Everyone just buys online these days — or do they?
If you run a small or medium-sized business, you’re probably eager to grow your audience and improve your operations consistently.
Yet, if you’re not tapping into online search, you might find it challenging to uncover an affordable way to introduce your brand to a fresh audience.
As of October 2023, the number of people using the internet worldwide increased to 5.3 billion, up from 4.9 billion in 2021. Around 56.5% of internet users aged 16 to 64 bought something online every week.
It’s clear that internet advertising has a lot of potential, and it’s only going to grow. However, you need to be careful not to overdo it. There are plenty of stories where online advertising, especially pay-per-click (PPC), went terribly wrong.
So, how can you bring in new clients with internet ads without breaking the bank and still see a return on investment?
Consider Google Search Ads. Google suggests that when you invest $1 in an ad, your business gains $8 in profit. When used well, Google Ads can help you get new customers, boost revenue, and expand your business.
If that sounds interesting to you, here’s a guide on how to become a pro at Google Search Ads.
What are Search Ads?
A search ad is a digital ad that matches specific search queries or keywords. These ads work well because they reflect what a person is looking for based on the words they use.
For example, if someone Googles ‘dog food,’ an ad related to that term will pop up. This is helpful for businesses because they can be confident that folks searching for ‘dog food’ are probably interested in buying. So, the ads effectively reach only those users keen on a company’s products.
If the ad for dog food showed up no matter what someone was searching for, it wouldn’t work very well. I mean, if someone is looking for “skateboards,” they probably don’t want to buy dog food, right?
That’s where search ads come in handy. They help you reach the right people by using specific words that users type in their searches.
The words people use in their online searches decide which ads show up on a search engine results page (SERP), along with any related natural content. Companies that put up ads pay a small fee to the search engine for each click on their ad.
Google suggests that when a company invests $1 in an advertisement, it typically results in an $8 profit. In simpler terms, they believe their advertising platform offers an 8:1 return on investment, and they consider this a conservative estimate.
It’s a great way to find out what your current and potential customers want. By doing some keyword research, you can understand their searches and what they plan to buy. Then, you can match their intentions with what you offer to meet their needs. That’s essentially what search advertising is all about.
If your business website isn’t getting much natural traffic, using search ads can really amp things up. Plus, it can turn those visitors into email signups, leads, and online purchases.
If your company offers things or services needed in a hurry (like plumbing, dental, electrical, and tire services) or for specific times (like tourism and travel), search ads are a great choice. People online are always searching for local services and deals on things like airline tickets and hotels.
What are Google Search Ads?
Currently, Google is the go-to search engine, covering over 83.49% of the market share. It’s the preferred choice for many businesses when it comes to SEO and PPC marketing. With the biggest user base, it offers the best chance to connect with your intended audience.
Google has consistently held the top spot in search engine rankings. Back in 1998, Google became the most widely used website globally. Just two years later, they launched Google Adwords, the precursor to today’s Google Search Ads. In 2018, they rebranded and adopted the name we recognize today. Search advertising is also called Google Advertising, Google Search advertising, or simply Google Ads.
These ads appear on Google’s Search Network, covering Google Search, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, and Google partners. They also show up on over 2 million other websites through the Google Display Network. Currently, Google handles 8.5 billion billion searches every day and a whopping 2 trillion searches annually worldwide.
When there’s space for an ad, Google starts an auction to decide which ads will be displayed. When you create your Google Ad, you participate in this auction by bidding according to your goals and campaign type.
Many people who start using Google Ads choose cost-per-click (CPC) bidding. This means you decide the most you’re willing to pay for someone to click on your ad.
For example, if you set your CPC to $2, you’re telling Google that you only want ads that cost $2 or less. If a bid goes above that amount, you’ll be automatically removed from the competition.
This strategy helps you stick to your PPC budget. When you kick off your Google Search Ads, set your maximum CPC early on. You wouldn’t want to end up paying $3 or more for a click if it’s not within your budget.
What You Can Do with Google Search Ads
Google Search advertising lets you aim your ads using keywords, where your ad shows up, the age group you want to reach, location, language, days, times, and how often it appears, and the types of devices it displays on.
Google Search ads provide more than just the ability to display ads. It includes tools for analyzing your performance, managing your budget to avoid overspending, and handling your campaigns. It’s a robust platform enabling you to showcase ads, gauge their effectiveness, and experiment with new strategies.
In essence, it’s your hidden tool for crafting successful marketing campaigns that draw in new customers.
The Different Types of Google Ads
You’ve got several options to boost your display ads through paid search:
These ads, as the name suggests, are text-only and can appear on the Google Network. Text ads are affordable because you don’t need to provide any visual materials like photos or graphics. They’re also handy because they can be used with any publisher, even those who don’t accept specific formats.
Text advertising also allows for simple A/B testing. An ad only needs a few lines of text and a link to your website/product page.
As a result, trying out different kinds of wording in a few ads lets you see which one gets the most response. You’re only relying on the text here, so you don’t have to worry about creating different visuals or graphics. Following a couple of A/B tests, you’ll discover the wording that gets the most attention and responses.
Another benefit is that written ads smoothly switch between mobile and desktop. Google currently uses mobile-first indexing, so make sure your ads work well on mobile devices. Choosing text-only ads guarantees your message stays the same.
Responsive Search Ads
If you want to up your game with the easy A/B testing we discussed earlier, try using Google’s responsive search ads (RSA). In a regular online ad, you can only write one headline and one piece of fixed text. RSA takes it a step further, allowing you to come up with up to four different descriptions and fifteen different headlines.
Moreover, RSA can automatically set up and test these headlines and descriptions in over 43,000 combinations.
This opens up many chances for testing and tweaking your ads. Over time, your RSA will figure out which version of the message works best based on various factors, including:
- The device you’re using will display the best message for your mobile, computer, and other devices.
- Search query
- Past browsing behavior (tailoring copy for differing interests)
- Many other factors
You’ve probably noticed, a Responsive Search Ad (RSA) keeps figuring out which version of your ad works best in different situations. But how well do these ads usually do?
According to Google, RSAs get 6% more clicks and a 5% higher click-through rate. It’s a pretty convenient ad because Google handles all the testing for you with an RSA. This doesn’t mean other types of ads aren’t useful; you might need to try a few to find the best fit for your business.
Do you prefer getting phone calls over website views and membership sign-ups? If that’s the case, try using Google’s call-only ads. These ads will only show up on mobile devices and will instantly dial your company when someone clicks on them. The ads don’t have any links to your website because their sole purpose is to generate phone calls.
This type of advertising works really well if you’re a local service provider, like a dentist, mechanic, or landscaper. These businesses rely more on phone calls than website traffic. In fact, when people visit their website, the goal is to encourage them to give a call. With a call-only ad, you cut out the middle step, letting potential clients call you directly from the search results page.
Call-only advertising works a lot like PPC, but instead of paying for clicks, you pay for each call received.
This means you’ll only get charged when someone gives your business a ring.
When it comes to campaigns, you’ve got two options for call-only advertising. You can include them in a regular search campaign or create a dedicated ‘call-only’ campaign. If your main focus is on using call ads, going for a call-only campaign is the way to go.
Here, you can set a maximum cost-per-call, much like how you’d set a cost-per-click (CPC) for PPC ads. Opt for a call-only campaign if you want full control over the cost of each call.
Dynamic Search Ads
Another important Google ad type to consider is the dynamic search ad (DSA). It works similarly to a responsive search ad (RSA) but with a key difference. Instead of choosing from a set number of headlines and body text that you created, the dynamic search ad generates both by scanning your website. This way, it aligns information from your site with the user’s search purpose.
In simple terms, a DSA creates ads based on what each user is searching for.
It’s another efficient ad that handles all the hard work on its own.
Businesses frequently use dynamic search ads to supplement their current search campaigns. These ads are effective methods to draw in users who enjoy casually browsing the internet.
With dynamic search ads, the system identifies a specific search and creates a relevant ad using content from your website, all without requiring any action from you. Incorporating DSAs into your search strategy is a smart move, acting as a safety net to enhance overall effectiveness.
If you run an online store, you can benefit from Google shopping ads. These ads show up when people are actively looking to buy something. Take, for example, a search like ‘top computer mouse to purchase.’
It’s clear that the person is looking to buy a computer mouse. In this case, you’ll see a bunch of shopping ads right at the top of the search results page. If you’ve ever searched for something to buy online, chances are you’ve come across one of these ads.
They appear with:
- A straightforward picture of the product.
- The title includes a link to the product page.
- Its discounted price.
- A link to the company website.
- (If available) a star review rating.
These ads help shoppers quickly find what they want, making them a great tool for Ecommerce stores. Surprisingly, not many take full advantage of them. For retailers, Shopping ads account for over 60% of their paid clicks.
The positive side is, you can use these ads to outshine your competitors. Your product image will show up at the top of the search results, giving people a glimpse before they even reach the top-ranked page. This is a big advantage, especially if your product is in high demand.
To set up shopping ads, you’ll require a Google Merchant Center account.
Why is this necessary?
This is because Google requires details about the items you’re selling. Once you’ve set up a Merchant Center account, the next step is creating a shopping feed. It’s basically a spreadsheet where you input information about your products. Once that’s done, you’re all set to begin your Google Shopping advertising.
Google’s Free Ad Extension Types
Google Search Ads offer free ad extensions to give users more info and reasons to link up with your website. There are five types:
Imagine if people could easily go to your Products page right from the search results. If that’s something you’re aiming for, sitelink extensions are the way to go. Usually, when a website appears on Google, there’s just one link that takes you to the homepage.
But with a sitelink extension, you can add links to other pages below that main link. For instance, you could include links to your Products, Services, and About Us pages as extensions.
These extensions are awesome because they let users directly jump to the exact page they’re looking for, skipping the need to go through your homepage first.
Google now offers two types of sitelink extensions. These include:
- Search campaign extensions. In search advertising, you can add at least two extensions. You can have up to six links on desktop and eight on mobile.
- Video campaign extension. For YouTube advertising, you can include at least two sitelinks below the video, with a maximum of four.
Sitelink extensions are a great way to increase the click-through rate of your website. Users are more likely to click on one of your site’s pages because they can easily access them directly from the search results page.
Does your company have a physical location? If so, using a location extension in Google Ads can be really beneficial. It adds your business address as a clickable link below your ad. You can also consider these alternatives for location extensions:
- Share a Google Map link that shows exactly where you’re located.
- Highlight how far away your business is from the user’s current location.
Another option is to use affiliate location extensions. These come in handy if you mostly sell your products through retail chains. For example, if you sell unique hair products through local hair salons in a specific town. In this scenario, if the business owner doesn’t have a physical store, they can use the addresses of the hair salons instead.
If your primary aim with online advertising is to get more people to visit your business, using location extensions is a great choice.
Many business owners often combine ads with location extensions and campaigns focused on encouraging phone calls. This way, your online ads not only attract more visitors to your physical stores but also lead to more phone inquiries.
It’s important to distinguish between call extensions and call-only ads because they serve different purposes. Call extensions add your company’s phone number to a regular search ad, which usually has links to your website.
On the flip side, a call-only ad is specifically for mobile devices and only displays your business phone number without any links to your website.
If you want both your phone number and website links, go for a call extension. You can even add a direct call button to your ad, similar to call-only ads, letting users call your business directly from the search results. Simultaneously, the search ad featuring the call extension will have links to your website.
Using a call extension is a great choice if you aim to boost both the natural traffic and phone calls for your business.
When your business has a big sale or a special promotion, you can promote it using Google Ads along with a promo extension. This involves adding a special blue link below your search ad to let customers know about the sale or offer. It’s a simple way to inform clients about special events and seasonal sales.
The great thing about Google promo extensions is that you can customize them to fit your needs perfectly. Keep in mind, though, that the extension only allows 20 characters, so make sure to keep your message short and sweet.
You can choose from 30 different holidays and special occasions using Google’s interface. If there’s no special occasion linked to your promotion, you can select ‘none.’ Next, you’ll need to pick a type of promotion. Here are the options:
- Monetary Discount: You get to choose a fixed amount to subtract from specific products. (For example: $5 off tube socks)
- Percentage Discount: Instead of a fixed amount, you offer a percentage as a discount. (For example: 5% off tube socks).
- Up-to Monetary Discount: This is a fixed discount with a cap. (Up to $5 off tube socks)
- Up-to Percentage Discount: This is a fixed percentage with a cap. (Up to 5% off tube socks)
You get to choose how you promote things, and Google Ads pretty much covers all the options.
If your brand has a mobile app and you’re aiming to boost downloads, adding an app extension on Google Ads can be super helpful. These extensions provide a direct link to your app on the App Store or Google Play in your search ad. This lets users download your app straight from the search results page, saving them time.
Just like other extensions, the search ad headline will feature a regular link to your website.
As a result, an app extension is great not only for getting more app downloads but also for driving natural traffic to your website.
One great thing about an app extension is that it figures out which app store link each user needs without you having to do anything. If someone with an Apple device clicks the link, they’ll go to the App Store. For Android users, it’ll take them to the Google Play Store. It’s all done automatically, so no need to stress about picking the wrong app store – it’s taken care of.
Plus, with a search ad featuring an app extension, you get detailed reports. You can easily keep tabs on how many clicks the headline and app link receive.
When you use in-place editing (making changes without resetting performance data), the extension becomes really handy.
Apart from these add-ons, you can use Google Ads to show ads again to people who visited your site but didn’t become customers.
Usually, potential customers need to see your ads around seven times before they buy something. Google ads use tracking cookies to follow users on the web and show your ads to the right people.
Google Search Ads Campaign Types
Every Google Ad kicks off with a goal and a campaign. Your marketing goal, brand strategy, and the resources you have influence the type of campaign you choose. Here are six campaign options to consider:
- Search campaigns: These campaigns focus on text-only ads where you bid on brand-related phrases and queries. They work best for reaching customers who are ready to make a purchase. The key is to pick keywords related to your industry with strong buyer intent and create text ads around them.
Since there aren’t any images or extras, how well a text ad’s words are written plays a big role in how it performs. Strive to create engaging text that stays away from overused phrases. When crafting the call to action for each ad, aim for maximum clarity to grab the most attention.
- Showing your ads. A display campaign opens the door to Google’s extensive Display Network, which spans over 2 million websites, videos, and apps. In this type of campaign, images take the spotlight over text. Ensure your display ads feature captivating visuals that encourage people to discover more.
The main aim of a display campaign is to make more people recognize your brand. They’re great for introducing your brand to possible customers who are just starting to think about buying. The idea is to show your ads to the people you want to reach so that they get interested and want to know more about your business.
- Video Campaigns. When you start a video campaign, you’re using YouTube as your main ad platform. So, you’ll have to create video ads that will play before, during, or after YouTube videos. These campaigns work well for reaching a specific group of people. That’s because you can aim at a particular audience based on their age, gender, and interests.
In simpler terms, your video ads will be seen by people who are likely to be interested. If you want to grab the attention of your target audience, starting a video campaign on Google Ads is a great way to do it.
- Shopping Campaigns: If you own an online store, the best way to advertise is through shopping campaigns. These are how you showcase your products, as we mentioned before. They include a picture of your product, a link to it, the price, and sometimes a review. To start a shopping campaign, you’ll need an account on Google Merchant Center.
- Local Campaigns: These campaigns are designed for owners of physical stores who want to attract more customers. A local promotion will spread your ad through various local media, making you more visible to people in your area. Local promotions will also talk about nearby stores, highlight special deals, and give a quick look at what you have in your store.
- Smart Campaigns: If you’re a small business owner with a lot on your plate and not much free time, you’re not alone. For people in your shoes, launching an efficient campaign on Google is a great choice. In short, an efficient campaign automates the entire advertising process for you. It targets and optimizes advertising without needing any action from you.
The Key to Attracting Potential Customers
Getting to know your potential customers starts with understanding the words they use to search online. This is a crucial step in attracting them to your business and what you offer.
Google Search Ads kick off with the specific words or phrases people use when searching for things online. To get started, focus on figuring out the words related to your brand, products, and services. Also, consider what your potential customers might type into their search bar.
It’s best if your chosen keywords mirror the intentions of the searchers. Essentially, this is how keyword research operates:
- Brainstorm and create a list of potential keywords to utilize as your initial keyword guide.
- Check and add more ideas to your word list using a tool like Google Keyword Planner.
- Choose your keywords.
As you get started, create a list of keywords to exclude from your Google Search Ads campaign. These are terms you don’t want your ad to show for because they’re not relevant to your target audience.
For instance, if you’re an eye doctor and your potential customers search for “glasses” and “eyeglasses,” you’d add “wine glasses” and “drinking glasses” as keywords to avoid.
Also, pay attention to the types of keyword matches you want Google to use when setting up your ad groups. Ad groups are collections of one or more ads with similar goals for your search campaigns.
- Broad Match: This type matches any word in your keyword phrase, in any order. For instance, if your phrase is “yoga mats in Florida,” it will match “yoga mats,” “yoga Florida,” or “mats Florida.”
- Modified Broad Match: This allows you to pin down specific terms within a keyword by using a plus sign before the word. So, “+yoga mats in Florida” will match “yoga mats,” “yoga music,” or “yoga retreats.”
- Phrase Match: This matches searches that include your keyword phrase exactly but can have extra terms before or after it. For example, “yoga mats in Florida” will match “purple yoga mats in Florida” or “yoga mats in Florida prices.”
- Exact Match: This type matches your keyword phrase in its exact order.
When you’re just beginning, using a mix of these matches will help you create a variety. Then, monitor the results to narrow down or change the keywords and match choices.
Your keyword guide will also help you write your ad content. Make sure your ad title and description show what your searchers are looking for, highlight their issues, and provide a solution.
Is Your Website Ready for Potential Customers?
Google recommends using this 8-point checklist to find out if your website is set to attract potential clients through Google Search Ads.
- Does it have a clear, attention-grabbing headline?
- Does it load quickly on mobile?
- Does it clearly state the benefits your customers will get if they buy your products or services?
- Does it include images or videos?
- Is there a clear call to action (CTA) on your website?
- Can people easily discover how to get in touch with your company?
- What’s the most important thing you want visitors to notice on your website?
- Would a new visitor be able to spot it immediately?
- Apart from your website, does your company show up online, like on a free Business Profile or a social media platform?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, Google recommends that you improve your website to offer a better experience for your clients and set up your business for a Google Ads investment.
If you’d rather not handle the task of updating your website or dealing with the different individuals needed for the job, GREAT Guest Posts can help you take charge of your company’s image. They also provide support with creating content, building backlinks, custom search engine optimization (SEO), custom pay-per-click (PPC), and custom Google Shopping.
Preparing for Your 1st Google Ads Campaign
To start marketing campaigns using Google Search ads, just set up a Google Ads account and click the “Get Started” button. Google Ads will guide you through an easy process to create your first campaign. Be ready to provide the necessary information it needs:
- What’s your main goal for the company? Are you aiming for more calls, online sign-ups or purchases, visits to your physical location, or boosting YouTube views and engagement?
- Provide your business account or name.
- Specify where visitors land after clicking your website (highlight the advertised product or the most relevant landing page);
- Craft your ad content (use Headline 1, Headline 2, Headline 3, Description 1, and Description 2; incorporate your keywords).
- Keyword themes:
- Whether you want to promote near your business location or in specific zip codes, cities, or regions;
- Your daily budget and options for spending on ads.
After completing your campaign, you’ll need to check everything to make sure all the details you gave are correct. If everything looks good, you’ll then be asked to pay.
You, Your Business, Google Search Ads, and The Digital Space
Using Google Search Ads is a great way for small businesses to connect with what their customers are searching for. It’s especially helpful for businesses with websites that already give customers a good experience but need more online visitors. This approach works well for service businesses with time-sensitive services too.
Google Ads Local campaigns, previously known as Performance Max campaigns, offer excellent opportunities for local businesses. Although not as extensive as global efforts, they can have a significantly greater impact.
Local ads enable your company to connect with customers showing strong interest in purchasing services promptly. Due to their lower competition, reach, and return on investment, Google Ads local ads are crucial for various types of businesses.
Digital marketing is like an art form. Need help creating effective local Google Ads campaigns? Reach out!