Google is the most used search engine on the web. With over 2 billion searches a day, your customers are probably "Googling" something for which you want to show up. So in tandem with your SEO efforts, why not utilize the power of paid search to help drive more traffic to your website, and turn those Googlers into new leads and customers?
If it's because you're intimidated by Google's AdWords interface, we get it. There's a lot of options that make for better targeted campaigns -- but also lead to a lot of confusion among marketers new to the paid search game. But fear no more!
Download our complete guide to Google AdWords here for everything you need to know about pay-per-click (PPC).
After reading this post, you'll be able to execute your own paid search campaign at the drop of a hat. Read on to learn everything you need to know about setting up a Google AdWords campaign!
Your First Google AdWords Campaign: A Training Tutorial
First, Create a Killer Keyword List
Before you even jump into the AdWords interface, you need to be armed with a keyword list to help guide your efforts. Think about the keywords your customers are most likely to use -- what are their biggest pain points? For example, say your company sells solar powered tractors, but your customers tend to refer to them as "eco friendly tractors." If you start running campaigns around the phrase "solar powered tractors," your customers will never see your ads!
Understanding the Difference Between General and Specific Keywords
Depending on what your company’s goals are for Google AdWords, you can decide if you want to use general or specific keywords. If your company specializes in only commercial solar powered tractors, you may want to use long-tail keywords that are specific to that need to tailor yourself more to your target market.
Think about it ... if you use general terms like, well, "tractor," you're going to get traffic from searchers looking for commercial electric tractors, private gas tractors, and commercial solar powered tractors. But you can only serve that last market! Those who click on your ad who are interested in commercial electric tractors or private gas tractors will be eating up your budget, because they aren't part of your target audience. To help combat this further, you can also set up a list of negative keywords that indicate you do not want to appear when searchers enter those keywords -- but more on that later.
Selecting Keywords Based on Geography
If your business only operates in a certain area, it's important to use geo-targeting in your AdWords campaigns . For example, if you are a catering company that serves the Denver area exclusively, receiving leads from San Francisco aren't valuable for you, right? Right. To avoid spending money on clicks for leads outside the Atlanta area, using keywords with a location will help target the specific audience you are looking for -- like "catering company Denver," for example.
Using the Keyword Tool on AdWords
If you're having trouble coming up with keywords for your business, the Google AdWords Keyword tool can help you come up with ideas. Or if you're a HubSpot customer, you can utilize our Keyword tool that exists within the software. Theses tools also show you the popularity and average cost of each keyword.
Once in the tool, type in a list of keywords you want to use to help generate more ideas. For example, if you sold patio furniture you would want to start with a list of general terms such as patio furniture, lawn chairs, and outdoor seating.
Once you click search, Google will generate other keywords ideas for you to look through.
In the top left column you can see the three search terms entered in -- patio furniture, lawn chairs, and outdoor seating.
The second column shows the competition level of the keywords, which ranks high for all three. The competition is an indication of how many advertisers are bidding on this word. A keyword with higher competition would be more difficult to rank for on the first page of Google.
The third and fourth columns show the global and monthly searches for each keyword. This is an average from the past 12 months for the specific keyword. The local searches relate to your specific country and language. If your business sells to a specific region only, this statistic is important to look at.
Finally, the approximate CPC in the last column is the keyword's estimated cost-per-click (CPC). Google averages out the cost of each of the clicks to your landing page from each ad, and uses this as the average CPC.
Below are keyword suggestions related to the keywords you entered. So if you're in the patio furniture business and sell wicker furniture and teak furniture, these two keywords would be a great specific keyword for your company. The more variations of keywords you select that are relevant to your offer, the greater your reach will be!
Including Negative Keywords
Like we mentioned earlier, negative keywords allow you to exclude certain keywords from your campaign. Your ad will not appear in search results for these words. If your business has a similar name to something unrelated to your product or service, for example, this tool can be beneficial to ensure your ad is being seen by a relevant group of people, thus increasing your conversion rates for the kind of site traffic you actually want to drive.
Using the Traffic Estimator Tool
Once keywords are selected, the traffic estimator tool can be used to determine the optimal budget and cost-per-click (CPC) to get the best results from your ad campaign.
Once in the traffic estimator, type in your desired keywords and click ' Get Estimates .'
Here you will not see any data until entering a max CPC and daily budget. This depends on your company’s budget, of course, but this tool will allow you to determine the optimal CPC and budget for the number of impressions or clicks that you are looking for. By monitoring AdWords campaigns, you can adjust your bids on keywords to reflect which are most effective and bringing you the most profit. For example, if you know that for every outdoor chair you sell you get $50 in profit, and you start to notice that for the keyword “patio furniture” you get one sale for every 50 people who click your ad, then you should keep your max CPC below $1 in order to remain profitable.
Let's say you have a daily budget of $600 for your outdoor furniture store. You don’t want to spend too much, and experiment with a $2 max CPC. This results in 532-650 daily clicks, and 6,626 to 8,099 impressions. You know that for each 20 clicks, you get one $50 sale, resulting in a $10 profit. Just like that, you're making money!
In the example below, the top graph shows the number of clicks you're estimated to get at different price points. If you have a budget, the number of clicks will eventually decrease as you increase your CPC. You will also look at the daily estimates for clicks and impressions. By adjusting the max CPC or your daily budget, you can see how your reach can be improved.
After looking at total clicks and impressions, you also want to look at the average position of your ad.
The average position tells you where on the search engine results page your ad will appear. An ad position of 1 is the highest on page one of the SERPs. Positions 1-8 are usually on the first page, and therefore are seen most frequently. To improve ad position, you can either increase your bid or the Quality Score of your ad -- more on Quality Score later.
Th e click-through rate refers to the percentage of people who saw the ad on a search engine and clicked on it. Don’t be worried if your CTR is not high at first; the average click-through rate is around 2%, but can change depending on the industry and company.
Once you've determined which keywords are best optimized for your goals, it's time to begin creating your AdWords campaign . Ready? Let's do it!
Creating a Google AdWords CampaignGoogle AdWords allows you to create many campaigns, and each campaign consists of ad groups. Each ad group consists of keywords that are all related to a similar topic, and they can contain as many ads as you want that rotate among the keywords you have. This rotation can be based on clicks, conversion rates, or evenly distributed.
Setup & Campaign Settings
Once in Google AdWords, click on ' Create your first campaign .'
Decide which campaign type you want.
There will be a few different options you'll have to choose between. Here are the most critical for your online campaigns:
Default: Ads will appear on both Google Search Network and Google Display Network on all devices. This may be a good option if you are looking to increase CTR quickly, as your ad will be visible to the most number of potential customers.
Search Network Only: Ads will only appear on Google’s search results and relevant sites that are part of the Search Network. These include Google Maps, Images, Shopping and AOL. This gives you more control as to where your ads are placed because of the limited number of sites that are part of the search network.
Display Network Only: Ads will appear on websites in the Google Display Network, which include all of Google’s partnering websites -- like YouTube and Gmail.
Display Network Only (Remarketing): This option shows your ads on the display network to people who have already visited your website in the past. This can help reach people who have already showed interest in your website and may be a good fit for your product or service.
Search and Display Networks (Mobile Devices): With this option, your ads will only show up on mobile devices and tablets. This option would be good for a company that sells a product or service that people mainly use while on the go.
Online Video: This option will place your ads on YouTube and other sites within the Google Display Network that are relevant.
For this example, we will use the default settings. First, name the campaign something relevant.
Locations and Languages
Next, you want to determine in what location your ad will appear. If your product or service can be sold anywhere, selecting a broad reach is fine, such as “All Country and Territories,” or “United States and Canada.” If you have a location-specific product, you can choose where your ad will appear and see exactly how many people your ad will reach in a given location. Using both this and geographic targeting within your ads will optimize your ads to only appear for people that are within your target market.
You can further specify your results by entering locations that you want to exclude from your search, meaning people from a certain location will never be able to see your ad. You then will want to choose the language your customers speak. This will not translate the ad into another language, but it will place ads on search results for people who have selected this language as their primary language. For example, if you choose Spanish as the language your customers speak, a person who has selected Spanish as their primary language in Google will see your ad when they use the search engine, but the ad will still be in the language in which you wrote it.
Networks and Devices
You can then customize networks and devices that you want your ad to be placed on. When using the default campaign type, all will be selected. You can then go in and change according to your preferences.
Here are the options you have when selecting the networks and devices on which your ad will be displayed:
Google Search: Ads appear in Google search results only.
Search Partners: Ads will appear in Google search results and search partners, including Maps, Shopping etc. This is useful if your ad is relevant to these categories.
Display Network: This will show your ads on the other websites that are affiliated with Google.
Broad Reach (Within Display Network): This will show your ads if the keyword you have purchased matches the website keywords. This increases your reach.
Specific Reach (Within Display Network): This option will only show your ads if your keyword matches and the website the user is on is a website you have chosen as part of your placement targeting. If you have a specific product like vegan cookies, you may only want your ad to appear when a user searches for cookies on a vegan food website.
Devices: Depending on your product, you can decide if you want your ads to appear on desktops, laptops, mobile devices, or tablet devices.
Bidding and Budget
When selecting a bidding option, you can decide if you want to set the bids for each click, or if you want AdWords to set bids to help maximize clicks within your budget. In Google AdWords, the cost of a click can change throughout the day depending on the volume of advertisers bidding on a specific term. Choose which option for bidding works best for your:
CPC: This option, cost-per-click, only charges you when someone clicks on your ad. This is a good option if you are focused on increasing traffic to your website.
CPM: CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is used in the display network. This is helpful if you are looking to get your ad and brand in front of as many people as possible.
CPA: CPA, or cost per acquisition, charges you when the person who clicked on your ad converts, often into a sale. This can be used with conversion tracking and other applications.
I'll manually set my bids for clicks: This allows you to choose what you want the max CPC to be for any given keyword. This is useful if you want to monitor and control the keywords and bidding. It also allows you the freedom to target in any way your company wants. For example, if you sell sports equipment but you really want to focus on baseball gear this month, you can focus most of your budget on baseball keywords.
AdWords will set my bids to help maximize clicks within my target budget: This option allows AdWords the freedom to set the CPC for your keywords while staying within your budget in order to get the most clicks each day. This option is good if you had an advertising budget you constantly want to reach, and don’t want to spend the time monitoring and adjusting your campaigns.
As for your budget, set it according to the optimal amount determined in the traffic estimator.
The features in Ad Extensions can be placed under your ad if they are relevant to your business.
Location: This shows your address under the ad, which would be useful on Google Maps and mobile devices if you're a local, brick-and-mortar business.
Sitelinks: This allows you to place a link to deeper and more relevant content somewhere within your website. This can further target your ad campaign so you can reach a very specific customer. So if you sell bird food, the sitelinks would allow you to have more categories, such as “Buy Now” and “Find a Store”.
Call: Your phone number will appear below the ad. If the user calls from a mobile phone and you have call metrics set up, you can see how many calls were generated from each ad.
Social: This will connect your Google+ account to your ad, useful is you have a large Google+ presence.
Mobile App: This will add a link below your ad that brings the customer to a mobile app within the mobile app store.
You can further customize your campaign to better fit your target market within Advanced Settings.
First, let's break down the scheduling capabilities. Within 'Schedule,' you can customize when you want your ads to run. You can set start and end date, as well as change the hours you would like your ads to run during each day. Click ' Edit ' in ad scheduling to change the times and days during a week that your ad will run.
You can change the timing of your campaign depending on the days and times that are most relevant to your product or service.
You may find that you get most of your clicks from 8pm to 10pm on weekdays, for example. To optimize your campaign for this, you can change your bid for this time period to increase your positioning and reach of your ad.
Next is ad delivery, rotation, and frequency capping. This setting allows you to customize how you want Google to show your ads. Within the Ad delivery, rotation, and frequency capping settings, you can do a few things:
Optimize for Clicks: AdWords will show ads that are likely to provide more clicks to your offer. This is useful if you are looking to drive traffic to your website.
Optimize for Conversions: This will let AdWords show ads that have the highest conversion rates. This is useful if your business is more concerned with conversions than traffic.
Rotate Evenly: You can also rotate all ads evenly for a set amount of time, and then optimize after. This allows for ample testing time to see which ads work best.
Frequency Capping: Frequency capping will limit the number of times a specific user sees your ad on the display network. This will help you avoid showing your ad to the same person many times. In the example above, there is a limit of 5 impressions per week per ad, to avoid over-burdening one user with the same ad.
You can also only show your ads to only certain demographics. This allows you to choose who you want to exclude from viewing your ads based on demographics. This is only available to campaigns using the display network, as only websites in this group report on the demographics of their user base. This option would be useful to a company that has a product that is only relevant for one gender or a certain age group. This will also tell you what percent of your total impressions are from the demographic you want to exclude to see how much of the population falls within your category.
Like we mentioned earlier, there's the ability to integrate your Google+ following with your AdWords campaign. In 'Social Settings,' you can include the +1 button on your ads within the display network. This can help your business increase its social presence online, giving viewers of your ad the option to share your products or services with others on their own social profiles.
Finally, 'Keyword Matching Options' lets you include misspellings, plurals variations, and close spellings of your keyword. You can also select phrase match for your keywords. If you only want to appear on exact matches for the keywords you enter, you can select exact match.
Create an Ad Group
Once your campaign is created, you can begin making ad groups, starting with a relevant title you will be able to remember later.
You can then create the ad copy you want. Ads options include a text ad, image ad, and a mobile ad. The Display ad builder is a tool on Google that will help you build your ad and pick from their library of templates and images. You can also create specialized ad content such as a video ad.
To create a text ad, you must have a title that is no more than 25 characters, and two lines of text that are no more than 35 characters each. The best ads include:
Keyword Relevance - The more relevant your ad copy is to your keywords and landing pages, the higher Quality Score it will have. This will make your ad rank higher on search results than those with lower quality scores.
Call-to-action (CTA) - Does your ad tell the viewer what you want them to do? Examples include “Try now,” “Download today,” or “Learn more.”
Value - Your ad needs to show the customer what the value is in your product or service. This could include a discount, free offer, higher quality, or anything that will make them want to know more about your product.
Google makes it pretty easy to input the actual copy of your ad, giving you labeled form fields that walk you through the copywriting process.