A long time ago I bought a book on advertising in Adwords. It had over 500 pages and it took me two months to read. It was a slog.
Since then I have been running Google Ad campaigns for all and sundry. It’s been an interesting journey and I thought it was time I put down my thoughts in writing for anyone who has been considering using it but hasn’t yet plucked up the courage...
The first thing I’d say is that it works. It works if you run it properly, the blindingly obvious counter-argument is that it doesn’t if you don’t.
The problem is, like a lot of things in life, you have to be competent to run a campaign and most small businesses don’t have the money, skill or inclination to spend time trying to work out how it works. This is a shame because it is a powerful tool in your marketing armoury – more powerful than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and just about every social app out there.
There are plenty of videos on how to set up an account with Google Ads, so I don’t intend to cover that, instead I would like to provide you with the reasons why you should consider the system and, quite possibly, why you shouldn’t.
Before we start, here’s a quick rundown of the terms I’ll be using
GA - Google Ads - the old Google Adwords
Ad - The ad that appears on the results page of Google.
Search term - (AKA keyword) – the phrase used by a visitor to instruct GA to show your ad. (If you are a plumber it might be “water leak Bradford”.) A search term can have a bid price determined by the bid strategy or just set by you – so “water leak Bradford” might be 89p.
Budget - How much money you are prepared to spend per day.
Campaign - The top level of any Google Ad work. Here you tell GA about your budget, bidding strategy, location, audiences and more.
Adgroup - One level down from a Campaign. An Adgroup contains the ads that appear in results page.
Bid - The amount of money you, or GA, decide is the price to pay for a click on your website.
Quality score - The score (out of 10) that Google applies to search term which measures the potential, and actual, success of your ad.
Don’t forget, at the end of the day, Google are a commercial operation and want to encourage you to spend money; they are less worried about whether it actually works for you.
Despite my misgivings about GA, I believe it’s worth trying – even for a few months – it can transform your business. But you must bear one thing in mind:
Google receive most of their advertising income from medium to large companies, companies that either have the money and skills to do the work themselves or can afford to outsource the work to a specialist company. So, if you are a small company, you have a choice:
Each option will cost you either time or money and the problem with employing an outside company is that you will need to pay (usually) a monthly charge to look after your campaign – and if that company gets lazy, you will see your ad budget spent without increasing your sales.
Let’s look at your options:
As above, but check customer reviews (on Google, Trustpilot etc) before asking a company to help and make sure you are comfortable with them. Make them understand that you will use them for as long as they produce results. Don’t sign any long-term contracts – always test first.
A small website, especially when it’s new will never show on search results, Google Ads is a good way of getting there.
A wise old businessman I met a few years ago said: “I get a third of my business from current customers, a third from marketing and a third from AdWords.”
If you don’t try it, you’ll never know. Good luck.
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