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Do Google Ads work for small business?

Updated: Jul 18, 2020


There’s a lot of hype, unsolicited pitches, and mixed stories relating to the pros and cons of advertising on Google Ads (known as AdWords). All this noise can make it hard for small business owners to know what to do, who’s advice to trust and how to best go about advertising their business online. In our 10 plus years experience of managing online advertising campaigns, we’d recommend that AdWords be at the top of the advertising must do list for most small businesses in NZ.

Why is this?

Well because most audiences will typically go to Google to find out their best options when considering purchasing a product or a service. A search on Google is the default place that we mostly all go to as consumers to find out about things, and to help inform our research into deciding our best options in regards to a prospective purchase. And this is unlikely to change in the near future with Google now being our no 1. on the go mobile digital assistant.

What are the key benefits - AdWords targets customers in the market now

Targeting this relevant consumer activity in Google search provides a relatively simple way of connecting with customers that are in the market, right now and at that very moment that they are about to make an enquiry or purchase. This is the main benefit of advertising with AdWords.

In many ways, Adwords advertising is akin to why businesses use to advertise in the yellow pages directories in the past. It was once the default reference point for consumers looking for suppliers and thus represented an essential way to place your business offering in front of an enquiring market.

Of course, Google is now the online tool we use daily in NZ and, accordingly, Adwords is at the top of the must advertise-on list for many businesses and this is also largely why Google has grown to become the most successful and largest advertising provider in the world today.

It's very flexible and accessible

The AdWords platform is very flexible and has become quite sophisticated allowing a wide range of targeting options so you can target prospective customers by location, language, age, device, day of the week and time of the day and by those keywords that are most relevant to your business.

If you are away or you going through a busy period, you can pause the advertising and restart it as and when required.

Different Types of Google Ads advertising:

  1. Search Ads - these are the most common and run against keyword activity and are text ads which appear in Google search results
  2. Google Shopping Ads – these are for online store operators and appear as thumbnail image ads in Google search results against searches for products that are sold online
  3. Google Display Network – these are ads that appear on websites and in apps that accept ads from Google. This is a very large network of sites and ads can take many formats including text, display/banner and video ads.

There are multiple types of targeting strategies for the GDN including:

  1. Remarketing ads follow your website visitors as they browse the internet.
  2. Contextual ads target web pages that have content of a predefined type.
  3. Placement ads are placed on specific websites or specific sections of websites.

We often recommend running Remarketing ads in conjunction with search campaigns as this tends to improve the overall volume of enquiry generation and reduces the average cost per enquiry.

Advantages of AdWords for small business – pros and cons

Pros include:

  1. Very effective lead generator by targeting relevant search activity
  2. Normally the lowest cost per lead generation
  3. Very flexible and relatively quick to set up and can be turned on and off as required
  4. Results are normally quick
  5. Flexible budget options and can be changed at any time as required

Cons include:

  1. The platform is sophisticated and complex to manage for the unfamiliar and is constantly undergoing change and adding new features
  2. Click costs are increasing, especially for competitive segments
  3. Can be easy to miss manage optimal targeting settings
  4. Have to pay by credit card
  5. You need a website and the results are influenced by the quality of the website and its content
  6. Positioned as DIY, but best results will come from expert management, especially in competitive business segments

How much does it cost

It costs nothing to set up yourself and you then pay on a click basis. How much you spend every day is limited by the daily maximum budget that you set. Google states that you will not spend more than the daily budget over the course of a month. Because Google smoothes your budget over a month there may be days when you underspend and days when you overspend the daily budget.

Click costs can vary considerably and differ by keyword and targeting variables like location and ad position. Click costs are determined primarily by the level of competition for that particular keyword.

Typically $5 per day is the minimum but practically you should start at $10 or $15 per day and some campaigns may need more than this.

Your ads will stop showing once your daily budget is spent and then the advertising will reset for the next day.

Which types of businesses is Google Ads best for?

  • Any type where there are people searching in Google for such services and products
  • Especially suited to those businesses where the search keywords are clearly defined
  • Especially trade and home services businesses
  • Professional services businesses
  • Tourisim operators
  • Accommodation & hospitality
  • Retailers
  • Vehicle sales
  • Home based businesses
  • Online stores

Which types of businesses is Google Ads less suited to?

  • New product or service launches where there is no market awareness and therefore people are not searching for such products or services
  • Those businesses whose products and or services are very generic and less definable and where keywords can easily get caught up in less relevant search
  • Those businesses whose products are very cheap and one-off in nature and therefore the cost of generating an enquiry or sale through advertising may exceed the revenue opportunity

How to start advertising in AdWords

First off make sure that your website is up to standard. Ideally, it should be fully browser responsive so that its optimal for viewing on mobiles and desktops. It should lay out your content about your products and or services in a clear and easily navigate-able manner and overall impart a good user experience.

You can then start by setting up a Google Account and then an AdWords account. Then complete the following summarised steps:

  1. Conduct keyword research using the Google keyword tool and your ideas as to what are the most relevant keywords that customers are likely to use when looking for your type of offering.
  2. Consider any negative keywords to include
  3. Assemble common keywords into separate ad groups (these reside within the campaign)
  4. Write adcopy for each adgroup
  5. Set appropriate campaign level targeting settings (location, age etc)
  6. Set keyword bidding strategy and bidding (to start with use maximise clicks and set a maximum bid for each keyword)
  7. Set a daily maximum budget
  8. Add billing and credit card details
  9. Ideally set up AdWords conversion tracking and Google Analytics on the website
  10. Go live and then review each day's results and adjust targeting and bidding settings based on performance

Should I use a Google Ads Management Company?

You can manage Adwords yourself but often the time required and the lack of knowledge will result in an advertising campaign that is far less effective than we managed by experts in this field.

A good 3rd party Adwords management company will expertly manage and continue to optimise your campaign for you and the benefits should exceed the cost of the management.

It’s best to select a local management company with a good reputation and one that will manage “your” account rather than your campaign within “their” account. This then gives you the flexibility to assign management back to yourself and or reassign to an alternative manager and the learnings and associated data remain within your account. It also means that management fees will be more easily distinguishable from click and media costs.

Your AdWords campaign will likely be your top driver of leads and enquiries and the competition within AdWords is increasing all the time, so it is imperative that your Adwords strategy is optimal and the campaign assets are properly managed.

For assistance and advice with your AdWords advertising strategy, contact Adhesion.

Fully certified, year after year.

Our reputation goes hand-in-hand with our team’s dedication to best practice. As a registered Premier Google Partner, our team refreshes our certifications every 12 months — A tradition we started over a decade ago. To stay ahead, we are always looking forward to upcoming certifications for online advertising, website development and search engine optimisation.