Google Ads, formerly known as Adwords is the closest point of the sales funnel to conversion you can get. Google reports that 50% of all searches result in a physical store visit, website visit, or phone call within 1 hour of a user searching what they are looking for.  As reported from a former Microsoft employee/industry media insider, he’d spend his money in search before any other advertising methods or platforms. This is echoed by the average business using pay per click advertising is spending 50%+ of their budget on Google Ads.  This is compelling information to say that Google Ads are delivering results for many businesses.

Before you jump in headfirst, you need to understand the basics and how complex this may get.  We don’t suggest you do this on your own with the number of variables and experts available.  You’d be best to first brush up and learn enough to be able to interview an agency or consultant to manage this for you.  Here are the basics of what you need to know to start using Google Ads.

Ads have the following variables available to target users:

  1. Search Terms are the foundation of your campaign. And often businesses underestimate the number of search terms that may be used to find their service.  Typically, there are thousands of keywords with dozens of campaigns to organize these.

Consider adding city to the front of your keywords for one set, add your city to the back of your keywords for another, and consider how many keywords can describe your service.  In marketing services alone, we have over 20 campaigns with over 5,000 words.

You also want to consider the adjectives, nouns, verbs, singular, and plural use of your keywords and keyword phrases.  For example, the best SEO company near me, the best Search Engine Optimization agency near me, or top performing SEO agencies in Orange County.

To make this easier and formulaic, you can use an excel spreadsheet to start to build your keywords out.  In column 1 you will have your adjectives, column 2, you have your nouns or product/service descriptors (sometimes nouns and sometimes verbs, e.g. the best marketing available versus the best marketing agency in town) and column 3 will cover locations such as cities, county, local, in town, near me, etc.  Be sure to insert a column between each phrase column so that you space bar 1 space  in order to have proper spaces in your phrases.

Once you have your exhaustive list, you can concatenate your columns to make phrases in excel.  You will start with keeping 2 variables steady, =concatenate(A1, B1, C1, D2, E1) and your next row will be =concatenate(A1, B1, C1, D1, E2) and so on, changing the last cell for this phrase creation each time. You can start to see that the number of possible combinations is large, and this is how humans think and speak differently.

  1. Ad schedule in another variable you can impact by turning on scheduling to see when your customers are clicking and converting; this enables you to only display your ads during the time when customers are most active.

Be sure you have conversion metrics at each stage of your funnel.  These will be different depending on whether you sell products or services online.  If you sell products, you want to turn enhanced eCommerce tracking on in Google Analytics. This will show you your funnel starting with landing, and whether they stay or leave, how many pages they view, how any product pages they view, how many add to baskets, and how many checkouts initiated versus how many checkouts completed.  You can expect a conversion rate to be 1-3%.

For services, you will want a phone number and contact form readily available on all pages of your site.  You will set GA conversion events manually by using goals.  Google Analytics makes it simple to plug in values of thank you page urls to use as a conversion.

It is also highly recommended to use call tracking systems.  Call tracking will enable you to dynamically insert phone numbers on your website depending on whether the lead is a referral, Google ads lead, organic / SEO visit, social referral, etc.  These services also provide call recording so you may check quality of your employees accepting the calls and provide coaching.

Using scheduling also enables you to determine whether you need longer phone hours, call center support services, or to keep longer store hours.

  1. The Ad itself can have many variations. Google Ads has increased the number of lines for ad copy, the number of characters on each line, as well as extensions available to use on the ad.  Just like there were many variations in creating search terms you want to qualify for, you want to create many variations for your ad copy as each user will respond to different keywords.  You will be able to analyze your ads to find the best performing ad.  You may find one ad converts a customer faster at lower volume, while another ad drives lot more traffic that takes longer to convert.  You may find that different ads attract different customer segments.
  2. Ad groups are how you organize your search terms and ads. Each ad group will have similar qualities, search terms, and ad copy.  For example, an ad agency will have an ad group for contest marketing and this ad group would contain search terms and ads relevant to contest, sweepstakes administration, contest platform, instant win marketing, gamification marketing, and plenty more.  This ad group then can have its own landing page that will increase conversion by being very relevant to your ads.  Google cares about your ads and landing pages being related and gives you a quality score to show you how relevant they think it is.
  3. Negative keywords are also another variable that is typically under-utilized. There are some standards you want to have in here, from employment containing your keywords, like contest marketing agency jobs.  Other use of negative keywords are similar terms that adjectives that don’t fit your product, like cheap or DIY, unless you are selling these services.
  4. Display Retargeting is another element of Google Ads that enhances conversion by serving visual ads to your target users. Once the user has clicked on your ad, you can have these ads follow them for a maximum number of times you set. You will test to see what diminishing returns are here by enabling as many as you can serve and find the sweet spot.  Remember you are only charged when they click and you want them to click, so get creative and use your best visuals with plenty of different versions of ad copy.
  5. Brand keywords is a theoretical variable as you need to decide whether you want to pay for your brand name when someone is searching it. Do you rank high in natural search? You may want to test this – pay for your name one month and not the next – does your brand name keyword search deliver the same traffic or less. What does your conversion rate look like on each of these?  You may find that one converts better than the other as you have control on your ad copy and display method better in your ads than in natural search using meta data. You also appear higher on the search results page in Google.
  6. Search types are what Google uses to match a user’s search to the keywords and phrases you have provided in the Google Ads Admin for your ad groups. There are 4 types keyword matches in Google Ads: Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier, Phrase Match, and Exact Match.

Broad match is the default google uses when you do not specify.  This includes misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and variations of the search.

Broad match modifier includes the use of + in between your words and operates much like broad match. If you include the + in between each word, then all the word will be required. If you only use it in between a couple, those words will have to match, and broad match will be used on the remaining terms in your keywords phrases.

Phrase match will match a phrase or close use of the phrase as well as variations of the phrase with words before or after matching your phrase.  Ads will not be delivered if different words are used in the middle of the phrase you have provided.  Another reason why creating many versions of your search terms is important, you will account for plenty of the match types Google is trying to help you with.

Exact match is exactly as you think.  All words are matched or close in definition.  Synonyms may be used for the phrase.

Goggle provides an excellent help document that further explains each match type with deeper details that may have you calling an agency faster than you originally thought.  Click here to see the full keyword match type documentation by Google.

  1. Demographics are also available for you to target; simply turn on demographics so you can start gathering data on the folks searching for your products and/or services. This will show you the variables available to target, such as income, gender, other sites categories visited, presence of children, etc.

These are just a few of the available options to target your customers online with Google Ads.  People using search are already in purchase mode looking for you. Often as a company, you spend so much time focusing on making people aware of your brand or service that you may overlook that people are actually searching for you. Be sure to create a free account so you can get a better understanding of how these strategies can work for you to increase conversions.


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