Most entrepreneurs dipping their toes into the pay-per-click pond of Google Ads for the first time will find themselves overwhelmed with options. Search ads, display ads, YouTube ads, shopping ads – the choices are endless and confusing.
As someone who has wasted thousands of dollars on ineffective Google Ads campaigns over the years, let me save you some headache and heartache. I’ve road tested every type of advertising Google has to offer and lived to tell the tale.
In this post, I’ll give you the straight dope on which options are worth your precious marketing dollars and which you should avoid like a bad Tinder date. By the end, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to launch a Google Ads campaign that drives real results instead of just emptying your wallet. You can thank me later.
Search Ads: Reach People Searching for Your Products or Services
As an advertiser, search ads are your bread and butter. They appear at the top of the search results page and on the right-hand side, just waiting to catch the eye of anyone looking for what you’re selling.
I’ll be honest, search ads aren’t cheap. You’ve got to pony up some cash for the clicks and impressions. But when done right, search ads can drive high-quality traffic and customers. The trick is targeting the right keywords and writing compelling ads for people on the hunt for your wares or services.
For example, say you own a bakery. You’ll want to bid on terms like “cupcakes,” “custom cakes,” or “bakery delivery.” Mention tasty treats, eye-catching photos, and a call-to-action like “Order Now!” or “Call for a Free Consultation!”
But don’t get click-happy and bid on every baking-related keyword. Stay focused on phrases that match what you actually offer. No use bidding on “gluten-free donuts” if you don’t sell them. You’ll waste money and frustrate searchers.
Keep a close eye on your ads to see which ones get the most clicks and leads. Tweak or replace underperforming ads. Pause ads for keywords that aren’t converting. And boost your bids for killer keyword+ad combos printing money.
Search ads take work, but for many small businesses, they’re the gift that keeps on giving. Tap into the huge stream of people searching for businesses like yours, and you’ll have customers lining up in no time. Just remember: target carefully, write compellingly, and optimize relentlessly. Do that, and search ads will be your new BFF.
Display Ads: Increase Brand Awareness and Drive Traffic
Display ads are for boosting brand visibility and driving traffic to your site. If you want more eyeballs on your business and products, display ads are the way to go.
Reach New Audiences
Display ads show up on thousands of websites across the Google Display Network, exposing your ads to new audiences. You can target specific audiences by age, interests, location, and more. Just set a budget, choose your targeting, and your ads will appear for people browsing websites related to your targeting.
Build Brand Awareness
With display ads, you can upload custom images, video, and interactive content to capture attention and strengthen brand recognition. I like to use eye-catching images and minimal text – people don’t read much in ads anyway. Keep your logo prominent and consistent in all your ads for maximum impact.
Drive More Traffic
The ultimate goal of any ad, am I right? Display ads make it easy to send people directly to your website with a click. You can choose to link to your homepage, product pages, or customized landing pages. Either way, you’ll start seeing more visitors and potential customers heading to your site.
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Display ads may not provide the direct response of search ads, but they are perfect for nurturing new audiences and building brand familiarity over time. For any business looking to gain exposure, raise visibility, and drive additional traffic, display ads are a no-brainer. Give them a shot – your future customers are waiting!
Video Ads: Engage Viewers With Visual Content
If you want to grab attention and get an emotional reaction from viewers, video ads are the way to go. As a small business owner, I was hesitant to try video at first—I’m no Spielberg, after all. But creating a simple video ad for Google Ads turned out to be surprisingly easy.
- All you need is a smartphone to record and free or low-cost video editing software to polish things up. Keep your video short, around 15 to 30 seconds. Focus on showing how your product or service solves a problem in a fun, memorable way.
- Once your mini-masterpiece is ready, setting up video ads in Google Ads is a cinch. Just upload your video, add a compelling thumbnail image, set a budget, and you’re in business. Google Ads will then show your video to people searching for related keywords or visiting sites in your industry.
- The best part about video ads is they generate the highest click-through rates of all the Google Ads formats. Viewers tend to engage more with video content, so your ads are more likely to catch their eye and get a click. Those clicks then have the potential to convert into customers at a higher rate. It’s a win-win.
While I was apprehensive at first, creating video ads for Google Ads turned out to be one of the smartest moves I’ve made as a small business owner. The additional exposure and traffic have been game-changing. If you’re looking for a way to make a big impact with your marketing budget, video ads are absolutely worth trying. Take it from me—you don’t need to be Spielberg to make video work for your business.
Shopping Ads: Promote Your Products on Google Shopping
When it comes to advertising on Google Ads, shopping ads are like that friend who always tells brutally honest jokes — some people love ‘em, some people hate ‘em. If you’re selling products online, shopping ads can be a way to get your goods in front of people searching specifically to buy stuff. But they may not be for every business.
How Shopping Ads Work?
Shopping ads are those little product listings you see at the top of the search results page. They show an image of an item along with the price and merchant name. When people click one, they go straight to your product page to buy the thing.
Simple, right? Sure, if you ignore the headache of creating a product feed with details on all your merchandise, uploading images of each item, and keeping all that info up to date whenever you add or change products. But for ecommerce companies, shopping ads can drive oodles of direct traffic and sales.
The Pros and Cons
- Shopping ads are ideal if:
- You sell a variety of physical products. Digital goods or services won’t work here.
- Your products have unique images and details that set them apart. Generic or nondescript items won’t attract much interest.
- You offer competitive prices. Shopping ads are all about the Benjamins, baby. If your prices are out of line with the competition, keep walkin’.
However, shopping ads may not be the best choice if:
- Your product catalog is small or rarely changes. The effort to create and maintain the feed probably won’t pay off.
- Your profit margins are tiny. The cost per click for shopping ads can be high, so make sure you have some room for advertising fees.
- You sell controversial or regulated products. Google restricts some types of merchandise from shopping ads. Check their policies first.
In the end, shopping ads can be a powerful way to put your products in front of ready-to-spend searchers. But make sure you go in with realistic expectations — and a sense of humor. This type of advertising may require patience and a willingness to tweak and optimize to get the results you want. If you’re not prepared to invest the time, shopping ads might leave you with a case of the grumbles.
App Campaigns: Get Your App in Front of Mobile Users
App campaigns are Google Ads’ not-so-subtle way of taking over your life. I mean, think about it. Google already knows where you live, your search history, your YouTube viewing habits, and now they want to follow you into the apps on your phone. As an advertiser, though, app campaigns are a golden opportunity.
Getting into people’s pockets
With app campaigns, you can promote your app to people who are likely to be interested in your product or service based on their interests and location. Google will show your ads on mobile apps, YouTube, and mobile websites to help drive new users to download your app.
The big benefit here is reaching people when they’re already engrossed in their phones. Your ad pops up, they tap to download, and you’ve instantly gained a new user. Google makes the whole process frictionless for people by auto-filling info from their Google account. Before they know it, your app is installed and you’ve got a lead!
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. You’ll need to make sure your app is useful, bug-free, and doesn’t burn through people’s battery life or data. If your app stinks, those new users will delete it as fast as they installed it, and you’ll have wasted your ad budget. So do some quality control before unleashing your app on the world.
Closing the loop
The best part of app campaigns is that you can track how people engage with your app after they install it. See which ads drive the most valuable users, who go on to make purchases or become loyal customers. Then optimize your campaign to get more of those high-quality leads and fewer of the duds.
While Google may have an unquenchable thirst for your data, app campaigns do give you transparency into how your marketing dollars are working. And if you play your cards right, you’ll gain new customers, grow your business, and have Google to thank for it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go delete a few apps from my phone before the Google overlords know too much!
So there you have it, the advertising buffet that is Google Ads laid out before you. Take your pick of text ads, display ads, video ads or the whole enchilada with a 360 campaign. But choose wisely – your budget, brand, and sanity depend on it. I’ve given you the roadmap, now the rest is up to you.
Godspeed, and may the clickthroughs be ever in your favor. Me? After researching and writing this beast of an article, I need an ad-free vacation. The only thing I want to see promoted right now is a beach chair, a piña colada, and the sunset. My search results can wait.
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