Everyone Googles, all the time. There are people Googling themselves this very second. This means your customers are Googling, too.
There’s a place for every strategy in the world of digital marketing and of course, YMMV. But in an ever-shifting landscape, advances in AI look to position the iconic Google Ads pay-per-click (PPC) model ahead of the pack this year, with maximum bang-per-buck for businesses.
Google Ads and the tried-and-tested PPC
As it says on the tin, Google Ads is Google’s very own advertising platform. Known as Adwords once upon a time, Google Ads offers PPC, only charging when visitors physically click on your ad.
Unlike other forms of online advertising—and if you think about it, any traditional paid forms, too—PPC means your money only goes towards advertising to people who show intent.
Intent is insanely powerful. If your audience is already primed to buy, they’re far more likely to pull the trigger.
Plus, you’re not wasting your time interrupting people who just want their fix of dog memes, making it a more budget-friendly alternative to other platforms, like, say, Facebook, where you’ll be spending money whether people click your ad or not.
With no minimum spend, Google Ads offers micro levels of financial control, allowing you to set your spend per day, month, or individual ad.
In 2021, Google’s AI is smarter than ever
PPC has come a long way. Previously, digital marketers would spend hours tweaking parameters to “min/max” campaigns, with highly specific targets and strategies.
With Google’s AI constantly learning, it’s now more powerful than ever, with more tools like Smart Bidding available to marketers to help generate stronger, more consistent results and forecast potential issues that could affect performance. Think, click-through rates, conversion probabilities, and anticipating consumer behaviour.
Whether you want to focus on clicks, conversions, or return on ad spend (ROAS), Google’s automated bidding strategies help marketers set a benchmark for performance targets and optimise ads to ensure maximum profitability for businesses.
Being plugged in 24/7 means the Google machine can react faster to market conditions and trends in real time. Empowering marketers and businesses to make more intelligent decisions and generate more reliable results so they can scale at an accelerated, yet sustainable, rate. And it’s only getting better, as Google’s machine learning churns through more and more data each day.
Google Ads vs socials—the (digital) age-old debate
Up until recently, Google and Facebook used wildly different targeting strategies for their advertising.
Considering their reliance on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), it made sense for Google to focus solely on keywords, and display the relevant ads to whoever searched for those terms. Meanwhile, Facebook uses data to group audiences based on their user behaviour, under the assumption their purchasing habits would align, too.
Google evidently saw the merit in this strategy, and Google Ads now also offers audience targeting, with data pooled from user’s YouTube, Gmail, and Google accounts. That’s a veritable gold mine of highly valuable information.
There are currently three main types of Google Ads, depending on your desired audience.
- Search Network campaigns appear on SERPs when people search
- Display Network campaigns appear on specific websites or apps customers visit and are general image-based
- Video campaigns are short video ads that appear before or during YouTube content
Additional, advanced campaigns are also available, for apps, Google Shopping, and more. For maximum control of your ad parameters, Google Ads is hard to beat.
So, in addition to keywords, Google Ads campaigns can now be targeted based on ad location, age, location and language. You can set the days, times and frequency ads appear, and even the devices they appear on.
The result is an ability to fine-tune ad spend and customise campaigns based on insights, maximising your ROAS by spending in the areas, demographics and queries that provide the highest return.
You can even retarget marketing to prospects on social media who have searched or clicked on a specific website, adding another touchpoint to reach customers and grow awareness of your business.
Google Ads go beyond driving traffic through PPCs on SERPs. They can be an invaluable tool in building brand awareness, and in 2021, branding is everything.
Way back in 2008, at-the-time Google CEO Eric Schmidt hit the nail on the head when he said “brands are the solution, not the problem.” What he meant was, in the vast, murky ocean of information and disinformation that is the internet, a strong brand represents trust. And for anyone paying attention, disinformation is currently at an all-time high, so good branding is essential to stand out from the muck.
No strong brand, no trust—and no trust makes consumers hesitant, sceptical, or disengaged. All of which stands as a roadblock in front of conversions. But, when customers are seeing your brand throughout the entire Ads search network, trust is reinforced, loyalty is built, and purchases are made.
It also means you’re spending money in the right place and maximising conversions by only showing up in those markets where there is existing interest in whatever your business has to offer.
When the mighty Google algorithm is determining the ads shown to prospects, we know one factor is the “post-click” landing page experience.
Basically, it’s a metric of how well your page provides exactly what the user is looking for.
We can take advantage of this by creating targeted, high-value post-click landing pages, ensuring users are shown highly persuasive, relevant, personalised content designed to convert.
Did you know a personalised CTA is 202% more likely to convert than a standard one?
With Google Ads, you can optimise ROAS because you’re expediting the customer journey and not wasting money sending them to irrelevant or sub-par pages. All you need is a little insight.
Knowledge is power, and the amount of data provided by Google Analytics is impressive — plus it goes hand-in-hand with Google Ads. You’ll find out exactly how long people spend on your site, and how long they spent researching before they got there. You’ll see when someone clicks on an ad, downloads an app, or calls in an order. And, you’ll discover exactly how much it costs you in advertising for users to perform these actions.
Armed with these tools, the potential of your campaign, and identifying your highest value customers, is huge.
The best part? Like most things they do, Google makes it incredibly simple to understand and interpret these analytics.
Rise the organic ranks
SEO is an increasingly difficult jungle to navigate. While Google’s hard stance has always been you cannot pay to improve organic ranking, you can use Google Ads insights to optimise your pages and building your credibility with the Google crawl bots. With the analytics provided, on-site content can be tweaked and tuned to further increase traffic in line with relevant keywords.
This will, in turn, boost your ranking — and for a lot less than a comprehensive SEO campaign.
The insights gleaned can be tested to send visitors to those landing pages with the highest conversion rates, streamlining the customer journey and maximising revenue.
Plus, as a local merchant, claiming and verifying your Google My Business (GMB) listing is an easy way to improve SEO, visibility, and trust.
Too many product-based businesses are sleeping on Google Shopping. In 2021, Google Shopping Ads are rocketing ahead of standard search ads, and it is currently one of the most effective marketing strategies in e-commerce.
Luckily, Google Ads integrates with Google Shopping seamlessly. A Google Ads campaign will have products showing on the extended Google network, reaching shoppers no matter where they are searching – even if it’s a competitor’s website.
By using Google Shopping analytics, you can determine the highest converting products and categories, and build brand trust with reviews on listings through easy integration with Shopify.
The privacy wars
iOS 14.5 was a shock to the system for many marketers. Apple’s update introduced significant privacy changes, and for better or worse, meant businesses had to rethink many tried and tested digital marketing strategies. While socials bore the brunt of this shift, Google has fared considerably better.
It’s no secret the big blue social media giant is continuously finding itself in privacy-related hot water, but Google has largely avoided publicly facing massive privacy concerns and having to remodel its marketing.
With a more diversified ad network and less reliance on mobile devices – some 94% of Facebook ad revenue is from phone users – Google Ads have not been nearly as disrupted by the iOS 14.5 update.