How to Use Google Ads to Advance Your Business Goals

How to use Google Ads to advance your business goals How to use Google Ads to advance your business goals

How to Use Google Ads to Advance Your Business Goals

Matthew Fraga Matthew Fraga
Matthew Fraga

Why Use Ads in the First Place?

Wouldn’t it be nice to drive brand awareness and generate quality leads for free? Of course.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as free. 

There will be costs in one way or another whenever you make a concerted effort to gain new customers.

Creating content like blogs, videos, white papers, etc., is free in the sense that you’re not paying someone like Google or Facebook for exposure. However, many companies outsource content creation, which has costs.

Even if you create it internally, it takes time to research, plan, and execute new content that is consistent and valuable.

There’s a lot of competition out there when it comes to blog content. Bloggers are spending more time writing longer blogs, with higher frequency each year to gain an edge on the competition.

 

Bloggers are spending more time on each post every year Bloggers are spending more time on each post every year

4x as many bloggers spend 6+ hours per blog in 2021 compared to 2014

Image Source

It can also take time to see results from your content. Moving up Google's search rankings and generating backlinks can take years.

Although paid advertising costs money, you save the time and sweat equity it takes to research, develop, and execute a quality organic campaign. 

Even earned media, which is as close to free as one can get, such as referrals, requires time spent attracting, converting, retaining, and nurturing a customer until they’re satisfied enough to recommend your business to someone else.

What Do Google Ads Offer That Social Media Ads Don’t?

Paid social refers to sponsored updates and advertisements on social media sites that appear in people’s newsfeeds. Paid search refers to advertisements that appear at the top and bottom of search engine results once users have entered a query.

There are many social media and search platforms, but the big players and focus of this blog are Facebook and Google.

Paid social media is useful for building awareness, driving traffic to your website, and generating leads. A huge benefit of social media advertising is detailed targeting.

Paid search is worthwhile when you know (a) what people are searching for, and (b) that you have content that addresses their search.

 

Comparison Between Paid Search and Paid Social Ads Comparison Between Paid Search and Paid Social Ads

Both paid search and paid social offer unique benefits that the other doesn’t. Ideally, you utilize a mixture of both.

Paid social, in general, is better for more awareness objectives like maximizing impressions or reach. The reason is, you provide a target audience, and the platform (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) will work to show your ads to those people.  

It's common for people to see an ad on social media then switch to a search browser to do more digging. The tough part is catching their attention.

This makes having a multi-channel approach crucial to giving customers multiple touchpoints and reaching them with tailored messaging based on where they are in their journey.

Facebook relies on more tracking than Google. Its whole model is based on enabling companies to select the people they want to show their product or service to.

Search ads are different, in that, you bid in an auction environment on particular search queries where you'd like customers to see your ads. We generally see that people clicking on search ads have a higher intent to purchase than on social media.

For instance, take plane tickets. You can be fairly confident that someone searching for “Flights to Boston” is probably pretty determined to buy a ticket to Boston, or at least compare different prices.

Conversely, with Facebook, you may target someone who enjoys Traveling, but you have no idea if they are currently looking to travel. With Paid Search, they tell you they're interested, you just need to be there to show them what they want.

Let’s be clear, Facebook is a useful advertising platform. We use it on a daily basis with dozens of accounts, including our own.

The purpose of this article is to make Google Ads a little less intimidating and to provide some tips for how to ensure you are getting the most out of your ad spend.

Choosing a Campaign Objective Based on Your Business Goals

The very first choice you’ll make when setting up a new campaign is your campaign objective. Your options are to drive:

  • Sales: Drive sales online, in-app, by phone, or in-store
  • Leads: Get leads and other conversions by encouraging customers to take an action (fill out a contact form, subscribe to a newsletter, request an estimate, etc.)
  • Website Traffic: Get the right people to visit your website
  • Product and Brand Consideration: Encourage people to explore your products or services
  • Brand Awareness and Reach: Reach a broad audience and build awareness
  • App Promotion: Get more installs, interactions, and pre-registration for your app
  • Local Store Visits and Promotions: Drive visits to local stores, including restaurants and dealerships

The Objective does not make or break your campaign. It will simply tell Google Ads what your business goals are, and it will provide tailored recommendations based on the objective you choose.

What’s more important is the Campaign type you choose.

Choosing a Campaign Type Based on Your Business Goals

After deciding on an objective, you will then pick your Campaign Type. Depending on which objective you choose, some campaign types may not be available. 

For Instance, a Brand Awareness and Reach campaign allows you to use Display and Video campaign types. Whereas a Website Traffic objective gives you more options such as Search, Performance Max, Shopping, and Discovery in addition to Display and Video.

Google Ad Campaign Types Google Ad Campaign Types

source: google.com

Search Campaigns

Search campaigns are text ads on search results that let you reach people while they’re searching on Google for the products and services you offer. It's great for driving sales, leads, or traffic to your website, as you can show your ads to people actively searching for your products and services.

Why choose Search campaigns?

  • Sales and leads:
    • Boost your online sales and signups.
    • Consider using leads if you have a longer sales cycle.
  • Easy setup:
    • Write text ads and pick keywords.
    • Skip special files or assets—these aren’t needed.

Display campaigns: Image ads on websites

Display campaigns let you reach a relevant audience with visually engaging ads as they browse millions of websites, apps, and Google-owned properties, such as YouTube, to achieve your marketing objectives. Display campaigns are a great way to expand your reach and stay top of mind with an audience beyond just Google Search. They are also a great way to retarget people who have visited your website in the past. 

Why choose Display campaigns?

  • Sales and leads: Use visually engaging call-to-actions to drive sales and signups.
  • Awareness and consideration: Create memorable ads to make people aware of your brand or consider your product.
  • Reach: Target people beyond search results while they’re browsing websites and apps.
  • Retargeting: Follow up with people who’ve already viewed your ads or visited your site.

Video campaigns: Video ads on YouTube

Video campaigns let you show video ads on YouTube and other websites. Some Video campaign types can help you boost general awareness of your brand. Others are designed to drive conversions or get people to shop on your website.

Why choose Video campaigns?

  • Awareness and consideration: Use video ads to make people aware of your brand or consider buying your product.
  • Sales and leads: Use the “Drive conversions” campaign subtype to set up action-focused video ads.
  • Expand your reach: Target people beyond search results while they’re on YouTube.
  • Retargeting: Follow up with people who've already viewed your ads or visited your site.

Shopping campaigns: Product listings on Google

Shopping campaigns are product listings that are ideal if you’re a retailer looking to sell your product inventory. Shopping ads appear on search results and the Google Shopping tab. Store owners can also use local inventory ads to promote products available at their physical locations.

Why choose Shopping campaigns?

  • Retail marketing: Use visually engaging product listings to promote your retail products.
  • Sales and leads: Get people to buy on your online store or sign up for more.
  • Boost a nearby storefront: Sell your local store inventory to nearby people.

App campaigns: Promote your app on many channels

App campaigns help you find new app users and increase sales within your app. This campaign type uses information from your app to automatically optimize ads across Search, Play, YouTube, Discover, and over 3 million sites and apps.

Why choose App campaigns?

  • App promotion: Drive installs, engagements, and signups for your app on mobile devices.
  • Multi-channel marketing: Show your app on Search, Display, Play, and YouTube under one campaign.
  • Easy setup and management: Automate targeting, bidding, and ad creation for optimal performance.

Local campaigns: Promote locations on many channels

Local campaigns help you bring people to your physical stores and venues. Your ads will be automatically optimized to appear across Search, Display, Google Maps, and YouTube.

Why choose Local campaigns?

  • In-person store sales: Use online ads to promote your inventory and bring shoppers into your physical stores.
  • Promote offers and events: Advertise in-store events and local promotions.
  • Detailed location info: Help people find your business address and hours.
  • Multi-channel marketing: Show your ads on Search, Display, Maps, and YouTube under one campaign.

Performance Max Campaigns

Starting in April, you can begin upgrading your Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to Performance Max to access additional inventory and formats across YouTube, Search text ads and Discover

Performance Max allows you to grow online, offline or omnichannel sales by unlocking all of Google’s ad inventory from a single campaign with a product feed. For example, you can transform your Video ads into your digital storefront and highlight your top products on YouTube — right where valuable customers are watching relevant video content every day.

How to Be Successful With Google Ads

Monitoring and tweaking your ads is the key to success. It's also important to give Google time to optimize the changes you've made.

It’s not enough to simply launch a new campaign. It can be tempting to set and forget, especially if you don't know what changes to make. You’ve spent hours creating campaigns, ad groups, and ads, researching keywords, creating extensions, targeting particular locations, the list goes on.

For the first few weeks, you should pretty much forget about it. But once your campaign has exited the learning phase and Google has collected data, it’s time to jump back in.

Optimizing your ads can be daunting. To make things simple, here are a few key places you should check.

The “Keywords” section is the best place to start when optimizing Search Ads

Once you log in to your Google Ads account click on the "Keywords" dropdown in the menu on the left side of your screen.

From here, you can view data on:

  1. Search Keywords
  2. Search Terms
  3. Negative Terms
  4. Auction Insights

Let's dive in.

1) Search Keywords

These are the keywords you are bidding on.  If you click on the columns button, you'll see around 100 different metrics to use to gain data insights. Beyond the usual columns like impressions, clicks, conversions, CTR, conversion rate, cost-per-click, etc. There are a few important columns you should make visible.

How to Find Quality Score in Google Ads How to Find Quality Score in Google Ads

You can find these columns under the "Quality Score" drop down toward the bottom of the list.

Quality Score gives you a sense of how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers. This score is measured on a scale from 1 to 10. Each keyword has its own quality score.

Ad Relevancy measures how closely your keyword matches the message in your ads. A below-average score may mean that your ads are too general or specific to answer the user’s query, or that this keyword isn’t relevant to your business.

Landing Page Experience estimates how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad. It takes into account factors such as how well your landing page content matches a person’s search term, and how easy it is for people to navigate your page.

Expected CTR measures how likely it is that your ad will be clicked when shown. This score is based on the past clickthrough performance of your ads.  The wording of your ads' headlines and descriptions can have a significant impact on how often they are clicked.

2) Search Terms

The ads you see when using Google depend on the search terms you enter. Essentially, an advertiser identifies the words and phrases (known as keywords) that are relevant to its business. Then, the advertiser declares a bid for each relevant keyword. A bid is the maximum amount of money the advertiser will pay per click for ads linked to a given keyword.

The "Search Terms" report is a great source for discovering what language people are using in their Google searches. Think of this as the consumers' keywords list.

Just as you provide Google with keywords you want to bid on, so too do consumers use particular words and phrases in their searches. Ideally, there is a perfect match between relevant keywords consumers are using and keywords you are bidding on.

However, these search terms are not always relevant to your business, which brings us to our third point.

3) Negative Keywords

Negative Keywords are the opposite of Keywords. These are the words and phrases for which you do NOT want your ads to show up. 

For some Google Ad bid strategies, you pay when your ads are shown in the search results, not when they're clicked. It is important to add irrelevant keywords to your Negative Keyword list so you are not paying for people who are highly unlikely to click on the ad, especially when your budget is limited.

For example, say you are a company that sells collegiate apparel. You’d want to have a keyword list that includes relevant words and phrases to your business. "Minnesota Gophers Hoodies," "Wisconsin Badgers Hats, etc.," would be Keywords to bid on.

You would not want your ads to show for a search like “NFL Apparel,” since you only carry collegiate apparel, not NFL.

Being a diligent ad manager, you decide to add “NFL” to your negative terms list. Further, let’s say you have Penn State apparel and bid on “Nittany Lions T-Shirt.” However, you look at your search terms report and see that there were 100 impressions on your ad for “Detroit Lions T-Shirt.” Why would you want to pay for an unrelated search?

The answer is, you wouldn’t, which is why it’s important to monitor the Search Terms report and update your Negative Keywords list regularly.

4) Auction Insights

This report will show you how your ads are performing compared to competitors.

The auction insights report for Search campaigns provides 6 metrics:

  • Impression share: the number of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
  • Overlap Rate: How often another advertiser’s ad received an impression in the same auction that your ad also received an impression.
  • Outranking Share: How often another advertiser’s ad in the same auction shows in a higher position than your own, when both of your ads were shown at the same time.
  • Position Above Rate: How often your ad (or the ad of another advertiser, depending on which row you're viewing) was shown at the top of the page in search results.
  • Top of Page Rate: Percent of your impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Absolute Top of the Page Rate: How often your ad ranked higher in the auction than another advertiser’s ad, or if your ad showed when theirs did not.

If you see a competitor on auction insights, it means they're bidding on similar keywords. This report will give you a good idea of who your digital competitors are. 

With Google Ads, you can get as technical as you'd like.  Between the standard reports Google provides and custom reports you can build, the possibilities are endless.

What's important is that you understand the opportunities Google Ads can provide in the realm of paid advertising. 

Interested in incorporating Google Ads into your business strategy? Let's start a conversation.

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