Google Ads 101: How To Build A Successful Campaign?
It is important to plan your ad spend to make sure that you spend it in the right place. If you look at the sheer numbers, Google is the undisputed king of the web. With approximately 260 million unique visitors and 5 billion daily interactions, Google virtually controls the internet, and advertising on Google is one of the most effective ways to generate revenues for your business.
From Stanford University’s grad school dorm room in 1995 to its launch in August 1998, a small search engine named Backrub became Google as we know it now. The mission of its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin was to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Inspired by its astronomical success worldwide, Google launched its advertising platform Google AdWords in the year 2000. Later on, it was rechristened as Google Ads in 2018.
You must have come across Google Ads and might have clicked on a few of the ads. In this article, you will learn how to build an advertising campaign on Google from scratch. It will also cover features specific to the platform and useful information on how to create, run, tweak and optimize the campaigns for the best results.
In order to be successful on this platform and generate clicks, your ad should be more focused and appealing.
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads come under the pay-per-click (PPC) model where, as the name suggests, the advertisers pay per click on an ad.
Search engines handle intent-based queries and return the most relevant results that match those queries. Google Ads also appear alongside the organic results and these ads can drive qualified traffic and generate hot leads for your business.
Google Ads are considered a sure-fire way to boost your business. You receive qualified traffic and phone calls when people click on those ads and this way, Google Ads keeps your business activities buzzing.
If done right, it may increase your CTR and traffic exponentially. Extra Space Storage launched Google Ads in 2014. Everyone is a potential customer for the second largest self-storage operator in the US. It was a big challenge to target such a wide audience and engage each customer with real-time messaging. They experimented with different ad copies and targeted specific customer segments using Google’s ad optimizers to create relevant and timely ads. Through tailored messages and using different ad groups, it grew its CTR by 113%.
There is a science behind why Google Ads are more successful than other types of online ads. Google Ads allow your business to show up on the SERPs when your prospects are “looking for” those products and services. This way, you can reach your target audience right when they need you the most. They look at your ads when it makes sense to them.
Google Ads also help you improve those ads for even better performance.
Google attracts more than 35% of all digital advertising spend on the internet, yet it is one of the most challenging platforms in ensuring the return on investment.
If your ad campaigns aren’t properly optimized and targeted, you may quickly lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars without getting any returns.
Introduction to the New Google Ads User Interface
If you are planning to kickstart your first Google Ads campaign, consider yourself lucky as they have recently rolled out an update that drastically improves the platform. Not only is the new user interface more user-friendly, but it also offers advanced analytics and reporting features.
Here are a few things the new interface changed:
A. Creating ad groups (crucial to your ROI and campaign success)
B. One dashboard to run the campaigns and access all kinds of data
C. Get campaign snapshots for better analysis and reporting
D. Get advanced insights to better monitor your campaigns
E. New account overview page for a quick assessment of all the campaigns running on it
What is The Quality Score and How To Use It?
You must be familiar with the concept of the quality score to run a successful Google Ads campaign.
The score is controlled by three factors:
A. Your Landing Page: Consider the following factors:
- Check if it loads quickly
- Measure conversion rate
- Measure bounce rate
These metrics will help you know whether you are receiving the right kind of traffic and whether your landing page is able to meet their needs.
B. Expected CTR: Track the performance of your ad campaigns through this metric. Measure it against the average CTR.
C. Ad Relevance: Your ad should be relevant in relation to the search queries being used.
Why is the Quality Score so Important?
According to AdEspresso, quality and relevance scores are directly related to the CTR and inversely proportional to costs per click. So, a campaign with a better quality score is more likely to succeed and yield a better ROI. A good score will also help you rank higher with your ads without having to bid higher.
Should I Advertise on Google?
If you want to know whether Google Ads is right for you, here is a suggestion. Spend on Google Ads only if you have a budget to spare. However, with trial and error, Google Ads can work for most businesses. You don’t need a large sum of money to spare; you can invest a few hundred dollars to test if it works for your business.
If you want to know how much you need to pay for a single conversion, do some simple math. Every industry has an average cost per click and an average conversion rate. So, if an average conversion rate is 5%, it means you would need 20 website visits to get a single conversion.
The total spends required for a conversion is the average cost per click multiplied by the number of visits required. If the cost of conversion exceeds your cost margin, then Google may not be a viable option for you. The objective of posting an ad is to make money and not just to generate sales. You want a positive ROI apart from driving sales.
Types of Advertising on Google Ads
At present, Google offers four major types of ads i.e. display ads, video ads, search network ads, and app ads. Let’s discuss all these major types to understand how they can work for you.
Search Network Ads
Search network ads are among the most prevalent Google ads that appear as text ads on Google SERPs. So, whenever we search Google using a query, the ads that appear on top are referred to as the search network ads. Obviously, these ads are triggered by specific keywords and you have to bid on them to appear higher on the SERPs.
Google display ads would appear on the websites under Google’s Display Network and can show up in the form of text or banner ads including Gmail. Display ads are mostly used for remarketing purposes when we want the visitors back on our site for conversion. If you are visiting a website and come across an ad on it, it must be coming from the display network.
Video ads mostly run on YouTube and they are displayed based on your watch history on YouTube and search queries made on Google.
If you have used a mobile app, you have probably come across some ads while using that app. These ads are called app ads and these are pretty common on free versions of various apps.
Google Shopping Ads
If you have an E-commerce site, you can implement Google Shopping and you will be able to advertise products from your online store directly on Google.
However, the most common types of ads among all these types are search network ads and display ads. Contrary to what many people think, it is relatively easy to set up an ad. If you want to appear on top of search results and want to attract leads, you can begin with the search network.
Create a Remarketing List
Marketing is all about engagement, conversations, reminders, and persuasion. Remarketing is also an effort to send marketing messages to people who have already been attracted to your website but failed to convert. However, the site is not at fault as 98% of people who visit a website for the first time do not convert.
To prepare your remarketing list, go to your Audience Manager and create a new list based on different interactions such as website visitors, YouTube videos viewers, or app users. You can also create a custom list of your own. It will allow you to target people as per these interactions.
Remarketing campaigns are considerably cheaper and have a lower cost per conversion than the normal campaigns because in these campaigns the target audience has already interacted with your brand at least once and is familiar with it.
Google uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify buyers with purchase intent. Using in-market audiences, Google collects search query data and studies users’ online activities including the sites they visited, ads they clicked, and products they bought to find people with purchase intent with a high degree of accuracy.
The process of refining the ads gets better with time as with machine learning, Google understands what is working and what’s not. Google also advises you to mix your in-market audiences campaign with remarketing campaigns to get the best results.
Use Competitor Data to Get Campaign Ideas
Spying on your competitors on how they are targeting the audiences on a particular network will help you save money and time and make your campaigns highly effective.
You can expand your campaign based on competitor insights and make them even better. You can use tools like SEMrush to explore the exact keywords that your competitors are using.
SEMrush can do the following things for you:
A. Helps you track your competitors’ landing pages and how they are ranking.
B. Provides you with all the data you need to create a powerful campaign to outsmart your competition.
C. Provides you with ad copy ideas saving you time.
Learn to use Google Ads Keyword Planner
Google Ads Keyword Planner is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers that helps them find the most effective keywords for their business. Apart from relevant keywords, it also provides insights on those keywords people are using anywhere in the world to search for the products or services you offer. It also helps you with the suggested bids and the amount you should bid. The keyword tool lets you know how competitive these keywords are. These insights will help you make better decisions for your campaign.
The best thing about this tool is that it will give you a long list of suggested keyword ideas so that you can create a campaign according to your budget and still get positive results.
How to Advertise on Google?
Before you get ready to dive into PPC advertising and reap its enormous benefits, go through the following checklist to make sure you are prepared for the rendezvous.
- A properly designed website and landing page created specifically for the purpose of conversion
- Make sure you are ready with your PPC strategy and have your goals defined.
- Decide a budget for your campaign and also a timeline to test the results
Create your Google Ads account
Before setting up a new Google Ads account, you need to sign in to your Google account. Add your business information on the next page and click submit. After the congratulation message flashes, click on the “Explore Your Campaign” button.
To start advertising on Google, after account creation, follow these steps:
Step 1: Define a Goal
Click on the “Start Now” button on the Google Ads homepage and then click on the “New Campaign” once you are on the dashboard.
You will reach a new page where Google will ask you your advertising goals. These goals will help Google know the type of audience you want to target and how you will pay the bid money.
Tip: Defining your campaign’s goal is important as it will decide the success or failure of the campaign.
First, you need to learn how to set smart objectives. It will help you to build systems to achieve your campaign objective.
The tool will then prompt you to create a campaign. However, you should skip that step the first time, as your current objective is to know the interface and how it actually works.
Step 2: Add Your Business Name and Keywords
After defining your goals, click “next”. On this page, you will have to confirm your business name. You also need to add the URL of the landing page you want to send your audience to. This information can’t be changed, so make sure there are no errors.
The old interface of “Google AdWords” needed many key inputs after this, such as choosing a budget, selection of keywords, and billing information, etc. However, the new user interface will take you directly to the campaign page, where this information is needed in a different format.
Before you create your first campaign, you need to complete some vital steps.
Step 3: Perform Primary Keyword Research
Keyword research for the Google Ads campaign is a vast topic. However, you should focus on the following key areas to build your PPC keyword list.
A. Website: Look for the keywords your website is targeting
B. Use a keyword research tool: You can use keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner (for keyword suggestions and details), Ubersuggest (to get the queries and search terms people are using for similar products), and SpyFu to get competitor insights.
C. Brainstorming: Think like a customer and come out with your own keywords.
D. Include brand terms: Use your own brand terms. For example, Nescafe can use the terms like Nescafe gold, Nescafe coffee, and Nescafe cup, etc.
Your keyword research doesn’t stop here, as it’s an ongoing process, but these steps are enough to build the initial list.
Using Google Keyword Planner for Keyword Research
From your campaign dashboard, go to “Tools and Settings” and then click on “Keyword Planner”.
Once you are in the Keyword Planner Tool, go to “Discover the New Keyword Tool”. With the help of this tool, you can find relevant keywords and also get ideas for new keywords to target.
When you enter your product name or the business you are in, click on “Get Results”. The tool will return a list of keywords with crucial details about them. It will include the average competition the keyword is facing, average monthly searches, top-of-page bid, low and high range, and ad impression share.
Step 4: Set Up the Ad Groups
Advertising involves lots of experimentation and variation in ads and therefore, you need different types of themes for your ads. An ad group is a group of ads with the same theme and target audience. For example, if you have a restaurant business, there can be different ad groups such as desserts, beverages, and snacks. Each ad group can target different keywords. For example, if you choose “desserts” as an ad group, you can target keywords such as chocolate cake, ice cream, cupcakes, and cookies, etc.
Before creating ad groups, you can divide your campaigns based on:
- The location you’re targeting
- Products and services you offer
- Keyword performance and bidding rates
- Brand names and the generic names people normally use
- Keyword match
Step 5: Ad Creation & Landing Page Mapping
The next step is to focus on writing ads and mapping landing pages with each ad group.
Writing ads is the most interesting part of the job – designing an actual ad. Create the ad headline as well as its description and then check it in the preview box on the top right. Google provides you tips during this process with the help of sample ads so that you can do it on your own.
After that, you can proceed with campaign creation and focus on campaign settings. Without properly written ads and excellent landing page experience, your campaign stands high chances of failure.
The most challenging part is to write great ad copy and it’s possible only when you know your audience and what appeals to it.
However, the key to writing a captivating ad copy is to know your customers’ pain points. If you are able to do that, they will likely click on your ad and convert. You can also do some audience research beforehand.
Writing ads to catch the attention of your target audience and a properly designed landing page is crucial to achieving a higher click-through rate, low cost per lead, and maximum ROI.
Here are some PPC ad copywriting tips you can use.
Tip: Your ad text also affects your ad quality score.
Character Limits for your PPC ads
In a Google ad, your arsenal includes 300 potentially visible characters with three headlines, two descriptions, and the URL to entice a user to click on your ad.
Responsive ads are the latest ad format on Google. To know more, read this article by Mark Ferree.
Add extensions appear below the ad and advertisers can leverage them to enhance the impact of an ad. You can go through this Google support document to know how to select extensions to use.
Landing Page Mapping
Each ad should direct the customer to a landing page that should offer exactly what he is looking for in a minimum number of clicks. With a shorter attention span and a lack of patience, users may go back to the search engine if they don’t find what they are looking for. For example, if a user has searched for Elizabeth Arden perfumes, he should be diverted to the page where he can find most of the bestseller perfumes the brand offers.
With this, your preparation work to set up your campaign is complete.
Step 6: Campaign Creation & Settings
When you are ready with your ad group variations and the landing pages, it’s time to go back where you started from — i.e. signing into your Google Ads account.
Go to Campaign>New Campaign
You’ll be prompted to a page where you need to select your goal.
You can choose from a variety of campaign options such as Search Network, Display Network, or the combination of both, shopping ads, video or universal app campaigns, etc.
You also have the option to choose devices, languages, and locations for your campaign.
Choose your bid strategy
You can now choose your daily budget. Set this to a realistic number and then modify it as you go ahead and learn from your campaigns.
Google also offers automated bid strategies but you should start with manual bidding and choose a cost per click you can afford for a campaign.
Step 7: Finalizing Your New Google Ads Account
After creating your first campaign, you’ll finish and save. Now, you’ll be prompted to enter your billing information to trigger your ad. You can also go to the top right corner of the ads interface and select “billing & payments” manually if you’re not prompted to it. Google also allows you to make prior arrangements to be invoiced through credit cards on a monthly basis. In that case, you don’t need to enter your billing information.
Review and publish
It’s time to review your ad. Once you are satisfied with all the aspects, you can click on the submit button.
Hurray, you have created your first Google Ad!
Technically, the process of creating your first ad is over at this stage, but a bigger challenge remains in front of you and that is to tweak your ad as per the Analytics’ recommendations. You cannot achieve the best results without refining, optimizing, and improving your existing ads as per the insights received by using Analytics.
Tracking Google Ads with Google Analytics
Tracking and analysis is an important part of running an ad campaign on Google and if you are not doing it, you can’t gain much from it. When you analyze your data, you can determine what tweaks you need to make to supercharge your campaign. It is important to know that Google Analytics is not integrated automatically with Google Ads, and you need to set it up first. Linking your Google Ads account to Google Analytics property allows you to see the full customer cycle i.e. till a customer makes a purchase.
Have a look at the crucial metrics of click data and costs of your Google Ads on Analytics. Analytics is incredibly important to design future campaigns and perform tweaks after evaluating the performance of current campaigns. In order to track conversions, you can set up event tracking.
Make sure your landing page is optimized and the User Experience (UX) on it is excellent. The Call to Action (CTA) should also be clear and there shouldn’t be any distraction.