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The Dos and Don'ts of Google Advertising

If you’re advertising on Google and are like a lot of people, you probably created some Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) ads a year ago in a “set and forget” strategy.
If you’re not advertising on Google, believe it or not, people click on those ads in droves, netting the search giant beaucoup bucks and making lots of businesses (and Google shareholders) very happy.
Google advertising isn’t limited to expensive search term PPC (“mesothelioma lawyers” currently clocks in north of $250 per click). Familiarity with your Google Advertising options, and the dos and don’ts for each, is critical to making the most out of your online advertising bread.
Before we get started in looking at each Google Ad type individually, there are some global dos and don’ts you need to be aware of:

General Google Advertising Dos and Don’ts:

DO: Create dedicated landing pages for different ad types. It’s important for both the audience and the quality of your ad to make sure you lead the clicker to a place where he or she knows how to take action.
DON’T: Direct clickers to your home page. There’s nothing worse you can do to your advertising budget than to have a highly dedicated ad leading someone to an ambiguous website home page where it’s unclear what you should be doing there.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords are text-based ads that show up on the Google SERP (search engine results page). They will appear at the top and sides alongside the organic search results. These are what you typically think of when you think of Google advertising.

Understanding how to properly use Google Adwords could fill the curriculum of a two-year degree. This tiny article cannot possibly hope to guide you in all aspects of this powerful marketing tool. But we do recommend the overall following philosophies:
DO: Learn about Adwords. Understand what quality scores are and how they affect your ad position and costs. Research what makes strong titles and copy for your text-based ads. Google’s own documentation is a great place to start and there’s a ton of books on the subject.
DO: Research baselines for your industry. But as a rule of thumb, shoot for above a 2% click through rate for your ads.
DO: Experiment. Adopt a mindset that each ad is a test. Once you craft one and release it into the wild, take a look at your results and make adjustments.
DON’T: Set and forget. Take a look at your ad performance at least weekly. Remove any non-performing ads and double down on the ones that perform better, or create variations of your top performers and evolve them.

Google Display Network

The Google Display Network allows you to place graphical ads, known as banner ads, on sites that participate in the Google Display Network. Major sites like ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ participate in the network, and you can specify on which websites you wish your ads to appear.

DO: Expect a lower click through rate but more views for your banner ads than you will for search pay-per-click ads. They are great for broadcasting your service to a large audience and getting a lot of eyeballs – much more than search.
DO: Use banner ads to create brand awareness.
DO: Have a strong call to action in your banner ad that spurs the viewer to click on your ad. Offering free content such as a white paper or an e-book is an excellent way to draw clicks.
DON’T: Throw up a banner ad without researching how to put together a good one. A lot of people will see these and it will affect the perception of your brand. See our article 5 Secrets to Creating Great Banner Ads
DON’T: See banner ads as equal with search PPC ads. Each have their place for different reasons. Shoot for a .3% click through rate, but find information related to your vertical if possible.

Google Remarketing

Google Remarketing is like the Display Network in that you can display banner ads on participating sites. The difference is that a Google Remarketing ad will only be shown to someone who has perviously visited your website. This allows you to stay engaged with your target audience and make them more likely to look at your website again – and employ your services.
DO: Track your Google Remarketing differently than you do your Display Network and Search PPC efforts.
DO: Combine Remarketing with other efforts to draw traffic to your website. The more people you pull in for an initial visit, the more people will see your Remarketing ads over and over again as they surf the web.
DO: Consider creating display ads and offers that are further down the sales funnel, such as white papers or free consultation sessions.
DON’T:  Underestimate the power of multiple touches in marketing.  Remarketing gets your brand in front of someone many times. Even if you can’t trace a customer back to a Remarketing campaign specifically, there is a likelihood that the additional brand exposure Remarketing provides is responsible for you being top of mind.