Pay-Per-Click Advertising: 7 Steps to Success with Google Ads
If you're just getting started with Pay-Per-Click Advertising, it's easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many options, platforms, and strategies to choose from when it comes to paid search.
I always recommend that newbies get started with Google Ads.
There is no other search engine or website that pulls potential customers in like Google.
So whether you're completely new to them or you're brushing up on your knowledge, read along as we cover the best practices for getting your money's worth out of your pay-per-click advertising efforts.
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About Google Ads
Google Ads is a pay-per-click advertising platform. You may have heard it referred to by its former name, Google Adwords.
This ad platform is simple at its core.
You pay a small amount every time a potential customer clicks on your ad.
By using Google Ads you can increase your website traffic and get your products and services in front of people who are already searching for solutions like the ones you provide.
While Organic search engine traffic (SEO) takes time to start paying off for a new site, paid search is instant. You can start showing up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) as soon as your account is setup and your ads are approved.
How Google Ads Work
Google Ads are built on a system where advertisers bid on specific keywords to get their ads to appear in search engine results.
Depending on how competitive your keywords are and how relevant they are to your potential customers, Google Ads can work well for you.
Many factors impact whether your Google Ads will perform well. So we’re going to cover 7 steps you need to take to ensure your Google Ads are successful.
1. Clearly Define Your Offer
Before you dive into the Google Ads platform, you need to decide exactly what offer you want to advertise and which page on your website will include information about the offer.
Your offer needs to clearly appeal to your target audience.
Your pay-per-click ads will be driving website traffic to a specific page on your site and it needs to match the information you share in your ad.
Landing Pages for Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Traditionally, your landing pages will be one of the following:
- Physical product page
- Digital product page
- Lead generation form
- Blog post with a call-to-action
Once you decide what offer you want to advertise and which page on your website will be attached to it, make sure the web page is optimized for conversions.
You don’t want to waste your pay-per-click advertising budget sending potential customers to a web page that isn’t ready to convince them to complete a purchase.
Below is a landing page for Wix. This the page they direct you to if you click their paid search result for the search term "start a website."
They make it very clear where they want you to go. There are 6 call-to-action buttons on this page and all 6 of them are the same, "Start Now."
You can visit their homepage by clicking the Wix logo at the top of the page. But other than that, they offer no other options to distract you from deciding to click "Start Now."
This is a good landing page. It has a singular goal and the whole page revolves around increasing the odds that you'll decide to perform the action they want.
If you do click "Start Now" it'll take you to a simple four-box form:
- One to enter your email
- Another to confirm your email (to help ensure they're getting correct email addresses)
- Another to select a password
- And the last one to confirm your password
You may notice that this is just an initial opt-in form, you're not entering your payment information or anything.
This is so they can collect "hot" leads and follow-up with you if you leave halfway through the setup process.
They're trying to gently lead people to starting a website. This is smart, because the sticker shock of starting a website can turn off potential customers.
Imagine if they immediately directed you to an order form where they said, "Okay, so this service plus that service plus this service billed annually comes out to $875."
Many potential customers would bail right there.
But with each easy step that they put you through, they're reassuring you that you want to do this and you want to do it now. Then, once you're to the order form, you're primed to make a purchase.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Creating a Landing Page:
Make sure you're using this concept with your landing pages. Consider:
- What is your offer?
- How can you make this page streamlined to achieve your goals?
- Does this page line up with the ad that is directing traffic to it?
- Make sure your website loads fast enough to immediately send people clicking your ad to it.
- Checking your website’s speed is easy, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights to see what score Google gives your site for speed.
- You need to make before launching a Google Ad campaign is to make sure your offer complies with Google’s Terms Of Service. Google outlines restricted product categories that it won’t allow sellers to advertise. Make sure your product or offer doesn’t fall into one of those categories or you could risk losing your Google account.
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaign Types
Once you have clearly outlined your offer, set up your landing pages, and ensured both your ad and your website are in compliance with Google, it’s time to decide which type of pay-per-click ad campaign you should use.
Google offers a variety of ad types, so review all of your options and choose the one that will be the best fit for the product or service you’re advertising.
Search Text Ads
Search text ads are what you see when you go to Google, search for a product, and then see the text ad at the top of the screen.
These ads appear above the organic results with "Ad" above them.
Here are some text ads that show up for the search phrase, "dog crates."
This type of ad is a classic, and it still works. Especially if you're not selling a physical product.
They still work if you're selling a physical product, but Google Shopping Ads have a slight edge on them.
Google Shopping Ads
This type of ad is also created through your Google Ads account. They show up when someone does a search for a product.
They appear above text ads and they include more dynamic functionality for selling your products.
They make it easy for potential customers to see:
If you’re selling physical products through an eCommerce store, this is absolutely the type of ad you should use. You’re literally showing your products to people actively searching for them.
The primary downside is that your products will show up next to hundreds of others. So people are more likely to directly price shop.
Google Display Ads
This type of pay-per-click ad appears outside of Google search results. Google has a network of websites in hundreds of industries called the Google Display Network. This allows you to get an ad about your product to appear on other websites where your target audience spends their time.
Here's a Google Display Ad for Swiffer:
This type of ad has quite a bit of dynamic functionality.
- You can show your ads to certain demographics.
- You can target different contexts, so you can show your ads on pages related to "athletic gear" or "kitchen appliances."
- You can retarget people that visited your site or viewed a product on your site. This is one of the most effective campaigns you can set up.
To create a Google Display Ad, you enter the text you want to use, then add your images and logo. Google optimizes your ad to improve your ad campaign’s performance.
Pay-per-click video ads don’t appear on Google’s search engine. These ads are displayed before, after, or in the middle of YouTube videos.
YouTube is a search engine in its own right. In fact, it's the second largest search engine!
You're able to place your ad in a video that your target audience is interested in.
This type of ad is ideal if you already create video content people enjoy watching or if the products you sell can benefit from a visual demonstration.
I recommend trying out all of these ad types. Over time you'll have a better idea of what will work for you and your business.
3. How To Target Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaigns
Before we get into tips on how to target your pay-per-click paid ads, I do want to mention that if you want a more thorough, step-by-step explanation, consider signing up for Drop Ship Lifestyle.
Our coaching program covers, in detail, how you can master Paid Ads.
Targeting For Google Search Text Ads
When you set up Google Search Text Ads, you want to use phrase match or exact match keywords.
A common mistake is that people don’t specify the type of match for their keyword and it ends up being too broad.
If your keyword is set to “broad match”, you may end up paying for clicks that aren’t even close to leading to sales. Especially if you're just starting out, you need to make sure you're getting the clicks you want.
Next, don't just bid on "grills." Leave those to bids to humongous corporations like Amazon or Walmart. They can afford to have such a broad strategy.
Bid on "3-burner gas grills" or "portable charcoal grills." You'll be showing your ads to people that are specifically looking for the exact products you offer.
At this point in time, this is the only paid text ad showing up for "portable charcoal grills."
So you get low-competition and favorable placement for the exact item people are looking for.
Targeting For Google Shopping Ads
Shopping ads are set up differently because these ads are targeted through Google Merchant Center.
This pay-per-click advertising platform pulls in all of the products from your online store and the keywords you target are based on your product descriptions.
You may worry that this means you risk not getting the right keywords, since it’s automated, but over time you’ll be able to use this as a way to better target your ads.
When you run this type of ad campaign, put your full product catalog up through the Google Merchant Center and then watch as you start to get impressions and clicks and sales.
The next step is to use that information to see which keywords your ads are triggering your ads. On the other side of that, you need to look at any keywords or ads that aren’t getting results and add them as negative keywords in your Google Shopping Ads campaign.
Targeting For Google Display Ads
When you’re trying to decide which websites to use for your Google Display Ads, use keyword searches to discover where your target audience spends time.
For example, if you sell surfboards, look for popular surfing websites. Once you have a few URLs that you think will appeal to your potential customers, go into your Google Ads account and choose those as placements.
This is the best way to make sure your Google Display Ads are highly targeted and relevant to the people who are seeing them.
There are also ways to find out where your customers spend time on the web.
Targeting For Video Ads
About a year and a half ago a new targeting feature was rolled out for video ads, it works really well but not that many advertisers use it.
It’s retargeting, but not in the typical way that you think of it. Instead of retargeting people who visit your website, you're retargeting people who searched for a specific keyword.
This allows you to create audiences inside your Google Ads account based around a specific keyword.
These could be people who have never seen your website before, maybe they’ve landed on a competitor’s website or simply searched for a keyword term using Google.
Since Google owns YouTube, that information is accessible on both platforms.
4. Choose The Right Bidding Strategy for Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising
When you’re setting up a pay-per-click advertising campaign through Google Ads, you have a variety of options when it comes to a bidding strategy.
The first decision you need to make is whether you want to use automated or manual bidding.
Automated bidding can be great once you have a long account history. You already know which keywords, ads, and campaigns are actually working and making you money.
However, if you have a new Google Ads account or you haven’t seen many conversions yet from your pay-per-click ad campaigns, you need to use manual bidding instead.
This will give you more control over your campaigns and keep you from overspending.
Manual bidding allows you to monitor your campaign numbers more closely so you can personally make decisions on when to increase your ad spend, instead of hoping the automatic algorithm works.
5. Track Your Ad Conversions
Tracking your pay-per-click advertising conversions isn’t difficult, and it is extremely important.
The first step is to make sure your Google Ad account is linked to your Google Analytics account.
Then, enable the conversion tracking option.
Set up conversion events for sales in your store, or the number of leads you want to capture, or whatever goals you are using paid search ads to reach.
This way, as clicks start to add up, you can actually see in real time which campaigns and ads are working to bring in revenue and which ones aren’t.
This information is vital so you can make actionable decisions and actually help your ad account grow.
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6. Regularly Audit Your Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaigns
At Drop Ship Lifestyle, we audit our pay-per-click ad campaigns every week.
You might want to do it more frequently or less often depending on your ad spend and what makes sense for your business.
What To Look For During Your Weekly Paid Search Audit
- Cost increases and decreases
- Sales increases and decreases
- New opportunities to expand into new keywords or audiences
- If geographic targeting is still accurate
You also want to do a quick check to make sure basic things are still working. For instance, making sure there aren’t any broken links in your ads.
Or if you have an ad that needs a refresh because it’s been running for too long and is experiencing ad fatigue.
The only way you're going to get this kind of in-depth information is by auditing your own ad account.
This is the type of data you can use to better inform your future ad campaigns and make sure you’re spending your ad budget in the right places.
7. Use Retargeting Campaigns For Your Pay-Per-Click Ads
If your TOFU (Top Of Funnel) Google Ads are set up correctly you’re going to get a lot of qualified traffic to your website, but not everyone will convert to a sale right away.
To make sure you don’t lose those potential new customers, set up retargeting campaigns on Google Ads to bring them back to your site.
Google Display Ads and video ads are ideal for remarketing ad campaigns.
The way these work is by creating an audience of everyone who has visited your website, but hasn’t completed a purchase. When they leave your site and go do another website, they’ll start to see display ads for your product or service.
The content for these ads should focus on reminding them that they didn't make a purchase and enticing them to come back.
Remember the BBQ Guys paid text ad example from above? Well I visited their site and waited patiently.
Not even an hour later, I was served this ad in a sidebar:
This ad was a dynamic video ad. It included various slides and promotional pricing.
If I was actually in the market for a portable charcoal grill, chances are good that I might have remembered that I needed one. Then, I may have gone back and completed a purchase.
Use Ad copy that includes text content that will encourage them to come back and make a purchase. Or, reiterate what problem your product solves.
- "We’re offering a 15% discount to new customer!?"
- "Only 4 left in stock!"
- "A Perfect, Nick-Free Shave, Every Time."
If these types of remarketing ads are set up correctly, it can be one of your most profitable types of paid search ad campaigns.
Consider Your Product/Service When Retargeting
Is your product/service expensive?
Try retargeting your customers a week or more after they visited your site. This gives them time to consider whether or not they really want it.
If they see your ad a week later and still want the item, they're more likely to buy it.
On the other hand, if your product is cheaper, retarget quickly. Chances are good that they got distracted and didn't complete their purchase. These customers don't need as much time to decide that they want what you're selling.
Plan For Success With Pay-Per-Click Advertising
If you’re getting into pay-per-click advertising for the first time or have tried running ads before with poor results, don’t give up.
Take the time to:
- Identify your goals
- Clearly define your offer
- Set up your website for conversion success
- Choose which ad platforms make sense for your business and products
- Set up targeting to reach your ideal potential customers
- Track what works with your ads (and what doesn’t)
- Use retargeting to get customers to come back to your website
If you want more help setting up your pay-per-click ad campaigns, leave your questions below!
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