Google Ads for SMBs: Nature, Benefits, Campaigns and More!
270 million people.
Yes, that is how many Americans you’d reach out to daily if you planned your business’ Google Ads campaign carefully and executed it with the perfection of an Olympic-level gymnast!
Let’s not even start with global figures just now.
This blog will help you dive deeper into the world of online advertising using Google’s unsurpassed market share of everything online. Using their advertising services would help your establishment attract far more attention than you could possibly imagine.
By the end of this write-up, you will also be able to figure out the best ways to customize your advertising campaigns for maximum ROI.
What exactly is Google Ads?
Google Ads is essentially a paid and fully-online advertising platform and falls under the concept of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. It simply means that whenever a potential customer clicks on an advert placed by you, you will have to pay a certain pre-determined amount to Google.
Advertising is the lifeblood of Google. It accounts for a vast chunk of its total revenues, a figure that Google has never officially released.
To get an idea of how profitable advertising is for this behemoth, picture this: in 2021, advertising alone generated more than US$ 250 billion.
In return, using Google Ads helps spread the word about your organization not only in the United States but across the world. It drives more organic and unique traffic to your website, helps create a buzz that even the best SEO practices will be unable to, and Google’s algorithms can assist your business in creating an image that’s distinct from those of your direct competitors.
Since you own a small business (or are about to start one), the odds are that your advertising budgets will be pretty low.
Google realizes that- and it offers tailor-made plans which will suit your corpus allocated for online advertising.
In fact, the technology working behind the scenes is so sophisticated that you will be informed if your planned promotional campaign will breach (or has already breached) your budget! You can contact a reliable Adwords company in Tampa to stay at the top of the game.
A sneak peek into the past of Google Ads
As is well-known, Google was founded in 1998 as a no-frills search engine by 2 Stanford University alumni. In those early days of the Web, revenue flow was patchy. To this end, Google introduced its advertising services- Google AdWords- in 2000.
It was immensely successful and helped Google dash off to become one of the Top 5 Tech Giants of the world.
In 2015, following a corporate overhaul, every Google product/service came under the ambit of Alphabet Inc.
In 2018, Google AdWords was renamed to simply Google Ads.
How effective is advertising via Google?
As the owner of a small business, this must surely be one of the first questions you’ll ask.
To examine the effectiveness of running Google Ads, consider these figures:
● On average, Google Ads boast a CTR (click-through rate) of more than 8%.
CTR is determined by how many people have clicked on one of your advertisements (regardless of the site) divided by the number of instances that ad has been run. For example, if the ad was shown 100 times and the total organic clicks were 5, the CTR would be 5%.
But with Google Ads, that ratio improves significantly!
● More than 40% of all customers are influenced to purchase something they saw in an ad that ran on YouTube.
● On any search page result, more than 65% of all clicks are on strategically-placed Google Ads.
These are just a few examples to demonstrate why you can rely on Google Ads.
Google Ads campaign types
Broadly, there are five different promotional campaigns you can run using Google Ads.
Note that each of them has its merits and shortcomings. When you are just starting, it would be simpler to stick to types 1 and 2 mentioned below. As your business grows and the revenue stream becomes more discernible, you can start experimenting.
They are the following.
1) Search-based campaigns
These are simple text-based campaigns. For example, a search for “financial management course” returned the following results. Notice how the topmost results are all sponsored and are labeled “ads.”
Since the advertisements look exactly like unpaid search results, most people will click on them first!
2) Responsive search ad campaigns
Google allows you to type in and store 15 different versions of your target headlines and four different copies of the text. It will then determine the ones that are performing the best and display them more prominently.
All this is automated using Google’s search algorithms, ML, and emerging strains of Artificial Intelligence.
If you are unsure of how well your ads are performing, try out this campaign. It helps promote dynamic variants of the same advert in real-time based on user engagement.
3) Display ad campaigns
This is one of the hottest trends currently. Google maintains a vast network of websites from all sorts of backgrounds, businesses, and niches. The common link is that they all use Google Ads to push their products and/or services.
This network (Google Display Network is the official term) has links to more than 35 million different websites! The campaign is run using catchy and attractive imagery that helps the user connect with the products.
Such images are carefully curated and targeted at specific demographics.
4) Video ad campaigns
These are mostly seen on YouTube, a subsidiary of Google and now Alphabet Inc. Advertisers pay to promote their products in video snippets that may appear before, during, or after the video you were watching.
Please note that YouTube is a very potent search engine! The snippets aggressively promote their products, but placing them can be pretty expensive.
Given below is a screengrab of a video ad campaign by Grammarly!
5) App-based campaigns
This type of active surrogate campaign became prominent once the smartphone began to conquer the world. A vast majority of people worldwide use Android OS, and the Google Play Store is where they head to download apps.
You do not even have to design and plan an app-based advertising campaign. All you need is to place your bid for the app, which redirects to your business website. It will be displayed automatically by the algorithms based on the product (an app in this case) people are searching for.
It’s an ingenious tactic and has led to millions of (impromptu) app installs across the United States and over the world!
Planning a Google Ads campaign strategy for small businesses: Pro tips
We started out by making it clear that this post is best suited for SMBs (small and medium businesses) with limited funds. Till now, whatever you have read is also meant to aid a budding entrepreneur.
Planning a campaign is not an easy task. Then again, nothing worthwhile is easy!
Here are some tips and tricks that professionals in the online advertising industry recommend.
✔ Define your target areas and goals: No two businesses are completely alike; each has its own set of issues. Naturally, you cannot determine or define what’s best for your firm by copying what your nearest competitors are doing!
Think 3 to 5 years ahead. Where do you want to see your business and yourself? If you are into manufacturing, you need to heavily advertise the products you believe are the best. The idea is to hit the ground running.
✔ Focus acutely on keywords and KW research: Did you know that any phrase (no matter how nonsensical or badly typed) that people search for are keywords? That’s something you might not know unless you have hired a trained content writer for your website’s copy.
Keyword research is vital! Use the Google Keyword Planner to determine what people are searching for at a certain point. Focus on those in-demand ones first.
Keep shuffling keywords every few months to maintain a sense of dynamism.
✔Ensure your business website has a great copy: Even the best keyword usage strategy will fall short of expectations if your website does not have high-quality text. From the landing page to the sitemap to even the (seemingly) unimportant webpages, an excellent copy is a must-have.
You can probably hire a freelance copywriter with a proven track record or an agency that provides such services. Professional writers will also take care of SEO and bad links.
✔ Ensure your website has an easy-to-understand interface: What purpose will all the Google Ads you have placed wherever possible if they lead back to your website that has a rather poor design and an interface that seems like an afterthought?
Again, you can seek help from agencies that specialize in UX design. The first thing people who land on your site will look for is how easy it is to navigate and find relevant information. An experienced and professional UX developer will take care of all this nitty-gritty.
✔ Ensure faster page-loading speeds: Around 50% of all Americans who access the Internet do so on mobile devices. That’s more than 130 million people! It is imperative that your website loads as fast as possible on smartphones and also on more conventional laptops and other computers.
Most users expect a site to load within 3-3.5 seconds. You must engage with an SEO agency yet again to this end.
Fine-tuning your business’ Google Ads campaign
While it does take time for your Google Ads campaign/s to take full effect, and it can be several months before you witness any tangible ROI, you cannot wait forever. If you feel that the current strategies are not working out as they should, you need to alter them a bit.
Fine-tuning your Google advertising campaign might just prove to be the catalyst your establishment requires.
Here are 2 of the commonly used (and expert-backed) solutions.
1) Focus on targeted advertising
Targeting an advertisement means that you need to know the demographics of your target audience. Who are they? How old are they? What are their median incomes, interests, hobbies, pain points, and so on?
In short, you need to think like them.
The following are a handful of metrics helpful in targeting advertisements:
A. Measuring affinity: Use 2 of the ad campaigns mentioned above (search-based and display) to reach out to a more significant number of the people you are trying to convert into your loyal customers.
B. Demographic targeting: Placing Google Ads, which are designed around the location, gender, approximate age, and even the type of device your targets use. This is a slightly complicated but worthwhile procedure.
C. Custom intent targeting: When you are bidding for Google Ads, instruct the company to run your company’s own advertisements by those who have already demonstrated a keen interest in the types of products and services your business offers.
D. In-marketing: This is a pretty clever ploy for showcasing your ads to those who have a record of watching very similar types of advertisements. Remember that in-marketing targets might not necessarily convert; however, they will remember the name of your organization.
Even that bit goes a pretty long way given how competitive even the tiniest of niches are!
2) A/B testing every aspect of your company’s site and ads
This is something that needs to be done every few months. Most experts recommend that an A/B testing session is essential twice a year, regardless of your business.
Some of the major elements that constitute the testing phase are the following:
I) Your value proposition: No need to complicate this simple point! All you need to do is ensure that the Google ads you are running (especially the dynamic ones) are clear and incisive enough to pass on the message you wish to.
You can hire another advertising agency and seek a second opinion, not unlike a physician!
II) The copy on your website: Copy is key to a successful venture but only when it’s good copy, crafted expertly. Shoddy work will be a turn-off. A/B testing will pit two copywriters, and time will decide the version that works the best.
III) Site extensions, add-ins/plug-ins: At times, you will find that one or two of the several extensions which you had added to your website turn rogue. They create mayhem and basically destroy the indexing pattern of each of your site’s URLs. In a cascading effect, it prevents Google’s search bot from crawling your most essential pages, leaving the website dead in the water.
Something similar might happen if you use any common CRM like WordPress. While WordPress is certainly one of the most reliable and robust CRM suites available, specific APIs might create issues.
IV) URL issues: If it is impossible for your business to shift a resource to A/B testing most of the principal URLs of your website, you can opt for reliable agencies which have experience in advertising. Bad and broken links can ruin an otherwise perfect business website!
V) Remodel your keyword usage with negative keywords: If everything seems okay with the primary, secondary, and long-tail (or LSI) keywords, try out the negative keyword usage strategy.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but negative keywords have some value in the long run. These are keywords that will not trigger your carefully planted Google Ads since they contain unrelated words or even the names of your competing companies.
As an example, you have just bid for and placed a YouTube ad for your new restaurant in Tampa FL. All your essential keywords revolve around the eating joint: from the menu to takeaway services to Covid protocols.
But you do not want your ads to be triggered if someone types in “restaurant jobs in Tampa FL”, right?
Try slipping in a few such ‘useless’ keywords in your broader SEO strategy. Since you are already using Google’s Keyword Planner, simply move to the ‘Keywords’ section and select all “Negatives.”
By now, you know a lot more about Google Ads and campaigns than you did earlier. This blog post did not focus too much on the knotty affair of bidding for ad spots for two reasons.
One, you are probably just starting out and would just like to know the basics. Two, bidding can now be automated using the software. In time, you will have to go into the intricacies of online bidding, which is a pretty messy affair.
Lastly, never ignore the Google Ads reports that are generated automatically and which showcase how your advertising campaigns are performing. Focus primarily on the “ABC Cycle,” an acronym for Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion.
The report will provide a detailed and unbiased picture of the domains that are doing well besides indicating the lacunae you need to focus on.
Here’s a screenshot of such a report (of a Middle-Eastern content writing & strategizing company) filled with all sorts of figures.
Remember them and learn from them. Your Google Ads strategies will automatically work better when you’ve figured out the fundamentals; you can start using them for different & more interesting approaches! Touch base with an experienced PPC company in Tampa to get started now!