Imagine you just built an amazing website where you are offering mind-blowing content to people. But the only problem is that nobody is coming to your website. That is when you start an ad campaign using Google Adwords (we will be covering a getting started guide on Facebook Ads as well in the future).
I know that by the looks of it, it seems like a very daunting task to set up an ad campaign on Adwords. But as the saying goes “do not judge a book by its cover.”
That’s true when it comes to Adwords. Most of the things that seem confusing to you are either very simple once you get over the learning curve. Or is only used by the pros who have been using Adwords for years.
And now the next thing you might worry about, is whether or not you will go bankrupt with this. Definitely not.
You see, even if you have a budget of just $1 per day, you will still be able to run campaigns. I would recommend at least having a budget of $5 per day, but if you are comfortable with $1, then so be it.
Right now we are only trying to see if we can efficiently generate traffic to our amazing website.
Now that we have addressed the 2 biggest concerns, let’s dive into the getting started part. This guide will help you get started with a live campaign in just a matter of minutes after reading the article.
Account Set Up
As with almost anything you do on the internet, you will need to first set up your account. There are 2 options for you here.
- You can either go ahead with your regular Google account OR
- You can go for a separate account that is exclusively used for Google Adwords.
And if you like to go the old-school route, you can choose to call the toll-free number and set up your account that way.
Whichever option you choose, just follow the instructions and you will have your own advertising account in no time. The process is very straightforward.
All you need to do is to make sure that you have your credit card handy when creating the account. You will need that.
Setting Up Your Campaign
Now comes the fun part.
Before we dive head-first into it, let’s just get familiar with the taxonomies and the fundamentals of Google Adwords. If you are advertising for the very first time on the internet you might not be very familiar with the terms.
All of your ads are segregated into Campaigns. And each of those campaigns has multiple Ad Groups. Each Ad Group can have multiple keywords and multiple ads.
The best way to keep things simple for yourself is to have a lower amount of Ad Groups. The lower they are, the better.
However, if you are looking to run multiple ads to experiment and see which one performs the best, then you can use multiple Ad Groups.
Now that you are a tad bit familiar with the taxonomy, we can get back to the setting up the campaign thingy.
By clicking on the Campaign tab, and then New Campaign you will be able to select whether you want your ads to show up on Search networks (basically everyone directly searching on Google). Or if you would like to display your ads on Display networks (these are third parties that are using Adsense on their websites). And if you prefer both, you can select that option.
If you are like me, then you would want to select the last option (both) because right now we are trying to get as much exposure to our website as possible.
No doubt the Search networks option will definitely get you visitors that are more targeted, but as I said earlier, right now we just want exposure.
By clicking next, you will be able to name your campaign and also have more settings options.
Here you will be able to select which devices you want your ads to show up on.
And not only that, you can also select the locations and nationalities of people whom you want to target. You can even narrow down your audience to a specific city and ZIP code.
That is pretty nifty if you are a local brick and mortar company trying to advertise online.
Once you are done defining your audience, you will see that at the bottom of the screen where you have an option to add your phone number, your corresponding address and other information that you would like to add.
Do not worry about this because there is no additional charge for that.
Setting Your Budget
This is the part where you protect yourself from bankruptcy.
Just kidding. Your finances are your responsibility. Make sure that you know how much you can spend on your ads on a daily basis. You don’t want to end up with no money at the end of the month.
It is a bit tricky to set the budget for optimum performance of your ads. So I will try to make it as simple as possible.
You see, there are two important components that come into play when you are setting up your budget:
- Your bid for the keyword (also known as the Default Bid)
- Your overall Budget Per Day
Every keyword that you choose has an auction-based pricing going on behind the scenes. Different advertisers bid on that keyword. And whoever is bidding the most will get their ads placed at the top. The bid is the amount an advertiser is willing to pay every time someone clicks on their ad.
So let’s say that you bid 30 cents for a keyword. This means that you will pay 30 cents every time someone clicks on your ad.
But, this can be dangerous as well.
Let’s say that you do an absolute master of a job writing your ad copy. And your ad gets famous and loads of people start clicking on your ad.
That is where the daily budget comes into play.
This is Google’s way of keeping you safe when things get crazy. Your daily budget is a way of letting Google know that you are not willing to spend anything more than that amount in a single 24 hour period.
Once your ad reaches that daily limit, Google will stop showing your ads until the next day.
Let’s say that you set your daily budget at $1. And if you are bidding 30 cents per click for your keyword, then after 3 clicks Google will stop displaying your ads.
Now you see how important both of those components are?
Not only that, the budget you choose for both of those components will heavily affect the overall performance of your business.
This is where the hardcore business math comes into play.
If you are selling e-cigarettes that average between $50-100 per unit, then you can definitely afford to pay more than a dollar per lead.
But if you are promoting an app that retails at 99 cents, then you might only be able to afford a per click rate of a few cents.
It won’t be wrong if you said that Adwords is more of an auction that a retail store. You are bidding for the keywords that you are targeting. And whoever bids the most, will be seeing their ads at the top. And anyone who is bidding lower, might not even see their ads show up until the top advertisers’ budget has been depleted for that day.
But you do not have to worry too much about that right now. You can always change everything later. That’s the beauty of it.
Your Ad Copy
Now is the time to get your smart cap on and start writing your ad. Copywriting is all science. But then again, science is all about testing and experimenting with different headlines and descriptions.
Here you aren’t working with a lot of space. So you will need to make sure that you are very precise and to the point.
A headline only has up to 35 characters, and then you get two description blocks each of them have a limit of 35 characters each. And then you can add your URL.
You want to make sure that these things contain your best sales pitch ever. And when you are writing your copy, keep your reader/buyer in mind. Take a note of what other top advertisers are writing in their copy.
Usually things like “Buy it now!” or “Buy One Get One Free” tends to work better. But then again, you should test things out and see what works better.
Another thing you should always keep in mind is the Google’s Best Practices. You see, your ad will only go live once Google approves your ads. So don’t try to write anything that is not family friendly, unless you are specifically targeting that market.
Once you are done writing the ad, you will notice an area where you can create your keywords. The generic advice is that you always want to target keywords that your website does.
Keyword research is a huge topic in itself and we have scheduled an article for release at a later date on that topic. So watch out for that. But I will try to cover the basics here just so you don’t get stuck.
The more common the word is, the more competition you will see. Let’s say that your target keyword is “personal injury lawyer” which is a common word for people searching for that lawyer. It will obviously have a lot of competition.
But, if you choose something like “personal injury lawyer st George Utah” you will have a lot less competition. But you will also have lesser traffic compared to the other keyword. But then again, if people are specifically searching for a personal injury lawyer in St George, you will be the one they will be contacting.
One thing you have to remember here is that if the traffic of your chosen keyword is very low, then Google will not display ads at all for that keyword. Even if you are the only bidder for that keyword, there just isn’t that much traffic there.
But if you are worried about not being able to find appropriate keywords for your campaign, you don’t have to. Because you are the Google Keyword Tool at your disposal.
This is a tool that Google lets you use to find out which keywords would be best for your campaign. Not only does it gives you information about how much traffic a keyword gets, you will also get alternative keywords that you can use in your campaign.
And you will be surprised that you never came up with some of these keywords.
Although there is no limit on the number of keywords you can use, but it is always better to keep that number manageable.
Once you are done writing the ad and selecting the keywords, Adwords will ask you again for the bidding of this ad. But here you want to keep it the same as the default bid and then save the ad group.
Tracking Your Performance
Once your ad is approved by Google and is live, you will immediately be able to see how it is performing. You will be presented with a sweet graph that gives you all the details about how your ad is performing for each of the keywords that you chose.
And if you want to go into a bit more detail, you can select your campaign from your ad group. But beware that you might not like what you see. And don’t worry about that because the competition is sky-high when it comes to Adwords.
You will be surprised to see the per click rates for some keywords.
Back on the topic, once you are on the page of your ad group, you will see all your ads in different statuses.
You will see some keywords that are marked as “Below first page bid”.
What that means is that you are either not bidding enough for those keywords, or the Quality Score for that particular ad is too low for Google to run it.
The overall idea of the Quality Score is that Google compares your ad with the keywords that you are targeting and with the landing page (aka the page where the visitors will reach when they click on your ad) that you selected. And based on that Google makes conclusions about your ad and gives you a score.
They do this mainly to reduce the number of spammy ads.
So basically if you want your Quality Score to be higher, you want to make sure that all these things are matching as closely as possible.
We will be covering this topic in detail in a future article.
Once you go through all the checks and ensure that everything matches. The last thing you can do is simply increase your bid to get rid of those “Below first page bid” errors.
Optimizing/Refining Your Ads
This is where the actual game begins. Your work is never done when it comes to online advertising.
You might find that one of your ads is just killing it one week and the next week it is inactive and just sitting there in your account. That might be because the quality score of that ad went down, or there might be a new advertiser who is bidding more than you.
That is why you always want to keep checking your ads and see if they are running as they should.
If you find any ads that are not performing well, then stop them.
If all of your ads are not performing well, then it might be time to tweak your ad copy. Remember, there are different variables at play here. So the best thing you can do is tweak one variable at a time and see which one makes things work.
Then stick with that variable for that ad.
If you find a winner ad, then gradually start increasing the daily budget for that one and keep it running for as long as you can.
If you run out of ideas on how you can improve your ads, there’s even an Opportunities tab on the Adwords homepage that you can click. This link will give you more ideas on how you can further improve your ads.
Another thing you want to keep an eye on is your email inbox. Google sends out emails if it thinks that you might be losing out on some Adwords traffic.
This way you can kill the weak ads and focus on the new keywords that Google recommends and see how that performs.