If you’re planning to start running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisements for your business, you’ll need a Google Ads account, which allows you to easily and efficiently manage your campaigns. PPC delivers fast and measurable results that can boost awareness of your brand and help you to reach the right audience immediately. Many businesses opt to run a Google Ads campaign to complement a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaign, as it can funnel traffic to their website as they wait for their SEO efforts to take effect. This guide will take you through how to set up a Google Ads account so that you can start running killer PPC campaigns for your business.
What Is Google Ads?
Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), is an advertising service that allows businesses to create ads that are shown on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Every time a user clicks on your ad, you pay a fee (hence pay per click). Other search engines, such as Bing, also allow businesses to run ads on their network, but Google Ads is the most popular paid advertising platform in the world.
Well-optimised ads can appear above the organic (unpaid) search results, meaning businesses have an opportunity to grab a large slice of traffic. These are marked with a small “ad” label next to the URL. It can take months or even years to reach the number one spot on Google using organic marketing methods, whereas PPC can shoot your business’s page to a prime position almost immediately.
How Does Google Ads Work?
Google Ads is a huge platform that allows marketers to create and serve ads and monitor their success. Some people make a whole career out of becoming a PPC whizz. However, the basics are easy for a beginner to grasp.
Google Ads users start by selecting keywords that people searching for their product or service might plug into a search engine. For example, a hairdressing business might select “professional highlights” or “hairdressing salons in London”. Next, users bid how much they are willing to pay per click — that is, every time their ad is clicked on. Businesses bid against other businesses that are targeting the same keywords. The higher your bid, the more likely your ad will be shown instead of a competitor’s.
However, the bid amount is not the only factor Google uses to determine which ad to show in response to a keyword or keyword phrase. Google also uses a metric called “Ad Rank” to determine which ad to place in the top spot. Factors such as the quality of an ad and its search context, alongside the bid amount, contribute to its Ad Rank.
How to Set up a Google Ads Account
It’s relatively quick and easy to set up a Google Ads account. You don’t need any special technical knowledge, skills or hardware. While it can take some time to master the art of using Google Ads to deliver profitable campaigns that make the most of your budget, getting started is straightforward.
Step 1: Set up a New Account
Head to the Google Ads homepage and click the blue “start now” button. Sign in to Google and select “New Google Ads Account”.
Step 2: Complete Some Basic Questions
You’ll be asked to select your main advertising goal from a list of three options. If you want to skip this question and the few that follow, click “Experienced with Google Ads?”. Otherwise, follow through and respond to the questions asked.
Step 3: Choose Your Campaign Settings
Select a campaign type from the five options presented: Search, Display, Shopping and Video. Search campaigns are the text-based ads that you’ll typically see for any Google search. Display ads are typically used for remarketing campaigns (which show only to users who have previously visited your website or social media pages or otherwise interacted with you) and “follow” you around the web. Shown via Google’s Display Network, your ads — square images or banners — will appear on any website that opts to show Display ads.
Shopping ads appear for product-related searches, such as clothes, accessories or homeware. Shopping ads will appear on the Shopping feed and display important information such as the price, the retailer and any reviews, allowing users to navigate to a specific product they’re looking for.
Video ads are self-explanatory — video ads promoting a product or service. These are typically found on YouTube and the premise is similar — every time a user clicks from the video to the website it points to, the advertiser pays for the click.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with a simple search campaign. Pick a goal, give your campaign a name and set any other campaign preferences, such as target audience, under “show more”.
Step 4: Budget and Bidding
Now’s the time to set a daily limit for your ad spend and bid for target keywords that are relevant to your business. It’s important to carefully consider your budget. Never set a sky-high budget that isn’t sustainable, as you’ll find that you’ll exhaust the full amount, especially in the early stages of a campaign where you’ll be bidding on a number of terms that won’t necessarily be profitable. As you gather data from your campaign, you can cut these out and focus only on the most profitable terms, but every successful Google Ads campaign requires a period of testing and tweaking.
By the same coin, having too small a budget can limit your potential and cause you to be “limited by budget”, where your budget struggles to stretch throughout the day, leading to missed opportunities.
It can take a little time to get used to Google Ads bidding and understand where and when to spend more and when to cut back. Hubspot’s handy advertising ROI calculator is a useful tool for beginners.
Consider your monthly budget, your maximum Cost Per Click (CPC), target conversion rate, average sale price and the lead to customer rate. You can also use tools such as SEMrush and SpyFu to get an idea of where competitors are spending their money. You won’t be able to access exact figures, but it’s possible to deduce approximately how much a competitor is spending on any given keyword. Those with higher CPCs are often indicators of highly commercial terms.
Step 5: Ad Extensions
Ad extensions show additional information you might want to include in an ad to make it more helpful to users, such as links to specific pages, seller reviews or telephone numbers. Ad extensions can also be used to add more ad space, giving you more room to include your USP and compel the user to click on your ad. There’s generally no extra cost for using ad extensions and Google Ads sometimes includes these automatically. Click to call (allowing mobile users to get in touch directly), automated calling and site links are examples of automated ad extensions.
Select any ad extensions you wish to use, then click “Save and Continue”.
Step 6: Establish Your Ad Groups
An ad group contains one or more ads that share similar targets. A business can quickly accumulate hundreds of keywords, so by using ad groups, you can categorise related keywords into themes, keeping your Google Ads account organised and quickly allowing you to tweak or remove groups that aren’t performing as well as you’d like.
In this section of the campaign setup, add matching keywords for an ad using the “get keyword ideas” tool. Enter a word that is relevant to your business and Google Ads will suggest similar words that you may wish to target in your ad campaigns. Select those of interest to include in the ad group, then click the “continue” button. If you run a retail store, for example, you may wish to group ads according to subcategory (shoes, bags and purses, for example).
Step 7: Create an Ad
Fill in the form to ensure that your ad appears as you want it to. Add the final URL, headline, display path and description. An ad preview will appear so that you can make any necessary changes before serving your ad. There is a character limit for each field; the text will turn red if you exceed this.
The most effective ads include well-placed keywords in the copy and strong calls to action (CTAs). When you’re happy with your ad, click “save and continue”.
Step 8: Set up Billing
Add in your payment details, agree to the terms and conditions and click “submit”. It’s as simple as that!
You’re up and Running! Now What?
Getting to grips with Google Ads is often a case of trial and error. Fortunately, it’s easy to see what’s working and what isn’t. As you develop expertise in using Google Ads and managing PPC campaigns, you should be able to drive down the CPC across your campaigns while maintaining a healthy conversion rate. As your campaigns gather data, you can also begin experimenting with automated bidding strategies. With these, Google will automatically alter your bids based on the target. The “Target ROAS” strategy, for example, will aim to achieve the return on ad spend (ROAS) — a return on ad spend of 100% will be break-even — while the “Target CPC” strategy will aim to maintain your chosen cost per click. It’s important to remember that automated bidding strategies may not always work as intended and may prevent you from achieving conversions you might have achieved through manual bidding.
Whichever route you take, the Google Ads bidding system may seem a little overwhelming at first, but it’s well worth taking the time to set up a Google Ads account and learn how to manage your PPC campaigns more effectively.
Need help with your PPC campaign or want an expert eye and recommendations to improve the effectiveness of your ads? Exposure Ninja’s team of PPC experts would love to help you get the most out of your PPC budget.