What Is Google AdWords?
Google Adwords is inescapable. Its presence is everywhere, and as more and more consumers bring their shopping habits online, it will only grow more ubiquitous. Per the US Department of Commerce, purchases through internet channels accounted for 8.5% of all retail sales in Q1 2017, up from 7.8% in Q1 2016 and 6.9% in 2015. In addition, 82% of customers perform research online before making a purchase. So how do you get the attention of these customers, particularly when less than 8.5% of searches make it past the first page? One way is with the help of Google Adwords.
What is it?
Google Adwords are essentially paid advertisements that appear on search results pages or on Google’s “Display Network”.
What is the display network?
The Display Network is a group of over 2 million websites, videos, and mobile apps across the internet that have an agreement with Google to display ads directly on their platform. It can be a great way to reach customers who you already know will be interested in a certain topic based on what they are interacting with when they see your ad.
So How Does Adwords Work?
Say, you ran a flower shop in New York City. You create an Adwords campaign, and tell Google “I’ll pay up to ($ this amount) to have my advertisement appear on the results page when someone searches for “flowers” while in New York City.” Google then runs an algorithm called an “Ad Auction” that determines if and where it will appear, aka your “Ad Ranking”. Your Ranking is determined by two factors: the dollar amount you bid and your “Ad Quality”, which is affected by the following aspects:
- Expected Click Through Rate: How likely your ad will be clicked.
- Landing Page Experience: How relevant and useful your landing page will be to someone who clicks on your ad.
- Ad Relevance: How closely related the customer’s search is to your ad.
But why does this matter? Can’t I just pay Google a bunch of money and appear at the top of the search results?
The short answer is “No!” The long answer is “Definitely NO!”. Google wants to maintain a high value, relevant experience for people using its search engine. Setting a high dollar bid amount can help your rankings, but you can still rank LOWER than a competitor who has bid a smaller amount of money because their overall quality score is higher.
Your ad’s quality score has several far-reaching effects:
Ad auction eligibility
A high-quality ad is easier and cheaper to enter into an auction when a customer enters a search term. Your ad may not even appear at all if the score is too low!
A higher quality ad will typically have a lower CPC, so you’ll spend less money to have the same result.
Ads with higher quality rankings will usually show up higher on the page.
Eligibility for ad extensions and other ad formats
A higher Ad Rank allows your ad to be displayed with ad extensions and other ad formats, such as site links
So this is a LOT of information!! What do I do now?
By now, you know that improving your quality score is the best strategy to improve your AdWords experience. This will keep your costs down, while giving you the best results. Google Adwords best practices is a broad topic that could easily be several blog posts all on its own, but I will cover a few of the easiest and furthest reaching actions here:
Google Adwords Best Practices
Choose the Right Keywords
Align your keywords with your business goals. Are you trying to increase brand exposure? Are you trying to convert every click to a sale? These questions impact what keywords you should focus on. For example, if your goal is to reach as many people as possible, you could focus on more general keywords targeting top-of-the-funnel customers, such as “flowers” in the above example. If you are focusing on converting more sales, you can use “long-tail keywords” which are specific, longer, and usually used by customers near the bottom of the funnel. There is less search volume for these keywords, but the costs are lower, since there are fewer competitors. An example would be “fresh cut white daffodils for sale”.
Define your Target Audience:
Adwords offers many opportunities to target specific customers down to age, zip code, and interests. Take a second and really think about who you are trying to reach with your ads, then set them to only appear to that demographic. This way you won’t waste money on people you are not trying to reach.
Structure Your Campaigns:
The more specific you can make your ad groups, the better. Keywords and landing pages should always be as relevant as possible to the ads being displayed.
Optimized Landing Pages
Your ad should take customers to a page that is as consistent as possible with the search terms and the ad text.
Correctly price your display network ads
If you choose to take advantage of Google’s Display Network, there are three distinct ways to price your strategy, depending on your business goals.
- Cost-Per-Thousand (CPM): Pay a predetermined amount for every 1,000 ad impressions served. Choose this option if your goals are related to brand exposure.
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC): Pay each time an ad is clicked. Choose this option if your goal is to get customers to come to your website. You do not pay if you ad is not clicked on.
- Cost-Per-Action (CPA): Pay only when visitors complete a certain action, such as signing up for email, product purchases, etc. Choose this if it relates to your primary goal.
Implementing a blend of the above-mentioned tips is the best way to ensure you will have a successful Google Adwords Campaign. The number one thing you need to figure out before taking any action is: What is your Goal?. Creating and running a campaign without any real goal is like shooting in the dark: sure, maybe you’ll hit your target, but overall it’ll be a big waste of money, and isn’t money the reason we’re doing this in the first place?
For more information about Google Adwords, tune in to MicroD’s Facebook Live Event on August 8 at 2pm EST. as Chris Woodruff and Richie Gasier, some of our digital marketing specialists at MicroD, have a discussion about our favorite best practices, strategies, and more. Also be sure to check out the rest of MicroD’s Blog and like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the newest happenings in eCommerce and the home furnishings Industry.
Don’t forget to join us for the Facebook LIVE on the ABCs of AdWords!