As a digital marketing agency, LuckyTamm Digital Marketing is often tasked with the seemingly impossible: grow a business from almost no digital presence to a recognized online brand. We work with companies of all sizes across the country, but this problem is particularly big when we work with small businesses in our home state of New Mexico. Many of our clients have created a niche for themselves as a local business, providing services or goods to a rapt audience for decades. But when growth stalls, they turn to us, frantic for answers.

It can take months or years to build a truly good digital foundation for any brand, especially with regard to social media, content, and online reputation. But there is one magic bullet that can trump even good SEO and strong content marketing: Google Ads.

Formerly referred to as Google AdWords, we’ve found that Google Ads can serve as a sort of steroid injection into the arm of a floundering sales cycle. Of course, this is only if the advertising platform is set up properly to begin with, weeding out junk leads so that it can pay for itself — something even us, as marketers, have had to learn the hard way.

Unfortunately, Google Ads is confusing to the uninitiated, and it can be hard to get started with it if you don’t understand what’s going on. It’s easy to accidentally spend a ton of money on nothing very quickly.

How Google Ads Works

Google Ads is set up as an online advertising auction. Advertising buyers place bids on keywords, including the maximum and minimum they’d be willing to spend on that bid. They write a text-only ad based on that keyword or keyword phrase that will send a user to a landing page. When a Google user queries that keyword, Google enters the ad buyer into the auction based on the most relevant keyword and the highest bid amount.

Google’s algorithm also determines an ad’s quality score, which is ranked from 1-10 based on landing page, keyword relevance, and customer experience. Google then adds the quality score to the maximum bid to determine an ad’s rank. The ad’s rank determines where it will show up on the searching user’s page, with better ranked ads showing up above lower ranked ones. After ads have been ranked, the actual price the advertiser will pay is calculated based on the ad rank of the ad below them divided by the advertiser’s quality score.

How to Get a Good Quality Score

It may seem that Google uses smoke and mirrors to determine this ephemeral “quality score” for an ad, but there are many factors that go into it. The most important is the relevance of the keywords in your ad as well as the relevance of the words in the ad itself to that keyword. The user experience on the landing page is another factor, as well as the click-through rate (CTR) and an ad’s historical performance. You can certainly control the text in the ad and the quality of your landing page, as well as the user experience on that landing page. The best way to get good keyword relevance is to do your research.

Ad Targeting in Google Ads

Another way to improve your quality score is to target your ads to specific audiences. You can have several ads that reach out to different groups and tweak your keywords to be more relevant to those specific groups. For instance, if you’re selling marketing services, you could have one ad targeted to those looking for content marketing, one for those looking for graphic design, and one targeted to those looking for web design. You can also segment based on other demographics such as age, location, and even income levels.

Ad targeting can turn into a deep rabbit hole pretty quickly, and we’ve found it’s often best to have an expert set up your ad targeting and keywords in the beginning, and tweak the ads for at least the first few months until you get the hang of what’s happening. The key to effective targeting is studying the user activity and conversion rate. There is not a one size fits all with Google Ads and continual pivoting helps filter out irrelevant traffic to help you obtain more qualified leads.

Does Google Ads Really Work?

To be completely frank, yes, Google Ads work. One of the best features of Google Ads is how trackable every aspect is, and how quickly you can change direction if an ad isn’t working. We have had great success with Google Ads for several clients, and have demonstrable results.

For instance, we were able to help one client, the Albuquerque Greater Housing Partnership, get nine studio apartments leased in a six-week period. We were able to accomplish this in spite of the fact that their third-party leasing partner did not have a website or other marketing capabilities. Google Ads saved the day by allowing us to target the right demographic in a short amount of time and get the apartments leased out under an extremely tight deadline.

Google Ads is extremely customizable and can help source leads in a number of ways. If you’re interested in adding Google Ads to your marketing plan, give us a call. We can help you set it up without getting lost and have you adding new business in no time.