How to use and measure the effectiveness of Google Ads

‍Real-time performance metrics help hone your digital marketing strategy

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As a small or medium-sized business, you know how critical it is to reach potential customers with digital advertising. But getting the word out isn’t as simple as it used to be, when a good website or simple social media ad would generate sales. Today, a savvy online advertising campaign is essential, and using Google Ads is an easy, low-cost, and measurable way to scale your eCommerce business. To maximize the impact of your Google Ads, there are a few expert strategies you can use.

First, what are Google Ads?

As the name says, Google Ads pop up on the screen when a user is looking for a product or service like yours, appearing on Search, Maps, and Google’s network of partner sites. An ad has a headline, URL, and description text — all of which you write yourself.

To create great Google Ads, you should get familiar with these features:

  • You can select specific keywords to target customers by location, preferences, or any other demographic attribute that is important to you.
  • Your advertising campaign can begin and end on the dates that you choose.
  • You are in control of the budget, setting a maximum that you want to spend each month. There’s no minimum, and you pay only when a user clicks. Google Ads fall under the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model of digital advertising.
How do Google Ads help to scale your eCommerce business?

Maximizing growth is directly related to targeting your market. It’s a waste of resources if your ads are in front of the wrong people at the wrong time. With Google Ads, you can fine-tune your message:

  1. You have the option to gear your marketing to your desired result. So, whether you want customers to go to your store, call, or visit your website, you can design your ad with a specific goal in mind — adding “Call” buttons, for instance.
  1. You can select the geographical location where your ad will appear, whether it’s a defined radius in a city, region of a state, or country.
  1. You can determine which ad format will best attract your audience, using banner ads and photos to drive sales.
  1. With help from Google, you can estimate your results based on what you choose to spend.
Results are what it’s all about

The main method for assessing how well an ad is performing is using the click-through rate (CTR), which is the percentage of people who click on an ad when they see it.

Once you know the CTR, you can figure out what you’re spending per click in advertising dollars, or the “cost per click.”

Average CTRs are low, hovering around two users per 1,000 views, or 0.2%

Set up conversion tracking to gain more leads

When a customer interacts with your ad, what do they do next? Do they purchase your product or sign up for your newsletter? Find out by setting up conversion tracking with Google Ads. Conversion tracking is a free tool that allows you to understand which actions a customer takes after engaging with your ad. Conversion tracking is a powerful way of better understanding which of your ads are working — and which aren’t.

To take conversion tracking to the next level, use a tag or snippet of code provided by Google to add to your website and, if you have one, your mobile app. Once you do, Google will track the actions and engagements that a person takes after visiting your website or app via Google Ads. When they complete an action that you’ve defined, Google will record the conversion — helping you better understand your customer base.

Whenever possible, it’s best to set up your ads around conversions. This allows you to focus on cost per acquisition (CPA) as a tool for measurement. CPA takes into consideration the total cost of a customer completing a specific action. CPAs will vary based on industry, but by better understanding your initial CPAs you can benchmark your future success with conversion tracking.  

How do you know your ads are working?

The Google Ads methodology is based on trial and error. You write an ad, you analyze data describing its effectiveness, and you make adjustments. Then, you do it again.

Google has a free tool that measures results by tracking performance, helping you pinpoint which ads are working best and why. It helps determine the degree to which the ads turn into measurable interactions, so you can tally clicks as well as purchases, viewings of a video, downloads of an app, or phone calls. For example, if one ad is getting more website visits than the others, you can make changes and see what happens.

The tool charts actions taken in real-time, separating your campaigns so you can analyze and compare the effectiveness of each. You can tweak the language, change keywords, or adjust your audience or budget. Then, you can watch how the ads perform, assess the impact of your changes, and edit again.

The tool also measures performance by device, so you can track impressions on mobile, tablet, and desktop. And, the tool offers recommendations for improving CTR and driving more traffic to your business.

How do you make sure you get the best results?

To optimize results on a PPC platform, make use of all the features discussed above, and be strategic in your thinking. Here are tips for maximizing revenue using Google Ads:

  1. Optimize your landing page. Your goal is for your ad to drive people to your website, so make sure that your ad and landing page are in sync. The message should be the same in both. Use the same keywords and make the same points.
  1. Exclude terms that don’t relate to your business. You can tell Google not to include certain words (negative keywords), so you get only the traffic that you want.
  1. Know which types of keyword matches to specify, from widest to most narrow. The widest will get the most impressions, but many of them may not be serious customers. The narrowest may get the fewest impressions, but the users likely want exactly what you’re selling. Each click costs money, so it’s critical to choose wisely.
  • Broad: will match any of the words in any order
  • Broad match modified: must have all the words in any order
  • Phrase match: exact keywords used in exact order that you specify
  1. Use Responsive Search Ads. Use multiple ad options and allow Google to serve the most relevant versions over time as the service analyzes which are most effective.
  1. Fine-tune geographic targets to minimize unwanted clicks. For example, if your company sells nautical equipment, you should probably exclude places like Kansas.

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, you probably want flexibility in your digital advertising plan. Because Google Ads make it easy to experiment in real-time with different content, messages, and visuals, you can continually analyze, tweak, and test your marketing strategy.

Start scaling your eCommerce business today with LianLian Global.

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