You’ve heard about Google Adwords or Pay Per Click campaigns to bring people to your website, but you don’t know what’s involved, or how to get started. This blog post will help you take your first steps to enticing additional visitors to your website, and inspiring those visitors to take action (buy, browse or enquire).
Before we get into that, a quick summary of Google Adword… Google’s paid text ads can appear at the top, in amongst, or at the bottom of, the regular (referred to as ‘organic’ in the web developer world) search results. The text ads have a set format specified by Google. You can recognise the ads by a small orange image that says ‘Ad’ – well, that’s for the moment, Google changes ad positions and styles from time to time. Your ads can also appear in the ‘Display Network’ – websites of organisations or individuals who have decided to try earn some extra revenue by being paid by Google to display your ads. The feature embedded into 3rd party websites to show Google ads is called ‘Google Adsense’.
You can also setup image ads, which can encourage more people to notice and click through. Google more recently has implemented an initiative called ‘Re-marketing’ whereby Google tracks who is visiting the websites of advertisers, and then show that advertisers’ ads to those same people when they visit other sites containing Google Adsense. In a way the ad “follows” the person. This strategy is clearly very effective in getting a person to return and buy the product or service being advertised, however, it can be disconcerting / annoying for some. You need to specifically set up Google Re-marketing if you want your ads to follow people around.
The Google Shopping Feed is another tool for inserting your products into search engine results.
Whenever a person clicks on your ad, they are taken to a page of your website that you specify, and in doing so, are causing you to owe Google a small fee for that click. The fee amount depends on numerous factors, but will usually be around the same amount for a specific ad – when you setup the ad, Google will tell you the likely cost per click. When you setup your ads, you will also set a daily budget for click costs per day, and Google will not exceed that cost.
That’s the summary… now, back to getting started!
Step #1 – your objectives
Knowing what your objectives are is essential for achieving them!
Your objectives for your Google Ads are likely to be phrased in one of the following formats:
- Attract 50 new visitors looking for product/service XYZ per month, in order to receive 25 enquiries and convert 10 into new customers
- Attract 500 new visitors requiring service XYZ, in order to add 400 people to our email database
- Attract 1000 people wanting to purchase XYZ product, in order to sell 250 products
It can be tempting for business owners to think that they want unlimited new visitors to their website… why put a number on it!? However, in reality, unless your product or service is 100% delivered in a hands-off manner, there will be a limit to the number you can sell in any given month based on your current stock / staffing / processes etc.
Step #2 – writing your ads
Your ads will potentially appear in amongst ads of your competitors and/or in amongst other search engine results, so it is important that your ad stands out or grabs the attention of the searcher, to be more likely to be clicked.
Before writing ads for our clients, we always look at the ads of competitors, and ensure that we take a different approach.
The set format for ads means that there are very few words for you to play with, so writing a succinct but attention-grabbing ad, which appropriately represents your organisation and the destination page, can be tricky!
Step #3 – tailoring the destination page
Your ad needs to deliver – when the searcher clicks on the ad, it MUST take the person to a relevant page of your website that meets the expectation set by the ad. If it doesn’t, the searcher will disappear in an instant (but you’ve paid for that visit), and your reputation will suffer a tiny bit of damage because you have just wasted that person’s time.
The destination page – also called the ‘landing page’ – will likely need some adjustment to ensure that the searcher knows in an instant that they are in the right place. Repeating that text of your add in the first heading and paragraph of the landing page is one way to achieve this.
The landing page should also include a relevant ‘call to action’ related to the ad. Depending on your objectives, your call to action could be ‘sign up for our newsletter’ or it could be ‘buy now’… Calls to action are often brightly designed images hyperlinked to another page of your site, or text hyperlinks.
Because of the need to tailor the destination page to ensure that the ad, for which you have paid, delivers the highest return on investment, often you are better off creating a specific landing page for every ad you run.
Step #4 – setting up your ads
Once you have your ads written, and landing pages ready to go, you need to setup your ads inside the Google Adwords tool: https://www.google.com.au/adwords/ You need to have a Google Account to login and start configuring your ads. You also need to attach a credit card to your Google Adwords Account in order to start your ads running.
The Google Adwords tool can be a little confusing at first, because there are so many settings and options for your ads. So, if you are going to do this step yourself, you are wise to work your way through some Google Tutorials on how it is done.
Some important settings to look out for when setting up your ads:
- Keywords – you associate each ad with a set of keywords, and these keywords are the main factor in the cost per click charged by Google for your ad. Google provides a tool for helping you choose appropriate keywords. The most cost effective keywords are those with low competitor activity (few others bidding for that word / phrase) yet a high number of monthly searches.
- Exact or broad match – the Adwords tool defaults your keywords to ‘broad’ match, meaning that if any of the words in your keyword or phrase appear in any part of the search term entered by the searcher, or synonyms of your keywords, then your ad can be displayed. For example, if the key phrase you are bidding for is ‘ladies hats’ and the searcher types in ‘baseball hats’ in Google, then your ad may appear if you specified broad match. Google defaults to broad match because it is trying to give your ad the most exposure possible, and relies on your ad being written well enough so that only your target market will click on it. However, you run the risk of people mistakenly clicking on your ad, and costing you money.
- Negative keywords – these allow you to stop Google from presenting your ad if a particular word (the negative keyword) is included in the searched for words. For example, if you sell top end perfume and bid on the search term ‘perfume’ with a negative keyword of ‘cheap’, then if a searcher types in ‘cheap perfume’ your ad will not be displayed. Use of negative keywords is an obvious way to ensure that only the right target audience sees your ad.
- Time of day – you can specify which days of the week, and the time of the day, that your ad should be displayed. If it is very unlikely that your target audience are looking for your services at 2:00 AM in the morning, then displaying your ad at that time would be a waste and attract people from the wrong country.
- Location – you can also specify where the searcher can be located, either by city, region or country.
- Budget – you can specify not only your daily budget but also how quickly you spend that e.g. spread over a month, or spent as quickly as possible. If your ads are not displayed or clicked on, then your budget won’t be spent.
There are many other settings for your ads; reading Google’s tutorials about these will go a long way to helping you work out the best setting for your ads.
Step #5 – managing your ads
In order for your ads to start displaying in Google search engine results you must have a valid credit card attached to your account, and your ads must be approved by Google. The approval process can take several hours, and is necessary after every change to the text of your ads.
It is important to check on your ads on a regular basis with regard to the following:
- Ensure they are still running!
- Ad Impressions – if your ad is never being shown, then it will never be clicked on. You may need to adjust your bid, keywords, or ad copy to improve impressions.
- Ad Position – you need to check that your ads are being placed high enough in the ads to actually be likely to be seen and clicked. This will depend on advertiser competition, and the amount you are willing to pay per click for your ad.
- Click through rate (CTR) – some ads will attract searchers more than others – these will have higher CTRs, and are likely the ads you will want to spend more money on, and perhaps pause the others – but only if they are also delivering against your objectives.
- Actual cost per click – if the average click cost is very close to your maximum bid, you may be missing out on potential clicks and therefore should try increasing your budget. If your daily budget, because the average cost per click is so high, won’t deliver enough potential customers to meet your objectives, then you need to consider increasing your budget or choosing different keywords that attract a lower cost per click.
- Keywords – over time, the terms being used by searchers to find your ads may evolve, so you may need to adjust the keywords associated with each ad. You may also find that people are clicking on your ad
- Display Network – if you allow your ads to appear within the display network, you should check that your ads are showing in appropriate sites. It’s time consuming to check each website in which your ad has appeared and then adjust, but you can prevent your ad from appearing again in particular websites.
Managing your ads is a little involved, and not managing them well can either cost you serious dollars or mean that you are missing out of potential customers and not meeting your advertising objectives.
We understand that setting up and managing Google Adwords can seem daunting, so if you need any assistance we’re happy to help.by