Google Adwords is a very powerful advertising platform that has many advantages over other forms of advertising, both online and offline.
If you do a search on Google you may notice that some of the results have a little green “Ad” icon next to them.
Here I did a quick search for “houses in calgary” and as you can see the first 4 results are all Google Adwords ads.
How it Works
Google Adwords and other forms of Pay Per Click advertising on other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo is pretty simple in theory.
You create an ad for your product or service and you choose which keywords you want your ad to show up for.
If you own an Italian restaurant for example you can select keywords like “italian restaurants in *whatever neighbourhood*”. Then people who are already looking for what you have to offer will see your ad.
In general you’re charged per click which is why this type of advertising is called Pay Per Click or PPC for short.
You pay for the ads using a bidding system. You tell Google Adwords the maximum amount of money you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad through to your website.
Google Adwords then compares your bid to other advertisers who are also bidding on that keyword. Whoever bids the most has their ad show up the highest in the search results.
You will never be charged more than you bid and you can also set a daily limit so you’ll never wake up and find that you’ve been charged thousands of dollars.
Benefits over Traditional Advertising
Not only is running an ad in a newspaper or on the radio incredibly expensive but you also have no control over who sees your ad or if anyone even sees your ad at all.
If you’re selling cars and you run an ad in the paper you don’t know if people who are thinking about buying a car will see your ad.
With Google Adwords on the other hand you can show your ads to people whore are specifically searching for what you have to offer. You won’t waste money showing your ad to people who have no interest in you or your products.
Another benefit is that you only pay when people click your ad and visit your website.
With traditional advertising you have to pay a set amount to run your ad. If you get people contacting you then that’s great, if no one cares then you still get charged.
Everything with Google Adwords is trackable as well. You can pull reports on pretty much any information you want such as how many clicks you get, how much they cost, what keywords are getting you the most clicks, etc.
You can even use something called conversion tracking and track how many people clicked your ad and then either contacted you through your website or made a purchase through your online store.
You should always be following the 10 Rules of Direct Marketing with all your advertising and Google Adwords makes rule #4 easy.
Rule #4: There Will Be Tracking, Measurement and Accountability
Benefits over Search Engine Optimization
SEO can be a huge amount of work, especially if you have a brand new website in an industry with a lot of competition.
In some cases spending money on PPC advertising can be less expensive than investing in a huge search engine optimization campaign.
Plus no matter how good you are with SEO it takes time for your website to slowly crawl up the search engine rankings.
With PPC advertising your ads are usually approved in under 24 hours and you’ll start getting traffic to your website immediately after that.
Running a Google Adwords Campaign
A lot of people have the wrong idea when it comes to how to run a Google Adwords campaign.
Often companies will throw large amounts of money in order to be number 1 in the search results.
Other companies will try to bid as low as possible for their keywords which results in the system not showing their ads at all.
When it comes to running a Google Adwords campaign the first thing you have to do is determine your budget.
Lets say you decide that you have $1,000 to spend on Google Adwords in one month. You then have two major goals to think about.
1) How much traffic can you get to your website for your budget?
You don’t have to be in the first position on Google to maximize the number of clicks you get to your website.
Say you have a $10 limit on spending each day and being #1 on Google costs $1.
In one day you’ll get at most 10 clicks to your website and after that your ads won’t show for the rest of the day.
On the other hand lets say being #3 on Google costs $0.50. People may still like your ad better and click through it instead of the #1 ad.
This way you could potentially get 20 clicks to your website in a day before your ads stop showing.
The goal is to maximize the amount of traffic to your website. Having your ad show in the 3rd position but getting 20 clicks to your site is much better than having your ad show in the 1st position but only getting 10 clicks to your site.
Once your ads start running you can start gathering data so you can play around with your bids to determine the optimism amount of money to spend per click to get the maximum amount of traffic.
2) Is this traffic converting?
Getting traffic to your website is great but ultimately you’re advertising so that people will buy what you have to sell.
Fortunately this is completely trackable as well.
If you have an online store you can embed a tracking code in your check out page and tell how many people clicked on an ad and then bought something.
If you’re website is set up to collect leads then you can embed a tracking code into your contact forms and see how many people clicked on an ad and then contacted you through your website.
You can even get fancy and use tracking phone numbers that show different phone numbers on your website for people who click on an ad and those who don’t.
Once you’ve optimized the amount of traffic you’re getting for your budget you want to start looking at which keywords and ads are bringing in the most conversions and then shift more of your budget there to optimize your ads further.
Google Adwords can seem pretty complex but it’s actually not that bad. Plus it’s a fantastic alternative to traditional advertising and it’s quite easy to follow the 10 Laws of Direct Marketing with your ads.
In my next post I’ll cover how to set up a simple Adwords campaign and how to monitor the results.
I’ll probably do a couple more Adwords themed posts as well covering conversion tracking, campaign optimization and other tips and tricks I’ve learned.
If you have any questions or there’s something specific about Google Adwords that you’d like me to cover, let me know in the comments.
This post appeared on the Realty Digital Marketing Professional Community here: An Introduction to Google Adwords and Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising