monthly solution’ – as seen below, among many others
- Call Extension
Just like location extensions, this particular element helps visitors to exude confidence and trust in the client they are dealing with. Mentioning your contacts with the ad enables visitors to call in whenever they have additional inquiries.
- Review Extension
This extension allows you to add ratings and reviews from your previous clients and renowned companies.
Rotate Your Ads
Apart from brand promotion, ads also serve to collect data to help shape future digital marketing strategies. Rotating ads is an excellent way of doing this; the data collected will help to better optimise your site among other applications.
The option of rotating ads also greatly helps in determining which one has a better clickthrough rate. This means while grouping your ads based on the relevant keywords; you should consider creating more ads to give you opportunities to rotate them. From the data produced, you will be able to gauge which one is outperforming the others. As Google collects data on the ads, it automatically starts favouring ads that statistically perform better. Ad rotation helps you to increase the chances that your ad s more preferred by the search engine.
Display Network Ads
Display network ads include additional graphics, such as image, video and rich media types. This gives you more room to be creative. To create effective display ads, make sure that the image and copy are relevant. This way, the visitor can make a natural connection among the contents of the ad. Including a CTA button in your display ads helps guide visitors toward the click.
An impeccable ad should observe the following;
- The headline has a statistic that adds credibility to the service
- The CTA button is contrasting in colour and has a personalised copy on it
- The branding is consistent
Finally, ensure your ads are relevant, have an action-oriented copy and are descriptive such that they stand out, compelling the visitor to click on them.
It is always recommended that you connect your post-click landing pages to the ad copy. Note that after a visitor actually clicks on the ad, they need the next step. If not, they will bounce and forget about it almost immediately. As much as clicks lead to conversions, you need to ensure that the visitor finds it easy to navigate.
What is a post-click landing page?
A post-click landing page is a standalone page created for a specific purpose. The page can be crafted to enable registrations for webinars, filling forms for email marketing, or a sign-up page. The function of a post-click landing page varies based on the purpose of your ad or site.
A landing page can be created as a distractive advertisement platform or a place where the visitor proceeds and actually gets the answer they are looking for. When your ad is connected to a relevant post-click landing page, you ensure that the visitor finds what they are after, making it easier for them to convert for the given offer.
It is proper to note that whilst your web page may be handling more than one objective at a time, a post-click landing page does not. This page focuses on one objective or campaign. Also, while the web pages are cluttered, landing pages are not. They are focused.
Therefore, your ad is directed toward a single campaign. This can be a specific offer you are running, a promotion, or a product free trial. When you connect your ad to a dedicated post-click landing page, you ensure that the visitor only sees the offer that you talked about in your ad, thus establishing relevancy and improving your chances of conversions. A god performing landing page means you get better scores and hence a higher ad rank.
To ensure that your post-click landing page is relevant to your ad, ensure that the page has a ratio of message match to the conversion of 1:1.
In a Google ads campaign, a message match is a consistency two pieces of a PPC campaign have. For instance, an ad and a post-click landing page.
Essentially, message match is the process of matching the content of an ad to the content of a post-click landing page so that the message is reinforced in the mind of the visitor and that they know it is relevant.
This is the same consistency we highlighted herein earlier. Such matching can be achieved through several forms, including using identical themes and graphics. Also, using copy headlines on the ad and the landing page.
The conversion ratio is the number of places to click compared to the number of conversion goals. Ideally, the ratio is 1:1, meaning there’s only one place to click on your post-click landing page vs the link that leads you to the said page.
Many landing pages embed this link in the call-to-action button. The advantage you have is that, with a great CTA, you have higher chances of converting the click. The fact is that by this point, you have already paid for the click. If you lose the customer based on poorly created call-to-action, you lose.
Ensure that bounce rates at this point are lowered significantly by building attractive CTAs that encourage visitors to stay longer and convincing them to make fulfil your intended goal.
The 1:1 ratio is meant to make designers build distraction-free pages that encourage a focused campaign. More than one or two related links on the landing page create confusion and chaos.
In addition to having the above factors, the post-click landing page connected with your PPC ads should also have the following:
- Call-To-Action Button: A lot goes into creating an impeccable CTA button to embed on the landing page. This is essentially where all action takes place. It should therefore stand out, actionable and highly user personalised.
- Primary Headline: Headlines seek to summarise everything on the page. They are essential as they clearly explain your offer and intrigues the visitor to read further.
- Secondary Headline: It is similar to the primary headline; the slight difference is that they are optional, and when used, they describe more about the primary headline. Or it highlights what was left out from the primary headline.
- No Navigation Links: Navigation links provide visitors with the option to leave your post-click landing page. Use these tools on your page and strictly keep them off your landing page.
- UVP: Mention your unique value proposition on the post-click landing page. This explains why should your competitors choose you over the competition.
- Media: The types of media you can use on your post-click landing page include images, videos and gifs. Choose the media type that suits your offer and explains what your service does to your visitors, so it’s easy for them to take action.
- Lead Capture Form: These are forms that capture contacts and additional information necessary for your marketing strategy. These forms as visitors to enter information in exchange for the offer. Lead capture forms should be labelled properly, and they should not ask for information that’s not relevant to the offer.
Having a relevant and dedicated post-click landing page connected to your PPC ads ensures that your visitors don’t stop by clicking on the post-click landing page but follow through and convert for your specific offer.
Common mistakes with Google ads to avoid
We have established the essence of Google ads for your business. Also, we have highlighted some of the key elements to observe while creating an ad that ultimately leads to the realisation of higher returns on your investment. While optimising your ads, marketers often err. Here are some of the errors you need to avoid.
Stuffing too many keywords in one ad group
Google uses your keyword groups o find the most relevant ad to add to the search engine whenever a visitor types in a query. The most common mistake people make is grouping too many keywords together, hoping to get an edge over their competitors. This is wrong. Whenever you are creating a PPC campaign, your goal is to achieve the search-to-ad message match. With such enormous amounts of keywords, it will be near impossible to achieve this.
Without this balance, you will get clicks without conversion. This means that you will be spending without returns. Ideally, to achieve the perfect message match, aim for single keyword ad groups. Sometimes this becomes labour intensive. If this is your concern, create logical ad groups for your campaigns.
The use of negative keywords
Whilst the use of general keywords may be beneficial in some cases, it is mostly not; for instance, you deal in kids’ shoes. If you used the keyword ‘affordable shoes’, you may end up incurring substantial losses. Say I want to purchase women shoes, and since your ad advertises shoes, I click on it and lands on a page that sells only baby apparel. I will bounce immediately. However, you as a brand has already paid Google for my click. So how do you benefit from that?
When running these ad campaigns, it is recommended that you use negative keywords to prevent your ad from showing up on the search engine whenever some queries are entered in the search bar.
Ignoring user intent
User intent describes what a user is looking for while they make a search query. This is how we determine what the visitors want when they type in a specific query.
User intent is divided into three;
- Navigational: When the user is looking for a specific site
- Informational: When the user is gathering information about a certain subject
- Transactional: When the user is ready to buy
Find out which specific keywords describe which type of buying intent and target those keywords properly with your post-click landing pages and overall PPC campaigns.
Using incorrect keyword match types
The keyword match types dictate how closely the keyword needs to match with the user’s search query in order for the ad to be considered for the auction.
Keyword match types control which user search will trigger your ad. These match types are essentially a way to organise your bid for different search terms.
There are four types of keyword match types:
1. Broad match: With broad match keywords, your ads can show up even on searches with synonyms, misspellings and related searches.
2. Phrase match: Ads for phrase match show up on searches that match a phrase or a close variation of the phrase. The search can also have additional words before or after the keyword. Ads don’t show up, however, if a word is added to the middle of a phrase match keyword or if the phrase is reordered in some way.
3. Exact match: Ads appear on searches that match the exact term or are a very close variation of that exact term. Ads can also show up for reordered phrases, given that the phrase’s meaning remains the same.
4. Negative match: Ads for negative match ke