Among the many inbound marketing tactics, one of the most valuable is search engine marketing (SEM). After all, using the term “Google” as a verb didn’t become part of our everyday vernacular for nothing!
When it comes to search engine marketing, there’s a lot that you can do organically, which is where a strong SEO strategy comes into play. However, as we continue to create more content and become increasingly savvy as consumers of that content, there’s a lot of value that can come from taking a pay-per-click (PPC) approach to SEM.
Using Google Ads for SEM
There are several tools you can use if you’re launching a PPC campaign, although one of the best options is Google Ads.
In a nutshell, Google Ads works by surfacing your ad when users search for certain keywords. Your ads might appear along with the organic search results or they can appear on third-party sites owned by Google or Google partners. Ad placement is determined by your bid (the maximum amount you’ll pay per click, although the actual cost per click is often less) and your ad’s quality score (calculated based on factors like the expected click-through rate and relevance).
Diving a little deeper, what exactly do you need to know to run a successful Ads campaign? It helps to break it down in terms of strategy and execution.
Four Tips for Developing Your Ads Strategy
- Stay current on program updates: We live in a fast-paced world, and Google Ads is no exception to that. Google updates its program regularly to stay current and innovative, and you need to stay informed about these updates so that you can adjust your strategy appropriately. For example, back when expanded text ads rolled out, it was essential for SEM marketers to know they could now say more than ever in PPC ads. This allowed them to not only say more but take advantage of more search engine results page (SERP) real estate… pushing competitors even further down than before.
- Get to know the bidding process: Your bid (aka the maximum amount you’re willing to spend for a keyword click) is a key factor in determining your Ad Rank, which is how Google determines which ads will appear where and the order in which they’ll appear. As a result, a lot rides on this number. With that in mind, there’s a lot of strategies that can go into formulating your bid to maximize value without breaking the bank. Know the bidding process, know it well, and use that knowledge to develop an appropriate bid based on factors like campaign goals, priority, competition, etc.
- Understand what factors into your Quality Score: Your Quality Score is another key factor in determining your Ad Rank, so, similar to the bidding process, it’s important to know how Google calculates this score. The main three factors that Google analyzes to calculate this score are ad relevance to target keywords, expected click-through rate and the landing page experience. Upon calculating a score, Google will also provide a diagnosis. Reviewing this diagnosis can help you make improvements and boost the results of your efforts.
- Monitor your metrics: Google Ads provides reporting on campaign performance, and you’d be remiss not to use this insight to your advantage in improving future campaigns. You can also look at Ads Reporting in conjunction with Google Analytics to get a more complete picture of what you’re doing well and what you can do to improve in areas like bidding and messaging. As with any reporting endeavor, it’s important to define which metrics will be important to you, analyze those metrics based on context and determine how you can use the insight derived from those metrics to spur action.
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Four Tips for Executing on Your Ads Strategy
- Define your audience with ad targeting: Who will you target with any given Ads campaign? As with most marketing campaigns, answering this question is an important first step in getting things off the ground. Pay close attention to ad targeting in order to make sure your ads surface for your desired audience. If you get enough traffic to your site, explore Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), which allows you to serve ads on Google to previous website visitors.
- Set your topic with keywords: In addition to the “who,” you also need to define the “what.” In this case, selecting the right keywords for your campaign is critical. Keep in mind the terms for which your target audience typically searches, and make sure they’re relevant to your ads, landing pages, and the product you’re marketing. Other factors to consider include keyword competition (the more competitive the keyword, the higher the costs will likely be), negative keywords (to filter out irrelevant searches/differentiate similar terms) and keyword matches (to designate broad, broad match modified, phrase, and exact matches).
- Stand out from the crowd with creative ads: Defining your “who” and your “what” is a big part of the equation, but it’s only part of it. You also have to capture that audience’s attention, and that’s where your ad development comes in. Regardless of whether you’re developing a text ad to appear in search results or an ad with images to appear on partner websites, being catchy, creative, relevant, and concise is imperative. Make sure your CTAs are also standing out.
- Consider all devices: Finally, don’t forget to think about the “where.” In today’s world, that means paying particular attention to mobile. We all use our mobile devices more and more frequently (even for business purposes), so it’s important to consider the differences between mobile and desktop. Specifically, you should consider how your ad will appear on screens with smaller and larger real estate, evaluate the opportunities presented by ad extension tools and make mobile bid adjustments (which dictate how often/not often your ad should be displayed to mobile users).
Time to Get Searching
At the end of the day, two of the best things you can do to maximize the results of your Google Ads efforts are the same things that apply to most endeavors. The first is to research, and the second is to start.
If you’re new to Google Ads, and you’re looking for an all-you-need marketing platform explore Sugar Market.