With online advertising spend overtaking TV advertising last year for the very first time, and the majority used on Google AdWords, clearly SMEs need certainly to discover how to master Google to survive and grow online.
The benefits of Google Advertising versus offline are clear: low cost commitment, advanced level of control, high measurability, the capability to perform accurate geo targeting of customers, and the capability to react quickly to boost performance.
The problems SMEs face are considerable: limited time and money (75% of SMEs from a recent survey ran advertising campaigns direct and not via an agency to truly save money), yet very few feel they discover how to optimise campaigns with 46% of the survey saying they don’t understand it enough to create campaigns work effectively and 39% saying they don’t have time to handle the campaigns. Google Advertising Agency Fifty-two per cent said their campaigns weren’t profitable, with 54% saying they get traffic for their site but hardly any converts to actual business.
There is the fear factor: the fear from the mountain of questions such as whether to utilize Google’s Search or Network service, an agency or to operate campaigns directly, what the optimal levels to spend are, what is a great ROI, how to make banner ads, and how exactly to use the Google tools and reports to optimise campaigns.
In terms of the agency versus direct question, the features of using an agency are the knowledge you tap into and the time saved as campaigns can be live the same day. The disadvantages are cost (with fixed monthly charges, a percentage charge on advertising spend and 6-12 month lock in contracts).
The Search versus Network question on Google depends upon the character of one’s advertising. If the service is quite niche and specific to a restricted quantity of keywords then Search is the better option, otherwise you must pick up businesses from the cheaper network showing banner ads.
Banner ads could be a costly exercise and SMEs should try and use a quality online service.
In terms of optimising campaigns, there are a number of techniques including AB testing of different ad styles, developing specific keyword journeys (from keyword to ad text to content on the landing pages) to develop Quality Scores and lower the fee per click paid, testing board and narrow keyword terms, long versus short tail, optimising between click through rate, impressions and conversion rates on your site, to mention a few.