The 2018 AdWords Guide will continue to be
updated to reflect the latest changes from Google
Last Update: November 8, 2018.
Google AdWords has Changed to Google Ads: Google has recently changed the name of their advertising platform, Google AdWords, to Google Ads. We will continue to update this guide to reflect any future updates that accompany this name change. Google stated that the old Google AdWords experience will be no longer available beginning July 24th. Instead, all users will be moved to the new experience that offers performance and insights enhancements.
In the perfect scenario, you would be able to advertise to potential customers at the exact moment they show purchase intent. That is exactly what Google AdWords does. AdWords allows businesses like yours to display their product or service to users when they are searching the internet for the things you offer. The 2018 AdWords Guide will help you better understand the elements and strategies that will get you going with AdWords quickly!
‘But AdWords is too complicated and definitely too expensive.’ You’re not alone in having these two major concerns, but ROI Amplified is here to help you crush it with Google AdWords and meet your marketing goals. Just as importantly, we’re not going to waste any time getting your first campaign running by making this guide any longer than it has to be, so you can start seeing that glorious Return on Investment by utilizing Google AdWords.
To begin, let’s answer a few basic questions that will help you understand the more complex topics that our 2018 AdWords Guide will cover later.
Is Google AdWords right for my business?
Yes. Nearly any business can benefit from utilizing the many advertising tools that Google AdWords offers. From brand awareness to increasing conversions, there are features and strategies that can be implemented to reach your goals.
How does Google AdWords work?
When marketers want to advertise their product or service, they often turn to Google AdWords. This leads to competition in nearly every product or service category– so how does Google decide which ads to show to potential customers? An auction!
What is Google’s Auction?
An auction happens every single time a Google search is performed. Its purpose is to decide which ads will appear for a specific search and in which order those ads will show on the page. The ads that ultimately win the auction and are placed highest among the results have the highest Ad Rank.
What is Ad Rank?
Ad Rank is the value that determines your ad position – where your ad shows on the page in relation to other ads. Ad Rank is calculated by using your bid amount, the components of Quality Score and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.
What is Quality Score?
Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions that takes into account the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. Quality Score is not what determines when your ad is triggered by the auction or which spot it is displayed– that is Ad Rank.
What are Extensions?
Extensions are additional pieces of information that accompany your ads. There are numerous types of extensions including Location, Sitelink, Call, Structured Snippets and many more. These add-ons typically increase an ad’s click-through-rate, while not costing the advertiser a penny more than what they would have paid for a normal click on an ad.
Creating Your First Campaign
If you still need to create a Google AdWords account, start here. Once your account is created, the first thing you will need to do is create a campaign. When creating a campaign, you will be asked which campaign type you would like to use.
Google will direct you to choose a campaign based on a specific goal to help guide you in setting it up. There are six goals to choose from, or you can create a campaign without a goal’s guidance. Below is a breakdown of the different campaign types that are available.
Search Network Only
Show text ads to potential customers next to search results when they perform a Google search. This is generally what people are referring to when they say “PPC” or “Pay Per Click”. This campaign type is good if you have a good idea of what customers will be searching on Google for when they are looking for your product or service.
Search Network with Display Select
Show text ads to potential customers next to search results AND on Google Partner’s websites. This campaign type is good for reaching additional potential customers.
Show visual ads to potential customers wherever on the internet they may be, by showing them images or videos. Google states that the Google Display Network reaches more than 80% of all internet users, so this is a great option if you are looking to create brand awareness and help consumers learn about your business.
Give shoppers detailed information about your physical products before they even click your ad to promote your inventory, boost traffic to your website or local store and find better-qualified leads. These ads are shown at the top of Google search results and are good for companies that have defined physical products that they are trying to sell.
Engage consumers with a range of video ad formats on YouTube and across video partner sites. This campaign type is good for increasing brand awareness and is especially beneficial if you have a product that would benefit from further explanation.
Promote your app across Google’s largest properties including Search, Google Play, YouTube and the Google Display Network. This campaign type, obviously, is best used when your business has an app that you are trying to promote.
Naming Your Campaign
Create a name for your campaign that will make it easily identifiable. If your campaign is a remarketing campaign, name it Remarketing. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to navigate your account later.
If you offer location-sensitive services (i.e. tree trimming or legal services in Chicago) or sell products at a brick and mortar location, this is where you will define the locations you want to target. Google gives you the ability to target or exclude all the way down to zip code, which allows for great control over the customers you attract.
Choosing Your Bid Strategy
Google offers multiple bid strategies to best suit each individual user’s needs. These strategies can be broken down into two main categories; Manual and Automatic.
This bid strategy is just what it sounds like– manual. It grants you full control over your campaigns and requires the most time to manage. Each keyword or Ad Group will have the same bid unless you go in and change them. As a Digital Marketing Agency, this is the bid strategy we use, but do not recommend it for everyone. If you are a first time AdWords user, have a very tight budget, or simply do not have the extra time needed, this is not the Bid Strategy for you.
When using Manual CPC, Enhanced CPC will be turned on by default. This is an automatic bid strategy that adjusts your manual bids to help maximize conversions. We recommend turning this off to ensure you retain complete control over your bids.
These bid strategies are for people that are new to AdWords and people that just don’t have the time to constantly update bids for each campaign. These strategies require a lot of trust towards Google, as you are putting a lot of control in their hands. There are multiple versions of Automatic CPC strategies that are broken down below.
This bid strategy sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) that you set. If you have a well-defined CPA, this may be the automatic bid strategy for you.
This bid strategy sets bids to help get as much conversion value as possible at the target return on ad spend (ROAS) that you set. When ROAS is your main concern, use this bid strategy.
This bid strategy sets your bids to help you get as many clicks as possible within your budget. When you’re trying to get as many people to your site as possible, this bid strategy is a great place to begin.
This bid strategy sets your bids to help you get the most conversions within your budget. It uses machine learning to optimize bids for searches that are most likely to lead to a conversion for you. Use this bid strategy when you want to increase your total conversions, with not much regard for any other metrics.
Target search page location
We really like this bid strategy, as it is very aggressive. It tells Google to set your bids to help get your ads to the top of the page on the first page of search results. This is a great way to get your ads in front of a lot of potential customers — albeit at a pretty penny!
Target outranking share
This bid strategy allows you to choose a domain you want to outrank in search results and how often you want to outrank it, then automatically sets your bid to help you meet that target. This strategy is also very aggressive and would be a good choice if you have a main competitor that you are looking to outbid.
Setting Your Budget
Google will ask you to enter the average you want to spend each day. To do this, determine how much you are going to spend on a monthly basis. Divide that number by 30.4 to get your Daily Budget. That’s it!
Note that Google will sometimes allow your spend on a particular day go over your Daily Budget amount to better respond to fluctuations in traffic. Rest assured, Google will not allow this tactic to make your spend go over your Monthly Budget.
Google gives you two options for how to deliver your ads; Standard or Accelerated, with Standard being the default.
Standard Ad Delivery
With Standard Delivery, AdWords aims to deliver your ads in a way that evenly distributes your budget throughout the entire day. Two drawbacks of this delivery method are it’s possible for you to not use up your entire budget and you may miss out on potential customers if there are times when your product or service are searched more frequently. We recommend using this method to begin with and until you have data that clearly states you need an accelerated approach.
Accelerated Ad Delivery
With Accelerated Delivery, your ads are displayed as soon as the day is started and at a more frequent rate. The risk with this delivery method is the high likelihood that you will run out of your budget too quickly. If you have a large budget or are not concerned about reaching your customers throughout the day, this may be the method for you.
Easy-to-overlook tools that Google offers (and rewards you for using) are Extensions. We can’t overstate how important these are for your campaigns. We recommend utilizing every extension that is applicable to your campaign. There are a total of 10 AdWords extensions that Google separates into four Goals:
Goal: Get customers to buy from your business location
Help people find your physical locations. Present potential customers with your address, a map to your location, or the distance to your business.
Affiliate Location Extensions
Help people find nearby stores that sell your products. This extension is used if you sell your products through retail chains.
Include additional text callouts with the purpose of adding context or explaining current offerings or sales.
Goal: Get customers to contact you
Make it easy for people to call your business. Present potential customers a phone number or call button with your ads.
Allow potential customers to contact you via text message. With one tap, people can contact you to book an appointment, get a quote, etc.
Goal: Get customers to convert on your website
Provide links to your most popular pages, or pages you are trying to push, to potential customers. Make it easier for people to work through your purchase funnel.
As mentioned above, this option allows you to provide additional context to potential customers via current offerings or promotions.
Structured Snippet Extensions
List out specific options as they relate to your service or product. An example would be “Make of cars we offer” with the options being “Dodge”, “Ford”, “Honda”, and “Toyota”. This type of extension helps people discover more about your product or service instantly.
Give potential customers the ability to browse your products right from your ad, while showcasing your services or product categories with their prices.
Only available on desktop, this extension will add customer reviews or rankings from published sources.
Goal: Get people to download your app
Whether your app is for Android or iOS, this allows you to get your app in front of more potential users.
This is where you tell Google in what order you want to display your ads. We recommend using the Optimize: Prefer best performing ads option, which will show ads that are expected to get more clicks. The other option is to Rotate ads indefinitely.
If you only want to show your ads during specific times and/or days of the week, this is where you will set that up. This is good to setup if you are closed on certain days of the week and do not want people to see your ads on these days.
Ad Group Name
Just like with naming your Campaign, be sure to name your ad group as specific as possible. If your ad group is themed for your Fall sale, name your ad group ‘Fall Sale’.
This is where you set how much you are willing to spend each time someone clicks on an ad triggered by your keywords. If you do not know how much this click is worth to you, we recommend setting your default bid at $1.00.
These are the terms, or searches, that will trigger your ads to appear. To come up with great keywords on your own, you need to consider what phrases your customers will use when they are looking for services or products similar to yours. For best results, group your keywords around one theme or idea. Google offers keyword ideas that can help you when you are first getting set up. Simply enter a related website or your product/service and Google will display suggestions that are at least a good starting point.
Keyword Match Types
Utilizing keyword match types correctly is difficult to do, as they can be hard to understand. Each match type will control which searches can trigger your ads, from broad searches to very specific searches and phrases.
This is the default match type that Google will assign to all of your keywords unless you tell it otherwise. Using broad match keywords will show your ads to the most possible people as synonyms, misspellings, related searches and relevant variations of your keywords can all trigger your ad.
This match type will limit the number of searches that trigger your ad when compared to broad match keywords. Phrase match keywords are indicated by quotation marks around the keyword, such as “black shirts”. Phrase match keywords will show your ad when a search contains your phrase, or a close variation, possibly being accompanied by additional words before or after the phrase.
This match type limits the number of searches that trigger your ad the most. Only ads that match your keyword exactly, or very close variations, will trigger your ads. Exact match keywords are indicated by square brackets around the keyword, such as [buy brown shoes].
When thinking about the keywords you want your business to show up for, try to think about which keywords you definitely DON’T want to show up for. Negative keywords allow you to tell Google which keywords and phrases do not relate to your product or service.
Create Your Ad
Here’s where your creative side needs to kick in. The key to creating good ads is matching the ad language to the keywords that will trigger your ad, all while considering what the end-user is intending when they are using Google. If someone is searching Google to have their bicycle repaired, you don’t want your ad copy reading ‘New Bicycles For Sale’.
This is where the user will be sent when they click your ad, oftentimes referred to as the landing page. You want to make sure your ad copy matches the content on this page, which will provide the user a seamless experience by sending them to a page with the information they were looking for when they clicked your ad.
The most important parts of your ad copy are the headlines, which are broken up into headline 1, headline 2, and headline 3. This is what will grab the user’s attention and needs to clearly address their need. Headline 1 appears at the top of your ad and can be up to 30 characters long. Separated by a dash “-”, headline 2 appears after headline 1 and can also be up to 30 characters long. The same goes for headline 3. Keep in mind, on mobile devices, headline 2 may wrap to a second line. Headline 3 is a recent addition to ads from Google.
This is the green URL that shows under your headlines. The purpose of this display path is to give the user a clear understanding of the page they will be sent to when they click your ad. You can use up to two (2) display paths, each being up to 15 characters long.
The description acts as the support for your headlines and is where you will go into further detail about your offering. The amount of information Google allows in the description has been more than doubled recently, due to the addition of a second description box being added and more characters being allowed in addition to a higher character limit. The two description boxes appear after the display path and can be up to 90 characters each, totaling 180 characters.
Creating Ad Groups for Display
Now that you’ve set up your first campaign, the obvious next question is ‘what do I do now?’. Your next step will be creating an ad group, which will contain related ads and keywords. Each ad group should have it’s own theme, such as a service or product category you offer, competitors, or branded for your business. The keywords in your ad group are triggered when you win a bid in Google’s Auction, that then display the ad you created for that particular ad group.
A great ability that Google offers is targeting your ads by audience interests, which gives you the ability to reach people who are interested in products and services similar to yours. Audience targeting is a powerful tool for marketers, which will allow you to base audiences around Affinity, Intent or Remarketing. If you are unsure about your audience or believe your audience is broad, you should leave these options by default.
This targeting builds audiences and shows ads based on people’s lifestyles, buying habits, and interests.
This audience type requires you to provide keywords and URLs to create an audience based on the products and services your ideal customers are actively searching.
This audience is built by customers that have previously interacted with your business and people like them. Remarketing campaigns are very common and a cheap way to get your business in front of potential customers a second (or more) time.
Do you know exactly who your ideal customer is? Demographics will allow you to set parameters for who your ads will be shown to. If you know that your sales come from women, aged 25-40, who are not parents and make more than $40,000 per year, you are able to set this demographic up in Google AdWords. Both Audiences and Demographics narrow down the net cast by your ads, which can be a positive or negative thing.
This feature will allow Google to look at your current audience and automatically expand it to people that are similar to your most valuable customers. The default is Conservative automation, with No automated targeting and Aggressive automation also being options. We recommend using Conservative automation.
Create Your Ad
For Display Ads, you can use the ad generator provided by Google or upload your own images. We recommend uploading your own ad images.
2018 AdWords Guide: Conclusion
AdWords can be daunting and requires continuing education and constant management. The 2018 AdWords Guide was created to help you quickly get your ads in front of potential customers. We implore you to continue to monitor your ads and make tweaks as needed. AdWords is a great tool that any marketer can benefit from, but in no way does one configuration fit everyone’s needs.
If you find that you still need assistance in getting your ads running, or your ads aren’t performing as well you would like, contact us. ROI Amplified is a Google AdWords Partner, with expertise in Search, Display, Mobile, Shopping and Video Ads.