Google Ads is one of the most popular forms of digital advertising.
That said, there are some that are reluctant to use it out of concerns that they will waste their money.
This concern is not misplaced, as a poorly run campaign can leave you with nothing to show.
However, when you truly know how to use Google Ads, it can be one of the best ways to grow your business.
In this post, we will examine if Google Ads are worth it for small businesses or if they are just a waste of your marketing budget that could be spent elsewhere.
Things to consider before using Google PPC ads
While Google Ads have great potential for businesses looking to reach customers, they should not be taken lightly.
If you do not plan and execute your campaigns effectively, you can end up investing your time and money in ads that do not generate profit for your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the key factors to consider before using Google Ads:
- Target audience and customer personas
- Advertising budget
- Campaign management
- Profit margins
- Campaign objectives
Target audience and customer personas
The first thing to evaluate when deciding if Google Ads is worth it for your business is your target audience.
You want to know the traits that comprise your typical customer personas such as their age, gender, interests, and where they hang out.
This helps you ensure that your target customers use Google in their day-to-day lives and that the marketing channel will allow you to connect with them.
When analyzing your customer personas, you should also get familiar with the type of language they use.
Doing so will help you when finding the best keywords to target with your ad campaigns.
Next, you should consider the amount of money you are willing to budget towards your Google Ads campaign.
Your budget will impact everything from how much you can spend per click to how many clicks you are ultimately able to get.
To give you an example, in the legal industry, you can find keywords with average CPCs of hundreds of dollars.
If you were to target these keywords with a budget of only a few hundred dollars a day, you would only get a few clicks a day.
In this situation, you would need a larger available budget in order to execute the campaigns effectively.
Before you launch your ads, you need to determine who is going to handle the various responsibilities required to plan and manage the campaigns.
In-house or outsource?
You do not necessarily need to manage the ads yourself. Many small businesses that are less experienced in Google Ads choose to outsource the work to a digital marketing agency.
In fact, this is often the best approach as it is easy to waste your marketing budget if you do not know what you are doing.
With extensive experience running PPC campaigns, an agency gives you the skills to get the most out of your ads.
If you go this route, you will need to decide what you want in an agency partner.
There are tons of agencies out there and choosing the right one for your business is often one of the hardest parts of getting started with Google Ads.
It is important to find someone with experience working with businesses similar to yours. You’ll also want to consider the agency’s approach to managing projects and how hands-on they are.
If you do not want to hire an agency you can always manage your Google Ads campaigns yourself.
In this case, you will need to take the time to learn how Google Ads work.
You certainly won’t become a Google ads specialist right away. However, with the right resources, you can begin to learn the essentials needed to feel confident planning and launching a campaign on your own.
Google Ads certifications can be a quick and effective way to get started with Google Ads.
From there, experience is often the best teacher and you can learn more about Google Ads through managing your own campaigns.
Your profit margins are an important consideration as they directly impact how much ad spend you can afford to pay for each customer you acquire.
For example, let’s say you have a campaign with an average customer acquisition cost (CAC) of $50.
If your product has a $100 margin (excluding advertising costs), you net $50 after each sale resulting from Google Ads.
If you had a campaign with the same CAC, but your products only have a $25 margin, you would be losing money on ad spend.
In this situation, you would need to increase your product’s margin or lower your CAC for your campaigns to be profitable.
You can decrease your CAC by raising your conversion rates and/or lowering your average CPC.
Knowing the objective of your intended Google Ads campaign will help you plan more effectively.
Different campaign goals work better with certain types of ads, targeting, and bidding strategies.
For instance, if your goal was to generate sales from high-intent visitors, you would be willing to use more aggressive bidding strategies.
Some potential campaign goals could be to increase sales, grow brand awareness, or drive newsletter sign-ups.
Are Google Ads effective?
Google is the most used search engine in the world by far. Each day, there are over three billion search queries submitted by users looking for anything you can think of.
No other search engine can offer your business as many opportunities for connecting with your target audience.
This massive source of potential customers makes Google a great addition to almost any digital marketing strategy.
You may have to work with a PPC expert to ensure that you don’t waste your budget, but there are many potential benefits to using Google Ads.
Here are some of the other ways Google Ads are an effective marketing tool for your business:
- Fast results
- Strong ROI
- Reach local customers
- Ability to control costs
- Targeted traffic
- Detailed reports and analytics
Google Ads can be a fast way to drive positive marketing results for your business.
In fact, you can begin to see the impact almost immediately after your first campaign is approved.
Traffic can start flowing to your site in minutes and you may even see sales the same day, depending on your business and budget.
It doesn’t take much to get to this point as setting up a campaign isn’t overly time-consuming after you’ve done the necessary planning.
When compared to other types of digital marketing like search engine optimization (SEO), the results from Google Ads can arrive much faster.
SEO is a powerful way to grow your business but it can take time before your pages rank well enough to bring in a high amount of organic traffic.
By paying for ads through Google, you can get your business in front of users making these searches immediately.
One of the best things about using Google Ads is the potential return on investment (ROI).
Strong performers can earn well above this mark, seeing anywhere from $5 to $10 in revenue for each dollar spent on Google Ads.
These numbers may seem low when compared to something like SEO or email marketing which generates an average return upwards of 40X.
However, keep in mind these strategies to take time to see results.
Google Ads can yield immediate results, giving your business the ability to instantly generate profits if you can execute on the campaigns.
Reach local customers
Google Ads are an effective way for local businesses to reach their nearby customers.
You can create campaigns that target location-specific keywords like “buy flowers in NY”.
Plus, you can set the ads to only display to users in your geographic vicinity.
With location and call extensions, you can display your business address and phone number with your ads.
This makes it easier for potential customers to find or contact you, especially if they are using a mobile device.
If you sell country or worldwide, you can market to local areas by creating several campaigns and then refining the targeting and messaging to a specific geographic area.
Ability to control costs
With Google Ads, you have the ability to control how much you spend on your advertising campaigns.
You can set your total budget for a campaign and you only have to pay for an ad after someone clicks it.
Google factors in your budget when displaying your ads to users. Your daily ad costs may vary from the set daily budget, but over the course of the month, the average daily spend averages out to an amount at or below your budget.
There are plenty of bidding strategies that you can use. And you can lower the bids for specific keywords that may be underperforming or less valuable for your business.
The same applies for shopping campaigns as you can set bids on a product level basis to determine the max CPC you want to pay for traffic to a particular item.
Google Ads are one of the best ways to bring highly targeted traffic to your business.
Plus, you can get in front of potential customers the moment they are looking for your products.
With Google Ads, you can easily adjust your targeting according to your campaign goals.
For example, if your objective is to drive sales, you can ensure that your ads show to people interested in making a purchase by targeting transactional keywords like “buy”.
Google also gives you tools to selectively filter out any unwanted traffic from your campaigns.
The best example is negative keywords. When you add a search term as a negative, Google will make sure to not show your ads for that keywords.
With such a large audience base, Google Ads is one of the most scalable ways to market your business online.
After you have sustained a successful Google Ads campaign, you can gradually increase your campaign’s daily budget to generate more clicks. You can also scale your campaigns by finding new keywords to target.
For many industries, you can continue to scale your campaigns for quite a while before you exhaust the potential traffic source.
Detailed reports and analytics
Google Ads comes with solid analytics features built into the platform. Their stats include important metrics such as total clicks, average CPC, clickthrough rate (CTR), and conversion rate.
These metrics give you a clear overview of your marketing performance. You can use them to see what is working to make better decisions on where to place your advertising spend.
How much should you spend on Google Ads?
As a new advertiser, you’ll want to start out slow to manage your costs until you get confirmation of what works well.
That said, it can be challenging to see any meaningful benefits if you set your daily budget to something really low like $2.
I recommend at least starting with a little more than this as it will allow you to get the number of visitors needed to determine if your campaign will ultimately be successful.
The exact amount you need will vary wildly depending on the nature of your business. The average CPC for industries can range from a few to a few hundred dollars.
Conversion rates vary as well, with the average hovering around 2% to 7% for most industries.
You can research the historical benchmarks for your industry to get an idea of how much you should expect to need to spend per customer.
Once your campaigns are live, you should use their performance to decide future spending.
If your campaigns are consistently generating a positive ROI, you can gradually increase your ad spend so long as you continue to see a positive return.
Similarly, it is often best to start with a single focus for your campaigns and then broaden out over time once you’ve proven successful.
Which is better, Google Ads or Facebook Ads?
Facebook is another popular and effective online channel for advertising your business.
Facebook Ads are similar to Google Ads in that they allow you to connect with your target customers at scale.
But, there are some distinct differences in how ads work for each platform.
Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads
Whereas search ads like Google help businesses find users based on keywords, social media ads connect businesses with users based on their interests and behavior across the web.
Because of this, Google Ads gives you a better way to target people looking to make a purchase as someone with buying intent tends to search the web before making a decision.
However, Facebook has a more diverse selection of ad formats. These ads are highly visual and better for engaging and communicating with your audience.
Each platform has its strengths and it is important to include both advertising channels in an effective digital marketing strategy.
By using them together you can leverage the capabilities of each platform to reach customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
For example, you could use Google Ads to target transactional keywords in order to drive sales from people ready to buy.
Or, you could run a Facebook campaign to grow awareness for your brand by targeting a Lookalike Audience that shares traits with your past customers.
As your ads attract visitors to your site, you can set up remarketing campaigns with both platforms to retarget these visitors to continue to move them through your digital marketing funnel.
All businesses should give Google Ads a try
The only way to get a real answer if Google ads are worth it for your business is to run test campaigns.
Doing so allows you to gather data so that you can evaluate the results of your prospective strategies.
If you do not have immediate success it does not necessarily mean that Google Ads won’t work for your business.
Even experts need to tweak their campaigns often to see the best results.
Upon under-performance, you or your agency should use your Google Ads knowledge to implement changes to improve the campaign.
If the campaign remains unsuccessful after making adjustments, then you can re-evaluate using Google Ads.
Overall, there is a viable opportunity for Google Ads to work for most businesses. Whether or not they are effective depends on the competency and execution of those running the ads.
How to get started with Google Ads?
As I mentioned earlier, it is essential to know the ins and outs of using Google Ads if you don’t want to end up wasting your budget.
In summary, here are the steps you need to get started with Google Ads:
- Choose a campaign type
- Set your budget
- Add keywords
- Set up conversion tracking
- Create your ads
- Design your landing page
Choose a campaign type
Campaign types determine the format for your ads. You can choose from search, display, shopping, video, and app campaigns.
Set your budget
The daily budget is the average amount you want to pay for ads per day. Again, until you are experienced in Google Ads, it’s best to set a lower budget or to hire a PPC expert that knows what they are doing.
The keywords you select are the search terms that will trigger your ads to appear to customers. There are various match types that allow you to include different variations of words or phrases.
Set up conversion tracking
Conversion tracking ensures that Google records all important actions that occur on your site as a result of your ad campaigns. There are several conversion goals you can choose to measure including eCommerce orders, webform leads, phone calls from ads, and more.
Create your ads
Next, you need to create the content for your ads.
You want to make ads that are compelling. Your headlines should capture attention and your descriptions should include the key benefits of your offering along with a direct call to action.
If you are targeting a specific keyword with your ads, be sure to include it in the headline or description as it can help improve click-throughs from visitors.
Design your landing page
Your landing page is the page you users see after clicking your ad. It is a good practice to use a page designed specifically to match your advertisement. Doing so leads to better conversions as customers receive an experience that matches their expectations.
In summary, if you’re looking for an effective way to market your business online, you should give Google Ads a try.
All businesses can find success with Google Ads provided they take the time to master the craft or partner with an agency expert.