I really enjoyed taking the Google Ad Fundamentals course. There was a lot of information to go through but Google has done a very good job explaining things in a logical manner. I’m going to take you through what I think are the highlights of the course. It’s not the easiest exam so if you are going to take it I suggest you review the optional course topics and take notes. You can challenge the exam and you need to receive 80% or better to pass, if you do not pass you are locked out from challenging the exam for 24 hours, but then you can try again.
Basics of Google Ads
Google searches – deciding between a search ad and a display ad campaign.
YouTube – running ads at the start of a video, or at segmented portions of the video if it is 3:00 or longer.
New York Times.com – Google partner websites. There are millions of them.
There are two general themes for Google Ads: 1. Control your costs and 2. Improve performance on your ads and your marketing goals.
Control your costs, you have the ability to put a max on your monthly budget, daily budget or even your specific ad budget.
For improving performance Google Ads shows you how many people see your ads, what percentage of them click to visit your website, and even how many click to call you. It has amazing tracking tools which you can watch too improve how many people are coming to your site, how many are signing up to your newsletter or are purchasing your products, and how many are leaving your site mid-way through the sales funnel. It’s all about reviewing this information and making small adjustments to find the right advertising fit for you and your company.
Where customers see your ads
You get to choose where your customers will see your ads, as well as the ad format.
The Google Network is made up of two networks: Search and Display. It determines where your ads show up such as Google sites, partner site and other places such as mobile phone apps.
Search ads – Google Search Network is used for normal google searches or using the google maps function. These ads have a headline, website URL and a one-line description and then you can add extensions such as a contact us link or upcoming event link, etc… When creating this type of search ad you put in the types of keywords or phrases that you think your customers will search when looking for a product or service that your company provides. These search ads are very efficient and work across multiple devices; it’s up to you to ensure your landing page (website) is compatible with the types of devices your customers use. These type of search ads don’t have any images or rich media content. You can add extensions such as an image that can show up on the Display Network as well, depending on the extension.
Display ads – A good example of a business that would use Display ads on the Google Display Network is an online fashion business. This way you can show images or videos of the products you offer that make it very easy to shop for. Display ads even include video ads that can show up on YouTube with content related to her targeting. Using display ads you can select the placements, the topics and the audience for your ads. Keep in mind who your target demographic is and even your geographic area. Display ads can show up on Google sites such as YouTube, Blogger, Gmail and millions of other websites around the world.
Create effective text ads
An effective text ad will have a clear headline (it shows up in blue to make it stand out), your website which will say Ad in front of it and show up in green writing, and then it will have a one-line description as I mentioned in the paragraphs above but this line is best used to have a call to action, but you have to be mindful of Google’s editorial rules, you can’t be gimmicky with your text. I think the Avoid editorial errors and Address trademark disapproval’s are two of the most important sections in this blog, so if you want to review those now then come back, it may be worth your while.
Pro tip – For “Path” fields which are optional you can have up to 15 characters after your website URL. So to be more clear and direct with your customer you can have your URL changed to ex) www.mystore.com/rare-stamps to take them directly to your rare stamps for sale.
The description section which I describe as a one-line description can actually be as much as 80 characters but that is not a lot so choose wisely. It is a good opportunity to use a clear call to action but be mindful of Google’s editorial rules.
Lastly its important that your landing page is well thought out and provides value to your customers. If it is not it will contribute to a poor ad rank which I will be discussing further down in this blog. With a really poor landing page, even with a good text ad, your ad may not show up at all.
Enhance your ads with extensions
Ad extensions can really help with your CTR (Click Through Rate)
Possible ad extensions can be ex) Call now link, contact us link, sitelink extension, link to download your app and structured snippets. A structured snippet is a way to highlight aspects of your business such as “Bouquets, Indoor plants, Cacti”.
You can add a maximum of 4 extensions per ad. With proper use of extensions, it can provide the extra call to action that is needed to get someone to click on your URL.
The nice part about extensions is after they are created Google Ads attaches your ad extensions based on its predicts if they will improve performance for customers. Your ad rank needs to be high enough before extensions will start to show up.
Choose the best campaign types
In the exam I found there were lots of questions regarding the different campaign types, it’s definitely a topic to understand well before your write the exam. When deciding on what is the best campaign to use you need to be very clear about what your goal is. Is it drawing new customers to your site, or raising awareness about new products you’re offering, or are you trying to bring new customers to your store? For raising awareness about your site or store a search campaign is going to be your best bet. Sometimes coupled with a Display campaign to help raise awareness but the Search campaign is the most effective method.
Video campaigns allow you to engage customers in different ways. A video campaign can run ads on YouTube or on other sites on the Google Display Network.
Shopping campaigns show an image with name price and extension, next to the person’s search results. This type of campaign is helpful for retailers trying to market their products.
Universal App campaigns are where you can easily promote your app on the Search, Display and on YouTube. “In this type of campaign, your ads and bids are automatically adjusted to get the most downloads for your app.” (Google). You need to provide some text, a budget and the locations and language you want for your ads. Google will then use their analytics systems to predict the most suitable customers based on their current and previous search history.
Organize your Google account and Google campaign
You should organize your Google account like you would for school. Break it down by what grade or year you are in, subject, then the specific chapters or course material. So for your Google account, you should break it down by business if you have multiple businesses, then by the type of campaign you want to run, if you have a business that is international or multilingual you would want to break it out by languages or geographic location if there are distinct cultural differences that would need you to have different marketing strategies. Lastly, there are the ad groups that you want to use, it’s easy to break it down by the types of products or services you offer. As an example, if you are in the telecommunications industry and you sell different types of devices, you could break them out by phones, tablets and GPS units, so that each of them gets their own ad groups.
Determining and selecting your bid strategy
When determining your bid strategy you need to first look at the 3 factors that most influence it. 1. Your overall budget. 2. Your campaign goals. 3. Your cost of conversion.
When considering your campaign goals its good to be as specific as you can be. Are you looking to drive more people to your site? Are you looking to increase sales from people who visit your site, add something to their cart but do not complete the sale? Or simply (I say simply but it is simple in theory, more difficult to perform) increase in your conversion of people who visit your site to proceeding with signing up for a email newsletter, free piece of content or purchasing a product or service from your site.
Your cost of conversion, it’s clear you need to carefully watch how much profit you are going to be making and how much does it make sense to spend on advertising. If you sell a product for $20, your base cost is $12 and your marketing costs are $6 is it worth all of the effort? Can you find a way to succeed with your Quality Score and Ad Rank and only spend $4 per sale?
You will need to consider how much control do you want over your bidding strategy? Do you want to use Manual bidding, where you decide what keywords potentially mean more to you so you would be willing to bid a higher amount than one of the other keywords you’ve listed.
Automatic bidding lets Google using predictions of what people would find relevant in their searches to submit the bid. Note: When looking to determine your daily advertising costs you should multiply it by 30.4 which is the average days in a month over the year; this will give you your monthly. Using automatic bidding Google is allowed to go over the daily amount by 20% but it will not charge you more than your set monthly budget. If you are consistently going over your budget, you ad will show up less often as you approach your limit even if the search is relevant to your website and keywords. Automatic bidding also allows you to put in marketing goal for Google to focus on, such as get the most clicks or conversions as possible. It can be an excellent time saver but you have to consider how much control you want to give up. If you don’t like automatic bidding you can always switch to manual bidding and vise versa, even in the middle of your marketing cycle, but it’s always best to have a look at your performance info. before making changes.
Do you want to bid for CPC (Cost Per Click) or for ROI? Will increasing your CPC by $1 have the effect you want? By automatic bidding it takes care of this for you but these are the choices you need to consider in manual bidding, and breaking it down further by which keywords you are willing to pay more for.
If you are trying to get the word out about your business a CPM (Cost Per Thousand Views) will be the most effective method for getting your name out there.
Evaluate campaign performance
This is one of the biggest benefits of advertising on the internet. Google Ads manager has strong analytics to be able to dig into how well your ads are performing, trending keywords in your industry, if certain segments are stronger than others. It’s a great way to review your goals and make small adjustments to your ad group or campaign to reach your marketing goals whether it is to raise awareness about your brand or website or to increase your conversion rate of people going to your website and following through with a purchase. You can also look at how you are going on your ROI (Return on Investment); for example, if you are selling a product for $2,000 and your cost for that product is $1,000 and you spend on average $200 on marketing then your ROI is: [2,000 – (1,000 + 200)] / (1,000 + 200) = 66.67% ROI
One of the best things about Google Ads Manager is that while you can look at all of the metrics, Google has clear recommendations on its view of how effective your ads are and will provide recommendations on how the information is interpreted and point out potential weaknesses. If your goal is to increase your conversion rate and you and effectively drawing more people to your site but not increasing your conversions, Google would likely point out that your landing page needs work.
Avoid editorial errors
Here’s a quick list of some of the symbols that are not allowed in your Google ad. They will automatically be not approved and will not be shown.
Other reasons are spelling and grammar; Google runs a tight ship; they want your ads to be grammatically correct, clear and present a polished look. If you use gimmicky text like CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS YoUr A WiNnEr, they will not show that ad. Additionally, if you want to use !!! to really reinforce your point, Google is not interested, your words should be the attention grabber, you can use ! but just once in a sentence. Google is also trying to stay away from simple clickbait ads, so they will also not allow the use of “Click here”, using a phone number in your ad (Call extensions, it’s what they’re there for).
Address trademark disapproval’s
If your business sells brand name products and you want to advertise those products in your ad, you will need to request their approval to use their trademark. As an example, if your online business sells Starbucks coffee, you need to request to use their trademark name when advertising. Google takes this very seriously and it is a quick way to get your ad disapproved, your ad will not show on the Google Network until it is resolved, so its best to be proactive. Here is a link to how you request the trademark approval through Google Ads. Between a trademark approval and disapproval, there is also a trademark limited approval. In a trademark limited approval, it means that the trademark you are using is only allowed to be viewed in certain countries and restricted in others. If that’s acceptable to you then great, otherwise, you can go through the process to request the trademark approval with the other restricted countries. Keep in mind it may but multiple other requests depending on how the Trademark holder obtained their trademark.
If your trademark is disapproved, can your ad still be functional without it? If yes, first remove it, get your ad running again and then follow the steps to request to the trademark approval. You will need to distinguish if you are using the trademark as a reseller or for informational purposes.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course on Google Ad Fundamentals and I want re-emphasize the two main points of using Google Ads. 1. Control your costs, through choosing the right bid strategy. 2. Monitor your performance and make small adjustments to your ads to find the right formula to reach your marketing goals. Be careful in the text ad you create to ensure that you are meeting Google’s ad policies. For the exam you don’t need to worry about memorizing the acronyms, they provide them to you in the questions. Once you have passed your Google Ad Fundamentals course, it’s a good idea to open your account while all of the material is still fresh in your mind and start getting yourself organized for the types of campaigns you want to run, the marketing goals you are focusing on, your budget and ensuring you have good landing pages once you have drawn people’s attention to your site.
An example of a Google Ads campaign is about the Berwicks Shellfish company. It was started in 1969 and began a Google Ads campaign during a Christmas season to try and increase online sales, drive awareness online and generate more customer sign ups for their online mailing list. It started by the company being the main wholesale supplier of fish products in Europe but they believed they were missing out on selling directly to retailers. They started the Google Ads campaign in December and within 12 months they saw a ten-fold rise in new customers, online sales representing 70-80% of their business revenues and a 12% increase in customer mail sign ups.
The company focused on keywords such as ‘gourmet seafood’ and ‘salmon buffet’ as well they focused on the time of the year they would push for higher bids, ex) Christmas, Valentines Day and Easter. They understood during these peak times of the year for seafood, the importance of being on page one of the search results. This company had clear marketing goals, strategies that Google was able to implement and attention to detail on their websites landing pages and bidding strategy.