A good Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords) strategy can drive lots of traffic to your website and create name recognition, but can also be quite pricey.

What are Google Ads? To put it simply, Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) ads that appear at the top of Google search results and/or re-targeted on other websites. You create campaigns where you bid (like bidding at an auction) on keywords.

“But if we only pay when someone clicks on them, we should just have every keyword possible because we’re only paying for it if someone clicks!”

WRONG. Unfortunately this is a very common and very simplistic view of how PPC advertising works and is NOT how Google Ads actually work. It’s much, much more complicated than that.

Running Google Ads campaigns is extremely complicated and extremely competitive, with industries like law firms, insurance, and diamonds being some of the most competitive and seeing some of the highest costs per clicks (I, personally, have seen cost per clicks in excess of $200). Some companies have monthly Google Ads budgets in the tens of thousands of dollars, which if you don’t have a huge budget for Google Ads, can automatically put you at a disadvantage.

And no, it’s NOT a good idea to have a keyword “just in case” someone decides to search that keyword. That’s poor marketing. If no one is searching for that keyword, it’s absolutely pointless to have it as a part of your campaign, because of how budgeting works (which is a topic for another blog).

In addition to keywords and keyword research, there are the actual ads themselves (either text, display, or dynamic), audience targeting, and numerous settings (ad networks, location, time of day, and on and on). And don’t forget Click Thru Rates (CTR), Conversions, and the other metrics involved.

“I have an agency that takes care of all of this for me!”

There are a lot of agencies out there that claim to specialize in Google Ads or to be experts, often promoting that they are “Official Partners of Google” or “Google Ads Certified,” but that doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. You’ve probably received an unsolicited phone call or 10 from “agencies” like this. If your business isn’t working with your agency hand-in-hand (even if they “specialize” in your industry), reviewing keywords and ads on a regular basis, and getting regular monthly reports from your agency, they’re not doing it right. If they claim this information and their work is “proprietary,” fire them immediately. The same goes for agencies that run through your monthly budget in only a week or two.

Google Ads are not something you can “set and forget” or take a passive role in and let someone else handle for you. No one knows your business as well as you do, regardless of their experience in your industry. If the agency is encouraging you to let them handle everything without your input, they’re probably just looking for a check.

What to do if you like what Google Ads offer but you don’t have the budget or time

Google Ads are just one tool for getting your business found in search results, but they aren’t for everyone. Ads and promoted posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be more cost-effective and don’t require a big budget or as much maintenance, while still offering an amazing ability to target your desired customer or client.

Having a strong Content Marketing strategy is also an option to help your business get found in search results and build name recognition. Having a blog with strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your website and promoting the blog on social media, in addition to using the proper hash tags and making sure to add it to your Google My Business page, can help you be at the top of search results without having a huge budget.

A strong Google Ads strategy can generate big bucks for your business, but it can also cost you big bucks as well. Having a strong social media advertising and content marketing strategy can also generate new business and build your brand. There’s a lot that goes into having the right mix of all three for your business. If you need help with Google Ads, social media advertising, or content marketing, contact us today to get started finding out what works best for your business and your budget.