Getting to grips with Pay Per Click and Google Ads

Online advertising via Google ads can be a really effective way of promoting your business. Advertising with Google is effective because it increases brand awareness, enables you to reach more customers and allows you to showcase your products in a highly targeted way whilst remaining in control of what you are spending.

Getting to grips with Pay Per Click and Google Ads

You only pay for the results you want - like clicks throughs to your website or video views and can prioritise different objectives to help you to do this. Google ads are also highly measurable which means you can keep a close eye on what’s working and what’s not and make ongoing changes if your messaging is not quite hitting home.

Advertising on Google to raise awareness of your company or product is quicker than improving organic SEO and as a result it can be a really useful way of increasing traffic and sales via your website, especially if you have recently launched a new site, product or service.

Getting started with online advertising can feel a little daunting, especially if you have never ventured into this territory before – however, setting up your first Google Ads campaign is relatively simple, even for a beginner.

The first step with Google Ads, is to define your campaign goals and choose your network. Are you looking to raise awareness, increase traffic to your website or sell a specific product? Generally speaking, if you are prioritising direct response (click throughs), the search network is probably the best fit. If you are looking for awareness, the display network may be better for you. Once you have decided which part of the google network you want to appear in, as well as what kind of adverts you are going to be running (text, image, video or shopping), you can start to think about the keywords you want to target and plan your ad copy. It is probably best to start with the search network, especially if you are new to online advertising.

Campaign Structure

It is useful to have a basic understanding of the layout structure of Google ads – at the top level there is the Google Ads Account which is linked to a specific email address and password. Below that you have the Google Ads Campaign level. There could be multiple campaigns per account. For example – your business may have a range of product types which could sit in individual campaigns, or you may manage more than one location which could be set up as different campaigns. The budget is allocated at campaign level. Campaigns will all have an ad group or groups (this could be set up along product types), finally, down to the individual ads and keywords for those ads.

Google Ads account structure

Campaign targeting

There are different ways of targeting your campaign. This can be done purely on keywords – so anyone searching for a specific keyword or phrase, wherever they are, could see your advert, you can also target by language, location (country or region) and by device type – i.e., mobile or desktop if that is appropriate for your business model.

Good targeting is an essential part of a successful ad campaign and makes sure your adverts will be seen by the right people at the right time.

Further reading for more information on ad targeting methods

The anatomy of a Google Ad

Part of the skill in setting up an advert in the search network is being able to get your message over in a persuasive way, so as to encourage potential customers to click on your ad and through to your site. Space in Google text ads is pretty limited and is split into three main sections; Headline, Description and the display URL. There are a limited amount of characters available in each section so you need to be able to get your message over in a succinct and informative way. Have a look at the Google Ads support on how to write a successful text ad for more information and ideas.

There are also various ad extensions which you can incorporate which will also be shown by Google at certain times – read more about the types of extensions which are available and where they show here.


Keywords are the cornerstone of your Google Ads campaign and the basis on which your ads will be seen by people searching for products and services on Google. We have blogged about the importance of keyword planning before – see Keyword research and why it’s important.

It is worth taking the time to properly research the keywords and phrases you use in your Google ads campaign. Using Google’s keyword planner can help to identify good keywords and phrases to use for your campaign as well as giving you information on how much competition there is for particular keywords and search volumes. The more competition there is for a keyword, generally, the higher the cost per click. You can also avoid paying for traffic which you don’t want by using negative keywords. Using longer tail keywords and key-phrases can be a good way of avoiding higher competition/more expensive keywords in favour of better targeted, more specific ones – our blog What are long-tail keywords and why should you be focussing on them? may be helpful. Google Ad Support also has lots of good information on keyword selection and planning.

Measurement and analytics

The ability to measure your results is one of the major strengths of the Google Ads network. There is a huge amount of analysis data available which can help you to keep an eye on your campaign and see what is working and what is not.

The basic metrics which you can monitor are:

  • Impressions – Which describes the amount of times your advert has been seen
  • Clicks – The number of times your adverts have been clicked
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) – The percentage of users who have clicked on an advert after viewing it.
  • Conversions – The number of users who have performed your desired conversion action. That could be a purchase, registration, sign-up or a donation.
  • Cost per click (CPC) – The amount of money it costs per click through to your landing page.
  • Cost per action (CPA)– The amount of money it costs for a user to perform a specific conversion action on your website.

With a grasp of these basic metrics you can certainly get an idea of how well your ad campaign is performing and how much it is costing you to acquire a customer. There are a whole range of predefined reports and other analytical tools available in the platform – some of which take more time and knowledge to understand than others. To get started, an understanding of those above should be enough.

Keep monitoring…

Once you have set-up your campaign, you should check in on a regular basis to make sure that its performance remains effective and that you continue to get the best value from your advertising spend. Whilst Google ads are relatively easy to set up initially and can offer good value for money – it is also possible to spend a fair amount and not see any real value if your keyword choices, ad copy, landing page or targeting are not quite hitting the mark. Continued monitoring helps you to identify and fix issues quickly and make sure you continue to get the best return on your ad spend.

If you are new to pay-per-click or if your online advertising is not delivering the results you were hoping for – get in touch with us to request a free pay per click consultation.

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Cullompton, Devon,
EX15 1AE. UK
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