A basic guide to AdWords and search

The highest proportion of a marketing budget is typically spent on offline media advertising, the interruptions during your favourite TV show, or the print ads in magazines. Most companies still spend up to 98% on advertising that doesn’t show them a direct return on investment (ROI).

And by that, I mean a direct correlation between marketing budget spent and actual consumers purchasing the specifically advertised product. Offline advertising is a dinosaur in an age driven by analytics and people buying what they are looking for.

In South Africa, the amount of people using the internet grew by 15% last year from 4.6-million to 5.3-million, and it is expected to grow at a similar rate in 2010, according to Arthur Goldstuck and WorldWideWorx. Google opened an office in South Africa, launched a local domain for its maps service and receives 250-million local queries per month. South Africa has the 10th highest Twitter user base in the world, and it is predicted that by the year 2013 South Africa will have 15 million mobile internet users.

So how does a local business take advantage of this burgeoning market?

Simple. Reflect your business and its purpose on Google using AdWords. AdWords is a keyword-based advertising system that shows sponsored link (paid for) advertising above and to the right of Google’s normal (organic) search results. The success of this system is based upon the creed: ‘Give the users what they want and the rest will follow’.

Derived by the inventors of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin – they’ve since reaped billions of dollars from this system alone. AdWords answers the needs of advertising: to sell a product to consumers who need it – at a greater efficiency than print, TV, or radio.

This efficiency is achieved via an auction system in which people bid for positions within the sponsored link area. In this bidding system, the cost-per-click (CPC) is not the only factor which decides position – the relevancy of your keyword(s), displayed advertisements and your website content and structure are all factors in determining the position of your advertisement on the search results page.

Theoretically-speaking, if you are a plumber in Rondebosch you would not be bidding on ‘boerewors rolls’ as keywords because that is not the product or service you are selling.

The relevancy score or ‘quality score’ of your advert is derived from how often people click on your advert versus how many times the advert was shown. In English, it means that if people saw your ad and didn’t click on it, it would be deemed irrelevant and your quality score would be low – this results in you having to raise your bid for your ad to show in higher positions.

The system, therefore, rewards the advertiser for showing ads that are relevant to the product or service they sell, and hence benefits the consumer by ensuring more focused ads are displayed relevant to the search query.

The general idea then is to choose keywords that accurately reflect the product or service that you sell without being too general. In terms of the advertising that you are showing to your potential clients, it is best to use the 95 characters that are available to generate a click and a conversion (purchase) of product or service.

Colloquialisms like ‘awesome’, ‘kief’ or ‘amazing’ are not as attractive as ’24-hour delivery’, ‘money-back guarantee’, and ‘online discount’. The idea is for you to display all of your unique selling points to your potential client so that they are convinced you are better than the competition. If they are convinced, then they will click on your advert resulting in you paying Google for the click and the user landing on your website.

Once users get to a website it can literally take two to three seconds for them to make up their minds whether to stay or go. Bombarding them with heavy text blocks, long forms that need to be filled out, or hoping they find their product from your homepage is the worst thing to do.

Your website should have a bright call to action block – something like ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Book Online’; it should always be easy for your company to call or contact the user back, and the user needs to land on the page of your site associated with the advert you showed them.

In essence: do what is says on the ad and you will succeed.

Learn the basics of AdWords with this 90 second video-clip


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