To have an effective digital marketing strategy you need to include search engine advertising in…
To advertise on Google, you’ll need to create a Google Ads account. This is quick and easy and you could be advertising within a few hours of setup.
However, how you advertise on Google will depend on a number of factors. The first one is the type of business you are and what products or services you sell. You also need to consider how people look for your type of products or services on the internet. Google Ads has a number of channels you can use but Search is the most popular and it is what we will be covering here.
So follow these steps to setup a Google Ads account and advertise on Google.
Create your Google Ads account
Setting up a Google Ads account only takes minutes to complete. To get started all you need is an email address and payment details. You can pay by bank transfer or credit/debit card and after setting up your first campaign, you can enter your payment details.
And you will also get to choose the goal for your new campaign during setup. You can choose to get more calls, get more website sales or signups or get more visitors to your physical location.
You can also link your new account to a Google My Business Account if you already have one. This will allow you to use your address and phone number in there with your ads especially when targeting local customers.
Create a smart campaign
A smart campaign is a basic campaign type for new advertisers. It takes only 15 minutes to setup this campaign type and you provide a few details about what you want to advertise on your budget and locations.
And most decisions including bidding and search query targeting are made by the machine learning system that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
The main advantage of setting up a smart campaign is that you don’t need to have a website to advertise on Google. You can have one created for you in Your Business Profile that is optimised to your ads. This will include a photo, description and other info from Google My Business. But bear in mind that this is a basic website and if you want a more elaborate website with many more pages then you should consider platforms like WordPress, Shopify and Wix.
Switch to Expert mode
You may decide that a basic account with smart campaigns is not right for you and you want all the features available in Google Ads. So you can upgrade your account to Expert mode by clicking the ‘Tools’ link in the top right corner of your account.
Just bear in mind that expert mode is for users that want more advanced tools and greater controls over the features. So you need to know what you are doing. There are many tutorials that you can follow that will help you to use these controls and Google provides training through their Skillshop platform.
Create a search campaign
On the campaign tab, click the blue button to create a new campaign. You will first set a goal for your campaign and the options include sales, leads, web traffic, brand awareness and others. Next you choose the campaign type and the options available will depend on the campaign goal you have selected above.
In Google Ads you have six campaign types to choose from: Search, Display, Shopping, Video, Smart and Discover. Search is by far the most popular and almost all advertisers have a search campaign.
Next you will add some features to your campaign that determine how you advertise on Google and these include:
Campaign name – this doesn’t affect how you advertise on Google but helps to manage your account as it gets bigger.
Networks – there are two networks available to you in Google Ads. The first and primary one is the Search Network and the second is the Display Network. With the Search Network, you advertise on Google search results and other Google sites when people search for terms that are relevant to your business. You also have the option to target Google Search partners. These partners number in the hundreds and are sites in the Search Network that partner with Google to show ads on their search results. It’s a good idea to include these partners and then check your reports to see how they are performing
The Display Network allows you to expand your reach by showing your ads to customers as they browse sites, videos and apps across the internet. It’s best not to include this one here because it is a completely different model and you won’t be targeting people that are looking for your products and services. If you want to advertise on the Display Network it’s best to create a separate Display campaign and target your audience.
Start and end dates – You can set a future start date for your campaign. If you don’t set a date the ads will start running as soon as they are approved. You can also set an end date if what you are promoting has an end date. Your ads will continue to run unless you specify an end date.
Ad schedule – The default ad schedule to advertise on Google is to run your ads all days and times. To limit when your ads can run, you should set a schedule and your ads will run only within those times.
For example, you can run your ads from Monday to Friday and working hours 9am to 5pm for a B2B business. Or you can run them on weekends and evenings only if you are a food outlet that opens during these times.
So make sure you are running them at the right times for maximum effect.
Locations – Locations help to choose who you want to reach. The default option is to target ‘All countries and territories’ or you can choose specific countries and territories that you want to reach.
You can also target by cities, towns, counties, postcodes, regions and you can use the advanced feature to target by radius around a specific location. For example you can target people within a 20 mile radius of your postcode.
You can reach people who are in your targeted location; people who are regularly in or who’ve shown interest in your geographic location. For example, a London based retailer can target people in London, people who have expressed interest in London in the past.
Languages – Choose the languages that your customers speak. You can target one language, multiple languages or all languages. And you want to make sure your ads appear to customers who can understand them. However targeting all languages means you can reach people who speak more than one language and may search in several languages.
Budget – The budget is the amount you want to spend each day in your campaign. The budget you set will depend on how much traffic you want to get and the number of sales or leads you want. For example, if you want to get 2000 clicks per month and you have determined from research that the average cost per click will be 50p, then you will pay £1000. So you can set a budget of £33 per day = £1000 divided by 30 days.
Bidding – Next, you’ll choose the bid strategy that is aligned with your goals. Google Ads has seven bid strategies that you can choose from and six are automated and one is manual.
The automated bid strategies automatically set bids to help you get the most conversions within your budget. It’s best to start with an automated bid strategies like Maximise Clicks, and then change to Manual CPC later when you have gathered a lot more data and understand the competitor landscape more.
Read my article on choosing the best bidding strategy for your campaign.
Ad extensions – Finally you will create ad extensions for your campaign. Ad extensions are additional details about your business that you add to your text ads and responsive search ads. They include phone numbers, locations, links to other pages on your website, promotions and more.
The three main ad extensions that you should add to your campaign are sitelinks, callouts and structured snippets. Call extensions are good too and means visitors can call you directly from your ads.
Create ad groups
Next you’ll create ad groups where you’ll add your ads and keywords. With a Search campaign, you choose the keywords you want to bid on and the text ads you will use to advertise on Google. You will group your closely themed keywords into ‘ad groups’ that are related to your text ads. Depending on the bid strategy you use, you will be able to manage the bids for your keywords and that will determine Ad Rank and ad position.
First you will add keywords in your ad groups. You can conduct keyword research at this stage using your website URL or a few keyword ideas that you have
Next, you’ll create ads in your ad groups. Each ad group should have between three to five ads to give the machine learning system enough information to achieve a good return. Aim to have at least one responsive search ad and two expanded text ads
Save your ads and you will have completed the setup of your campaign and you are almost ready to start advertising.
Setup conversion tracking
Next you will setup conversion tracking to see which ads, ad groups, keywords and search terms are performing well for you and which aren’t. Whether, you’re tracking sales or leads or any other action on your website, you need to track these to advertise on Google effectively.
There are two main ways to track conversions. You can do it within Google Ads and upload the tracking codes to your website or you can setup goals in Google Analytics and import them into Google Ads for conversion tracking.
To get started with conversion tracking in Google Ads, click the Tools link in the top right corner. Under ‘Measurement’ you’ll see the Conversions link and you can click that to setup your first conversions
After following the process of setting up your first conversion, you will receive the tracking code to add to your website. Follow the advice there on how to add the code to your website.
Read my article on how to setup conversion tracking for Google Ads
In Google Ads you can setup goal tracking and import the goals into your Google Ads account. First you will need to make sure your Google Ads and Analytics accounts are linked. You can do that in the admin section of your Analytics account and you will see the ‘Google Ads Linking’ Link in there. Follow the simple steps to link your accounts.
This will help you to see your Google Ads reports in Google Analytics and also setup goals that you can use for conversion tracking in Google Ads.
In the admin section of Analytics, you’ll see ‘Goals’ and you’ll have the option to setup your first goal. The tool provides you with a template that has sub-templates to setup the type of goal that you want.
There are templates to track reservations, payments, appointments, account creation, contacts and much more. Or you can use a custom template and name it whatever is relevant to your business.
So follow the steps in Google Analytics to setup your first goal. And when done, go to Google Ads and click Tools > Conversions and import this goal as a conversion.
Launch your campaign
Now you are ready to advertise on Google. If you have already added your payment settings, then all you have to wait for is the ad review and when that is approved, your ads will go live.
If you encounter any problems with the ads and they are disapproved for a policy violation, do a full analysis using the policy instructions provided next to each ads and then update them.
Manage your campaign
Now that your campaign is active and receiving traffic, you’ll need to monitor it and update the ads to achieve your goals. As a search campaign your main focus should be the actual search queries that people are using to find your products and services
You will find the search terms report under the Keywords tab and this is where you can see the search queries that your visitors have used
As a new campaign you’re likely to find a number of queries that are not relevant to what you offer. So what you’ll do is add these as negative keywords to block them from triggering your ads again.
There are a number of metrics that are critical to the success of your Google Ads campaign and you can see them below
Impressions – Impressions are counted each time your ad shows in the search results. They help you understand how often your ad is being seen
Clicks – Clicks are when people click your ads, like the blue headline or phone number in the ad. It’s important to know that a click is counted even if a person doesn’t reach your website, maybe because it’s temporarily unavailable. And this is why you may see a difference in the number of clicks on your ads and the number of visits to your website. So you want to avoid that by making sure it is always available.
Great ads get more clicks and lead to better performance overall. So make sure you write great text ads that appeal to visitors.
Click Through Rate (CTR) – This is a measure of how many people click your ad after it’s shown them. This helps you to understand the effectiveness of your ads and a high CTR is always a good thing.
For search campaigns, you should aim to have a CTR above 3% and anything above 5% is good and above 10% is very good. This will differ for the type of keywords you have of course and branded keywords will often achieve over 20% because these are people that are familiar with your business.
It is calculated by dividing the number of clicks your ad receives by the number of impressions it receives. For example if you have 10 clicks from 100 impressions, your click through rate is 10%.
Conversions – Conversions show the number of conversions after interaction with your ads from all actions you’ve included in this column. These actions can include purchases, lead forms and others and you can set these in Google Analytics or Google Ads as discussed earlier.
Conversion rate – This shows how often an interaction on average leads to a conversion. So it’s conversions divided by the interactions with your ad. For example, if you have 5 conversions and 100 impressions, then your conversion rate is 5%. A high conversion rate is always a good thing.
Bounce rate – This is a Google Analytics metric which you can import into your Google Analytics account. This is a percentage of single-page visits or visits in which people left your website from the landing page. A low bounce rate is almost always a good thing and on average you should aim to have a rate below 50%. That shows your visitors are engaged and are interested in what your website has to offer.
There are many others of course and the most important to you will depend on what your goals are.