Digital advertising is a small business necessity to help you carve out a niche and gain market share. Google Ads is the go-to for small businesses, but it takes some know-how to make it work for you and maximize your advertising budget. This beginner’s guide will introduce you to Google ads for small businesses to help you understand how to introduce ads into your marketing strategy.

Google Ads 101

Google Ads is an online advertising platform offering the following types of ads:

  • Text format search engine
  • Video
  • Banner
  • YouTube
  • Other display options

They account for over 28% of all ad revenue, appearing across Google search results and millions of Google partner websites. Advertisers use the platform to write, bid on and place ads and use a pay-per-action pricing model that is calculated most commonly as cost-per-clicks (CPC). As a result, it can be a cost-effective advertising option as you only pay when a user clicks your ad.

Where it gets complicated is the bidding element of the ads, as it can be hard to compete with larger businesses in your industry. For example, your bid might not even make it if it’s below the perceived value Google applies to the keyword. Therefore, you need a strategy that considers the competing brands using your preferred keywords, search volume, and reach.

You also need to understand how to rank with a strategic “maximum bid” so you can see improved results. Bidding options include:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC) based on users clicking your ad
  • Cost-per-mille (CPM) based on 1,000 ad impression chunks
  • Cost-per-engagement (CPE) is based on a specific action like watching a video or signing up for your mailing list

Along with your maximum bids, you also set a campaign budget, which can be based on a daily average budget where Google manages your individual ad bids or based on both your overall budget and fine-tuning the maximum bid per ad. A daily budget tends to work best for newbies as it tends to be more economical.

The final aspect of Google Ads is the Quality Score Google uses to choose the best ad for the keyword. You are ranked from 1 to 10, where a high score makes you a good match and a low score means you’re not a match at all.

What are the Types of Google Ads?

Google paid advertising options include:

Responsive search ads

These are text-based ads that show up on the search results page on Google. They are the best ads to use for just about anyone and a great way to boost your organic SEO.

Performance Max ads

This is more of a strategy and is used to meet specific goals to see more conversions. These ads complement existing campaigns and are said to see 18% better performance than standard ads.

Discovery ads

These ads appear on pages like YouTube’s homepage, Watch Next page ads, Gmail inbox ads, and Google searches with a focus on the intent to shop. Google’s criteria to show these ads to users helps you reach a targeted audience based on things like web and app activity, location, and even contacts. They are used when you have several other campaigns and assets on the go and want to either increase sales or retarget customers.

YouTube ads

YouTube ads play on YouTube videos but can also appear on pages like the homepage, playlists, or watch later page. Your videos are shown based on the users’ interests and history, as well as your campaign goals and target settings. You can choose bumper ads viewers can’t skip, In-stream ads that are unskippable or can be skipped after five seconds, or Outstream ads played only on Google video ad partners as opposed to YouTube. These ads are perfect for things like product launches, brand awareness or new offers, but if you have high-quality video content, you can meet any campaign goal.

What Are The Types Of Google Ads

Display ads

Available in images or videos, these ads appear across millions of websites worldwide participating in Google’s Display Network and Google sites such as YouTube. Moving into 2024, best practices will be to upload assets and allow Google AI to combine your assets to target your audience. You should definitely use Display ads when you have high-quality visual assets but also to retarget an audience.

Shopping ads

Shopping ads showcase your products in e-commerce optimized ads appearing on Google Search and Display networks, YouTube, and Gmail. They use automatic targeting and your most relevant products based on searches. These listings also appear in paid advertising and organic results. This is a must if you are an e-commerce retailer, as it allows shoppers to click your ad and make a purchase.

App ads

App ads target users to download your iOS or Android apps and can be made using your images, videos, and content directly from your app store. You can also opt to upload different media, but why waste the time? Just be aware you need 50,000 app installs to be eligible.

Smart campaigns

Smart ads use Google Ads’ AI-powered bidding, targeting, or ad placement strategies, allowing you to meet certain goals, including:

  • Get more leads (calls)
  • Get more physical business location visits
  • Get more website sales or sign-ups
  • Brand awareness (video campaigns)

This is very useful if this is your first rodeo, as it allows you to be set up in less than 15 minutes. But it works equally well for savvy users who want to save time and perform better.

Google Ad Costs

Small businesses love Google ads because they make it easy to set a budget without any restrictions. You can spend as much or as little as you want and not have to worry about tracking expenses as the campaign ends when your budget is reached. But just how affordable are Google ads? It depends on your industry and location.

For example, if you look at the real estate industry in the U.S., the average CPC is $1.87, but this drops to $0.78 USD in the UK and $0.63 USD in Canada. Unfortunately, the U.S. has the highest CPCs in the world, and when looking at the overall average, this works out to $1.99 USD.

Factors Impacting Google Ad Costs

Factors impacting cost include:

  • Targeting strategy
  • Ad creative
  • Keywords
  • Headline copy
  • Campaign goal
  • Whether it’s a Performance Max campaign or not
  • Whether you’re using manual or automatic bidding

So really, it all boils down to your budget, how much you are willing to bid, and how competitive your keywords are.

Google Ads Keyword Research

Choosing Google Ads Keywords is tricky. You need to be able to afford the keywords yet also use relevant keywords that will find qualified leads. There are three keyword match types for Google Ads: Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match. The best match type for beginners tends to be phrase match, as they match search queries with a similar meaning to your top keywords. As a result, you are more likely to find relevance and affordability for your ideal search queries.

Your ads will be more successful if you match your keywords to landing pages with relevant messaging to help increase conversions. Therefore, you should choose keywords based on landing page content and the goals you wish to achieve when someone arrives at that page.

Use Google’s Keyword Planner to search keywords and find a list of relevant keywords, monthly search volume, top-of-page CPC bid ranges, and competition level for each keyword. You can add up to 10 related keywords to generate more relevant keywords.

You can also enter a competitor’s website URL to find keyword ideas from their ad landing pages. Increasing the number of keywords you enter and using competitor landing pages is the best way to find long-tail keywords that might be less competitive and, therefore, more affordable when it comes to the average bids.

Google Ads also provides search terms reports once your campaigns are up and running. This is another tool for keyword research, as you’ll see the search queries that showed your ad, allowing you to find relevant keywords to optimize your landing pages.

Be sure to leverage negative keywords to exclude search terms from your campaigns that you are less likely to rank for or that are misleading in relation to your ads. A classic example Google provides for negative keywords is drinking glasses and eyeglasses. If you are selling either of these, you want to eliminate searches for the other.

You also have the choice to choose keywords when creating a new campaign. Some people find this easier, as you can enter your main search term to generate keyword ideas to target directly through your Google Ads campaign.

Create a Google ad in 5 Steps

Ready to create your first Google ad? Follow these steps:

Steps To Create A Google Ad

  1. Open Your Google Ads account
  2. Create your first campaign
  3. Set a bidding strategy
  4. Target your audience
  5. Create ads

Want to improve your campaign performance? Use these tips:

  • Leverage headlines: You can add up to 15 headlines for each ad, allowing Google to decide which one is most likely to perform best based on the search.
  • Experiment with ads: Experimenting with different copy, visuals, headings, CTAs, etc., allows you to see what works best and create new variations based on the most successful elements of your A/B testing.
  • Use effective CTAs: Use clear, simple CTAs to get viewers to follow through on your objectives.
  • Leverage ad attributes: Although attributes are optional, using attributes helps capture attention.

Tips To Improve Your Google Ad Campaign Performance

Budgeting Your Google Ads Campaigns

To make the most of your budget and increase marketing ROI, use these smart tips:

  • Use pay-per-click ads to maintain control over your ad spend
  • Prioritize ad spend based on the purpose of each campaign
  • Connect your Google Ads and Analytics accounts so you understand customer behavior in relation to clicks to ensure your ad links are leading people to the most relevant information
  • Focus on search ads to see better ROI from your clicks
  • Target specific locations to promote your local business and drive more relevant traffic
  • Target a lower position in search results to increase your ads of reaching a higher ranking and reduce your need for higher bids
  • Use long-tail keywords to improve relevancy and reduce cost per click
  • Continue to monitor and adjust your ads, setting new priorities and allotments for campaigns based on results

This guide can help you set your sites on the right ad type, improve your keyword research, and budget wisely. As a result, you can also connect with the right customers and increase your ROI while meeting your business goals.

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