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What Are Google Ads & How Do They Work?

If you’re considering getting into paid marketing and spending any amount of money on ads to reach your target audience, you’d better spend it in the right place. With 259 million unique visitors and 4.8 billion daily interactions Google undoubtedly is the most popular search engine that you should be considering spending your ad money on.

Google Ads was launched barely two years after, which has since become the most popular website on the planet. The advertising platform was first launched in October 2000 as Google AdWords, however, it was renamed Google Ads in 2018 following the considerable rebranding.

It’s no secret that the more powerful and targeted your paid ads are these days, the more clicks you’ll get, which means a higher chance of gaining new customers.

This is why Google Ads has grown in popularity among businesses of all sizes and industries.

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is a paid ad platform that falls within the pay-per-click (PPC) marketing channel, in which you (the advertiser) pay per click or impression (CPM) on an ad.

Google Ads is a powerful tool for bringing qualified traffic or people who are looking for items and services similar to yours, to your business. With Google Ads, you can improve the number of visitors to your website, phone calls, and in-store visits.

Google Ads allows you to develop and share well-timed ads with your target audience (on both mobile and desktop). This means your company will appear on the search engine results page (SERP) when your ideal customers use Google Search or Google Maps to browse for items and services similar to yours. In this manner, your target audience sees your ad when it makes sense for them to see it.

Over time, Google Ads will help you in analysing and improving your ads in order to reach more people and achieve all of your paid goals.

You can also customise your adverts to fit your budget, regardless of the size of your company or your available resources. You may use the Google Ads tool to stay under your monthly budget and even pause or stop your ad expenditure at any moment.

Now, to see if Google Ads are effective? Let’s consider a few statistics:

  • Google Ads has a click-through rate of nearly 8%.
  • Display ads yield 180 million impressions each month.
  • For users who are ready to buy, paid ads on Google get 65% of the clicks.
  • 43% of customers buy something they’ve seen on a YouTube ad.

Why advertise on Google?

Google is the most popular search engine, with over 5 billion daily searches. Not to mention that the Google Ads platform has been operational for nearly two decades, giving them a leg up on the competition in the paid advertising space.

People all across the world use Google to ask questions, which are answered through a combination of paid adverts and organic results.

Advertisers make $8 for every $1 they spend on Google Ads, according to Google. There are a few reasons why you would wish to try Google advertising.

If you need another reason, we’ll help you with one. The majority of your competitors are using Google Ads. Hundreds of thousands of businesses use Google Ads to promote their company, which means that even if you’re ranking organically for a search term, your results will be moved to the bottom of the page, below your competitors. If you’re using PPC to advertise your product or services, Google Ads should be a part of your paid strategy — there’s no way around it.

Google Ads Best Practices

If you’ve tried advertising on Google but failed, don’t give up. There could be numerous reasons why your Google Ad didn’t perform as you expected it to.

Let’s cover some common Google Ads best practices.

1. Use a PPC planning template.

Using a planner keeps your PPC projects organized. With Google’s PPC Planning Template, you can view how your ads will appear online, see your character counts, and manage your campaigns all in one place.

2. Avoid broad keyword terms.

When it comes to keywords, you need to nail it, which is why testing and tweaking should be a part of your plan. Because your terms are too broad, Google will show your ad to the wrong people, resulting in fewer hits and a higher ad spend.

Examine what’s working (i.e., which keywords are producing clicks) and tweak your advertising to better fit your target audience. You’re unlikely to get the keyword combination just perfect the first time, so keep adding, eliminating, and modifying keywords until you do.

3. Don’t run irrelevant ads.

You won’t obtain enough clicks to justify your ad expenditure if your ad doesn’t fit the searcher’s purpose. Your headline and ad copy must match the keywords you’re bidding on, and the solution you’re marketing in your ad must address the searcher’s pain point.

It’s a combination that will give you the outcomes you want, and it might be as simple as a few modifications. You can generate many ads for every campaign, which you can use to split test which ones work best. Use Google’s Responsive Search Ads functionality instead.

4. Improve your Quality Score (QS).

Google uses your Quality Score (QS) to decide where your ad should rank in search results. The better your placements, the higher your rank. If your quality score is low, your ad will receive fewer views and conversion opportunities. Google will tell you your Quality Score, but it is up to you to improve it.

5. Optimize your ad landing page.

Your efforts should not end with your ad; the customer experience following a click is just as crucial.

When a user clicks on your ad, what do they see? Is your landing page conversion-optimized, that is, does it employ the same keywords? Is the website addressing your user’s problem or providing an answer to their query? Your user should have a smooth transition from the landing page to the conversion.

Google Ads Terms to Know

These phrases will assist you in setting up, managing, and optimising your Google Ads. Some are particular to Google Ads, while others are more general. In any case, knowing these will help you plan a successful ad campaign.

1. AdRank

Your ad placement is determined by your AdRank. The higher the value, the higher your ranking will be, the more eyes will be drawn to your ad, and the more likely users will click on it. Your AdRank is calculated by multiplying your maximum bid by your Quality Score.

2. Bidding

Google Ads is built on a bidding system, in which you, as the advertiser, set a maximum bid amount for a click on your ad. The higher your bid, the bigger your chance of winning. Bidding can be done in three ways: CPC, CPM, or CPE.

  • CPC, or cost-per-click, is the amount you pay for each click on your ad.
  • CPM, or cost per mile, is the amount you pay for one thousand ad impressions, that is when your ad is shown to a thousand people.
  • CPE, or cost per engagement, is the amount you pay when someone takes a predetermined action with your ad.

3. Campaign Type

Before you begin a paid campaign on Google Ads, you’ll select between one of three campaign types: search, display, or video.

  • Search ads are text ads that are displayed among search results on a Google results page.

4. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The number of clicks you get on your ad as a proportion of the total number of views your ad receives is your CTR. A higher CTR implies a high-quality ad that targets relevant keywords and matches search intent.

5. Conversion Rate (CVR)

CVR is a measure of form submissions as a percentage of total landing page visitors. Simply said, a high CVR indicates that your landing page provides a consistent user experience that fits the ad’s promise.

6. Display Network

Google ads can appear on search results pages or on websites that are part of Google’s Display Network (GDN). GDN is a network of websites that allow Google Ads to be displayed alongside content relevant to your goal keywords on their web pages. These ads can be text-based or image-based and are placed alongside content relevant to your target keywords. Google Shopping and app campaigns are the most popular Display Ad choices.

  • Display ads are typically image-based and are shown on web pages within the Google Display Network.
  • Video ads are between six and 15 seconds and appear on YouTube.


Ad Extensions allow you to add extra information to your ad at no additional cost. These ad extensions are divided into five categories: Sitelink, Call, Location, Offer, and App. We’ll go through each of these ad extensions in detail below.


Google returns a set of results that match the searcher’s intent when a user submits a query into the search field. Keywords are words or phrases that match what a searcher is looking for and will help them find it. You choose keywords depending on the queries you want your ad to appear alongside. For example, if a searcher writes “how to wipe gum off shoes,” advertisements targeting keywords like “gum on shoes” and “clean shoes” will appear in the results.

Negative keywords are a list of terms for which you don’t want to rank. You will be removed from the bid on these keywords by Google. These are usually somewhat linked to your target search terms but fall outside of the scope of what you offer or wish to rank for.


PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a sort of advertising in which the advertiser pays for each ad click. Although PPC is not exclusive to Google Ads, it is the most frequent kind of paid advertising. Before you create your first Google Ads campaign, it’s critical to understand the basics of PPC.

Quality Score (QS)

Your Quality Score is based on your click-through rate (CTR), the relevancy of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and your previous SERP performance. Your AdRank is influenced by your QS.

How does Google Ads work?

Your ad is shown to potential leads or customers who are interested in your product or service through Google Ads. Advertisers make bids on search phrases or keywords, and the winning bids appear at the top of search results pages, on YouTube videos, or relevant websites, depending on the sort of ad campaign chosen.

Many factors impact your ability to create effective and high-performing Google Ads. Let’s cover them below, plus some Google Ads examples.

AdRank and Quality Score

AdRank defines where your ads appear, and Quality Score is one of two elements that decide your AdRank (the other being bid amount). Remember that your Quality Score is determined by the quality and relevancy of your ad, which Google determines by the number of people that click on it when it’s displayed — your CTR. Your CTR depends on how well your ad matches searcher intent, which you can deduce from three areas:

  1. The relevance of your keywords
  2. If your ad copy and CTA deliver what the searcher expects based on their search
  3. The user experience of your landing page

Even before you increase your bid price, you should concentrate most of your attention on your QS when you first start up your Google Ad campaign. Your acquisition expenses will be lower and your placement will be better if your QS is greater.


When you first create a Google Ad, you’ll choose a geographic area in which your ad will appear. If you have a physical location, this should be within a fair radius of it. Your location should be set in the regions where you ship if you have an eCommerce business and physical goods. The sky is the limit if you provide a service or product that is available internationally.

Your location settings will influence where you are placed. If you own a yoga studio in San Francisco, for example, someone searching for a “yoga studio” in New York will not see you, regardless of your AdRank. That’s because Google’s major goal is to provide searchers with the most relevant results possible, even when they’re not looking for them.


Keyword research for paid ads is just as vital as it is for organic search. Your keywords should as closely as possibly match the objective of the searcher. This is because Google will match your ad to search queries depending on the keywords you choose.

Each ad group you establish in your campaign will focus on a small number of keywords (one to five is ideal), and Google will display your ad based on those choices.

Match Types

Match Types allow you a little leeway when it comes to keyword selections; they inform Google whether you want to match a search query exactly or if your ad should be shown to everyone who searches for something relevant but not the same. There are four match types to choose from:

Broad Match is the default setting that uses any word within your keyword phrase in any order. For example, “goat yoga in Oakland” will match “goat yoga” or “yoga Oakland.”

Modified Broad Match allows you to lock in certain words within a keyword phrase by denoting them with a “+” sign. Your matches will include that locked-in word at the very least. For example, “+goats yoga in Oakland” could yield “goats,” “goats like food,” or “goats and yoga.”

Phrase Match will match with queries that include your keyword phrase in the exact order but may include additional words before or after it. For example, “goat yoga” can yield “spotted goat yoga” or “goat yoga with puppies.”

Exact Match maintains your keyword phrase as it is written in the exact order. For example, “goat yoga” will not show up if someone types “goats yoga” or “goat yoga class.”

If you’re just getting started and aren’t sure how your persona will search, switch from a broad match to a more specific match so you can see which searches get the greatest results. However, because your ad will be ranking for a variety of queries (some of which are unrelated), you should keep a close eye on your advertising and make changes as new information becomes available.

Headline and Description

Your ad copy could mean the difference between a click on your ad and a click on one of your competitors’ ads. Your ad language must reflect the objective of the searcher, be keyword-aligned, and addresses the persona’s pain issue with a clear solution.

Ad Extensions

If you’re running Google Ads, Ad Extensions are a good idea for two reasons: they’re free, and they provide users more information and an incentive to interact with your ad. These expansions can be classified into one of five groups:

Sitelink Extensions make you stand out by extending your ad and providing more links to your site that give users more reasons to click.

Call Extensions allow you to include your phone number in your ad, giving users another (and faster) option to contact you. Include your phone number if you have a customer care team ready to interact and convert your audience.

Location Extensions include your location and phone number within your ad so Google can offer searchers a map to easily find you. This option is great for businesses with a storefront, and it works well for the search query “…near me.”

Offer Extensions work if you’re running a current promotion. It can entice users to click your ad over others if they see that your options are discounted compared to your competitors.

App Extensions provide a link to an app download for mobile users. This reduces the friction from having to perform a new search to find and download the app in an AppStore.

Google Ads Retargeting

In Google Ads, retargeting (also known as remarketing) is a method of advertising to users who have previously interacted with you online but have not yet converted. Tracking cookies follow users around the web, allowing you to target them with adverts. Because prospects must see your ad at least seven times before becoming a customer, remarketing is beneficial.

Types of Google Ads Campaigns

You can select from one of five campaign types on Google Ads.

Search Ad Campaigns

Text ads that appear on Google results pages are known as search ads. The advantage of using search advertisements is that your ad will appear where most people go for information first: on Google. And because Google displays your ad in the same format as other results (save for the “Ad” label), consumers are used to seeing and clicking on them.

Responsive Search Ads

You can enter numerous variants of headlines and ad copy (15 and four, respectively) for Google to choose the top performers to show to users in responsive search advertising. Create one static version of your ad for traditional ads, using the same headline and description each time.

Responsive advertising allows you to create a dynamic ad that is auto-tested until you find the one that works best for your target audience – in Google’s case, that means until you receive the most clicks.

Display Ad Campaigns

The Google Display Network is a collection of websites from diverse industries and with a wide range of audiences that have agreed to display Google Ads. The website owner benefits since they are paid per click or impression on the ads. Advertisers profit from being able to get their content in front of consumers who are similar to their personas.

Video Ad Campaigns

Before, after, and even in the middle of YouTube videos, video commercials appear. Remember that YouTube is also a search engine. With the appropriate keywords, you may put yourself in front of a video, disturbing the user’s behaviour just enough to get their attention.

App Ad Campaigns

Google App Campaigns advertise your mobile app on Google Search Network, YouTube, Google Play, Google Display Network, and other sites. You can use advertising to entice your audience to download your app or, if they already have it, to do a certain activity within it.

You don’t design an App ad campaign as you do with other ad formats. Instead, supply Google with information about your app and its target audience, and put a bid. The rest is up to Google to get your app in front of the correct people.

Shopping Ad Campaigns

Google Shopping Ad Campaigns are another sort of Google Ad. Shopping campaigns, like these other sorts of ads, appear on search engine results pages and include extensive product information such as price and image. You can build a Shopping campaign using Google Merchant Center, which allows you to enter precise product information that Google uses to construct your shopping advertising.

Shopping Ads allow you to promote specific products and product lines rather than your entire brand. That’s why, when you search for a product on Google, you’ll see advertisements for several brands appear at the top and/or side of the page.


Google Ads should be a component of your paid campaign because of its reach and authority. Start with the suggestions we’ve provided and remember to improve and iterate as you go.

There is no such thing as a Google Ads campaign that doesn’t work; only those that require a little more attention. You now have everything you need to construct a successful Google Ad campaign that generates clicks and converts leads, thanks to the approach and information supplied above.

If you need more help reach out to us and we will work with you to develop your Google Ads campaign as per your budget and goals. We have designed a few digital marketing packages for our clients, you can select the package that best suits your need. All our packages are a balanced mix of various digital marketing strategies designed to give your business the needed boost. Contact our business solutions advisors today for more information.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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