Beginner’s Guide to Search Ads

Beginner's Guide to Search Ads

Search ads, often called Google Ads, are the special listings you see at the top and bottom of search results. They work like this: when someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser pays a small fee. In this Beginner’s Guide to Search Ads, we’ll cover the basics of search ads, like how they work and how to make them step-by-step. Whether you’re a small business owner wanting to get noticed online or a marketer trying to reach your audience precisely, learning about search ads is an important part of your strategy.

What are Search Ads?

Search ads, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, are a cornerstone of online advertising, particularly on search engines like Google. These ads appear at the top and bottom of search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for specific keywords or phrases related to your business or offerings. They are labeled as “sponsored” or “ad” to differentiate them from organic search results. The beauty of search ads lies in their targeted nature. Unlike traditional advertising methods that cast a wide net, search ads allow you to precisely target your audience based on their search queries. This means your ads are shown only to people actively looking for what you offer, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

These ads operate on a pay-per-click model, meaning you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This makes them incredibly cost-effective, as you’re essentially paying for engaged users who have expressed interest in your products or services. Search ads enable you to reach potential customers at the exact moment they’re searching for solutions you provide, making them a great tool for driving relevant traffic and achieving your marketing goals.

Search Ads vs. Display Ads

Search Ads:

Search ads are part of search engine marketing (SEM) and are also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, which are text-based advertisements that appear within search engine results pages (SERPs) when users enter specific search queries. These ads are highly targeted, appearing to users who are actively searching for products or services related to the keywords you bid on. For instance, if you run a bakery and bid on the keyword “freshly baked bread,” your ad may appear at the top of the SERP when someone searches for that term.

Key Characteristics of Search Ads:

  • Intent-Based Targeting: Search ads target users based on their search queries, ensuring that your ad reaches individuals actively seeking information related to your offerings.
  • Text-Based Format: Search ads typically consist of a headline, description, and URL, making them concise and straightforward.
  • High Relevance: Because search ads appear in response to specific search queries, they tend to be highly relevant to users’ immediate needs, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

Display Ads:

In contrast, display ads are visual advertisements that appear on websites within Google’s Display Network, which comprises millions of partner websites and apps. Unlike search ads, display ads rely on targeting criteria such as demographics, interests, and browsing behavior to reach relevant audiences. These ads can take various formats and are designed to capture users’ attention as they browse the web.

Key Characteristics of Display Ads:

  • Audience-Based Targeting: Display ads target users based on demographic information, interests, and browsing history, allowing for broader reach and brand exposure.
  • Visual Appeal: Display ads leverage compelling visuals to attract users’ attention and convey brand messaging effectively.
  • Contextual Placement: Display ads are placed contextually on websites and apps that align with your targeting criteria, providing opportunities for brand visibility across a diverse array of online platforms.

How Google Ads Work

Understanding how Google search ads work is key to leveraging their power for your marketing efforts. At its core, Google search ads operate on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

1. Keyword Targeting: Select relevant keywords or phrases that you want your ads to appear for when users search on Google. These keywords trigger the display of ads on the search engine results page (SERP).

2. Ad Auction: When a user enters a search query, Google runs an ad auction to determine which ads to show and in what order. The auction considers factors such as the bid amount, ad quality, and relevance to the user’s search query.

3. Ad Rank: Bids and ad quality determine the ad rank, which determines the ad’s position on the SERP. Ads with higher ad ranks are more likely to be displayed at the top of the page.

4. Ad Display: Ads are displayed at the top or bottom of the search results page, marked with an “Ad” label to distinguish them from organic search results. The placement of ads is based on ad rank and relevance to the user’s search query.

5. Cost and Billing: You will only be charged when someone clicks on the ad, hence the term “pay-per-click.” The cost per click (CPC) varies depending on factors such as keyword competitiveness and ad quality. You can set a daily budget to control spending.

6. Ad Copy and Extensions: Craft compelling ad copy that entices users to click. Additionally, you can use ad extensions to provide additional information such as links to specific pages on your website, phone numbers, or location information.

How to Create a Search Ad

Creating a search ad might seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance, you’ll be up and running in no time. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to create your first search ad:

1. Set Up Your Google Ads Account

2. Choose Your Campaign Goal

3. Define Your Target Audience

4. Select Keywords

5. Write Compelling Ad Copy

6. Set Your Budget and Bidding Strategy

7. Review and Launch Your Campaign

8. Monitor and Optimize Performance

Final Thoughts

Search ads are just another successful way for you to get in front of your audience and turn them into customers. Whether you’re a small business owner, a seasoned marketer, or someone just dipping their toes into digital advertising, search ads offer endless possibilities and can be a great way to engage with your target audience. We hope we’ve given you a clear understanding of what search ads are and how to get started.

To set up Google Ads for your business or for more digital marketing tools, contact our team at Fusion One Marketing.