The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there
When learning AdWords or in fact anything, people always go through the same pattern. At first, confidence is sky high but knowledge levels are low. In the beginning, the education is fun and the information absorbed interesting. But it doesn’t take long for the overwhelming factor to kick in. Time is not covered by the graph below, because it is relative. Everyone will get the dip in confidence and self-question if they can do the job. When it comes and how long it lasts for, are unique. For the lucky ones it could last a few seconds, minutes or days. But on occasion can take months to start the climb up. It lasts up until things start to fall into place. How do you know when you’ve hit the slide? Normally it’s when the phrase “I can’t do this” is uttered, even briefly.
Why am I starting this article here, I couldn’t possibly hear you ask? Because after years of identifying it in others, I noticed it in myself when I started learning AdWords. To help others to overcome this hurdle as quickly as possible, I wanted to explain the basics in an easy to understand format. This is for the novice to PPC and AdWords, and those struggling to make sense of it all. If you are not a complete beginner, then we have some great technical articles written by Thomas. He has compiled an in-depth and comprehensive Ultimate Beginners Guide To Google Adwords.
To help with the terminology used in this article and others on this site, there’s a PPC Jargon Buster HERE.
Learning AdWords – Who needs AdWords?
So where to start for those learning AdWords? Well let’s Ask Jeeves shall we (the search engine of choice with Yahoo before Google). Or not as the case maybe, as many don’t anymore. Google’s colourful logo first burst into our screens in 1998 and hasn’t looked back, leaving early competitors in its mammoth wake. It’s now the largest search engine on the planet and was responsible for trillions of searches in 2014. There are 50,423 searches a second and most people have used it to seek information or a product they are searching for. For the latter, Google AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a vital advertising tool for any company or business who can provide that service or who are selling that item. Look at it this way, in other marketing streams companies’ fire out their adverts in the hope of reaching someone who may need what they offer at some point. PPC gives a rare opportunity to have your website a click away when someone is looking specifically for your industry service. So is a far more direct and superior cost effective channel.
Every day companies are struggling or folding due to lack of business, relying on old-fashioned advertising or word of mouth. The stark reality is advanced competitors have taken the business away and made it a global marketplace. So the question should be “who doesn’t need AdWords?”.
So you might be reading this and wonder what the difference to Search Engine Optimisation is. Well that’s the practice of ensuring your website ranks highly on relevant keyword searches. But can be costly and take months to see results and a large budget to stay there. Google AdWords can yield instant success, but they complement each other and provide valuable data for maximum effect. You may have seen also the term Organic Search and wondered what fertiliser has got to do with this. It refers to the unpaid ads or rankings, and references the natural state. Yes they exist, but in a competitive world the luxury of sitting back can prove costly. The key to all of this is making money, or Return on Investment as it’s called in the industry. You need to consider how much a successful conversion is worth, and never be paying more than that in advertising.
Learning AdWords – What is it?
Thomas goes into detail here so I’ll be brief. There are two types of AdWord networks, search and display. For the former the key is search terms, so imagine you type into Google your search term. You will see paid adverts at the top identified by the symbol, and the webpage rankings underneath. On the right, you have an additional list of ads. In the example below, the searcher has typed in “Learning AdWords” and Ethical Marketing Service has won the bid for the advertising space on Google, and the valuable attention. If you can’t see these on your Google page, then it’s likely you have AdBlock on.
For Display adverts, these utilise the million plus websites that use the network to target specific groups of people. An example of this would be specialised forums, mobile phone apps or Youtube videos.
Regardless if a company is offering Digital Marketing, e-commerce, or a dog walking service, they are nothing without customers. Consumers are the life-blood of all industries, and PPC by its very design can increase business with very little on-going effort (although monthly maintenance is key to optimisation). Campaigns can be set to a monthly budget and can be switched on or off as required. It is possible to do all of this yourself, or hire agencies like ours to manage this on your behalf. If you are thinking about hiring a certified AdWords professional then this great article is worth a read before making a decision.
Logging into Google AdWords for the first time may appear daunting at first. But after a few steps the user-friendly interface offers no more of a challenge than internet banking. This is where Thomas’s Beginner’s article comes into it’s own to hold your hand every step of the way on your journey to learning AdWords.
Learning AdWords – How does it work?
To be effective you need to set up Campaigns. Within those you need ad groups, then beneath that keywords. All of that is just organisational hierarchy and can be adapted or controlled at every level. So, let’s use our dog walking service as an example. Let’s say the company is based in Brighton and want to branch out in the neighbouring Hove. How do they get new business there? They could post leaflets in every door in the entire area or hang around local parks. Or put an advert in the local paper or on radio. This old-school style of advertising is attempting a blanket approach for people in the catchment area, who may have use for the service. Or they could use AdWords and target anyone who looks on Google for a dog walker. In the first marketing stream they are looking for clients and would spend money to attract a small percentage. In the latter the customers are already interested, so the money is spent making sure the services are offered.
It would actually be possible to see how often the terms were searched to ensure there is the demand before committing to the supply. So if requested we would create a campaign for advertising in that new area, to be switched on when they would ready to bring in the business. Under the campaign tab, we would have different ad groups to target different searches so effectiveness can be reviewed on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. The keywords is then the crucial part, this is what people search. Think about it, what would you type in google if you wanted someone to walk your dog? Personally I’d type “Dog walkers Hove”. Of course we are all human and think in different ways, so you might not have instantly thought of that. Perhaps you included a variation of dog walkers, dog walking, walk my dog, take my dog out, etc. And all with Hove before or after and we haven’t even covered spelling mistakes.
This description is incredibly basic. If you really want to complicate things further then there also is Hove Greyhound Stadium in the area. So we don’t want to pay to advertise for the search “Hove Dogs” as it would be wasted traffic as a majority would not be looking for dog walkers. As you get more advanced, then use of negative keywords, exact matches, broad and modified broad searches will come into consideration.
Learning AdWords – What about Google shopping?
E-Commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe, with €219 billion expected to be spent across Europe in 2016. The predicted growth rate is 18% in 2015 and 2016. Long gone are the days where the shopper must brave their local high-street to find their desired produce. Now they can order Roast Lamb direct from the shepherds of Outer Mongolia at a click of a button. The English High-Streets are decimated with the carcasses of shops that did not follow the times and register for internet shopping. Competition is at a premium with not just the locality offering attractive bargains; the whole world is now a rival.
So what choice do you have as a retailer to ? Well advertising will help, and as mentioned before what better way than being at the end of a customer search looking for the very product you want to sell? Especially when you see the figures floating around; 61% of the 3 Trillion+ global Internet users research products online. 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine, and Google is the preference for 80% of internet users. That’s a huge marketplace of opportunity, but is it easy to get into? Well yes, incredibly. Google Shopping campaigns offer advertising space to retailers selling the searched for items. In essence, all you need to do is have a working website and a Google shopping account set up and your product description does the rest. Have you ever noticed the special tab just for shopping to promote products? You may have even used it.
So where do you go from here. Firstly, you need to create a database of products for the feed. This is essential, and to some a laborious task so helps if you have a Webmaster who can set up a FTP direct feed. Without one, you will need to complete an excel template of each product available with id number, title, description, price, condition, webpage link, image webpage, availability manufactures number, delivery costs, and break down the product type as per Google’s classification found here. Sound complicated? Once you get going it’s not so bad, but if you have an ever changing list of products, then automatic is the way to go.
Once the feed is complete, the Shopping Campaign can be set-up to pull the data daily. The campaigns need to be set up in AdWords to function, but is not over-complicated.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that shops simply need to have a website to be a success. Even the most technophobic consumers can compare prices and delivery costs, and some marketplace retailers use their brand to sell on behalf of a range of merchants. Fair pricing is as crucial as advertising. The principal would be the same if shops sat next door to each other. Why would you pay more for the same product if you can pick it up from a competitor cheaper? Brand trust only goes so far for the bargain-hunting customer. Investigate the competition, set a fair price, and advertise, and business will soon be booming.
I hope this article has helped with your understanding of learning AdWords, and feel free to ask any questions.
About the author
Ciaran Clarke is a recent acquisition to the EMS Team. Joining us after over a decade of management at American Express, he brings a wealth of corporate and business experience to the company. Prior to the finance world, he worked in a vast spectrum of roles in London including Law, Entertainment and Marketing. Although new to the PPC industry, his logical thinking and results driven attitude have already proven to be highly successful. He lives in Hove with his wife and daughter, and writes novels in his spare time.