Google AdWords Guide For Business: Let's Start Bidding

Google AdWords Guide For Business: Let's Start Bidding

If you are new to Google AdWords or SEM (search engine marketing) and are looking for a simple, easy to understand guide, look no further.

TL;DR: in this guide, we’re going to look at the core components of the Google AdWords platform, answer some common questions and discuss what it takes to run a successful ad campaign.

A week ago, I sent a questionnaire to our account managers and business developers. I asked them to compile a list of the most common questions they've been asked in regards to AdWords.

The feedback was awesome. I got a ton of stuff back and started to notice a lot of common themes. We’re going to get to all of those and even more stuff that I think is important to understand below. But first.. 

What is Google AdWords?

Good question. It’s a loaded one, too. Google AdWords is a powerful advertising platform that allows advertisers to place ads in different ways on Google and the Google Network. If you want to reach potential customers online, this format might be exactly what you need. 

How does Google AdWords work?

Google AdWords works like an auction. An advertiser can select keywords and set bids based on their pre-determined budget. Google will then rank your advertisement based off a few different things.

Advertisers are billed based on CPC (cost per click) also known as PPC (pay per click), CPA (cost per acquisition) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Each with its own unique advantages and disavantages. 


Google AdWords terminology to know.

It's easy to get caught up in all the different terms and metrics if you aren't around it every day like we are. Here is a quick video on what the main metrics are and things to pay attention to when creating a campaign.


*If you want even more in-depth definitions, check out this resource provided by Google.

Choose the right Google AdWords campaign type that best fits your business objectives.


If you want to advertise directly in the search results pages (SERPs), there is a search network only campaign. If you are interested in advertising your products or services only on other websites that are related to your business, there is an option for advertising on the display network only

Search Network Ad Example

Let’s say you want to advertise in the search results pages but also want to advertise on a few display sites as well. Lucky for you, there is also an option to setup a campaign on the search network with display select. This means that you ads can appear when people search on Google but also a search partner’s website that also matches your keywords.

This also means that your ads have the possibility of being displayed on the Google Display Network (which Google says reaches 90% of Internet users worldwide, via Comscore).

Display Network Ad Example

Three other ways to advertise on AdWords are through video, shopping and universal app campaigns. These campaigns are a little more complex but let’s touch on them real fast. Video campaigns are focused on YouTube (which is owned by Google and is the second largest search network).

You’ve probably been on YouTube and noticed the ads, right? The ads at the beginning of a video, in-stream and even afterwards. Or even ads that are on the YouTube search results page, watch page or even homepage. The bidding and strategy for this format is driven through TrueView video ads.

Search Network with Shopping Ads Example

Another campaign type is through Google Shopping Campaigns. These campaigns are very specific and should only be used if you are trying to sell your products online. These campaigns can be extremely powerful for selling to a wide range of national or even local customers.

If you are a local store and carry products on-hand and at your location, you even have the ability to show off your merchandise online and create Local Inventory Ads.

Universal App Ads Example


The last main campaign type is Universal App Campaigns. If you’ve got a mobile app (Android specifically) ad you want to more people to install it, this campaign might be right for you. App installs can show up in search results and even in the Google Play Store (which is Google’s App Store for you Apple folks).

Lot’s of options. Not every single campaign tpye is (or has to be) a fit for your business. The overall objective is to be in the moment, when a customer or client is looking for your business or something your business has to offer. 

Common questions we've come across:

What's a good amount to spend?

This is a good question and it could have many answers. Typically, it depends on what the value of the conversion is and how much you are willing to spend each time to get achieve a goal. It can be intimidating at first to launch an AdWords campaign, but that's okay. We totally understand the value of advertising dollars and trying to get the most "bang for your buck".

When it comes to measuring success and justifying ad spend, we look at the cost per click and the value of a conversion and try to map the best strategy by measuring the data. The more data we've got - the better decision we can make.

How do I know what keywords to target and why?

All keywords are different but we generally can decipher user intent by the type of language used or specific modifiers that signal what the user is looking for.

An example of this would be "Red Apples" vs. "Buy Red Apples". Having "buy" in there immediately signals to the search engines that there is potentially purchase intent. These keywords tend to be more expensive per click, too. 

This is an excellent chart by the folks at Cardinal Path (for more info, check out the original post). These specific modifiers can enable an advertiser to be much more specific about the type of KW they are bidding on.



Shouldn't I focus more on organic results vs. paid?

While we obviously see the value in search engine optimization we also fully understand the challenges of launching a hollistic search campaign. The best results from SEO come in time (could be 6 months in some cases, if not more). 

The benefit of AdWords is immediacy. If you set up a campaign, you could be ranking #1 or #2 in the ad landscape tomorrow. This is a huge draw for a lot of companies. 

Are AdWords only focused on Google?

While Google AdWords is specifically a Google product and is driven by your Google account, there are also similar alternatives. The most popular one is Bing Ads. The same concept of AdWords applies with some variations.

What do my ads look like when they are live?

Your ad will look like how it is setup in the Google AdWords dashboard. This is actually a very good time to get started with Google Adwords, too. Google is starting to role out Expanded Text Ads, which are larger and boast more prominence! There is also an ad preview tool within Google Adwords that allows an advertiser to see if their ad is live and how it appears. 

What is a good CTR % (click-through rate)?

Click-through rate is a science, no doubt. It's an on-going metric that every advertiser should monitor. It's a good indication as to how attractive your advertisement is to a searcher. Each industry has an average CTR% but some people can see higher numbers and lower numbers. Check out this graph from WordStream.


A few ways to increase CTR are:

  • Well written ad copy
  • Higher ad placement in the search results
  • >Ad extensions

What is a conversion?

A conversion is a defined goal. It's how you want to measure your advertising dollars. There are a few different ways to do it in AdWords, but here are the main ones:

  • Website actions: Purchases, sign-ups, and other actions that customers complete on your website.
  • Phone calls: Calls directly from your ads, calls to a phone number on your website, and clicks on a phone number on your mobile website.
  • App downloads and in-app actions: Downloads of your Android or iOS mobile apps, and purchases or other activity within those apps.
  • Import: Customer activity that begins online but finishes offline, such as when a customer clicks an ad and submits a contact form online, and later signs a contract in your office.

For more detailed information into conversions, check out this article.

Are there Google guidelines for advertising?

You know it. There are specific standards and guidelines for advertising on Google Adwords and their network. Mainly, it's counterfeirt products, dishonest ads, misleading copy, etc. Some of these are common sense but to read more about it check out this post.

What is remarketing and how does it work?

Remarketing is a powerful AdWords tactic. Basically, you can advertise again to users who've visited your website within a specific time frame. 


There are many ways to do this with Google AdWords Remarketing:

  • Standard remarketing: Show ads to your past visitors as they browse Display Network websites and use Display Network apps.
  • Dynamic remarketing: Boost your results with dynamic remarketing, which takes remarketing to the next level with ads that include products or services that people viewed on your website.
  • Remarketing for mobile apps: Show ads to people who have used your mobile app or mobile website as they use other mobile apps or browse other mobile websites.
  • Remarketing lists for search ads: Show ads to your past visitors as they do follow-up searches for what they need on Google, after leaving your website.
  • Video remarketing: Show ads to people who have interacted with your videos or YouTube channel as they use YouTube and browse Display Network videos, websites, and apps.
  • Email-list remarketing: With Customer Match, upload a list of email addresses that your customers have given you. When those people are signed in to Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail, you can show them ads.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a page built to be the first thing ad traffic sees once they click your ad. There is a science to crafting a good landing page.

The landing page URL (link to your website) is linked directly from the Google ad itself.

What is Ad Rank and positioning?

Unlike a typical auction, where the highest bidder always gets the prize, Google is different. Google takes a few different things into consideration as well as the bid. One of them is AdRank.

Having a great landing page that is crafted nicely, mobile-friendly, related to the ad, non-spammy and relevant can lead to better Ad Rank.

Google states: "In a nutshell, higher quality ads typically lead to lower costs, better ad positions, and more advertising success. The AdWords system works best for everybody—advertisers, customers, publishers, and Google—when the ads we show are relevant, closely matching what customers are looking for."

Interested in learning more?

Our team of digital marketers would love to talk about PPC with you and see if it's a good fit. Google AdWords is an extremely powerful tool and we've got the chops to put it to work for you and your business/organization. 

Let's talk AdWords

Posted by Digital Marketing Team at 11:11