Online advertising is an ideal way of capitalizing on the popularity of the internet to reach a wider audience. One of the best and simplest approaches to online advertising is through Google Ads.
The platform offers useful campaign types to promote your small business website. Each type of campaign determines where you want to display your ads throughout Google’s vast advertising network.
Of the five types of campaign, we will explore the two most popular: Search Network campaigns and Display Network campaigns.
We will also discuss the ins and outs of Google Ads, how the platform works, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to advertise on Google.
Table of Contents
What are Google ads and how do they work?
Google Ads — known as ‘Google AdWords’ prior to 2018 — is an online advertising program run by the search engine Google.
The paid advertisement service lets you promote your ads on Google’s search engine results pages and Google Display Network.
The Display Network includes Google’s partner sites like YouTube, Gmail, and millions of independent publishers within the AdSense network.
Like a real-time online auction, advertisers bid to have their ads displayed on searches with keywords related to their products and services.
The highest bidder’s ads will appear at the top of Google search results pages.
During the auction process, Google will calculate your ads’ Ad Rank based on these factors:
- Bid amount — the maximum amount you’re willing to pay each time a user clicks on your ad.
- Keyword relevance — which search terms that your target audiences generally use.
- Ad extension — if you include additional business information like a phone number, address, and links alongside your advert.
- Advertisement and landing page relevance — whether your website conveys content deemed useful to the bid keywords.
Ad Rank determines the ad’s position in results, and whether it will appear at all on the network.
While the bid amount has a significant influence on the ranking system, Google stresses that all users have a fair shot at winning the auction.
The score is based on the ad’s relevance to keyword searches, the estimated number of clicks you can get (click-through rate), and users’ experience with your landing page.
Your investment in this platform can benefit your online marketing efforts in many ways.
The platform also provides you with campaign performance reports, useful for A/B testing.
Google’s online marketing service also helps you target the right audience.
You can get as detailed as choosing the age, geographic location, and the language of your target audience. It also lets you set up the ad frequency and device targeting.
10-Step guide to create a Google Ads campaign
When signing up for Google Ads, you must choose one of the two available campaign types — Search Campaign and Smart Campaign.
For beginners not used to creating ad campaigns through Google Ads, Smart Campaign lets you create one in three simple steps:
- Choose a campaign goal.
- Choose where to advertise.
- Create a text ad.
While the Smart Campaign offers a quick and easy setup process, there’s less flexibility for customizing and managing your ads.
For this reason, we will focus on the Search Campaign, as it gives you total control over your ad campaign and offers more detailed performance reports.
After choosing your campaign type, you need to come up with an ad strategy.
You can start by preparing your text ads, keywords, target audience, and average daily budget for the campaign.
Google Ads runs on a pay-per-click (PPC) — also known as cost-per-click — model; you only pay when someone clicks on your ads. Google lets you set a maximum PPC for each campaign and won’t charge above it.
We recommend starting with a small budget to test how it works. Once you know the ideal bids and the return on investment of your ads, you can increase the budget to increase your ad visibility.
Placing a higher bid may raise your chance of securing a better position on the Ad Rank. The ranking system will also determine the final ad cost you need to pay.
Your Ad Rank score is the total of your Quality Score multiplied by your maximum PPC bid. The PPC is then determined by dividing the Ad Rank of the competitor below you by your Quality Score.
Don’t worry — there are plenty of PPC calculator services like WebFX, which can save you from miscalculating.
Step 1: Set up your Google Ads account
The first thing you need is a Google Account, which only takes a few minutes to set up if you don’t have one.
Once it’s set up, navigate to the Google Ads web page, click Start now, and choose Switch to Expert Mode. This mode will enable the Search Campaign instead of the Smart Campaign.
Step 2: Select your goals
For the Search Campaign, you will be presented with different types of goals. Each goal has distinct features to obtain the results you aim for.
If you want to increase your website traffic, go with Website traffic.
Select Search campaign type, add the URL of your site’s destination page, then click Continue.
Step 3: Pick a network
A network is where you want to show your ads. You will have two options — Search Network and Display Network.
Search Network works by matching the keyword searches with the keywords you have chosen.
If a user performs research using your chosen keywords, your text ads will appear on Google SERPs with a green “Ad” label.
This network is ideal for businesses that rely on audiences’ search intent or demand harvesting.
Display Network shows the ads on Google’s site partners and extension sites such as Youtube and Gmail.
This network type is ideal for businesses who want to reach a broader audience online without relying on searches, or who want to use visual ads.
Google sets your ads to appear on both networks by default to increase its visibility. However, you may use one of them for now and monitor your ads’ performance.
Step 4: Set your locations
Setting up the right target locations for your business using location-based keywords is essential for reaching the right customers, and narrowing down the advertising scope.
Add the location names you want to target or exclude, or use the Advanced search menu to narrow down the target locations within your chosen radius.
Be as specific as you can. If you’re selling the best wood oven pizza in Chicago, mention it in your keywords. You want people who live in the area to know where they can find you without having to scour the internet.
To get more clicks, you can use niche-based keywords associated with specific locations. They contribute to local SEO, and promote your business to local customers online.
Step 5: Select target languages
Language targeting helps you reach potential customers who can engage with your ads.
If you run a multilingual website, it’s best to set more than one target language. Google can show different ads to users who use their services in specific languages.
Step 6: Select your audiences
Navigate to the Browse tab and identify your target audience by using the filter questions.
Once you know what to look for, you can switch to the Search tab and experiment with niche-based keywords, or see the suggested keywords based on your selections in the Ideas tab.
After selecting the criteria of your target audience, choose how you want to use your ads.
The Targeting method limits your ad’s reachability based on the determined criteria, while the Observation method lets you analyze the ad’s performance based on the selected criteria.
If you’ve already built a solid advertising strategy, and are preparing a great landing page, you can go with the Targeting method. Otherwise, you can enable the Observations method to analyze how your ads influence your target audience.
Step 7: Enter your daily budget
You get the daily budget by dividing the normal spending per month by the average days per month. If you only want to spend $30 per month, you’ll get $0.90 as the daily budget.
Google allows you to double your daily budget on certain days during high-traffic periods, so you have a better chance of getting more clicks. Despite this, the expenses will never exceed your monthly budget.
Step 8: Choose your bidding strategy
If you click Or, select a bid strategy directly, you can see that there are many bidding strategies you can select depending on the ad campaign type and focus.
For click-based focus, you can pick the Manual CPC bid strategy or Maximize clicks.
If you choose Manual CPC bidding, you can either set the same maximum PPC bid for all of your ads, or create different bids based on the effectiveness of each ad.
This method requires a deep understanding of the value of your keywords and the placements of ads.
With Maximize clicks, you let Google manage the allocated budget to get your ads as many clicks as possible. You only need to set the maximum cost per click bid limit and let Google handle the rest.
Don’t worry — you can switch up your options at any time, and compare their results to find the best settings for your ads.
After deciding on a bidding strategy, choose which ad extension you want to use. Here, you can add additional business information and links to attract potential customers.
Once you’re done, click Save and Continue.
Step 9: Create an Ad group
To set an ad group, you need to decide whether you want to use the standard or dynamic group type.
The standard type lets you add your own keywords that are relevant to the ads, while the dynamic type sets automatic keywords based on your website’s content.
Keywords play a vital role in ads, as they determine whether or not they appear on your target audience’s Google SERPs.
When collecting relevant keywords, take your business and the products or services offered into consideration. You can then list all the words or phrases that potential customers may use to discover your business.
When adding keywords, you also need to determine their match type. There are three different keyword match types:
- Broad match — targets users who search for the exact keywords, their variants, and other related topics.
- Phrase match — aims ads at users who look for the exact phrase or other queries containing it. The phrase consists of several keywords added in quotation marks.
- Exact match — targets users who search for the exact keywords and their close variants.
Google Ads Keyword Planner is a perfect tool for helping you research popular keywords and craft advertising plans.
It shows all the keywords relevant to your business and gives you insights into their performance on SERPs.
New Google Ads users can find the Keyword Planner in the middle column.
Once you enter your website’s link and the products or services you sell, it will generate relevant keywords for you to choose from.
Simply click the plus sign next to all the keywords you want to use.
Once you’re done, click Save and Continue.
Step 10: Write your ad copy
After setting up your advertising campaign, it’s time to write the ad copy.
You must put on your creative hat, and design an attractive ad worth clicking.
Here are the three main components that your text ads must have:
- Display URL — leads to your website’s landing page, or other web pages you want to promote.
- Headline — must contain your keywords and use no more than 30 characters.
- Description — include your business, product or service information along with the ad extensions to drive clicks in 90 characters.
When creating appealing ads, you need to be relevant and precise:
- Engage users with your ads by using call-to-action (CTA) prompts.
- Highlight all your competitive advantages and convince them that you have the best solution to their problem.
- Make sure to include it on both the ads and your landing page.
After entering all the ad details, click Test to see how your ad looks on desktop and mobile devices.
Once you’re satisfied with how the ad looks, you may proceed to the billing page and finalize the submission.
Once Google Ads approves your ads, they will start circulating on your chosen network.
Post launch tips
Launching your ads is just half the battle; you now need to monitor how they perform.
Fortunately, Google makes it easy to check your ads’ success. Simply navigate to your Google Account, then click Ads & Extensions on the left side of the page menu.
There, you can find the ongoing performance of your ads presented in three tables:
- Status — verify whether your ads are running or not. If it runs, the status will be eligible. Otherwise, you will see the restrictions policy informing you of the reason.
- Click-through rate — indicates the condition of your ads. If it’s higher than 1%, it means the ads are helpful and relevant to your target audience.
- Average PPC — keep track of the average amount you spend per click. You get the score by dividing the total cost per click by the number of clicks you get.
To get an in-depth report of your ads and site’s performance, we highly recommend linking your Google Account to Google Analytics.
This tool can keep track of the number of users that click your ads and visitor browsing behavior when they land on your website.
This data is vital for improving user experience and increasing conversions.
Don’t forget mobile
Considering that mobile advertising contributes 65,1% of total internet advertising revenue, you want to ensure your ads reach mobile devices.
To do so, you need to create a new campaign, as mobile ads require a different setup process to fit into smaller screen sizes.
You also need to build a strategy centered on the convenience of mobile users.
In that regard, make sure to create a mobile-friendly website to anticipate potential customers that own mobile devices.
The improvements may include improving the page load speed and scale the content proportionally to fit all screen sizes.
The goal is to give them the best mobile experience and make their stay on your site enjoyable.
Google Ads Recap
Google Advertising is an effective way to raise brand awareness and attract potential buyers. The platform offers a lot of features to support your marketing effort.
Here’s how to advertise on Google:
- Set up a Google Ads account.
- Pick a campaign goal.
- Select a network where you want to show your ads.
- Set the target location.
- Choose the target languages.
- Set the target audience.
- Enter the desired daily budget.
- Determine your bidding strategy.
- Create an ad group based on the chosen keywords.
- Write the ad copy.
You should now understand how Google AdWords works and how to advertise on Google. All that’s left is to create the best ad campaign for your brand.