Are Paid Search Ads Right for You?

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Does anyone else feel like Google’s taking over the world? Whether it’s a Google Home device, your Android phone (the Android system is authored by Google), or plain old Google.com, you can’t go through a whole day without running into a Google product or service. Google’s not just taking over your physical day-to-day, it’s becoming a big player in marketing as well with paid search ads. 

So what are paid search ads? And are they right for you? 

Paid search ads appear when you search for something on Google, they look very much like a normal Google search result. You can see in the below search for “furniture,” ads pop up for Wayfair, All Modern, and Furniture Row. They’re denoted by the little “ad” icon on the left-hand side under the link title, but otherwise look just like a normal Google search result. 

(Note, Google offers lots of other types of ads, including display ads. For now, we’ll just focus on basic search.)

These ads may look simple, but they’re mighty. Google’s vast footprint and insane number of monthly searches on the platform means you can  target ads precisely to the right people within a precise area who are searching for exactly what you offer.If you’re smart with how you run your paid search, Google ads can be incredibly effective ata low cost. So are paid search ads right for you and your business/organization? Let’s find out. 

Are people searching for your offering? 

This is the first question you should answer before you even think about delving into paid search advertising. You might think, “Aren’t people Googling everything these days?” While people are Googling just about everything, Google ads are only going to work for you if people are looking for something you offer, or for an organization like yours. If no one is searching for terms related to your topic, your ads won’t show. 

So how do you know if people are searching for terms related to your business/organization? 

One way is to think about what stage of decision-making your audience is in. Let’s say you’re selling furniture, as in the above example. People know what chairs are, they know they need chairs, and they’re probably looking for a good place to find chairs. If you’re selling furniture, paid search ads are a great idea for your business. 

Now, let’s say you’ve invented a widget that fills a need most people didn’t even realize they had. If people don’t know this need exists, they’re probably not searching for ways to fill it. In that case, Google ads might not be your best option. 

You can also look at actual search volume. Google Keyword Planner (within the Google Ads dashboard) shows actual monthly search volume for keywords related to your business, so you know for sure if there is an audience looking for an offering like yours.

How much do your keywords cost?

Once you’ve figured out that, yes, people ARE searching for terms related to your organization or business, you need to figure out if you can afford to show ads for those terms.

Google’s advertising system works on a pay-per-click model. You are charged every time someone clicks on your ad, not every time it is shown. Google determines how much you pay based on an auction model – every time someone searches for your search term, a lightning-fast auction occurs to determiner which advertiser gets to show their ad.

You don’t need to understand the details, but it’s important to understand that the fee you pay for two separate clicks for the same search term can be wildly different, and that like any other auction, more bidders usually means a much higher cost. 

Some industry verticals, pediatrics for example, are expensive. Many pediatrics offices are bidding for keywords related to pediatric care. If you’re buying ads for a pediatrics practice, this might mean you’re paying an average of $8 or more per click to your site. If your product or service is more niche, you may be able to get a click to your website for less than a dollar. 

Google Keyword Planner, which I mentioned earlier, has all of this data. Using that tool can help you see if your budget will allow you enough clicks to your site for paid search ads to be effective.

Are you able to easily edit your website?

Huh? This might seem a little out of left field, but hear me out. If you can’t edit your website, you’re missing out on the most powerful piece of Google ads: conversion tracking. 

If you can install a snippet of code in the header of your website, you can track the performance of paid search ads with incredible granularity. You can see exactly how many clicks on one of your ads resulted in purchases, email signups, appointments scheduled, or a list of other outcomes. If you can’t install this code, you won’t be able to truly assess the effectiveness of your ads. It doesn’t mean you can’t run paid search ads, but it’s something to consider. 

In addition, Google Ads tend to be more effective when you create tailored landing pages for different campaigns. Back to our earlier example, if you’re selling furniture and your search ads are all about chairs, you might want to create a page on your website that mirrors your ad and focuses solely on chairs.

There’s a lot more to landing pages than this, but you get the idea. If you can’t create tailored landing pages on your website for your campaigns and none of the pages on your website are a good place to send that paid search traffic, you may be able to get clicks to your website but not see the conversions you’re looking for. 

This just scratches the surface of paid search ads, but hopefully it gets you thinking about whether or not paid search is a good strategy for your business. Note that there ARE paid search opportunities on platforms other than Google, like Bing, but Google really is the gold standard when it comes to paid search advertising. 

Not sure if paid search is right for you? Convinced paid search IS right for you but don’t want to take the time to figure out how the heck it works? Contact us today.