Digital Marketing: The Google Ads Campaign Process
Business owners are asking, What about digital marketing? Years ago this was largely covered by building an effective web site. Today this can involve so much more. While you need to determine in which platforms and media your audience is most actively engaged, you also need to access the knowledge and experience specific to that platform. The following covers Google Ads - paid online marketing with the dominant search engine. See also optimising organic search results ›
What’s the process of online marketing through Google Ads?
Google Ads (previously called AdWords) is actually Google’s core business - selling paid placement in search results. See note 1 (below) regarding the two different types of search result entries. Google Ad customers lodge bids (say $2.40) as the amount they are willing to pay per click for each of the many search terms included within their Ads campaign.
Each unique search term is part of an on-going, dynamic online auction. Through this auction all bidders for that specific term compete against each other. Your Ads account is then debited each time an ad within your campaign is clicked/tapped by a person (Note 2). This is not a pay per view (impression), although some of Google’s ads can also work this way.
As there are several ways of quickly blowing money via GA, good campaign research and on-going campaign management is essential. I next explain this process in a little detail.
Once your Ads Campaign goal is clear, research in to the pool of potential search terms (keywords) is needed. This step identifies as wider a group as possible of the terms people in your market segment might use in their online searches. Trying to insert yourself as an observer into their mind’s thinking is required here.
Thought also needs to be given to terms (keywords) with multiple meanings in different contexts. Consider the word ‘sow’, or ‘drill’ - I can sow with a cotton thread, or sow cotton seed in the field. Synonyms, common terms, misspellings and alternative meanings are also considered through this research.
As well, a list of ‘negative’ or ‘blocking’ search terms (negative keywords) also is compiled. For example: the terms cheap, reduced, cut-price, free, DIY are often unwanted and need to be excluded from the clicks/taps you pay for - otherwise they are like holes in your budget bucket - money going to waste.
With a very strict and highly structured format, the actual Google ad wording that people view has to be carefully written: Written to stand out and engage attention, and also written to authentically represent your product’s value proposition. In fact, Google recommends creating at least four ad variations for each Ad Group. Where an Ad Group is focused on a single product or service, and also shares a bucket of keyword search terms and has a single destination (landing) page on your web site. These ad wording variations allow for a slightly broader market appeal and or some A-B wording tests - providing for review and adjustment.
One challenge in creating Google Ads campaigns is appreciating just how focused they often need to be. Unless seeking more general brand awareness, most campaigns can afford to market only a very specific sub-set of your products or services. This focus reflects the narrow intent driving most people’s online searching - they have some very specific need, question or problem in mind. The hope is, their need and your solution can be married together via Google Ads.
After successfully garnering a click-through via a paid Google ad, you need to maximise the visitor experience and engage them with your call to action. Landing your visitor on a generic page - or worse your ‘home page’ is a great way of burning cash. Instead, a tailored landing page should be added for each Ad Group and or Google Campaign. Often adapted from the content (text and images) of an existing site page, these landing pages are in fact rated by Google as to their benefit and relevance to the search terms (keywords) upon which you’re bidding. You can’t easily sell oranges if you’re advertising apples. A visitor’s quick abandoning of your landing page suggests to Google poor relevance - part of Google’s active page quality score. This score also factors in how successful your search term bids stack up against competing bids in the real-time auctions.
As the bid on each search term for each Google Ad is a live auction comprising all advertisers interested in that term, bid amounts need to be actively monitored. Low bids are likely to see your ad being ‘out of the money’ - in other words, not receiving clicks/taps due to not being seen in the competitive ad display. However, biding too high may see you paying more than necessary for each click/tap. Google dynamically lists ads on every search result page. This is based largely on the relative bids for the entered search phrase.
Campaign management also can surface various potential new search terms (keywords) to bid upon. As well as under- and well-performing search terms. The frequency of the use of search terms is displayed as well as various ratings of the relevance of the content on your own site to that specific term.
Campaign management needs to done at least weekly, and more often in the early stages of new campaigns, and in very seasonal or ‘spiky’ search traffic situations.
While some social media marketing can be great for gaining a short sharp traffic boost - and Google paid ads can play their part here - I suggest Google ads are best seen as a medium to long term option due to the initial investment in research and set-up.
While some web site owners successfully create and manage their own Google Ads advertising strategy, Info-Design Online is in a good and experienced position to provide this as a professional service.
- To clarify: In most Google search results (what you see after entering a search) are a couple of paid Google Ads, followed then by a list of (often 10) ‘organic search results’ followed sometimes by further Google Ads, and a list of similar search terms. ‘Organic’ search results are Google’s efforts in presenting the most relevant web site results in its site index. Normally, you want to pay for Google Ads where your site does not rank well in the organic search results ›
- Google is obliged to make meaningful efforts to combat what is known as ‘click fraud’ - and this can be a major problem - where by either humans, or more likely, computers (including banks of mobiles), generate fake clicks on paid ads. While repeatedly clicking on a single ad is easy to detect, smart people find ways to play this ‘cat ‘n mouse’ game.
There can be many aspects to consider. And these are best discussed in-person with key business stake-holders.
IDO’s Graeme Morris can assist you with the entire Google Ads online marketing process.