If you’ve put the hard yards in, got your technical SEO right, and built some good authority by getting people linking to your website, then you could be getting some nice free traffic.
Until then, you may wish to use Google Ads for paid traffic.
There are three main types of Google Ads:
- Shopping Ads
- Display Ads
- Search Ads
Shopping Ads are great if you have products you want to sell direct to the customer.
They perform well because they include a photo of the product, plus the title, price, and potentially special offers or reviews. And if you go to the full Google Shopping view, then it also includes a brief product description.
For example you’ve had a bricks-and-mortar physical shop and now you want to sell them online.
You’d upload a file of your products (called a product feed) to the Google Merchant Centre and build a campaign in Google Ads, deciding how much you’d like to spend each day.
As there are usually lots of other businesses online trying to sell the same products, there’s a virtual auction going on behind the scenes where Google works out which product ads to show, based on your daily budget, the quality of your ads and landing pages on your site, historical ad performance, and many other factors.
Shopping Ads can be shown on Google Search Results when people search for a keyword relating to your products. They can also be shown on third-party sites after you’ve visited the site, following you around with a reminder of products that you’ve visited before – this is called dynamic
You do need to have a product with a price and photo to be able to use Shopping Ads.
Dynamic Remarketing Shopping Ads are a type of Shopping Ad that use your previously browsing habits to dynamically build Shopping Ads personalised for you.
For example a potential customer visited a particular group of products and tried to decide between them, but then left the site.
They can then be targeted by Ads showing those products, when they browse other websites.
They can end up feeling stalked if it’s not done well, so you need to ensure this is only done for a short period of time, and that they stop showing once the customer has converted, also limiting the number of times per day/week that the ads show.
Display Ads are good for raising brand awareness, catching people’s eyes while they’re browsing other sites.
Display Ads can be videos, animated gifs, or simple static images or plain text. They cost less (per click) than other ads, but they also convert at a lower rate.
The challenge is on deciding where to show these Display Ads – it’s all about the targeting. Targeting methods include:
- Interest Targeting – for people whose browsing habits showed an interest in your topic (eg automobiles)
- Topic Targeting – where the web page showing your ad is about the topic (eg automobiles)
- Keyword Targeting – where the web page showing your ad is contextually about the keyword (eg electric cars)
- Demographic Targeting – where the person browsing is known to be a particular gender or age group
- Placement Targeting – where you list specific websites known to accept Display Ads eg smh.com.au
- Audience Remarketing Targeting – where the person has previously visited your website – or a section of it, or behaved in a certain way on your website.
You can also use combinations of the above targeting methods, to produce more refined targeting. And you can combine audience lists using inclusion and exclusion rules. So you could build campaigns to show your Display Ads to:
- People who are interested in cars based on previous browsing habits
- People who are interested in cars and are currently viewing the smh.com.au and are male
- People currently visiting a site about cars
- People currently visiting a page about cars
You are only limited by your creativity in terms of how you target, and how catchy your ad is (within the terms and conditions of Google Ads). It’s definitely worth testing.
Display Ads are generally charged on a CPM basis – cost per thousand impressions.
Remarketing Display Ads are a type of Display Ad that targets people who have already interacted with your business. You can build remarketing audience lists based on a number of criteria, such as whether they had visited your site previously, what they did there, or even upload a list of email addresses from your newsletter list.
Then you can build Remarketing Display Ads for:
- People who have previously visited your website
- People who have previously visited a particular page(s) of your website
- People who converted on your website
- People who visited, but have not converted on your website
- People who are interested in cars and have visited your website
- People who visited a particular product page and did not convert
Remarketing Display Ads typically convert better than standard Display Ads, so it’s definitely worth defining remarketing audiences and using them in your campaigns.
Search Ads are the most important type of Google Ad.
They are the classic text ads that appear in Google (and Google Partners such as AOL) when you search for a particular keyword phrase.
They’re important because they target people who are actively searching for something – not just browsing other sites on the web.
Search Ads are charged on a CPC basis – cost per click.
So you pay when somebody clicks on your ad and visits your site, whether or not they go ahead and do what you want on your site, such as buy a product, or fill in the contact form.
So it is very important that you only target the keywords that will convert, and provide a good return on investment for your ad spend.
Finding those keywords is a challenge, and typically takes some time to discover. That’s why it is so important to have analytics on your site, to see which keywords convert the best, and also which pages and products convert the best.
Even if you don’t know the exact keyword from organic search, knowing the landing pages that converted can help you work out which keywords they may have used, and then you can target variations of those keywords in Google Ads.
You can control your ad spend using a daily budget, and also set a maximum cost-per-click that you are willing to pay.
FYI – Google will follow those controls averaged over the month, allowing themselves a fair amount of fluctuation in your daily spend, in anticipation of changes in demand. This can be annoying if you have a campaign running for less than a month, as Google may end up spending the majority of your total budget earlier than you’d like.
Your daily budget can be also be automatically optimised by Google once you have achieved sufficient conversion history. You can configure your campaigns to maximise traffic, or to maximise conversions, depending
on how well your site usually converts.
Building the actual search ads is extremely important.
Ads are organised into Campaigns (for the daily spend), and then Ad Groups.
Ad Groups should contain similar related keywords, and the Ads constructed to match those keywords, to maximise relevance.
Each Ad Group should contain 2-3 Ads, so you can test the effectiveness of variations in the ad messaging.
Each Ad Group should also include as many Ad Extensions as possible, including Site Links, Phone Numbers, Local Business Address, Call Outs and Services.
It can be quite challenging coming up with the numerous variations of your ad messaging, working out which combination of headlines (you can currently have 3×30 character headlines), description lines (currently 2×90 characters) and various site links, without repeating yourself. Google does try to help out by providing a number of automated ad building solutions, where you provide the base messaging, and Google works out which combination will work the best. It all depends on how much control you like over your ads…..
It’s a good idea to have a combination of these ad types – search, display and shopping (if applicable). That way you can reach potential customers at different stages in their buying journey.