The short answer is yes, Google Ads are good for your small business. Of course, we must decide how we define and measure something as being ‘good’. For a small business owner, you’ll need to understand what conversions are and how you can get them with Google Ads? The other thing, and this is a potential restricting factor for small businesses, is cost. You’ll need to consider not only whether Google Ads gives you a good return on investment (ROI) but also, whether you have the budget to spend on Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing. One of the brilliant features of Google Ads is that you get to set your budget, giving the small business owner or manager power over their marketing expenditure.
Google Ads Considerations
Key aspects to consider for this form of advertising include:
- Clearly define your goals and conversion metrics
The purpose of your ad is to get a user (potential customer) to perform the specific action that brings you value. For many, this is lead generation – so a conversion, for example, would be getting the user to supply their email or phone contact details. However, your goal might be to increase traffic and awareness to your website, in which case a conversion might be the number of clicks your ad gets. Most importantly for eCommerce sites, you might only consider purchases or appointment bookings as a conversion. Having your overall goal and associated conversion metrics in mind will help you to tweak your campaign to maximise your total conversions.
- Search engine results
It is all well and good having the best ad ever, but if it doesn’t appear on the first search engine results page (SERP) it is unlikely to be effective. Users are in a hurry, and there is a lot of competition. If you are not served to them on that first page, they are unlikely to even know your ad exists, never mind choosing yours over your competitors.
- How Will Your Ad Get Shown?
An ad is served to a user if their search term matches a keyword in your ad, and whether Google deems it relevant. Key to this obviously lies with the keywords you choose to bid on, requiring a process of keyword research. The more in-depth this process of identifying keywords to target is, the more effective your campaign will be. Selecting your keywords also requires an understanding of keyword relevance and their value in bringing relevant traffic to your site. It is at this point in the process that time-poor business owners can struggle to get right, which will ultimately affect the performance of the whole campaign.
- Is there a relevant landing page?
The best practice is to direct your ad traffic to a relevant landing page, which matches the keywords you bid on and the ad copy that brought the traffic to the page. If the landing page doesn’t match the purpose the user had in clicking on your ad, they will bounce off the page immediately because you are not providing the answers they were seeking. Using a specific page as the target URL is more effective than directing web visitors to your homepage.
The Google Ads Auction
How do your ads appear in search results and how does Google determine which ads to show in the cases of high competition?
- Every time a user completes a search, an ad auction occurs on the keywords that match the search query.
- For the ads with bids on the keyword, Google’s system will ignore ads that aren’t eligible (e.g. if a different target location is set) or are disapproved due to a policy violation.
- For eligible ads, Google will look to the ads with the higher Ad Ranks, which is a calculation of your cost per click (CPC) bid by your quality score – i.e. Ad Rank = CPC x Quality Score. The infographic below reflects this process and demonstrates that ads with a lower bid have the potential to outrank ads with a higher bid and be shown higher in the results.
The auction occurs for every search on Google and the results will vary each time based on the level of competition. So, you can expect to see changes in the position of your ad and for it to not be shown at all.
The Cost of Google Ads
The cost of your Google Ads campaign is on a CPC basis, which is great because you only pay for when people click on your ad! The average cost per click varies by industry. How much your business is willing to pay for a click will also depend on how much you would stand to make by converting the visitor. For this reason, budgets across businesses can vary significantly but will mostly be in the range of $500 – $3,000 per month.
You are in control of your ad spend though – you can set the maximum daily budget to ensure you won’t over-spend, but this will limit the number of clicks you’ll get. To control your budget, it is also important to ensure your campaign is fully optimised – on a small budget, the last thing you want to be doing is bidding for search terms that bring in irrelevant traffic, or bidding and paying a higher CPC for competitive keywords when there may be long-tail keyword alternatives.
In addition to the keywords you’re bidding on, the cost of a Google Ads campaign will be influenced by:
- Quality score – Google’s determination of the relevance and quality of your ads and the keywords you’re bidding on, which also takes into consideration the landing page you’re directing traffic to, click-through on your ad, and your historical Ads performance. (Note – your quality score will also affect your ad position and where you will rank relative to other advertisers)
- Keyword match types – Whether the keywords you are bidding on are broad or exact.
- Your ad placement – You may choose to only show your ad on the Google Search Network (or the Search Network and Google’s search partners), on certain device types, in certain locations.
- Scheduling – For example, you may only choose to run during business hours Monday to Friday.
- Competition – The more advertisers bidding for a keyword, the higher the cost for that keyword.
What Results Can You Expect from Google Ads?
Many people who are unfamiliar with Google Ads imagine results in double figures. Not so. Across all industries, the average click-through rate is 3.17% for search and 0.46% for display. But, with such low numbers, how can investing in Google Ads be valuable for a small business?
The Real Value of Google Ads
The true value of Google Ads is the exposure it provides your ads – exposure to a specific target audience in a specific area. Most significantly, people actively searching on Google are low-hanging fruit. Google Ads allows you to serve your ad to your target audience who have active intent – this audience is in the market or seeking information on a product or service! This is your opportunity to showcase your products and services to an audience who are ready to be influenced. This fits right in with persona-driven marketing, which is more powerful than marketing benefits or product features. With Google Ads, your small business is more likely to reach the exact prospect that you can nurture into a loyal customer – and you can even narrow this down to the specific area that you service! The numbers don’t tell the full story – the true value lies in the quality of the visitor.
Arcadian Digital know the ins-and-outs of the Google Ads process and system. We will help you target your specifically chosen audience, cutting the time it will take sifting through inappropriate leads, and save you hours and hours of learning and testing time – time that could be spent more profitably tending to your core business! Contact us to learn more about how Google Ads can boost your small business.