About this Google Ads business

Tanel Vetik

Head of strategy

“Let’s run Google Ads PPC campaigns. Our clients are there”, your digital marketing manager slams mid-meeting. But what does Google Ads actually give, do and deliver, really?

It lets you say 2-3 sentences to your target audience, who are actively looking for a solution you currently have. The goal is to get the people with the highest conversion potential to click on your ad and divert irrelevant traffic away. Even if both use the same keywords in their Google search terms. 

Google Ads

Google Ads reaches the bottom-funnel part of your target audience. The segment who are already quite certain in what they want and are looking to nail the best price-quality ratio. Could be you. Or one of your competitors. Google Ads lets you control the narrative and create the first impression you want to have. 

But as always with every digital marketing tool, there are some safety-first tips for Google Ads professionals to keep in mind.

About this Google Ads business

Tanel Vetik

Head of strategy

“Let’s run Google Ads PPC campaigns. Our clients are there”, your digital marketing manager slams mid-meeting. But what does Google Ads actually give, do and deliver, really?

It lets you say 2-3 sentences to your target audience, who are actively looking for a solution you currently have. The goal is to get the people with the highest conversion potential to click on your ad, all the while diverting irrelevant traffic away. Even if both use the same keywords in their Google search terms. 

Google Ads reaches the bottom-funnel part of your target audience. The segment who are already quite certain in what they want, and are looking to nail the best price-quality ratio. Could be you. Or one of your competitors. Google Ads lets you control the narrative and create that first impression you want to have. 

But as always, with every digital marketing tool, there are some safety-first tips for Google Ads professionals to keep in mind.

Google Ads

“Let’s run Google Ads PPC campaigns. Our clients are there”, your digital marketing manager slams mid-meeting. But what does Google Ads actually give, do and deliver, really?

It lets you say 2-3 sentences to your target audience, who are actively looking for a solution you currently have. The goal is to get the people with the highest conversion potential to click on your ad and divert irrelevant traffic away. Even if both use the same keywords in their Google search terms. 

Google Ads

Google Ads reaches the bottom-funnel part of your target audience. The segment who are already quite certain in what they want and are looking to nail the best price-quality ratio. Could be you. Or one of your competitors. Google Ads lets you control the narrative and create the first impression you want to have. 

But as always with every digital marketing tool, there are some safety-first tips for Google Ads professionals to keep in mind.

What is Google Ads?

Used to be called Adwords, but they renamed it. 

It’s arguably the most popular PPC (pay-per-click) advertising platform, where you pay when someone clicks on your advert.

Well, you can actually pay per impression (CPM – cost per 1000 impressions) and cost per conversion (CPA – cost per action), but it’s  most likely going to be pay per click. You exchange money for traffic and impressions. Everything is tracked and you know where this traffic is headed. 

The quality and depth of your targeting/client persona, the better results you are going to get. Translating directly into a better ROAS (return on ad spend). My apologies for all these acronyms, but I don’t have a better alternative, either – unless you’re okay with a wall of text explaining what a conversion means. Now that I mention it, I should have a separate section for all those marketingy words. Feel free to skip it in case you encounter one later on. 

Now, back to our topic at hand. There is one more Google Ads bidding strategy that I have not yet mentioned. The target impression share strategy. This aims to push your advert as high as possible on the results page (unless you want it to stay second, third or bottom of page). This may result on a higher than average CPC (cost per click), which totally depends on competition for that certain keyword. The most expensive click I have seen (that still made sense) was £145. The cheapest one was £0.002. Do keep in mind that you may sometimes not see your own ads.

How your cost per click is calculated

The price you pay per click is calculated in Google’s own auction – the one willing to pay most for the desired position wins. Everyone else will form an orderly line of who gets to pay slightly less than the one in from of them, but still more than everyone else behind. For example, if you set your maximum cost per click at £1 and your competitor is willing to pay £1.15, they will most likely always be number one. Until they run out of budget and you pick up the baton. 

In reality it’s a bit messier, as there are a multitude of other factors contributing to your final CPC. One of the main contributors is QS (your ad quality score). Your Google Ads quality score is mostly made up of: 

  • Predicted average clickthrough rate (CTR).
  • Landing page user experience (time spent on site, pages per session, and other engagement metrics).
  • How your average metrics compare the the average of your competitors. 

Your quality score is then multiplied by the most you are willing to pay per click (there is the option of not setting an upper limit, but be careful with that one – many marketers have gone mad dabbling with this. Or been fired. You probably don’t want to be fired.). The result of this equasion is Ad Rank. This beautiful score will tell Google whether you truly are the king of search results or simply talk the talk. 

Optimising for high ad rank is how you will pay considerably less for high positions on search result pages, than your competition do. Do keep in mind that you can always make up for low ad rank by throwing extra £££ towards Google and purchasing that extra bit of attention you needed. This is what big corporations do with their deep marketing pockets. 

The difference in average CPC can be as much as 200-300%, depending on the ad rank difference and max CPC rates. 

Let’s take a quick look at how to create Google Ads campaigns:

How to create Google Ads campaigns

I’m yet to meet someone incapable of creating a Google Ads campaign. If you have the time, money and determination, you’ll pull through. The goal here is to do it in a way which gives more money than it takes. 

What sets Google Ads apart from other platforms:

  • PPC ads are remarkably cost-efficient. 
  • You get immediate results from your PPC campaigns.
  • It’s quite manageable to track and A/B test every aspect.
  • PPC ads allow you to reach people quite far down the purchase decision funnel. Those “I already know what I want” type of characters. 
  • Algorithm changes don’t occur as often or have less effect on your PPC ads, compared to SEO activities. 
  • Google Ads let you place high on the results page even when your website sucks. You’ll just pay more for the position. 
  • Paid traffic affects your SEO rankings. It’s one more channel for website visitors, which Google love to see. 

Here are the important steps

  • Set out your KPI’s and campaign goals. Take a moment to think about who your clients are, what makes them tick, why your product or service is relevant for them, which pain points need to be healed, what sort of devices they use and which value propositions get their attention.
  • Do your keyword research! There are tons of free tools out there to help you out. Some prime examples are Answerthepublic and Google Trends.
  • Have a Google Ads account structure for all your campaigns and ad sets. Each of your campaign groups or ad sets should contain only highly relevant keywords and ad copy. Don’t try to cover all keywords with 1-2 ads,  this will result in a much lower ad rank. 
  • Having picked your best keywords for each ad set, you’ll then need to choose the best bidding strategy. Having the correct bidding strategy means much lower average CPC, higher conversion rates, and better ad rank. 
  • Create your ads. A great ad has relevant copy, optimised keyword targeting, a clear CTA (call to action), and all available ed extensions. 
  • Optimise your landing page for mobile-first. This is super-important, as about half or more than half of your traffic will likely be from mobile devices. Especially social media traffic. If Google detects any negative user experience elements on the mobile version of your site, you will face user experience penalties. Lower ad rank, here we come! Don’t go there. Mobile-first!
  • Install Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager on your website. This lets you measure conversions, map out drop-off rates and identify the bottlenecks your site is hiding. You can even install Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn Insights Tag etc. using Google Tag Manager. It’s a handy tool.
  • Use daily budgets and bid adjustments to optimise for best times. Google Ads let you set certain time of day or day of week adjustments, saying you are willing to pay 25% more on a Friday evening and 25% less on Monday morning. Or whatever version of this you want to have. Stop overpaying for bad timing and use your budget wisely. 
  • Your key to success is regular optimising and strategy-based action. You absolutely cannot sit on the sideline when you see your campaigns getting successful. This is when you jump to work to understand why it’s happening and how to scale this success further. When your campaign is failing, you should look into what’s going in the wrong direction. Pausing your campaign won’t solve anything – you’ll just throw away your money alongside the new data you collected. Make use of it. 

A few key points before letting you off

Google Ads, and marketing on Google in general is a lot more technical than social media advertising. You have less work upfront when creating the campaigns, but a lot of work down the line in terms of optimising and testing. It’s very easy to overpay for traffic on Google. The algorithm is set up in this way. The cards are stacked against you. 

Quality score is a very secretive thing that Google do not share publicly – just parts of it. This makes launching best-possible campaigns from the go very difficult. Inevitably, you’ll need to invest some money to be able to optimise those campaigns for better performance. Or you get lucky – but it doesn’t pay to count on that. 

Properly built and tested campaigns will almost always deliver profitable results. There’s only a handful of sectors where Google Ads will most likely never be profitable (such as ultra-high competition sectors with low profit margins). Most of the clients that we onboard have either misconfigured accounts, wrong ad timing, wrong targeting setup, or their competitors have long surpassed them in quality score. 

It’s recommended to always use at least 2-3 different ad versions per ad set, each with different combinations of copy/visuals. This makes room for Google Ads AI to learn and adapt, getting you a more accurate customer-content match. Once your ads are published, that’s when the bulk of the work begins. Work closely on excluding and including keywords, search terms and placements. Irrelevant ones will just spend your money, leaving the important keywords and placements dry. 

Spend time analysing data. It’s good to have beautiful systems for collecting and presenting it, but a lot of the marketing managers and business owners, that we work with, don’t have the time for such analyses. You need to do this or find someone who will. 

The boring section of acronyms

To understand the alien lingo of digital marketing and what the heck your marketing manager means, you need to have a quick look at this list below:

Campaign Type – this is step one when starting your Google Ads campaign journey. Think about what you want to achieve with your campaign, who it’s intended to reach, and what the call to action is. 

AdRank – this score determines your position in search results. Higher ad rank means higher positions, bad ad rank means the graveyard of Google search – page 2+ of search results. High ad rank translates into lower cost per click and higher engagement. 

Bidding strategies – here you have the option of choosing manual or automated bidding strategies. In most cases, we recommend automated strategies, as they leverage Google’s powerful AI. It lets you choose when you pay (click, impression, conversion), what Google Ads optimises towards (more traffic, higher impression share, lower CPA, or something else).

When choosing your bidding strategy, you should keep in mind that the learning period is 7 days, where Google will collect data and compile a strategy for getting the best results. The most common bidding strategies are: 

  • Maximum Clicks – or getting as many people to click on your ads as possible. You have a fixed daily budget for Google to play around with, and you can set a max cost per click (recommended). 
  • Target Impression Share – is focused on getting you the optimal visibility for your budget. You are able to choose between always top 1, among top 3, or anywhere on the results page. Pick the percentage of times you want to be there, and how much you are willing to pay for traffic. Versatile.
  • Maximum Conversions – requires you to have conversions set up. It is geared towards getting you as many conversions as possible, while trying to stay within a set CPA limit. 
    A conversion is the action you want someone to take on your website. This can be a successful purchase, lead form submit, phone call, email link click, video view, or anything else. All up to you. 

A bunch more boring terms and acronyms to do with Google Ads:

  • Click-Through Rate or CTR – is your ratio of clicks to impressions. It tells you how many people (from everyone who saw the ad) had clicked on it. High CTR shows greater interest and higher engagement, while low CTR shows less action. Neither of them is good or bad – wholly depends on your campaign type. It’s calculated in percentage points. Average CTR is around 10-15%.
  • Conversion Rate or CRV, CPA – is the rate of clicks to conversion. Basically the same thing as CTR, but for conversions and clicks. There’s usually 1-3 events per website visit and hopefully at least 1 conversion as well. Usually, this is between 2-5%.
  • Display Network – is made up of all Google Ads partner networks, such ads blogs, forums, news sites, etc. The ad placements are managed by Google AdSense and site owners can choose how many adverts they want to display on their websites. These can be text, display and video placements.  
  • Ad Extensions – are a fun way of making your adverts more relevant. It also adds a lot of credibility. These are all sorts of extras you can plug onto your advert. Some of the main ones are sitelink extensions, callout extensions, lead form extensions, call extensions, location extensions etc. 
  • Keywords – are your main tools when creating PPC ads. These are the words and sentences that you want to target with your adverts. When someone searches using your designated keywords, your ad will pop up. This is why it’s so important to have proper keyword research done before spending money on Google Ads. If you choose the wrong keywords, you will most certainly throw spaghetti at the wall. Hoping something will stick. 
  • Quality Score – or QS, is this secretive formula used by Google to select more preferable adverts and discard the rest to monetary gladiatorial fighting pits – winner gets to pay the difference. Your quality score is mostly made up of ad relevance to search term, landing page user experience and engagement, how your competitors rank against you, and how much traffic your website generates. 

Enjoyed this article?

Join our newsletter

The money side

Continue learning

The money side

Continue learning