The Google Ads platform has long been touted as a great place to bring in new sales and drive leads for your business.
But we’ve all heard the horror stories along with the successes, too: Negative ROI, failed campaigns, sinking revenue.
So, which is it? Are Google Ads right for your business?
We could say yes, (though this would be a short article if we left it at that).
But it’s not so simple.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to determine if Google Ads are right for your business.
Google is the most widely used search engine in existence, enabling businesses to reach almost any target audience searching for any product or service.
In 2018, Google’s search and advertising platform drove $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses. Did you get a share of that cake?
If you didn’t, or you want to find a way to get a bigger bang for your Google Ads buck, you’re in the right place!
Before we dive into researching how Google can boost your own business results, it’s critical to understand the ins and outs of Google Ads and how they work.
Let’s get started.
Google Ads Overview: A Quick Breakdown of What It Is and How It Works
The Google Ads umbrella encompasses three ad networks: the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, and the YouTube Network.
For example, searching for “men’s hiking boots” will return a list of the top four ads for this search:
These are ads on Google’s Search Network.
Clicking on any given ad will direct you to that seller’s landing page where they hope that you will convert and buy products.
On the search network (the most popular network for advertising on Google), you pay for every single click that you elicit from searchers.
For example, if someone searches for the query above and clicks on your page but doesn’t buy from you, you still pay for the click.
Cost-per-click, otherwise known as CPC, is the average that you will pay for clicks. This average shifts dramatically based on different terms and industries.
For instance, keywords for lawyers are going to be very expensive compared to cheaper e-commerce products.
Why? Because keywords on the search network are priced on bidding. Meaning people set limits to their bids and only pay what they can to ensure that they produce a profit.
Ranking your ad at the top of the search results is determined by Ad Rank. Ad Rank is comprised of multiple factors like bid amount, quality score, and more.
Essentially, if you bid higher or have a better quality score (more relevance to the search term), you will rank higher.
This all brings us to one key point: what are Google Ads best used for?
With Google Ads, you can do just about anything: brand awareness, sales, leads, consultations, etc. You could advertise your blog articles or promote your latest hire.
But Google Ads generally excel in driving new sales and leads.
If you are a B2C company looking to sell to consumers, you can easily do that. If you’re a small B2B company, you can drive tons of leads.
Four Steps to Discover if Google Ads Are Right for Your Business
Ready to do some research to see if Google Ads are the best choice right for you?
#1 – Assess Your Marketing Budget, Time Constraints, and Product Offering
One of the biggest hurdles that most businesses need to cross when signing up with Google Ads and running a campaign is budget.
Can I afford this? Will my money be wasted?
It all goes back to loss aversion theory: “people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains.”
Simply put, we’d rather keep our money than risking it for an equivalent return.
But Google Ads can provide some powerful results, and (on average) you can expect to double your returns.
Assess your Marketing Budget:
A great way to conduct research is to start analyzing the average cost per clicks in your industry and benchmarking that cost with conversion rates.
This will help you to calculate how much you likely will have to spend in a given month and what returns you can expect to generate.
This simple cost-benefit analysis can paint a clear picture of baseline success with the potential for much more.
Here’s an analysis of average CPCs in each industry for Google Ads, recently provided to AdEspresso by Google:
Start here and take the current CPC as your benchmark in your industry.
Write that number down and now look at your own historical conversion rates. If you have no data to go off, simply use a scenario analysis. In other words, if your industry average is ~2%, use 1% and 3% ranges to give you a pessimistic, expected, and optimistic outlook.
Here’s how that looks if we use the following variables:
- CPC: $1.38
- CVR: 2.77%
With a conversion rate of 2.77%, it will take you around 36 clicks to generate one conversion.
At $1.38 per click on Google Ads, you can expect to pay around $50 (CPC x Clicks needed for one conversion).
While this number is obviously broad and will differ based on the products you sell, it’s a generalized idea of what you can expect to pay at average rates.
Run this simple analysis and see if you can afford the costs. Take into account factors like lifetime value, too: LTV is the amount that a customer spends with your business over a lifetime.
So while $50 might seem steep for acquisition, if your average customer buys from you multiple times a month or year, you can easily make more than you spent to acquire them.
Analyze Time Constraints:
After analyzing your current budget and the costs you can expect, you have to see how much time you have on your hands.
Do you have employees or anyone that can help run your Google Ads account? Can you outsource it at a cost-effective rate?
Managing Google Ads is a time-consuming job. Audit the amount of time you have to work on your campaigns and expect to dedicate a few hours each week to maintain it. Time-saving tips can help, but you still need to set aside time.
Is Your Product Right for Google Ads?
Lastly, assess if your product is best for this medium. Is your product offering easily sellable online? Is it virtual software? Is it a product that sells better with photos?
While the Google Ads platform seems like the place that everyone needs to be, there are countless other outlets for selling: Facebook, Instagram, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.
If your product is tough to sell without images, consider a platform like Instagram or Facebook Ads.
For example, one wallet company ditched Google Ads due to the products not selling well without diverse product images. They turned to Instagram and exploded their sales, growing to six figures.
Evaluate your current product and key drivers of your sales, and you can quickly determine if simple text ads are enough to spark interest.
# 2 – Do Keyword Research To See Your Traffic Potential
As I said before, running Google Ads can be time-consuming. It can take weeks to get your account situated and ready for success, not to mention daily and weekly tasks like creating new ads, adjusting budgets, testing new designs, scouting new search terms and adding negative keywords.
The list goes on and on.
An easy way to figure out if Google Ads are right for your business is to do keyword research. Keyword research enables you to see how many people (if any) are searching for your product for it to be worth it.
If only 15 people are searching for your keyword every month, the time and effort required might not be worth it for your bottom line.
To get started, head to SEMRush and search for keywords based on your products and services. The key metric to analyze here is “Volume.”
Volume is the estimated amount of times a given keyword is searched within a single month.
If your volumes are relatively high, it’s a good sign that users are searching actively for your products and services.
If you can’t find keywords that generate more than a few hundred searches a month, your product might be too niche to see massive boosts in sales from Google Ads.
# 3 – Do Competitor Research
Competitor research is a great way to uncover if people are creating ads for the search terms that you want to target.
If competitors are bidding on terms, chances are they are generating some good sales. And sitting idly by and letting them reap the rewards without a little friendly competition is a big mistake.
On top of that, competitor research can uncover some great data on how much a company is likely spending to maintain their account and bid on those terms.
That gives you a picture-perfect idea of your own needed budget.
The first step to take is simply heading to Google. Search for your terms to see if any ads are currently running, looking to see if any direct competitors are bidding.
For instance, let’s say you were marketing a new social media management tool, and were looking to bid on the key phrase “Automate Twitter”:
If you find direct competitors bidding on terms that you are interested in, you can head over to SpyFu and type in their website to get detailed information on their keywords, ad text and even monthly spend.
Search for their domain, and you will pull up a free to view monthly overview that gets updated each month:
SpyFu is a great tool to uncover lists of keywords that your competitors are using. The budget information can help you understand how much you have to spend to compete against them, too.
Download their keyword lists and ad copy, and you can slash your setup time in half by generating a list of ideas and text.
Use competitor research to get a solid idea of what your competition spends and what keywords are providing the biggest returns.
# 4 – Find the Right Network for Your Business
According to Google’s Economic Impact Report advertisers on the Google Ads platform generate approximately $2 for every $1 spent.
In short, you can expect to double your investment into the platform.
How can Google Ads drive such a high ROI?
This is likely due to the fact that the Google Ads platform has a nearly endless amount of advertising options. From different targeting and audience customization to multiple ad types, almost any business can find useful tactics and mediums that complement their current marketing gameplan.
Maybe you do most of your business on email or are looking to build your lead generation strategy.
According to MarketingProfs, email is still the top driver of leads:
And guess what? Google Ads has an option for that: Gmail ad campaigns.
Or maybe your product is virtual and requires a product demo.
In that case, you can test the waters for cheap using TrueView ads in Google Ads. These allow you to target users on YouTube and display video ads to your audience.
You get the point: there are countless ways, methods, and mediums to test on Google Ads, even if your budget is small.
Any and every business type advertises on Google. Set aside a small budget and test the waters. Run different campaigns and see what results you can generate.
After all, you’ll never know until you give it a shot.
Google Ads are one of the best ways to bring in new traffic, leads and sales for any given business. But knowing if they’re right for your business is no easy feat.
Start by analyzing your current budget.
Look at how much you have to spend and what you can expect to pay based on average costs and conversion rates in your industry. Assess your time constraints and your product offering to see if it’s a good fit.
Research your competition and see if they are finding success.
There’s a good chance that if they are driving sales, you can too.
Research keywords you are interested in targeting.
You need to observe what kind of traffic can be generated to see if it’s worth your time and money. And remember: Always use the Online HTML Editor to compose the content for your website easily.
Lastly, if you still aren’t sure, just test the waters.
There are countless formats to advertise in that can appeal to a wide variety of businesses. If all else fails, throw a hundred dollars at it and see what happens.
What have you got to lose (except the hundred bucks)?
You’ve got everything to gain.