In true marketing fashion, we did a whole stack of keyword research to answer the internet’s top seven most Googled questions about Google Ads.
TheOnlineCo. is a digital marketing agency with 12+ years experience running Google Ads for a wide variety of clients / businesses. As a Google Ads agency, we know all the ins and outs so we can help to demystify all the things you’re wondering about Google Ads, including when not to use it.
We came to these top seven questions by doing a whole lot of keyword research in Google and discovered that while there are a lot of things to be confused by about Google Ads, these seven questions came up as the most searched.
Read on to discover how you can take the guesswork out of your Google Ads campaign.
One of the reasons our SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Team Manager, Heidi, loves to work with our clients on their campaigns is she loves to see businesses succeed. Seeing the leads come in and sales being made and knowing that the work being done in Google Ads is one of the reasons that is happening.
This article is based on an interview with Heidi, who has 10 years of experience working in Google Ads and while it’s a continual learning process, she has all the answers you could dream of needing.
Google has made a lot of changes over the years and continues to make a lot of changes, sometimes without warning, but one of the biggest changes from 2012 to now would be the depth of machine learning Google Ads has done. In the beginning, all ads were manual, the operator had to do everything themself, it meant much longer wait times and approval times meaning that the process to get to a live Ad was much more expensive. Now, as Google has changed, many things are automated which leaves a lot more operator time to focus on the areas that aren’t automated. There is better optimization and better performance, and the process is much faster which usually equals fewer setup costs.
The other major difference is the ads themselves. Compared to now where you can even add images to an Ad the original ads were extremely minimal, with limited options to what you could do.
3:52 – Working with Google Ads expert, Heidi Jones
7:04 – Is Google ads, the same as AdWords?
7:45 – Does Google Ads really work? Is Google Ads worth it?
12:20 – Are Google Ads effective?
16:28 – Does Google Ads improve SEO?
19:37 – Is Google Ads for free?
22:50 – Should I use Google Ads?
25:49 – Can I do Google Ads myself?
More about our Digital Marketing Workshops
Explore all episodes of Getting to the Heart of Business
And now on to those questions you really want answered…
1. Is Google Ads the same as Google AdWords?
The short answer here is, yes. A few years ago, Google decided to change the name from Google AdWords to Google Ads. These two things are the same.
2. Do Google Ads really work? And is Google Ads worth it?
According to Heidi, Google Ads are definitely worth it, and they definitely work. There are, however, a few things that must be considered before setting up a campaign. Doing research into your industry and budget requirements will help determine if it’s worth it for your business. But be aware, there are certain areas or certain industries where there’s simply no search volume for particular terms, but if you do your keyword research thoroughly before you build a campaign, you’ll be able to sidestep that problem and know whether Google Ads will work for you.
Here’s an example:
Businesses that have a very specific niche that they want to be searched for, Google Ads won’t work well for them. As the platform works on high search terms, a narrow search window will generally mean a failed ad.
On the other hand, TheOnlineCo. has been running ads for a blinds company almost since the very start. For ten years now, maybe a little more, Google Ads have been running and worked on. It’s a very, very successful campaign that we’ve seen improve year on year with optimizations and adaptations to changes in Google. Another campaign we run is about children’s therapies. There are a lot of relevant keywords for this business and perhaps not as much competition for these keywords which can also make or break an ad campaign. When you’ve got a lot of competition it can drive the costs of your ads to the point that it’s no longer doable. That’s where budget comes into ‘is it worth it?’
Google Ads, when it works, is the best digital marketing tactic out there. When it doesn’t work, it’s the worst digital marketing tactic out there. You can think through it a couple of ways – as a business owner if you’re looking into Google Ads and ‘will it work for my business’ initially you might feel like you’ve got a green light after doing your keyword research, on the other hand, you might have found it was a red light – both fairly clear in their meaning. You may also feel as though it was a yellow or orange light, which means ok, there is some traffic out there. There may also be a decent amount of competition, potentially, we need to try and test this over the course of a few months to see if the return on investment really works.
You could also look at it with the analogy of dieting. Asking the question, ‘Does Google Ads work?’ is like asking, ‘Does Dieting work?’ It will. If you’re doing it right. And no, it won’t work, if you’re doing it wrong. And there’s a lot of bad information out there for both dieting and Google Ads. Ultimately, you want to get some professional advice to make both Google Ads and your diet work FOR you. There have been plenty of times when TheOnlineCo. has gone to clients and said, “Don’t do Google Ads.” We’ve offered them other options for their digital marketing that would work better for their specific business and their situation. When you work with the right tools – you’ll get the best results.
Using the traffic light system with good keyword research when working out a strategy gives you a very clear, data-driven answer as to whether Google Ads will work for you.
3. Are Google Ads effective?
Yes. There are simple answers to most of these questions we discovered but, of course, there are also the reasons it may not work for your business or circumstance. So, we will expand that answer for you.
It ties in a little with the previous question and the answer will most often be to get some professional advice, but Google Ads will be effective if you do it right. And Google has many options these days to make it simpler for businesses. The tricky part with making it simpler is that it also simplifies it in a way that means you have less control which means you may not be getting the same results.
Google Ads will be effective IF you’re managing them well.
You also need to define for yourself and your business – what is effective?
Effectiveness truly depends on what your goal is.
Your goal may simply be brand awareness. If that’s the goal, then you will be looking to get as many clicks and views as possible. That will be your focus. If your goal is for leads (or sales) then you will be looking at the cost. How much are you getting back when you get a lead or sale? How much are you making? It’s important here to look at the long term as well as the short-term income. You may have a service that’s continual so even if the lead cost you $100 if that lead follows on to ongoing services, it will be worth a lot more to you. As a business you’ve got to look at the lifetime value of the lead to decide if Google Ads is being effective.
Work out the numbers before you start Google Ads. It will help you to make good decisions about your advertising.
Effectiveness with your Google Ads campaign really depends on your business and your circumstances. Some businesses can see great return on a higher investment in Ads while others would see that to be too low a return and affecting their profits negatively. TheOnlineCo. focuses on small and medium businesses and we generally give the advice that you need to be spending around $1000 per month in order to make enough splash. The analogy being that if Google is the ocean – you need a big enough rock to throw into it to generate you some leads.
4. Does using Google Ads improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
NO. It never has and never will. Google Ads and SEO are not the same thing.
Google tells us that they will always have a clear line between the organic results and the paid results. They are firm on keeping SEO Webspam and Google Ads departments separate. Google has a stance that the best organic results will always rank at the top for organic and that the paid are paid. That’s why there is a clear title next to the Ads at the top of your search results.
In over 10 years of digital marketing, we have never seen a correlation between SEO and Ads – one making the other better. A lot of our clients do both SEO and Google Ads, and you might think that starting Google Ads would bring a bump in SEO results but there never has been, not even close. So, the moral of that story is that you need to do both SEO and Google Ads and treat them as completely different tactics.
If you would like to know more about both Google Ads and SEO, we offer on demand workshops that will go more in depth into how both tactics work and what makes them great for your digital marketing.
5. Is Google Ads for free?
Sometimes. You may not have expected that to be the case. Most of the time Google Ads is not free – it’s paid advertising but Google does have a program for not-for-profits called Google Ad Grants where you can receive up to $10,000 worth of free advertising a month. There is an application process, of course, and several terms and conditions you must meet in order to receive the grant. There are certain procedures to follow and certain results you need to get in order to keep the grant also, so it can be a bit tricky to manage. If you get the right people helping you however it can be a very worthwhile process to go through.
The other thing you need to know about the grant is that Google will show a paid ad before the grant ad. This is obviously because Google makes money from a paid ad and not the grant ad, but the suggestion there from Google is to run both paid ads and the grant ad alongside each other. The paid ad will bring in a lot of good results and then the grant ad could focus on longer term keywords, that may be less competitive so you will still be getting as many views and clicks as possible and stay above the 5% click through metric needed to keep the grant.
Check out the series of articles on our website that goes into this in more detail.
6. Should I use Google Ads?
It’s all about you and your business, the research and the data and what that tells you. The best thing to do is to learn as much as you possibly can about Google Ads. Listen and learn and if you feel it’s too tricky then book a quick chat with us! We would be happy to have a five-minute chat with you to point you in the right direction for what will really be best for your business moving forward with your digital marketing strategy.
7. Can I do Google Ads myself?
This is question seven and THE most googled question about Google Ads when we did our research.
The answer we came up with is, “Sure, but just like a lockdown haircut, will it give you the result that you want?” Is it going to work well for you? What will be the outcome of that?
The best way to decide if you can really do this for yourself is to download our on-demand workshop on Google Ads.
It gives you an hour to learn about the process our expert, Heidi, puts into the Google Ads campaigns we run for our clients. At the end of the hour, you will either be thinking to yourself, ‘I reckon I can give this a try.’ or ‘There’s no way I can do this on my own.’ That’s when you can contact us.
It will all depend on the level of technology know-how you may or may not have. Whether you have the time or are willing to give the time to it. Or whether you’re even interested in learning the skills it takes. It also depends on the size of your business and your budget. It IS possible to do it yourself but working with the experts may see a return on investment that will end up being worthwhile.
So, there it is, the top seven most googled questions about Google Ads. Hopefully, this article has been helpful and if you’d like to get in touch with us, we’d love to hear from you.