Building up an engaged audience can take a lot of time and effort and, while no marketer should discount the importance of organic traffic, investing in paid advertising such as Google Adwords on occasion, can help you get a significant boost in traffic when you need it most.
Google AdWords is one of the most popular online advertising networks of all, since it allows you to display advertisements both as sponsored listings in the search engine and on any website that uses AdSense, the publisher’s component.
How Much Does AdWords Cost?
Google AdWords uses the pay-per-click (PPC) payment model, whereby you pay every time someone clicks on the link provided in your ad.
How much you pay per click is determined by a bidding system where the cost per click (CPC) is determined by the value of your targeted keywords which, in turn, depends on the level of competition for the advertisements.
By default, the CPC is automatically defined, but you can also specify a manual bid to potentially increase the visibility of your ad.
Because you only pay for results (i.e.: clicks), AdWords can be very cost-effective, provided you target suitable keywords, set a realistic daily budget and, ideally, use manual rather than automatic bidding.
One of the biggest advantages regarding the cost of using AdWords is that you remain in complete control over how much you spend.
For example, you can set a daily budget and leave the ad running for as long as you want, and you can cancel or modify it at any time.
When Should I Use AdWords?
Although AdWords or any other form of paid online advertising shouldn’t be considered a substitute for quality content and search engine optimisation (SEO), it can be extremely effective in several different situations.
SEO, for example, typically takes three to six months to start yielding significant results, so paid advertising can give your website a much-needed boost in traffic when it’s still young and you’re struggling to raise awareness in your brand.
AdWords can also be effective for raising awareness for time-sensitive promotions or new product launches that might otherwise not get noticed if you’re relying purely on organic traffic.
Another important feature is remarketing, which allows you to show relevant ads to people who have already visited your website before but did not make a purchase. Remarketing gives you the opportunity to keep people aware of products that they’ve already viewed on your website.
Is AdWords Effective for Building Traffic?
Many marketing gurus boldly claim that AdWords is largely ineffective at generating website traffic, and there is undoubtedly some truth in this. As a form of outbound marketing, AdWords is not nearly as effective in the longer term at building and retaining traffic as organic methods are.
As such, there is no substitute for quality content, good SEO and a strong social media and email marketing strategy. Nonetheless, since you only pay when people click, you don’t have anything to lose.
One of the most common concerns regarding AdWords is that smaller businesses often find it difficult to compete with larger entities with the financial resources to drop tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per month into their advertising campaigns.
Given the way the bidding system works, small businesses may even find themselves paying upwards of £5 per click by targeting keywords that have already been dominated by the major brands.
What If AdWords Traffic Doesn’t Convert?
As any marketer knows, website traffic isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. You need traffic that converts, otherwise you’ll just end up wasting your money on all those clicks.
While many businesses blame the entire AdWords platform itself for not sending them traffic that converts, the truth is that it’s usually down to the business rather than the advertising platform.
Of course, having a quality product or service that lives up to any claims made in the advertising will also help a lot!
One of the most common reasons for AdWords traffic not converting is because the ads are not completely relevant to the product or service their advertising.
Some marketers even make the mistake of deliberately targeting keywords just because they have a high search volume, even when they are not completely relevant to their businesses.
Another common reason for low conversion rates is poorly optimised landing pages, which are either slow to load or lacking in quality content.
How Can I Measure AdWords Performance?
Just like any almost every form of digital marketing, AdWords generates a wealth of useful data that you can use to determine the performance of your campaign.
In fact, AdWords comes with a sophisticated analytics platform that allows you to easily track and compare results. You can use this information to adapt your campaign and improve its effectiveness and, consequently get a better return on investment.
Additionally, you can modify any ongoing ad campaigns whenever you want.
Unsurprisingly, the key metric to track in any AdWords campaign is your click-through rate (CTR) and how it compares to the number impressions your ad has received.
According to HubSpot, the average CTR across all industries is about 1.91% for sponsored search results and 0.35% in display ads on websites with AdSense installed on them.
The same study revealed that by far the highest CTRs were found in the employment services industry.
If your CTR is significantly lower than the average for your industry, then it invariably points to a points to a problem with either your ad copy or your targeting.
For example, if you’re targeting too broad an audience, you’ll be less likely to attract much attention, so it’s important to focus on the right keywords to get your ads to appear in front of the right people.
Ideally, a CTR of at least 1% across all channels is desirable for a well-executed campaign.
Although you have complete control over your advertising budget whenever you are running a campaign,
AdWords can still get extremely expensive to the point it can start to feel like gambling all your money away in a slot machine if you’re not careful.
Nonetheless, if you take the time to carefully plan your campaigns and write outstanding ad copy and landing pages, it can be a very effective way to give your business a boost.
Ultimately, sustainable digital marketing is about becoming self-sufficient while having no more than a little reliance on paid advertising platforms.