Google Ads Search Network Text Ads
Google Text Ads are the traditional Pay Per Click (PPC) ads that websites have been using for decades. They include a headline, a couple of lines of "sales" text and a URL. They typically show up at the top and bottom of search results pages, before organic listings:
Should I Use Google Text Ads For My Website?
Although websites have been using text ads to drive traffic to them for many years, they lost a lot of their effectiveness for most eCommerce websites when Google introduced Product Listing Ads (PLAs), also known as Google Shopping ads in the summer of 2012.
It's easy to understand why. Google Shopping ads show a picture of a product along with its price. Not only are the ads more eye-appealing, which attracts searchers' attention, but nobody has to guess how much something costs before they click on it. In fact, one of the primary reasons that Shopping ads almost always have a much better cost per conversion than Text Search ads is that people have pretty much already given minor agreement that they like your product and your price; otherwise, why would they click on your Shopping ad?
That said, you should definitely give them a try and see if you can get a positive return on your investment. Even if your cost per conversion is higher with Text Search ads than with Google Shopping ads, as long as you are making the minimum profit you need to make after paying for those ads, who cares?
Google Text Search ads tend to work best for people who are selling things to customers that are inexperienced computer users. Studies have been done that show that novice computer users have a difficult time distinguishing the difference between a text ad and an organic search listing (even though it says "Ad" right next to them). Most people are hesitant to click on ads (for whatever reason), so it only stands to reason that people who can't tell the difference are going to click on text ads more than people who do know the difference.
Most inexperienced computer users tend to be older. If you have a target market that is aged 60 or older, text ads may very well work as well, or even better, than Product Listing Ads (Google Shopping ads) for you. Also keep in mind that grandma and granddad usually have a lot more disposable income than other age demographics and they love spending it on their children almost as much as their grandchildren. In other words, pretty much anything you sell might be something thy might buy, so Google Text ads are always worth a shot!
NOTE: Keep in mind that the goal post is going to keep moving as far as inexperienced seniors go. In another decade or two, most "seniors" will have experience with computers and may very well become the most sought after customer!
All that said, let's go! We're going to start you off with a video that shows you how to create a high-preforming Google Text Ads campaign. The video not only points out the things that lead to success (or failure) but it also includes a live step-by-step demo of how to set up Google Text Ads in Google Ads.
After watching it, be sure to read the section below the video, If you don't, your ads will likely be doomed for failure!
"Creating High-Performing Google Text Ads Campaigns" Webinar Replay
PLEASE NOTE: The webinar, above, is an older recording and references various sections of our previous training course. That information is both in Chapter 8 of this course and in the training, below. In addition, Google has subsequently re-named "AdWords". It is now called Google Ads Search Network Text Ads (yeah, I know ... it makes no sense at all why they would take a short, easy to remember word and turn it into a mouthful, but that's Google for ya!).
Google Text Ads - "The Big 4" Rules of Engagement
Before you even think about pulling the trigger on text ads, you need to have a logical game plan. If you don't, you can waste boat loads of money and not get a single sale.
Here, I'll go over my "Big 4" rules of engagement for Google Text Search advertising. I can not state this strongly enough ... Please, DO NOT even attempt text search ads until you've read everything in this section.
Rule #1. Know Your Maximum Cost Per Conversion Before You Begin
Not much to say here. I told you to embed this into your brain, so there's no way you could have forgotten it already. In case you did, hop back to the main Chapter 8 content and view the King of All Rules. You'll never survive in the world of advertising if you don't follow the most important rule of all!
Rule #2. Start Small & Scale Up Slowly
Last year, a friend of mine got a new job in a neighboring state. He thought he'd love the new job and be there for a long time (maybe for the rest of his career), but he of course had no way of knowing for sure whether everything would pan out.
Rather than selling his home here in Idaho and immediately buying a new home in Nevada, he was smart enough to hold off for a few months. So, he just rented out his home here and rented a home there in Nevada to make sure everything turned out as planned.
Well, it just so happens that things DIDN'T turn out! He ended up hating the new job, and within a few months they moved back to their home in Idaho.
Now, what if he had sold his home here in Idaho and purchased a home in Nevada? He would have lost A TON of money in closing costs and real estate fees, not to mention the hassle of buying and selling two homes! My friend is glad he was smart enough to take things slow and not go "all in" right out of the gate.
Similarly, you should "ease into" PPC advertising. Whether you do it intentionally or unintentionally (and it's oftentimes unintentional), you should never charge into PPC advertising. You should start small and scale up slowly.
PLEASE NOTE: The following "Starting Small" and "Scaling Up Slowly" advice is mostly for Text Search ads. Again, with Display ads and Product ads, you can't specify the exact search terms that will trigger ads. As I mentioned, I will show you some ways where you can control things to some degree a little later. If you are running Display or Product ads, "Starting Small" and "Scaling Up Slowly" could also mean starting off with lower bids and/or lower daily spend limits and gradually increasing/decreasing ad spend based on how well they do.
What do I mean by "starting small"? You should start out by only advertising for very specific, very targeted search phrases. For example, if you're selling dog houses, you shouldn't set up your first ad campaign to show up for searches like "dog" or even "dog houses". These phrases are quite broad and get A LOT of daily searches, which could very easily result in A LOT of clicks. This means you could spend A LOT of money overnight and, because the ads are not very targeted, also not make any sales from the ads.
In virtually every horror story we've heard about people accidentally spending hundreds of dollars in a single day, they didn't follow this rule about starting small. Your first ad group should target specific, long-tail search phrases that include one or more of the following:
- a brand name
- a product name or model number
- descriptive words (size, material, functionality, other adjectives
- "buying words" (i.e. for sale, discount, cheap, on sale, etc.)
For our dog houses example, your first ad group might target phrases like these: "large dog houses", "insulated dog houses", "dog houses for sale", "[brand name] dog houses", "wooden dog houses", and so on.
These search phrases won't get nearly as many searches as broad, generic phrases like "dog" or "dog houses", but they're much more targeted and therefore should have a higher conversion rate (since descriptive, long-tail phrases demonstrate that the searcher is in "buying mode").
Plus, as an added bonus, you won't run the risk of racking up a huge bill overnight. 🙂
2 More Tips to Avoid Accidentally Spending $500 Overnight!
I mentioned above that sometimes people unintentionally start out too big and too broad. This happens when they're not careful about how they set up their ads.
Tip #1. At the step where you enter all the search phrases you want your ad to appear for, always be sure to put the search phrases inside [brackets], as I've shown here. This tells Google (and most of the other PPC engines work the same way) that you only want your ad to be displayed when someone searches for that EXACT PHRASE.
If you don't put the phrases inside brackets, you're giving Google permission to show your ads for any and all phrases Google thinks are "related" to the phrases you provided. Do you see how dangerous this can be?! Google may show your ad for all kinds of "related" phrases that have nothing to do with your products and that are going to have an extremely low (or non-existent) conversion rate! This is how you spend $500 overnight and make no sales! So always make sure to enter the search phrases within [brackets].
Tip #2. Google and most of the other PPC engines allow you to set a daily spend limit for your account, both for an individual ad campaign and for all campaigns collectively in your account.
Honestly, you should always utilize these fields, even if you're experienced with PPC marketing. But it's absolutely critical that you set daily spend limits in your account if you're just getting into PPC marketing and aren't 100% familiar with how the ad management interface works. It's a nice "safety net" in case you don't set everything up right.
Scaling Up Slowly
If you follow the first part of this rule about starting small (and you better!), 🙂 you'll be starting out with specific, targeted search phrases that likely don't get a whole lot of daily searches (and therefore won't result in a whole lot of clicks or traffic to your site).
Just because you start out small doesn't mean that you have to restrict yourself to these low-volume search phrases forever! Over time, you can and should scale up. But you should scale up slowly and methodically. You're not going to want to go from "insulated dog houses for sale" to "dog" in one step! 😉
The Maximum Cost Per Conversion you calculated for Rule #1 will play a key role in how much you'll expand (or whether you'll expand at all). The Pro's Edge box below will walk you through the process you should use to scale up your PPC campaigns.
How to Methodically Scale Up Your PPC Ad Campaigns Over Time
As we've discussed, your first ad group should be extremely specific and targeted. It won't result in all that many clicks, but the clicks you do get should be high-quality traffic that is quite likely to convert.
After running this first highly-targeted ad group for a few weeks, you'll need to check to see how your actual cost per conversion compares to your Maximum Cost Per Conversion. If your actual CPC is equal to your maximum CPC (or close to it), you won't want to scale up at all. But if actual CPC is less than maximum CPC (which will hopefully be the case), you should create a new ad group that targets slightly more broad and generic keyword phrases.
Then, after a couple/few more weeks, you'll analyze the performance of this new ad group, again comparing its actual CPC to your maximum CPC. If the actual CPC is less than maximum CPC for this new, slightly broader ad group, you'll scale up again to slightly more generic search phrases.
You'll continue this pattern over and over again until it doesn't make sense to scale up any further (i.e. when actual CPC = maximum CPC for your broadest, most generic ad group).
Rule #3. Create Targeted, Compelling Ads
There's a lot more to creating a good PPC ad than using "buzz words" meant to grab searchers' attention. Of course, you want your ads to STAND OUT and get clicked on, but you're just flushing money down the toilet if those clicks don't result in sales. That's why it's so important for your ads to be targeted. It is absolutely critical that these 3 things are 100% aligned with each other:
- the search phrase the potential customer searched for,
- the content of the ad (including the headline, the body and the display URL), and
- the landing page the ad takes the potential customer to when they click on the ad.
Let's say that a potential customer searched for "wooden dog houses". Don't you think she'd be more likely to click on your ad if the exact phrase "wooden dog houses" appears multiple times in your ad than if only a portion of the phrase appears just once?
It seems so obvious, but go do a "nichey" search on Google and check out the paid ads listed down the right side of the page. For most searches you do, you'll find that the ad headlines, body and display URLs rarely match the exact phrase you searched for. You'll often see similar phrases or portions of the phrase you searched for, but very few ads contain the exact phrase you searched for ... and fewer still contain that phrase multiple times in the ad.
Okay, let's say your ad stands out enough to grab the searcher's attention and she clicks on it, bringing her to your site. This is the critical question: What page does she land on? It darn well better be a page on your site that is CLEARLY all about "wooden dog houses" (the phrase she searched for)! If she can't see in the first 1-2 seconds that she's on a page all about wooden dog houses, she's gone and you just wasted your money!
This also seems incredibly obvious (and I almost feel stupid even writing it ), 🙂 but this rule is broken ALL THE TIME! It seriously blows my mind to see how many PPC ads take you to the home page when you click on them! Unless your home page is 100% dedicated to "wooden dog houses" (unlikely!), that is NOT the landing page you should be taking this customer to! She searched for "wooden dog houses", so why on Earth would you take her to your home page, which shows dog houses by brand, dog houses by size, top-selling dog houses (only a portion of which are wooden) and so on?! You should take her DIRECTLY to your "wooden dog houses" category page!
Very few PPC ads follow this "obvious-as-the-nose-on-my-face" rule, which is why so many PPC advertisers struggle to break even. It's incredibly simple, but it's extremely powerful ...
- The potential customer searched for "wooden dog houses".
- Your ad has the exact phrase "wooden dog houses" 3 times (once in the headline, again in the body and a third time in the display URL).
- When she clicks on it, it takes her directly to your "wooden dog houses" category page.
The ad makes it clear that you're selling exactly what she wants. And then, when she lands on your site, she's taken directly to a page that lists exactly what she's interested in (and no more). Simple but powerful! Whatever you do, please don't waste your money sending hordes of people to your home page to try to figure out how to get to where they actually wanted to go! 🙂
Two Inseparable Goals
When it comes to PPC advertising, there are 2 goals, which are inseparable. Goal #1 is to get your ad noticed and clicked on. Goal #2 is to have the people who click on the ad actually place an order.
Achieving goal #1 is pointless - and actually harmful to your business - if you're not also achieving goal #2. It just means that you're needlessly spending lots of money to get visitors who don't end up buying anything!
Always keep in mind that the goal is NOT just to get clicks ... but to get orders from those clicks!
As we just discussed, the #1 most important thing to remember when creating your ads is to make sure that all 3 of these things match each other:
- the search phrase the person typed into Google,
- the headline and content of your ad, and
- the landing page on your site that the ad links to.
I'm a broken record, I know. But think about this concept in terms of our 2 inseparable goals of getting clicks and making sales. If #2 (your ad headline/content) doesn't closely match #1 (what the person searched for), your ads will rarely get noticed or clicked on. And if #3 (the landing page on your site) doesn't closely match #1 (what the person searched for), those who click on your ads (costing you money!) will almost never end up placing an order on your site.
Accomplishing goal #1 (getting people to click on your ads) but not goal #2 (getting those visitors to place an order) is just wasting your money! It seems like such a "DUH!" concept, but we're constantly amazed to see people use the same exact ad for ALL of the search phrases they're doing PPC advertising for even though the search phrases differ substantially.
And, we're even more surprised to see people send all their PPC visitors to their home page instead of sending them to a more relevant, targeted page (such as a brand page, category page, or even a product page) that matches what they searched for. Unless you have an ultra-nichey store with very few products/varieties, very rarely will you want to send visitors to your home page.
Creating Ads that Stand Out & Get Clicked!
As we just discussed, the #1 most important thing to remember when you create PPC ads is to make sure the 1) search phrase the person searched for, 2) ad headline and content and 3) landing page the ad takes the person to are perfectly aligned (i.e. they all need to match).
But in addition to that, there are many other things you can do to make your ad JUMP OUT at searchers and entice them to click on it. This section presents some ideas you should try in your A/B split testing.
The first words in your headline should be the exact search phrase the searcher entered (or as similar to it as possible). If you can't fit the entire phrase, include as much of it as you can (leaving out less important words). If you have room, include a short "buzz word" (see below) after the keyword phrase.
Even though the headline contains the search phrase, you should include it again in the body of the ad (i.e. the entire search phrase). It may seem redundant, but the best way to appeal to potential customers is to make it obvious that you have exactly what they want! Besides the search phrase, try to throw in a few "buzz words" as well. See the list of example "buzz words" below.
The 'Display URL' is the URL text you want searchers to see. It does NOT have to match the actual URL of the page they'll be sent to (i.e. the landing page) if they click on your ad. However, the display URL does have to contain your domain name, which usually limits the amount of characters you have to work with.
Optimally, it would be best to enter the following as your display URL:
In reality, you will rarely have enough space to do this. So we recommend putting as much of the keyword phrase as possible (using the most important words within the search phrase) before the period and the domain name.
For example, if your ad was targeting 'Apex' brand dog houses, you might enter the following display URL:
This at least helps customers know that they'll be taken to a page with Apex brand dog houses on it, even though the display URL doesn't contain the entire search phrase they entered. If they've already seen the exact search phrase they entered in both the headline and body of the ad, customers will already know they're looking at a targeted, relevant ad anyway.
You may also try out including a "buzz word" in the display URL, either in addition to or even instead of the search phrase. For example, you might try using the following as your display URL:
Buzz words are designed to:
- Draw searchers' attention
- Pique their curiosity
- Create a sense of urgency, and
- Call them to action
Following, is a list of various buzz words you may want to try out in a) your headline, b) ad content, or c) display URL:
- free shipping
- ships free
- fast shipping
- same-day shipping
- XX% off
- best prices
- lowest prices (guaranteed)
- today (only)
- this week (only)
- limited time (only)
- shop here
- check out ...
You may also consider including your toll-free number in the ad content. Also, if your ad is product-specific, you may try putting the price of the product right into the ad content.
These are all just ideas you may want to try out in your A/B split testing. Some work better than others in certain markets. There's no magic formula that will always work the best for everyone.
PLEASE NOTE: Rule #3 applies completely to Text Search ads, mostly to Display ads and not at all to Product ads. With Product ads, your product feed file, which comes directly from your website, controls the ad content and the display URL, which will always be an exact product. Fortunately, because of the way Product ads work, all of the Rule #3 pieces sort of line up automatically for you.
Rule #4. Use A/B Split Testing to Improve Your Ads Over Time
In professional sports, how do we crown a champion? Do we just choose who we think the best team is at the end of the regular season? Of course not! Virtually all professional sports have some kind of playoffs after the regular season to determine the champion. (Even college football has FINALLY started to figure this out!) 😀
In most sports, there are several elimination rounds where the winners of the previous rounds continue to face each other until only one team is left standing. You should approach your PPC ads the same way. Don't just throw an ad up and hope it's as good as it's going to get! 🙂 It sounds stupid, but it's what a lot of people do!
Google and the other PPC engines make it easy to do a form of A/B split testing to run 2 "versions" of the same ad side by side at the same time. You let them run simultaneously for a couple/few weeks (long enough to get a decent sample size), and then you analyze them to see which one performed better (both in terms of click-through rate and, more importantly, in terms of cost per conversion). You declare that version the winner and immediately introduce a new challenger (aka a new version of the ad).
Those 2 ad versions will then run side by side until you analyze again and declare a new winner. You continue to repeat this process over and over again until you've found a winner no challenger is able to beat.
In addition to the changes you make to the content of the ad itself, remember that adjusting the max bid amount (up or down) can make a big difference in your click-through rate and your ad's performance. So make sure to include the max bid amount as one of the "variables" you play with in your A/B split testing.
PPC Analysis Spreadsheet Download
Feel free to download and use this PPC Analysis spreadsheet to help you track your ads' performance and carry out effective A/B split testing.
PLEASE NOTE: You can't really split test Product Ads. They are what they are based on the product feed file which comes directly from your website. You can try different bid prices, but that's about it!
Tip for Cutting Your Google Search Network Ads Cost in Half
This simple trick will save you 50% to 80% on your Text Ads campaigns, and I am NOT exaggerating! This is 100% legit and unbelievably simple! It works in at least 80% to 90% of markets, and very few people even know about it. Best of all, this tip is in no way against Google Ads Terms of Service - so you are NOT at risk of getting banned or suspended by utilizing this cool tip!
This tip is so vital for people that are just launching their online store, simply because until you get ranked you almost have no choice but to do paid advertising to bring targeted traffic. If you can drive the same number of visitors and sales at 20%-50% of the price you are going to be far more profitable.
It's extra important when you take into consideration the fact that Google Search Network is almost always the #1 source for paid traffic, and that goes for almost every niche you can think of! I always say that if you can be profitable with Google Ads, you can be profitable in almost any PPC advertising venue out there!
Okay, here's the little-known Google Ads trick ... VERY RARELY do you have to pay anywhere close to as much per bid as Google indicates! This is going to sound insanely simple, but here is the tip that will save you 50-80% on your spending: Start with a maximum bid that's far below what Google suggests!
How low? I'm talking a bid of $0.20 to $0.30 to start off with! Google will give a warning message that says the bid is far below the amount needed to show up on page 1, but ignore it and check back 12-24 hours later. (Google has been known to flat-out lie!)
At the time I'm writing this tutorial, we have a Google Text Ads campaign going for one of our stores that we are bidding $0.18 per click, and we're averaging position #2! When we first set up the campaign, we got a warning that said we had to bid $1.50 to show up on page one!
Obviously, if you're not getting any traffic, you'll need to start inching your bid price up until you do start appearing higher up but the main point is, don't believe anything Google tells you! They have their best interests in mind, not yours!