We’ve all seen Google Ads campaigns, even if we don’t realise it. Whenever you use the search engine, you’ll probably see ads at the top of the first results page and in the Shopping tab. You can find them on websites, YouTube and even in Gmail.
Everyone wants to bring more traffic to their website, and pay-per-click campaigns are a great way to do that. You can advertise specifically to users who are likely to be interested in what you offer and track the results. But why should you focus on Google Ads?
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is a platform that allows you to advertise on Google as well as elsewhere through the Display Network and AdSense program. With over 2 million sites in the Google Display Network, it’s a great way to put your brand in front of new people and drive more targeted traffic to your landing pages.
You’re not limited to running just one type of ad, either. You can run five different types of campaigns:
- Search Network, which shows your ads on Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Google Shopping and more
- Display Network, which puts visual and text ads in front of users on the Google Display Network
- Shopping, which uses your product data to match with search terms instead of keywords
- Video, which display on YouTube and elsewhere on the Google Display Network
- App, which can be shown on Google Play, Google Discover and other Google and affiliate sites that support app campaigns
Ad extensions also mean that you can use phone numbers, benefits and more to increase your click-through rates.
How does Google Ads work?
Google Ads works through auctions. Advertisers choose the terms they want to target and then place bids based on how much they’re willing to pay for someone to click on their ad.
This bid is then combined with their Quality Score to determine whether or not the ad will appear.
How much you actually pay for the click – the cost per click (CPC) – is calculated using this formula:
(Competitor AdRank ÷ your Quality Score) + 0.1 = your actual CPC
Optimising your Quality Score and bid amount will help you win more auctions. Your Quality Score is affected by:
- The relevance of your ad to the keyword
- How relevant your landing page is
- Your ad’s historical click-through rate (CTR)
- Your overall historical account performance
20 years of Google Ads
Google AdWords was born in 2000 as a pay-monthly service. Google would set up and manage campaigns before introducing a self-service portal for those who wanted to do it themselves.
In 2003 the AdSense program was launched, meaning that ads could be displayed on websites.
2005 saw the advent of both site targeting and Quality Score, while demographic targeting came a year later in 2006. Local listings were launched just a few weeks after.
The next few years saw improvements being rolled out, as well as new tools like the Display Ad Builder and Search Keyword Tool.
The phone ad extension was released in March 2010, quickly followed by remarketing capabilities and seller rating extensions.
2011 was a big year for Google Ads, with negative keywords, longer headlines and physical location targeting all making an appearance.
Shopping campaigns became available globally in 2014, and Gmail ads were launched a year later in 2015.
In 2016, the SERPs changed – ads were no longer displayed on the right-hand side of the page. Instead, they began to appear above the organic results. This year also saw expanded text ads make their debut.
Custom intent audiences were built in 2017 and then in 2018, Google AdWords rebranded.
Now known simply as Google Ads, responsive Search ads were made available to all advertisers in 2019.
But Google Ads shows no signs of slowing down. Free Google Shopping listings have been rolled out worldwide in 2020, and more is yet to come.
20 reasons why you should be using Google Ads
1. Your ads are seen by more people
Google is the preferred search engine for most of the world and the Google Ads program even reaches people who use others. As a result, the Google Display Network’s reach is unbelievable – ads can be put in front of 90% of online consumers.
More people viewing your ads leads to more brand awareness. With Display ads, your business has been put right in front of your desired audiences based on interests, demographics and more. In fact, you’ll find your brand awareness increase by an average of 6.6% – and you’re only paying for clicks, not impressions.
2. Search ads get prime position
When it comes to the SERPs, everyone wants to be the first page. The higher you are up the page, the better, until you reach the coveted first position.
Search ads put your brand and landing page above that. Most search queries have three or four ads sitting above the organic results, so you’re seen first and you have the added benefit of sitting above the fold.
3. High-quality traffic is driven to your site
Google has become known for displaying results that are relevant to a searcher’s intent. This extends to advertising, too. But this doesn’t just benefit the user – it’s great for advertisers.
High-quality traffic is sent to your website because your ad has appeared for a keyword that’s relevant to the product or service you offer. If your landing page provides a great user experience, you could even turn those leads into conversions.
4. You can target every part of a buyer’s journey
Whether someone’s at the top or the bottom of your sales funnel, Google Ads will help you bring them to your website. Bidding on both broad and long-tail keywords and supplying relevant landing pages will help with brand awareness, leads and conversions.
5. Keyword matches save you time
You know your audience and what they’re looking for. (At least, you should.) Setting different types of keyword matches can help you to drive the most appropriate traffic through to your website. You can use:
- Broad match, so your ad appears when searchers have misspelled terms, typed synonyms or looked for something similar
- Phrase match, which will show your ad on searches that match a phrase, or close variations of it
- Exact match, which will only display your ad on searches that match the exact term or close variations
- Negative keywords, so that your ad doesn’t show for specific search terms
It’s worth remembering that people using long-tail search queries often have more intent to buy. It’s in your best interests to have some campaigns set up to bring these users to your site.
You can also use dynamic keyword insertion so that your ads show the actual search term that people are using in the headline. It’s an advanced feature and we’d recommend doing some thorough research on it before you try using it, though.
6. The ad formats are more engaging
Google loves finding new ways to do things – that’s why so many different ad types have been launched over the years. It helps that when it comes to advertising, the search engine giant is on your side – in most cases, if you don’t earn money from people clicking on your ads, neither do they.
As a result, ad formats have changed to become more engaging for users. Product listings on Google Shopping and video ads on YouTube are full of rich content that makes users want to click on them, so you’ll see an increase in your click-through rate.
We couldn’t forget about HTML5 ads, either. More attractive to click on and less intrusive to look at, they can be interactive and draw users in, boosting your click-through rate. You can turn your adverts into games with a few clicks thanks to Google Web Designer, Bannersnack and more.
7. You can set up remarketing
Someone’s visited your site, looked around a bit and then left. They’re clearly in the market for what you’re selling, so how can you bring them back?
Google Ads offers remarketing campaigns, so you can make sure your brand stays on people’s minds. These targeted ads show on the Display Network, YouTube and elsewhere. All you need to do is add a tag or pixel – a piece of code – to your website so that users can be added to your remarketing audiences through browser cookies.
8. You’re in control of your budget
Gone are the days of waking up in a hot sweat because you might’ve spent more than your budget. With Google Ads, you’re in complete control.
You can set the average amount you want to spend in a day, and you can change it at any time. There may be some days you go a little over, but there’ll be some where you’re a little under, too, so it all balances out.
9. You’re completely in control
Money isn’t the only thing you can manage – everything in Google Ads is customisable. You write and optimise your ad copy so that it fits your business, and you choose the keywords you want to appear for.
Everything can be changed whenever you want. If you want to stop a campaign, you can with the click of a button.
10. Smart campaigns mean you can be hands-off
If you don’t have the time or the know-how, a Smart campaign means that beyond the basic information, Google is in charge of your campaign. Setting up your first campaign is really easy:
- Head to Google Ads
- Sign in to your Google account, or create a new one
- Select New Google Ads Account
- Identify your main advertising goal
- Fill in your business name
- Enter your website address
- Write your first ad
- Choose your keyword themes
- Set your ad location
- Set your budget
- Get advertising
11. You get results fast
There’s no waiting around for reports with Google Ads – up-to-date information is ready and waiting. The best part is it’s in an easy-to-read format; Google is a fan of no-fuss solutions.
Impressions and clicks will appear almost instantly in your account, so whenever you take a look, you’ll always have the most recent data.
12. You get a high return on investment
Because you only pay for clicks, not impressions, you’re almost always paying for a high-intent customer. After that, it’s down to your website to convert them. It may take a while to optimise your campaigns, but once you do, your return on investment will make it all worthwhile.
When you find an area that works well, there may be an opportunity for you to increase your budgets and invest more money into it. On the other hand, if you’re not getting the returns you need, make changes or get rid of keywords and ads.
13. You can track your conversions
Whether you’re after sales, sign-ups or anything else, you can track your conversions with Google Ads. Through this tool, you can find out what actions people have taken on your site after clicking on your ad. All you have to do is input your conversion goal and let the data roll in.
14. It integrates with Google Analytics
Linking your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts is completely free. Doing this means you can easily collate data into reports, import remarketing audiences and show you just how much of your website traffic is coming from Google Ads.
Google likes to support users every step of the way, so you can find more information about optimising your linked accounts in their help centre.
15. It’s faster than SEO
We all know how important SEO is – your website can’t be found on search engines without it. The only problem is that it takes a while for your SEO tactics to produce results. That’s where PPC can step in. With Google Ads, you can start getting impressions and clicks straight away.
16. It’s often easier than SEO
There’s always more to SEO than meets the eye. From tackling backlink profiles to writing engaging content, there are so many ongoing tasks to keep your website up to date – not to mention in line with algorithm updates. PPC is much simpler.
Setting up and monitoring campaigns doesn’t take as long, and changes can create near-instant results.
17. You can choose your bid strategy
There’s no one way to bid on Google Ads – you can choose the method that suits you and your business. This includes:
- Cost per click (CPC) is recommended by Google and means you pay every time someone clicks on your ad
- Cost per thousand viewable impressions (CPM) is best if you’re trying to build brand awareness, although it’s only available on the Display Network
- Cost per action (CPA) is what you should use if you’re looking for conversions like purchases and sign-ups
Make sure that your campaigns all play a role in reaching your business goals and don’t forget about Smart Bidding. With this, you can use seasonality adjustments and automatically adjust your bidding based on the most accurate conversion data available.
18. There’s a great support centre
If you ever run into trouble with Google Ads, there’s always help out there. Google Ads Help is full of articles and tutorials to set up, optimise and track your campaigns, while the Community page means you can ask and answer questions from users all over the world.
Support stretches beyond official Google channels, though. If an agency is a Google Premier Partner, it means it’s full of experts who can give you a helping hand or even run your campaigns for you.
19. You can run more than one account
You’re not limited to just one account on Google Ads. If you have more than one business, you can run them both and switch between them. Google even has tools for anyone who has multiple or large accounts, so that you can make changes easily.
20. Your competitors are using it
Whether you like it or not, your competitors are probably using Google Ads. Why wouldn’t they? With the ability to target locations, people with certain interests, and even specify times of day you want your ads to appear, you’d be a fool not to realise how much you could be making.
What’s your experience with Google Ads? Are you new to the platform, an old hat, or someone who’s looking to try it out? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @TeamTillison.