For businesses of all sizes, Google AdWords is one of the best ways to get more leads and build more sales. You can control how much you want to spend. You can control how many leads you want and from where you want it and the best part- you can control how you should get.
Little wonder that in Google’s share of the global digital advertising market was a whopping 31.1% giving Google global net revenue of $51.81 Billion! Millions of businesses around the world advertise on Google and so can you.
But using Google AdWords can be intimidating for the first timer. Heck. It can be frightening even for the experienced! That’s primarily because Google AdWords system gives complete power to the user to setup, create, run and even optimize their AdWords campaign on the fly.
I should know. I learnt it the hard way when I created my first campaign on Google AdWords. It was only after losing a lot of money trying to understand how Google AdWords operated, was I able to make my campaign successful.
In this article, I will take you through a step by step guide on How to get started with Google AdWords so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did!
What is Google AdWords?
In a nutshell, Google AdWords allows you to show your advertisement to people when they are searching for information related to your business domain. We all use Google for information and using this information from millions of users around the world, Google has managed to create a AdWords platform that allows you to show your advertisement to highly relevant people exactly when they are searching for you
When we search for anything on Google, we will see advertising like the ones marked in Red on the top and bottom of the Google Search page. These are paid advertisements.
In the example alonside, when I typed “ marketing management course’’ assuming I was someone looking to join a marketing management course, I got to see 4 advertisements from different educational institutes that provided this course.
If mine was a business providing marketing management courses, showing my advt to people when they type the word marketing management course becomes highly relevant because I know that someone who types this word is my relevant target customer
Google AdWords therefore help you show your advt to people who matter. Conceptually, it’s as simple as this. The challenge comes when one begins to implement it!
Common Questions: Google AdWords
I often face very similar questions from most business owners and first time users of Google AdWords so I think it’s important to address some of the key common questions that everyone asks
- What is the budget I have to spend?
There is no specified budget mandated by Google. You can spend as low as $5 per day or $50,000 per day and Google will happily take your money. Your daily budget or your total budget must be determined by what you want to achieve and what your pocket can give
- How do I decide how much to spend every day?
This is a tough question if you’re starting off on a new campaign. My advice always has been to start small with perhaps $5 budget daily and observe how your campaign is performing for the first 10 days, optimize the campaign and then scale up. Remember, it’s very easy to lose a lot of money on Search Engine Advertising if you’re not careful.
- How does Google Charge?
AdWords works on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model, which means that you only pay for the number of clicks your advertisement got. You will need to enter your card details and Google will keep debiting your card based on your daily spend limit.
Google AdWords: Terminologies to know
One of the biggest disconcerting factors for most first time beginners to digital marketing is the frequent use of various terminologies that are thrown about and which can be very confusing. So before I go any further, let me share some of the key terminologies that you should know if you want to run Google AdWords for your business
Keyword: A keyword is a word that you select on the Google AdWords platform against which you want your advertisement to be shown if anyone types that word. In the example above- “marketing management course’ is the keyword that triggered off the advertisements from the 4 companies shown.
Tip : A keyword could be a single word or 2 words or even a phrase like the one above.
Bidding: A bid is the price that you say you are willing to pay to Google to trigger off your advertisement when anyone types in the keyword you have selected. Google Adwords works on the principle of allowing people to place bids on the keywords. Hence as an advertiser you will be competing with other advertisers for the same keyword.
As a thumb rule, the higher the bid price, the more likely you’re advertising will be shown at a higher position and vice-versa.
CPC: Cost-Per Click: The CPC is the bid price you are essentially paying for each click on your advertisement by the person who is searching. What this means is that you only pay when someone clicks on your advert and not if the person does not.
Tip: CPC is the best model to opt for when you set up your campaign for the first time.
Impressions: This tells you how many times your advertisement was shown on Google AdWords network to various users. For example 10,000 impressions means that your advt was shown 10,000 times.
Clicks: The number of times, you advt was clicked by users. For example, 300 clicks means that your advertisement was clicked 300 times
CTR%: This is the percentage of clicks over impression. For example if you had 10,000 impressions for a particular keyword and you got 300 clicks, your CTR% would be 300/10000 = 3%
Tip: CTR% is an important data point to monitor when you run your campaign
Conversion & Conversion %: Conversion is the number of users who completed a specific action on your website. This could be in terms of filling up a lead form (the most common) or downloading an app or even buying something. The conversion action is something that you specify to Google and then Google will track the user from the time he has clicked on your advt on Google search right up to the time he completes the action.
Conversion % is the number of conversions over clicks as a percentage. For example if out of 300 clicks, say 50 filled up a lead enquiry form , then your conversion is 50 and your conversion % is 50/300 = 16.66%.
Tip- Focus on your cost per conversion and not your Cost per Click to make your campaign more ROI driven.
Creating your Google AdWords Account
To create your Google AdWords Account go to www.google.com/adwords. You need to have a Gmail account to open an AdWords account. Once you have created an account, you will return to the screen shown.
Remember to skip the portion marked in Red. If you don’t do that, you will be taken to Google’s Express Advert Account which is a basis DIY account with very little functionality and control. I know of several customers of mine who did not do this and ended up wasting their money on Google before I showed them what they had done wrong.
Once you have skipped, you will be asked to give details of your country, time zone and currency. Please fill this up carefully. You don’t want to be billed in a currency other than your own!
Once you’re done, you are all ready to start creating your first campaign!
Google AdWords Campaign Setup
There are essentially 5 steps to planning and launching your first campaign with Google AdWords.
- Setting your AdWords Objective – Goal Determination
- Keyword Planning & Selection
- Creating your Ads and setting up your bid price
- Adding Payment
- Launching & starting your campaign
Setting your AdWords Objective
There are 6 different types of campaign that you can run on Google AdWords, shown in the visual alongside. In this article we will focus only on the campaign- Search Network Only, as this particularly focuses on the most commonly used form of Google AdWords- i.e showing your ads on the Google Search pages.
Once you have selected Search Network only, you will next need to set up your campaign parameters.
In this section, select All Features. This unlocks all the features available on the Google AdWords platform for you as the advertiser to use. It provides un-matchable parameters that will help you set up a great campaign.
There are other choices available in case you are a tech company wanting to generate app installs or more advanced campaign parameters are available in Dynamic Search Ads. However we shall restrict this article to one specific area- Building a great Google AdWords Campaign using Search keywords.
You will next be required to set up your target location parameters
Google allows you to set the geography in which your advt should be shown. For instance if you chose only New York or New Delhi or both, your advt will be shown only to people in these two cities and nobody else. Hence choosing your target location is the first important step in ensuring that you get a great ROI.
Using Advanced Search, you can even target users in the following ways:-
By Geography– City, State, Country or Pin Codes
By Radius – i.e users within a certain radius of your physical store. Extremely useful if you’re in the retail business which works on a neighborhood footfall basis
By Demographics– location and income metric can be used
As in the case above, I have chosen New York City and then asked to target my campaign to the top 10% households within New York. This kind of targeting is extremely useful if you’re product or service is aimed at people within a certain demographic income category.
Another aspect in location targeting is choosing who should see your advert, which could be people living in the target location you specified or people who have shown interest in the target location you have specified. Go with the recommended option show
Setting you Bid
Things now start getting complicated and confusing. Google AdWords bid strategy gives you several options by which you can manage your bidding
At the beginner’s stage, keep things simple and opt for Manual CPC which allows you to manually set the Cost per Click (CPC) that you are willing to pay. As you learn more about Google AdWords, you can start working on other bidding strategy.
Tip: The key to AdWords as in any other marketing channel is to start small, experiment, learn and then scale
Set you default Bid price based on what you would be prepared to pay for every click on your advt. This is a difficult price to put for someone who has never done any AdWords, so here is my advice:
Hint: Estimate what you’re prepared to pay for every lead that you get. You should be able to tell this amount. Remember not every click will translate into an enquiry. Hence if your Cost per Lead is say $10/- and you estimate that you should be able to convert 1 out of every 10 clicks into a lead, then the max CPC that you should be willing to pay should be $1/-
Next set your daily budget and your start and end date of the campaign. Do not put in an ad scheduling at this stage since this is your first campaign. You can look at the data later and understand at what time and day your advt are performing better and change this.
Tip: Everything that you set in your campaign parameters at this stage can be changed by you at any time. So don’t worry
Once you have got a hang of Google AdWords, you can come back and make your campaign even more powerful if these Ad Extensions.. You can also ignore and leave as it is the other aspects of your campaign parameters such as Ad Rotation, Campaign URL’s and Dynamic Search Ads at this stage.
Tip: Everything that you set in your campaign parameters at this stage can be changed by you at any time. So don’t worry
Ad Extensions are a great way to get better mileage for your Text Ads and they deserve a more intensive guide which I shall put together in the near future. Subscribe here if you would like to be kept informed when this would be available.
Select Save and Continue to the next stage
Keyword Planning and Selection
Planning which keywords should trigger off your advt is the core of getting a good ROI (return on investment) from your campaign. Selecting the right keywords call for both knowledge about how to use Google AdWords Keyword Planning Tool as well as a good marketing knowledge. One without the other will result in a poor Adword campaign as I have seen plenty of times.
The important aspect to remember when choosing your relevant keywords is to think of your prospective customer. You have to put yourself in your customer shoes and think of how he or she would be searching for information relating to your business or product or service.
Tip: Don’t assume that because you are making a product, customers are looking for the same product. There are many different ways by which customers approach the same subject matter and the stronger your knowledge is about your customer, the better will be your keywords.
To determine the keywords that people are actually searching for, Google has a tool called the Keyword Planner Tool
On your main tabs on your Adwords tab, select Tools and then select Keyword Planner
Select- Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category
Start inputting your data the way I have done using the same example as in the start for Marketing Management Course. My objective is to find keywords related to “marketing management course” as that is what I am selling as an example.
You also chose your target location, your languages, opt in for Google and Search Partners and put in negative keywords.
What are negative keywords?
Negative keywords are essentially keywords that you will use to block advt being shown if this particular keyword is also used by the user while searching. For example while you are wanting to reach out to those who are searching for ‘marketing management course’ you might now want to show your advt to those who are searching for “teaching jobs in marketing management course’. In this case teaching job becomes a negative keyword.
How does it impact your AdWords Campaign?
Using the same example above. If you have not put in the negative keyword, your advt would be shown to both users who typed “marketing management course’ as well as to the person who typed ‘teaching jobs in marketing management course’. The latter is not your prospect and therefore if he clicks on your advt, it becomes a wasted click that cost you money! Hence using negative keywords help you eliminate wasted clicks that cost you money. It also helps you sharpen your advt to more relevant audience
Now Click on Get Ideas to see what Google throws up
You will get to see an average monthly search volume of all the keywords that Google AdWords has thought fit based on user browsing history as well as keywords picked up from your website.
You can now select the relevant keywords based on your understanding of how relevant each keyword is to your business and its monthly search volume. Google also tells you what the suggested bid price for each keyword could be , but in my opinion, it’s usually good practice to ignore what Google says and use one’s own judgement. Google also lets you know how high the competition is on each of the keyword. The higher the competition, the higher is the bid price usually and the greater the search volume of the keyword is, the lower is the average bid price that you will end up paying.
Keep select the most appropriate keyword and add them to your plan. You can drop keywords you don’t want at any time during the campaign.
An important aspect of Google AdWords is creating Ad Groups. Ad Groups are a clustering of keywords that are similar in context like the ones shown in the visual
As you can see one common element in all these keywords is the keywords- Marketing Degree. Clustering keywords that have common keywords or context into one group is called creating an Ad Group.
How does it help to create an Ad Group?
Creating an Ad Group helps in 2 ways:
- It helps you create text ads that relate to those keywords in that specific ad groups. For example your text ad for this particular ad group must carry the words Marketing Degree.
- It also helps in improving your overall quality score. The quality score is an algorithm used by Google that looks at various parameters to determine a score for your advt. The higher the quality score, the lower will be your CPC and vice-versa. Google works on the simple equation that if someone is searching for something related to marketing degree and sees an advt for marketing degree, then the connection is strong and hence gives that advt a better score. Hence clustering your keywords into ad groups will help your campaign get a better ROI
Once you have done this, it’s time to create your first text add.
Creating Text Ads
The last part of creating your first campaign is to create your Text Ads. Your Text Ads are those that will be shown when anyone types the keywords that you have selected on the Google Search Network.
Remember, you need to create Text Ads for each Ad Group that you have set up. To start with create at least 3 different Text Ads for each Ad Group. This is a good practice as it helps you to understand which of your messaging is getting a better response. As with everything else on Google, you can switch off those Text Ads that are not performing at any time
On your main campaign dashboard, select your campaign and then select Ads.
You will then get to see and create your first text advt
- Enter the URL where you want the user to go to when he clicks on your Text Advt. This could be your home page of your website, or a separate landing page or a specific page within your existing website.
- Enter the Headline 1 . You have 30 characters to make a powerful messaging statement.
- Enter the headline 2: You have another 30 characters to say this in.
Based on the how your advt is shown, only your Headline 1 might be shown or both headline together. Therefore craft both headlines in a manner that they work well together or with just the first headline
- Write a description for your Text ads. You have 80 characters to do this in. Your descriptor should tell clearly the prospect why he should consider your business over others. Use the descriptor to sell the benefits- not the product.
Save the Advt and create another and yet another, until you are done creating ads for all your Ad Groups.
Now enter your credit or debit card details in the billing section of your Campaign dashboard, set up your spending limit and you’re all set.
Congratulations! You are now ready to launch your first Google AdWords campaign!!
Now that you know how to set up your first campaign, you might want to attend our free course on Google AdWords Training- How to use it for business leads, created specifically for businesses. This free course takes you through not just helping you set up your campaign, but guides you on avoiding costly mistakes that everyone makes. Click here to register.