When Vectra Digital was starting up, there was one thing on our mind:
For businesses of every size and industry (especially startups), Google is the end-all, be-all for success. The search results are the gateways to new leads, web traffic, potential conversions.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and organic content will help you rank, but no strategy is complete without pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine marketing (SEM).
Optimize and monetize your digital campaigns with Google AdWords comprehensive platform. We’re here to demystify AdWords and let you in on trade secrets on how to use Google AdWords and its best practices!
In 2000, Google AdWords looked very different than it does now.
After launching in October 2000 with 350 advertisers, no one could have predicted that the platform would eventually boast thousands of advertisers and millions of dollars. When the platform launched, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page said, “AdWords offers the most technologically advanced features available, enabling any advertiser to quickly design a flexible program that best fits its online marketing goals and budget.”
Ironically, AdWords played second fiddle to Google’s first advertising program, Premium Sponsorships. Launched in August 2000, Premium Sponsorships were sold by a direct sales team based on CPM. If you were an advertiser in 2000 with a Premium Sponsorship, your ad would be visible at the top of the search results while AdWords ads ran in the right column.
It wasn’t long before AdWords absorbed Premium Sponsorship and began operating as Google’s main advertising platform.
What makes the success of AdWords even more impressive was the fact that Google was a much smaller search engine at the turn of the 21st century. The average search volume at the time was roughly 20 million searches per day. To put that measly number in comparison, today Google experiences more than three billion searches per day, half of which are now coming from mobile devices.
In 18 years, Google AdWords has grown into an advertising powerhouse. In 2017, Google’s ad revenue totaled nearly $95.4 billion in the US alone. Businesses of every size and industry are harnessing the power of Google AdWords to grow their revenue, ROI, and brand.
Now that you know a little bit of the history, let’s talk logistics!
Whether you’re an AdWords novice or seasoned professional, most of us are familiar with AdWords in search engines. There are several ad formats: Search Ads and Display Ads. We’ll go over each one separately, but before we do that let’s talk about keywords.
The fuel for the AdWords machine is keywords. Keywords are defined as words, sentences, or short phrases that a user types into a Google search. All keywords are priced depending on search volume and competition. Companies identify keywords that are associated with their business, service, or product.
The most common ad format used by marketers is Search Ads. Search Ads are composed of only text: two headlines, description, and link. These are the ads that most users are used to. When you search Google, the first two listings are Search Ads and identified as so with a green “Ad” symbol beside the listing.
These ads can be hyper-targeted by more than keywords, but also by location, age, gender, and past activity.
The second type of AdWords is Digital Ads, which are growing in popularity due to their versatility. These are perfect for audience retargeting and to promote brand awareness. Generate clicks, sales, and leads on more than two million websites in Google’s Display Network.
These dynamic ads can include text and images. They’re also optimized for mobile and have more than 650,000 apps available.
On to the main event!
How does Google AdWords work?
The end-all, be-all of Google AdWords is keywords. Identifying the right keywords is the fuel of your campaign. The fire? The bids. When AdWords first launched, businesses could bid on nearly every keyword under the sun. Today, bidding goes just a little bit differently. The catalyst was the Quality Score.
Google’s quality score determines the strength of your offer in regards to a user’s search. Using several factors, Google can determine if your ad is relevant.
Let’s dive in a little deeper into the basics of Quality Score and how you can create a strong advertisement.
As with everything, it begins with your keywords. Each keyword is given a Quality Score to determine its relevance and, in tandem, your ad’s relevancy.
The first factor in AdWords is your relevance score. This can be strengthened by strong keywords. For example, it’s not enough to use “web design”. A stronger keyphrase would be “web design Naples fl”.
Be aware of the popularity of your keywords and don’t be afraid to get creative! The goal is to get users to follow through and click.
This brings us to our second factor: click-through rate (CTR). Google measures CTR by your past campaigns and expected CTR.
Please note that CTR is not impressions (views). Your CTR is the actual clicks on your ad. The higher the CTR, the more likely your ad will receive clicks.
Google will crawl through past campaigns to forecast the success of future campaigns. They use past data to determine whether your ad matches an actual user’s search.
This brings us to the next factor: account history.
Compared to the top two factors, your account’s history is a smaller piece of the puzzle but it’s still a piece! Your account history can help Google determine your past and future ad’s strength and relevancy, and it can also determine whether you’re a reputable brand with reliable products and services.
The final piece of the puzzle is the URL destination or landing page. That’s right, it’s about more than what’s physically on Google, but also where you’re taking the user. For landing pages to be deemed good, they must be user-friendly and mobile-friendly. Google algorithms will be able to tell if your site seems sketchy, difficult to navigate, and will deem it as such, knocking your score down a couple of pegs.
At its core, AdWords is one, big digital auction. To maximize your chances of “winning” the auction is understanding your Quality Score and Ad Rank. Your Ad Rank is your quality score plus your maximum bids.
Now that you know how Google AdWords generally works, it’s time to set up your first campaign!
Incorporate your offer, product, or service in a brief, impactful phrase.
Insert your keywords into the appropriate fields. Paste in the keywords and add plus signs (+), brackets ([ ]), and quotes (“ “) to see exactly how many searches of each type you’ll get. We recommend starting with a few keywords instead of dumping them all in at once.
Set your maximum cost-per-click, or default bid. Know your budget and be aware of what you can spend daily. If you’d like to set individual bids on specific keywords, you can always set this up later.
Review and double, triple, and quadruple check your ads and keywords. Make sure that your cost-per-click is where it needs to be to get the positions you want. Ensure that your daily budget is set correctly and won’t break the bank right out of the gate.
Enter your billing information and you’re all set! Now it’s time to review and monitor the ads’ performance.
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