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 programme, and make sure that it's a good fit for you.
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 that you choose when you set up your Google Ads campaign. These are terms that 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.
Google Ads calculates a score, called Ad Rank, for every ad in the auction. Ad Rank determines your ad position and whether your ads are eligible to show at all. Generally, the ad with the highest Ad Rank appears in the top position, and the ad with the second-highest Ad Rank appears in the second position (when ads meet the relevant thresholds). You can think of Ad Rank as having five factors:
- Your bid – When you set your bid, you're telling Google Ads the maximum amount that 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 looks at how relevant and useful your ad and the website it links to are to the person who'll see it. Our assessment of the quality of your ad is summarised in your Quality Score, which you can monitor – and work to improve – in your Google Ads account.
- Ad Rank thresholds – To help ensure high quality ads, we set minimum thresholds that an ad must meet to show.
- Search context – With the ad auction, context matters. When calculating Ad Rank, we look at the search terms that the person has entered, geographical location at the time of search, type of device used (such as computers or mobile phones), the other ads and search results that show on the page and other user signals and attributes.
- The expected impact from your ad extensions 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 extensions. Google Ads estimates how extensions and other ad formats that 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 that 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 that 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 two times.
So now you know how Google Ads works. Now let's make sure that 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 that 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.
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 two 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 that 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.
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 that you want help with. Find out more about how to find the right Google Partner.
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 Google My Business 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 Google My Business 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. Find out more about Google My Business.
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.