As many of you know, Google Adwords is probably the single most effective, trackable and targetable method on earth for putting your products and services in front of thousands of people in a matter of hours. You can set up a Google Adwords account in 5 minutes, create a campaign in under 30, and have your ads seen by tens of thousands the same day in most cases. The only delay you may encounter in using Google Adwords to reach people is waiting for Google approval of an ad before it goes live. This approval can take couple of days if you set up a campaign on a Friday night, or a few hours if you set it up on a Tuesday morning.
Google Adwords campaigns come in two varieties, Cost Per Click and Cost per Impression.
- Cost per Impression ads lets you pay for each 1000 impressions your ad receives.
- Cost Per Click bids make you pay only when your add receives a click.
The economics of this are a bit sneaky.
- In theory, Cost per Impression (CPM) ads can expose your company to more Google Searchers at a fixed price, and you don’t get charged more if people click on your ads. So a great ad at a fixed cost per 1000 impressions might generate a lot of clicks and you wouldn’t have to pay a fixed amount for each one. On the other hand, you might have a lot of people look at your ads and never click and Google would still charge you for the ad.
- Cost per Click (CPC) ads create a cost for you ONLY when the ad is clicked. This means that your ad can be shown to many thousands of people before anyone clicks, but it’s only the clicks you will pay for. A bad ad, for example, might get almost no clicks, and be shown to hundreds of thousands. That happens with some frequency actually.
- Google tracks how ads perform. This means that it decides, based on how many campaigns are competing for a given space which ad is most likely to pay them the most. In effect, Google auctions off each advertising slot to the highest bidder every time someone executes a search or displays a page on which a Google ad runs.
- If you have a bad ad that never gets clicks in a CPC campaign, or a CPM campaign with a low bid for a popular keyword, your ad will never run because Google will calculate that another advertiser’s ads will pay more per impression or yield more clicks at a higher bid than yours will.
You can run Google campaigns for text, image and video-based ads. The ads can run on the Google Site, on other search engines, or on news sites and blogs across the internet. You decide where ads run when you create each campaign. You can run them for any location, any time of day, for any demographic. We venture to say that there is no more flexible ad campaign management tool on earth than Google Adwords.
But, Google Adwords can cost you thousands of pounds in unexpected charges unless you follow some important rules:
- Only spend money when you can track you return on investment in real time. Never leave a Google Adwords campaign unattended for more than a day because things can go badly wrong very quickly.
- Be conscious that the click price can dramatically increase without warning. This means your ads may stop running without warning if your bid is too low. If you have a high bid value set, and yet you never get charged that amount because there’s little competition for that keyword, a sudden increase in competition may double or triple your cost per click.
- Remember that in CPC campaigns, a sudden flurry of clicks can jump your costs dramatically without increasing your revenue. Anyone can click your ad for any reason. If your ads run only on search engines the only ones likely to be interested in artificially inflating your clicks are your competitors. If you run your ads on Google’s affiliated Adsense sites, people who own those sites get paid for each click an ad gets. Fraud in this instance can be quite expensive to you. Google does have tools in place to catch this kind of misbehavior, but people have had some very unpleasant surprises in the past. You need to monitor your campaigns to ensure you can stop this kind of fraud before it eats up your ad budget.
- Set a very, very low campaign budget to start. You should be able to tell how well an ad or keyword combination are selling for you with just a few hundred clicks. Big budgets are wasted money until you know EXACTLY what works to sell your products and services.
- Make sure that the people who come to your site are buyers, not just people who are idly interested in what you sell. Putting a price in your ad can help, as can using words like “buy” in your key phrases. Make sure people know what they are coming to the site to do.
- Monitor your Click Thru Rate (CTR) but don’t assume a higher rate is a good thing. If people click on your ad but don’t buy anything, join your mailing list, follow you on Twitter, or do anything else that gives you value they just cost you money without providing you any benefit at all.
- Make sure your site has something to buy on it, or some method for generating revenue or long term value for your. There’s not a lot of benefit in sending people to a site where they can’t actually buy anything, can’t sign up for your mailing list, can’t follow you on Twitter, can’t join your Facebook page.
Creating good Google ads is an art that may take years to master, however, here are some tips that should help you achieve better results.
- Think very, very, very hard about your keywords. What do people look for when they want to buy your product or service. Someone who searches for “buy Victorian Dolls” is likely to buy a doll. Someone who searches for “Victorian Dolls” may be a hobbiest looking for pictures.
- Title: Capitalize the First Letter of Each Word in your Ad Title. Include the keyword at the start if you can. This increases CTR. Include the benefit to the customer if you can. Answer the question “What makes you different?” in your ad if you can (ex: fastest lawnmower, award winning dog trainer, etc)
- Description: Make full use of the space in your Ad. You enter two lines of text but it may actually be displayed as one, so bear that in mind. Focus on what’s important to the user. Include your keyword, even if it is already in the title.
- Display URL: Do not use www. at the start of your URL. Attempt to include the keyword after the URL if possible (eg: SchoolforStartups.co.uk/Keyword-Here). Your display URL can be different from your destination URL, as long as the domain used on both is the same.
If you get a keyword and ad combination that’s really effective at selling your products and services, use search engine optimization techniques to modify your site so it can use the same model without requiring you to pay Google adword fees. If you can make it so Google lists your website at the top of its search page naturally, you may get up to 40% of the clicks on the page without having to pay per click or impression.
Many people have heard horror stories of people who have lost a lot of money using Google Adwords and those stories are almost always true, however the truth is that it can be one of your fastest and easiest methods for reaching customers who are ready to buy what you sell.