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Google Ads 360: A Comprehensive Guide to Google Advertising

22 min read

Google Ads is an online advertising system that lets you promote your brand and products. This guide will show you how to use Google Ads, break down how the system works, and answer questions like “how much do Google Ads cost?”

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Getting Started with Google Ads: Make a Google Ads Account

You’ll need a specialized Google Ads account before you can start marketing with Google. This is different from any personal Google accounts you might own.

Most Google Ads campaign options require a link to your company’s ecommerce website to work effectively. If you don’t have an ecommerce website, Ecwid can help you easily build one for free.

Types of Google Ads Campaigns

Once you have a Google Ads account, it’s time to think about the type of campaign to use first.

There are a lot of campaign categories and subcategories, but we’ll cover the top five we think every business should know about.

1. Responsive search ad campaigns

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) are Google’s updated version of text ads. Like the older text ads option, RSAs show up when people use Google to search for related content. These ads display like traditional search results, but they have a label reading Ad at the top left corner. They’re also pushed to the top of the search results so more people will see them.

To make an RSA, users are asked to create multiple headline and description variations. Google tests various combinations of this content to identify the most effective version. RSAs require a link to your website since they show up on Google’s search results page.

What are RSAs good for?

  • Connecting with people actively looking for related content or businesses
  • Generating leads
  • Boosting online sales
  • Getting more people to visit your website

Thanks to Google’s powerful AI, the Google Ads system is really good at showing your RSAs to people who are probably interested in your business.

2. Google shopping campaigns

Google Shopping ads (a.k.a. Shopping campaigns) are a great way to get your products in front of shoppers. Unlike RSAs, Shopping ads are displayed to the right of the main Google search results and under the Shopping tab. They also feature a picture of the product you’re promoting and can display things like the price, customer ratings, and shipping info.

Google needs the inventory/product data from your website to start a Shopping ad campaign. If you make an online store with Ecwid, we can help you easily sync your inventory data with Google.

What are Google Shopping ads good for?

  • Prioritizing online sales
  • Getting products right in front of shoppers
  • Generating qualified leads

Google Shopping campaigns are perfect for any business that sells stuff online. If you’re aiming to boost in-store sales, you can use local inventory ads within your Shopping campaign to promote offline customer visits. Unlike general Shopping ads, local inventory ads target customers in your local area.

3. Display campaigns

If you’ve seen an advertisement on a website, there’s a good chance it was put there by a Google Ads Display campaign. Google calls this system the Google Display Network — a collection of websites partnered with Google to display ads.

Display campaigns focus on some type of graphic design, whether it be an image or typography. These ads are a good way to expand your reach beyond Google search results.

What are Display campaigns good for?

  • Growing brand awareness through eye-catching and memorable ad designs
  • Increasing sales or lead generation through a visually engaging CTA
  • Expanding your reach by advertising beyond Google search results

Display campaigns are useful for basically any business, but they might be especially helpful if you’re trying to increase brand awareness.

4. Video campaigns

Video campaigns regularly show up on YouTube, but they also pop up on other websites — just like Display campaigns. Since these campaigns are video-based, you’ll need to provide a video file containing your ad. Google Ads will also ask you to detail where people should land when they click on your ad (eg. on your website or a signup page).

In many cases, Video campaign ads will play before, during, or after a YouTube video.

What are Video campaigns good for?

  • Connecting with YouTube audiences
  • Giving your brand a more personal point of connection with viewers
  • Conveying a lot of information in a short amount of time
  • Reaching very “online” audiences

According to Statista, 77% of American internet users aged 15-25 years accessed Youtube in 2020. That demographic represents some of the most avid internet users on the planet, so Video campaigns are a great way to target very “online” audiences. (If you aren’t sure what audiences to target, check out our guide to making a customer profile for marketing.)

5. Local campaigns

Local campaigns are really important if you’re learning how to use Google Ads for a small, local business. These campaigns target potential customers in certain geographic areas to encourage more in-person customer visits.

All you have to do is set up the campaign and tell Google where your business is located (we’ll cover the process of actually setting up ad campaigns later).

What are Local campaigns good for?

  • Generating more in-person traffic
  • Increasing in-store sales
  • Promoting businesses that work mostly offline

These ads are useful for any business trying to generate more traffic from its local area. This can include increasing in-person visits, but it also includes generating sales for local product delivery and pickup services. Local campaign ads might show up in Google Maps, on Google’s search results page, and throughout a variety of other websites and platforms partnered with Google Ads.

Google Ads for Small Businesses: Smart Campaigns

Any of those five main campaigns can grow your business, but small companies will especially benefit from Smart campaigns.

Smart campaigns are Google’s automated ads option. After making a Google Ads account, you can create an ad that includes four main things:

  • A headline
  • A description of your business
  • Contact info
  • Your website link

That last one is important. Like other Google Ads campaigns, Smart campaigns work best when paired with a website. Google Ads offers some options for Smart campaigns without a website, but these features are very limited. Making an ecommerce site is one of the best things you can do for your business.

Smart campaigns automatically show up across the Google Ads network, which includes Google properties like YouTube and Gmail as well as third-party partner websites.

How to Use Google Ads: Setting up a Campaign

Once you pick a campaign type, it’s time to actually launch your ads.

1. Setting a goal

When you make a campaign, you’ll be asked what your goal is. Google Ads will use this goal to tailor your campaign for success.

Here are your goal options:

  • Sales. Generate sales by engaging with potential buyers.
  • Leads. Encourage relevant customers to express interest in your products/services by signing up for newsletters or providing contact information.
  • Website traffic. Increase the number of people visiting your website.
  • Brand awareness and reach. Increase awareness of your product and/or services (only available on Video and Display campaigns).
  • Product and brand consideration. Encourage potential customers to consider your brand, products, and/or services when they shop online and/or express interest in your business (only available on Video campaigns).

If you’re not sure what your goal is, you can select create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.

2. Adding media and relevant keywords

After you pick a goal, the setup process will depend on the type of campaign you chose. Don’t worry though, the system will walk you through the whole process.

In general, be ready to provide info like a link to your website and a description of your business. If you make a Display or Video campaign, you’ll also need the media file you’re publishing. Be sure to use high-quality images and videos for campaigns that rely on visuals.

Google Ads will also ask you to select keywords. These are words or phrases related to your business. When someone includes these keywords in a search, your ad might show up. We’ll go into detail about picking relevant keywords later on.

3. Targeting your ideal audience

In some cases, targeting your ads isn’t limited to adding keywords. If you’re using the Google Display Network, you’ll also have the option of targeting your ads by having them show up on specific websites. For example, a running shoe company could have its Display ads show up on blogs about marathons.

Display Network ads also provide demographic targeting, including the ability to target audiences based on their interests and whether or not they’ve visited your website in the past. This is useful if you’re targeting potential customers who have already shown interest in your brand.

4. Setting up your budget

The Google Ads pricing system is a little complicated, but we’ll talk about the basics next.

How Much Do Google Ads Cost?

How much do Google Ads cost? It depends, but you have control over how much you spend.

Google Ads is a pay-per-click system (PPC). That means you only pay Google each time someone clicks on your ad. If no one clicks, you don’t pay anything. When you set up a Google Ads campaign, you’ll be asked to enter the maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend per click. This is known as your max cost per click (CPC) bid.

You’ll also be asked to set a monthly budget by setting a daily budget. Google multiplies your daily budget by 30.4 to find your monthly budget. Your monthly budget is then used to pay for ads over the course of a month.

Finally, Google Ads will ask you to enter the maximum amount of your monthly budget you’re willing to spend in a single day. The system uses this info to spend more money on days of the month that are more likely to generate clicks (like when there’s more traffic related to your keywords).

To understand how your budget is spent, let’s talk about the Google Ads Auction.

The Google Ads auction

To determine who sees your ad, Google runs the Google Ads Auction.

Each time someone makes a Google search, the Google Ads system scans that search for keywords. For example, Google might identify you as a potential advertiser if someone searches for “cupcakes” and you included that word in your campaign’s keyword list.

Next, Google compares your ad with other ads trying to advertise under the keyword “cupcake” (eg. your bakery vs the bakery down the street). The auction starts when all potential advertisers are identified.

This entire process happens instantly and automatically via the Google Ads system. Winning the auction will partially depend on your max CPC bid (the max amount of money you’re willing to spend per click), but other factors influence the auction process. We’ll go over that next.

Google Ads cost per click (CPC)

Google’s CPC depends on several factors. In many cases, an ad’s industry category will play a major role in its price.

Average CPC by industry for May 2021

  • Insurance industry ads cost $20.12 per click
  • Home and garden ads cost $1.89 per click
  • Automobile industry ads cost $2.04 per click
  • Online education ads cost $13.20 per click

As you can see, CPC varies a lot. The good news is Google Ads doesn’t just take the highest bid and run. Thanks to other metrics like your ad’s Quality Score, Google might award you ad placement even if your competition places higher bids.

Google also accounts for how well an ad is expected to perform — you might beat out a higher bid if your ad is likely to generate a lot of interest/clicks.

How to Improve Your Google Ads Campaign

The performance of your ads will partially rely on keywords and your Quality Score. That means it’s important to optimize your Google Ads for success.

Here are three things you can do to boost clicks and increase your chances of winning ad auctions.

Optimize your keyword list

Start improving your campaigns by ensuring your ads are connected to highly relevant keywords. Adding keywords isn’t as simple as adding phrases related to your business. Instead, you should use Google Keyword Planner.

Google Keyword Planner helps you identify and add relevant keywords to your campaign. For example, if you add the word “cupcake,” the system might suggest adding “gluten-free cupcakes” or other phrases that could improve your keyword list.

The platform also shows you the estimated number of times people search for certain words each month so you can get an idea of what people are looking for.

Optimizing your keyword list could also involve adding negative keywords. These are words or phrases that prevent your ad form from being displayed. For example, if you only sell blue cupcakes, you could exclude searches for “red cupcakes.”

Use custom segments

Custom segments let you reach carefully defined audiences by detailing specific keywords, websites, and apps related to your business.

Audiences who are browsing your competitor’s website are likely in the market for your products and/or services. Google Ads can use this to your advantage by targeting these audiences based on their interests rather than just based on keywords in their searches.

Think about branding AND marketing

If you decide to use the Google Display Network, you might be tempted to go all out on branding. That could be helpful, especially when it comes to building a cohesive brand image, but too much stylization can hurt your marketing efforts.

For example, some marketers have found that adding a button graphic to a Display ad could increase the number of clicks. You could use that space to include graphics related to your brand, but it’s smarter to prioritize engagement.

How to Use Google Ads: Managing Your Active Campaigns

Even if you decide to use Smart campaigns, active Google Ads campaigns require some management. Here’s what you should know about managing your active campaigns.

How to stop Google Ads

First up: how to stop Google Ads. Although Google uses a monthly/daily ad budget, the system will keep renewing your campaign indefinitely unless you stop it.

There are two ways to stop Google Ads: pausing and removing. Both options can be executed via your Google Ads account under the Campaigns tab.

How to stop Google Ads

  • Log into your Google Ads account
  • Look for the menu button, then click on Campaigns
  • Click the checkbox next to the campaign(s) you want to stop
  • Click Edit in the menu that appears at the top of the table
  • Pick one of the following options
    • Pause to place the campaign on hold
    • Remove to permanently stop the campaign
    • Enable to resume a paused campaign

How to edit your Google Ads budget

You can edit your Google Ads budget at any time — even in the middle of a campaign.

Follow these steps to edit the average daily budget for your campaign (again, your daily budget is multiplied by 30.4 to find your monthly budget):

  • Log into your Google Ads account
  • Go to the Campaigns page and select the campaign you want to edit
  • Under the Budget column, click on the pencil icon
  • Enter your new daily budget

How to manage Ad Campaign settings and keywords

Depending on the type of campaign you’re running, you might need to edit things like geographic targeting or keywords. To edit a campaign’s general settings, go to your Google Ads account, click on the menu, then Settings, then Campaign Settings.

Next, identify the campaign you want to edit and click on the pencil icon. A menu will pop up, letting you edit the campaign’s settings.

To edit keywords, select Keywords from the menu page, then click Search Keywords or Display/Video Keywords depending on the type of campaign you’re running.

Finally, identify the keyword(s) you want to edit, make your changes, then click Save.

Google Ads FAQ

Google Ads is a complex subject, so it’s understandable if you still have questions. Here are four FAQs about Google Ads.

What is a Google Ads Manager account?

Simply put, a Google Ads manager account is an umbrella account designed for marketing professionals running multiple Google Ads accounts. If you’re looking into Google Ads for a single business, a manager account isn’t necessary. You can effectively run your online marketing from a standard Google Ads account.

Does Google Ads have a free option?

Kinda, yeah. There aren’t really any free Google Ads options, but you can sign up to have the products on your website show up on the Google Shopping tab. This is a free service available to merchants in the U.S. Paid Shopping ads will still be pushed to the top, but free listings are a  good starting point. Getting started is simple and Ecwid can help you through the whole process.

What are the benefits of advertising with Google Ads?

Google completely dominates online search queries. The website owned over 86% of the search engine market between early 2010 and late 2021  and that’s expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Advertising with Google Ads means you’re harnessing the power of the internet’s leading search engine to grow your business. You can’t beat that.

Is Google Ads all you need for online marketing?

If you want your business to thrive, you have to include online marketing in your advertising strategy. Google Ads should definitely be part of that, but an ecommerce website and social media profiles should also play a role. (Ecwid can help you join the world of ecommerce for free.)

Google Ads and Ecwid: Get Started Today

There’s a lot to learn about Google Ads, but you’re well on your way to mastering the platform and growing your business.

If you don’t have an ecommerce website yet, you can make one for free with Ecwid. Then, Ecwid will help you create everything from free Shopping tab listings to paid Display campaigns.

If you do have a website, Ecwid is ready to help you boost sales and manage inventory. This guide will help you connect your Ecwid account and your existing website. Then you’ll be all set to start advertising on Google with Ecwid.

Whatever you do, don’t wait to start an ad campaign. The ecommerce market is growing fast. Now’s the best time to start.

Do you want to learn more about advertizing with Google?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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