If you are considering investing some of your budget into digital marketing, chances are you have been looking into advertising on Google!
You would be forgiven for thinking that Google is taking over the world. The advertising platform sees over 260 million unique visitors daily. Given Google’s huge reach, chances are you have probably already seen (and clicked on) a Google ad… and so have your potential customers.
Originally known as Google Adwords, the platform underwent some rebranding in 2018 and is now known as Google Ads. Over this time Google have also introduced some amazing marketing support platforms, including Google My Business, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, and Google Analytics. Google offers incredible marketing and advertising options, allowing business owners to reach customers in new and creative ways.
Whether you’re just starting to experiment with Google’s product offering, or you’re already grappling with PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, understanding the benefits and of course pitfalls will empower you as a business owner to take better control of your digital marketing.
Many clients come to us because they’re unhappy or uncertain with the value their current ads specialist is providing. Unless you have a basic understanding, you can be paying through the nose for substandard services (and you’ll never even know). So we have put together a collection of items to think about when you’re considering Google Ads...
Should I advertise with Google Ads?
First we need to ask ‘what does my business need?’
There are definitely benefits to be gained from Google Ads, but it’s not always the best strategy for everyone. What stage are your customers at? Are they just starting out and looking for information to solve their problem? Do they even know that they need your product or service?
If this is the case, you may want to consider integrating something like Facebook Ads into your marketing mix. This is considered a ‘top of marketing funnel’ interruption method where someone will be scrolling their Facebook feed, and your ad will pop up. They may never have known your product existed, but now that they realise the problem it solves, they set about searching for more details.
Google Ads is normally best used for ‘middle of funnel’ marketing. This is when someone is actively seeking [read Googling] information on a topic, and looking for a result. The customer’s need is already present, and your ad brings their attention to the solution you offer.
Are you an e-commerce business selling items online? Or is your service-based business set up so leads are generated online, but purchase takes place offline?
Both can run Ads successfully, but your conversion measurements will be (and should be) vastly different.
Can I manage my own Google Ads?
Yes – absolutely. If you (or your team) have the required time, technical skills and knowledge, then you can absolutely take care of them yourself.
Generally your list of skills should include:
- Google Ads – how to setup your Ads account, how to decide the best keywords and what to pay for them, how to track your results, writing compelling ad content, and designing good graphics (if needed).
- Google Analytics – tracking and understanding the data to guide your advertising.
- Google Tag Manager – how to flag conversion actions on your website (and what to do when it goes wrong).
- Website software – how to integrate Google Ads with your particular website code to track your results.
- Time management - remember that depending on the size and complexity of your Google Ads campaigns, you’ll need anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour every week to maintain your positive results, add or remove keywords, adjust bidding amounts, write/ rewrite your content, troubleshoot or track analytics issues.
If you’re looking to boost your knowledge, then Google has some free training to help you - https://skillshop.withgoogle.com. At the very least, upskilling will help you understand and empower you to better identify an incredible Ads specialist.
Benefits of professional Google Ads management
Unless you’re planning to take Google Ads on yourself, one option for small businesses is to outsource your Google Ads management to a specialist. The benefits of outsourcing can include:
Save time and money
As a specialist, it may take our team up to 8 hours to setup a new Ads accounts from scratch. More if the campaigns are complex, if there are multiple conversions to tag or the integration doesn’t go smoothly. If you’re not experienced in Google Ads and its intricacies, then it will likely take much longer.
Most business owners just don’t have the time to dedicate to one activity, particularly when it’s not your area of expertise. Remember that outsourcing means you access professional and experienced staff, but you don’t need to employ them, train them or manage them.
No wasted budget
One of the pitfalls in Google Ads is that there are many ways to burn through your budget, without gaining a single sale or lead. A professional will (and should) know some tricks to monitor and even mitigate this. Like one of our clients who is a lawn and garden maintenance manager, located unfortunately close to Nimbin. Certain keywords such as grass and weed brought entirely the wrong type of customers – we had to eliminate those keywords before all the budget was exhausted.
Target the right audience - search terms - locations
Google Ads offers ways in which you can target (or exclude) certain locations, countries, demographic characteristics and more! You only need to bid on the keywords and the conditions that you specify, meaning all those people are qualified targets – not random strangers on the internet. As you go through your learning process, you can see everything your budget is being spent on, and decide whether to keep or remove it.
Constant refinement - Consistency
Initially, Google Ads takes several months to go through the learning phase and gather enough data (minimum of 3 months), before you start seeing any kind of outcome.
This means for the first few months [at least] it’s important to keep consistently checking, optimising, refreshing, and filtering your keywords. New trends come and go, demand will peak and trough seasonally (even weekly!), and it’s important you stay up to date on your ads performance (a great specialist should provide you with a regular report).
Accurate and detailed reporting enhances data-driven strategies
A properly setup Ads account can help you make better decisions for your whole business. You’ll have data showing which areas are popular and selling fast, and which aren’t. You can see the demographics and locations of the people viewing your ads, and visiting your website, and you’ll know which pages they’re hitting first, and spending the most time on.
When your account is setup and structured correctly, you can identify where the leads are coming from. You’ll be able to tell which of your campaigns are working, and needs more budget. As well as identifying the campaigns that aren’t profitable and need to be shut down or revised. You won’t need to guess!
Expertise and experience
There’s no substitute for experience – a skilled professional will be able to talk you through the process, and help you decide what’s best.
Questions like - what kind of costs are you looking at for your preferred keywords? Can your business support this? How does this impact your profit margin? What is an average customer worth to you? How many items do you need to sell before you’re back in profit?
Heads Up – Google Ads love to tell you their Smart Campaigns are as good as manual campaigns. We disagree. If you’re running a Smart Campaign, in Google Ads express – we highly recommend changing over. Unless you (or your team) is skilled and experienced in this area, then call us for a chat!
What to look for in a Google Ads management agency
So if you make the decision to outsource your Google Ads management – how do you pick an incredible agency or professional? Below are our top tips:
- Are they over-promising? Sadly, results can never be guaranteed – there are so many factors involved. If you’re talking to an agency or manager that’s guaranteeing you a spectacular increase in sales, then you might want to probe a little deeper into their qualifications, experience and methods.
- Do they understand and agree with your expectations? The agency should be talking to you about your numbers, so they can understand and be guided into advising on budget, creation of campaigns, setting the number of keywords, managing bid amounts and managing profitability.
- Are they sharing their knowledge? Is the agency willing to walk you through your account upon request, and explain or demonstrate how things are going? Or are they keeping a tight hold over your data?
- Are they broad-minded? Google Ads works best in concert with other tools – your website content and quality. Have they discussed your website page structure and its impact on your ad campaign structure?
- Are they asking, or telling? Have they actually ‘asked’ what your goals are and what you’re trying to achieve? Or are they telling you?
Running Google Ads allows smaller and medium businesses the flexibility to tailor your campaigns to your needs. It’s a very popular method of boosting your performance and achieving your business objectives, however your Ads account must be managed properly.
A good agency can mean the difference between average business performance, and incredible performance. Just remember you’re not alone, you can always reach out to us for an obligation-free chat and audit of your existing account.
Michelle Trimble is a degree qualified marketing specialist who is passionate about breaking down the barriers business owners face when it comes to digital marketing!
After nearly 10 years working in the industry, Michelle decided to start Poppy Seed Media with the mission to provide more accessible marketing services.
Every business has the right to incredible marketing!
Michelle has provided marketing training to hundreds of individuals, working with businesses around the world to improve their overall strategies. Locally she is a marketing trainer for Central Coast Community College and will be launching her own series of online social media marketing courses later this year.
If you would like to book a 30 minute free discover session with Michelle, you can connect with her here.