A beginners guide to the Google Ads platform for advertisers and businesses

What will we cover? 

  • What is the Google Ads platform and how does it work?
    - Introduction to the platform
    - Google ads network
    - Google ads auction
    - What is ad rank and quality score?
  • The cost of advertising on Google
  • How do I use Google Ads? 
  • Is the platform effective to use for my business? 
  • Google Ads and CampaignHero: How can we help?

What is the Google Ads platform and how does it work?

Introduction To Google Ads

Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) is one of the largest online advertising platforms that enables businesses to reach customers on any device and in any country. Through this pay-per-click ecosystem advertisers are able to tailor keywords and audiences in order to get their products and/or services in front of the right people at the right time. 


Introduction the the ads platform itself

The Google Ads Platform Including Campaigns and Metrics

Google Ads was created in 2000 as the first ever self-serve online advertising platform, after hundreds of updates and a rebrand the PPC system has now become one of the most well-known marketing tools for businesses all over the world. 


What does a Google ad actually look like?

The Google Ads platform is constantly growing, and we could sit here and provide you of the countless ad types that may appear to you, but here are just a few of the classics that we love: 


Search Ads

Google Search Ad - Buy A Car Search Enquiry

Search Ads are displayed as the first results on Google’s search page. Now it’s not as easy as paying the dollar and appearing right at the top, it all depends on the keywords you are using, your targeting, bidding strategy and overall ad relevance- but we’ll touch on that later on.


Display Ads

Google Display Ads - Mailchimp Right Column PopUp

Display ads tend to have lower CPCs (cost-per-click) than the average search ads, which is why they prove to be so popular. These image and video ads appear on the Google Display Network which is made up of over 2 million websites, videos and apps.


Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads Buy An iPad Pro Search Enquiry

Google Shopping Ads were bought out a little later than some of the other traditional campaign types, in 2012 the Google platform blessed both advertisers and shoppers with the use of shopping campaigns in which ecommerce businesses could advertise their products to consumers. 

The Google Ads Network 

So we touched briefly above with what is known as the Google Ads Network, this is a group of websites, apps and videos that are used both in Search and Display campaigns to reach a wider scope of people. 


The Search Network: Google search results pages, other Google pages such as Shopping, Maps and search sites that partner with Google. 


The Display Network: Google sites like YouTube, Gmail, blogs, news pages and other partnering websites online. 


When setting up new campaigns in your ad account, by default your ads are opted in to display across the entire network to ensure the most visibility. In your ads manager you will be able to see a report that shows which sites your ads are being featured on. If you notice that certain sites on the Google network aren’t proving to provide a good return on investment, then you are able to opt out of all of them, or even select individual sites.

The Google Ads Auction 

When a query is typed into Google by a user the search engine has to determine the intent of that searcher (whether they are looking to buy, or simply just information), that’s where Google’s auction comes into play with advertisers will compete for that potential consumer.


This will depend on:


The advertisers bid- How much an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their ad. Google has plenty of bidding options for you to choose from which can seem quite overwhelming for PPC newbies, they can be set at individual keyword level or at the ad group level with a manual CPC bid. 


The advertisers relevance- The Google search engine aims to display ads that users will usually click on (otherwise why would businesses continue to invest their money into this platform?). This can otherwise be known as your Quality Score which is a combination of relevance factors, which can be calculated as Ad Rank = Max CPC x Quality Score, you will be able to find these metrics in your reporting columns. Let’s move on to this in more detail below.


What is Ad Rank?

So as discussed previously..

Do not underestimate the importance of your ad rank and the rest of the equation that comes with it, it’s how you can place higher above your competition and be seen more than other ads that are being displayed. Your quality score indicates the relevance of the experience to users which plays a big part in what you will be paying per click. 


What does Google look at when calculating your Quality Score?

  1. Landing page experience- If the user is directed to a website/landing page that reflects their query, and if the page provides good user experience, for example, is it mobile friendly?
  2. Expected click-through-rate (CTR)- likelihood of ad being clicked on.
  3. Ad relevance to the query raised by searcher- having a clear ad copy which should relate to the users search.


The Cost of Advertising on Google

65% of small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, whilst Google ads offers an admirable ROI compared to other advertising platforms, it can always be difficult to know how much you should be spending for advertising your own business. But how does Google place against other advertising platforms?

Estimated CPCs and costs across LinkedIn Ads, Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Pinterest Ads, Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads

When advertising on Google unfortunately there is no one size fits all cost, it is very much dependent on your business's industry, some prove to be dearer than others and some there just isn’t that much competition so you can expect lower costs. The way to try and understand the costs you’ll face on this PPC platform is to head over to the Google Keyword Planner and see the estimated CPCs for your desired keywords, or if you’re looking for something a little more granular in terms of how much you should be spending on a platform, try out our very own ad spend calculator


How much you are charged for a click on your ad depends on:

  • Ad rank 
  • Quality score
  • Budget and bid strategy
  • Targeting settings
  • Keywords 
  • Competitor landscape
  • Industry


Now there is always room to improve each of these components, for example to improve your quality score, you can improve a user’s landing page experience by optimising your website/page that is advertised. This is why some businesses usually outsource their PPC channels so that specialists can improve each of these elements to generate more clicks, lower CPCs and increase conversions. 


How Do I Use Google Ads?

Reading into Google Ads can sometimes feel like diving into a rabbit hole, it doesn’t seem to end! But advertising on Google doesn’t have to be difficult, although it will take practice. If you’re new to the PPC platform we recommend giving a Smart Campaign a try, head over to our step-by-step walkthrough on how to set up your very first Google Smart Campaign

Is The Google Ads Platform Effective For My Business?

If you have a website, then Google Ads is always one of the best forms of advertising to dip your toes into! No matter your business size or industry (advertising policies permitting) there is plenty of space in the auction and Google Network to get your brand seen online. 


But I assume by effective, you’re probably thinking more about the cost. 


Well as stated above, Google is the middle-man in terms of the expense of advertising, but despite slightly higher CPCs than other social advertising platforms like Facebook, Google is one of the best places to be marketing your business. The wide variety of campaign types and audiences enables you to be seen by your target customers at the right time of the purchasing cycle, for every $1 invested into Google Ads is an average return of $2, so it’s a no brainer it’ll be effective, right? 


Of course it can be slightly more challenging for certain businesses dependent on industry type, legal services and consumer goods can prove to have higher CPCs than the average and can be quite difficult to find the right space for your ads, but with the help of Google’s tools and features you can easily test and adapt your strategy. If you don’t feel confident doing that, then this next section is for you (and it’s not too pricey either). 


Google Ads and CampaignHero: How Can We Help?


Our Google Partnership means access to ad spend vouchers and BETAs 

In 2019 we were awarded the status of being a Google Premier Partner alongside our sister agency and creator, Broadplace. Being a Google partner has its perks including having access to exclusive ad spend vouchers and BETAs that you won’t find anywhere else. 


If your business is new to advertising, sign up with any CampaignHero plan and receive up to £120 ad spend matched to use on the Google Ads platform, as well as receive 30 days free campaign set-up and management by our specialist team. 


Find out more about our Google Ads promotion


We specialise in businesses of all sizes and levels of expertise 

At CampaignHero we work with thousands of businesses of all different sizes as well as various levels of expertise in the PPC world. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced on the Google Ads platform we can help you build or grow your campaigns with the power of our support team and technology. 


Our technology and Google certified support team 

At CampaignHero, we pride ourselves in our technology and team to provide the best support to the businesses we work with. Running 1000s of campaigns and being certified by Google has given us the expertise and knowledge to run high quality ads that are tailored to each business's goals to enable growth online. 


Want to learn more about how CampaignHero can help with your Google Ads efforts? Book a demo with our team. 


So there you have it, the ins-and-outs of how the Google Ads platform works! Still have questions? Follow us on social media to learn more about the PPC world and how it can help tailor your marketing strategy going forward.

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