Does Google AdWords Provide a Good Return on Spend?

Advertising has taken full advantage of the internet, and thanks to that these days the once expensive, wide public advertising is history. The magic of targeted audience and best of all – cheap pay per click prices, brought fortune to many small businesses. One of the oldest and best providers for that kind of service is Google with its AdWords subdivision.

The best thing about AdWords is that you choose your audience based on search queries and general interests. And with the right strategy, you could promote your products to the right audience, with a huge effect, and a great return on spend. So let see how exactly AdWords is a good investment.

How It Works

Adwords is a mature channel that provides two main ways to target your audience.  

  1. Active:  in which ads are shown in direct relation to a search query.
  2. Passive: in which ads are shown based on the content that the user is viewing.

Adwords is making a push towards more targeted ad serving with their forays into social media (Google+ etc.), but they largely remain at the mercy of search queries.

Qualified Impressions & Customer Targeting

In Google Adwords, the goal is to get your ad seen by the people who are searching for what you are selling. While Google actually has two definitions for an impression, the common factor is the search query itself.

A qualified impression would then be best defined as a search query that closely matches your keyword list. Marketers who have a well-defined and well-tested keyword list will tell you that they are worth their weight in gold. They are effective but it is something that takes a lot of hands-on effort to get just right and maintain.

What a Click Means for Your Brand

Google Adwords visibility is a combination of factors but is mostly tied to your budget. The ideal convergence is having a high-quality score, that will reduce your bid price, and willingness to pay for placement “above the fold” on the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

A. How many people will see my ad?  How many times will people see my ad?

Google is very good at showing us how much we are missing out on by not maximizing our budget.  Under the Opportunities tab in the Adwords dashboard, we are able to see how much more traffic we would get if we upped our budget and/or made some keyword changes.

We can increase exposure by having a quality score (7 or above generally) and paying attention to Click-Thru Rates on keywords and ads (often overlooked). However, the most potent way to increase exposure remains to be a higher budget.

B. When is my ad running?

The answer is a little nebulous but I’ll give it a shot. The first determinant is, surprise, budget. If you are willing to spend as much as Google estimates you should then you are going to show as much as the algorithm will allow. If you are not in this camp then you’ve going to probably run into the scenario where you Google your products/services and you can’t find your ad anywhere.

If this is you here are few more things to look at before you contact your account manager.

  • Check beyond the first page: Sometimes the ad’s get pushed back.
  • Refresh your browser page (search again): If you do this you’ll reload the changes in the ad’s that are served. This is what Google refers to as ad rotation and is how they fit in ad’s that don’t have the budget to show all of the time.

Ads can further be restricted, or targeted, your choice of vernacular, by the following:

  • Geographically (Geo-targeting)
  • Time of Day  (Ad Scheduling)
  • IP Restriction  (IP Address Exclusion)

Finally, there are more methods to target your ad’s but to be honest it’s really very simple.  More exposure = more budget.

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