Are Google Ads Really Worth It?

As a local business owner, it’s understandable that you might want to hold your nose when handing over your hard-earned cash to a global tech giant as a monthly ad budget for clicks. Whether this be Google or social advertising on somewhere like Facebook, this can be a burden for business when not planned out and managed effectively.

However, with the right approach to your Google Ads strategy it’s possible to see a significant return on your click budget and an overall increase to your digital marketing return on investment (ROI).

There are said to be more than 2 million active Google Ads accounts globally and over 98% of Alphabet’s profit (Google’s parent company) comes from ads, so when managed correctly you can see the opportunities an effective paid ad campaign can offer for your business.


How Do I Build a Profitable Google Ads Campaign?

In the modern Google ads platform, there’s a lot more on offer than just the search-based keyword targeting of old, setting a manual bid strategy on your individual keywords. From match types to search partners, though to more complex and detailed campaign types – there are many ways to grow your audience and your sales too.

The latest campaign type ‘Performance Max’ is the most recent development to Google Shopping product listings. Rather than focusing on just Google searches and display ads, this now covers wider targeting such as Gmail inbox ads and YouTube placements all from one campaign, with one sets of assets.


Which Campaign Type is Right for My Business?

This really is the essential question for the success of your campaign and a decent return from your monthly ad budget. Just like in the offline world, there’s loads of potential marketing channels you can use, but this doesn’t mean that they’re all right for your specific product or service.

eCommerce Paid Ads – If you’re selling products online as an eCommerce retailer then Google Shopping is very much the way to go. Although there are some technicalities around getting your product feed working, the effort is very much worth it for the audience you can reach. Click costs are usually lower than keyword-based search ads too. Overall reach with your products is very much the wider objective of your campaign – driving more sales directly through your website.

Lead Generation Ads – When it comes to enquiry driven businesses such as professional service providers or manufacturing/trades, the aim of the game here is to be much more targeted through utilising search ads on the most relevant target keywords. These click costs can be higher, so you want to really ensure you’re not getting in front of time wasters or the wrong people. A professional ads manager should be using tactics like negative keywords, conversion focused bidding and even limiting the times of day that your ads are showing, in order help make sure you’re focused like a laser on the customers most likely to spend money!


How Do I Know if My Google Ads Are Working?

Like with all digital marketing activity, the main measurement for the success of your ads campaign should be the number of online sales or enquiries this generates which should then allow you to work out your profits.

Having full and effective conversion tracking set up for all of the channels pushing traffic to your site is an absolute must, as this is what allows you to see the enquiries or sales coming through your site in more detail than your just your sales order list or inbox.

From here this can then be linked to your ads account, allowing you to import this data and identify the successful conversions coming from your ads campaign. Understanding where you conversions are coming from is crucial for fine tuning your cost per acquisition.


Google Ads Key Performance Indicators

It’s also important to understand your wider ads data so you can effectively decide if your sales are on the horizon, or if your ads targeting is far too generic. Some key numbers in your campaign can help you understand how it’s performing from a technical standpoint too:

Click Through Rates (CTR) – This relates to the total number of users clicking on your ads, compared to the total searches for your keywords (known as impressions). The higher the percentage of people that click through, the higher the quality score of your ads and in turn lower click costs. If less people click on your ads over time this will push up your average cost per click.

Responsive Ads Score – When building your ads, you’ll notice a measure of how well they’re targeted, from poor to excellent. If you’re not hitting excellent then you really need to keep building, including more of your target keywords and strong calls to actions. If not, your click costs can again increase.

Top of Page Impressions – It’s important to look at where your ads are ranking against your competitors. If you’re not in the top three positions most of the time, then it’s likely you’re missing out on clicks that could turn into customers. Increasing maximum bids or reviewing your wider bid strategy will address this.

If all of this is in hand, your landing pages being strong and your wider offering is good then you’re on the right path to start making a return in the near future. One of the main selling points with Google ads is that you can see the sales benefits quickly after your campaigns have been launched.

Wider SEO can take a bit longer to get going, so your ads campaign should be seen as renting the traffic you need in the short term whilst your organic strategy builds over time – a more long-term investment with longer lasting results.


How Do I Measure My Return? ROI vs. ROAS

It’s pounds and pence used to pay the bills, so it’s essential to be able to attribute every penny of spend and sales revenue across your Google ads budget. There are two slightly different processes for this calculation, based around whether your campaign is trying to push direct sales online or generate leads to be followed up and discuss your services. In some cases, your different ad campaigns may also be doing both.

For most eCommerce campaigns Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) is how your sales are measured, whereas for lead generation campaigns your overall success is measured through your Return On Investment (ROI).

The main difference between ROAS and ROI is that with ROAS you’re analysing the return on every pound spent within your ad budget. So, if you spend £1,000 per month on ad clicks and this generates £8,000 in sales, your ROAS figure is 800%.

With ROI you’re measuring your revenue generated in relation to your wider ads and product costings, considering these expenses and how your ad campaign is hitting your overall bottom line.

Both ROI and ROAS are useful in giving you an insight into different stages of your marketing funnel. Think of ROAS as a specific measure for your campaign return, whereas ROI is related to your overall ads & marketing strategy. A strong ROAS on your ad campaigns with lead to a better ROI for your digital strategy.


Do Google Ads Help with My SEO Efforts?

Google are known for keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to sharing the specific details on how their SEO rankings work and how the organic listing algorithm is structured. There are over 200 known ranking factors and some speculate there’s significantly more secret ones too! Google Ads participation is not on the list.

That said, there’s still benefits that an effective ads campaign can add to your SEO strategy and help with your organic targeting:

Additional Keyword Data – In the good old days, Google Analytics provided full insight on the organic keywords your users had searched to find you. This is no longer the case unless you’re willing to pay for enhanced enterprise software. When using Google Ads, you still get information around live search queries users are searching for – which is another word for keywords. This data can then be used to spot hidden keywords which convert well, adding them to your organic SEO content strategy via blogs & articles.

Optimised Landing Pages – As part of your ads setup you’re hopefully improving the landing pages in your site, adding more content and things like FAQs to help drive conversions. This in effect is also good SEO practice too, meaning you’re taking the first steps with your on-page optimisation which also improves your ads quality score as well.

Learn Tough Lessons Quickly – You might think that your biggest selling product will be ‘product X’, however once your ads are live it turns out that ‘product Y’ is your new best seller! Though testing this hypothesis with ads it’s possible to find this out quickly, meaning you don’t waste time and money focusing your longer-term SEO efforts on the wrong parts of your business.


What Should I Do if My Ads Aren’t Working?

Firstly, there’s no point throwing good money after bad. If you’ve had your ads campaigns running for a while and you can’t figure out why it’s not making a profit, then it’s best to temporarily pause them.

From here it may be worth speaking to an expert. Good agencies should offer to review your existing ads as part of the process of understanding your business. We offer a free paid ads audit on existing accounts as part of our wider SEO Audit and would encourage you to submit your details if you’d like further analysis of your advertising data.

We can also provide you with industry research if you’re looking at Google ads for the first time. There’s also usually £400 free credit for new customers when you’ve spent £400 – so even more reason to give it a try today!

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