Part 1: What is Google Adwords?
Google Adwords Defined
When used correctly, a Google Adwords campaign is quite simply one of the most powerful and cost-effective means of advertising, both online and offline. According to Google research, eighty percent of all Internet users access the Google Display Network (or GDN) on a regular basis. The GDN being every web page on the Internet that Adwords ads can appear.
The Google Adwords program is Google’s Cost-per-Click (also known as “CPC”) advertising program designed for businesses of all sizes. If you’ve performed a search on Google, you’ve likely noticed a few highlighted search results at the top of the page and number of additional results on the right-side. These are in fact paid-for advertisements generated by the Google Adwords program.
A business will bid on specific key phrases, commonly referred to as “keywords”. When these keywords are then searched for, the business’ advert is displayed. The placement of the ad is entirely dependant upon the specified bid-price. Businesses that bid higher will have their advert displayed nearer to the top of the page. Often times, a business might underbid, resulting in their advert failing to display at all. When a user clicks on an ad, that business is then charged the advert’s CPC bid price.
Benefits of Google Adwords
- Targeted, Real-Time Display: Your Google Adwords ads display to users at the moment when they search for specific keywords that you have specified in your campaign. As you can imagine, some keywords are more valuable than others. Therefore, ads associated with very popular keywords (e.g. “cars”) might generate far more impressions but will also cost more than a campaign which is targeting very specific keywords (e.g. “cheap used cars in South Africa”).
- Location Targeting: You can target your campaigns to specific geographic locations, even going so far as targeting specific neighborhoods. If you own a brick and mortar business, this feature is a valuable one for users who search for local services, such as “coffee shop in Sandton”
- Precise Budget Control: With Google’s Cost-per-Click payment model, you only pay when a user clicks your ad, not when the ad displays. You can limit your daily Adwords budget to keep your advertising budget within your complete control, and easily change your budget allotments for campaigns at any time.
- Valuable Feedback When You Need It: With Google Adwords management tools, you can easily view real-time performance feedback for all of your campaigns. These tools are especially valuable when managing your clients’ campaigns. You can view your ads’ performance breakdown and assess trends, quickly implement pilot campaigns to test new keywords and products and then check the results in real time.
- Documentation and Training: Google provides a fantastic library of documentation and training materials to help familiarize you with the entire Adwords program from top-to-bottom. You can view videos, step-through tutorials and read how-to literature to help you through any stage of the Adwords process.
Part 2: How To Choose The Right Keywords
Quite simply, keywords can make or break your Adwords campaign. Choosing the right keywords for your ads will ultimately determine your click and conversion rates. Google offers a few suggestions for keyword selection when using Adwords.
Think Like A Customer
The secret to choosing the right keywords for your campaign is to think like your best customer who is searching for your product or service. Ponder the keywords you would use if you were that customer. Google recommends writing down the main components of your business, then brainstorming several words and phrases that could describe each category. If you specialize in the sales of certain brands, you may want to include the brand names in at least a few of your keyword phrases.
Strike A Balance
Your goal when selecting keywords is to strike a balance between the general and the specific. If your keywords are too general, your ads will display to disinterested users. If your keywords are too specific, you will miss potential customers. General keywords are more costly because they are in higher demand. The more specific your keyword phrase, the lower the total CPC cost. Experiment with levels of specificity to determine which keywords yield the most optimal outcome for your business
Groups & Themes
Create ad groups and themes surrounding organic categories that naturally occur in your business. Avoid stuffing all of your ads and keywords into one campaign because the goal is to target the ad to the search terms your potential customer will use. If you carry diverse products and you store all of your keywords and ads in one group, your customers will see products completely unrelated to those for which they are searching.
Google recommends creating 20 or fewer keywords for each ad group. The keywords should directly relate to the ad group’s overall theme. Don’t include plurals of keywords or word variations. Don’t worry about including misspelled versions of your keywords. Google Search automatically corrects misspellings, and the search engine accounts for plurals and other variations of words in its algorithm.
Using Google’s Keyword Planner
Use the Keyword Planner tool to develop the most effective keywords for your Search campaign. You can access the Keyword Planner by clicking on the “Tools and Analysis” button in the top navigation bar of your Adwords dashboard, then clicking the “Keyword Planner” option.
- New Keyword and Ad Group Ideas: Click the “Search for New Keyword and Ad Group Ideas” category, then complete the form with your product or service information, categories and site URL. Select specific locations and languages in the Targeting section to zero in on certain locales. Enter negative keywords in the Targeting section to specify keywords that disqualify your ads from searches containing the words. Identify keyword filters and options, if desired, then click the “Get Ideas” button to see a chart of keywords and ad group suggestions. Click the “Keywords” tab to view keywords, then click the “Ad Groups” tab to see ad group suggestions. Each suggestion is evaluated with a Monthly Searches total and a Competition level for the keyword. Click the “Add to Plan” button to add a suggestion to your keywords or ad groups. You can also download a spreadsheet of all listed suggestions, or click “Add All” to add all suggestions to your plan.
- Examine Search Volume: Click the “Get Search Volume for a List of Keywords or Group Them Into Ad Groups” option to view historical data about a list of keywords. Type or copy and paste your keywords into the Enter Keywords text box. Click the “Browse” button to upload a text file containing your keyword list instead of typing or copying the keywords into the Enter Keywords text box, if you prefer. You can also specify negative keywords, locale and search engines for this historical view. Click the “Get Search Volume” button to display keywords and ad group ideas based on your input. Click the link for each keyword to view the suggested bid and approximate searches per month.
- Traffic Estimates: Click “Get Traffic Estimates for a List of Keywords” to enter or upload a list of keywords and obtain current traffic patterns for your list. Click the “Get Detailed Patterns” button to retrieve the results. Click a link to view the traffic patterns for a keyword. The traffic patterns are displayed in a simple line graph of Clicks per Day by default. Click the drop-down box on top of the graph to select other display options, like Cost per Day and Impressions per Day. View the detailed patterns for each keyword below its graph.
- Multiply Keyword Lists: The “Multiply Keyword Lists to Get New Keyword Ideas” page displays two text boxes. Enter two sets of keywords, one set in each text box, and then click the “Get Estimates” button to generate new keyword combinations based on your lists. The tool also displays traffic patterns and historical stats for the suggested keywords.
Part 3: Creating the Adwords Campaign
You can launch your first Google Adwords campaign with a modest budget and about 15 minutes to spare. In fact, you can create a free test campaign to explore the platform with no obligation to purchase a plan. The Google Adwords tools provide you with granular control over the prices you ultimately pay for your ads. The various research tools available help you get a hedge on your competition by learning how to compose effective keywords and how to get the most from your advertising dollar. You can stop or pause your Adwords campaigns at any time and you never need to enter into a long-term commitment.
Create Your Adwords Account
If you have not yet created your free Adwords account, open the Adwords site in a browser and complete the required information. Any valid email address is acceptable for initially setting up your Adwords account, but you will be prompted to log in to a Google account before you can create your first campaign. The email address you used for your Adwords account will be linked to your Google account Google services.
The first time you log in to your account, you can click the “Resources for New Advertisers” to view videos and access training materials that explain every aspect of the Adwords platform. Click the “Take Me To My Account” button at the bottom of the page to open your Adwords Dashboard.
The Adwords Dashboard
Your Adwords Dashboard provides quick access to your most frequent Adwords tasks. You can access training videos and documents, create and edit campaigns, view and edit your billing information and configure conversion tracking from your dashboard. To get started creating your first campaign, click the gray “Create Your First Campaign” button on the left side of the dashboard to open the New Campaign Form.
The New Campaign Form
Type a name for the new campaign in the Campaign Name field, then click the “Type” drop-down box and select the type of campaign to define. Choices are “Search Network with Display Select,” “Search Network Only,” “Display Network Only” or “Online Video.” Google formerly offered the “Search and Display Networks” option, but this option has been removed for new campaigns.
Select one of four available campaign types to define your new campaign;
Search Network with Display Select
The Search Network with Display Select campaign type targets ads to your selected audience more effectively than the Search and Display Networks option used in the past to accomplish similar goals. The new Search Network with Display Select shows your ad on Google sites, including Google Shopping, Maps and Search. However, your ads are also displayed on Google partner sites, like AOL, Gmail, Blogger and YouTube. When you select this option, you cannot manage your Search Network and Display Network separately for the campaign.
Search Network Only
When you select the Search Network Only campaign type, your ads display on the top and sidebar in Google Search results. Your ads also display in Google Images, Groups, Shopping, Maps and all Google partner sites, such as Gmail, AOL, Blogger and YouTube. To compare the Search Network with Direct Select option with the Search Network Only campaign type, Google posits that you can increase your conversion rate by as much as 15 percent by switching to from Search Network Only to the premium option. The cost is approximately 15 percent more for the Search Network and Display Select option than the Search Network Only option.
Display Network Only
The Display Network Only campaign type shows your ad on Google partner sites, like Gmail, YouTube and AOL, but not on Google search results pages for Google Search, Images and Groups. The most significant difference between the older Search Network with Display Select campaign type and the Display Networks Only option is that your ad is targeted to users more likely to be in the process of shopping for or researching your product or a similar one defined by your keywords. The older option displayed to a more diverse audience. Now, your ad will be more precisely targeted to users more likely to visit your site or purchase your product. However, your ad will not display on the top and in the right sidebar of search results pages.
Select the “Online Video” option to upload and promote videos on YouTube using Adwords campaigns.
For each campaign type, you can select either the Standard ad type or All Features. The Standard ad type is a simple text ad that you can quickly create with the Standard ad form. Select the All Features option, on the other hand, when you want to include an image, a Display Ad Builder ad, a WAP mobile ad, a digital content ad, a product listing ad or a dynamic search ad. Note that all options are only available when the All Features radio button is selected in the right sidebar for the Search Network and Display Select campaign type. Fewer options are available for the Search Network Only and Display Network Only options.
Next, verify the auto-populated fields, then scroll to the Location field. This is where you can specify a locale for your ad. Click the radio button next to the “Let Me Choose” option, then type a city, state or zip code in the text box. Click the “Advanced Search” link to access additional search options, if you need to further refine your search. If you need to change the default language for your ads, click the “Edit” link next to the Language label. Select and save a new language for the campaign.
The Bid Strategy section is naturally where things can get quite interesting. In the Basic settings group, you can choose to manually set your own bid amounts, or you can select the option to allow Adwords to manage your bid amounts to maximize exposure of your ad.
For many users, selecting manual bidding might be the better option, as this will ensure you maintain full control over your ad-spend, allowing you to set specific CPC bids for each keyword and monitor them accordingly.
Alternatively, if you can’t afford to (or don’t want to) spend the time monitoring and managing your campaign in such detail and simply have a budget you’d like to reach, allowing Google to manage the bids can make sense.
In the following field, you have the option of setting a maximum daily budget that Adwords will never ever exceed.
Click the “Advanced Options” link to access further bid options. You can set the focus on clicks or conversions, or you can configure flexible bid options in the Advanced Options settings screen. If you’re primary focus is on driving maximum traffic to your website, then make sure you select to optimize for clicks. If however you’re more concerned with actually creating conversions rather than simply traffic for the sake of traffic, then you’d be wiser to select to optimize for conversions.
Ad Extensions are optional features you can display along with your ad. For example, you can display your location information, your phone number, your Google+ information or your company’s website URL in your ad. If your business is driven by phone traffic, listing your phone number means that users who see your ad do not even need to click the link to visit your site. They can obtain your phone number conveniently from your ad.
Once you have selected your Ad Extensions, click the “Save and Continue” button to save the new campaign.
You have just created your first Adwords campaign!
Next, you will be prompted to create an Ad Group to contain similar ads associated with the new campaign. Type a name for your new ad Group similar ads into Ad Groups to assist you with organizing and managing your ad content for each campaign.
Create Your First Ad
The Create New Ad form displays under the Ad Group field. To create your first ad, type a headline for the ad in the Headline field. The ad form displays two Description fields where you can briefly describe your product or service. Include a call to action. Type the URL to display with the ad in the Display URL field, then type the Destination URL, the page the customer will visit when the ad is clicked, in the Destination URL field. All fields in the form are required. Preview the ad in the Preview pane. When the ad renders according to your specifications, it’s time to select your keywords for the ad.
When you define keywords for your first ad, you are also defining keywords for the entire ad group. Though you can have more than 20 keywords in one ad group, as mentioned previously, Google recommends using between 10 and 20 keywords for best results. Your keywords should be directly related to the overall theme of the ad group. For example, if you own an online coffee store, you probably sell different grinds, blends, flavors and roasts, such as Light Roast, Dark Roast, Hazelnut and Breakfast Blend. Each roast or blend can be a different ad group. The keywords you specify for each ad group should directly relate to the blend, flavor, roast or grind. Use the Keyword Planner tool for keyword ideas and suggestions based on user searches.
Click the “Match Types” link to exclude your ad from broad searches to ensure your ad reaches your target audience. Click the “Choosing Effective Keywords” link to open a reference for the Keyword Planner tool. Click the “Try It Out” button to launch the Keyword Planner tool from the reference sheet.
Once you have specified your keywords by typing your key phrases in the Keywords text box, click the “Save and Continue to Billing” button. You can also save the ad and return later to complete your billing profile. Once your billing information n is complete and verified, you can immediately publish your first Adwords campaign. Just log in to your dashboard at anytime to edit your ads and campaigns. Once you have created your first ad and ad group, your dashboard populates with a menu of tabs to quickly access each of your campaigns, as well as each individual element of the campaigns.
Whether you’re working with a small or large marketing budget, Google Adwords can be a fantastic means of getting your business in front of all the right people and can be an effective tool for converting potential buyers into real, long-term customers.
Google: Google Adwords