If you’re a small business owner, then the prospect of using Google AdWords can be both incredibly exciting and very daunting. That’s because, like most people, you have probably heard the stories from people who have had incredible success, and also contradictory tales about people who have spent thousands but seen no upturn in fortunes.
The reality is that the title of this post should more accurately be not ‘Why Google AdWords works’, but ‘Why Google AdWords works when it is used in the correct way’.
First of all, it’s worth taking a closer look at exactly what AdWords is and how it works. Once you’ve understood the basics, then you’ll be in a better position to make an informed opinion about whether or not it is the right fit for you and your business.
What is Google AdWords?
Essentially, Google AdWords is a pay per click, PPC, platform for advertising. It works in two key ways. The first is through the Google search network and the other is through the Google display network. Both of the above use a bidding system where advertisers bid to have their adverts displayed to the right consumers.
The search network does this for people who are actively searching for the keywords you are targeting. These text adverts are the ones that appear in the top of the results columns when you are conducting a search. You can tell you are looking at a Google AdWords result as it will say ‘Ad’ next to the listing.
The display network works in a different way. These are adverts that are placed in the relevant spaces on destination websites. These are usually in the form of banner ads or sidebar ads, known as display ads, usually on websites that are relevant to the target demographic.
Search network ads tend to be more effective because they target people who are directly searching for those terms, with display network ads being less effective as there is less of a direct link to the searcher. However, display ads also work for re-engagement purposes. This is when you have had a visitor at your site looking at your products, and you want to remind them that you are there and waiting for them to return.
Why use Google AdWords?
There are a number of PPC platforms to choose from. These include some of the biggest names in the online world – Facebook and Twitter to name just a couple. Other large search engines offer PPC platforms too, yet none can compete with the scale and scope of Google AdWords.
Unlike Facebook ads, you can reach customers who are simply searching for products and brands like yours. Target the right keywords and you can get to these potential customers before your competitors.
There are some that think the cost of Google AdWords is not worth the results. And while it is true that it can be a little pricey, don’t believe the online posts that claim it is little more than throwing your money away. If spent wisely, you can make even the smallest of budgets go a long way. Plus, you need to remember that almost all marketing channels cost money and isn’t it better to use one that has been proven to get results?
At a glance Google AdWords can seem like a minefield, but there is method to the madness. It really does work but like most things in life, if you really want to make sure you’re getting the very most from your money then we’d always recommend calling in the professionals.
More often than not, the people who feel they are losing money are those who have let their accounts drift off without much input for months on end. That is the other main point about Google AdWords – you get out what you put in. Do the work and the results speak for themselves. Learn how to use the service if you’ve got the time, energy or inclination, or employ someone who does, and you can make your money go a lot further.
Similarly, use more restrictive match types and you can hit a much more specific market, and one that is more relevant to what you are offering. This way you are less likely to be paying for wasted clicks and irrelevant searches. This should also form part of a more realistic budget and strategy. Don’t overreach or overstretch yourself, as this will put more pressure on your Google AdWords campaigns and that can lead to problems.
Remember that Google AdWords should form just one part of your overall marketing strategy. Just like you can’t rely on a good SEO programme to bring in the results, you also can’t put all your eggs in the Google AdWords basket. If you’re simply using SEO to target the keywords, remember that your competition is probably paying to do the same. And while SEO is a great way to boost traffic, it is not always 100% reliable. With a combination of good SEO and PPC you can really drive traffic to your site.
Of course, the real key to success is turning this traffic into sales. Once you have used PPC to get people to your site, the real skill is in turning this into profit. A lot of people seem to blame Google AdWords for their lack of sales, not realising that the PPC is working, but they are not doing their bit to turn it into sales. So, make sure your Google AdWords account structure and keywords are set up correctly to prevent the wrong type of traffic coming in.
In short, Google AdWords is an effective way to advertise your business, build your brand and drive traffic to your website. It does work, and it works well, but it is not a magic trick to boost your sales. It needs to form part of a strategy, working in tandem with other SEO, and you need to build on its results in order to drive real success.