In terms of effectiveness and efficiency, it’s hard to go past good ol’ Google AdWords.
Google prides itself on creating positive and relevant user experiences for those using its powerful search algorithms.
To create simple and effective ads that are low cost and measurable is not difficult when you get a handle on what you’re doing and how Google thinks.
After you log into your Google Account, you will see the Dashboard.
To create your ads, click Campaigns and then the Green button below +Campaigns.
Here you can choose the type of ad. You can reach the most people by using Search Display network and Display Select the Search Network only (meaning organic search and search partners sites) or the Display Network only.
There are a number of different types of ads you can run. This brief article will look at running simple Text Ads.
At the top we have Campaigns and under that Ad Groups and within Ad Groups we have Ads. Each Ad Group consists of one or more Ads that use the same keywords.
For example, if you are running a Summer Campaign for your swimming club, you would choose a New Campaign. You may then have various different ‘themes’ to promote, such as kids swimming lessons, squad activities, seniors swimming, and water polo. Each of these would become a separate Ad Group. Within, for example, the Water Polo Ad Group, we could then have a series of discrete Ads, such as Registration, the swim club’s equipment for sale, and a video on how to play.
We create a New Campaign, and then New +Ad Group and enter our text and keywords. There are character limits if you are running a Text Ad. Be specific. Think about what the user is directly seeking.
Targeting & Budgeting
You can also set your targeting by country and age.
You set a Daily budget and a per bid budget for each keyword. Popular keywords will cost more, but since they are generic, be sure to include very specific keywords relevant to what you do.
Display and Destination URLs
In your ad, you type in a Display URL and a Destination URL. The display shows what the link will look like, the destination is the actual page the click will direct to.
You can use a general website name in your Display URL e.g. www.greenswimclub.com and then the destination page to www.greenswimclub/water-polo/registration/summer
This is to reassure visitors that the link is going to a page on the Display site. If your ad goes to an external or third-party site, the Display needs to accurately represent where the link will go.
You cannot initiate a program or activate anything through the link.
How Bidding Works
Google doesn’t just place the top Ad from the highest bidder. It has refined its algorithms to try and ensure the user is going to have the bed possible user experience. Deeper pockets don’t necessarily provide this. From an advertiser perspective, Google provides you with the lowest price possible to display your ad.
To place your ads and determine the real cost, the equation is:
Maximum Bid x Quality Score = AdRank. The AdRank then determines the position of your ad and the cost.
Having a high Quality Score is really important here.
The Quality Score is mostly made of:
1. your click-through rate CTR)
2. RELEVANCE your ads keywords to your landing page
3. the LANDING page itself
How to improve your Quality Score
Here are some best practices:
Too few Ad Groups?
Google likes relevant, tightly knitted themes. It’s about being really specific, not generic. We need to think like a searcher who genuinely wants to find our solution. Do your keyword research. There are many aids within AdWords to suggest keywords, which you can select and deselect. The specificity and relevance will affect CTR.
Is the Landing page relevant to the keywords in your ad?
Your landing pages need to have content that contains keywords you are using, or the visitor is going to feel cheated. The content should be original not identical to other pages, and specific to each ad.
The Landing Page Itself
The page itself must show good navigation. Google ‘bots’ will scour the page to determine that there are means of escape for the visitor and useful, relevant information such as Privacy policies, Terms of Service, links to About and other pages.
Navigability is key. The old squeeze page you so often used to see – the big red IMPACT script headline and no links other than a big BUY at the bottom, well, Google hates these. Google also hates pop-ups or pop-unders and considers the page load speed and will penalise a slow loader. That means making sure your site isn’t hosted too far away. For example, pages on a US server will need to travel to the Pacific Ocean in order to load.
Did you know you can now choose Online Video and link your AdWords account to your YouTube account (which is also owned by Google)? The video option allows you to track engagement and conversion data for your promoted videos.
Playing with Google AdWords is fun and you learn as you go.
Also published on Medium.