Have you ever encountered those colored text boxes advertising products or services on websites? Most of these “online commercials” are from Google AdWords.
Google AdWords was launched before fall of 2002, with a small business that sold live mail-order lobsters as its first advertisers. It is a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mille (CPM) advertising program. This means that you only pay for the advertisement when someone gets around to clicking on it.
In 2003, Google Adwords introduced its site-targeting feature, providing online advertising for products or services by featuring them in particular websites where the advertisements are considered relevant. This is keyword-based advertising, meaning the ad will only appear in sites or search pages that are related to what you are selling or offering. The ads are composed of one title line and two lines descriptive of its content if located on search engine results pages. Images and videos are available only to content network ads, or advertisements featured in websites.
When a person uses the Google search engine, or other affiliated search engines, a “sponsored links” portion will be displayed on the screen. This is a list of all paid-for ads of AdWords based on the words inputted by a user during a search. Advertisers are asked to indicate the words that would present their advertisements and a price specifying how much they are willing to pay per click. This bid, as well as the “quality score” compared to other ads in the same category, determines the ranking and placing of the ad on the list. Relevance of an advertiser’s keywords and text, the record of click-through rates, account history, and other parameters set by Google decide the quality score. Another use of the quality score is in coming up with the minimum bid set by Google for the advertisement.
An offshoot of the AdWords program is AdSense. If AdWords determines where to place your advertisements based on factors you have set, AdSense will scour the contents of a website and resolve which ads will be best placed on the site. So if you sell Angora rabbits, for example, AdWords will place your Angora rabbits ad on a site with content relevant to your product. If you have a friend with a website about rabbits, and he has AdSense, then this program may just place your Angora rabbit ad on his site. Unlike AdWords however, wherein the advertiser pays Google for the ads that are clicked on, in AdSense it is the owner of the website where the ads are placed who gets paid by Google.
AdWords holds several advantages:
1. It reaches the advertiser’s target audience. Since it is keyword based, advertisers must first indicate the particular keywords that will allow the display of their ads in specific sites or search engine results pages. This means that the people who will see your ads are those whose interests are in the same field.
2. The advertiser only pays for click-throughs. Even if the ad is displayed a hundred times, no amount is paid until the ad attracts a user and he clicks it.
3. Only advertisements that are important to the viewers will be displayed. If your advertisement does poorly, Google will automatically disable it. This means that only ads that work and are significant will get to be put on view.
4. Advertisers are allowed to have different ads for the same keyword take turns in being displayed. The one that proves itself to be most effective is the one that will automatically be shown more often. If the ad does not get as clicked on most often gets booted out.
5. Google provides real-time feedback and very descriptive data to its advertisers so monitoring and fine-tuning of advertisements can be done.
AdWords gives you the means to launch a campaign with a very clear direction when it comes to your target audience. Unlike more common print ads that are viewed by people whether they like to or not and with a fixed price for ad space, AdWords’ cost-per-click services presents your ads to people most likely interested in purchasing your product or services. Google also provides budget-control capabilities to regulate your money allocation and reports and statistical analyses to help in seeing the trend in your advertising decisions.
There are some nay-sayers however, in the use of AdWords. Their most common complaints are:
1. The present program has become too complex for most users. Google provides a hundred lessons to clients as an aid to using AdWords. If you think about it, this means that a hundred steps are needed to be able to explain the application fully. It has also been observed that more and more instructions, features, and regulations are added, further adding to the bulk of information you will need to learn to fully appreciate all the features of the program.
2. Click fraud. This happens when someone happens to click on the ads just for fun, and with no intention whatsoever of actually purchasing your product. Google actually had to pay a $90 million settlement to advertisers who had to pay for false sales referrals dating back to 2002.
3. Costs-per-click are not what they used to be. The minimum bids set for some keywords are proving to have risen dramatically. This rules out certain merchants, especially those who have just started their businesses, to be given a chance to advertise their wares.
4. Broad match results can be incongruous. Though Google has set up an intricate matching pattern to ensure the ads are placed on the right sites, some glitches may still be experienced. Like the classic example of a C5 envelope search produced an ad for a Citroen C5 car.
Steps and Tips
After considering all these factors and you’ve decided that Google AdWords is still the right marketing tool for you, we can now get down to actually setting up your Google AdWords campaign.
1. Create a Google AdWords account. The activation fee will cost US $5. Go to http://adwords.google.com to get an overview of the program and to acquaint yourself with its functions and processes.
2. Do keyword research for your product. Try to put yourself in a user’s shoes and imagine what keywords they will type on the search bar to find your product. You may also use several online tools like those provided by AdWords (https://adwords.google.com/selsct/TrafficEstimatorSandbox) or Wordtracker (http://[URL="http://www.wordtracker.com/"]www.wordtracker.com[/url]). This is very important since the right keywords will actually help in making Google AdWords choose your ad for posting.
3. Proceed to an ad group and click on "Edit Keywords and CPC".
4. Take note that there are three things to consider in making sure that AdWords runs your advertisement and does not take it down after a day or two:
a) Cost-per-click. Bid at the lowest amount possible in the beginning. If your ad does not show up, consider raising the bid until it is displayed at the first page or two of a search result.
b) Quantity over quality. AdWords cares more about the volume of clicks that your ad produces rather than the amount received per click, or the corresponding bid amount. This is where the keyword research you have done previously will prove itself critical to your advertising campaign.
c) A high daily budget. Setting a high budget increases the possibility of your ad being displayed above other competitors in the listing. Some people set an outrageously high budget since they see the possibility of it actually being used up as close to impossible. If this is what you have chosen to do, make sure you monitor your daily budget regularly so as not to go over the amount you can actually afford to spend on advertising.
5. Set-up more than one ad for the same batch of keywords, but with varying combinations. The one that is most successful will be the one run by AdWords.
6. Keep an eye on your campaign. Test which ad group works and make needed changes to the different elements to increase click-through rates. You may make use of several online tools available to track the number of people actually clicking on your ads.
Admittedly, there is a steep learning curve in being able to launch effective AdWords campaigns. Like any business venture, finding out the right combinations for these campaigns may take time and money. There are several useful tools produced by AdWords and other third-party consultants. Once you get the hang of it however, AdWords will be very beneficial to your business, able to attract hundreds of visitors to your website and producing immediate sales.