Google ads management. It’s something that every small business needs to be on top of. It doesn’t matter if the business is a local flower shop, an online store, a law firm, a chiropractor, a dentist or construction company. In 2019, it’s got to be obvious that all of the competition is fighting for that number one spot on Google.
Some competitors may be able to rank their businesses by maintaining robust blogs, getting customer reviews, optimizing their website and developing a strong content marketing strategy. This also means doing some public relations, guest blogging, and looking for other prominent websites to link back to the business.
The reality is all of the above only has two final outcomes in mind. One, to drive traffic, and secondly, to turn that traffic into customers. Most businesses who are serious about getting this targeted traffic do all of the above organically, and then double down by also paying for ads. This is what we’re going to talk about in this post.
The Google Ads platform is very powerful but also very complicated. There’s a lot to it. So instead of explaining every little intricate part of the whole platform, let’s look at the entire thing from a broader perspective.
Most small business owners should outsource their Google ads management. They should instead focus on what they do best. Selling their product or service. There are several reasons for this. The biggest reason is that advertising with Google is just not as cost-effective as it used to be. This means a small business owner that doesn’t know what they’re doing can lose a lot of money really quickly. Even those who go through Google’s free certification training will likely end up way over their head. The training explains five different aspects of the Google Ads platform:
Google Ads Search is the oldest and most used form of Google advertising there is. Once we dive deep into the basics of advertising on Google, it’ll be easy to see why the average small business owner should count on a digital marketing agency to manage the ads for them.
As noted, this is the most popular type of ad. It allows small business owners to have their ad pop up either right above Google the top organic google search results, or to the far right of the organic results. These ads are also called pay-per-click ads because business owners only pay for the ad when someone clicks to visit their website or landing page. From a strategy standpoint, mastering search ads really takes a lot of experimentation and testing. Business owners will have to play with finding the right keywords to chase, staying within a budget and avoiding keywords that may drive traffic to competitors, or acquire traffic that doesn’t lead to sales. Even spending $5 a day on several different ads in the beginning can result in spending $100s or $1,000s before figuring out the right formula. And here’s the thing, a small business owner managing inventory, bookkeeping, sales and other aspects of their operation may never have enough time to fine tune things and get to the point of implementing the right formula. Then they’ll get discouraged and they could stop using Google advertising altogether, which means missing out on more revenue or scrambling to find other ways to advertise that may be even less effective.
If you’ve already tried running your own ads and failed, it’s time to hire someone else to do the work for you. We’ve collected a bunch of tips from experts that will help guide you through what to look for in planning out an appropriate Google Ads strategy.
Kevin Hilton from Multi Layer Media recommends business owners do some of their own work. He recommends figuring out the search terms that the business owner’s ads show for regularly.
“Ideally you want to be checking the search terms your ads show for daily, so you can exclude terms you don’t want your ads to show for and therefore ensure your budget is spent on the right keywords.”
Hilton also recommends grouping keywords into single keyword ad groups. He provides an example:
“Let’s use the term skip hire as an example.
You’d have a campaign called “Skip Hire”. Within that campaign you’d have ad groups for all the variations of skip hire keywords you want to target (ideally long tail keywords). Examples would be “skip hire London”, “skip hire in London”, “skip hire Kensington” etc.
Then within each ad group you’d have a few ads mentioning “skip hire London”. Finally, the “skip hire London” ad group would only target the keyword “skip hire London”.
It may sound long winded, but it ensures your ads are hyper relevant to the search term, should result in better click through rates, and in turn conversions.”
Hilton also has some great advice surrounding sticking to a budget. A business owner may not want to handle all of this themselves, but again, it’s important to know about these tactics so that when an agency comes in to help.
“You can create a “shared budget” in your Google Ads account and then apply that budget to multiple campaigns. This can stop you spending more than you want of your total spend, or on a certain area of your business. For example, if you only want to spend 40% of your budget on skip hire related keywords, you can create a shared budget for this and apply it to all of the skip hire related campaigns and ad groups. Then there isn’t the risk of you overspending in an area you don’t want to.”
Alistair Dodds is the co-founder of Ever-Increasing Circles. His tips for managing google ads are perfect for those who already know the basics, but aren’t yet quite ready to go to a full service agency. He says tools like Wordstream or Adespresso can help.
Both provide excellent tools and resources for setting up and optimizing your campaigns.
And if/when you get stuck, you can pay for by the hour consulting with one of their experts. They really are the best solution if starting out because, for the uninitiated and trained, Google Ads can be a minefield with all manner of untended consequences to each action you take.
Dodds also recommends a conservative approach when first starting to learn about Google’s platform. He’s says business owners who really want to get into ad management on their own should at least do some Google Analytics Academy training in order to better understand the flow of their existing traffic sources before spending any money on paid search ads.
Google makes it really easy to automate the bidding process for keywords, and choose keywords that are similar to ones already selected by the business owner. But most of the experts we interviewed agreed that automating is not a good thing. It’s important to maintain control over a Google Ads campaign and maintain a commitment to constantly fine tuning campaigns, editing bids and ad copy, and reviewing analytics data available on the Google Ads platform. This is especially true in the early going, when a business owner is first learning how to use Google Ads.
Kristina Azarenko from MarketingSyrup explains.
“All the automated strategies in Google Ads rely on your conversion data, Google advises to have at least 30 conversions pat last 30 days (at a campaign level) to make your automated strategy successful. So any automated bidding strategy like “Maximize Clicks” or “Maximize Conversions” is nothing more than just shots in the dark if your campaign doesn’t have sufficient conversion history.”
Azarenko also suggests business owners should pay special attention to all of the negative keywords that need to be avoided.
“…I still see many Google Ads accounts without a single negative keyword. By ignoring them, you are just wasting your money, especially now when Google treats even exact match as not-so-exact.
Include some general negative keywords that make sense for your account, e.g. “free”, “download”, etc., you can utilize negative keywords lists for that. And then regularly monitor your search terms and add negative words on campaign/ad group levels.”
The one golden rule that a small business owner can follow is to have a checklist. There are many things to do in planning out a Google Ads strategy, and although many online marketers hype up the power of pay-per-click ads and how quickly they can help a business owner scale their customer base seemingly “on autopilot”, the truth is there is no such thing as easy money. Mastering Google Ads and turning leads into customers takes work, on an ongoing basis.
Marketer Anthony Money elaborates:
“With a checklist, you can go through things once a week. Once a week is enough for most small businesses since the budget is not big. Most small businesses fall around the $1,000 monthly ad spend budget. One day a week to go through the checklist is enough to do the maintenance required and ensure the campaign is on track. It also allows the account to get data. So every 7 days, you get your checklist, go through the list, make the changes required, make notes of the changes you made, then forget about it for the next 7 days. Then repeat again at the end of the week and see how the changes are faring.
It’s an easy on-going process that will take about 2 hours every week (depending on the size of the campaign and the complexity level of the marketing).”
This answer is simple. Hire an agency with a proven track record of handling Google Ads on behalf of businesses. Finding an agency that specializes in a particular industry or niche might help. It should be a Google certified agency with plenty of testimonials to offer.
In the meantime, rest assured that you’re equipped with the basic strategies required to get a Google Ads campaign started.
Jack has been in the internet marketing space for 10 years. He enjoys writing and watching the Toronto Raptors.