An introduction into the basics of Google AdWords

Need to start a marketing campaign on Google AdWords? This will help for people who don’t know where to start

Search Engine Marketing is one of the most powerful tools for increasing traffic to your online marketplace.

While companies work on improving their SEO, advertising on Google AdWords provides a head start in reaching an audience.

While Google has provided a comprehensive self-serve guide for everyone to learn how to use AdWords, it certainly helps to know the basics and best practices before launching an AdWords campaign.

The Basics of SEM

What’s great about SEM is that it’s hardly considered intrusive or annoying like traditional ads. When advertising on Google Search, customers are looking for an answer to their question, a solution to their problem, or simply to fulfil their wants and needs.

Google AdWords offers a targeted approach to advertising, as entrepreneurs can target specific keywords, interests, and devices.

Google shows a maximum of four paid search slots on top of the organic results, and a maximum of three slots below. Ads also show on a Google Map search — and the company can choose where it appears and only when people are searching for the type of products or services you offer.

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To test AdWords for free and download the complete resources, Marketers first need to sign up for Google Partners as an agency. Click on Certification > AdWords > AdWords Fundamentals, and download the exam guide.

What determines an ad rank?

Everyone is vying for the top ad position, which is only awarded to the bidder with the highest ad rank. Based on the formulas below, it’s possible to get a better ad rank than the competition without simply out-paying the field. It revolves around quality score.

Your ad rank = Max Cost Per Click (CPC) x quality score

Photo credit: Neil Patel.

The higher the quality score, the less a company has to pay for the same spot. The quality score, which is measured on campaign level, is determined by the following:

·         Clickthrough rate (CTR = clicks/impressions. It has to be above 5 per cent)

·         Relevancy (keywords and landing page must have exactly the same words)

·         Landing page quality (mobile responsiveness, load time, etc)

Note that the actual CPC = (Ad rank of next competitor/your quality score) + $0.01. With CPC bidding, a company is only charged when someone clicks the ad. The team decides how much they want to spend monthly, and Google will charge accordingly.

Next, let’s see how to set up your AdWords campaign.

Step 1: Define your campaign objectives

Under the AdWords account there are several different campaigns and each campaign can contain different ad groups targeted with different keywords. At the campaign level, the marketing team manages the daily budget, bidding style (manual or automatic), network targeting, and location/language targeting. At ad group level, they can manage the keywords and ad copy.

It’s recommended that companies organise campaign and ad groups into common themes. The more specific the ad group, the better the quality score will be because keywords will be more relevant to the landing page.

Photo credit: NPG.

Here are some examples of well-grouped campaigns: 

Browsing: The objectives are to capture users at either browsing, evaluating, or completing stage.

  • Keywords: Car rental in Sydney

Evaluating: At this stage, the user is engaging in initial search using general search terms.

  • Keywords: Cheapest car rental Sydney, Car rental review Australia

Completing: The user is using more specific keywords, likely comparing and reviewing the choices.

  • Keywords: Book Avis Australia, Avis Australia promo

Step 2: Use Keyword Planner for research on relevancy and price

Google keywords should not be too general, but also not too specific. Avoid one-word or long-tailed keywords.

To build the keyword list, it’s important to brainstorm, use searches for similar or competing brands, talk to customers about what they search, and find related keywords using the Google Keyword Planner (available in the Tools menu). Also, make sure the keywords appear on the designated landing page.

In certain cases, putting the top domain page as the landing page may decrease relevancy.

Photo credit: WordStream.

It’s recommended to use exact and phrase keywords to improve cost-per-click. Broad match keywords are likely to negatively affect the quality score.

However, it’s useful to use negative keywords to narrow the search terms your ads will appear on. Negative keywords are written with by adding a minus sign before the keyword.

Note that brand keywords see the most conversions and are commonly used for mature industries. Businesses in new industries should spend on non-brand keywords.

Step 3: Create the ads

To write your ads, you have to know the text format:

Photo credit: Moz.

Great text ads typically state location in the URL, a unique proposition, a value proposition (savings and discounts), and a call to action.

Also, make sure to use proper grammar and punctuation and avoid pitfalls like “click here”, superlatives, claims, and brand hijacking.

There is also a way to get free ad extensions! Startups can make their ads longer by adding location and contact number (managed through your Google My Business account), two-to-six site links on browser or four sitelinks on mobile, reviews, and extra words (callout extension). However, extensions may not show if the website has a low quality score.

When creating the ad, select Search Network and/or Display Network, opt a campaign out of mobile, select locations and city exclusions, and languages. Enter a campaign name.

The best practice for naming the campaign would be to indicate Search or Display, country, language, then name of campaign. Select all languages and set the delivery method as standard.

Step 4: Bidding

This is where a company sets the maximum price per click and where they can bid for individual keywords. Google will be given the choice of manual or automatic cost-per-click bidding.

For beginners, it’s safest to use automatic to maximise clicks. There’s also an option to use enhanced cost-per-click, which means Google optimises display but also bids for the keywords.

Later during the campaign, marketers can start to use Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) bids for conversion focus.

This requires a company to have conversions in the last 30 days of the campaign and to have conversion tracking set up. Then the team can target cost per acquisition, which depends on the profit expected per acquisition and the cost of the product or service.

Step 5: Optimise the campaign

AdWords will allow Marketers to monitor results and optimise your campaign through A/B testing. Several ways to optimise a campaign includes improving the ad copy and free extensions, add new ad groups and add keywords as well as negative keywords.

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The Opportunities tab on your AdWords dashboard advises you on how you can maximie your campaign.

So there you have it, that should provide a nice introduction for people thinking of using buying a Google ad campaign for the first time.

About the writer: Clarissa Santoso is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Arcadier, a SaaS company that powers next generation marketplace ideas. You can follow Arcadier on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for the latest insights on the sharing economy.

Copyright: wdnet / 123RF Stock Photo

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