Google Advertising is such a valuable tool for businesses of any size to bring in qualified clicks to their products or services – if it’s done properly. There are a number of considerations to ensure that your campaigns are cost-effective and bringing in the return on investment to make it worth your while. But how? We’ve shared our guide to getting the most out of Google Ads for SMEs.
Have a clear ROI and a consistent budget
Set your total budget and stick to it. Simple, right? You’d be surprised.
Make sure you have a clear idea on what return on investment would mean for you: how many products do I need to sell to make a profit? Think smart and give different campaigns different budgets.
For example, let’s say we sell running shoes. We have two core products that we’re looking to promote via Google Ads, any business owner knows the target cost of sale for all of their products, so plan campaigns around achieving this target cost of sale for each specific pair of shoes.
If you target your cost of sale and goal conversion rate, Google Ads is the ideal platform for creating scientific forecasts and monitoring progress against them.
Competitor analysis and keyword forecasting
When it comes to any form of search marketing, paid or organic, it’s important to know what your competitors are up to. Do a manual Google search for some initial keywords, perhaps ‘running shoes in (location)’, ‘running shoes with arch support’, ‘running shoes with ankle support’, for example, and take note of which keywords trigger the PPC ads and who is dominating them.
This shows the importance of choosing the right keywords. ‘Running shoes’ is a broad term with high competition, so you’re likely to come across the well-established key players in the industry like Nike or Adidas and it’s important to choose your battles. Try adding a location modifier (‘running shoes in london’, ‘running shoes in kent’, ‘running shoes in tunbridge wells’) or a USP modifier (‘with ankle support’, ‘with arch support’ etc.) and avoid broad search terms that aren’t realistically feasible to compete for.
Similarly, don’t get caught up in the stats. Keywords with a large reach may seem appealing, but it’s important to focus on qualification. To ensure bang for your buck, you need qualified clicks. This is the decision between choosing ‘running shoes’ – a broad term with high search volume and lots of competition – and ‘running shoes in tunbridge wells’ – a specific search term that’s more likely to bring in qualified visitors. Quality, not quantity.
In addition to choosing specific, USP or location-based keywords, you can also have your ads only appear in specific geographical areas. For example, you may choose the location of your store, or the areas that you service if you’re a provider like a plumber, locksmith, electrician or make-up artist.
If you do choose a localised option for your ads, they will only be served in the areas that you specify and you therefore do not need to include these locations in your keywords.
Use Google Analytics to create goals
Use the goals feature in Google Analytics to measure how your campaigns are doing. The goals that are right for your business will depend on what you do, but let’s stick with shoes for now.
If I’m an online store, I’m likely to be able to ship to any area within the UK – and maybe even internationally – so I will be using keywords with my products, location-modifiers and USP-modifiers so that I can realistically compete.
If I set up a goal to monitor when users start the checkout process (triggered by a click of ‘Checkout’) and another when the purchase process is completed (triggered by an order confirmation landing page), I’m able to understand how many of my pay-per-click visitors have come in from an ad and completed one of these goals. Or hopefully, both of them. Now I can manage my account more effectively and tweak my campaigns. It also gives me data for remarketing.
We’ve all been there – we’ve browsed something lovely on the internet and decided that perhaps now isn’t the time to purchase it. We probably will purchase it at some point, but today isn’t that day. We’ve met a barrier and something has stopped us, but we’ve got our eye on it.
Later, we’re on social media or visiting other web pages and we see ads for the exact item or similar, and it puts it back into our minds. This is remarketing.
Remarketing uses website data to keep track of those individuals who have completed that first goal, in this case, they’ve added something to their basket and started checking out before they came to their senses and decided that now isn’t the time. For another business this may be that a visitor spent two minutes on a page and then clicked on a ‘contact’ button or another call to action. The idea is that because we have this behaviour tracked as a goal, we can then advertise to these particular users and encourage them to complete the second goal: going through with their purchase.
Tips from Patch PPC specialist, Alex
Google Ads billing can be complicated and confusing until you get used to it – and understanding it will impact how you budget for international campaigns, particularly.
In recent years, Google Ads changed the payment options available and removed the option to pay by bank transfer following an invoice. Instead, a credit or debit card must be used. There are two payment options and it’s important to understand which one is right (and available) for you: automatic payments – you are charged either after 30 days or when you meet a payment threshold (whichever one comes first). This payment threshold may be raised by Google without any notification and is dependent on a number of factors within your account. Or manual payments – you can make payments before your ads run, and they’ll stop once your money runs out. You can top it up when it starts to get low if you want to. However, in the UK and most countries Google has removed the option for manual payments, leaving you at the mercy of automatic payments and payment thresholds: which are anything but clear. Be sure to check which payment options are available to you.
Additional 2% Google fee
It’s also important to note that in September 2020, Google announced that there would be an incoming levy on accounts based in the following countries:
United Kingdom: 2%
This means that if you’re running international campaigns, you need to consider how this will impact your budget in different countries.
For example when budgeting for clicks in the UK, you’ll need to either budget for click spend + 2%, or include this 2% in your total budget and be aware that you’ll have less clicks for your money than you would have before the levy was introduced.
Google’s definition of click fraud is that it’s a black-hat technique used by competitors to drive up costs by clicking on ads with no intention of taking any further action, with the idea to use up campaign budgets and reduce competitor ad reach to genuine markets. This can be done by real people (e.g. employees of a competitor) or with the use of software (‘bots’).
However, the internet is full of bots – not just from business competitors but all sorts of organisations and groups around the world scraping information from the web, and it’s unclear whether a vast number of cases are really happening with malicious intent.
According to Google Ads click fraud prevention firm, ClickCease, click fraud now accounts for an estimated 20% of clicks.
Google monitors ad clicks and aims to identify and remove invalid data and charges from your account, but the key word here is ‘aims’, and if you’ve got a large budget it’s something to be careful of.
The only way to ensure you’re not getting ripped off is to have a facility in place to monitor and identify click fraud and help you make claims to recoup the money from Google.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Google Ads for small-medium enterprises, how to get the most out of it with your budget or how to develop your campaign strategy, get in touch for a chat with one of our PPC specialists.