What are Google Search Ads & How Can We Optimise Them?
Today, the ultimate search engine, Google has morphed as a dominating force in smartphones, online videos, maps, and much more.
Google, which remains entrenched as the Internet Search’s main gateway, represents two completely different, yet equally important search traffic sources to inbound marketers: Organic Search and Paid Search. On one hand, organic search drives organic traffic to your website through quality content and user-friendly experience. On the other hand, paid search is responsible for driving paid traffic, that is, the audience that has an intent to buy. In return, you pay the ad platforms (for example, Google) that let you run these search ads.
With increasing competition and stringent Google algorithms, driving organic traffic is becoming tougher by the day. It takes time and effort to be among the top results on any Search Engine Results Page (SERP). That is where search ads come in and save the day.
Did you know that the paid traffic can convert 50% more leads in comparison to organic traffic? Yes! That is the power of search ads.
Interested to know how these ads function? Well, you have come to the right place.
Companies pay search engines to appear at the top of search results (above those that earned their page-one spots organically), and these are known as search ads. They have become more popular as organic search became more competitive.
To give you an idea of just how much money is being spent on search ads, take a look at Google’s AdWords (now Google Ads) program which is the most used search advertising program available today. The revenue generated by advertising on Google sites and properties amounts to 70.9% of the company’s revenue.
Benefits of Search Ads
- Efficient: Where SEO may take months to get results, search ads allow your brand advertisements to show up on the first page immediately after set-up!
- Targeted: You can choose exact keywords on which you want your ad to show AND select the amount you are willing to pay for a click.
- Cost-Effective: You have control over your search ad spend, and you can measure where your spending goes.
Importance of Google Search Ads: A Showdown of Statistics
If executed properly, Google Search Ads can be a gold mine for your business. The beauty is that if you want to get started on Search Ads, a campaign can be set up in less than an hour and can make a monumental long-term impact on your business.
Let’s find out why are we stressing on the use of Google Search Ads.
- The advertising revenue of Google was over $116 billion in 2018.
- The average click-through-rate in Google search ads is 3.17% (compared to only 0.46% for display ads).
- Paid search ads are in the top three most influential generators of website conversions.
- Just one brand awareness campaign, when done correctly through paid Google ads, can boost the metric up by 80%.
- 46% of people can’t identify which results are organic and which are paid ads on the SERP.
- 65% of clicks made by a user who has a strong intent to make a purchase is attributed to paid ads.
With Google Search Ads, there are a lot of opportunities to get your brand in front of people—increasing web traffic, leads, conversions, and sales. Let’s take a look at what Google Search Ads are, how they work, and how you can set up a successful campaign for your business.
Google Search Ads: The Complete Dynamics
What is a Google Search Ad?
Google Search Ad is a paid digital advertising technique offered by Google. When users search for a keyword, they get the results of their query on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Those results also include a paid advertisement with the targeted keyword, which are called search ads.
Advertisers who utilize Google Search Ads show their ads to users who are actively searching for certain keywords, and these advertisers pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. This type of PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising proves to be effective because people who conduct searches tend to reveal a lot about their intent with their search query. Additionally, search ads also give local business owners a way to directly target searchers based on their geography.
Types of Google Search Ads
There are a few basic types of search ads which you should know about.
Search Network Ads: Search Network Ads appear as a text ad in the results page for the keyword. They appear on the search result page with the “Ad” symbol before it.
But search network ads aren’t the only type of ads. In case you have a physical product, Google Shopping Ads get you qualified leads by showcasing images of your product directly to customers on the search engine result page.
Other types of Search Network Ads are:
- Call-only ads – Available only on call enabled mobile devices. After clicking the ad, instead of taking you to a landing page, you make a call directly.
- Dynamic ads – More suitable for businesses that have a well-managed website. This is because the content of the ad as well as the landing pages is taken dynamically from the website. They are very similar to text ads, except that no keywords are involved here.
- Mobile app promotion – Suitable for businesses with mobile applications. The goal is to encourage users to download your app or take a desired action within the app.
How Do Search Ads Work?
The Key Elements of a Google Search Ad:
The first element is the headline with relevant, attention-grabbing keywords, since it’s the most noticeable ad component. An ad also comprises of a Display URL, 2 description texts and relevant ad extensions.
Ad extensions enable your ad to take up relevant space in the search results list and allow you to provide more information about your product or service.
Bidding and Setting a Daily Budget:
Since Google Search Ads operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, advertisers target a specific keyword on Google and make bids on the keyword—competing with others who might also be targeting the same keyword. The bids you make are “maximum bids”— the maximum you’re willing to pay for your ad to be shown on that particular keyword.
On the other hand, you can set a maximum daily budget for your ad. You’ll never spend more than a specific amount for that ad per day, helping you get a better sense of how much you should budget for your ad campaign.
Search Ads Campaign Structure:
Each account holds multiple campaigns. Each search ad campaign has multiple ad groups. It’s at the ad group level that keywords and ads are organized.
Ad Groups: The Ad groups are a group of ads that are targeted to a set of related keywords. This helps you group related keywords and write search ads around a common theme.
Search Ads Ranking Process:
Ad Rank—The position at which your ad will appear in the search results page is determined by the combination of Quality Score and your bid amount. The Ad Rank also takes into account your content relevancy, easy page navigation, and your organic page ranking.
Hence, the basic formula for calculating how ads rank in search results is:
Ad Rank = Bid x Quality Score
Quality Score: Quality Score refers to how relevant and useful the ad is for the end-user.
Importance of Optimizing Search Ads
Optimizing a Google Search Ad campaign is a significant process to meet revenue and conversion goals by placing your pages or products on the first page of any search engine. Taking a more holistic view and considering your options before, during, and after a campaign, ensures optimal results.
By embracing the data and technology you have, you need to thoroughly and frequently keep optimizing your digital advertising campaigns and squeeze as much ROI from them as possible.
Below are the top 5 optimization strategies that you can take into consideration:
1. Keyword Optimization is Compulsory
Keyword research is as important for paid ads as it is for organic search. Your keywords need to match the searcher’s intent as much as possible. Each ad group that you create within your campaign targets a small set of keywords and Google will display your ad based on those selections.
Use Apt Keyword Match Types
Match Types give you a little wiggle room when it comes to your keyword selections — they tell Google whether you want to match a search query exactly or if your ad should be shown to anyone with a search query that’s semi-related. There are four match types to choose from:
Broad Match: The default setting that uses any word within your keyword phrase.
Modified Broad Match: It allows you to lock in certain words within a keyword phrase by denoting them with a “+” sign. Your matches will include that locked-in word at the very least.
Phrase Match: It will match with queries that include your keyword phrase in the exact order but may include additional words as suffix/prefix.
Exact Match: It maintains your keyword phrase as it is written; in the exact order.
Keep finding new keywords that look like they can perform, once they go live. Look for the Google Search Terms report to find more suitable keywords. These keywords must be tested for the desired results.
Also, remove the keywords that are not generating relevant clicks and are having a hard time giving conversions.
Make sure you add negative keywords to the ad group or your campaign to avoid the ads from being shown for irrelevant searches. This will narrow down the consumers’ list and will only focus on those who have a higher potential of coming to your business or purchasing your product.
Review what’s working best for you and adjust them to match your ads with your target audience. You might not get the mix right the first time, but you should keep adding, removing, and tweaking keywords until you do.
2. Relevancy of Landing Page is Important
Remember, the final goal of a search ad campaign is to drive people to a landing page where they can take the necessary action. Potential customers won’t convert if their pay-per-click experience is irrelevant. So what can you do to make their experience more relevant?
Here’s what you need to do for a well-optimized landing page:
Compelling, Keyword-Focused Titles: Anybody can stuff keywords in a title to get ranked, but it takes skills to create a title that will get more clicks than the rest.
Well-Written Description: The description of your optimized landing page is a great place to include a strong call-to-action for the searcher. The goal is to be more compelling than the other descriptions on SERP, to assist in generating a click.
Visual Clarity: Keep your pages visually clean and appealing with as few distractions as possible. Adjusting simple things like white space, line & paragraph spacing, and image usage can contribute to the overall readability of the content. Keep it nice, clean and tidy.
Reduce Page-Loading Time: Let’s say you impress a prospective customer with your ad. The user clicks on the ad and waits and then waits some more. Well, every extra second in loading time results in a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. This is a huge problem that most companies want to get out of. While most customers expect their website to load within 3 seconds, according to Google, most mobile sites miss the three-second load mark, and this time goes up to 15 seconds. While testing, you may use a tool to check the load time and speed of your landing pages. Meta refresh, slow redirect, multiple redirects, slow servers, and large page size are just some of the usual suspects behind a slow loading time.
Mobile-Friendly: With millions of people browsing on mobile, it’s a mistake not to create mobile-friendly landing pages. While running PPC ads, consider that traffic can come from mobile devices as well. To be mobile-friendly, the page needs to automatically adjust for all device sizes. There are additional aspects to a true mobile-friendly page such as simplified navigation, condensed menus, and less complicated forms.
Call-to-Action: A Call-to-Action (CTA) entices your audiences to act and tells them exactly how to do it. If you want people to convert from visitors to customers, you need to use CTAs that get them to convert. On your landing page, you must make sure that your CTAs are specific. You want to be clear in telling your audience exactly what they are doing. For example, instead of saying “click here” to download your guide, say “Download your free guide now.” This CTA specific message will achieve better results for your campaign.
Inbound links: No optimization campaign is complete without incoming links. There are good links and bad links. The good links will help drive targeted traffic and give the search engines an idea of your page’s relevance before it even has a chance to analyze the page. Inbound links are not just a way to get votes (and push up rankings); they are also a source of new traffic.
3. Use Relevant Ad Extensions
Your potential customers don’t care about your location targeting or the bidding strategy. The only thing visible to them for making decisions is your text ad. And your ad extensions should be an important part of that.
Ad extensions expand your ad with relevant information. This gives your potential customers more reasons to click and become an actual customer, positively impacting your click-through rate (CTR).
Must-add Ad Extensions are:
- Sitelinks: These are the extra links that show up below the main ad. For generic keywords, you can use them to link to specific product pages. For specific keywords, you can promote pages like your testimonials page, about page or contact page.
- Callout: They will show up in bullet point style within your ad. You should add at least three of these extensions to your campaigns.
- Structured snippet: These are a list of the types of products, services, locations that you are offering. You can add up to 10 values; however, Google will likely cut them off in the search results. It is recommended to put important ones in the front of the list to avoid being cut off.
4. Optimize your Budget
For each search ad campaign you build, you can decide how much money Google can spend to display your ads. Make good use of the Keyword Planner to plan your budget and get detailed click and cost performance forecasts based on your targeted keywords.
- Set a daily budget and cap it, in order to manage your spending wisely until you have a more detailed insight into your campaign performance.
- Once you do, you can start to adjust your allocation, based on more than just the Keyword Planner estimates.
If your keywords have a high Click-through-Rate (CTR) and convert, and if your leads are high quality, then you can begin to invest more budget (if available) into your campaign. If not, you can continue to drip-feed your funds and experiment with your targeting options and keywords.
5. Ad Copy Optimization
When it comes to search ads, you have limited characters with which you have to convince your customers to click. So in this instance, first impressions are everything! To ensure those customers convert, you need to achieve maximum impact with minimum copy.
A text ad includes the following:
- 3 Headline Texts(30 characters each)
- A Display URL
- 2 Description Texts (90 characters each)
To maximize the effectiveness of your text ads, a good rule of thumb is to include relevant keywords (avoid stuffing), an enticing Unique Selling Point (what can you offer your target audience that would make them want to click?), and at least two explicit Calls-To-Action (do you want them to call? Email? Visit your website?)
Take full advantage of your Google Ads account structure to create focused campaigns. Drill down into ad groups and into individual ads, where you can be as specific as possible with your copy.
The Final Thought: Get ahead of every organic result
Though search ads put you directly in front of users who are actively searching for what you offer, a detailed strategy can always help you get ahead of organic results. When done right, search ads are a great way to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and gain new customers. And of course, this can only happen when paired with an optimized post-click experience.