In another post I wrote about the main terminologies and concepts associated with Google’s display ads platform. In this post I will explain the basics of Google’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC).
What is Pay-Per-Click?
Pay-per-click refers to ads that appear above organic search results.
Using Google’s ads platform you customize the ad and you choose the keywords that will trigger that ad.
You can choose any types of keywords to trigger paid search ads, but the majority of marketers use this channel at the conversion stage of the customer’s journey to show ads against search queries that have a buying intent behind them.
Being based on a user’s search intent is what makes PPC different from all other marketing channels.
Let’s start from point zero.
When you first create your Adwords account you have three available options.
- The Standard Account contains all google ads features. Mostly used by individuals to run their own campaigns for their own business.
- The Manager Account is meant for agencies and individuals who work for clients. You can attach clients’ accounts and run PPC ads on their behalf while they still have access to their accounts.
- The Adwords Express is the type of account that actually automates most of the steps for you. You have limited features and you have control only over features such as spendings.
In some scenarios is more practical to use a manager account even if you have only one business.
Let’s say you have a hotel chain across multiple countries. In a scenario like that, you would create different Standard child accounts for each country.
You can split your structure even deeper with apartments and hotel rooms. So it will look something like UK Apartments/UK hotels and Wales Apartaments/Wales Hotels.
Having a clearer structure is going to be helpful further down the road when you will choose your keywords and allocate your budget.
Google PPC Account Structure
Let’s say now that you are selling TV’s. For such a general term it’s impossible to be specific in your ad targeting. To make things clearer you create multiple ad groups for different types of TV that you sell. This means that you create different ad groups and assign different triggering keywords for each ad group.
Here is a real life example
To avoid getting confused like I did I want to mention this. In the image you have: Campaign>Ad Group>Keywords. However, when you create your campaign in Google Ads you first create your keywords list before the ad group: Campaign>Keywords>Ad Group.
The structure above does not show the path of the campaign creation, it shows the structure of your campaign after it has been created.
How many keywords per ad group?
In terms of numbers, you can have as many keywords and as many ads as you want in one campaign. However, if you are just starting using Google Ads around don’t overwhelm yourself with more than 5 keywords. Even advanced users keep it low at around 20 keywords max per ad group.
Google Adwords Main Settings
The framework of your account is straightforward once you wrap your head around it. Let’s check now some common PPC terms and elements.
Keywords Match Types
Understanding the keyword match types is essential to your campaign’s success. It impacts how your budget is being spent and the overall conversion rate.
When users search online, even if they have the same intent they might not type in exactly the same words. That’s where keyword match types come in.
Using keyword modifiers you fill in the gaps between search queries that are typed differently in the search bar but have the same intent behind them.
Let’s see how each variation impacts the triggering of your ad. I will use the keyword “digital marketing services” as an example.
Exact match keyword type
The exact match type means that your PPC ad will be triggered only when the user types the exact spelling as your keyword. This means that your ad will be triggered only when the user types word by word the query “digital marketing services”
The exact match usually delivers low impressions but quality clicks to your sales page.
Phrase Match Keyword Type
The phrase match keyword type will trigger the ad by the exact match keyword and will also be triggered by any phrase that includes the exact keyword.
In our case, “digital marketing services“ can be triggered by a search query such as “best digital marketing services for small businesses.”
The phrase match type increases the chances of your ad being served to users that have the same intent but type a different search query.
Broad Match Keyword Type
Broad Match embodies Exact Match, Phrase Match + any relevant variation of your keyword.
Therefore, your ad will be triggered by the two examples above and can also be potentially triggered by a search query such as “SEO services for small businesses“.
In this case, your ad will be served to a lot more users. This means that you will also pay for clicks from users that are not totally aligned with what you offer.
Broad match also applies to misspellings of your initial keyword.
Broad Match Modifiers
In many cases, the phrase match type is too limited and the broad match is too broad. The middle ground between the two is a broad match modifier.
Adding a + sign before any word will mark it as a must-have word in the user’s search query. Let’s check some examples to better understand this.
If you have “digital marketing +services“ the ad might potentially be triggered by “best SEO services“ but it will not be triggered by “cheap digital marketing“.
If you have “+digital +marketing +services“ the ad will only be triggered when a search query includes all the marked words. Compared to exact match or phrase match, where the words need to be typed in the same order, when using the modifier the words can be in any order.
In this case the ad might potentially be triggered by a search query such as “where to buy marketing services for digital” but not be triggered by “online digital marketing“.
Oftentimes, the user may type an additional word that completely changes the intent of the search query. If for example, you have a phrase match for “digital marketing services“, your ad will potentially be triggered by “free digital marketing services“. The negative words feature is for filtering out specific words. Adding the word “free” in the negative keywords list will avoid your ad being shown to people that search using that word.
Keywords Grouping Best Practices
Remember that it all starts with keywords. You pick your keywords, you group them into ad groups.
How you group the keywords helps avoid confusion within your overall campaign structure. For peace of mind here are two examples of keyword groupings.
1. Group keywords by their search volume.
Grouping keywords by their search volume will optimize your daily budget spending. Let’s take two keywords as examples. One keyword with 500 searches and one with 100 daily searches,
Because it is being searched 5 times more your budget will be spent faster on the first keyword.
In other words, if you put the two keywords in the same ad group… your ad group budget will be spent disproportionally between the two. Meaning that a $10 budget will be split something like $8 on the first keyword and $2 on the second keyword.
If the second keyword has a better conversion rate, then that’s a bad use of your money.
Therefore, it’s highly practical and cost-effective to group your PPC keywords based on their search volume.
2. Group keywords based on the customer’s journey.
You can group keywords based on the customer’s journey as well. If the user is on the consideration stage then he might be looking for reviews.
You would create an ad group named “Consideration Stage Keywords” in which you add keywords such as “<your brand name> reviews” or “does <your product> deliver results?“.
For users that are the final stage of the customer’s journey, you would group together keywords such as “coupon code for <your product name>” or “how much does your <product name> cost“.
Ad Copy & Ad Extension
Ad copy and extensions are the visible elements the user sees when the ad is being served in search results: headline, meta description, site links, and URL.
Ad extension are enhanced features that make your ad more appealing to the users and increases the chances of being clicked on (CTR). They are used to provide extra information such as additional links, location, price, promotion, call number.
Check out this full youtube tutorial that explains everything about ad extensions.
Ad Copy Best Practices
- Write relevant headlines and descriptions to improve the Ad quality score.
- Create at least four additional sitelinks as ad extensions. The ad takes more space on the user’s screen and improves user experience and CTR.
- Use multiple headlines to help google decide through machine learning which combination performs best.
- Use numbers in your headlines if applicable.
- Define in the title and meta description what makes you stand out.
- Split test different call-to-actions, different headlines, different descriptions.
If you feel overwhelmed by the many options and elements available when creating your campaign, well… that’s OK. We all feel the same at first.
You learn while you do it rather than creating the perfect ad the first time. Take this PPC game step by step. Spend less money learning the ins and outs of Google Ads platform, and spend more when you know what you are doing.