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Google Ads: The Ultimate How-to Guide
  • Contest Factory
  • November 2, 2021

Google Ads Guide

Mastering Google Ads Takes Time

Advertising continues to become more and more confusing as the platforms, products, and strategies continue to fragment with new ad agencies and ad products offering to revolutionize your business with greater conversion rates, average order values, and repeat purchases. Business owners’ inboxes are being flogged with legendary stories of lifetime values that are through the roof and guarantees offered that are undermined by the fine print. It’s because of this that we want to share the age-old secret of Google Ads and how to use them yourself effectively.

Google Ads is one of the most powerful tools available for increasing your sales and conversion rate. If you have not been told this secret yet, here’s the reason; it’s called in-market shoppers. In-market shoppers are folks that are already searching for your product or service. These folks are in market for your type of product, which does not necessarily mean, your product specifically. Take for example a vacuum – there are many options to choose from, so if you are selling vacuums and someone is looking for one, you may capture their attention and you may even sell one if you do a good job after click through. But first you must show up for them to consider you.

While SEO is being shouted from the rooftops, it’s far more competitive to show up on page one with SEO than it is Google Ads. For this reason, we believe a well-balanced approach works, but while you’re waiting for your SEO to catch up to your agency’s promises, you may rely on Google Ads. You can pay to play at any level and test which level provides the most effective cost per customer. You may often find that position 3 is just as effective as position 1, yet it costs less to acquire your customer at position 3.

Google Ads Types

There are 8 types of Google Ads to choose from; of course, you will want to test them all. You may even find that some of these ad types work well together, as it typically takes multiple exposures to get your prospect to click on your ad.  Check out all the options available in Google Ads:

  1. Text Ads:  These are the ads you are most familiar with that show up at the top of Google SERPs and at the bottom. Back in the day, these also showed up on the right side of SERPs but that feature is long gone. Google does strive to deliver results and when you provide too many options, folks don’t make decisions, so let’s thank Google for removing 20 more competitors from the viewable text ad space. Another feature we should thank Google for is expanded text ads (ETA) as this provides more characters and flexibility in your ad copy. It also enables testing of headlines by providing the option to use three different headlines, two description options, and extensions.

Google Ads text ad

  1. Responsive Search Ads: These ads provide even more flexibility and options with the ability to use up to 14 headlines and 5 descriptions. While this is awesome to test options without needing different ads, there is some functionality you need to understand to prevent poor branding and wasted ad spend. All headlines must be able to work with all descriptions as you cannot pair these.
  2. Dynamic Search Ads: This is an automated approach with a well-designed website hierarchy and content strategy. Dynamic search ads use your website content to target your ads to users searching for similar products or services. While this sounds fabulous for time savings, as in all things, easy doesn’t necessarily ever mean quality as now you are not in charge of your ad copy and in fact it can appear off at times. You can also use a product feed to create this type of ad to try a small test for success to determine how much budget you want to invest here. Plenty of ad strategies use this in a lesser capacity and grow their own text ads as they go.
  3. Display Ads:  These are image-based ads made available by Google in a variety of IAB approved ad sizes. This enables you to add emotion to your advertising. These ads are served over Google’s display ad network, which means you are not reaching the same in-market audience as it’s not based on search terms rather site websites your target audience may visit.
  4. Video Ads:  Video ads are exactly what they say – video advertising assets, much like a commercial if not identical where you can show exactly how your product or service works; play on the feelings and show folks loving your product.  These ads are served on YouTube, which of course is owned by Google, making it an extension of their ad inventory to sell. This is a very compelling opportunity and while it has the same in-market challenge as folks are not searching for these ads, it also offers the ability to have compelling creative to create awareness to your prospects.
  5. App Promotion Ads:  Another very straightforward ad product – this is for brands that are promoting app downloads and are made available only on phones or tablets for download. These appear in the Google Play store as well as the google network.
  6. Product Shopping Ads:  These ads are what you see at the top of google searches with images. They enable you to scroll to the right to continue shopping. You can use your own data feed tool to create your feed to support the Google shopping experience or you can create a shopping feed in Google Merchant. These are also fantastic converting products Google as there is so much data visible right off the bat: product name, image, product price, sale price, store name, and free shipping.
  7. Showcase Shopping Ads: These ads enable a group of products of the same type to be displayed, letting users shop right in their browser. This would be another good example to talk about vacuums. If you are searching for vacuums, you will find plenty to choose from.

Google Shopping Ads

Next step is to create your Google Ads account by going to https://ads.google.com/ and following the tutorial prompts below. Continue to answer the questions as the priority of your business determines. Determine whether you want phone calls, store visits, video demos, or website sales / sign-ups.  Next, you will share your website URL with Google and finally, you will be ready to start creating your ad campaign.

Google Ads Platform Hierarchy

We will cover the framework on Google Ads – It’s much like Facebook if you have ever dabbled in Facebook advertising, where you are less likely to find in-market shoppers as this is not a behavior target that is available in the platform.

Campaign: You will have your campaign-level data that sets your framework for your advertising. You will want to use this to group objectives, budgets, targets, and categories.

Ad Group: This segments your products and / services further to be more granular in your advertising strategy. Each campaign can have multiple ad groups and should. The more granular you are in setting up your ad groups, the more visibility you have to analytics that will help you optimize your advertising. Sticking with vacuums, you may have an ad group for robotic vacuums, a group for upright vacuums, a group for wet vacuums, a group for bagless vacuums, individual groups for each brand of vacuum, a group for stick vacuums, and groups for specialty needs like, “good for pets” and “good for spills”.

Keywords: This area gets complex based on the options you may use to match your keywords, but we’ll address that later. For now, know that your keywords are specific to your ad groups. Don’t fret as you can copy your keywords to different ad groups and save oodles of time. You may use the Google Key Word tool to craft impress keyword lists. You may also use excel to create large combinations of keywords by concatenating product elements.

Ad Text: And as we mentioned all the ad types, of course, this also falls under the ad group referenced above. You can also copy ad text from one ad group to the next as well. Don’t forget you have the option of also using dynamic search ads to start to see some basic data before you try your hand at creating everything from scratch.

Landing Pages: While this may seem the simplest of them all, it’s not – Google has an algorithm for everything. And your landing page impacts a metric called, “relevance”. Each ad gets a relevance score and that is how Google finds your landing page to the ad you created. The more relevant this landing page is, the more affordable your ad will be. Also, note that your website may be great for housing everything you need but may not be the best tool for ad conversion. You may want to test isolated landing pages for different products or services to see how this impacts the relevance score and the conversion rate.

Google Ad Extensions

Google Ads extensions are another way to enhance your ads and speak to your prospect with more details. Some of the extensions are purely for mobile and some provide greater detail for ads that will make your consumer feel more at home, such as the city. The ad extension types are fairly simple to understand – it’s the testing matrix that you’ll want to keep to ensure you have complete control over testing every extension with every ad to see the best combination.

These are the specific types of extensions available: phone number, site links, images, location, price, and structured snippets.

Google Ads Match Type

Google created match types to enable you to find your prospects at three different levels; each level narrows the accuracy of your prospect. Broad will deliver more traffic with less qualification, while exact match will deliver folks searching exactly these keywords but will lose any keyword you may have left out. Testing a combination of these approaches will help you find where your sweet spot is. Be sure to note the syntax necessary to tell Google which match type you are referencing as it’s not a toggle or dropdown designation, rather how you enter your keywords in the platform.

Broad Match:  This match type is the loosest match type available which means you will get more traffic, but probably more unqualified traffic as opposed to in-market prospects. Ads may show on searches that are related to your keyword, which can include searches that don’t contain your exact keyword; for example, searching for a vacuum may return cleaning content. Broad match is the default match type that all your keywords are assigned as if you don’t specify another match type. This means there is no syntax for broad match – and if you didn’t know syntax, all your ads may be delivering irrelevant traffic. Ouch!

Google uses additional variables with this match type to help deliver the best result possible:

  • The user’s recent search activities
  • The content of the landing page
  • Other keywords in an ad group to better understand keyword intent

Phrase Match:

Your Google Ads may show on searches do not include your phrase but include the meaning of the phrase – Google is certainly smart as we’ve learned. The keyword meaning may be implied and user searches may be a more specific or narrow form of the definition to include color or brand. As noted, phrase match is more flexible than exact match and more targeted than broad match. You will get more traffic with phrase match, and this may just be the sweet spot for you to get additional traffic and find creative landing pages to really sell your offer.

Phrase match relies on using quotes as the syntax, “The best vacuum on the market”.

Exact Match:

Ads may show on searches that are the same meaning or same intent as the keyword. Of the three keyword matching options, exact match gives you the most control over who sees your ad.

Exact match uses brackets as the syntax, such as [best selling vacuum].

Google Analytics

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You get a robust set of analytics in Google Ads but adding context to all your store sales is important. You will want to be sure to connect your Google Ads to your Google Analytics. This will also help you understand what happens to users that click through your ad to your website but do not convert.

To connect your Google Ads account to your Google Analytics account, you will need to use GA Universal analytics and be an admin on the account.  You can click on the gear in the bottom right of your analytics account and you will be shown the screen below. You will want to click on the highlighted link to add your Google Ads account. Simply add your Google Ads account ID on the next screen and you are ready to roll with increased visibility into how your ads are performing.

Connect your Google Ads Account to GA

How to Set Up Your First Google Ads Campaign

Following the framework provided so far, you should be able to go in and follow the steps in order:

  1.  Create your campaign – determine your goals for your first campaign. Start simple so you can figure out the platform and grow as your experience does.  Start with a campaign of your most popular product category and add 3-5 ad groups.
  2. Your ad groups should vary between product type and product benefit as referenced above.
  3. Now you will associate your keywords with your ad groups; don’t forget to use your syntax to determine which ad types work best for your product or service.
  4. Associating your landing pages with your ads will be your first attempt at understanding your relevance score. Use your website as the path of least resistance and cost to set a baseline and determine if you need to create landing pages.

Now you are well on your way to learning how to drive traffic from one of the highest return on ad spend opportunities available. Folks in market looking for your product or service are much more likely to convert than an out of market prospect that you need to spend more media money to convince they need your product.  Continue to test copy, call to action, colors, images, and landing pages to find your most efficient ad buying. Mastering this will take awhile but you will learn more than you expect about how prospects work react to your ads and product or service.  Have fun acquiring new customers!

 

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