Paid Search

How a Google AdWords Certification Makes You the Modern Don Draper

The Fundamentals of the Google AdWords Exam and How to Leverage That in Your Career as a Digital Marketer

Written by Dylan Langei

What is Google AdWords?

Sounds like a board game huh? But no, Google AdWords is no board game - and we all know Google wouldn't develop a board game unless they had a chance at monopolizing the market. Google AdWords certification is a professional accreditation, awarded by...wait for it...Google. An AdWords certification allows an individual to be recognized as an online advertising professional. Who cares? Well businesses do. AdWords campaigns allow businesses to choose where their ad appears, set a budget they're comfortable with, and measure the impact of their ad. 

The Exam...Dun, Dun, Dun:

There are five sections to the Google AdWords exam, covering various aspects of online advertising, essentially making you an online advertising badass. OK, not as badass as Don Draper, but we can all dream. Here are the five:

  1. AdWords Fundamentals: This AdWords Fundamentals exam covers basic and intermediate concepts, including the benefits of online advertising and AdWords, and best practices for managing and optimizing AdWords campaigns.

  2. Search Advertising: The Search Advertising exam covers advanced concepts and  best practices for creating, managing, measuring, and optimizing Search campaigns.

  3. Display Advertising: The Display Advertising exam covers advanced concepts and  best practices for creating, managing, measuring, and optimizing Display campaigns.

  4. Video Advertising: The Video Advertising exam covers basic and advanced concepts, including best practices for creating, managing, measuring, and optimizing video advertising campaigns across YouTube and the web.

  5. Shopping Advertising: The Shopping Advertising exam covers basic and advanced concepts, including creating a Merchant Center account and product data feed, and creating and managing Shopping campaigns.

A Calculated Dive Into Google AdWords:

Google AdWords offers many benefits to a business aiming to gain some traction online with their ads. There are four that really sell this thing:

  1. Target Your Ads: ability to show your ads to reach your "buyer persona" and people with specific interests through keywords, ad locations, demographics, devices, and age/location/language.
  2. Control Your Costs: complete control over how you spend your money. AdWords does not require a minimum dollar amount, making the service manageable for small or large firms. Your business has the ability to select how much you spend per month, day, and per ad while only paying when a user clicks on your ad. 
  3. Measure Your Success: everything on Google AdWords is traceable - from click throughs to purchases - allowing you to see which ads lead to conversions and which do not. This leads to boosting the return on your investment (ROI) through an understanding of the analytics.
  4. Manage Your Campaigns: let's say you are in charge of overseeing 100 various ad campaigns. With Google's My Client Center (MCC) you are able to easily view and manage all of your AdWords accounts from a single location. Also provided is AdWords Editor, a free downloadable app that allows you to edit your campaigns offline, and then upload the changes to AdWords. 

Google also has one of the most extensive advertising networks, I mean, it's goddamn Google we're talking about. Google has two main networks - the Google Search and Google Display Network.  

  1. Google Search Network: includes the behemoth, which is Google Search, along with hundreds of other non-Google search partner websites like AOL. These sites all show AdWords ads that match search results. Say you're searching for running shoes, a Zappos ad might pop up on the side bar, since they are an online shoe company.

  2. Google Display Network: includes a collection for Google websites like Google Finance, Gmail, Blogger, and YouTube. These ads are matched to the content that is being viewed on that particular page. If you're watching a YouTube video on how to design logos on Adobe Illustrator, an ad for a design firm might be displayed somewhere on the page.

You might not believe this, but higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions. OK, the better ad position makes sense, but lower prices? This phenomenon will be explained in a second. The positioning of your ad is completely contingent on your Quality Score and Ad Rank. I would attempt to explain this, but I'll just let Hal from Google do the talking. I'm sure he gets paid more than me. Also, please notice the red stapler and comb over - and yes I am making a reference to Office Space.

Getting past Hal looking like Milton, he explains the AdWords Auction fairly well. Although a complex formula, it rewards businesses for putting together quality ads using a fair auction system. Love it.

Applying Google AdWords For a Client:

With a deep understanding of Google AdWords and certification in hand, the Don Draper's of organizations will see you as a valuable asset. Why? Well because EVERYTHING is moving online. Because more people are active online, businesses are moving online. Therefore, advertising is moving online. 

Don Draper would absolutely be scratching his head at this statement, but it's true, the internet is consuming paper advertising. Just read my A/BAMA blog regarding Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, and how he leveraged online advertising to beat out Mitt Romney. If the President of the United States is advertising online for his reelection campaign, you better be comfortable with the digital realm of advertising - or you'll end up defeated by your competitors. Being able to run and manage an effective ad campaign could increase a firms ROI, brand awareness, customer loyalty, and engagement with customers. These are all valuable assets to be able to bring to a business. Shoot, if you are able to effectively translate these benefits to clients and show success, you might just become the next Don Draper. 

To take the Google AdWords exam, sign up for Google Partners.

What Google and The Godfather Have in Common

The Fundamentals of Search Engine Marketing

Written by Dylan Langei

The Godfather, widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime mob family of Don Vito Corleone. The Corleone's were the most powerful mafia family in New York City, participating and controlling almost all gambling, drug trafficking, and corruption. OK, Google is no mob family - and they certainly are not exploiting or indulging in corruption. But, Google does control and essentially own the Search Engine Marketing market - similarly to the Corleone family controlling and owning all illegal activities in New York City. You pay the mob to do business in their city, just like you have to pay Google to get noticed...well, anywhere online.

Why is Google the Godfather of PPC/Paid Search? 

We, the users of Google, made them! As of December 2012, Google held a 65.2% share of web search volume worldwide, with 114.7 billion searches that month. Therefore, it's fairly important to have Google on your side. So if you want to reach your target audience, and they're completing on of those 114.7 billion searches, it is worthwhile to promote your search engine ranking and keywords.

Paid vs. Organic Search

My last blog post How SEO is Becoming Less Techy covers organic search, so I won't spend much time revisiting that topic. Paid search, or Search Engine Marketing (SEM), is the various means of marketing for a website via search engines, and entails both organic search engine optimization and paid search strategies. Paid search allows you to pay a fee to have your website displayed on the search engine results page when someone searches for specific keywords or phrases related to your website. 

How Paid Search Works

The three main components of a paid search campaign are keywords, ads, and landing pages. These campaigns can be run through Google AdWords, one of the most successful paid search campaign services. 

  • Keywords: start out by giving Google a list of keywords, which then tells Google to display your ad when those keywords are searched for.
  • Ads: you must design ads that are relevant to the search query and attractive enough that the searcher feels inclined to click on them.
  • Landing Page: once you've gotten a searcher to click on your ad link, they will be directed to your landing page. The goal of this landing page is to get viewers to convert in some way.

Why Should You Run a Paid Search Campaign With Google Adwords?

Google AdWords is Google's online advertising program that lets you reach new customers and grow your business. You're allowed to choose where your ad appears, set a budget you're comfortable with (you only pay when the ad is clicked on - results based), and you can measure the impact of your ad. 

There are 4 reasons your business should run a Google Adwords campaign:

  1. Organic Rankings Are Volatile: one day you're in the top five for a high-priority keyword, and the next day you're nowhere on that search page. This is because of Google's constant algorithm updates and user-interface changes. With Google AdWords, once you have the right mix of quality score and budget, your ad position is fairly consistent. 
  2. Fairly Low Financial Risk: a campaign on Google AdWords has no minimum budget, can be cancelled at any time, and you are only charged when a user actually clicks on your ad. Therefore, your business is only charged for visits to your landing page, which hopefully lead to conversions. Google AdWords also doesn't require any financial commitment up front. Your business only pays when results are given (users click on the ad), which is a great test bunny for the keywords, ad style, and landing page you have chosen.
  3. Increase Click-Throughs: although clicks are not a measurement of success, they are a prerequisite for conversions. 50% of clicks generated by paid ads are not replaced by organic clicks when the ads are absent and the website has a first position organic search ranking. This shows that paid ads cannot be replaced, even by the best organic search ranking.

4. Increase Probability of Conversion: as stated in #3, click throughs do not guarantee conversions, but they sure as hell help. Some agencies report increases in conversions as high as 200 percent as a result of combining SEO and paid search. That is pretty remarkable, and 200 percent worth the cost of a Google AdWords campaign.

Example of an Effective Google AdWords Campaign

Elance used Google AdWords to promote web development & design on the platform WordPress. This is an effective campaign for 4 reasons:

  1. They have included proof and credibility to their ads (along with numbers) by focusing on the fact that they've had over 25,000 happy customers. That is a significant amount of clients that they've served, and looks very credible to a new customer.
  2. Elance integrates a compelling offer in the ad by offering "top design & development from $99." $99 to build a top-tier website? Sure I'll click on the ad to see what they're offering.
  3. They've also directed the audience to a landing page that is not their home page, but is a custom URL to reinforce what they're offering - "Custom_Design." 
  4. Elance slips in a call-to-action at the end of the ad, "Start Now!" so that users know what to do if they would like to take advantage of this great offer.