Google Ads is a program developed by Google to allow users to run advertisements on the search engine, Chrome browser, and in Google Maps. The program allows users to reach out to their target audience and track the success of their advertising campaigns. Because Google is such a popular browsing and search service, Google ad space is extremely valuable, and therefore advertising opportunities through Google Ads are often highly competitive. As such, online marketing professionals should know how to navigate Google Ads as part of a paid social marketing campaign.
While the program is relatively straightforward to use, you will not gain its full benefit if you do not use it properly. It is important that you understand how the program works and what strategy will be most effective for your particular marketing campaign before you launch your campaign.
How Google Ads work
There are three major payment models for Google Ads: cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), and cost-per-engagement (CPE). For CPC ads, the company pays the platform whenever a user clicks on their ad. For CPM ads, the company must make a payment for every 1,000 impressions (user views) of their ad. For CPE ads, the company must make a payment every time a user engages with the ad, for example, likes or shares it.
Regardless of which payment model you choose, it will operate under a bidding system. Companies indicate the maximum amount that they are willing to pay for advertising space, and those amounts are an important determining factor for the relative visibility of your ads.
Types of Google Ads
Google Ads can take many forms, and therefore it is up to marketers to determine what type of ad will best suit their marketing campaign. There are five types of ad campaigns that you can choose from, including:
- Search campaigns: Search ads will allow links to your services or products to appear at the top of search engine result pages. Because this type of advertisement is tied to particular keywords directly related to your service or product, this type of campaign is ideal for targeting an audience that is already interested in buying.
- Display campaigns: Displays ads are image-based advertisements that may appear on various websites, platforms, or apps. Because the user will be passively exposed to the ad, it is great for catching your audience’s attention and increasing brand awareness.
- Video campaigns: Video ads may appear on any type of video media. Video-sharing services often operate based on user searches, and therefore Google Ads can use searcher input to personalize a user’s video ad experience. As such, this type of advertising campaign is ideal for outreach to a narrow target audience.
- Shopping campaigns: Shopping ads may appear on Google search engine results pages based on targeted keywords. This type of campaign is ideal for targeting consumers who are ready to buy a physical product.
- App campaigns: App campaigns are used to promote mobile apps, and virtually any company that wants to promote their app may find them useful.
To determine which type of campaign will best suit your marketing goals, you should consider factors such as what you are advertising, where your intended audience is online, and what part of the marketing funnel you are targeting.
Google Ad auction
As mentioned, Google Ads operates under a bidding system. Whenever Google has ad space available, it opens the space up for bidding. Marketers can then bid to claim that space. You can change your bid amount at any time, and because your bid is the maximum you are willing to pay, the actual cost will typically be lower.
However, it is important to note that your ad placement does not solely depend on the amount of your bid. Google also places ads based on how useful and relevant they are likely to be for the users who see them. Google will also assess the quality of your ad and ad extensions as a placement factor.
As such, it is very possible to get better ad space for a lower price than your competitors by ensuring that you are targeting highly relevant keywords and including high-quality ad extensions.
Ad Rank refers to the value Google assigns to your advertisements to designate their ad position. This effectively determines the relative visibility of your ad compared to competitors for the same ad space. Ad Rank is calculated using five major elements:
- The amount of your bid: Typically, higher bidders will claim higher positions in ad space than their competitors.
- The quality of your ads and landing pages: Google Ads assigns a quality score that reflects the likelihood of an ad’s click-through rate and relevance, as well as users’ expected landing page experience.
- Ad Rank thresholds: Ad Rank threshold refers to your ability to compete in an ad auction, as well as the minimum expense for your ad to appear in the auctioned space. If your ad is not particularly relevant or high-quality, you will have to spend more money to claim the space.
- Search context: Google considers the relevance of ads when determining their Ad Rank. Relevance refers to how well the advertised product or service is likely to satisfy a given search query.
- Expected impact of ad extensions: By including ad extensions with your advertisement, you can improve your ad rank. Ad extensions are additional information about your business or product that can improve customer experiences, such as product ratings and contact information
All of these factors will be weighed when Google Ads determines the position of your ad in the auctioned ad space
How to create an effective Google Ads campaign
While many unique factors can impact the success of a Google Ads campaign, there are a few tried-and-true strategies you can follow to improve your chances of success, including:
- Ensuring that you have set clear and achievable goals.
- Determining your advertising priorities.
- Ensuring that you are properly trained and qualified to manage an online marketing campaign.
- Carefully researching and choosing keywords relevant to your products or services.
- Assessing competitor strategies.
- Identifying your target audience and their online habits.
- Crafting your ad with quality and user experience in mind.
- Carefully budgeting for your maximum advertising expenses.
- Tracking and analyzing the impact and success of your ads on an ongoing basis.
- Adjusting your advertisements, target keywords, or budget as needed according to your assessment of information such as data from Google Analytics.
Keep in mind that when it comes to advertising, there will often be a lot of guess-and-check involved to ensure that you are targeting your audience as efficiently as possible.