Google ads for beginners: everything you need to know
It may be a tool that’s been around for years, but there are always people who are just starting to take their first steps. In this post about Google Ads for beginners, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to get started.
We know it can be a bit intimidating at first, but the truth is, once you have certain concepts about the platform clear, it won’t take too much getting used to. The idea of this article is to give you the basics so you don’t have even the slightest problem.
What are Google Ads?
They have to do with the PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising platform developed by Google. As the name suggests, it’s a system that creates ads in different formats and charges us exclusively for the interactions those ads have with the user (clicks).
It’s likely you’ve seen many people refer to PPC as SEM (Search Engine Marketing). This isn’t incorrect, but that term encompasses all search engine marketing actions, meaning it would go beyond the scope of PPC. Nonetheless, it’s good that you’re familiar with it.
How do Google Ads work?
The first thing you should know is that they’re done by making bids in real time.
I’ll give you an example: a user searches for “pod coffee machines” on Google. The system automatically checks all advertisers bidding on that string of words and mathematically calculates which one should appear and in what position.
You may think the calculation is as simple as whoever pays the most will appear. Fortunately, it’s not that easy. The maximum bidding price (which we’ll define later) is just another factor of the quality level. Vectors like the ad’s relevance for that combination of keywords or the experience on the landing page help calculate a percentage called the “quality score”. The key is, the higher the QS, the better the position.
Google Ads Structure
We have to understand that Google Ads works on several levels given that the configurations affect them differently. We’ve found the following:
- Account: Here we find the operational basics, like user access levels and billing data.
- Campaign: We can create up to 25 different campaigns per account and it will be at that level that we configure the type of network our ads are going to target (we’ll get into this a little later), the budget we’re willing to allocate, dates the campaign will be active (they can be launched with no end date if we want), geographic segmentation, target languages, devices, etc.
- Ad group: We can have multiple ad groups (up to 100) within each campaign.
- Ads: Creativity using text, banners or videos, depending on the chosen networks.
Google Ads networks
When we talk about search engine actions, it’s reasonable to think we’re only referring to the ads that come up when we enter something into the search bar. The truth is, Google Ads have more networks that help expand our reach. Let’s have a look.
This is the most well-known and what we just referred to. These are small ads, similar in structure to what we call organic results, the difference being that the ads appear above the organic or SEO results and they also have an additional line above the title where you can see, “ad”.
By creating a campaign, we can take up those distinguished positions reserved for advertisers.
Here we’ll be using keywords. These are terms that we’re willing to pay for, in that, the more competition, the more expensive it is to get the bid, especially if we don’t have optimal quality.
Additionally, keywords let us play around with word agreement. By changing the text slightly, we can make it more flexible at bid time. It can go from an exact match (the user has to enter the same words in the same order) to a broad match, which will show our ad if the search includes just some of the words, even if they’re in a different order.
We’ll include negative words too, which are important to avoid bids for irrelevant terms.
We also have the display network, a collection of millions of websites, applications, blogs, media, video platforms, etc where we can show multimedia ads. Thanks to this network we can execute a more complete strategy and get our message across with fewer limitations.
Logically, it has less of a direct impact on a conversion or sale than the search network since we’re publishing a banner or video while the user is looking at content of interest and isn’t searching proactively.
Of the three networks, Shopping has the most e-commerce. They’re small layouts that include a picture of the product, a minimal description and the price. We call this the ‘most e-commerce’ format because it reminds us of online store grid layouts where several products are assessed.
These types of ads also appear on search results pages, on the display network, and they even have their own tab in the search engine.
They usually have a good conversion rate because the layout is aligned with the sale.
The products that Shopping shows come from a feed that includes every detail: price, availability, product URL, etc. To do this, we need to work with another platform called Google Merchant Center.
This topic is pretty in-depth, but with this guide to Google Ads for beginners, you can start getting to work.