The problem with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that it takes a long time to work and there are no guarantees. Pay per click advertising (PPC), on the other hand, can produce results much faster.
For businesses that don’t have an organic presence and need a quick ROI, a paid ad is sometimes the best bet to drive traffic to (and conversions from) your website.
The problem is, your competitors are using the same search terms and keywords as you are. In addition to knowing how to create a campaign through Google Ads, you need to know how to stand out from the crowd.
What is a Google Ads Campaign?
Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) system for advertising on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). You can create campaigns that organize groups of similar ads. You can have one or more campaigns running at the same time in your Google Ads account.
Each campaign will then contain multiple ad groups that contain the keyword ad text and landing pages.
The advantage of structuring your ad account with campaigns is that you can target different audiences (for better personalization), be more targeted with your bids, and even run various tests without affecting your main campaigns.
For example, suppose your organization sells two products. One is a more lucrative opportunity and the other is less important to your business goals but still involves some expense. By using separate campaigns, each of these products gets its own ads and you can invest more money bidding on the more lucrative product without the less profitable product consuming all of your expenses.
For more information on how ad spend works, check out our ultimate guide to Google Ads.
Let’s move on to some real-life examples of Google Ads campaigns – a service formerly known as Google AdWords – then share some professional tips for making your own search engine marketing (SEM) strategy successful. When we’re done, you’ll be an expert.
- New breed marketing: what is inbound marketing?
- Nettitude: cybersecurity
- Rock Content: Content Marketing Course
- Destination Canada: cheap vacation destinations
- FM Training: LEED certification online
- LeftLane Sports: walking shoes for women
1. Marketing for new breeds
Keyword: What is inbound marketing?
Some seekers experience pains that set them on the road to purchase, but they may not be sure what will solve that pain. That’s the idea behind the first Google Ads campaign example above.
New Breed Marketing, an agency partner of HubSpot, is an inbound marketing service provider. Since New Breed customers may not know what they are signing up for with “inbound marketing,” the company wanted to define the term for them to help shoppers confirm that inbound marketing is, indeed, what they are looking for .
The above Google Ads New Breed Marketing Score is as simple as search engine marketing. The meta description is only one sentence long, but indicates to searchers that inbound marketing is a “process” that needs to be invested in.
In the meantime, the blue link called the Site Extension promises to explain inbound marketing in the form of a downloadable “guide”. This ensures that those who click their way through the website are ready to submit their contact information and become a lead in exchange for this guide. Remember, Google Ads campaigns cost money every time someone clicks one of your ads. You need to get something out of these clicks.
In general, the wider the search term, the less likely it is that the searcher will want to buy something right away (a pay-per-click concept called “match types”). However, in the above ad campaign, Nettitude bid on a broad search term with one word – “cybersecurity”.
While this broad search term doesn’t target a specific searcher, the details of its Google ad ensure that the link can satisfy many different types of searchers, regardless of what interest they had in entering the word.
Nettitude’s AdWords campaign above does two things well:
First, the meta-description contains several value propositions that most cybersecurity customers would be receptive to. This includes a “response time of 2 hours” and a “free initial consultation” to make the first contact with a potential customer convenient and non-binding.
Second, the ad shows a phone number right on the page. When you’re bidding on a search term that brings up such a broad and diverse group of people, it’s often easiest to give them a call to get them interested so they don’t switch to another search result and forget you.
3. Rock content
Keyword: content marketing course
Rock Content, an agency partner of HubSpot, is a content marketing service based in Brazil.
The requirement of the advertising campaign for a search term that has little to do with the service that Rock Content offers on its landing page. Here’s why it works.
The search term “content marketing course” aims to find classes that will help marketers expand their knowledge of content marketing. Rock Content seeks to move searchers from a class to improve their content knowledge to a “rating” to see how much they already know.
This rating may not satisfy every searcher, but it is a clever way to get their interest in a related service while introducing them to Rock Content’s offerings.
4. Destination Canada
Search term: cheap vacation destinations
Canada Destination’s Google Ads campaign mentioned above takes advantage of a seeker’s general interest in a vacation trip to promote all of the fun parts of Canada. Similar to the third example on this list, the strategy is to deviate from a broad search term in order to add value to your offering. It’s not an occasional item, but it’s not a flight route either – that spot in the center of the funnel is what makes this campaign so good.
The link above also uses two sublinks under the main website extension, highlighting the main topics covered on the website in order to maximize the ad’s CTR.
When people are looking for “cheap vacation spots” it can be difficult to gauge their interests exactly. When starting a Google Ads campaign, you don’t want your ad to be too wide to convert customers, but you also don’t want to be so close to the cash register that your searchers aren’t ready for what you’re offering . Canada Destination’s digital tour of the country perfectly captures that middle ground, keeping users interested without chasing them away with overly specific content.
5. FM training
Search term: leed certification online
FM Training is a certification center for facility managers (FMs), the same people who work to get their building facilities LEED certified. Lots of coursework can help you earn this certification, but finding curricula that suit these professionals can be challenging.
FM Training’s ad campaign ensures FMs know they are in the right place.
While the five site extensions below the ad help users jump straight to the information they’re most interested in, the first sentence of the meta description is what really hits that audience: “FMs …” – the target audience is clearly expressed in terms they would understand – “… see a 6% or more increase in salary in 1 year.” The ad uses the limited space it takes to send a message to drive clicks and make the investment worth the investment.
6. LeftLane Sports
Keyword: hiking shoes for women
This LeftLane Sports campaign is an example of local business promotion done right. The company doesn’t even need people clicking the link to make money from it.
When prospects in the Boston area search for “women’s walking shoes,” they are not just seeing a paid result from LeftLane Sports. You will see where the brand’s closest store is and how long they are open. This is the perfect way to drive website traffic to the relevant product pages and encourage a local presence in the process.
How to create a Google Ads campaign
- Get a Google Ads account.
- Set your campaign goals.
- Complete the “Describe Your Business” section.
- Determine your geographic area.
- Set up keyword topics.
- Write your ad.
- Set your ad budget.
- Complete the “Budget and Review” section.
- Review your duplicate verification.
- Set up billing.
- Click Submit.
1. Get a Google Ads account.
Before you can do anything, you need to go to the Google Ads website and sign up for an account.
When you sign up for a Google Ads account, Google will automatically guide you through the process of creating your first campaign. So prepare for your financial information. Google charges its fee with each click, so your banking information is required during the setup process.
Note: You don’t have to worry about being billed for advertising expenses when you start using Google Ads and set up your first campaign. You can turn it off at any time once you have completed the registration process.
2. Set your campaign goals.
The Google interface will ask you to choose a destination type from the following three options:
- Get more calls
- Get more website sales or signups
- Get more visits to your physical location
This goal is tied to your advertising campaign. So, choose the goal that best matches the results you want.
3. Complete the “Describe your company” section.
Google will then ask you to include your company name and website as important pieces of information that “describe your business”. This information is used to predict your target audience and is also used in the actual ad creation.
4. Determine your geographic area.
In this section you choose where you want your ads to appear. This is especially useful for local businesses.
If you’re an online store, you might be less concerned about geographic restrictions. It’s still not a bad idea to consider where exactly the majority of your audience live. If you don’t know, you may want to take a step back and consider your buyer personalities first. Why spend money on advertising for people in the Midwest when the majority of your customers live in the Northeast?
You can also reach other countries if your company serves international buyers. Just make sure you are prepared for any buyer who comes in your way because of your ads. You can pay a lot of money for visitors who can’t make a purchase if you’re not careful.
5. Set up keyword topics.
Google determines different topics based on the content of your website. You can customize your keywords based on their suggestions as a starting point for your campaign.
Remember that when you choose which keywords to display your ad for, you will compete against many other companies for the same audience. Take some time to think about the keywords that will reach prospective buyers.
For example, instead of using “luxury shoes” in your PPC ad, you can use keywords like “red leather heels”. You may be missing out on people looking for all types of shoes, but you are snapping the ones with a specific shoe in mind. They’re more likely to make a purchase if your ad leads to a landing page with red leather heels, and that pays off more than their click.
You can also use negative keywords and save a lot of money on your clicks. These tell Google what your ad shouldn’t be shown for. In other words, you can use keywords like red leather heels rather than stilettos.
6. Write your ad.
This is the most important aspect of your Google Ads training. The copy you use will make potential buyers click. You want to attract a lot of people, yes, but you also want these people to buy. If they don’t buy, you pay anyway.
In this section you will set up the headings and meta descriptions for your first few ads. Note that you can set up multiple ads in a single campaign, although Google will start you with one.
For any add you create, you have three considerations:
- Target URL
Start with a great headline that uses search terms that reach your niche. Google breaks the headline into three sections of 30 characters each, so each character counts. You may even need to use abbreviations or you can look for shorter synonyms.
After the heading, you will receive another 90 characters for the initial description. Use this area to highlight all the benefits. How will the product relieve your buyers’ pain? You can then use a function in the second description.
Be ready to change these up if you find your ad is not getting a lot of hits, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Here you can choose where the clicks on your ad should go. Just select the page you want them to land on and paste the url into the box.
7. Set your ad budget.
Here you set your daily budget.
You want to bring in enough money to make a difference, but you really don’t want to break the bank. You can set your click bids manually, which gives you more control. It also means that once your budget has been used up, your ads will stop running. That means you won’t end up with a shock of a bill later.
Once you review the results of your campaign, you can always adjust the budget.
8. Complete the “Budget and Review” section.
In this section you check your campaign settings. It is best to check the following:
- Your daily budget
- Your monthly budget
- The impressions you get for that budget
- The clicks you should expect are based on impressions
- The place you are aiming for
9. Review your duplicate verification.
It’s always a good idea to double-check everything before running your ad. Is everything spelled correctly? You will miss the keyword search if there is a typo. When you are sure you did everything right, take a deep breath and move on to the next step.
10. Set up billing.
Since Google charges per click, the payment information is required when setting up the Google Ads account. By providing your payment information, you give Google the ability to calculate the advertising costs incurred for your campaign.
11. Click Submit.
This is how you have your first Google Ads campaign set up.
To create additional campaigns, possibly with different or narrower keyword groups, you need to select Campaigns from the page menu on the left. Then click on the blue plus sign and select New Campaign. The Google interface will guide you through the additional steps.
In addition to having everything set up correctly, you’ll also want to A / B test your results frequently. Change the headings, introduce new features, focus on various benefits – then write down the number of conversions. There is always a way to improve the performance of your ad.
How to cancel a Google Ads campaign
To cancel a Google Ads campaign, first sign in to your Google Ads account. Then follow the instructions below:
- click Campaigns from the menu on the left.
- Find the campaign that you want to cancel.
- Check the box next to this campaign.
- click To edit from the drop-down menu that appears.
- click Break to put the campaign on hold or Remove to stop the campaign permanently.
You can check the box for multiple campaigns for bulk processing.
Now that you know how to set up and cancel Google Ads campaigns, there’s nothing stopping you from getting started with the many things PPC has to offer you.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for completeness.