Advertising on Google
The top three spots in Google's search results are reserved for paying customers. You may have noticed the first three search results typically have the word "Ad" clearly indicated. Google knows that getting seen at the top of a search engine's results, when someone is specifically searching for a product or service is extremely valuable! As such, if you want to get seen here, you need to pay.
Think about it. If you're a Plumber you could get a billboard or some other traditional advertisement in your local service, since most people will at some point in their life need a plumber. In this regard, your target market is "everyone". But during the time your ad is up, you have no idea who, out there in the world, is actually in need of a plumber right now. Who is looking for a plumber, today! Wouldn't it be nice if the rate the billboard company charged you was not based on the number of people who will statistically see your billboard, but rather on the number of people who will see it, AND are looking for a plumber right now? Better yet, if your rate was based on only the people who need a plumber who not only saw your ad, and checked out your website. This is essentially what "Google Ads", and other pay-per-click ad platforms offer.
Unlike billboards, radio ads and other traditional advertising mediums, pay-per-click online advertising platforms like Google Ads allow you to only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Oh and don't worry, you don't get charged if someone decides to click on your ad bunch of times in a row.
Not only does Google only charge you when someone actually clicks on your ad, they actually let you decide how much you are willing to spend per click. If you only want to spend $1 per click you can set your maximum bid amount to not ever exceed $1. You can even set a max daily budget. If your monthly budget is around $300, you can set a $10 daily budget. These three reasons alone are usually enough for any business to realize that it makes a lot of sense to advertise on Google and other search engines. So it comes as no surprise that Google's "Adwords" platform is so lucrative for the tech giant.
The best part about Google Adwords is that you can get started yourself. The video below was produced by Google Adwords, and will show you, step-by-step, how to advertise in Google.
A few years ago FloPrint, our print shop in Regina, started advertising on Google, despite the fact that we had the top spot in Google's organic search results. The truth is for many years we did not see the point in paying Google to get seen at the top of their search results when we were already number one. Back then our competitors weren't advertising on Google, and the map section only showed up when certain keywords and phrases were searched. Besides, we were usually number one in the map section too. So we got tons of visibility on Google, without paying for Google Adwords. These days Floprint has a bunch of local, as well as international online print competitors who are paying for the top search results.
The layout of Google's search results page has seen a lot of subtle changed over the years to ultimately place way more emphasis on the paid results at the top of the page. Have you ever noticed, when you search on your phone, the first paid result now usually takes up almost all of the screen's available real estate? Not only has the emphasis shifted to the paid ads, but more importantly the first spot.
In case you don't know how it works. In order to get the top spot in Google's paid results, you have to be willing to pay Google more, per click, than the other guys. That's right. This "highest bid" pricing model naturally drives the cost of advertising on google up. Simple supply & demand. Remember earlier I mentioned you can pay Google whatever you want for each click? That's still true, however, what I neglected to mention is that Google will essentially take the highest bids first. If no one else is paying to show up for a certain search phrase you're in luck, because you can offer Google a low bid, and your ad will show up. The reality is, everyone is advertising on Google these days, so you need to step up. So depending on what your competitors are bidding, you could pay anywhere from $0.45 to $14 per click. We've heard Google Adwords experts tell stories of some of their clients who spend over $40 per click! That sounds like a lot. Whether it is worth it, totally depends on the value of the leads.
Here's a pro tip
No matter how much you are spending per click, you have to make sure you are getting those clicks to convert, whatever a "conversion" is to you. A conversion could be an inquiry over the phone (in-bound phone call), a quote request or an online store sale. This means you need to pay attention and track your visitors from the time they click on your ad until they hang up the phone, fill out your quote request form, checkout or exit your site.
Based on your tracking data, you should always adjust your ad campaign so that your ad eventually only gets shown in the results for high yielding search phrases. Sounds easy, until you realize Google might show your ad in the results for search phrases that it "thinks" you might want to target. For example, if like FloPrint you are in the business of printing t-shirts, you may have your campaign set to show your ad when anyone in Canada searches for "Custom T-shirt Printing Canada". However, Google's Adwords algorithm might also show your ad when someone searched for some other phrase related to the keywords "T-shirt" and "Canada", but like the phrase "Canada T-shirts" potentially unrelated to the service you are trying to promote. Ask your self, if someone searches for "Canada T-shirt", are they interested in getting a bunch of t-shirts printed by an apparel print shop in Canada, or are they looking for a place to buy one T-shirt that has a "Canada" graphic on it? If you're an apparel print shop like FloPrint, no matter how much you end up paying for the click, it's ultimately money wasted.