Google Ads is an advertising platform with huge potential, often underestimated. This is a shame, as the platform provides an opportunity to promote specific products or services to those who are actively looking for them.
Google offers many advertising tools and provides access to the major search engines. It also provides a network with millions of websites to serve ads. If you don’t know your way around, you risk targeting too large an audience and spending money without making a profit.
Why use the Google Ads platform?
Google Ads is quite similar to other paid platforms. What makes it unique is the ability to reach consumers through 3 different channels.
1. Search ads
Unlike social media, consumers usually use search engines with a specific intention: to look for answers, get solutions to their problems or find certain products/services. You can determine how to advertise on your search engine based on the average monthly search volume for a given query. You should also consider the estimated cost per click and other data provided by the search engine. You can publish search ads to promote your products or services directly in the search results for a specific query. It is also possible to limit the target audience to a specific geographic area. Over 14,800 people search for “protein powder” each month. But, there are fewer searches for “vegan protein powder”. The search term will convert. It will be more relevant to your product. You can create text ads, which will be displayed in your searches with the “Ad” tag in a small box.
2. Google display network
You can promote your products or services to potential customers through the search engine’s display network Display advertising gives you the opportunity to leverage the search engine results to an external audience. This is done through text, images and video banners that are displayed when users surf the web and use applications or watch videos.
The display network reaches 90 Internet users worldwide and offers advertising space with over 2 million sites and 650,000 applications. Visit any news site and you’ll likely see Google ads at the top, in the sidebar or even in the body text.
3. YouTube Ads
The Google Ads platform also allows you to advertise on YouTube. Technically, this is just one of the sites in Google’s display network. Users watch over a billion hours of YouTube videos a day. So this is a unique opportunity to gain potential customers. You may be familiar with the pre-roll ads that appear at the beginning of YouTube videos. On the other hand, there are also banner and overlay options.
How the Google Ads system works
Advertisers compete for a position or “rank” on the search engine results pages by bidding on clicks. The amount of the bid and the keywords you choose will determine your ranking relative to your competitors. However, the highest bidder does not necessarily win first place. Relevance is also a determining factor.
The search engine wants to show users useful and relevant ads. You will also want to direct the ad to users who are looking for your business or conditions that are fairly close to your sale. So it assigns a ranking to the ads, based on the relevance of the text and format of the ad to the keywords you are buying. It also highlights the web page where you direct visitors. As advertisers, you will save on ad placement based on relevance.
How to use the Google Ads guide
Remember that there will always be trade-offs and other aspects to consider when making your choice. For example, some sacrifice segmentation by grouping different types of audiences together. This makes it difficult to isolate specific high-performing groups. On the other hand, this is an easier option to set up with an app or Shopify integration.
Other types of campaigns can be more difficult to implement successfully, requiring manual setup and ongoing optimization, especially with a highly competitive audience or keywords. This requires more technical expertise, time and money.
For this reason, the value ranges or estimates are given as a guideline. Your actual cost per click and expected return will depend on many variables. For example, how well your website converts, the average order value, and the reach of a certain type of keyword or audience will all depend on your goals and targets.
If your goal is customer development, your business is capable of generating repeat purchases from customers. The more competitive ones often require a lot of human capital and time to conduct. They can also be costly, especially in the beginning.
Google Ads Guide: 13 Campaign Types
1. Branded search campaigns
Branded keywords contain the exact name of a brand or product. “Apple phone” or “iPhone,” for example, are Apple brand keywords.
You may not want to bid on your brand name, especially if your site already appears at the top of organic search results. However, paid ads allow you to promote specific information. You can direct your audience to the page you want. In addition, they protect you from competitors, who may bid on your brand or other keywords. The CPC is generally lower. This is because your URL and listings will be highly relevant to users searching for you. At the same time, be careful not to have your ad appear for similar but irrelevant keywords. In the example of the Apple iPhone ad, words like “apple juice” but also phrases like “how to update my Apple iPhone” should be excluded. So, narrow your targeting by using appropriate words and negative words.
The maximum sales ceiling that branded search can produce depends on how many users are actually looking for you. So they are complementary to brand awareness. A pop-up store or viral video on Facebook, for example, can drive additional searches for your brand.
They can be difficult to implement if you are not familiar with search. So you may need help from internal resources or an agency.
2. Non-branded (generic) search campaigns
These are conducted in the search network that are not linked to any brand. They focus on keywords that do not include your brand or product name. Therefore, the costs will probably be higher, as the relevance for users is lower, especially for more generic keywords. For example, “buy a cushion” versus “ikea gosa vadd cushion”). The goal of this campaign is to bring in new visitors and new customers as efficiently as possible. Keep in mind that the real value of a customer is not in their initial purchase, but in the totality of potential purchases from your store.
3. Unbranded (niche) search campaigns
These are not related to your brand but to niche products. They are more specific and therefore more relevant to the user, as long as your products match what the user is looking for.
If your company and products lend themselves to niche marketing, then this is a solution worth trying. Niche marketing, even outside the context of Google Ads, makes it easier for you to get traffic and potentially a positive ROI. This is because it offers a specific audience that is easier to identify and focus on.
Unbranded niche search is often associated with unbranded generic search. However, for the reasons mentioned above, it makes sense to segment this traffic by creating an independent option and treating it separately. If you sell third-party products, you can also implement this type of campaign by bidding on the specific branded words associated with the products. When purchasing these keywords, you can also use these brands in your ad, as long as these products are visible on the target page.
4. Competitor Search Campaigns
A competitor search solution is essentially brand-related, but in reverse. Instead of bidding on your brand name and products, focus on your competitors’ keywords. Subtracting traffic from your main competitors’ words seems like a smart strategy. However, it can be costly, as you are simply a competitor and not the most relevant result that users want to see.
Generally, it is used by companies that can justify the high cost of acquiring a new customer with a fairly high average order value or lifetime value. Otherwise, it’s a strategy that may bring you little success. If the competing brand is not buying traffic or has very loyal customers and your product is an equal or better alternative.
You should not use dynamic keyword entry in ads when buying your competitor’s brand words. You also can’t use his brand in ads if you don’t sell his product on the target page.
5. Google Shopping Campaigns (Branded)
They are specific to companies that sell products. They usually provide a fantastic user experience for buyers. When a user searches for a specific product, they see images, prices and reviews of items deemed relevant. If shoppers click on the ad, they go directly to the product page. If you run an e-commerce business and want to acquire new customers, this is one of the first ones to try.
You can maximize your traffic from this source and be able to plan your budget more effectively. Otherwise, buying solutions will include branded and unbranded traffic by default. Without a segmentation strategy, unbranded traffic will always be higher than branded traffic; most of your budget will likely be spent on unbranded word traffic, with a lower probability of conversion. They are generally easier to implement than search options. To create a valid product feed for the search engine to draw from.
6. Google Shopping (unbranded)
It is unrelated to your brand. If you have the budget, this is a great option for e-commerce businesses.
Separating branded traffic from unbranded traffic requires minimal setup. Once it’s done, you can dedicate a specific budget to each.
7. Retargeting campaigns (text, banners, video)
These are solutions intended only for qualified users, identified on the basis of a target behavior. Site traffic is the first requirement to get conversions. However, most visitors are not likely to make a purchase or provide information right away. While a 2% rate is good by normal industry standards, it means that 98% of traffic does not convert to a purchase, at least on the first visit.
Retargeting is a strategy that will allow you to continue to reach visitors, often at a lower cost, by bringing them back to your site with different messages. Retargeting is a powerful feature that will help you turn new visitors first into repeat visitors and then into buyers. It can also be used to generate repeat purchases by targeting advertising to existing customers. For example, you can retarget on YouTube by showing video ads to users who have visited your page. This method will help you capture the attention of prospects when they see you again. It can be very effective in your current marketing strategy. In this case, it doesn’t matter where your ads appear. In fact, you are targeting specific prospects who recognize your brand regardless of the site where it appears.
However, to optimize your retargeting efforts, you must engage in segmentation. For example, you can create segments with prospects who have recently visited your site, explored product pages or left your shopping cart. Simply targeting all prospects who have been on your site in the last 30 days could reach buyers with no intent to purchase.
The range of search terms to consider can be broad for non-branded searches. Similarly, how you present yourself to a user who has seen a product and added it to the cart in the last 24 hours or to a user who visited your homepage 40 days ago may be different. Your expectations should vary accordingly.
8. Other campaign option
It is not too difficult to set up if you know how to create negative audience segments, set up ads and targeting on Google Ads. However, it will require resources to manage, since the purpose of retargeting is to create a cost-effective mechanism to convert old visitors into customers. Also, if you want to use YouTube retargeting for video ads, you will need your own YouTube channel with uploaded video assets.
Display advertising will allow you to reach targets outside of search engine results on over two million publisher sites. This is achieved by displaying text, images and video banners that appear while browsing the web, using applications or playing videos. There are a few targeting options on this network. The broadest is based on topics and interests, ranging from “cars and travel vehicles” to “home and garden.”
With subject-based targeting, your ad will be shown on any site that belongs to the display network category you choose. With interest-based targeting, your ads will be shown to users who have recently started searching for those topics on display network sites.
9. Display (Contextual) Campaigns
These allow you to be as specific as possible by displaying ads on web pages whose content includes your target keywords. You can use them to target content that includes certain words (branded or not) about your business. Consumers spend most of their time online not searching on the search engine, but consuming and interacting with content. That’s why targeting content relevant to your product/service is always a potentially viable approach to testing and measuring growth potential.
Managed display lists offer even more targeting and control than contextual targeting. You can select specific websites, or even pages, on which to place your ad in the display network. You can also directly secure this type of advertising with websites with higher CPM rates.
10. Google’s smart shopping campaigns
They automate bids and placements using machine learning. They use machine learning to optimize a mix of retargeting, display and Shopping ads for you. It chooses which products to advertise, how much to offer, who the target audience is, and what ad to run.
Your performance will depend on how many users search for your brand, products, product categories or keywords. The amount of retargeting you can do and the brand traffic you can generate with Shopping Ads will also depend on the search volume and size of your retargeting audience (for example, how many people have already visited your site).
11. CRM (search, YouTube, Gmail)
YouTube and Gmail focus on remarketing to users already registered via CRM. They focus on remarketing to your current customer or subscriber list. However, you must have an established customer base (i.e. thousands of email addresses). This approach will not work for new merchants. They leverage the customer information available in your CRM. You can extend the specific message to different customer segments by targeting positions in Gmail, YouTube or the search network.
12. Campaigns with a similar audience
These are based on the same remarketing lists for CRM. However, instead of advertising directly to your existing customers, it targets based on the database Google has about them.
13. Dynamic search campaigns
It does not offer a simple method of segmentation. Therefore, there are options that aggregate multiple types of traffic, it is not recommended as a solution to maintain over time and scale. Rather, it is known as a starting point, possibly manually segmenting the data based on performance. It is a great, quick and easy way to start a search solution.
Define the budget: final campaigns and test campaigns
You need to understand the two main categories of campaigns you will be running.
1. Always-on campaigns
These focus on profitability and high-potential sales from buyers who show intent to purchase your brand/product/service. This is a way to run continuously to have your fruits at hand.
In general, these are the solutions for which you allocate the largest possible budget, starting with a non-excessive daily expenditure and gradually increasing the amount until the performance meets or exceeds your expectations (maintaining your productivity).
For example, if you only have $10 a day to spend on marketing (or a fixed budget that you could spend 100% of), it might be the best use of that money, unless you have specific customer acquisition or awareness goals for better spending.
2. Trial/Flexible Campaigns
In addition to converting your most popular audience, you can also spend money to attract new customers to the site or introduce your products/services to a specific audience. Trial/flexible options focus on acquiring new customers, building brand awareness and interaction with your site and products.
How to get help with Google Ads
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs who don’t have the time or money to learn how to successfully manage their Google ads, outsource the task to agencies or experts who specialize in paid ads. If you are looking for paid help, you can find Shopify experts who specialize in search engine advertising for Shopify merchants. There are many nuances to each type of campaign. Even more, the variations are not specifically covered in this article.
Perhaps you’ll invest your time and money to learn this type of management Or you’ll hire an agency or expert. Whatever your decision, getting to know the platform and the options it offers is an important first step in the right direction.