Google Ads: Everything you Need to Know for Successful Advertising Campaigns
With ads on Google, self-employed people and companies can increase their reach and gain new customers. More than 12.4 billion search queries are made via Google every day worldwide – so nobody can get past the search engine giant. But what are the options for Google advertisements and what is important? We clarify the most important questions about Google Ads.
Who Needs Google Advertisements?
Google Ads can be used in lots of ways: To sell products and/or services, to increase awareness of your own website, to search for a location or to look for new employees. Those who pay for a higher weighting on search engines, can end up on the first page of Google searches. That’s not only interesting for online shops or agencies, but can also make local companies better known in their respective city or region.
What Options Does Google Ads Offer?
Google Ads allows you to create different advertising campaigns with different orientations and goals. These include, among others:
- Targeted advertising measures for various Google services (e.g. Google Maps, YouTube, Google Shopping, Google search engine)
- Flexible advertising measures: The advertising measures can be adjusted at any time (e.g. lower/higher budget, focus)
- Measurable advertising: The success of Google Ads can be easily tracked both in the Google Ads interface itself and via Google Analytics.
- Transparent costs: You decide where your budget should be used.
The Google Ads Account
To create a Google Ads account, you first need a Google account. If you already have a Google account, you can sign up for the “Google Ads” service there. The “standard account” includes the options to advertise your website – or your YouTube channel – or to create video advertisements. In order to advertise your company yourself (e.g. on Google Maps), you need a company profile. For a company profile, you first have to add your business to Google via “Google My Business”.
Once you have a Google Ads account, you can adjust the basic settings there, such as language, currency, billing information and user rights.
Google Ads: The Basics
Using a Google Ads account for the first time can quickly feel overwhelming. Campaigns, ad groups, keywords, audiences, landing pages, and so on: What is what now and where exactly do I start? First, you need to understand the basic structure of Google Ads – and that starts with the campaigns. Campaigns form the upper category, so to speak, or the umbrella under which your advertising goals can then be bundled. You may have multiple campaigns in your Google account, broken down by product or service, for example.
For example, exali offers Professional Indemnity Insurance for various industries. So, some of our campaigns are assigned to the individual insurance types, such as “IT Indemnity” or “Consulting Indemnity”. You can set values for each campaign such as location, language, budget and bid strategy in the campaign settings – but more on that later.
If your campaigns are the roof of the house, then the ad groups are the individual rooms, the keywords are the decor, and the ads are the facade. Ad groups bundle the same keywords from which you then create your ads. At exali, for example, the ad groups “IT Professional Indemnity” or “First-party cyber and data risks insurance” are assigned to the “IT Indemnity” campaign, and these in turn are assigned keywords such as “IT” or “professional indemnity”.
First Define your Goals, then Start
The most important thing before you start using Google Ads is that you first think about what you actually want to achieve. Example: Do you mainly want to generate calls to your customer advisors, establish a completely new brand or increase the visibility of your services in order to generate more sales? Each of these questions has a different answer or campaign type in Google Ads. Of course, you can also create several campaigns, but it’s important here as well that you first think about what your goal is.
Here's how Creating a Campaign Works
If you know what you want to achieve and understand the basic structure of Google Ads, you can get started: You can post your first ad by creating a campaign. We will explain how to do this step by step.
Step 1: Set your Goals
The first thing to do when starting your campaign is to set a goal. The following options can be selected:
- Sales: This is clearly about increasing sales. This goal is best for online stores or local businesses (via Google My Business)
- Leads: This is also quite self-explanatory – leads are supposed to be increased, for example through more newsletter registrations or contacts. This is suitable for both online shops and service providers.
- Access to the website: The goal is to make users aware of your website in a targeted way.
- Product and brand willingness to buy: The aim is to make users aware of your products or services via video ads.
- Brand awareness and reach: This option is well suited to reach a broad target group and increase awareness of your business, especially if your company or your service offer is still under construction.
- App advertising: This option aims to increase installs or purchases from the app store. It is suitable for both online shops and app developers.
- Local store visits and promotions: This option aims to actively promote local shops or restaurants.
You also have the option to choose a campaign with no goals if none of the suggested options work or you’re not sure which goal you want to use.
Step 2: Choose a Campaign Type
The campaign typ allows you to determine the channels (e.g. Google Shopping, Google Play, YouTube or in the search engine) through which customers can see your ads. The campaign type is also linked to the goal, so not all types are available for all goals. Example: If your goal is “App advertising”, you can select only the App campaign type. For the “Sales” goal, on the other hand, you have six different campaign types to choose from.
There are eight different campaign types:
- Search: Text or call ads can be placed here, which are delivered next to the entered search results on Google or other websites in Google’s partner network.
- Display: Refers to ads that are shown on the Google Display Network. According to Google itself, the Display Network comprises over two million websites, videos and apps.
- Shopping: These ads are displayed in Google Shopping when users search for products there.
- Video: This means video advertisements on YouTube and other websites in the Google Display Network.
- App: These ads are displayed in Google Play, but also in apps in the Google Search Network or YouTube.
- Smart: Automatically provided advertisements that are shown on Google, Google Maps and the web.
- Local: These ads are best for local businesses with one or more locations. The ads are shown via Google Maps or Google search, among other things.
- Discovery: These ads will appear on Google Discover, YouTube and Gmail. The target group here are primarily users who aren’t familiar with your company or your brand yet. Discovery ads should be visually appealing and aim for engagement.
Once you have selected a goal and campaign type, Google will ask you to specify your goals for some combinations. For example, if you have selected “Sales” as the goal and “Search” as the campaign type, you will now be asked what the goal is supposed to achieve: Website visits, calls, store visits or app downloads. Your ad will then be further customised based on your responses.
Step 3: Specify your Budget and Bids
Now it’s about the money: You first have to tell Google how much you want to invest in your campaign on average. Calculate the monthly budget by multiplying the daily budget by 30.4 (average number of days per month). Next, set a bid type - it could be conversions, target CPA (Cost-per-Aquistion), or target ROAS(Return on Advertising Spend), for example.
When you start with Google Ads, it is important to try and weigh things up at the beginning. It is best to start small (Google recommends a daily budget of 10 to 50 euros for newcomers). Then check on a daily basis how successful the campaign is and adjust the budget accordingly. If you have been around a little longer, Google will determine a recommended daily budget based on your other campaigns and based on the existing search volume or the size of the target group, which you can then accept.
Step 4: Advertisement Extensions
With the campaign types “Search”, “Video” and “Discovery”, you have the possibility to add further information to your ad. This includes links to your website, directions or telephone numbers. These add-ons not only offer a further incentive for potential customers, but according to Google they also usually increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your ad by several percentage points.
Create your Ad Groups
Now we come to the ad groups already mentioned - these can be found in your Google Ads account one level below the campaigns. Ad groups allow you to create a structure within each campaign. You should always structure the groups thematically (according to the keywords).
Please keep these rough guidelines in mind when creating your ad groups:
- Maximum 7-10 ad groups per campaign
- Maximum 20 keywords per ad group
- 2-3 ads per ad group
Specify the Keywords
You can select the keywords for the ad groups under the tab “Keywords”. The best way to find the right ones is to ask yourself: What do users enter into the search engine when looking for an offer like yours? Keywords have to be chosen very carefully because they ensure that your ads actually reach your target group.
Use keyword research tools
This is the most important thing when choosing a keyword: Don’t rely on your instincts, use a targeted search tool. Within your Google Ads account, for example, you can use the free “Keyword Planner” tool, but you can of course also use tools from other providers for research. When choosing your keywords, you should also keep in mind that good keywords are always associated with an intention. Most users don’t search for individual terms, but for terms in combination with an intention.
Examples of terms with an intention include:
- Qualifying terms such as product details, brand names, or costs, such as: “T-Shirt Oversized” or “Gummy Bears Haribo” or “Liability Insurance Costs” and so on.
- Location conditions such as: “Warsaw car repair shop”, “Gothenburg gym” and so on.
Very broad terms usually don’t show very much intention and therefore tend to have very low click-through and conversion rates, as well as high CPAs.
Then you define the so-called keyword options for the keywords. This controls the search queries for which the ad is displayed on Google. There are the following matched keywords:
- “Broad match”: This is the default match type assigned to all keywords. Choose this option by writing the keyword in the appropriate field (without brackets or quotation marks). This means that the ad will be displayed even if there are misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations in the query. For example, if the keywords were “women’s shoes”, a user who typed “buy women’s shoes” would also see the ad.
Keep in mind: If you choose this keyword option, you should always check for which search terms the ads are displayed, because the assignment here is often very broad and therefore sometimes inappropriate.
- “Phrase match”: Choose this option by putting the keyword in quotation marks. The ad is shown when a search query matches a phrase or very similar variants of it. Additional terms can appear before or after the phrase, but not if the phrase is “interrupted” by another word or the order of the words in the phrase is changed. Example: The word group is called “women’s shoes”, the advert is displayed for “buy women’s shoes”, but not for “buy red women’s shoes”.
- “Exact match”: The ad is only displayed for a search query that contains the exact term or a very similar variant. Choose this option by enclosing the keyword in square brackets.
Create a Google Ads Advertisement
You can create the actual ad that you will place later under “Ads and extensions”. This is the most important thing here: To see which ad (regardless of text or motif) is best accepted by your target group, you should definitely test different variants. For example, you can see whether you are more likely to reach potential customers with price ads (e.g. “All chairs from brand XY for only 25 euros” or “Find your dream house now for 250,000 euros”) or through an emotional approach (e.g.: “You’re looking for comfortable chairs” or “Your kitchen feels empty”).
To create an ad, you must first press the plus sign under “Ads and extensions” under “Ads”. You get different options here based on your previously selected campaigns and campaign types, for example “Responsive search”. Before you start creating, you have to assign your ad to a previously created campaign and a corresponding ad group. You will then be able to create your ad, to which you must assign the following fields:
- Final URL: You enter the URL there of the website that will open when the user clicks on the ad. The content on the page should of course match the ad content.
- Displayed path: This is the URL that users can see in the ad. You can add two more 15-character paths here after your website URL, for example: www.exali.com/Insurance/product. The paths should be separated with a slash (/).
- Ad title: This is the H1, so to speak - the main headline of your ad. You can specify up to 15 titles here, each with a maximum of 30 characters, and also include keywords in the ad title. The headline is then assembled from 3 different combinations of titles.
- Description: This is the description of your ad. You can also specify four different descriptions here, each with a maximum of 90 characters. These are then assembled with the appropriate ad title.
The fields vary by ad type. For a responsive display ad, images and logos, possibly videos and other options are added to the text. However, the design is usually quite clear and you always see a preview of your ad in the tool.
Google Ads: Formulate your Avertisement
A lot can go wrong when wording your ad text, especially if you underestimate its importance. That could be a big mistake! The ad is the part of the “house” that the outside world gets to see. Would you rather walk into a new build or a building with peeling paint, smashed windows and a crooked front door? Probably the new building - even if there are a few nice decorations (keywords) on the facade of the dilapidated building.
Exactly the same goes for your ad copy. Your ad title has to reach people, the description has to fit, and you can’t forget the keywords either. The ad has to show the searcher that they can find the answer to their search in your ad. If they don’t, they won’t click on it and won’t end up on your page. Here are our tips for a successful ad text:
Call to Action:
Encourage your target audience to click on your ad with a specific prompt, such as “Get a bargain now”.
After you have set the keywords, you should of course also use them in the ad text. Your strongest keywords should always be in the headline and at the beginning of the ad text.
Write Short and Crisp Sentences
When “scanning through” the search ads, potential customers won’t stick with an ad that is too long and where they have to look for the most important information. So: Briefly explain in one or two sentences what advantages you offer.
A personal address is much better received by users and builds a relationship. For example, “You can walk for hours in these shoes” sounds much better than “These shoes are comfortable to wear.” Questions can also build a personal connection. In this example, the question could be: “Don’t feel like wearing uncomfortable shoes anymore?”...!
In your advertisement, you should always signal to the users that if they have a problem, you can solve it.... like this!
Know the Target Group
What we wrote earlier is clear here to: It’s important that you know who you’re trying to reach. Know your target audience. This is not only important for the ad settings (like the region), but also for the text. If you have a young target group, you can address them informally and formulate the text in a funny and funky way. If you have an older target group, the ad should be formulated more seriously.
Users will feel much more connected to you if you come from the same city or region. So feel free to address your “neighbours” directly.
Google Ads: Checking and Analysis
Creating a campaign and then just letting it run for years is not a good idea! Because you might spend a lot of money without your ads brining anything. That’s why it’s important to regularly check whether your ad is profitable, what the user behaviour is like, and whether your keywords are ranking.
The click rate (CTR = click-through rate) is an indicator of the success of your ad. You can view these in your Google Ads account using the Reports tool. If the click-through rate is below 1 percent, your ad is probably not appropriate for the target group and should definitely be adjusted! You can see the average amount you pay per click on the ad under CPC (Cost-per-Click).
You should also check your keywords regularly. You can view the click rate (CTR) in your campaigns under the “Keywords” tab. If the click rate is below 1 percent, the keywords may be too general and you should definitely make them more specific.
Professional Indemnity Insurance: No Experiments with Good Protection
As with anything you start in your business, the same applies to Google Ads: Try, experiment and just get started. Don’t panic if a campaign doesn’t work at first. You always have the opportunity to adjust and optimise them. But there are also things you should not experiment with. That includes good Professional Indemnity Insurance. If you experiment with this topic, save money or don’t think about it, you’ll end up paying more!
Professional Indemnity Insurance through exali adapts individually to your business and protects you if something goes wrong professionally, for example because a Google Ads ad violates trademark rights. The integrated passive legal expenses insurance can help to clarify who is at fault in the event of damage and ultimately assume a justified payment of damages. There are no queues or call centres with us - you always have a personal contact person.
Daniela has been working in the areas of (online) editing, social media and online marketing since 2008. At exali, she is particularly concerned with the following topics: Risks through digital platforms and social media, cyber dangers for freelancers and IT risk coverage.
In addition to her work as an online editor at exali, she works as a freelance editor and therefore knows the challenges of self-employment from her own experience.