If you’ve decided that your business could benefit from an online PPC ad campaign, Google AdWords is the place to start. The AdWords service is simple to use, requiring only a brief introduction before you’re ready to buy your first ads.
Not convinced that PPC advertising is right for your business? See my previous post on the benefits of PPC.
Your AdWords account contains one or more ad campaigns. Each campaign contains one or more ad groups. An ad group is an ad accompanied by one or more keywords you have chosen for the ad.
Each campaign has settings to control where and when the ads within will be displayed, as well as an optional weekly budget. If you want to run ads in two different regions of the country, or at two different time periods, split those ads into separate campaigns. Campaign settings also allow you to choose what devices you would like to show ads on (mobile or desktop), and what facet of the Google PPC system you would like to buy ads on.
If your business offers services to a particular region, you don’t have to waste your money advertising to the whole world. AdWords Campaign settings make it easy to choose exactly where you want your ads to be displayed. You can choose by Country, State, and City. If your business is super-localized, you can even draw exactly where you want your ads displayed on a map.
Ad Groups should contain two versions of an ad (learn why in a future post), and their corresponding keywords. Ad groups should be as specialized as you can make them. Ads that are extremely relevant to the associated keywords cost less and are more effective. Create different ad groups for each individual category of search term you are considering.
AdWords ads consist of one header line, two description lines, one display address line, and one actual address line. When exact portions of the keyword search appear in your ad, they are shown in bold. For this reason, ads that contain the exact keywords themselves, especially in the header line, attract more attention, and perform better than those that don’t. AdWords ads don’t allow enough space for verbose language. Keep your message succinct, and direct. The display URL line allows you to type a web address that will be displayed in the ad. This does not have to be the actual page that visitors will be directed to. The landing page is defined in the actual URL line.
Bidding is the most complicated aspect of managing an AdWords campaign. Every time a user searches for something using Google, there is an automatic, virtual auction occurring in the background, to determine what ads will be displayed as “sponsored links” along with the users search results, and in what order they will be displayed. The rank of your ad in the auction, however, is not based on your bid price alone. Google also takes into account the relevancy of your ad and landing page to the search keyword, as well as the historical performance, or Click Through Rate (CTR), of your ad (how many people clicked on your ad divided by how many times your ad was displayed).
Start the process by selecting keywords for which you would like your ad to be shown. There is an option to let Google automatically set your bid prices. If you want to be more hands-on, you can manually set them yourself. Each different variation of every keyword is essentially a unique market, and requires its own bid price. The bid price you pay to have your ad on the first page of search results can range from $0.05 to $30 depending on the level of competition for the keyword. Google will tell you if your bid is too low to be displayed on the first page.