You’ve probably heard the term Google AdWords before, and maybe you’ve written some copy for an Adwords campaign. Google AdWords is Google’s own advertising service that, in the words of Google, “lets you reach new customers and grow your business.”
While the promise of reaching new customers and making your business bigger is a great one, using the platform is unfortunately not that simple. But we’ll break down what you need to know to achieve this goal.
This is a big platform for Google, and it’s estimated that 96% of Google’s total revenue comes from advertising. Given that, you are now probably no longer surprised that everywhere you look, you find ads and offers to join Adwords. They make a lot of money this way!
A third of all ad revenue goes to Google — so that translates to about $38.6 going to the search giant, so no wonder they’ve really built out their advertising platform.
At its core, Google AdWords lets you place search results for your website on a search engine results pages by paying for these results to come up. Pretty simple concept, but not so simple in action.
You’ve seen Google Ads come up. Try typing anything into Google. I typed in “How to Blog” and this came up:
The first search result is an ad. Typically you see two or three of them, and they are all labeled as an ad, so you know what they are, but they have that prized first spot on the Google search result. That company, Weebly in this case, is paying for that spot.
Most likely you are doing SEO and content marketing to raise your rankings in Google to get a higher spot on the search results, but if you want to cut the line, then Google AdWords is the tool to use.
In this blog, we’ll talk about:
– How Do I Use Google AdWords?
– How Does Google AdWords work?
– How to Measure Google AdWords Campaign
– 4 Google AdWords Hacks You Need to Know
By the end of this blog, you’ll be an AdWords expert and ready to run a campaign of your own. But first things first, how does the platform actually work?
By the end of this blog, you’ll be an AdWords expert and ready to run a campaign of your own. But first things first, how does the platform actually work?
How Do I Use Google AdWords?
Before you jump down the AdWords rabbit hole, you need to figure out if Google AdWords is even right for you. You need to make sure that people are searching for what you offer. If not, then really is there a point to launching a campaign on Google? Nope.
Start with Keyword Research
Now, Google used to have an awesome Keyword Research Tool, but they did away with that in an effort to push more people towards using AdWords. But don’t worry, there are still some free ways to figure out if what you offer is searched for by users.
The free tools include:
Let’s start with Keyword Eye, which gives you 10 free searches per day with 100 results each. So let’s say your company offers marketing services. Clearly this is something that people search for, so you can type in “marketing services”, and the report comes up like this:
Those in red are high search competition, yellow are medium search competition, and the green are low search competition.
Let’s click the “Grid View” to see what they’re talking about. That will pull up a list like this:
As you scroll through, you’ll see a lot of people search for marketing services, which is great. The key here is that you want to figure out which searches have a low competition and high search volume. In other words, what is something lots of people are searching for but no one else is offering.
If you had done a search for say, “international marketing services”, you’d see this come up:
This means that not many people are searching for that term and if you only offer that service, an AdWords campaign isn’t the best idea.
Based on your company’s offerings, you want to narrow down your keyword list to terms that have low competition and high search volume. So, for example, you wouldn’t want a keyword to just be “marketing services”, because the competition is really high. We’ll explain why this is really important later.
Explain your Value in Comparison to Competition
In your AdWords campaign, when a user searches for a term, your ad might come up, but so will your competition — because they might be running ads and/or because they utilize strong SEO tactics and come up high on Google search results.
So, this means you need to explain your value proposition in your ad so you get more clicks. This is no easy task since an ad is really short! But you need to discuss with your team the following:
– What sets us apart from the competition?
– Why would a user want to purchase our product or service?
– What is the ultimate benefit we give a user?
– What is the company’s strengths?
You should also be able to use your keywords to answer these questions. This will ensure you’re using the right keywords to describe your company.
As you’ll see later on, having this in your ads will increase your sales dramatically, so before even touching Google AdWords, make sure this is ready to go.
Think about a Unique Offer
Now that you’ve described your company, you want to have a really strong offer in your ad. It needs to be something that whoever searches for this keyword has to click. Of course it has to be something your company can afford, but it also needs to beat out the competition.
For example, if a user searches “marketing services” and sees your ad that says “call us now” and a competitor’s ad that says “free marketing analysis”, who are they going to click?
In order to offer something truly special, take a look at what your competitors are giving away and try to top that. If they give free shipping, offer free shipping and a 10% discount. You will steal the business away from them.
We’re getting to the point of creating an ad, so it’s important to note this:
Your company is charged when a user clicks your ad. Therefore, these people cost you money. If it’s a lead (someone who is likely to buy), then it’s money well spent. If it’s not a lead at all, then it’s a waste of money that could have been allocated elsewhere.
See how important creating a solid ad is?
Writing the Google AdWord Copy
Now that you know the stakes are high, you should be extra careful when writing your ad copy. What you have to write is broken down into the headline, description, and URL.
Headline (25 characters): This is clearly to most important part. It’s the first thing the user sees and reads and will determine if they keep reading your ad. A good strategy is to put your keyword right in the headline (which will be bold), so that your user sees it immediately and knows whether or not the ad is relevant.
A commonly used tactic is making the headline a question. “Need headache relief?” This tactic forces the user to answer the question in their head, and depending on that answer, they’ll keep reading and hopefully click.
You only have 25 characters, though, so you need to use the space wisely. No extra words of fluff are even allowed, so you have to be brief. Try writing a few headlines to narrow down what you think will convert and what won’t.
Description (Two lines each 35 characters): Here you want to talk about your user benefits. Why it’s going to be a good thing if they purchase your product or service. This is also the place where you put your offer — what will they get if they click.
You don’t have that much space here either, and though it’s not as important as your headline, you want to use every single word very wisely.
URL: While you can just place your website here, it’s best if the URL describes the benefit a bit. For example, www.company.com/offer. This way you are sort of reiterating your offering while using the little bit of space you have in the URL.
You can then have users go to a call to action or splash page where you have the offer and directions for the customer.
You’ll want to write different versions of the ad you can see what converts and what doesn’t.
Now it’s time to set up your AdWords campaign.
Setting up the Campaign
First go to www.google.com/adwords. You’re ready to start! Simply fill in basic information to set up your account.
After you fill that in, you’re off. You’ll see a screen prompting you to begin your first campaign and explaining the four steps to get going in ads.
The first screen that comes up can be a bit overwhelming, so let’s break down what everything means to get a better understanding about the type of ad we’re creating. The first thing we need to talk about is the type of ad.
What you need to pay attention do is search and display. Of course you can choose video YouTube ads, but that’s another ballgame. Most likely what you want to do is press “Search Network only”. The Display function has many other requirements, so let’s stick to Search Network only for now.
Important: If your website is not mobile friendly, then you don’t want to show up in mobile searches, right? Users will then be really annoyed that they can’t view your site and click off.
For more information on each type, watch this AdWords Video
Let’s keep with the standard ads. You can then fill out location, language, how much you want to spend per day and if you want to make your bids or have Google do them for you.
After you press save and continue, it’s time to talk about your keywords. Now here’s is where AdWords can get a bit tricky — keywords.
What a lot of people don’t know is that there are three types of keywords: Broad, Phrase, and Exact.
Broad: This is the default matching option. Basically this means your ad will show if a search term contains your keyword. This can be in any order and with other keywords as well. So maybe your search term is “happy people smiling”, your ad can come up with someone writes “happy people who are feeling sad but smiling”.
Phrase: Phrase match shows up when someone searches for your exact keyword with some words before or after it. This gives you more precision than broad keywords since the exact phrase has to show up together. So if your keyword is “marketing services”, your ad will come up if someone types “looking for marketing services” or “cost-effective marketing services” since the exact phrase is matched.
In order to do this type of keyword search, you just put quotes around the keyword.
Exact: Exact match is just as it sounds – your ad will come up when the exact phrase it typed into Google. You get much more control with this setting, however you limit the amount of people you can reach. If you want to use this, add square brackets around the keywords.
If you choose to use Phrase, you can use negative keywords as well. Negative keywords block certain phrases that you don’t want to make your ad show up. Depending on what you are creating ads for, you may want this functionality.
Now it’s time to write your ads — which you should already have set to go. You’ll simply fill in the text below and you’re off!
And there you have it – you now have Google AdWords LIVE!
But, your work is not done. You need to continually optimize your ads to make sure you don’t lose money on this campaign! In order to do this, you need some Google AdWords hacks to make sure you get the most for your budget.
First things first, let’s talk about how to measure your campaign and the analytics you have access to.
How to Measure a Google AdWords Campaign
Remember that you are paying for clicks, so you are going to want to pay attention to the number of clicks you are getting with your ads. Here is what you want to measure:
Click Through Rate (CTR): This is an incredibly key metric when it comes to your Google AdWords campaign. This determines your Quality Score and lets your company know if people are responding to your ads. This measures a percentage of how often people click on your ad after they see it.
If you have a CTR of 1 percent or more, it means you’re doing well and people are responding to your ad. Good job!
If your rate is less than 1 percent, you need to revise your ads because for some reason they aren’t working very well. The ads that have a high CTR you should keep and the ones with a low CTR you should modify.
Quality Score: Google gives a Quality Score to each keyword. This determines your ad ranking and how much you ultimately pay for each click. Ads that have a higher CTR get a higher Quality Score. Your score reflects how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to people that actually click the ad.
A high score means that all three (ads, keywords, landing page) are doing well and are relevant. A low score means that they are not. Again, higher scored ads should be kept and lower scored ads should be revised.
Conversion Rate: This metric shows how often someone clicks on your ads and converts; they perform whatever action you have on your landing page. This is important because ideally you want everyone to convert, because that can result in more customer, sales, etc.
You can calculate this metric by dividing the total number of conversions by the number of clicks you received during the same period of time.
Keywords: What you want to do with keywords is make sure they are performing well. Though you took a long time to come up with the best keyword strategy, it’s important to regularly check if they are doing what they’re supposed to do — get clicks.
Make sure you track the keyword performance in certain periods of time. You can also run a keyword diagnosis which will check your keyword Quality Score.
Now you know how to setup and measure a Google AdWords campaign. Let’s talk about how to make it even better with these hacks.
Google AdWords Hacks
1. Improve Quality Score by Grouping Keywords
In our first hack, I’ll talk about how to improve your Quality Score and Click-Through-Rate. If these go up, then you are essentially paying less for your ads. If you pay less for your ads, that means you pay less per customer – so it’s cheaper to acquire a new customer.
You already know that Quality Score is determined by your CTR, landing page relevance, historical performance, and relevance of your ads. So how do you get this score up?
Grouping keywords can improve your quality score. Grouping keywords can be an incredibly difficult process – one of the reasons for this is because you may have hundreds of keywords. The amount makes it difficult to group.
A great way to group keywords is by following your ad copy and think of the person clicking on the ad. For example, if a keyword is fit to give the person more information (“learn more”, “research more”), then it should not be in a keyword group that encourages the reader to buy now.
Think about it this way: If a user is in the research stage, they are not ready to “buy now”, so that ad will not be relevant to them.
Another way to keep the keyword grouping strong is to run an analysis on the keywords and simply take out the ones that are not performing as well. You can run those in their own campaign or delete them all together, but this way it won’t hurt the Quality Score of the overall group.
Depending on the size and scope of your campaign, you’ll want to group keywords by the following:
– Branded terms
-Top funnel terms (educate level)
-Mid-funnel terms (analysis level)
-Bottom funnel terms (almost client level)
It can be a huge pain to categorize each keyword, but in the end it’s worth it because your Quality Score will go up, which can decrease the cost-per-acquisition.
This can also help larger campaigns that sell multiple products. If you no longer have a certain product in stock, you can simply turn off that product’s keyword campaign and stop running ads. You don’t have to worry about this impacting your overall campaign.
Remember that your ads must be really well written as well in order for them to be clicked. So be sure to spend a lot of time on the ad copy.
2. Watch your Competition’s Ads
Think about this – when your AdWords pop up, you’re competing against whoever else is using the same keywords, so they are close competition because they offer the same services as you. Though you should be giving more value, you still want to beat them out. And as the phrase goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Google actually lets you do this easily through the “Analyze Competition” feature. Not only can you filter by location, but you can check out how you compare via impressions, clicks, CTR, and the overall position.
You’ll want to let this run for about 2-3 weeks to get real insights to how you compare.
If you’re ready to get even more in depth information, try SpyFu.
Many of the tools offered by this platform are free, and there are also paid options for individuals and companies.
The tools works like this: you put in the competitor’s website and up comes all of the information.
I searched for Forbes, which means I get a ton of information, but for any competitor I can find how many keywords they have, how much they spend, how long they’ve been using AdWords, and more.
Another great tool is you can see their competition. So if you aren’t sure exactly who your competitors are, this is a great way to find out.
You can find out the keywords they use, how they rank, and also their weaknesses — which you can capitalize on.
If you’re a small business, it’s a good idea to take a look at competition that is on your level and what bigger competition is doing. The reason you’ll want to know what the big guys are doing is that so you stay away from those keywords.
For example, if Forbes is your competition, you don’t want to go after the same keywords: You’ll end up paying a ton and will probably not get many clicks or conversions.
Staying on top of your competition can help you write better ads and increase your Quality Score. If people start clicking your ads more, your Quality Score goes up (and again, your cost goes down).
Our next hack is for mobile, which plays a key role in AdWords.
3. Optimize Google AdWords for Mobile
Think about this: we are all attached to our phones every second, so you want to make sure people can see your ads and complete the action on their phone. This means you need to optimize for mobile. Here’s how to do it.
First things first, you want to have a mobile responsive website. Even without an AdWords campaign, this will increase your conversions and customer retention. Mobile is key in today’s digital world, so it’s time to get responsive.
Check this infographic below on how important mobile responsive is in 2016
At the very least, create a mobile landing page. You can use LanderApp to do this easily and quickly.
Now that you’re mobile-friendly, a great option is to implement call extensions. If your business is mostly done over the phone and/or you have great customer service, this will improve your ads immensely.
What this means is that when someone clicks on your ad, they get a phone number — they don’t go through to your landing page. So if you didn’t complete step one, this is a way to get by.
Optimize keywords for Mobile
The third thing you need to do is put yourself in the mindset of a mobile ad viewer and adjust your campaign accordingly. People viewing a mobile ad have a shorter attention span than people viewing an ad on a computer or tablet.
Therefore your ad should be a bit shorter focusing only on keywords. You’ll also want to lead with your discount and/or value proposition so people see that first and click.
Create Mobile-Specific Callouts
Lastly, to get those mobile people to click, try using Google’s Callout Extensions. A Callout is additional text with your search ads that “lets you provide detailed information about your business, including products and services you offer.” This is what it looks like:
This is great for mobile because people can see exactly what they’re going to get immediately. What’s even better? You can create mobile-specific callout texts. Google very nicely explains how to do this:
Here’s how to create mobile-specific callouts:
1. Choose the campaign that has the callout you’d like to edit.
2. Click the Ad extensions tab.
3. On the View drop-down menu, choose Callout Extensions.
4. Go to the Callout extension settings section and click Edit.
5. You’ll see a list of all the callouts in this campaign.
6. Find the callout you want to customize and click the >> next to the callout to select it.
7. On the callout you selected, click the down arrow that appears next to the pencil icon and choose Edit.
8. In the form that appears, choose Mobile next to device preference.
9. Change the callout, as needed, to optimize for mobile.
10. Click Save.
When it comes to writing callout copy, there are a few things to keep in mind. This can be even harder to write for some since the copy has to be even more succinct in this case.
You want to make sure you keep your text short – don’t go over 15 characters. Remember to cut unnecessary words. Instead of “get 10% off now” just write “10% off”; users know what you mean so cut the words that don’t add value.
Try to be as specific as possible. Again, instead of “discounts available”, write “50% off everything”. You don’t want to be vague – he more detailed you are, the more interested people will be.
You also don’t want to capitalize all words – this can look spammy and like you’re yelling. Make sure the text is appealing to the eye.
Now, for the last hack, let’s discuss making your landing page and copy align.
4. Test Landing Page Design and Make sure it Aligns with Ad Copy
Alright so you got the click, but that does not mean that you have the conversion. And remember, the conversion is the customer, so that is what you are ultimately looking for – the sale.
If your landing page and ad are not aligned (like in the image below) then not only will you lose the sale, but your “Quality Score” will decrease and your ad spend will increase.
So let’s discuss how to make sure these two items align in perfect harmony. Here are 10 tips to make this happen.
1. Use Similar Keywords & Offers.
If your keywords in your ad and on your landing page are similar or even the same, this shows Google that people get what they click on.
If you are offering a 10% discount in your ad, make sure that is clearly written on your landing page as well. This builds harmony between the two pages and shows that your landing page is relevant.
2. Have a VERY CLEAR call to action.
Google (and users) do not like when the call to action is not blatantly obvious on a landing page. When someone (including Google) lands on your page, they should immediately see a button with something along the lines of:
- Call Now (number)
- Buy Now
- Learn More
This also makes it easy to see who converts and who doesn’t.
3. Optimize your landing page
In addition to making your call to action, you shouldn’t have that much more on your landing page. Remember that’s what internal pages are for, so don’t clutter your landing page with other offers or even a second call to action.
Check out this Infographic on Optimizing landing pages or read this complete guide on Creating High Converting Landing Pages
4. Invest in Design.
Your landing page should look good when a customer lands on it. Even if you don’t want to pay a designer to make it, invest in a platform that ensures your page looks trustworthy. Don’t clutter it with images, utilize numbered lists and bullets, things that make your page look more professional.
5. Consistency in Design
Keep the same design across your ad, landing page, CTA, and thank you page. You’ll want the color scheme, font, and overall aesthetic of everything to match. This improves relevancy and also branding of your website.
6. Include relevant contact information.
Most likely this will be in your call to action, but make sure that your landing pages immediately gives a way for people to contact you. This can be a phone number, email, or a link to a contact forum – just a simple way for potential customers to get in touch with you. Look below how Dell has done it!
7. Keep your tone and copy in harmony
When someone clicks on your ad, they are responding to your language, so don’t all of a sudden take a new tone or start using very different vocabulary. Google can also pick up on this and will dock your Quality Score. Keep everything in the same tone across your ad, landing page, CTA, and thank you page — most likely this tone will match your website as well.
8. Remember the sales funnel
Most likely your ads reflect different locations in the sales funnel, so remember that these different people will need different landing pages. For example, if someone wants more information on your company, and they click your website and end up on a BUY NOW call to action, this is not a good thing.
This signals to Google and to that potential customer that your ad is not in sync with your landing page. That person should land on a page with a CTA of “Learn More” so they can get more information.
9. Implement SEO best practices.
Here are three tips to follow when it comes to SEO and Google AdWords
- Make sure your meta tags include your keywords
- Make your title tags clear and use your keywords there as well
- Make sure you have a clear URL. Instead of www.company/xyz, make the URL www.company/save
Implementing these three tasks will signal to Google that your ad and landing page match.
Check out this Infographic on SEO Optimizing of Your Website
10. Make your landing page mobile friendly.
I don’t need to go into this again, but Google appreciates a mobile optimized site, so get a higher Quality Score through this. Check some stats by Skyrkt.com on importance of having a mobile friendly
Now you have all of the Google AdWords hacks to make your campaign even better!
When it comes to a Google AdWords campaign, the biggest thing you have to remember is TESTING. If you’re doing this yourself, it’s going to take a big of time to get your campaign up and running. You will constantly have to monitor progress to make sure keywords are optimized and that everything is running smoothly.
“Google AdWords certification is a professional accreditation that Google offers to individuals who demonstrate proficiency in basic and advanced aspects of AdWords”
This is for experts who want to take the next step in AdWords.
The other option is to hire a company who can help run your campaign. Depending on your budget and size of campaign, you can find many freelancers or large companies willing to help.
If you want to go at it alone, this blog has definitely got you on your way. You can try the Udemy AdWord Course for Beginners which gives additional references and support.
Though Google AdWords seems like a giant, with time and effort, you can run a successful and profitable campaign.