What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is Google’s paid advertising (PPC) product: you’ll recognise them as those little ads that you see at the top and bottom of the search results. Whether you like them or not – or whether you click on them or not – the fact is that they can be extremely successful at generating traffic for your business.
Adverts appear when someone types a search query into Google. The company’s advertising will bid for keywords related to their particular business. Within a fraction of a second, Google enters thousands of keywords and ads into an “auction” to determine which of them are most relevant to the search query. “Winning ads” are then served up at the top of the results.
Screenshot example of Google Ads example (Pros and Cons)

What are the benefits of Google Ads?

Google Ads can be really helpful if you’re looking to drive traffic to your site quickly. SEO can take weeks or sometimes even months to take effect whereas Google Ads attracts results more or less instantly. 

1. It’s time efficient

You can be up and running on Google Ads in a very short space of time. While there is a lot more to Google Ads than just campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads, these are the first building blocks – and these can be set up very quickly. Do a bit of keyword research, decide on your budget, set up a campaign and a few ad groups then write some killer ad copy, and away you go. Your ads will appear as soon as they’ve been approved, which could be instantaneous. 
If you’re looking to advertise your products on Google, then the campaign setup is even quicker. Simply upload your product feed, write a few headlines and descriptions, and Google will target customers automatically based on your product information and real-time data on shopper intent and preferences.

2. Get in front of the right audience

The further you are to the top of the search results, the more exposure you’ll get in front of people who are actively searching for products that you offer – making it more likely that people will choose to buy from you rather than your competitors.
In 2016, the size of text ads increased to take up more space in the search results, meaning you can now become even more noticeable to potential customers. The ads have also become increasingly engaging, with options to add site links and structured snippet extensions. All these features mean that your ads can usually look better and more engaging than your organic listings.

3. Learn more about your customers

You can use Google Ads to test which keywords you want to drive traffic for, which landing pages work, and in the process learn a lot about your customers and what they tend to search for.
You’ll be gathering a huge amount of data in a very short time frame. If you want to see what happens when you drive a big number of visitors to your site, this is the best way to learn.

4. Your budget can be any size

Google Ads doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re a personal injury lawyer, you might be looking at a cost per click of about £50-£60, but if you’re not, it’s quite easy for small businesses to set up small, tightly optimised campaigns and reap the benefits. You can specify how much you’re willing to spend, and set your maximum cost per click for your keywords, and then you only pay for clicks. This allows you to maintain control of your spend.
You also have complete control over when your ads are running. Run your campaign to allow visitors to come in and when you have enough enquiries, turn your ads off to save budget. 

What are the issues with Google Ads?

1. You have to pay per click

That means that you pay whenever someone clicks on your ad, regardless of whether that click is converted or not. So, you may get clicks from visitors who have no intention of ever buying your product or service and never see a return on your investment. This could be the case if you haven’t added sufficient negative keywords to your campaigns – your ads will be visible to the wrong users and as a result, you aren’t going to see many conversions.

2. Competitive industries have a higher CPC

If your competitors are already using Google Ads then it could be a good idea to start your own campaign, but a lot of competition often means an increase in cost per click. Simply put, lots of people bidding for the same thing (in this case keywords) means the price will continue to rise – just like at an auction. If your keyword bid is too low then your ads could be relegated to page two or three of the search results.

3. It’s a short-term investment

Google Ads has a very short shelf life – as soon as your budget is spent, your ads turn off. It might seem tempting to achieve instant results, but it’s wise to consider your options. SEO (search engine optimisation) will improve the ranking of your site organically, and while results may take up to a year or so to appear, these results last a lot longer than your budget.

4. Ads have limitations

You are restricted by the number of characters you’re allowed; there are three, thirty character headlines, two large ninety character description lines, and a customisable display URL. This is not a huge amount of space to include an attention-grabbing headline, keywords, benefits and a call to action – all which are necessary for driving clicks.  

5. You need to set aside time to invest

There’s a rather steep learning curve when it comes to Google Ads. You need to invest quite a lot of time immediately after the campaign’s been set up to ensure it’s running how you expected it to, and then over consistent periods to monitor what’s converting and what’s not.

6. Landing pages need to be seamless

Google looks at the quality of your landing pages too, so your website needs to be up to scratch in terms of relevancy to the search query. Ultimately, you can’t just rely on Google Ads to get you traffic, your landing pages need to be of a good quality and relevant to your ads, so you can’t just neglect your SEO and swap it out for ads. By improving your website’s landing pages, your Quality Score will increase, which will mean you pay less for your clicks.

7. Customer life cycle

If the products you’re selling require the user to think, save and research your product, you may not see the ROI you were initially expecting. If you’re used to playing the long game, then Google Ads can only help you to reach more potential customers.

What works best for you?

Evidently, there are many pros and cons to Google Ads so it’s essential to ensure it’s right for you and your business. If your main goal is to boost online presence and generate conversions online, Google Ads is often the best way to do this as you can make sure you reach the right audience for your products or services.
Want an extra hand in setting up and running your Google Ads account? Get in touch.