Google AdWords: The Good, the Bad, and The Expensive?

To the business owner, ads seem like an enticing and easy way to generate clients and revenue. And Google AdWords, at first glance, seems to be the perfect way to utilize the Internet's best search engine to make the most money. However, this isn't always the case. Below, we'll outline some of the tips and tricks for making the most of AdWords, with least cost to you and your business. 


How it Works

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising service that offers users multiple options and total control over their ad content. AdWords differs from other platforms like Facebook because it allows advertisers to reach people through a) the Google Search Network, and b) the Google Display Network. The Google Search Network works as you think it would – your ad will pop up when relevant terms are searched. The Display Network doesn’t show ads to users that are actively searching for products but places your ads on websites that Google predicts your potential clients will be browsing. Since the consumer isn’t actively searching, they’re less likely to click on your banner ads, but it’s a good way to get entice consumers who have already seen your site to revisit it. 

AdWords works on a PPC bidding system, where companies and advertisers bid to get their ads shown to relevant audiences. Your ad position is ultimately based on your advertising rank, which is a combination of your maximum bid multiplied by your quality score. The maximum bid is how much you’re willing to pay per click on your ads, and the quality score is how well your ad is optimized and relevant. The quality score is based in three major factors per ad campaign: the landing page, and how the user experience is, the ad relevance, and the expected click-through-rate, and if it’s higher than the average. This overall determines how the Google AdWords algorithm will position your ad in relation to your competitors.


Some of the obvious benefits of AdWords are that:

  •  It’s easy to enter
  • It’s easy to track and provides a lot of useful data
  • It’s a pay-per-click service (if they don’t click, you don’t pay!)
  •  And it works with other marketing programs

 But the biggest benefit to companies is that, with AdWords, you’re in control. You can control the keywords that are sent to potential consumers, the budget, and how wide or narrow your target is. It’s quick and easy to edit campaigns in AdWords – if you notice a campaign is doing well, you can scale up immediately, or reduce an unsuccessful campaign.

Tips and Tricks for Success

It’s easy to make a lot of money on AdWords… but equally as easy to spend a lot of money with little return. So it’s important, very important, to do your research before investing in the service. Below, I’ve compiled some of the best tips the web has to offer.                                                         Image Source                                                                                                                                                    

  1. Set your goals! Before starting an AdWords campaign, know specifically what you want to achieve with your campaign – whether that’s a certain amount of leads, phone calls, sales, sign ups, etc. The more planning you do before paying for a campaign, the more you’ll be able to maximize the service, and you’ll know how to set up and manage your campaign.
  2. Do your research: This is the most important part of setting up an AdWords campaign. Below, I’ve outlined several types of research that are integral to the success of your campaign.
    1. Industry research – Research your industry to gauge the average cost per click for your specific industry so you have an idea of a) how much you initially should invest in AdWords, and b) how much it costs to land a conversion. Understanding how much your industry’s cost-per-click is allows to get a pulse on the market and allows you to track your campaign to see how well it’s doing in relation to your competitors.
    2. Competitive research – Competitive research allows you to utilize AdWords to both reach new clients and poach clients from competitors. First, it’s important to research your competitors to understand what keywords they’re bidding on and look at their ads and copy. Find how consumers react to their content, and tailor yours to meet the needs your competitors can’t. An alternate use of AdWords, poaching clients, can be done by setting up your ads alongside competitors’ ads, therefore injecting your name into the conversation of an on-the-fence client, or bidding on misspelled versions of your competitor’s brand names to, again, get your name in the conversation with relatively low spend.
    3. Audience research – Figure out what your audience is, and isn’t searching for, and what they love and hate. See how they react to your competitors, and tailor your ads to fit those feelings. Almost, if not more, important than determining what your audience is searching for is determining what they’re not searching for. By using ‘negative keywords’, you can ensure that your ads won’t come up in searches that wouldn’t match your services – avoiding the unnecessary cost of someone’s click, especially if your service isn’t really what they’re looking for. Researching your audience can also give you the tools to funnel people who aren’t ready to buy into different channels or figure out how to gain repeat customers. It’s important to know who your audience is, and what they want so you can tailor your content to reaching them.
  3. Determine your keywords – Without a doubt, the most important part of your AdWords campaign. Keyword research is integral to determine the most relevant keywords that people use to find your services and company. Keyword research combines the other types of research discussed above and provides the foundation for a strong campaign. Below, strategies for determining keywords and ways to target consumers with keywords will be discussed in greater detail.
    1. Use exact match keywords: When first starting an AdWords campaign, keep the keyword list small (5-15), and add any successful keywords to your Exact Match keywords. This ensures that only your ads are displayed when someone types that exact term into Google, and that your ads come up for what you - not Google - thinks is relevant.
    2. Edit and group your keywords over time: Since Google AdWords is so flexible and responsive you can narrow down your keywords as ones prove to be more and less effective whenever you want – remove those that aren’t generating revenue and expand on those that do. Group successful keywords into Ad Groups to tightly target potential customers and those just doing research. It’s important to remember each keyword represents a conversation someone is having about your product and company, so you want to make that conversation as specific as possible.
  4.  Segment your ads per platform – Go with relevant, unique and proven ads that reflect the same message on all your landing and offer pages. Equally as important, to make sure those ads are tailored between Mobile/Search network/Display network, as the traffic, viewing methods, and type of consumer are all different depending on the platform, and your ads should adjust for that.
  5. Track Conversions: Lastly, and most importantly, track any results from AdWords – downloads, sign-ups, web traffic, etc. Compare these results using AdWords or other softwares to see how your campaigns are meeting your goals, and see where to cut costs and where to funnel more money. This also allows you to find keywords that are best for you SEO, to test messages for your consumer, and overall increase your web traffic.

With patience, a lot of research, and not necessarily as much money as you think, your business can utilize AdWords to maximize profit, achieve higher SEO, and bring your business to the next level. All it takes is some time and good management, as does everything in business.


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