What you need to know about online marketing

Using Google Ads for online marketing

Now that you know the basics and benefits of online marketing and have assessed the readiness of your website, let's introduce you to Google Ads, Google's online advertising program, and make sure it's a good fit for you.

Search advertising process

How Google Ads works

Your ad can appear when someone searches for terms related to your product or service, or when they're on a website with content related to your business. How does this work?

Keywords connect you with customers

Keywords are words or phrases you choose when you set up your Google Ads campaign. These are terms you think your potential customers are likely to use when searching for products or services like yours.

By matching your keywords with the ads you create, you make it possible for your ad to show when someone searches for similar terms, or visits a website with related content.

For example, if you deliver fresh flowers, you could use fresh flower delivery as one keyword paired with an ad promoting fresh flower delivery. When someone searches Google using the phrase fresh flower delivery or a similar term, your ad might appear next to Google search results, or on other websites related to fresh flower delivery.

Step right up and enter the ad auction

So how does Google Ads determine which ads should show? It all happens with a lightning-fast ad auction, which takes place every time someone searches on Google or visits a site that shows ads.

Steps in an Google ads auction

Google Ads calculates a score, called Ad Rank, that are used to determine whether your ads are eligible to show and if eligible, where on the page your ads are shown (if at all) relative to other ads. In each auction, your Ad Rank is calculated first to determine whether your ad is eligible to show, and a second time to determine where your ad is ranked relative to other eligible ads. When your ad competes in an auction, its Ad Rank can change depending on several factors, including your competition, the context of the person's search, and your ad quality at that moment. At a high level, think of Ad Rank as having 6 factors:

  • Your bid - When you set your bid, you're telling Google Ads the maximum amount you're willing to pay for a click on your ad. How much you actually end up paying is often less, and you can change your bid at any time.
  • The quality of your ads and landing page - Google Ads also checks how relevant and useful your ad and the website it links to are to the customer. Our assessment of the quality of your ad is summarized in your Quality Score, which you can monitor—and work to improve—in your Google Ads account.
  • The Ad Rank thresholds - To help ensure high quality ads, we set minimum thresholds that an ad must achieve to show.
  • The competitiveness of an auction - If two ads competing for the same position have similar ad ranks, each will have a similar opportunity to win that position. As the gap in ad rank between two advertisers’ ads grows, the higher-ranking ad will be more likely to win but also may pay a higher cost per click for the benefit of the increased certainty of winning.
  • The context of the person’s search - With the ad auction, context matters. When calculating Ad Rank, we check the search terms the person has entered, the person’s location at the time of the search, the type of device they’re using (For example, mobile or desktop), the time of the search, the nature of the search terms, other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes.
  • The expected impact from your ad assets and other ad formats - When you create your ad, you have the option to add additional information to your ad, such as a phone number, or more links to specific pages on your site. These are called ad assets. Google Ads estimates how assets and other ad formats you use will impact your ad's performance.

At the end of the day, what you pay

With cost-per-click (CPC) bidding, you're charged only when someone is interested enough to click your ad and go to your website. You tell Google Ads the most you're willing to pay for a click on your ad (called the maximum cost-per-click bid), but you could be charged less.

You have control over your Google Ads budget. You decide the average amount you want to spend each day. On the days when your ad is more popular, Google Ads will allow up to twice your average daily budget so you won't miss out on those valuable clicks. But don't worry, over the course of a month, you won’t be charged more than your average daily budget times the average number of days in a month (30.4).

For campaigns that are paused in the middle of the month or that otherwise don't run for the full month, you may see discrepancies between your average daily budgets and your total charges.

For campaigns where you pay for conversions, your daily spend may exceed your average daily budget by more than 2 times.

So now you know how Google Ads works. Now let's make sure it's a good fit for you.

Which online marketing option is right for you?

When you advertise with Google Ads, you're making a financial investment in your business. But it takes more than just money to see success. It's also vital that you invest time to regularly check in on your Google Ads account and make adjustments until you're satisfied with your return on investment.

Here's a rundown of what it takes to manage a successful Google Ads account. If you don't think you can dedicate the necessary time or budget to Google Ads, don't worry! We'll point you to Google's other services that can get your business in front of the right customers, without stretching your limits.

Time investment

Plan on signing in to your Google Ads account at least once each week. How much time you'll spend there varies, but budget between 30 minutes to an hour per week to check on how your ads and keywords are doing, and make any adjustments to boost performance.

Just like with anything new, it might take a little extra time at first to learn the ropes. We encourage you to continue with the 2 remaining guides in this series. They'll walk you through building the right Google Ads campaign based on your goals and tracking and improving your results as quickly as possible.

Don't have the time to make sure your investment pays off? Consider trying one of these time-saving options instead:

Let Smart campaigns do the work for you

Managing a business is already a full-time job, and Smart campaigns give you the time to do just that by managing your online ads automatically to help you get the most value from your budget. Just tell us what type of product or service you offer, write your ad, and set a budget—then let us take care of the rest. Learn more about Smart campaigns.

Get started with Smart campaigns.


Find a certified professional to manage your account

Google Partners badge image Consider hiring a Google Partner to manage your Google Ads account for you. Google Partners are agencies, marketing professionals, and online experts who've been certified by Google to manage Google Ads accounts.

There are thousands of Google Partners worldwide. You can search for a Partner by name, or search based on your location, advertising budget, or the type of service you want help with. Learn more about how to find the right Google Partner.

Financial investment

All good investments take a little time to show returns—and Google Ads is no different. It's best to have a budget set aside specifically for online marketing while you're ramping up.

Use Business Profile to get your business on Google Maps for free

If you're not ready to set aside budget, or you just want your business to show up in more places on Google, give Business Profile a try.

This free service lets you create and manage your business listings in Google Maps so that people can see your business when doing a Google search. Your business information may also appear on Google.com, Google Maps, and Google Earth when someone searches for your business name or category. Learn more about Business Profile.

Still want to continue with Google Ads? Great! Head on over to the next guide in this series, Create a campaign that reaches new customers.

Go to the next guide

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