Digital marketing means using tools like email marketing, social media marketing, paid and unpaid search marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) to promote a business online. With the explosion of the internet, digital marketing has become one of the most critical ways to publicize a business and help it grow. Using online tools like Google Ads for sales, extending reach, and building brand awareness and loyalty is key for companies of any size.

What is Google Ads & Why Should You Use It?

Google Ads is a paid online advertising platform offered by Google. Launched in 2000 as Google Adwords, in 2018, Google upgraded and rebranded the service as Google Ads. According to Google, with Google Ads, “you can create online ads to reach people exactly when they’re interested in the products and services that you offer.”

What that means is that business owners can use Google Ads to advertise and promote a business, product, or brand by using specific keywords. Using the right combination of keywords for your business can lead directly to more traffic and thus more revenue.

For the foreseeable future, business is moving online. Now is the time to develop a digital marketing strategy and create foundations for online business. Making Google Ads a part of your business strategy can drive profits. Since people use Google to search 3.5 billion times a day, capitalize on that. Every one of those searches represents a chance for you to build your brand and connect with your target audience, ultimately leading to more customers, conversions, sales, and leads.

Using Google Ads provides a chance to create highly targeted advertisements. You can reach more members of your target audience, and you’re also able to measure your success (and where you need to improve). Since any company can create a Google Ads account, this method of digital marketing levels the playing field, allowing businesses of any size to compete.

Additionally, there is a low barrier to entry: you can start advertising for a minimum amount and build as your company grows. Finally, know that using Google Ads and/or other paid search marketing techniques can be a long-term investment (three-to-six months) but once it’s in place, it will keep providing you with results.

How Google Ads Work

We’re all familiar with using Google to find something online. Typing a keyword into the search bar is exactly how Google Ads works: when users enter a keyword into the search bar, the results of that search appear on the search engine results page. Google Ads shows your advertisement to possible customers who have already expressed interest in your product or service.

Google Ads doesn’t advertise specific websites but instead displays certain options based on a keyword search connected to a specific service, item, or brand. Even though the paid results look the same as organic ones, you can tell the difference because the paid results that contain the targeted keyword always appear at the very top of the search results and are marked with a bolded “Ad.”

Search marketing is an effective, direct way to bring your clients to you vs. social media marketing (where you push your message out and hope people respond). Since these potential customers are already searching for a product or service your business is offering, why not have it be yours?

Types of Bids

At its heart, Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) model. Hootsuite explains: “That means marketers target a specific keyword on Google and make bids on the keyword—competing with others also targeting the keyword. The bids you make are “maximum bids”—or the maximum you’re willing to pay for an ad. For example, if your maximum bid is $4 and Google determines that your cost per click is $2, then you get that ad placement! If they determine that it’s more than $4, you do not get the ad placement.” While the average cost-per-click in the United States can range from 77 cents to over $20, depending on the industry, normally you’ll pay between $1 and $2.

Another strategy is to set a maximum daily budget. Using this model means you won’t spend more than your budgeted amount on that ad per day. Knowing how much you’re spending (and if you end up needing to spend more or less) can help you create a budget for future digital ad campaigns.

Let’s look at the most common types of bids as well as how and when to use them to your advantage.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

Cost-per-click (CPC) means that you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Sometimes you’ll pay your maximum bid, but often, you’ll pay less.

Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM)

Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) means that you’re paying for views, ensuring that you pay only when your ads are seen a thousand times. The downsides of the CPM bid can include counting issues such as duplicate views and ads that don’t load—though Google stands by its counting system.

Cost-per-engagement (CPE)

Cost-per-engagement (CPE) means that you pay when a user takes a predetermined action based on your ad (for example, expanding the ad, clicking on a video, or watching the entire ad). Using this model, you won’t pay for views, only once a visitor engages with your advertisement.

Next Steps

Once you’ve made your bid, Google will take that amount and combine it with something Google has dubbed a Quality Score, defined as “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.” Google then assesses both your bid amount and your Quality Score to create your Ad Rank, “a value that's used to determine your ad position (where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads) and whether your ads will show at all.”

Keep in mind that your Ad Rank is in constant flux since it is “recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear and competes in an auction, so your ad position can fluctuate each time depending on your competition, the context of the person's search, and your quality at that moment.”

If your bid is successful and a user views, clicks on, or engages with your ad, you then pay a small fee. This strategy assumes that the more people who click on an ad, the more likely that user will become a customer, ultimately making you money and helping build your business and revenue.

Switching over to paid advertising from organic methods can be a big step, but hopefully, it’s worth your while: a business that spends $1 advertising with Google Ads will make an average of $8 in profit. How's that for return on investment?

Types of Google Ads

There are a wide variety of advertisement types you can use for your Google Ads campaign.

Search Campaign

A search campaign is a text advertisement that comes up on the results page for the keyword. (You’ve probably already seen one today!) These ads are the first few results that appear after a search with the black “Ad” symbol next to the URL. Since your ad will appear when users are actively searching for your products or services, this type of campaign can help drive traffic to your website or landing page and lead to sales. Choosing a search campaign means you’re targeting people who are already searching for what you have to offer—win/win!

Display Campaign

A display campaign uses Google’s more than two million website partners to display your ad on different websites and apps all over the Internet (for example before a YouTube video; on its email platform, Gmail; and on third-party websites and apps across Google’s network). These campaigns work well to expand the reach of your Search campaigns to other parts of the web.

Video Campaigns

A video campaign consists of six to 15-second ads that appear ahead of YouTube videos. Video ads can help make users aware of your product or services as they are searching for videos online. These ads can take the form of skippable or unskippable videos, overlays, or banners.

Shopping Campaigns

When you select a shopping campaign, you can visually promote your services. This is a great choice if you have a product to sell online. Shopping ads will show up both in the Google Shopping tab and as an image on the search results page.

If you’d prefer to direct shoppers to your local brick-and-mortar location, you can use local inventory ads to showcase what you have at your company’s physical location.

App Campaigns

A Google app campaign is similar to a video campaign, but it’s automated by Google, and much more targeted. It’s a good option for those looking to increase sales and generate more app installs. When creating an app campaign, Google will use machine learning to select information from your app and automatically optimize your ads across Search, Play, YouTube, Discover, and other sites and apps.

Set Up Your Google Ads Account

Now that you have a clearer idea of what Google Ads are, how they work, and why they can help your business, you’re ready to dive into setting up your account.

As with most digital marketing efforts, it’s important to have a specific goal in mind. When setting up your Google Ads account, the process will include questions to help you dial in on what your top goals are, such as “get more calls, get more website sales or signups, or get more visits to your physical location.” Consider setting SMART objectives for your Google Ads campaign. These well-defined Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals will help you reach your company’s personal and professional milestones.

Next, you’ll choose your business name and keywords, select your target audience’s location, set up your billing, and begin creating your brand new ad. Google Ads will walk you through every step of the way.

Best Practices to Maximize Your Google Ads

There are several free tools provided by Google as well as other tips and tricks to make your ad campaign as successful as possible.

Use Google’s Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that helps you decide which words to choose for your campaigns. You’ll plug in phrases and words having to do with your business, and then Google’s Keyword Planner tool picks out keywords that are most relevant for your product, business, or brand. You’ll get important insights such as how competitive certain keywords are, how often users search for certain keywords, and how those have changed over time, and even provide suggested bid amounts to help you plan your advertising budget. Having this detailed information can help you choose the best keywords, get your ad in front of interested eyeballs, and ultimately gain more leads and conversions.

Try Out Google’s Responsive Search Feature

Google’s Responsive Search Feature is an automated tool designed to help you create better-performing ads. When putting together your responsive search ad campaign, if you enter multiple descriptions and headlines, Google Ads will automatically test different combinations and determine which ones work best to provide more relevant messages and ads to potential customers.

Use Google Trends

Google Trends is yet another free tool Google provides to show and analyze the popularity of top searches. Google Trends can help you stay current, decide where to do more research, and ultimately, what keywords to use to get the best results from your ad campaigns.

Understand Your Audience

Knowing who your audience is and who you want it to be is an important element in a successful advertising campaign. Google Analytics (or GA) collects and tracks user data, compiles it into useful reports, and provides valuable insights to improve your website and/or app’s performance. Integrating Google Analytics with your Google Ads account can help you track and make sense of your Google Ads campaign and can tell you where your campaign is successful and places where you can improve your strategy.

Optimize Your Landing Page

Your landing page is just as important as your ad campaign because it is the first thing a visitor sees after clicking on your ad or heading to your site. It’s where you can continue to drive engagement. Make sure your landing page answers visitors’ questions, uses similar keywords to your Google Ads, and ultimately provides them with what they are looking for.

Perfect Your Headline

While keywords are necessary for the behind-the-scenes part of Google Ads, another crucial element of your Google ad is the headline. A headline is the first thing users see and is what compels your prospective customers to click on the ad. It must stand out in a sea of other Google search results. Make sure you are writing clear, engaging, and honest (no clickbait!) headlines to draw people in.

Keep Your Keywords Specific

Keywords are the name of the game when it comes to Google Ads, and that’s why specificity is critical. When chosen keywords are too broad, you won’t be able to reach your target audience. It may take some trial and error (make continually reviewing and reworking keywords a part of your company’s digital marketing strategy!) but knowing which keywords are leading to engagement is an important part of your Google Ads campaign.

Learn Google Ads

Noble Desktop also offers several Google Ads classes. These courses are available in-person at Noble’s NYC location, or students can attend live online Google Ads classes from anywhere in the world. Noble’s hands-on Google Ads Bootcamp is a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of Google Ads. Students learn to navigate the Google Ads interface and how to set up and manage a Google Ads account, learn to formulate keyword and bidding strategies, and how the Google Ads auction works. The 12-hour course also delves into how to create ads that convert and optimize your campaign for maximum results. You can also find other Google Ads classes in your area using Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool.

Not interested in taking a longer course but still want to learn? Get a general overview of digital marketing and how Google Ads fits into your strategy with Noble Desktop’s free digital marketing seminar. Another free resource available from Noble Desktop is their Google Ads blog, which has a wealth of informative articles about Google Ads strategy, including topics like How to Write Effective Google Ads, How to Improve Your Google Ads Campaigns, and even How to Steal Your Competitors’ Traffic with Google Ads.