Google AdWords and Bing Ads
PPC Advertising: Engage Customers Who Search for Your Keywords When you search for a term on Google or Bing, you’ve likely seen ads at the top of those results. They’re highly relevant adverts, based on the keywords you’ve entered.
Have you ever wondered how those ads get chosen? Or how businesses can advertise like that? Google AdWords and Bing Ads let businesses attract customers with search engine advertising. For businesses, these ads offer a chance to get their businesses in front of customers when it matters most.
When they’re searching for products. That’s an undeniable amount of influence. Yet getting started with AdWords can seem overwhelming. We’ll give you an overview of how it works, what you can do to get started, and how you can maximise your advertising budget on PPC ads.
What Is AdWords?
AdWords is Google’s massive advertising network, and the system makes it possible for businesses to place ads at the top of Google search results. The idea is fairly simple: Advertisers bid on keywords and Google selects the ads that get placed based on Ad Rank (a measure of the ad’s quality and relevance). Businesses only pay for ads if they’re clicked. That’s why they’re called Pay Per Click, or PPC, ads.
Which Advertisement Gets Displayed?
Let’s create a simplified example where only three advertisers have paid for the keywords waterproof iPhone case. Each advertiser has a different advertisement budget so they all have bid different amounts. Advertiser one has a maximum bid of $2.00, advertiser two has bid $3.00 and advertiser three has bid $5.00. These advertisers will not have to pay any more than their maximum bid.
Given the above question and advertiser three’s $5.00 bid, one would assume they win the auction. Not according to Google. Google ranks the overall ads for a search term based on what they call Adrank. Adrank takes two factors into account: the maximum bid amount and Quality Score.
These two factors multiplied together equal the Ad rank. Ad rank determines the position of each website on the search page. Quality Score is based on three factors – The expected click-through rate (CTR), the landing page experience and the Ad Relevance.
The expected click thru rate is a comparison between the CTR you achieve for a keyword and what Google expects the CTR should be for a given keyword or phrase. So, if you get less than what they expected you might get a below average score rating. A CTR above their expected CTR means you get an above average rating.
Ad relevance is also a below average, average or above average rating based on how well your text ad relates to the keyword phrase.
Landing page experience is a rating for the page that customers will click thru to on your website. We have already discussed a lot of details on improving your landing page such as titles, meta descriptions, content, page speed, mobile ready etc. and all these factors should be addressed to ensure each landing page is optimal for the keyword phrase you’re targeting.
If it is optimal it will be easier to achieve an above average rating as opposed to a below average rating but even so you may find you need to tweak your landing pages for each individual keyword phrase. Google converts these above average, below average and average ratings into a score out of ten. This becomes your quality score.
Every keyword phrase you target on AdWords gets their own quality score. Let’s say that advertiser one has a 10/10 quality score. Advertiser two has a 5/10 and advertiser three has a 1/10 score. Who is going to win the auction and rank first? Advertiser one.
Advertiser one may have only bid $2.00 but their bid multiplied by 10 (their quality score) is an Ad rank of 20. Their ad rank is five above advertiser two and fifteen above advertiser three, so they would win the auction and achieve the number one position on the page.
Google runs a keyword auction for every individual search that takes place. By working to improve your quality score you can improve your ad rank by tweaking your bid based on the amount you want to pay and the position on the search results page you desire.
How much money did advertiser one pay to win the first position? So far, $0.00 as advertisers only pay when somebody clicks on their ad. Let’s say that they get the click, how much did it cost them? Google basis how much an advertiser gets charged in a simple formula. In the above example, advertiser three would pay $0.76. This calculation is the result of the ad rank of advertiser two (15) divided by advertiser one’s quality score (20) + $0.01.
If this calculation would have surpassed $2.00, Google would not put it into the auction to ensure that it stays within the advertisers budget. Advertisers choose a maximum threshold daily and monthly.
In the simplified example, advertiser one is always the highest ranked ad and advertiser two always ranks directly below it. If advertiser one’s daily threshold is $5.00 and search engine users have clicked on their ad five times, Google will stop displaying their ad to stay within the budget. Six clicks mean that advertiser one has paid $4.56 and one more click would put them over their budget of $5.00.
What Are the Benefits of PPC Advertising?
Does AdWords make sense for your business? Well, compared to traditional print, radio or TV advertising, search engine ads offer a few key advantages including:
- Maximum Relevance. You’re putting your ads in front of a highly targeted audience – customers who are searching for products/services like yours. Imagine this: If you owned a shoe store in Sydney, and you won an AdWords auction for the keyword “shoe stores in Sydney,” your business would be the first thing searchers see.
- Measurable Results. Accountability is difficult with traditional media ads. Did a customer visit your store because of your ad in the newspaper or your radio ad? With PPC ads, all KPIs are at your fingertips: How many people saw your ad (impressions), how many people clicked, how many clickers made a purchase, etc. You can measure effectiveness much more precisely.
- Cost Effective. With Google you can set a maximum bid, a daily budget, and you can turn off ads that aren’t working – in other words, you have more control over your advertising budget.
- Targeting. You can target the customers who see your ads by location, by the type of device they’re using, by the time of day, by keyword and much more. Google allows numerous targeting options – helping you to get your ad in front of the most relevant audience.
Getting Started with AdWords: Features to Know
A quick overview of AdWords’ most common features can help you master the platform and get better results from your PPC ads.
A few concepts to consider include: Single Keyword Ad Groups With AdWords, you can create a single ad for multiple keywords. But this can drive down relevance. Here’s an example: Suppose a potential customer searched for the terms “dresses,” “maxi dress,” or “evening gowns.” Those search terms are closely related, but the searcher is looking for something specific with each query. Advertisers can group all of those words together for a single ad. Let’s say the headline was “Women’s Dresses for Sale – Shop for the Latest Designer Styles.” For the search term “dresses,” this would be highly relevant, but for the “evening gowns” term, not so much.
Single keyword ad groups mean you create specific ads tied to each keyword you want to advertise next to. So, in this case, you would have a unique ad for “dresses,” one for “maxi dresses” and another for “evening gowns.”
Single keyword ad groups help you: 1) Increase your ad’s relevance 2) Increase the number of people who click on it (because it’s more relevant).
An increased CTR and higher relevance help to improve Quality Score, which in turn, drives down your cost-per-click price. Therefore, not only are your ads more relevant to customers, but they cost less for you to place. This makes single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) a powerful tool for optimising your PPC ads.
Landing Pages When people click your PPC ad on Google, they’re directed to a landing page. This page has a huge impact on your Quality Score; in fact, the landing page experience accounts for about 39% of Quality Score. Ad relevance (22%) and Expected CTR (39%) are the other two factors. So, what makes for a high-quality landing page? Here are some of the criteria Google uses:
- Be Relevant – Align the content on your landing page to user expectations. If a user searches for “evening gowns,” show a list of your evening gowns. On the other hand, if your customer searches for “dresses,” she probably wants a more general list of all the dresses you offer; your evening gown list probably wouldn’t be the right fit.
- Be Credible – Make it easy to find the name of your company and contact information. Google doesn’t want people to feel like they’ve been sent out to some sketchy Internet neighbourhood after clicking on an ad. Make people feel welcome when they land on your site.
- Be Navigable – Your campaigns should be optimised for both mobile and desktop users. Make the navigation easy. People should be able to find information quickly. You can use a responsive site, or you can create mobile and desktop landing pages.
- Be Fast – Page speed can be a Quality Score killer. Optimise your code and images to make your page load faster, and reduce or ditch rich multimedia elements that take forever to load.
Writing Text Ads Text ads on Google have three key areas: There are two 30-character headline spaces and an 80-character description line. That’s it. So, you should be using those 4 C’s of copywriting here – especially conciseness. Start by thinking about your core message and align that to the user’s intent. A few keys to success in writing PPC ads include:
- Highlight Your USPs – What makes your business or products unique? Convey that in your ad. Is it variety? Low prices? Incredible customer service? Tell them.
- Include Promotions and Prices – Put your promotions front and centre. 20% Off? Special Sale? 1/2 Off Designer Fashions? Promotions entice clicks, so be sure you show them off.
- Use Action Verbs – Tell your readers what you want them to do using action verbs. A few common actions: Buy, call today, browse or shop, sign up, enrol, request an estimate. Don’t just describe – let them know what to do next.
- Include Keywords – Go back to your Single Keyword Ad Group – what keyword are you trying to reach? It should be in your copy at least once, with additional variations if they fit. Keywords = relevance. Be sure you use them.
- Be Mobile Friendly – More and more search users are on mobile devices. Ensure you copy is easy to read, and actions are directed toward mobile users – call, get directions, see a map.
- Align with Your Landing Page – For your landing page to be relevant, it must match your ad. You wouldn’t want people to click through an ad that says “FREE Shoes”… to find a list of $200 Yeezys for sale. Don’t oversell.
Making Text Ads More Compelling The best practice for writing a text ad is to start with a compelling headline, referred to as Headline 1. Headline 1 will be the first thing a potential customer will see and is thirty characters long. When writing this headline there are a number of ways to appeal to customers and motivate clicks.
- Placing credentials such as qualifications or expertise and/or experience. For example, a headline proving credentials could show that your business is thirty years old or licensed for XYZ.
- Evoking emotion with a headline such as, “Give your family the best….”
- Focus on a topic that suits your niche, like being green or eco-friendly.
- Write a specific call to action in the headline such as “….Call Now”
- Place direct focus on the benefit to your potential customer and NOT the feature of your product or service.
- Write about what makes your product or service unique.
- You may also, if the keyword phrase warrants it, use the keyword phrase in your Headline 1. If you don’t use the keyword phrase here you should always include your keyword phrase somewhere else in your text ad. It can be placed in if not in headline 2 or your description. The best practice is to use your keyword phrase in the path fields. Remember, your keyword should always match your landing page.
- Spelling should always be perfect. Remember to adjust spelling for different countries. For example, in the USA an ad about analyzing website traffic should read, “Analyze your website traffic.” In Australia or the UK, the same ad should read, “Analyse website traffic.” Spelling and grammar mistakes can make your ad look unprofessional and make customers weary to click on your webpage.
- Write ads for the device they will be displayed on. For example, if your ad is going to be displayed on a mobile device, write the ad specifically for mobile.
Headline 2 which is also 30 characters can be used to support Headline 1. Use one above factor to write Headline 1 and another factor for Headline 2. The path field should always be your keyword phrase. The description is 80 characters, providing a great opportunity to support or expand on what you chose to do in Headline 1 and 2 and further drive home a call to action. Rarely do you get each ad perfect the first time? Finding ad campaign success involves trial and error, continuously improving each ad by trying out each of the above factors.
Another great feature of AdWords: You can test multiple ads with different copy and promotions and see which works best. What should you be testing? Try these variations:
- Ad Copy – Try different keywords, promotions, and calls to action. For example, experiment with HALF OFF vs 50% OFF.
- Bidding Strategy – Test whether increasing or decreasing your max bid affects the reach of your ad. You might find that spending less still results in substantial traffic, or that increasing your bid slightly results in a major uptick.
- Negative Keywords – Negative keywords are words that you deem irrelevant. This allows you to target highly specific words and eliminate words that are too broad. For example, you might exclude “dresses,” if your ad is written specifically for evening gowns.
- User Targeting – Target more precise geographic locations – e.g. an individual city vs that city and its suburbs, or even specific neighbourhoods. Or target based on mobile vs desktop search.
Comparing ads to each other is a form of A/B testing. It is a productive way to find the most effective ad copy. Each ad group, for each SKAG, should always have two ads running at any one time.
Once one ad statistically outperforms the other, the worst performing ad should be stopped, and a new ad was written to compete with the winner. This process of eliminating the worst performing ad should be a continuous process to drive the CTR higher and achieve an above average score for expected CTR in your quality score.
Let’s say that one ad has a CTR of 2.5% and the other ad has a CTR of 2.3%. Both ads have impressions of 200. The first ad is has a much higher CTR for the same number of impressions. Using this information, stop the second ad and write a new text ad to compete with the first ad.
Once the second ad generates enough clicks and impressions, repeat the process above and stop the worst performing ad and then write another new ad. This way you should always be improving your CTR.
Negative Keywords Negative keywords are keywords and phrases that prevent your ad from being shown. For example, you could include the word “free” as a negative keyword. Therefore, if your product is marketing automation software, user searches for “free marketing automation software” would prevent your ad from being viewed. Types of negative keywords include:
- Broad Match: Your ad isn’t displayed if the keyword is in the search, no matter the order. For example, if you did a negative broad match for “tennis shoes” – your ad wouldn’t show up for “tennis shoes” or “shoes tennis.” But if the search was for “sports shoes” you’d still be OK.
- Phrase Match: Your ad doesn’t display if the ad contains the terms in the exact order. With “tennis shoes,” your ad would still show up if someone searched “shoes tennis” but not for “tennis shoes.” If the search was for “red tennis shoes,” your ad wouldn’t show, because the exact phrase shows up.
- Exact Match: You eliminate an exact match of the term. If someone searched “tennis shoes,” your ad wouldn’t show. But if the search term was “green tennis shoes,” your ad would show.
Be Careful. Negative keywords can be helpful for eliminating words that might cause confusion: eyeglasses vs wine glasses. But overusing negative keywords can prevent your ads from reaching customers or make your audience too narrow.
Ad Extensions Extensions are bits of information added to your PPC ads that can increase effectiveness. And there are many different types of ad extensions. Google shows your extensions if:
- The ad is predicted to perform better if the extension is shown
- Your business’s Ad Rank is high enough to qualify for extensions
We recommend using ad extensions for all of your PPC ads. They’re free to use, and they can instantly make your ads more relevant. The most common include:
- Call-Outs – Brief call-outs of your USPs that display beneath the description, i.e. “Open 24 Hrs – Free Shipping – Price Matching”
- Location – Your address, a call option, and a link to your business website which can help you drive customers to your location.
- Call or Message – Provide a button to receive calls or text messages from customers.
- Sitelink – Deep links to category pages on your website. You might have sitelinks for “About Us,” “Our Products” and “Our Services.” Each link has a brief description below it.
- Price – You can call-out prices for specific products or services right below your ad.
Bidding Strategy Your bidding strategy should be built around your goals. Do you want to generate sales? If so, you’d focus on conversions and use Smart Bidding to do that. Or do you want to drive traffic to your website? You’d focus on clicks, which CPC bidding allows you to do. Here’s a look at both types:
- Smart Bidding – Smart Bidding uses automation and machine learning to optimise your bids for conversions. You can set what a “conversion” means to your business, i.e. a sale, an email sign-up, or completing a form. A few ways to do it include:
- Target CPA: You can target a specific cost-per-acquisition price, which is how much you want to spend to generate a sale. Google them automatically adjusts who sees your ads to drive actions and reach this target price.
- Target ROAS: This method focuses on return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) – so you’ll be focused on increasing the conversion value of a visitor, i.e. increasing the average order value of your conversions.
- Maximise Conversions: This type of bidding targets conversions, while spending down your entire ad budget (rather than focusing on a CPA).
- Enhanced CPC: This method automatically adjusts your manually bids to maximise conversion.
- CPC Bidding – CPC bidding focuses entirely on generating traffic, and there are two options to consider:
- Maximise Clicks: This bidding strategy is super easy to use, and all it requires is for you to set a daily budget. AdWords then manage your bids to generate the most clicks.
- Manual CPC Bidding: You have complete control over all bidding. You set your maximum bid, and you can allocate your budget to your most profitable ads.
Shared Budget Suppose you’re running multiple ad campaigns in Google and targeting many different keywords. You’d have to monitor the budgets for each of those campaigns. Using a shared budget, you can allocate a daily budget which is automatically spread across all of your campaigns by Google. AdWords’ machine learning technology then adjusts budget allocation in real-time to maximise ROI.
How Much Will It Cost?
You’ve set your max bid. Let’s say it was $2. If your ad was clicked 20 times, you’d spend $40, right? Well, it’s a little more nuanced. In fact, you may actually spend significantly less depending on a few factors. There’s a handy equation you can use to find your specific cost-per-click. It is the Ad Rank of the ad below yours divided by your Quality Score + $0.01. If you had a Quality Score of 10 with a max bid of $2.00, and the person below you had an Ad Rank of 17– you would pay: $1.71 per click (even though your maximum bid is $2.00). That’s 17/10 + $0.01. Ultimately, you determine how much you want to invest by setting your daily budget. And the average CPC prices for keywords vary by industry. Car insurance and legal fields, for example, tend to have much higher average CPCs compared to industries like hospitality or entertainment.
Bing Ads share a lot of similarities between Google AdWords. But there are some benefits to advertising on Bing. For one, Bing CPC prices tend to be more competitive than Google. Plus, there are fewer advertisers on Bing, and therefore, your ad can potentially have a wider reach. Here are some key differences between Bing Ads and Google AdWords:
- More Targeting Control: Bing Ads allows you to target users by location, network, and time of day at the Ad Group level. With Google, this is only available with each individual campaign. Therefore, on Bing, you have a bit more flexibility.
- Sidebar Ads: On desktop searches, Bing Ads offers sidebar space for advertisements. (Something Google recently nixed.) That equals better visibility for your ads and more placement options.
- Less Competition: Bing is the world’s No. 2 search engine – and that means fewer users. But it also means fewer advertisers. So, you may receive less traffic, but you can potentially reach a higher percentage of users.
Extension Types: Bing and Google have many of the same extension types, but there are differences. For example, some of Google’s advanced extension types aren’t available in Bing – although call-outs, location and reviews are. Bing also includes an image extension (which isn’t available on Google), which allows you to upload up to six product images that are shown beneath your ad.