What is Google AdWords?
If you use the Internet at all, you've almost certainly seen Google AdWords, possibly without even realising it. When using Google Search, AdWords Ads appear on the right-hand side of search results often at the very top of the page on the left and sometimes at the bottom of the page. When looking at non-Google websites (known as the content network, AdWords Ads can appear virtually anywhere on the page and in different sizes and layouts but you'll usually see them labelled as 'Ads by Google' or 'Sponsored Links'.
AdWords Ads can also appear as Shopping Ads with photos of the product for sale, or on YouTube either on the page or as a video Ad before the video or as an overlay on top of the video.
These Ads are targted at their audience in a number of ways. The Ads can be matched to keywords that suit your product or service, or be served on specific websites, or all websites with a particular topic or subject of interest. You can specify the location of your Ad viewers and in some cases even their approximate age or gender. AdWords targeting options are growing all the time so you can be very exact in who sees your Ad and when.
Why is AdWords better than conventional advertising?
With convential advertising, for example in newspapers or magazines, you pay for an Ad to be placed in the publication but only a certain percentage of readers are actually potential customers. In effect you're paying for your Ad to be shown to people who have no interest in buying your product.
With AdWords, you only pay when your Ad is clicked (known as "Pay Per Click", or PPC) or by thousands of views (known as CPM or CPV in the case of video Ads). Effectively you're only paying when someone's interested in your business, and you can precisely measure your costs against your income from that advertising.
How much does it cost?
How much do you want it to cost? One of the key advantages of AdWords is that you can pay as much, or as little as you want. There is no 'lower' limit on how much you spend per month and each click can cost as little as £0.20 (sometimes even less) so if you just want to try AdWords by spending £10, you can. That said, the best results will come from spending enough to show your Ads to a good sized audience - it's like the difference between posting only a handful of flyers through doors in a large town, and posting one at every house. When you post only a few, there's a high chance you'll miss the potential buyers, when you post them all, you still may not find a buyer, but at least you then know that test hasn't worked.
My site already appears in Google's search results, why should I need AdWords?
Even if your site is already appearing in search results, it's almost certain that AdWords can improve your sales, even if you're #1 in the organic results. In fact some recent research suggests that for a "high commercial intent", paid advertising gets almost 2/3 of all clicks. If you're not appearing in search results then AdWords can get a link to your site on the first page of results tomorrow avoiding possibly years of waiting.
Ads can be dynamic changing even by the hour of the day and will match your customers' searches much better, appearing more relevant. Ads give a level and immediacy of control not possible with organic listings. YouTube & Mobile App Ads add another dimension that can't be compared to any organic method so there are plenty of options.
How can I tell if it's working?
Google provides all the tools you need to track what's happening with your Ads. By using Google Analytics alongside your AdWords account, you can see where clicks are coming from, where the visitors go on your site, how long they stay and whether they end up buying (or reaching another goal such as a newsletter sign-up). With these tools you can measure the cost of AdWords directly against the value to your business, something very difficult to do with conventional advertising.
OK, I'm interested, what now?
Firstly, spend some time looking at the other pages on this site. Feel free to get in touch and ask any questions you may have. Don't worry, we won't charge a penny for reasonable advice and we won't haunt you with 10 emails a day for ever more.
Take your time, don't rush into it, a poorly planned Campaign can mean money down the drain and disillusionment. It is worth the effort and the time to get it right.