Introduction to Google Ads

OVERVIEW: WHAT IS GOOGLE ADS?


In mid-2018, Google announced a rebranding of its various ad initiatives. The company now has multiple connected platforms including Google Ads, AdSense, the Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager.

For this class, we will focus primarily on Google Ads -- since that is the program most likely to be of use to aspiring professional PR and advertising students.

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is an advertising service that enables you to create your own ads to appear on relevant Google search results pages, as well as on other Google Ads-enabled websites. Thus, companies that want to promote their services would use Google Ads to advertise for acquisition of new customers.

WHY GOOGLE ADS?



With Google Ads, you can create ads that are eligible to appear on Google within the search results. Your ads are also eligible to appear on some Google Ads partner sites.

Unlike some traditional forms of advertising, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad! Thus, your ad will generate lots of impressions - but your ad costs are linked to the "click-through rate" (CTR), which is what ultimately matters in driving traffic to your site.

How do you determine what each ad will cost?

In many cases, you will bid on "keywords" that are matched to the types of search engine queries that people make. There are branded and non-branded searches.

What is the difference between branded and non-branded searches?

BRANDED SEARCHES: If the customer already knows your brand name, they will likely type that into the search engine or they may already know the website address and go directly to your site. If they type your brand name into the search engine, this is known as a "branded search."

A good starting point is to do a general search for your brand on Google. Does your brand show up? If so, how high does it rank? Be aware that people might misspell your brand name -- do typos and variations of your brand also show up prominently?

Branded searches include any searches that originate with an attempt to search for your brand -- including typos and variations.

For example, branded searches for the 3D virtual world Second Life would include "Second Life," "2nd Life," "Second Life game" and even typos (e.g. "Secund Life").

NON-BRANDED SEARCHES: What about searches that happen when people don't already know your brand name? Maybe your potential customers are looking for a type of product or service, but are completely unaware that you even exist! A "non-branded search" encompasses searches for general descriptors and phrases that relate to your brand without actually including your brand name.

For example, popular non-branded searches for Second Life might include "virtual world," "3D virtual game," "avatar game" and "virtual life."

How does Google Ads work?

Non-branded searches present a huge opportunity to acquire new customers and/or website visitors! You can use Google Ads to place "bids" on ad placement on searches for both branded and non-branded searches. However, chances are pretty good that other companies are also targeting non-branded searches - so the prices may vary dramatically for your ads based on how in demand your keywords and phrases are. You have lots of options on how to bid and spend your money. You can use Google Ads to pay a higher amount for prioritized placement among ads -- or distribute your costs more evenly so that your campaign budget lasts longer.

Here is a video that further summarizes how keyword bidding works on Google Ads:



One thing to note is that Google rewards you for relevancy over the long-term. To deter companies from bidding on popular phrases that have nothing to do with their brand or service, Google will actually factor in the accuracy of your ad copy and keyword bids into its algorithm that determines where your ad is placed. Thus, you don't want to "spam" or "bait and switch" potential customers with ads that are irrelevant to their searches.

Will my ads only be displayed on the search results pages on Google?

Not necessarily. You have the option to place an ad only on Google's search pages and/or the Display Network of partner sites. If you choose to include the Display Network, your ad can appear across the Internet on numerous sites that match the theme or topic of your campaign. These ads can include images, interactivity and even video.



For Display Ads, you can either import in your compliant ad or build a new Display Ad right inside the Google Ads Display Ads tool. 

How do I get started with Google Ads?

Looking to get started using Google Ads?

Sign up for your free account. Although you don't necessarily need this for class, here is a link for a free $75 (when you spend $25) in starter advertising for first-time Google Ads users.

Once you are logged in, you can start to write your ad copy and then use the ad creation tool to identify the keywords that you want to bid on. You can also target your ad for placement in particular geographic regions and other variables.



How can I learn Google Ads?

Google has a self-paced online learning platform that is free to use. Academy for Ads is a great way to learn everything you need to know to get up-to-speed on Google Ads!

Visit Academy for Ads >> 

There are also several tutorials available on the official Google Ads YouTube channel.

How Do You Measure Success in Google Ads?



Other Useful Tools:

  • Use the Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaign.