Beginner Read Search Engine Marketing
Explore our step-by-step guide to auditing your Google Ads account and use it to optimise and enhance one of your essential tools.
In this article
In this article
Google Ads is a staple platform used in online marketing all over the world. Most marketers turn to it first and rely on it to give them the boost they need. Nowadays, Google basically is the Internet, so it makes sense to start there.
Google Ads can seem a bit daunting at first, and that’s completely normal. Thankfully, it’s easy to pick up once you’re in and is actually quite intuitive to work with. You can realistically go from setting up simple self-managing campaigns (where you basically set it up once and never look at it again), right through to advanced audience-specific re-marketing efforts in almost no time at all.
With this in mind, we’re going to take you through the basics of Google Ads here. We’ll cover the dos and don’ts, discuss some of the theory behind certain elements, and work our way towards a fully functioning campaign. But first, let’s look at what Google Ads actually is and how the system works.
Google Ads is an online advertising platform owned by Google. It’s easily the biggest and most used advertising network in the world, with millions of businesses using it to grow and reach customers.
Google Ads can be split into three main markets:
There are other markets that Google Ads works in, like Discovery, Apps, Local, and Shopping, but often these are in addition to the above.
Quick side note: Google Ads is used to access all of the above markets, but most of the time, when people say “Google Ads” they mean Search. The others are usually referred to by name.
In this guide, we’ll be focussing on Google Search Ads.
Almost all Pay Per Click advertising platforms work the same way. Put simply, a bunch of advertisers bid to appear on a search made by a customer. The highest bid then appears at the top, the second highest is second, so on and so forth.
Google Ads is based on this system, but there is another element: quality. Ultimately, Google needs users to trust the ads it shows them, as it directly affects their bottom line. Google assigns the ads a Live Quality Score, and measures the impact of any ad extensions the advertiser is using. By looking at these, an advertiser can pay less and still top the auction. Let’s look at a quick example:
First things first: you’ll need to set up a Google Ads account.
If you are going to use Google Ad Grants, the set-up process is different. You need to follow the instruction on the Google Ad Grants Activation Guide. Once you’ve completed your set-up, rejoin this guide at Step 2.
Also, Google does have a habit of tweaking these options, so these instructions might not match your experience exactly.
This process is to set up the account and create your first campaign. However, the first campaign you create is just going to be a dummy. We don’t actually want to create a functioning campaign at this point, but we will focus on filling in the basic fields.
Let’s get into it.
That’s it: you’ve completed your setup.
Now you’re set up, it’s time to really get started.
The first thing we’ll be doing is keyword research. This is one of the most important steps in the setup process. It’s going to drive the direction your ads are going to take, and the way you create your ad copy.
But before that, some important definitions:
Now that we know what we are talking about, what’s the process?
Choosing your keywords
Selecting the right keywords is vital to making sure you spend your cash in the right place. So how do you go about that?
First, you can start a discussion with your teams. Find out what your main services or products are – what do you do for the people who are looking for you? Think about what makes your organisation unique. If you can, speak to some of your customers to see what they find valuable from you.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have some basic ideas of how people might search to find you online. But now, you’ll need to gather some hard numbers and statistics. For this, we’ll delve into the Google ecosystem.
Inside Google Ads, there’s a tool called Google Ads Keyword Planner. You can find it when you’re logged into Google Ads by going to Tools in the top bar and finding Google Keyword Planner in the menu. The tool itself is pretty straightforward: simply enter a group of potential keywords or phrases and the tool will spit out the monthly search volumes, and estimated cost per click. It’ll also suggest other keywords which are linked to the ones you entered.
So now you can see a bunch of keywords in the tool. How do pick which ones you are actually going to use?
These five points need to be assessed on each possible keyword. Let’s look at each in a little more detail:
Relevance: Does this keyword actually reflect the content on the page?
Suitability: Does this keyword align with your mission, values and offer?
Popularity: How often are people searching for this keyword?
Opportunity: How likely is it that you will achieve good visibility for this keyword?
Motivation: How likely are people who searched for this term to convert?
If you can answer each of these with a positive answer, then the keyword is right for you. That being said, there are times when you come across a keyword which maybe lacking in one or two areas, but it could still be worth it. For example, the keyword might be super-relevant, but not as popular as you would like. These can still be useful to add to your list of keywords.
Grouping your Keywords
Now that you’ve selected your keywords, you will need to group them. To start with, you can group them by theme. For example, anything to do with “days out” goes in one group, while anything to do with “watching a show” go in another.
Next, you’ll need to look at each group and see if you can break it down further: the “days out” group may contain keywords to do with “family days out” and “solo days out”. These are different themes again, so they can go into separate groups.
The idea is to keep breaking the groups down by theme until you can’t anymore.
Once you’ve done this, you’ve completed keyword research for now.
With your keywords finalised, it’s now time to create your campaign.
A campaign represents a goal that you want to achieve. For example, your two goals might be to increase views of a video and to sell tickets. They could have two separate campaigns. Or maybe your goals are to sell tickets and sell merchandise, in which case two different types of sales would be easier to manage in two campaigns. Back at the start of the keyword research exercise, you would have thought about your various products and services, and usually these match pretty well to your goals.
To set up your campaigns:
You’re all done. You’ve set up your first campaign. Take a break, have a cuppa. If you got stuck anywhere, and you can’t figure it out, get in touch with us using the options below.
This article has explained the process of setting up and creating your first Google Ads.
The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.
Original article created in 2020. Author: Syed Rahman. Edited on 5th May 2021 by DCN.
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