What Is Google Ads? A Quick Guide For Beginners

Welcome small business owners!
Let me guess the reason you opened this article: You finally came to the realization that all these years while you were searching on Google, all those first results you saw were actually ads that were specifically created to target someone like you.
You still don’t quite understand how Google Ads work, but you can sense the potential of this platform.

So today, we’ll go through various basics of Google ads, covering:

1. What is Google Ads?
2. How Much Does Google Ads Cost?
3. How Does Google Ads Work?
4. What is the Google Ads Auction?
5. What is Maximum CPC?
6. What are Keywords?
7. How to use Google Ads effectively?
8. Google Ads Targeting Options
9. What is Google Ads certification?

1. What is Google Ads?

Google Ads or formerly known Google AdWords, is an online advertising platform where almost any type of business can run different types of ads that are shown across the internet. 

Now let me elaborate.

Google Ads or formerly known Google AdWords
Let’s start with the name. Up until July 24, 2018, Google Ads was widely popular under the name Google AdWords. But, there was one anomaly. Most of the advertisers on the platform seem to associate Google Adwords with its most popular feature, which is Search Ads. Search Ads are ads that the one you’re probably familiar with (the ones showing at the search results page). However, there are other types of ads that Google offers, but very few knew. That’s why Google decided for a full rebranding of Google Adwords into Google Ads with a completely new dashboard that will allow advertisers more easily to explore other types of ads.

almost any type of business
Google is extremely cautious of products or services that advertise with Google ads which are prone to exploiting users. We won’t go in detail of the reasons Google has for restricting these kinds of business, because the list is exhaustive. We believe Google is just.
The thing that concerns you is that Google doesn’t allow these businesses to advertise using their service:
- Event ticket sellers that aren’t certified by Google
- Commercial bail bond agents
- Bail bonds financing services
- Bounty hunters
- Bail bondsmen
- Immigration bail services
- Detention bail services
- Technical support for troubleshooting, virus removal, internet connectivity, online accounts, software installation, to name a few (non-exhaustive list).

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can run different types of ads that are shown across the internet
Like we mentioned, there are different types of ads that Google offers besides Search Ads. In fact, Google labels them according to the channel where Google Ads appear. This blog will only cover Search Ads, which probably is the reason you’re here. However, we should notice the different kinds of Google Ads Campaigns, so here they are, with a link in each title for the most curious ones.
The first is the one you’re already familiar with.

1. Google Search Network
2. Display Network
3. Shopping campaign
4. Video campaign
5. App campaign

Ok, you get the gist of what Google Ads is. But, there is so much more that you need to learn to grasp the power of this advertising tool. This is only the beginning, so sit tight.
Let's begin with one of the most frequently asked questions regarding the cost of Google Ads.

How Much Does Google Ads Cost?

That’s a reasonable question coming from newcomers to Paid Search. The short, unsatisfying answer is that it depends. Google likes people to think that their budget is completely individually set. For example, you can set your budget to 2 dollars a month. Although that is technically true, your ads are probably not going to show to anyone. Why is that?

Let's simplify things with this example:
Tom is the humble owner of a small flower shop. Most of his buyers are, more or less, the same loyal customers who constantly visit the shop, but they are not enough for expanding his business. Tom decided to acquire new customers with online advertising. He has a limited amount of money that he can use, and he heard that in Google Ads there are no minimal budget restrictions.

How Does Google Ads Work?

In the creation of his campaign, Tom is intrigued that while setting up the budget, there’s a required field called Maximum CPC Bid. He quickly realizes that the paying system of Google Ads is based on Auctions.

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What is the Google Ads Auction?

People don’t realize that when they do a search, Google doesn’t just generate an extensive amount of results in a fraction of a second, but simultaneously there is a hidden auction going on. When setting up your keywords, you actually decide in which auction you want to take part in. Tom wants his ads to show whenever someone searches “where to buy flowers”. However, other local flower shops also want to be the first thing people see when they Google that phrase. That’s why each advertiser sets a maximum bid that he is willing to pay in order to display his ad.
If Tom sets the maximum bid for a click for “where to buy flowers” at $1.50, but his main competitor has a $2 bid, then the competitor will most likely win that auction. I'm saying most likely because the bid isn’t the only factor that decides the winner of an auction (even though it’s the biggest one).

Another factor that influences the winner of an auction is the Quality Score. Quality Score is a metric that decides the relevancy of your ad for a particular keyword. It does so by looking at your past Click Through Rate, Ad Relevance, and the Landing Page Experience of users.

We won’t go into detail explaining Quality Score because of its many details, but for now, remember that Better Quality Score means lower costs and vice-versa.

What is Maximum CPC?

Maximum CPC bidding is the highest amount you’d pay for one click on your ads.
It’s important to note that Max. CPC doesn’t determine the cost of a click, only the top amount you would like to pay for a certain keyword.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases that people use in Google Search, which are directly or indirectly connected to your business. You use keywords to determine where your ads can appear.

How to use Google Ads Effectively

CONTINUOUS OPTIMIZATION.
You can’t just set up your campaign, ads, and keywords and leave everything on auto-pilot. In order for you to use Google Ads effectively, you must dive into the vast data that Google offers you. The goal is to target highly relevant people and have fully optimized ads, which would ultimately lead to lower costs per click.

Google Ads Targeting Options

Where do we start? We covered keywords, but that’s just one part of the coin. You also have these audience targeting options:

- Location
- Age 
- Gender
- Household Income
- Device Type
- Time of Day
- Day of Week
- Parental Status

And just like you have the option for adjusting your bids for your keywords, you also can increase or decrease the bid percentage for each one of the above-mentioned metrics. This gives you a lot of room for customizing your targeting.
Let's explain some of them.

Location Targeting

You can select at what geographic locations you want your ads to appear.
You can choose by:

- Country
- Area
- A radius around a location
- Location groups which can include places of interest, your business locations, or tiered demographics.

In the case of Tom, he would choose radius targeting because he only wants to target people in his close environment. In order to do that, he uses the targeting Pin. He is placing the pin above his flower shop and sets the radius for 2 miles. The minimum radius you can target is 1 kilometer (that’s 0.6 miles for you imperial metric users), and the maximum is 50 miles.
You can also use these metrics to exclude certain locations.

Household Income Targeting

Google knows everything. You can choose to target people with a certain level of household income. The options for Household Income targeting are: Top 10%, 11-20%, 21-30%, 31-40%, 41-50%, Lower 50%, and “Unknown”.
This Google Ads feature is available only in Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and the U.S.

Device Type - Targeting

Look at you Devices data. You’ll see Mobile Phones, Computers and Tablets.
Since Tom thinks that calls are the main goal of his ads, he decides to exclude Computers and Tablets and to run ads only on Mobile Phones. Tom feels that this way, he will decrease any unnecessary clicks and improve his earnings.

What is Google Ads certification?

The Google Ads certificate is a free course that Google offers to individuals who want to learn some basic aspects of Google Ads. It’s perfect for newbies in Google Ads who wants to get an understanding of the basics for creating your first campaign. You can check out the certification in the Academy for Ads.

Even though The Google Ads certification is considered a professional accreditation, if you ask those with some experience with Google Ads, the certificate can only do so much. Google wants you to think that with 1 week of learning the course, you become eligible Google Ads professional who is capable of running campaigns. There is no easier way to throw away your money on Google Ads IF you don’t really know what you’re doing. For example, every day you’ll get “Recommendations” from Google that would suggest you increase your budget and reach XXXX more people.

Hire Google Ads Expert

You could, however, just hire a Google Ads expert who manages accounts on the platform daily. They are well aware of each trick and detail needed to optimize your campaigns and easily bring you new leads and sales. If you’re thinking about it don’t hesitate to scroll down a bit further and fill the empty spaces with your business info to Contact Us.