What is AdWords in digital marketing?
AdWords is Google's native paid advertising system (please don't confuse this with organic rank, which is SEO based). With AdWords, businesses and marketers bid on keywords that trigger clickable ads that appear in Google's search results at the top and bottom of a search results page. Again, they're different than organic search results, and that's made subtly visible by a tiny little placement of the word 'ad' sitting beside the link.
The point of AdWords is straightforward: it allows businesses willing to pay top dollar an opportunity to bypass organic ranking algorithms provided they have the cash to do it.
A Side Note On Traditional Advertising Systems
Traditional advertising uses attention-grabbing techniques to capture your interest with the hope of making an ad memorable. Visualize any classic newspaper ad, and you'll remember that the title is big, bold, capitalized, and takes up half the page. We think of it as the original clickbait.
Traditional advertising has another aspect to it. In magazines, rather than big, bold titles, marketers would make sure that the pictures had brands and products placed somewhere within the photo. The psychology behind this is that people would see your product placement enough times that if and when it came to deciding on which product to buy, they would choose the one they saw most often (and wouldn't even remember how often they saw it!).
Now, we all know how much more top advertisers are able to place into creating advertisements (because of their budget). They can afford to run test campaigns and focus groups across multiple markets long before we start seeing the ad. And let's be real here. Small business simply don't have that kind of budget.
Back To AdWords
The advent of Google is actually rather amazing. It's gone and turned traditional media on its head and allowed many small to medium-sized businesses to compete in a world they normally could have never afforded. And it did it by allowing us to advertise directly to an individual searching for a product/service.
A little bit on how AdWords works:
The first step is creating an Google AdWords account. This allows you full access to their keyword planner, which you'll use to find and target the best keywords for your business. From here, you can estimate the average cost per click, plan your budgets and develop a rough idea of how many click-throughs your ad budget will allow over a campaign during a set amount of time.
Once you know which keywords you're interested in, you set a daily ad spend budget and set your account to bid against competitors for the keywords. So you're aware, keywords have what the industry calls 'competition levels.' It's a very simple concept. If a lot of people are interested in that keyword, it has more competition, which leads to a higher cost to bid on. This is why it's important to be aware of your budget and how fast you'll go through it in a given time period.
With that in mind, you're ready to create your ads.
Product/Service Specific Targeting
One of the coolest (and creepiest) aspects of AdWords is its ability to target the exact person who's buying what you're selling with pin-point accuracy. This includes products, food, and near every (legal) service out there.
Aside from having the ability to target people who are searching for your products/services, you're able to further narrowcast your ad's right down to postal codes. This is an incredibly important feature for many small businesses as it helps stretch a budget at worst, and ensures the budget isn't being wasted on the wrong location at best.
A/B Split Testing
Because of the potentially low costs associated with creating advertisements, AdWords allows you the opportunity to experiment with A/B split testing. A/B testing is when you create a series of ads and and compare their success and failure against each other, seeing which one yields the best results. This maximizes your budget and improves the ads effectiveness.
Another feature to take note of is that the moment you start running your AdWords campaign, you'll be able to track what's happening in real-time. This is a bit more proactive than A/B testing. It allows you to adjust things on the fly, pausing or doubling down on something if you feel it's worth it. At the beginning of any AdWords campaign, digital marketers will spend nearly the entire day staring at their computer screen optimizing it as fast and as efficiently as they can to maximize their return on your investment. This doesn't mean that you can ignore your campaign once it's done, you'll or they'll still be checking in very often; however, new campaigns often eat a lot of time upfront.
Specials Offers and Promotions
Once you're accustomed to AdWords, you'll be able to easily set-up short-run ads for specials and promotional offers on the fly. If you're handy with web design, you'll be able to integrate new landing pages into new campaigns.
And, of course, we'll be there to work with you if you need it.
AdWords is a wonderful tool for digital marketers and businesses alike, but, like everything, it comes with a cost. There's also a small but very manageable learning curve and time investment. But if we compare its effectiveness to traditional marketing, AdWords is simply an awesome way to promote your website if it's within your budget.