Uncovering the basics of Google Ad management.
Ah, Google. How did we ever live without it? From mundane searches like “how to boil an egg” to more important questions like “how to choose a plastic surgeon”, Google handles billions of searches every single day.
Professionally, we’re strong believers that Google can and should play an important role in any well-rounded aesthetic marketing strategy. Google Ads are an effective way to attract relevant, qualified visitors to your website, but only if you understand what they are, how they work, and how your clinic should be using them.
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads (sometimes referred to as “Google Adwords” – we’ll touch on why later) refers to ad space offered by Google. There are two networks in which you can create your ads: the “Search Network” and the “Display Network”. In the advertising world, we often refer to these different types of ads as “Google Search Ads” and “Google Display Ads”.
Before we go any further, let’s discuss the difference between Google Search Ads, and Google Display Ads.
Google Search Ads.
For small, local businesses like plastic surgery clinics, for example, Google Search Ads are a great place to start. These are the ads that most of us are familiar with because they show up in Google’s search engine results. They’re usually text ads allowing for 140 characters total, though there are “ad extensions” you can choose to set up which will allow your ads to display more information about your business.
Essentially, your business makes a bid to appear on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) when specific keywords are searched. For example, if you’re a plastic surgeon in Calgary, Alberta looking to increase surgical consultations for breast augmentations, you might bid on keywords like “breast augmentation calgary”, “breast implants”, and “breast surgery”. By setting a “default maximum bid” for each keyword, you’ll enter into an auction with other businesses who are bidding on the same keyword. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and you only pay as much as needed to outbid your competitor.
How often your ads are shown is determined by many factors, including your daily budget, the quality of your ads, and how Google perceives your ads to be performing. The objective, of course, is to display your ads to people near your clinic who are looking for a product or service that you offer. This is one of the main reasons Google Ads are so popular; the people that are seeing your ads have already displayed interest and intent.
Google Display Ads.
Google Display Ads work a bit differently. The Google Display Network is made up of third party sites and apps that have opted to display ads, through the Display Network, on their website. For example, when you visit your favourite fitness blog and you notice ads on the sidebar or along the top or bottom of the page, it’s possible these ads are run through the Google Display Network.
Display Ads can be text or image ads, and you can choose to display them on specific websites or apps—called “placements”—according to searches of interest (like “skincare”), placement topic (like “cosmetic procedures”), and more. Essentially, you’re working to target people you feel might have interest in your product or service.
Display Ads typically have lower click through rates (CTR) than Search Ads, meaning that of the people who see your ads, the percentage of those who click on them is typically lower. This is normal; if you run your campaigns well, the users who see your Search Ads will almost always have stronger intent than users seeing your Display Ads . For example, your breast augmentation Display Ads might show up in the sidebar of a blog that discusses plastic surgery, but the reader seeing the ad might be visiting the blog due to an interest in a different procedure, so they won’t click on your ad. Conversely, a user conducting a Google search for “breast augmentation” specifically has already shown intent, and is more likely to see and click on your Search Ad.
Which network is right for me?
If you don’t have any prior experience with Google Ad management, we typically recommend you start with Search Ads, and then expand your strategy to Display Ads once you feel comfortable and if you feel the need. For larger brand or pharmaceutical campaigns, where a business might want to advertise a product nationally rather than locally, we might recommend using both networks in tandem.
How much do Google Ads cost?
This is a question we’re asked all the time. In general, Google Display Ads are often less expensive than Google Search Ads. However, the average cost per click can vary greatly based on your location and they keyword you want to bid on; we’ve seen average costs per click range from .30 – $15+. We know there are certain products and services that are more competitive than others, and that advertising in larger cities is typically more competitive, and therefore more expensive. If you’d like to take a deeper look into this, there is a great article from WordStream with updated industry averages here.
How do you create and run Google Ads?
Google Ads—in both the Search and Display networks—are created and run through a software called Google Adwords (which, as we mentioned before, is why Google Ads are sometimes referred to as Google Adwords). It’s free for anyone to create a Google Adwords account, and anyone can learn to create and run Google Ads, though we do recommend some preliminary research and familiarity with the software before launching your first ads. It will take some time, and trial and error, to learn to use the software to create and manage effective ads, but Google offers free online courses through Google Academy where you can watch videos, participate in quizzes, and even gain your Google Adwords Certification if that’s your goal.
Victory Media is a certified Google Adwords Partner. If you’re a busy clinic, brand, or pharmaceutical company who doesn’t have the time or resources for Google Ad management, we’re here to help. Contact us today.