Understanding Google Ads and Google Search Network Campaigns

29 Jan, 2020

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QUESTION: What Do All These Google Products Have in Common? 

Google Clips, Google Daydream, Google Goggles, Google Spaces, Google Swiffy, Google Currents, Google Talk, and Google Mini... 

ANSWER: These Are All Google Products That Have Been Discontinued by Google. 

As you can see the graveyard of former Google products alone is huge, then, if we factor in their current products, many of which have also had name changes over the years, it gets even more complex. It's no surprise then that digital marketers sometimes find getting the names and products right confusing. You may be reading this very article because you typed into a search engine:

What is Google Adwords?

I hate to break it to you, but the platform Google Adwords no longer exists, Google Adwords, the product that played such a huge role in making Google one of the biggest companies in the world, no longer exists. 

These days it goes by the name of Google Ads, so before we understand exactly what that is, get the name straight in your head: It's Google Ads not Google Adwords. 

To help with all this confusion, today I am just going to focus on helping you understand what Google Ads is. 

What is Google Adwords? 

Ahem,    >: (

Sorry I mean, what is Google Ads?

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that offers a variety of different types of marketing campaigns based on the Pay-Per-Click model. This means the advertiser pays Google a fee every time the target audience completes an agreed action. Google marketing products on this service include

  • Search Network Campaigns

  • Display Network Campaigns

  • Shopping Campaigns

  • Video Campaigns

  • App Campaigns

To focus on the essentials, today we are just going to talk about one of these: Search Network campaigns. This is also the platform's most Iconic product.

What Does A Google Ads Search Network Ad Look Like?

The most obvious place to see an example of what a Google Ad looks like is on the first results page of Google. These ads look similar to unpaid organic results but they have  ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored’ written by them. They are normally the top result displayed. 

Where Else Do Search Network Campaigns Appear?

Google Ads don't just appear on the Google results page they can also appear on: 

Google Maps, Google Images, Google Play and Google Shopping.

The results of Google search partners is also a location for Google ads, that many people are not aware of. These are websites that use Google search applications to help users find content on their website. For example Online Newspapers like The Guardian

How Does A Google Ad Get The Top Place on Google?

If I type a phrase like 'online car insurance' into Google, the top result that appears will be a Google Ad. The insurance company running that ad will have set up a Search Network Campaign that includes the term 'car insurance online' in the terms they wish to appear for. 

Terms like 'Online Car Insurance' have a high likelihood of conversion so there are many other advertisers trying to appear for this term. In order for this specific car insurance company's Ad to appear as a top result, the site's marketer will have won Google's keyword auctioning process for that specific search.

How Does The  Google Ads Auctioning Process Work?

Every day millions of Google Ads auctions are occurringEvery time a user types an inquiry into Google, the Google Ads auctioning process will take place to decide which Ad is shown. 

As with online auctioning processes like eBay, Google Ads auctions feature a bidding process where the advertiser sets their maximum bid. Often the highest bid will get the best position but this is not always the case. 

Google Ads auctions also take the clickthrough rate (CTR) into consideration when selecting who gets the position. The CTR is a percentage measurement of how often a user clicks on an ad.

Google Ads can be set for a variety of objectives such as click-throughs or sales conversions, the marketer only pays Google if the target of the  Ad completes the target action. This is why Ads set with the highest bid on a term, may over time, lose out in auctions to lower bids with higher CTRs, as the more attractive ads with a lower bid are being clicked on more often and so Google is being paid more to display them, and unsurprisingly, chooses to display these ads more. This is great news for advertisers who have well set up ads.

Who Is Taking Part in Each Google Ads Auction?

Just because a company is targeting a phrase for Ads doesn't mean they will bid on that phrase every time it is entered into Google...

Shrewd digital marketers target the right times of the day when their target audience is most likely to convert. Geography also plays an important role, for instance, a Local business focusing their ads on local searches for terms such as 'cafes near me', should set their campaign to only bid on searches that are made by users who are likely to be within a sensible driving distance of their business. 

The Marketer's budget distribution also affects which auctions they can bid in. An ad campaign ends for the day when the marketer has exceeded their budget limit for that period. Marketers who set their campaign to bid on as many searches as possible may quickly exhaust their budget for that day too early, and may not be able to take part in ad auctions when their search terms lead achieve the best conversion rates. This is a key reason why ad budget control is also really important for Google Ads auction strategy. 

A Google Ads Horror Story 

The combination of bidding and CTR rates, along with a huge array of variations on how a Google Ads campaign can be targeted, makes the platform extremely effective for marketers with the right approach. On the other hand, marketers who are new to the game could waste a lot of money. 

For example, A marketing campaign that is set up with a payment for impressions, with a target audience and keywords that are too broad, could quickly spend their budget on clicks that don't produce leads. These are just a few of many reasons why it's so important for businesses who use Google Ads to have the right approach. 

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of Google Ads. At the very least, by now you should have the name right!

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