February 9, 2022

How do Google Ads Work?

By: Shelby Dias

As you consider more ways to connect with your customers, you may be wondering how effective Google ads can be for your business (or just how they work). The Google ads platform has an impressive reach – more than 63,000 searches every second and more than 2 million websites partnered with the Google Display Network.

But, you don’t need your ad to be seen by everyone – just your target audience. To help you get started with the right Google ads strategy, we’ve written an overview of their targeting options and ad types.

Types of Google Ads

The two most common types of Google ad campaigns are search and display. Google also offers several other campaign types like shopping ads, video ads on Youtube, in-app ads, and more. Search ads and display ads can be utilized for many different industries and objectives.

Search Ads

These ads appear as text on the search results pages (SERPs) at the top or bottom. You bid on keywords related to your product or service and your ad shows up when people use those keywords in their Google searches. These ads are an excellent way to show your products or services to people exactly when they are looking for them. Search ad results are notated with an “ad” label to distinguish them from organic search results.

Display Ads

These ads appear as images on websites that your customers are using. The Google Display Network (GDN) is an extensive collection of third-party websites that have partnered with Google and agreed to show their ads. Display campaigns are a great way to promote your business while customers are visiting websites related to your product or service. They might appear as a banner in the middle of an article you’re reading, or on the sidebar of a page.

With changes in Facebook ad targeting options, Google may be the best option if you really want to niche down your audience for digital ads. You have the ability to target your ads based on demographics, search terms, related content, or audience behaviors.

Target Based on Demographics

When you set up your Google ads account, Google will let you define the demographics of your target customer. Specific targeting for each campaign and ad can be layered on top of your demographic targeting.

You can specify your target audience’s age, gender, location, and/or household income. Google also allows you to specify detailed demographics like parental status, marital status, homeownership status, or education level.

When your ad shows up at the top of SERPs, your business is in a prime spot to answer the searcher’s questions and potentially gain their business. To target based on search behavior, you tell Google which keywords you want your ad to show up for.

For example, if someone searches “life insurance,” Google will check if you’ve defined this as a keyword for your search campaign. If you’ve listed this as one of your keywords, your ad is eligible to be shown. Your specific budget will still determine if your ad appears or not.

Target Based on Content

Display ads are often targeted based on the content of the page or website that is being viewed. The Google Display Network (GDN) includes over 2 million sites, so there are a lot of possibilities to choose from. Display ads can show up on news websites, popular mobile apps, or even in email.

For example, a travel agency might show its display ads on websites for popular travel publications. You can specify websites that are popular with your target customers and Google will show your ads there. Within the GDN you can also use broad keywords or topic themes to further narrow down the places where your ad will show up.

Target Based on Audience Behaviors

Google also lets you define your audience behaviors and use that to direct your ads. For example, Google will categorize certain users as “in-market” for your product or service and show your ads to them. This would include people researching your products or competitors.

You can also target audiences based on their major life events like buying a house or having a baby. Or, you can choose “affinity audiences” who are categorized based on their interests. For example, you could target audiences interested in houseplants, home renovations, or beauty products.

Target Based on Remarketing

Remarketing is when you engage with customers (or potential customers) who’ve already come in contact with your business. These could be people who’ve visited your website, clicked a different ad, opened your emails, etc.

You can use this audience targeting to promote a special offer only to existing customers or to follow up with customers who almost completed a purchase.

How Much do Google Ads Cost?

The cost of your ads will vary based on the budget settings you choose for the campaign. Google Ads lets you specify a daily budget and/or a maximum bidding amount (for search ads).

Google charges you based on when users interact with your ad, like clicking through to your website. It’s important to set the right audience and objectives for your campaign so you aren’t paying for interactions that you don’t want.

Setting Up Your Ads

Google offers a detailed checklist on how to set up your ads campaign. The process from start to finish looks something like this:

  • Organize your account by setting up location and demographics.
  • Specify your daily budget and/or bid amounts.
  • Use the free Google Keyword Planner to brainstorm relevant keywords for your campaigns.
  • Define if you want your keywords to be broad or exact matches.
  • Choose your ad destination like a campaign landing page or a specific page on your website.
  • Specify if you want desktop ads, mobile ads, or both.
  • Write your ad copy with a clear and concise message.
  • Connect your account to Google Analytics.
  • Activate your campaign and monitor results.

Specifying your budget and targeting your ads are important elements of your strategy, so be sure to take your time researching the best options for your business at those stages.

And of course, don’t just turn your ads on without checking in on their performance. Google recommends spending at least 30 minutes a week reviewing and adjusting your campaigns. Paying attention to your ads can you save money if something isn’t working.

Advance Your Business Goals

Google ads is a powerful marketing tool with tremendous reach and very specific targeting capabilities. Utilizing these ads in your digital marketing strategy can help your business meet a number of objectives like:

  • Increasing calls or visits to your business
  • Increasing your number of website visitors
  • Generating leads for your business
  • Increasing awareness of your business within a certain category
  • Improving your number of online sales

If you’re interested in connecting with more of your customers with Google ads, we’re happy to help. Working with our team means you won’t have to spend time in the weeds learning how your ads work. Let’s chat about how Google ads can help you meet your goals.

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