Thinking About Google Ads: Here’s What You Need To Know

Most small business owners understand how important Google has become in helping customers and potential customers find their website. However, the use of paid Google advertising can do so much more than just direct a user to a website, but it can feel like an absolute minefield, with many small business owners not knowing where to start.

Jemma Geary is a Digital Advertising Specialist from Groundswell, a specialist ecommerce and digital advertising agency. Groundswell develop and implement digital advertising strategies, using a funnel approach, for clients from a diverse range of industries to help them sustainably grow.

Jemma delivered a Lunchtime Learning session facilitated by the Cathedral Quarter BID (Business Improvement District) on an introduction to Google Ads, and here are the key takeaways:

Google Ads are paid for advertising that can be shown to a targeted audience across the internet in a range of different formats, including display adverts on websites, video adverts on YouTube, and in-search adverts when someone uses Google to search for something. Which types of adverts you choose to use will depend on your objectives, where your potential customer is in their purchase journey, and how much of a budget you have.

Jemma believes Google Ads are a great tool because of how transparent they are: 

“With Google advertising you can see how many impressions and click-throughs your advert had received, as well as the cost per click. It’s a very effective way to monitor your return on investment. But before any campaigns go live, I would recommend that full conversion tracking is properly set up on your account, as well as any ecommerce tracking if you sell products online. That way the performance data will be most useful.”

In 2020, there are an estimated 2.3 million Google searches carried out per second, and most of those will include paid for ads. For many businesses, Google search ads are the first place to start.

“Optimise your landing page and include a strong call to action. Make sure your search ad does not take your user to your homepage – their landing page needs to be relevant to the search terms they used to take them there. If you are selling a product using a search ad then make sure all of the product information is available on the landing page. You want to make the purchase process as smooth as possible for the customer.”

In addition to search ads, product-based advertising (or shopping advertising) is becoming increasingly popular. It is expected that 18% of all UK retail purchases will be made online in 2020, so if you are selling product online you should consider product ads.

“Product listings or showcase adverts on Google come from shopping feeds on your Merchant Centre Account, all of which you need to set up yourself. This is more complex than other forms of Google advertising and requires some technical thinking. While it isn’t rocket science, it would be a good idea to work with a company experienced in setting up this type of advertising, whether that’s your web developer or a specialist company like Groundswell.”

Video advertising via the YouTube platform has grown exponentially in recent years. This is likely in part due to the vast amount of YouTube that is now consumed daily. In 2020, over 1 billion hours of YouTube are watched daily. That’s more than Netflix and Facebook video combined!

Google serves YouTube ads to viewers based on a range of targeting objectives. This can include audiences that Google define as relevant based on search criteria, custom audiences you can create by using competitor URLs, custom intent targeting based on user searches for the previous seven days, remarketing adverts to individuals who have previously visited your website, and even targeting individuals based on key milestones or life events.

“There are different types of adverts you can show through YouTube. For example, there are adverts that users can skip after 5 seconds, and there are adverts that the user cannot skip. There are pros and cons for each, and which you choose is largely based on your advertising objectives and your budget. It’s worth bearing in mind that for adverts users can skip after 5 seconds that you are charged per view, but the first 10 seconds don’t count. For adverts that users can’t skip you are not charged per view but instead per 1,000 impressions. However, these are restricted to a maximum of either 6- or 15-seconds duration, depending on which type you go for.”

If you do decide to try Google Ads yourself and don’t enlist the help of an experienced professional, here are some of Jemma’s top tips to maximise the opportunity and avoid some of the potential pitfalls:

  1. “Always consider your budget first. Decide what you are happy to spend monthly and divide it by 30.4. Remember, Google budgets work on a daily spend.”
  2. “Figure out your keywords that you want to be found for when using Google search ads. This can be refined over time and it is a bit of an artform. Lower search frequency terms that are more specific are better than more popular terms that are more generic. Relevancy to your product or service is key.”
  3. “Monitor your return. Whatever you decide to do, review your ad performance regularly – even daily. Are your keywords relevant? Are you getting a good return? Should you try a split test to see if certain keywords perform better for you? Are irrelevant keywords directing users to your website and should you exclude these going forward to ensure you aren’t paying for irrelevant clicks? Don’t just set up Google Ads and leave it running without monitoring it – it can be a costly mistake.”

Want to hear even more top tips about Google Ads? Check out the full recording of Jemma’s workshop on the Cathedral Quarter website ––learning–intro-to-google-ads

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