Using paid search adverts on Google or Bing is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. It can work many, many times faster than organic search (Search Engine Optimisation or SEO) but if you don’t set up and run your campaigns correctly, it can become an expensive nightmare.
With Google Ads (the brand name for Google’s advertising platform) and Bing Ads (Bing’s advertising platform), you need to manage your campaigns so you get the highest return on investment.
While a poorly managed campaign can cost more than it brings in, a well-managed campaign can attract hundreds or even thousands of leads and keep your shop or company in business.
One of our clients Jay Cunningham, for example says with our help he was able to reduce his Google Ads spend by 40% while at the same time quadrupling his CTR.
Essentially, success in Google Ads and Bing Ads is about getting in front of people at the moment they are looking for what you offer and getting them to respond. To do that, you need to understand your audience and refine your message. And you need to keep testing and refining.
The advantages of advertising on Google and Bing
- People use Google and Bing to make purchasing decisions. When you pay to have your advert appear on one of these search engines, people who are searching for products or services like yours are more likely to click on your ad. Your ads will appear at the top, bottom or side of the search engine results page.
- They can generate high-quality leads because you can target the ads with laser precision
- Both Google and Bing use a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model to determine how much advertisers pay for their ads. This means that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
- The cost per click of an ad depends on how much you bid on certain keywords. The amount you will need to bid ranges depending on how much competition there is for a keyword.
- You can set a maximum daily or monthly budget so you won’t exceed your advertising budget.
- Both Google and Bing provide dashboards that allow you to track such metrics as the number of people who saw your ad, how many clicked on it, and how much you paid for each click.
- You can compete with huge brands if you have a high-quality score even when they have an advertising budget that is many times bigger than yours. The quality score is something ad platforms like Google and Bing use to maintain and improve the quality of ads that are listed on their sites. It’s all designed to improve the experience of the people who click on the ads. The better their experience, the more likely they are to click on ads which in turn boosts the search engines’ advertising revenues. Factors that improve quality scores include:
- Ad copy relevance
- Landing page quality
- Keyword search relevance
- Targeted devices (how effective it is on different devices such as mobile devices, tablets, desktops and laptops).
So one way you can boost your quality score is to create relevant and informative ads and content that link to other relevant pages. Your quality score will rise, and that means you pay less for a better or higher position on Google search than your far bigger competitors do.
The Bing advantage
The advantage Bing offers over Google is that fewer people advertise on it, which means less competition. That, in turn, means you are likely to achieve better ad positions, and there are lower costs per click (CPC).
When you advertise on Bing, your ads on shown on the Bing.com, Yahoo.com, and Aol.com search engines. You can also use its advertising platform to advertise on third party websites and apps that Bing owns.
Test both platforms
If you are already running Google Ads campaigns but want to know which platform performs better, Bing offers an easy to use auto import of all your current Google adverts.
How to get leads from Google or Bing Ads
Set a goal
To start, you need to define what you want to achieve with your Bing Ad or Google Ads campaign.
Know your customers’ LTV
Before you spend anything, you must know the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers. LTV is the projected revenue that a customer will generate during their lifetime.
If you don’t know your customers’ LTV, the basic formula is:
(Average Order Value) x (Number of Repeat Sales) x (Average Retention Time).
This will help you to determine how much it is worth spending to generate leads.
Let’s say your customer LTV is £1000. This means that you’ll earn £1000 on average over the lifetime of doing business with your customer. If you’re paying £60 per acquisition, then you’re making more per customer than you’re spending. But if your LTV is £40 rather than £1000 and you’re spending £60 per acquisition, you’ll lose money.
Uncover the exact words people are using to shop for products or services like yours in search engines. Google provides a free tool (the Keyword Planner) to help you identify the most commonly searched keywords.
The more you target, the higher the return on investment will be on your paid search. There are four ways to target using keywords:
- Broad matches. This is the most general form of targeting. With broad matches, the search engines provide the broadest possible matches, including synonyms, plurals, and ‘close matches’ in any order and distribution. It means if users type in words or phrases that have just a hint of similarity to your chosen keywords, your ad could pop up. If your keyword phrase is ‘red vintage dress’, for example, users who search for ‘vintage car with red interior’, ‘red antique book’, ‘black vintage dress’ or ‘vintage comics’ might be shown your ad. It can deliver more impressions than other types of advertising. A broad match will deliver more impressions than the other kind of matches.
- Exact matches. With exact matches, the query must exactly match your keyword. You’ll get fewer impressions but higher conversions than you would if you’d used broad matches. The same applies to phrase matches— more conversions than broad matches but fewer impressions.
- Phrase matches. With phrase matches, your phrase must be included, but if a user puts in other words in addition to the phrase match your ad will still appear.
- Negative keywords. Negative keywords are those words that when they are included in the user’s query, the search engine will not list your ad, even if other keywords in the query match. For example, if you’re selling only laptops to businesses, you don’t want your ads to appear when people type in search queries such as ‘desktop computer’, ‘desktop PC for sale’, or ‘buy desktop computer online’. That’s because they’re obviously not looking for what you sell. So your negative keyword list would include: ‘desktop computer’, ‘personal computer’ and ‘PC’.
Keep adjusting your ads until you find what works best for your audience.
Write your ad
People are looking for an answer to a question, a solution to a problem, or a way to fulfil a need or desire. If you’ve got what they need, your ad is your opportunity to convince them to visit your landing page or website.
But the amount of text you can squeeze into the ad is extremely limited: you have a 130-character limit (including the Display URL).
Make your ads clear and simple
Effective ads are clear, simple, and relevant.
The ads you write should closely reflect the theme of the keywords or placements in the ad group.
If you can present the searcher’s query (or something close to it) in the text of the ad, you have a greater chance of winning the click.
When you write an ad, use both benefits and features. Benefits evoke an emotional response that convinces your prospective customers that you have the solution to a problem, can fulfil a need, or deliver success. Features describe the ‘nuts and bolts’ aspects of the offer, which might be free shipping or a gift. Use features to help close the decision process for the searcher, to convince him or her to use your company.
Text ads include four distinct lines plus a line with the Destination URL:
- The first line is for your headline. You can only use 25 characters including spaces.
- The next two lines, called Description Line 1 and Description Line 2, allow up to 35 characters each, including spaces.
- The fourth line, called the Display URL, allows up to 35 characters.
There is one additional field to complete, the Destination URL. This specifies where a click on the ad “lands” on the website or landing page. It’s better to send people to a landing page or a product or category page where they will see a direct match to the ad they clicked.
If your target audience is local, remember to use local identifiers (for example, ‘London’, ‘Dudley’ or ‘Cheshire’).
Describe what sets your product or service apart and use the language your prospective customers use. Address them directly by using words like ‘you’ and ‘yours’.
Be specific (for example, rather than ‘huge discounts’ specify the actual amount ‘50% off’).
Use ad extensions to help your ads stand out
Extensions are “add-ons” that make ads appear more relevant or useful to a searcher. They can also occupy a larger area on the search results page. There is no additional cost for using extensions, but if the extension connects a searcher with the advertiser, the advertiser is charged. You can use multiple extensions for each campaign, but not all will be applicable in every situation. There are four types of extensions: location, sitelinks, products, and call.
- Location Extensions
A location extension improves a text ad by displaying the business address beneath, as well as a link to directions from Google Maps. Location extensions are extremely helpful for local businesses with brick and mortar locations. If you operate a web-based business or if customers do not visit your location, you will not use this extension.
- Product extensions
These allow advertisers with e-commerce websites to display product images with Google Ads. Product extensions appear as a set of thumbnail images below the ad text, including the title and price of the product. As with most extensions, the price for a click on a product thumbnail corresponds to a click on the text ad.
Sitelinks are one of the simplest ways every advertiser can improve ads. A standard text ad offers a single landing page option, associated with the headline and the display URL. Sitelinks allow advertisers to display up to six additional display URLs below the ad, to connect searchers to the most interesting pages or sections of the website. Sitelinks can drive special promotions, reinforce conversion incentives, and promote additional areas of the website. They are displayed for top-ranked ads only. Each sitelink includes a display URL (up to 35 characters) and a destination URL (up to 1,024 characters).
- Call extensions
These allow advertisers to associate a trackable phone number with text ads. Call-only applies to ads on mobile devices using CPC bidding. With this extension, the destination URL is replaced by a clickable phone number. Instead of sending visitors to a website, a click triggers a call to the advertiser. Use your keywords in clear, concise sentences – with proper punctuation, capitalisation, spelling, grammar, and spacing.
Set up your Google or Bing accounts
Both platforms make it very easy to start advertising and will take you step by step through the setup process.
Refine your ads After your ads have run for a few weeks, you should look for ways to make them perform even better. For example, you could:
- Add negative keywords. If you see that your advert is showing for a search term that is not related to your business, then add that term to your negative keyword list.
- Create additional ads with slight variations for split testing. Google and Bing will automatically rotate them to see which ad attracts the highest clickthrough rate. You can then pause the adverts with the lowest click-through rates. And then create new variations to see if you can improve your clickthrough rates.
- Use advanced targeting options, so you spend more of your advertising budget showing your adverts to people with more likelihood of buying from you.
- Test your ad copy. Try two different headline variations, the same headlines but different body copy, or the same copy but a different CTA. Testing different variations will help you to determine the best performing ad. Choose the ad variation that attracts the highest click-through rate, the highest conversion rate, or the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA), depending on your goal. By testing like this, you’ll boost your conversion rate and lower your CPA.