What follows is only a brief introduction to Google Ads. Please don’t dive into online advertising until you have a thorough grasp of how each Ad type works and how it fits (or not) with your business. Fail to do so and you could spend a lot, for little (or no) return.

There are many types of Google Ads. In this post, we concentrate on search, display and local Ads. We will discuss video Ads in a future post.

Where To Start With Google Ads

If you decide Ads are the right approach, then you need a strategy. You need the right keywords, a high quality score (Ad text and landing page) and the right bidding strategy. There is lots to think about.

You will need to experiment. It takes time (and money) to refine keywords, bids, Ad text and landing pages. For this, you will need a budget and a commitment to follow through on the learning phase. During this period you will see money leaving your account for little return.

Search Ads

Google search Ads appear on the search engine results pages above (and below) the organic results. There are a limited number of slots available allocated via an auction. Your bid is only one factor in that auction (see above).

Here your objective is to match your Ad (and offer) to the phrase a user types into the search box AND their intent. You need to understand what the searcher (your prospect) is trying to achieve. In general, search Ads are text only.

The purpose of search Ads is to achieve a defined goal (a sale?).

Display Ads

Display Ads generally include text and a graphic (or video) element. In most cases, their purpose is different to search Ads. They are often focused on building awareness and/or securing prospect details.

Many website owners allow Google to run display Ads on their sites. Your objective should be to try and show your display Ad on a website your identified prospect (audience) is likely to visit.

There are lots of options at your disposal to maximise the chances your Google Ad will show to your desired audience. You also have the option of retargeting audiences. Display Ad setup is more involved than search Ads.

Local Ads

As the name suggests, the purpose of local Ads is to generate local traffic to your website or store. These Ads can work well for specific types of businesses with a well defined, local audience.

Local Ads work with your Google My Business account. Obviously, your Ads must be relevant to the locations you wish to target. They can show in search, as display Ads, in Google maps and the Google my Business panel depending on your setup.

Other Options

Of course, Google is not the only option. Microsoft (Bing) is an option and the way their Ads work is similar to Google. The other main option is social Ads on Facebook, Twitter, LIN or whatever social channel suits your audience.

There are many other possibilities including answer sites like Quora and specific sites like Reddit. There are native Ads (like Taboola) and specialist options like Quantcast.

In conclusion, the first step is to determine if Adwords is right for your business. This we will discuss in a future post. Then laser focus on your audience and their stage in the buying process.

At present (if you are careful) it is relatively easy to remain in full control. You can then relinquish some of that control to Google and its algorithms as you improve your skills. Be aware that change is coming from mid-2022. Google is making it more and more difficult to work in Adwords without employing their (helpful ! ) algorithms.


To learn more about a full range of small business marketing tactics read our free small business marketing tactics guide

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