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Google Ads: A Brief Guide

When I was in school someone once told me that the key to sharing information can be boiled down to three key points: Be brief, be brilliant, be gone. I mention this because while doing my own research about Google AdWords I bumped into several articles that do not fit these criteria. Some were brief but not brilliant. Some were incredibly helpful but excruciatingly long. With that in mind, this guide to Google Ads will do it’s best to be similar to a good skirt, long enough to cover the material but short enough to be interesting. What I mean by that, is that I will be giving you an overview of the basic principles that you need to know to get started with Google Ads. I will also provide several resources for you to check out at the end of the article if you feel like you need more information about Google Ads.

What is it?

To begin we should first define what Google Ads is and why it is something that you need to know about for your business. Essentially, Google Ads is an advertising service provided by Google. This service allows businesses to place their advertisements on Google’s search result pages (usually at the top or bottom of the page). I am sure you are familiar with this process as you have likely run into advertisements when conducting your own Google searches. 

Why use it?

We now know what Google Ads is, but why should you use it for your own advertising? There are several huge benefits to using Google Ads, but the largest and most obvious is that when a person Googles something they are intentionally seeking that thing out. There is some level of pre-established interest and likely some level of purchase intention. Therefore, if you use the correct keywords, (we will talk about these in a second) you can have customers viewing your advertisement who are ready to purchase your product.


How to use it

Let’s explore how Google Ads actually works. In this section, I will walk you through the importance of keywords and a little about the bidding process which is how your ads actually make it onto the page with the potential customers.


As I mentioned previously, the goal of using Google Ads is to get your advertisement at the top or bottom of relevant search pages for potential customers. But how does Google decide which advertisements are shown and what order they are displayed in? The answer is actually rather simple: through a bidding process. See, Google Ads is something like an auction. The companies that want to run advertisements will select keywords or phrases that are related to their product. Once they have selected those keywords they will determine how much they are willing to payto have their advertisement shown when a person Googles that word. Now, the nice thing about the bidding process is that you can set an upper limit that you are willing to pay for advertisements but because you are bidding rather than simply paying you will not always pay the maximum amount. But how do you choose which words to bid on?


In the world of Google Ads keywords are crucial to the success of your advertisement. Pick a keyword that is too broad, too competitive or not relevant enough and you might as well flush your money down the drain. However, if you utilize your keywords efficiently you can maximize your investment and learn more about your target customer. What do I mean by this? Well, when you first set up your Google Ads account you will select a set of words or phrases that are relevant to your product. When selecting these search terms you have to be very intentional. For instance, if you select words that are too common or related to larger brands you will likely have to spend a lot of money just to get on the page and your conversion rate might be very low. In contrast, if you pick a keyword that is specific to your brand you will find customers who are searching for exactly what you sell and you will likely have a higher conversion rate.


Main Takeaways and Additional Resources:

There are a lot more nuances that go into Google Ads that we have not discussed in this brief article. As with most areas of life, the best way to learn about AdWords is to dive right in. By playing around with your own keywords, search parameters and bidding prices you can find what works best for your company. Until then, I hope you have learned a little bit about how Google Ads actually works and how to get started using it. I have listed a few additional websites below in case you are interested in more details about AdWords. Good luck!

How to Use Google Ads for Your Business (Beginner’s Guide)

Google Ads Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

What is AdWords (Google Ads)?

25 Tips From Google Ads Advertisers

About author View all posts

Alyssa Wicker

Alyssa Wicker is a Field Marketing Representative at Jonajo Consulting and a PhD Student in Marketing at the University of California, Riverside.

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