An Introduction to Google’s PPC Advertising Platforms

Maintaining a strong online presence is essential for businesses of all kinds. Organic SEO provides ample opportunity to get your brand seen; but it takes time to gather momentum, it can be tricky to forecast performance, and it requires constant input to achieve serious results.

Though powerful, organic SEO also involves a lot of maintenance. Organic visibility can also plateau over time – whether that’s down to an inability to spend more time on maintaining organic efforts, or simply that you’re reaching the same people over and over.

There is one way to break past this block – paid online advertising.

You may well have heard the term “pay-per-click” advertising – Google provide 4 distinct PPC solutions to help your business’s online visibility, but before we go into each, let’s take a quick look at PPC as a whole.

What is PPC Advertising?

PPC or “pay-per-click” advertising is a model of online advertising where companies submit ads to a network (like Google) and pay a fee every time their ad is clicked. PPC advertising typically operates through a “closed auction” system where each advertiser states what they’re willing to pay for each ad spot and/or keyword. Ad placement generally gets awarded to the highest bidder(s).

Why use PPC Advertising?

Unfortunately organic SEO can only go so far. When you set up a PPC ad, you can potentially see results almost immediately. Pay-per-click campaigns usually allow for thorough tracking and analysis, so you can establish what works best and optimise as appropriate over time. PPC advertising can be extremely cost effective and scalable for businesses of all sizes, especially when you use well-matched keywords and meaningful targeting strategies.

WebPageFX found that PPC visitors are 50% more likely to make a purchase than organic visitors. Many PPC networks allow you to set a budget, cutting off before you overspend – though this may be dependent on which platform you use. Although some companies rely solely on Google Ads for generating new business, others use it as a “bolt-on” to their existing marketing plan. Both approaches can produce positive results.

Why Choose Paid Google Ads in Particular?

Google undoubtedly has a huge influence online. Their ad networks and algorithms are particularly sophisticated, and many of their systems provide clear analytics and insights into customer behaviour and ad performance.

Google also provide great tools for targeting your ads towards the right audiences, including factors like gender, age, interests, geographic location, date and time, the list goes on. Targeting in this way can help minimise wasted spend, and Google’s ubiquitous nature means that they have a wide pool of accurate user data to work from.

The Different Kinds of Google Advertising

What are Google Search Ads?

Google search ads are text-only advertisements that appear at the top and bottom of selected Google searches on computers, tablets, and mobiles. They look very similar to standard “organic” results but display a green “Ad” icon next to the URL. You can also include ad “extensions” alongside any text ad, which can prompt the viewer to call, email, or visit alternative destinations on your website.

Why use Google Search Ads?

The most obvious advantage to using search ads is that they can appear above all organic search results. If you’re finding organic SEO to be quite competitive, paid ads may provide better odds of appearing on the first page of Google. With the right bid strategy, budget, and keywords, your chances of appearing in front of eager searchers for relevant keywords may be vastly increased compared to organic SEO.

The pay-per-click model of bidding for clicks means that you only pay for actual clicks that come through to your site. Google Ads provides robust and easy to follow analytical information about your campaigns, allowing you to monitor the performance of individual ads, keywords, and quantities of impressions and clicks.

What are Google Video Ads?

Google Video Ads ads are video advertisements displayed on YouTube which take two distinct forms:

  • In-Stream ads – Ads that display before or during YouTube videos – called “pre-roll” and “mid-roll” ads respectively. These are usually skippable after 5 seconds, but you can also use unskippable “bumper” ads that are around 6 seconds long.
  • Video Discovery ads – Ads that are effectively links to videos which can appear in Youtube search results, on the YouTube homepage, or alongside a video’s related content.

These ads are distinguishable from organic results by a yellow “Ad” icon next to the video’s title or description teaser. Google Video Ads offer the choice of “per click” or “per view” bidding. Google Video Ad campaigns can be managed through the Google Ads dashboard.

Why use Google Video Ads?

Well firstly, YouTube’s viewership is huge – the platform has around 1,300,000,000 users as of 2019. On top of that, Google found that 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than TV.

We’re also very visual creatures, and visuals play an important part in memory retention. Insivia found that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video, compared to a 10% retention rate when reading the same information as text. There’s also a misconception that professional video production is prohibitively expensive for smaller companies, so professionally produced videos may help you appear more established.

What are Google Display Ads?

Google Display Ads are image or text ads that appear across websites, apps, and on YouTube. Display ads sit within the Google Display Network (GDN) – they don’t appear in Google searches, but can appear elsewhere on the web where viewers may be placed differently within their buying journey. They are generally managed from the Google Ads dashboard.

Why use Google Display Ads?

The Google Display Network is massive – it reaches over 90% of people online across 2 million websites. Our psychological preference for visuals is also relevant here – our eyes are naturally drawn to images over text, so display ads are great for grabbing attention.

Display Ads are targeted by “audiences” that can be configured in the Google Ads dashboard, using criteria such as location, age, past website views, and interests. “In-market audiences” are a great way to target users that are already in the process of a purchasing decision, and Google knows that with their massive data bank. Display Ads are particularly good at retargeting past users of your website who may not have converted on their first visit.

Because your ads aren’t tethered to the search results page as they are with text or Shopping ads, or to a certain platform like YouTube, display ads can achieve great exposure for your brand.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping Ads (also called Product Listing Ads) are a way for online retailers to showcase their products across the Google Search Network. When you search for a specific item or for an accurate descriptor like “blue bow tie”, Google sometimes displays a few products above the other search results with a title, an image, the item’s price, and the retailer’s name. These are Shopping Ads and they can be distinguished from other results by the grey “Sponsored” icon shown nearby.

Unlike the other avenues on this list, there is a two-step process to setting up Shopping Ads. Retailers firstly need to register with Google Merchant Center and submit a list of their products in one of Google’s approved formats. Once the product information is in Google’s system, you’ll be able to create Shopping Ad campaigns through your Google Ads account. You can’t bid on keywords for Shopping Ads – Google pulls keywords from your product listings, so it’s important to optimise them for search effectiveness.

Why use Google Shopping Ads?

If someone is searching for a specific product it’s fairly safe to assume they’re doing so with intent to buy. Google Shopping Ads intercept searchers with a high buying intent and points them in your direction. Listings are shown with an image and a price, both very strong qualifying factors for shoppers.

Industry giant Merkle Inc. found that the conversion rates for Shopping Ads are 30% higher than comparable text ads on desktop searches. This may be due to the strategic location and more visual nature of Shopping Ads. They’re ideally placed to capture the searcher’s interest, enabling them to compare similar products at a glance.

Interested in Google advertising but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve been using PPC for a while but need someone to take it off your hands? Whatever your situation, OLCO Design can completely manage your Google advertising for you! We get to know your business and your goals closely so we can appropriately manage ads on your behalf. Call the team today on 0330 223 1193 to arrange a free consultation.

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