Google AdWords: The Basics

Why Use Google AdWords?

Online advertising offers significant benefits over traditional advertising mediums, such as:

  • Unlike traditional forms of marketing, you can track your online marketing results a lot easier and with more detail
  • More relevant and granular targeting of prospects
  • Incredible scalability and flexibility; reach the entire country or just a city and make changes that take effect on the same day

There are few advertising mediums as fast to deploy or modify as online advertising, especially with a network like Google AdWords. Just like ordering pizza, Google AdWords delivers fast results for a known price.

Where Do The Ads Show Up?

There are 2 main networks where your ads can be shown: Google Search and Google Display Network. Google Search ads are shown when people search on,, etc. In the screenshot below, the AdWords are located in the tan-colored box on top of the page and along the right side of the page:

Front End AdWords

Google Search ads only show on the keyphrases that you want them to show up on, so they can be really timely and relevant. While traditional advertising like a TV commercial is shown to a wide audience that may not be interested in the product and is definitely not in the process of researching the product at that exact moment, advertising in Google Search gives you access to prospects at the right time: when they’re actively looking for products and services that your company offers. Right now, these ads are text, though you can spice up your ads with other information like your address, phone number and more.

Google Display Network ads show up on other internet websites. Many newspaper, online magazine and other publishing companies rely on Display Network ads to provide relevant advertisements and revenue. These ads are a lot more flexible in types. You can choose a plain text ad or run with an image or animated HTML5 ad. When it comes time to choose which websites your ads are shown on, you can select websites individually, by topic/category or by keywords within the content. The image below is an example of a site within the display network; the ads are shown in the yellow boxes.

Display Network Shot

How Can You Start an Account?

Google AdWords is a fairly simple online marketing tool that lets you create effective advertisements that relate to the information internet users are searching for. The basic steps for your campaign preparation and creation are:

  • Create an AdWords account
  • Construct and name your campaign
  • Create your ads
  • Choose some keywords (for a bit more control, read about keyword “match types”)
  • Set a budget (be conservative to start with, it’s easy to overspend on Google AdWords)
  • Wait for your ads to be approved by Google
  • Let AdWords do its magic
  • Check in afterwards, modify, measure, rinse and repeat

The first two steps are simple. The third step, creating your ads, is it a little more technical. AdWords offers several types of advertisements including text, image, video and mobile ads. You can choose one or several types depending on your marketing goals and budget.

The most common type is text ads, which are typically composed of four lines: Title, Description 1, Description 2 and Display URL (see below). Each line has a character limit, 25, 35, 35 and 35 respectively, meaning you must create an effective ad within the text restraints. To see if my text advertisement fits within the character limits, I like to use WildText. If you already have a Google Adwords account created, you can create the ad directly in their ad editor.

Back End AdWords

When it’s time to choose your budget, cost per click (CPC) bidding is the easiest to use. Cost per click allows you to set a specific dollar number for the amount of money you’re willing to spend when someone clicks on your ad. It is recommended that you use this option when your main goal is to have individuals visit your website.

Within CPC bidding, you can choose automatic or manual bidding. With automatic bidding, you set a daily budget and the AdWords program adjusts your CPC bids to give you the most clicks possible within your set budget. Manual bidding allows you to take full control over your bids; you have the ability to set individual bids on a per keyword basis so you know you’re bidding for exactly what you want. Once your budget is set, Google must approve each of your advertisements, which can take up to three business days. After they are approved, you can begin your online marketing initiative! Google provides a lot of free additional online training, which you can find here.

What’s the Next Step?

The next step is up to you. Adwords is one of those things that’s easy to play, but hard to master. You can simply pull out your credit card, give Google a comfortable allowance and let it loose or you can review your results frequently, making tweaks to your settings, ads, keywords and so on.

A lot can be done to squeeze maximum ROI out of AdWords. So, whether you simply don’t have the time to commit or you want the help of an expert, we’d love to work with you to get the most out of your online marketing initiative!

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