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Google Ads 101 – Impressions and CTR are More Than Buzzwords

PPC, CPC, CTR, clicks, impressions, conversions – what do they all mean? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the terms and metrics that live in the world of Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords). Don’t fear, our digital media team is trained in the art of all things Google and even have the certifications to prove it.

Google Ads are a great addition or focus for any marketing plan. Whether you’re a new business working to build awareness or an established site wanting to increase sales, there are a lot of ways you can advertise on Google to reach your goals.


Google Ads Campaign Types

Google’s bread and butter of digital ads would have to be Google Search (text ads) and Display ads (image ads). Each of these campaign types can put you in front of 90% of people on the internet while also reaching customers and potential leads along various points within the marketing funnel. Whether they’re ready to click to learn more or click “purchase” in their cart, Google can help you be in front of the right audience at just the right time.


Google Search Fundamentals

Google Search ads are the text ads that you’ve likely seen thousands of times when performing a Google search. These are the text-only ads that show up in the search results with the word “Ad” next to them. The goal of these ads may be to increase traffic to the website, calls, online purchases, improve the number of leads your site acquires more generally, or a multitude of other conversion actions.

The trick to these ads is selecting the right keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that are commonly searched to find a product or service. These may simply be the name of that product or service or even phrased as a question to help someone discover what you offer. Once you’ve researched and chosen keywords, it’s important to include these within the ad’s landing page, in the ad’s copy, and in your Google account. Setting up this trifecta of searchability will help your ad when someone conducts a search for that term and tells Google that your ad and site are relevant enough to be shown.

These components, along with your website’s user experience, campaign’s click-through rate, and historical performance all make up what Google calls the Quality Score. When done well, this algorithm can increase your ad rank (meaning your ad is closer to the top of the page) and lower your costs (meaning you pay less per click).

When someone conducts a search and your ad is shown, this is counted as an impression. Once someone interacts with your ad, this is counted as a click. Together, these create a metric that is often used to determine campaign performance – click-through rate or CTR. CTR is calculated by taking the number of clicks divided by impressions. While you can compare your CTR to your industry average or Google’s overall average CTR, in general, the higher, the better.


Google Display Basics

Google Display, or commonly known as banner ads, are much more visual than Search. These ads are images with text that can show up on many websites, blogs, YouTube, Gmail, and in apps. These ads are great for showing off your product and service due to their visual nature which even allows for motion and animation in some cases.

Here, the focus isn’t as heavy on keywords like with Search ads. Connecting with customers can also be done through audiences (reaching certain people) or topic (reaching certain sites/apps) targeting. While there are more ways of targeting through Search and Display, these are the basics.

Another difference from Search is that with those ads, people are actively searching for something specific and looking to click to a site. With Display, potential customers may still be in a consideration or learning phase so you can expect click-through rates to be much lower. But, if your goal is brand awareness and reach, you may be satisfied with having a lot of impressions but comparatively not as many clicks. Or you may find that you’re achieving a similar number of clicks and conversions, but since Display serves your ads more often, the CTRs are lower after.


Google Shopping Ads

Whether you have just one or many products, Google Shopping Ads can help increase your online and in-person sales. As long as you have an ecommerce site, you can show off your inventory across the web. Obviously, the goal here is to increase sales, but these ads can also help you get better qualified leads and increase your web presence. This is possible because if a user’s search is relevant for more than one of your products, you may show as a text ad and shopping ad – i.e., your reach for one search could be doubled.

Setting up a Google Shopping campaign differs from Search or Display in that you are sharing product data from Google’s Merchant Center to let Google know how and when your products should be showing. After submitting details and images about your products and inventory, Google then learns how to match an ad to a user.

Your inventory list is also known as your Google Shopping Feed. While it’s required to update this feed at least once per month, updating it more often will allow your customers to know exactly what sales are happening now and what items are currently out of stock. Depending on the size of your site, this could be a weekly or even daily task.

Like Search and Display, Shopping ads can also charge in a CPC (cost-per-click) fashion, meaning that for each click to an ad, this is counted as a successful interaction and that’s how Google charges your account. But, depending on your Shopping ad type, you may instead be charged using CPE (cost-per-engagement). This measurement tracks how people interact with your ads, such as expanding your ad for at least 10 seconds or clicking through within those 10 seconds.


TrueView Video Marketing

TrueView video ads are Google’s main way of advertising on YouTube. Advertising using video is a great way to improve brand/product awareness or consideration since here you can go into detail with visuals, text, and audio to sell your service.

Instead of CPC or CPE, these ads are charged based on users watching your video ads. The length of the watch varies based on if you’re running in-stream, bumpers, or discovery ads.

In-stream means that ads play before or during other YouTube videos and you’re charged after the viewer watches at least 30 seconds or the end of your video (whichever comes first). Bumper ads are much shorter, 6 second videos that play before videos. Since these are so short, they must be quick and to the point. Along with being unskippable, bumpers are great for building awareness and reach. TrueView video discovery ads mainly show alongside YouTube videos or search pages. Here, you’re only charged if your video is clicked or watched for 30 seconds or the full length of the video, again whichever happens first.

Interested in video ads but don’t have any videos? Our award-winning video team can help you solve this problem.


Discover Google Discovery

Google Discovery ads are a way to potentially reach a ton of people from one campaign. These ads show on YouTube, in Gmail, and in Google Discover, while allowing you to tell more of a story about your brand or products using immersive and interactive creative options. From swipeable carousels with optimized image rotation to responsive headlines and descriptions, these visually rich ads are meant to drive conversions, reach new customers, and reconnect with your most valuable customers.

Reconnection is made possible by creating remarketing lists, which isn’t exclusive to Discovery ads. Remarketing allows you to strategically put your ads back in front on audiences who previously interacted with your website or mobile app. These lists can help create a more focused campaign in that your list consists of a specific group of people who all completed the same action such as adding something to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase.


Local Ways to Advertise on Google

Another more personal way to connect with your audience is to get local. With local campaigns, you can better promote your physical location, feature your business’s locality, and get more phone calls. Local search ads put your business at the top of Google’s map results, so you’re more easily found by those in your area.

Local Service Ads are another local type for specific service industries such as plumbers, electricians, roofers, real estate agents, and much more. Focused on gaining leads, these ads appear at the top of search results and feature only your company’s name, Google rating, location, phone number, and hours until clicked through. They make it easy for someone in need of your service to contact your business. To add credibility to your company, you can apply to earn the “Google Guaranteed” badge, meaning your business has passed Google’s screening process of checking license and insurance verification and conducting employee background checks.


Google Ads Partner Status

As a Google Partner, we’ve demonstrated the skill and expertise required to consistently improve ad performance and achieve campaign goals. Let our digital media team guide you through your next Google campaign. Hand us the keys to your digital marketing and we’ll put your ads in drive, making a pitstop each week, month, or quarter (up to you) to provide you with a clear but detailed digital analytics report to summarize campaign performance.

Contact ADsmith today to get started with Google Ads or a consultation of your in-house managed campaigns.

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