So, you’ve spent a lot of time, money, and other resources for creating and setting up a website for your business. Naturally, you’re excited since your website looks great and works like a dream.
But now that your website is live, how do you get people to visit it?
Sure, you can probably tell your friends and family about the site and post about it on social media. But do you think that will be enough? If your website can’t reach your target audience, how can you generate sales? In this case, Google Ads is one of the most popular strategies to generate traffic and sales for your business.
As a digital marketing agency, one very common question from clients about paid search is: “Are Google Ads effective?” In this article, we’ll find out if Google Ads is right for your online marketing needs.
Are Google Ads Effective? Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
1. Are My Customers Using Search Engines to Make Purchases?
Are your customers using search engines to make buying decisions online? Well, there’s really no way of knowing directly unless you interview your target buyers. However, the stats don’t lie. Let’s take a look at some key search engine statistics:
- According to BrightLocal, 90% of customers used the internet to find local businesses during the last year, and 33% of them are online looking every day.
- About 72% of customers who did a local search have visited a physical store within a five-mile radius.
- 97% of consumers learn about local businesses through the internet.
- Location-based searches such as “Near me” or “Close by” queries have grown more than 900% over the last two years. (Source: Chat Meter)
- Local consumer searches result in business sales 28% of the time.
- 46% of Google search queries are customers looking for local information.
As you can see, your customers are using search engines and that’s the key to driving more people to your store. With that said, you need a strong local SEO strategy and an effective Google Ads campaign.
2. How Do I Know If PPC is Right for Me?
Before we answer the big question, “Are Google Ads effective?”, let’s first find out if pay-per-click (PPC) is the right strategy for your business. There’s a time and place for using paid search as a strategy and deciding whether or not it’s right for you is a daunting task.
To help you get started, here are some factors to determine if PPC is right for your business.
How much are you willing to pay for a new customer?
Before you can hope to answer this question, you need to determine your budget for selling your product or service. This, of course, affects your ROI or return on investment and also your overall margin.
Figuring out your operating budget alongside your advertising budget is worth the headaches. This enables you to set your financial targets in terms of ad spend. Keep in mind: you can have as many customers as you want, provided that you have the budget to pay for them.
How is your website’s conversion rate?
To determine the conversion rate of your website, you can send e-commerce data to Google Analytics. This allows you to monitor your results and subsequently determine your conversion rate. In this case, the conversion rate refers to the percentage of your site visitors that perform actions that are deemed valuable to your business.
Using a web analytics service will help you measure the success rate of your campaigns and the site itself.
If you sell your services or products offline, you can still assign value to specific actions users take on your website. For instance, what value do you place on a request for a quote or contact us form submission?
What are your long-term objectives?
Whether you’re going for short-term objectives like increasing sales for immediate cash flow or long-term goals such as developing your customer base, your main objective is a huge influence on your PPC strategy.
Here are a few examples of short and long-term goals that many of our clients have mentioned:
- Increase Revenue: This is a very common objective and this requires a great deal of tracking on your part. Perhaps, you’re looking to make an exit a few years down the line and hoping that your business gets a better evaluation.
- Improve Product or Brand Awareness: Are you a new business that needs to improve brand awareness? Or maybe, you’re an established business looking to launch a new product line? Before you can expect any sales, it’s important to generate demand. This means that you need to get your product in front of your target customers and generate traffic towards your website. In this case, PPC might be the right strategy for you.
- Maximize Profits: Perhaps you’ve spent a lot of money on costly print ads and trade conferences and you’re looking to reduce your customer acquisition cost. PPC advertising might be worth adding to your marketing mix. Yes, you still need to spend money, but Google Ads is a more ROI-friendly platform compared to other forms of online advertising.
With that said, keep in mind that 65% of small to medium-sized businesses have a PPC campaign. Therefore, if you don’t incorporate PPC into your advertising strategy, there’s a good chance that the competition will leave you behind.
3. Why Should I Choose Google Ads?
To answer the question, “are Google Ads effective?”, you have to know Google’s search engine market share. Again, let’s take a look at a couple of statistics:
- Google isn’t just the leader in the search engine market, it dominates it with 91.43% market share in 2019. Other search engines such as Baidu and Bing are second and third respectively but they don’t even come close to Google. Ultimately, Google sends the most traffic to websites and sets the standards for search algorithms.
- In 2018, Google’s search and marketing tools helped generate $335 billion in the United States alone. As expected, this benefited millions of businesses, nonprofits, and site publishers.
- According to a survey by Search Engine Land in 2019, 63% of users said that they have clicked on a Google ad after a search query.
- 86% of customers look up the location of a local business via Google Maps.
- In terms of mobile traffic, Google also dominates by driving 96% of mobile search traffic.
- 35% of potential customers have purchased a product within 5 days after searching for it via Google.
These statistics prove that Google is the undisputed leader in the search engine market. You can opt to advertise on other search engines like Bing or Yahoo! but you won’t have nearly as much success when compared to Google Ads.
4. Is Google Ads Cost-Effective?
When done right, Google Ads can indeed give you great results. However, one of the main considerations when adopting this platform is the cost.
Let’s examine if Google Ads is a cost-effective advertising platform.
For many business owners, Google Ads is very cost-effective since it caters to a wide range of budgets and bids. Plus, you have the option of changing how much you spend in real-time. To answer this particular question of Google’s cost-effectiveness, here are more key statistics:
- Google estimated that for every $1 a business spends on Google Ads, it receives an $8 profit in return. That’s an impressive 8:1 return on investment.
- How much do Google Ads cost? A small to medium-sized business spends a monthly average of $9,000 to $10,000 on Google Ads.
- To run your ads on Google, you need to decide on the right budget and bidding options. For beginners, Google recommends a daily budget of $10 to $50.
- The average cost-per-click (CPC) for Google Ads is $1-$2.
- If you’re planning to work with a company that specializes in Google Ads Management, expect to pay $350-$5000 or 12-30% of ad spend / month.
The cost of Google Ads also depends on which industry you participate in. Check out the table below by WebFX:
Where Should I Advertise: Google Search or Google Display Network?
If you choose to launch an ad campaign with Google Ads, you have two main options: Google Search Network or Google Display Network.
Between the two, Google Search Network is the more popular option. When you advertise via the Google Search Network, your ads can appear on the search engine results page (SERP) as well as on other search sites with the use of relevant keywords. On top of Google search results, your ad may also appear on other Google services, like Google Images, Google Maps, Google Shopping, and many others.
There are three types of ads that appear in the Google Search Network: Text Ads, Shopping Ads, and Image and Video Ads. The most common type is Text Ads. These ads appear at the top of the SERP and are labeled with a bold “Ad” or “Ads”. They often include ad extensions that enable businesses to list details such as location, phone number, and more.
Google Display Network is another option for advertising. This marketing channel is designed to reach users while they’re browsing their favorite websites, watching YouTube videos, checking their Gmail account, or using their favorite mobile apps.
Basically, this type of ad is a visual banner that appears on ad-supported websites. Overall, Google Display Network is used more for advanced advertising strategies such as remarketing. The Display Network can be an effective strategy as it reaches 90% of online customers with over 2 million ad-supported websites.
If you want to learn more about programmatic display advertising, check out our beginner’s guide to programmatic display advertising.
Why Google Ads Work?
Have you decided that Google Ads is the right paid advertising option for your business? Well, I must say that it’s a step in the right direction. If you’re still on the fence about using Google Ads to advertise your business, here are the top reasons why this strategy works:
1. Targets Potential Customers While They’re Engaged
One of the main reasons why Google Ads are effective is because they target potential customers the moment that they are looking for a particular product or service.
Let’s say a person is in the market for a new outdoor smartwatch. The user types “buy outdoor smartwatch” into the Google search bar. On the results page, he sees several relevant Google Ads at the top of the organic search results. The potential customer clicks one of the sponsored results and starts shopping.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to identify the exact moment someone is ready to make a purchase. Think about how a smartwatch manufacturer might reach them otherwise. Send them an email? Maybe they’re at work and can’t shop. Reach them through a magazine ad? What if they’re not near a store or computer? These tactics are good for raising brand awareness and convincing the buyer that your product is worth buying, but you need to be present the moment they’ve decided to purchase a smartwatch.
With Google Ads, you can target and reach users precisely at the moment that they’re engaged. With the right keywords and optimization strategies, you can get in front of potential buyers right at the moment that they’re searching for your product or service.
2. Focus on Local or Niche Markets
If you’re a local business with a good online presence, Google Ads can be a great investment. According to statistics, 72% of customers who searched locally will visit a physical store within 5 miles of their current location.
With the help of Google Ads, you can reach potential customers that are within the vicinity of your business.
As discussed earlier, you may also incorporate ad extensions into your ads, which display your business’ address and phone number. With this, local customers can easily find or call you once your ad pops up from their mobile devices.
Google Ads is also an effective advertising strategy for local services such as plumbing, roofing, house cleaning, and many others. For instance, let’s say you live in Tampa and you’re offering green cleaning services to homes. You can bid on a very broad keyword like “green cleaning service” on Google but you’ll find it’s very expensive because you’re competing with everyone across all geographies.
Fortunately, Google bids are very customizable and you can instead bid on long-tail keywords like “green cleaning service in Tampa.” Your ad cost will likely be lower and with a higher conversion rate from clicks.
3. Don’t Spend More Than You Need
As mentioned, one of the best benefits of Google Ads is that it’s a very flexible platform. Google enables users to set campaign parameters that allow you to control how you spend your budget. For the uninitiated, Google Ads work on a cost-per-click basis so you’ll only pay when a user clicks your ads and visits your website.
There’s no minimum ad spend, and you can choose how much you spend monthly, daily, and per ad. Basically, you can spend as much or as little as you’d like. As you get more success with your campaign, you can easily scale your budget in real-time.
Furthermore, you can designate an average daily budget for your campaign. This informs Google that over a monthly basis, you’re not paying any more than the average budget x the number of days. There are some days where your ad performance is higher and more costly and, in some days, lower. Regardless of the results, you will not go over your budget over the course of the month.
4. Quick Results
Another noteworthy benefit of Google Ads is that you get quick, almost instantaneous results.
Essentially, you only need to perform a few steps to get things going. First, you need to set up your Google Ads campaign, then enter the relevant keywords, set your daily budget, write down the ad content, and you’re all set. With your Google ad going live, you can potentially generate a sale on the same day.
In comparison to search engine optimization (SEO), Google Ads or PPC, in general, can work much faster for your business. While SEO is also extremely important, it does take time to rank at the top of the organic search engine results page. To rank at the top can often take 6 to 12 months.
Whereas, your Google Ads campaign is shown to potential customers the moment you go live. Your ad will be displayed at the top of the SERP or at the bottom of the first page, depending on your ads Quality Score. With Google Ads, you have immediate visibility and access to your target audience.
5. Measure and Analyze Your Results
Staying on top of your Google Ads campaign is one of the keys to success. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of tools that are provided by Google to help monitor, measure, and analyze your success. If someone clicks on your ad, you’ll know. If a click led to a product purchase or an app download, you can monitor that as well.
With this ability to monitor and measure your results, you’ll quickly see which aspects of your campaign need to be tweaked or where more resources need to be committed.
So, The Question Remains: Are Google Ads Effective?
After reviewing the statistics and learning what others have achieved, it’s clear that Google Ads is a solid advertising strategy for all types of business. Hopefully, after this extensive write-up, you now have a better grasp of whether or not Google Ads is the right advertising strategy for you. Before you invest in Google Ads, make sure that you have clear goals for your paid search campaign.
If you don’t have the time or experience to manage a Google Ads campaign, you can always work with a digital marketing agency to help optimize your PPC campaign. Learn more about our PPC management services.
Founder and CEO
Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal has recently earned him the honor of being selected as a member of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University as well as 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year,and the Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).