Image: “Google Neo” by Mjmonty
To explain Adwords in the most laymen terms, it’s an online ad service that lets you run ads for your business within Google’s search results. Your ads are matched to specific search terms and you only pay when someone actually clicks on the ad (known as pay-per-click). Since Google launched this service in 2000, it’s transformed the way businesses approach digital marketing and many consider it a vital component of their advertising strategy. So is Google Adwords right for your business?
How does it work?
There are two main components when it comes to understanding Google Adwords – keyword search terms and the idea of cost-per-click (CPC).
Keyword search terms are what businesses bid on. Say for example, you own a flower shop in Sydney you may want to target ads at people who are searching for your services using the search term ‘florist Sydney’. Within the Google Adwords platform, you select this term as a target keyword to run your ads against.
However, just as important as this is how competitive your target keywords are and how much other business are willing to spend on CPC. Some terms are far more competitive than others and to find yourself listed on the first page of search results you may have to be willing to spend more than your competitors on CPC.
However, it’s not all about costs – your relevance counts too. If the advert you’re looking to run is extremely relevant to your target keyword, you will be considered a better advertiser. This could ultimately mean you pay less than your competitors in terms of CPC.
How are costs calculated?
There’s no minimum cost requirement for using Adwords. You’re able to set your maximum cost per click and your ad will be ranked based on the competition and how relevant your ad is for that term. It’s also important to note that your maximum CPC is exactly that – a maximum. Your actual CPC may be lower depending on how competitive your marketplace is. Google’s online tools are quite good at making suggestions here based on your target keywords.
Why quality matters
It’s also important to pay attention to your quality score. Your competitor may be willing to pay more than you but if your quality score is higher you may still appear above them in the search rankings. Google determines your quality score by looking at how relevant the wording of your ad is, the relevance of your actual service and how many people are clicking through to your ad, which is your click-through rate (CTR).
Is it right for you?
Adwords is great for business that have time to monitor the behaviour of their target market and have time to tweak ads in correspondence to performance. It’s also good for those with limited budget as you only ever pay if your ad is clicked. It can be very useful for immediate results too, as your display ads will appear almost instantly within search.
However, if you’re a smaller business in a competitive industry it can be hard to make headway with Adwords, as big businesses tend to increase the CPC and monopolise the market. Some businesses also report a high bounce rate as ads are not as trusted as organic search results.
Adwords has plenty of options beyond CPC campaigns, such as cost-per-impression and cost-per-conversation, however these can take a while to understand. Adwords was essentially created by techies and as a result it takes practice, time and patience to master, which not all businesses have.
How Adwords can be integrated with your content marketing strategy
Some businesses use Adwords as part of an integrated content marketing strategy by running ads that focus on quality content rather than a hard sell. Done right, this can attract a lot of attention and fix the bounce rate issue that comes with traditional advertising. The idea is that you capture them through CPC campaigns, but keep them on site by offering quality content and something of real value.