Our Semi-Comprehensive Guide To What The Hell Is Google AdWords

The aim of this article is to provide some basic education about advertising on Google AdWords, and why it can be beneficial to your business.

Google AdWords is an online advertising platform, operated by Google. We won’t explain who they are. AdWords allows you to advertise in several different ways, including the following:

  • placing text Ads on Google Search pages, when people are specifically searching for the products and services you sell (see example here)
  • placing “Display Ads” (banner advertising) on websites that show Ads (many of the banner Ads you see on websites will be placed there using Google AdWords) (see example here)
  • banner Ads displayed over the top of YouTube videos (click here for example)
  • Video Ads displayed prior to the start of a YouTube video (click here for example)
  • placing text Ads inside Gmail accounts

So why would you want to use any of the above means of advertising? And which one is right for your business?

Google Search advertising

Well, if your customers are searching for your products and services on a regular basis, then a properly setup Google Search advertising campaign should be very beneficial. This cuts out a lot of ‘wasted ad impressions’ by only showing your Ads to people when they are actually searching for what you do.

You only have to pay when someone actually engages with your Ad, and clicks through to your website (as opposed to traditional advertising in magazines, newspapers, TV and radio where you pay regardless of whether the person seeing or hearing your Ad could be a potential customer).

Yes, it’s Pay Per Click (or PPC) advertising – but don’t let that put you off! Would you rather pay only when someone clicks through to your website, or pay to advertise to people who are probably never going to visit your website?

The keys to a successful Google Search advertising campaign are:

  • Develop a strategy for the campaign BEFORE you build it
  • Target the right keywords that are highly relevant to what you are selling
  • Create Text Ads that are highly relevant to what you are selling
  • Use a different Landing Page on your website for EVERY SINGLE SERVICE or PRODUCT CATEGORY you are advertising for!
  • Work on your campaign constantly – log into the account every week, analyse your search traffic, and optimise your campaign to suit what your customers are looking for
  • TRACK CONVERSIONS! If you don’t know which parts of your campaign are actually leading to sales, then there is no point in advertising.

There are many other steps necessary for the setup & ongoing management of a successful Google Search campaign, but these are the basics (these are also the basic keys that lead to many businesses wasting huge amounts of money on ineffective advertising).

Which businesses are suited to Google Search advertising?

Any business that has potential customers who search for what they do/sell on a regular basis. If nobody is ever searching for what you do, then Search advertising probably won’t work! But if people are using Google (or other search engines) to look for what you do, then Search advertising is a pretty intelligent place to be investing your marketing dollar.

How much should I spend on Google Search advertising?

We can’t answer that question in this article (sorry!) as there are soooo many factors that determine what you can/should spend in advertising per month, or what the individual cost of a click for a specific keyword search term may be.

What we can say is this: if you spend nothing, you will probably get nothing in return.

Naturally, you want to aim for a return on your advertising investment. From their gigantic amount of data analysis on advertising campaigns, Google have discovered that on average when a business spends $1 on Google Search advertising they make $2 in return.

If you ask us, that’s a pretty darn good ROI of roughly 100% (slightly better than your money will get in any term deposit anywhere on planet Earth right now…)

So if you are looking to ‘trial’ some advertising in Google and want to spend $100 a month, you ‘may’ see a return – but in our experience, you will probably waste $100. It’s our recommendation that you actually plan out the budget you will need for your campaign based on the area you want to target, the competition in your industry, and how many services/products you want to advertise for.

The biggest mistakes we see people make in their Google Search advertising campaigns:

  1. No strategy. Like we’ve said, you must plan your campaign for success, or it will end up failing.
  2. Poor quality website Landing Pages. Don’t send people to your website home page from your Ads – just don’t. The only exception to that rule may be if you have 1 single product/service, and your home page is specific to that product/service and nothing else.
  3. Tiny advertising budgets. If you want to spend almost nothing on advertising, our professional advice to you would be: don’t advertise!

Google Display Advertising

Display advertising is different to search advertising, in that it is ‘interruptive’ – with search advertising, you put an Ad in front of someone when they are doing something else (like reading a news website, browsing through a blog site, playing a game, or shopping online).

Display advertising generally requires quality images, in addition to quality, relevant headlines and Ad content. This is similar to advertising in a magazine, newspaper, or on Facebook, although the way you target who sees your Ads inside Google is a little different to all of those.

The benefits of Google Display advertising are:

  • You can reach a gigantic audience, locally or globally (basically, almost anyone who uses the internet)
  • Your business gets excellent branding by having your Ads appear multiple times in front of your target market
  • You can choose to only pay when someone actually clicks an Ad, and visits your website – or pay for ‘Impressions’ (views of your Ads)
  • Google Display advertising is significantly cheaper than newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, or flyer drops for every 1000 views of your Ads. And as a bonus, when someone sees your Google Display Ads, they are already online and can click directly through to your website – you don’t get that with traditional display advertising!


Which is better – Google Display advertising, or Facebook advertising?

There really isn’t an answer to that question, suffice to say that both have their merits. Both should be approached with a detailed strategy in mind, and a specific goal/outcome you would like to achieve from the campaign. Is your goal simply brand awareness in your local market? Is it to make a sale of a product or service? Do you want to generate enquiries? Or are you looking to build an audience of website visitors that you can continue advertising to on a regular basis? Pick a goal – don’t approach your campaign with that ‘let’s give it a crack for a couple of weeks’ kind of strategy.