You know Google as the search engine that connects people to nearly every piece of information saved online. For businesses, the internet giant is their find engine, which helps them capture leads instantly and generate new customers in a matter of clicks.

Google Ads is the company’s flagship marketing platform—and the source of its multi-billion dollar annual turnover—which displays adverts on search results using a rather complicated bidding system.

The genius behind this system is that it makes it possible to reach potential customers who intend to purchase a product at a time when their interest in it is at a peak. Google Ads are an effective tool to funnel this traffic of white-hot leads to your website and increase sales, sign-ups and specific goals.

We’ll break down the bidding part at the end of this post; suffice to say that there are many hidden complexities in the system. Admittedly, Google Ads can be irritating, and very costly, for users who aren’t entirely sure how to manage their ad campaigns.

Basics first: What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is a paid alternative to organic search marketing (aka SEO).

Instead of spending weeks, if not months, optimising your website and building a strong link profile across the web to rank in the first page, you simply pay a Google to promote your site on its search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for a product or a solution like what you offer.

Let’s suppose you’re in the auto business and sell “second-hand Japanese cars”. By bidding on that phrase and similar ones, users are likely to see your website at the top of SERPs for queries using those words.

This method lets you leapfrog over larger and more established players in your industry, instantly earning you the top place in search results with little effort.

Of course, the exact results will vary depending on how competitive your industry is and how heavily the bigger players are investing the same keywords you’re targeting.

But still you haven’t heard the best part…

You only pay Google when people actually click on your ad and visit your website.

This method of online advertising is known as cost-per-click (CPC), or pay-per-click (PPC), and it offers a fairer alternative to traditional promotional channels that require advertisers to pay upfront.

CPC/PPC also offers you a more accurate way to evaluate the true effectiveness of your campaigns, since a by-product of your ad clicks is tons of interesting marketing data that can be used to improve further your paid search campaigns.

Overall, the cost of running a Google Ads campaign is seen to be quite reasonable; in expert hands, a website could pull hundreds and thousands of clicks from new visitors for a pittance.

However, expenses may spiral out of control very quickly if you don’t set certain limits on your campaigns. These factors influence the price you’ll pay for every advert your run on the platform and include:

  • Industry type
  • Competition level
  • Geographic location
  • Quality of the ads

Bid on keywords relevant to your business

Bidding is probably the trickiest part to get right when running Google Ads, even though it’s easy enough to get started since the platform makes it straightforward to input a list of keywords and set up your first campaign.

Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security, though, as the hard work only begins once you launch the campaign.

After compiling a list of keywords that are relevant to your business and that potential customers are likely to search on Google, you must place a bid on each keyword (or group of keywords) that reflects how much money you’re willing to spend to get people to click on your advert.

Google then assigns a score based on the quality of the ad that you’re want to display, which will then determine how often that ad will show up on its SERPs.

Ideally, you should keep a close eye the performance of your ads and monitor the amount of money the campaign is costing your business. Outsourcing this job to a digital marketing agency may be the smartest choice for small companies that cannot afford to spend too much time and resources monitoring ad campaigns.

Another thing you should know is that the absolute cost of a Google Ads campaign isn’t the best metric to measure its success or otherwise.

Any campaign worth its name should translate in an increase in the number of visitors, sign-ups or sales of your product or service, therefore its real cost needs to be measured in terms of ROI and other relevant KPIs that the business is tracking.

Paid search can be your shortcut to #1 on Google

Google Ads is an essential marketing tool that can be used profitably by practically any business that wants to flourish and grow online.

Paid search marketing has been a boon to many small business that use Google’s platform to compete effectively against popular brands, and in some cases even one-up their bigger competitors and dominate the search engine results with only a fraction of the effort.

Author David Mallia

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