Google AdWords in the Paid Search World

In my latest post on Paid Search and SEM, I covered all of the basics on paid online search engine advertising and what that looks like in terms of what it is, how it works, and some key reasons to utilize it in one’s search engine strategy. At the end of that post I very briefly touched on Google AdWords and gave an introduction as to what that topic is about. As promised, this post will be all about Google AdWords and how organizations could apply the “fundamentals” to create successful paid search efforts.

Google AdWords is Google’s paid search program and it works in the same ways as described in the previous post; by using keywords, relevancy, quality score etc. to decide if and where an organizations ad will land on the search engine result page, or somewhere on Google’s Display Network. That being said, this post will not spend a lot of time on how AdWords works because that information can be found by reading the previous post on paid search, what that is, and how it works. However, I do want to start with Google’s Definition of AdWords:

  • When asked the question “what is AdWords?” Google would describe it as, “Googles online advertising platform that can help you drive interested people to your website.” Put in visual terms, when you do a search query in Google and ad’s show up on the top and right side of the search engine results page, these ads are a result of the AdWords program.

Key Takeaways from AdWords Fundamentals:

  • One of the first and most prominent things I learned about Google AdWords that will be very relevant for an organization seeking to utilize AdWords, is the different campaign options that Google offers. When choosing to use AdWords as part of an SEM strategy, one of the first decisions that an organization must make is the “type of campaign” they want to employ. “The campaign type determines things like where your ads can show to customers on Google advertising networks, and what format they can be in, like text or video.” Google offers several “types of campaigns” and the main aspect that differentiates them is where, as an organization, you want your ad to appear; just on search page results, or on the Google Display Network.
    • The first type of AdWords campaign is a “Search Network Only” campaign and when selecting this campaign an organization is choosing to only have their ads appear on various “Google search results.” Search Network only campaigns work by “linking your AdWords keywords to the words or phrases someone uses to search on Google, then showing relevant text ads on search results pages.” I would apply a search network only campaign for an organization that is attempting to increase brand awareness and wants to instantly be associated with a certain search topic. Organizations that are newer to an industry would benefit from search engine only, because an ad for their company would pop up on the search engine results page, instantly signaling to a user that this organization is associated/relevant to whatever their search inquiry was.
    • The second type of campaign is a “Display Network only” campaign and with this campaign an organizations ads will show up “throughout the Google Display Network” such as Google Finance, YouTube, blogger, or any other Google owned “proprietary” websites. I would apply a “Display Network only” campaign for an organization that is trying to increase awareness of a specific product that they offer. For example, say a soccer store is trying to bring increased attention to the soccer cleats that they offer. By utilizing a Display Network campaign, that organization could place ads on sites “related” to soccer such as YouTube videos related to soccer. In my opinion, the Display Network only campaign “type” could be beneficial to organizations that want to bring attention to a certain aspect of their business.
    • The third type of campaign is a “Search Network with Display Select” campaign and this campaign type allows an organization to utilize both search engine result page ads and Google Display Network Ads. I would apply this type of campaign for an organization who is really just looking to maximize their coverage and increase knowledge of their brand in all areas. Organizations can benefit from utilizing a combo type of campaign such as this one because it allows them to “reach people in more places.”Overall I feel the campaign type is a very key AdWords fundamental that organizations should be knowledgeable of because it will help them select the proper ad type for their personal goals. What does the organization hope to achieve with their AdWords campaign, and then match their goals to the proper type of campaign.
  • The next aspect of Google AdWords that I learned from AdWords fundamentals that is important for organizations to be aware of when employing a paid search campaign with Google, is the types of Ads that can be utilized on Google AdWords. Notice the key difference between what I am about to discuss and what we discussed in the previous bullet. The previous bullet discussed the different types of campaigns and when an organization should use each type of campaign. Here I am discussing the various types of ads that you can make with AdWords. Google offers several types of ads that an organization could use including (but not limited too):
    • Text Ad: contains “words only”
    • Image Ad: contains “static or interactive graphics”
    • Video Ad: contains a video clip
    • Product Listing Ads: contain “product features and pricing information” below an image of the product
    • Call Extensions: “click a button” to call the organization
    • Location Extensions: shows the address of the organization
      • I would apply this knowledge of the various ad type in the same way that I would apply the campaign type. The first step, from an organizational standpoint, is to identify the goals of the organization and why they are employing a paid search strategy. One that has been nailed down, I can turn to the various ad types and decide which one would be most fitting for their goals. For example, I would utilize an image ad for an organization that wanted to “showcase their product or service in a visual way.” Sometimes products/services are better conveyed through an image than they are with words, and if that is the case than an organization should use an image ad. Another example would be the product listing ad. From AdWords fundamentals we learned that product listing Ads contain product and pricing information. Keeping that in mind, I would employ a product listing ad for an organization that wanted certain features or the price of their product to be known right away; perhaps because it is a key part of their competitive advantage. From these two examples, it is clear that an organization can benefit from aligning their SEM marketing goals with the type of ad they choose to utilize. An organization who is wanting to target locals might benefit from utilizing a location extension ad, however it would not be beneficial for them to employ an ad type that did not speak to their location in any way. Google says it best when they discuss making use of ads that “highlight what makes you unique.”
  • Another key learning point from AdWords fundamentals is a tool that will help organizations identify which keywords they should be linking to their campaigns; the keyword planner. The keyword planner is a tool offered in Google AdWords that generates keyword ideas, analyzes costs and impressions of keywords, identifies “search volume” of keywords, “traffic estimates” of keywords, etc.
    • I would apply the keyword planner for a client in different ways, depending on where they are in their paid search strategy. For example, if an organization has a very established SEM strategy and has employed several paid search campaigns, I would have them use the keyword planner as a tracker for keyword metrics. The organizations could examine the “search volume” of certain keywords or use the analysis it offers to see the click through rate/impressions of a keyword. This would benefit an organization with an already established plan because it could help identify keywords in the campaign that are lacking and not driving search traffic. On the other hand, if an organization is just beginning to employ a paid search campaign, I would have them use “historical statistics,” “traffic estimates,” or the keyword idea generator that the keyword planner offers. AdWords fundamentals says, “Keyword Planner will show you statistics…to help you decide which keywords to use for your campaign. You can also get traffic estimates, like estimated clicks.” It is clear from this brief summary by Google that the keyword planner can help organizations that are just starting out by giving them keyword ideas and then supporting keywords with data. The data shows how strong a keyword is likely to perform and has performed in the past.
    • Overall the Keyword planner is a tool offered by Google AdWords that will greatly benefit organizations because SEM campaigns revolve around selecting/bidding on the right keywords. If an organization has not connected their ads to the proper keywords being searched by their target market, the campaign will not be a useful SEM tactic.
    • Though none of them are discussed in detail in this post, Google AdWords also offers several tools that can help track the success of the ads and how often they are leading to conversions. In addition organizations can run campaign experiments, utilize Google Analytics, and measure other aspects of the campaign such as impressions and click through rates. Organizations can benefit from running campaign metrics and conversion rate metrics because they will reveal the effectiveness of the campaign. If click through rates are low or conversions are lacking, organizations will want to take a deep dive into the campaign and examine if it’s the ad itself that is proving ineffective, or perhaps the landing page that the ad links to is ineffective. It is also important to highlight that this blog post just scratches the surface on Google AdWords and what it has to offer. Any organization looking to employ a paid search strategy should be exploring in depth the AdWords material and taking into account those fundamentals when pursuing SEM.

All the quotes and statistics presented in this post came from the following sources:
Google AdWords Fundamentals

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