Google Search Ads: How to win the auction

Google Search Ads

Firstly – What are Google Search Ads?

Google Search ads are text based ads that appear as ‘sponsored’ results on Google, and on other Google partner sites (like YouTube), when people search for businesses like yours. This provides plenty of opportunity to target potential customers who likely already have some level of purchase intent, or interest in your product or service.

Search ads consist of developing a list of keywords to help you show up when people search for what you offer, then also building the headlines, descriptions, and extensions for your ads.

Okay, so you know what Search ads are. Now, if you are anything like me, you might have wondered, “How on earth does Google choose which ads to prioritise? Is it all about the budget?”

Well, as it turns out, it’s not (just) a bidding war, it’s also a bit of a charm contest.

Picture this: Google’s advertising auction isn’t a stuffy old room with people raising their bidding paddles. It’s more like a talent show where every ad showcases its flair. Sure, the money you’re willing to splash (your bid) plays a part, but there’s so much more to the story… so let’s dive in…

Ad Rank: The Magic Number

Think of Ad Rank as the judge’s scorecard. It’s not just about how high you can jump, but how gracefully you land. Here’s what the judges (ahem, Google) are looking for:

Your Bid

At its core, Google uses a unique version of a second-price auction. Your bid is like your entry ticket. It’s what you’re willing to pay for a click. But here’s the (pleasantly surprising) twist: it’s not solely about how much you bid. In a standard second-price auction, the advertiser pays just $0.01 AUD more than the next highest bidder. Bargain, right?

Ad Rank Threshold

There are minimum quality thresholds that ads must meet to appear in specific positions. Think of this as the minimum talent level. After all, Google has standards, darling!

Context of the Query

Context is king! Google considers the search terms, the searcher’s location, device type, time of search, and even other ads on the page. Ask yourself: Where is my audience searching from? What device are they on? What’s their mood? (Okay, maybe not their mood, but you get the gist).

Impact of Ad Extensions

These are the jazz hands of your ad- the little extras you can include, like phone numbers or additional links. It’s the extra info that makes your ad pop!

Auction-time Ad Quality

How attractive is your ad? Is it relevant? Does it lead to a well-designed and SEO-optimised website? Google’s always got an eye out for quality, so be sure to link to a page that reflects the content of your ad and is relevant to your audiences’ search queries.

Factors That Make Your Ad Shine

Once you’re ready to get your ad up and running, there are a few things to keep an eye on to optimise its performance.  These include:

  • Expected Click-through Rate (CTR): This is like the audience’s applause meter. The louder the claps, the better!
  • Ad Landing Page Experience: Ever been to a party that promised fun but was a dud? Google doesn’t like that either. Your landing page should match your ad’s promise.
  • Ad Relevance: This is about being the right act for the right audience. No one wants a mime at a rock concert.

Decoding Cost Per Click (CPC):

Now, here’s where it gets spicy. The average CPC is like an average review score. It isn’t always what you pay for each click. Due to the dynamic nature of the auction, the CPC can vary. Sometimes you’ll pay more, sometimes less. But remember, higher-quality ads often lead to lower costs and better positions. In other words, the snazzier the ad, the better the deal.

Sprucing Up Your Google Ads (top tips from the Tower)

With digital advertising, unfortunately, it is rarely ‘set and forget’.  There are some one-percenters that are important to keep an eye on to take your ads to the next level.

Boost Your CTR:
  • Be on point: Keywords are your best mates.
  • Mix up your calls to action: “Free shipping” today, “Call now” tomorrow!
  • Flaunt your unique flair.
  • Season your ads with time or location specifics.
Up Your Ad Relevance Game:
  • Use negative keywords to avoid awkward mismatches (and wasted advertising spend!)
  • Tailor your ads for mobile.
  • Speak the local lingo.
  • Make your ad resonate with search terms.
Polish Your Landing Page:
  • Direct folks to the right party room – always include a call to action.
  • Keep it consistent, the content should complement your ad.
  • Be clear, be genuine.
  • Speed up the groove and keep things clear.
  • Mobile is your dance floor. Make it smooth!

The world of Google Ads might seem intricate, but with the right knowledge and strategies, it’s a game you can master. Remember, Google Search Ads aren’t just about the moolah; it’s about charm, relevance, and consideration to context. So, put on your creative hat, sprinkle some personality, and let your ads shine!

And hey, if you ever feel like you’re lost in the digital woods, get in touch with Purple Giraffe. We’ve got the map, the compass, and the plan to nail your next Google Advertising campaign.

P.S. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out our previous blog on which campaign type you should choose. Dive in, the digital water’s lovely!

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Caitlin Zygmant

Caitlin is a data-driven, detail-oriented, and passionate Marketer with experience designing multi-channel strategies; growing engaged audiences and driving conversions to meet and exceed strategic objectives. Caitlin has worked extensively across Accommodation and Tourism, Restaurants and Bars, and in the Craft Beer and Spirits space, with a strong understanding of both B2C and B2B markets. She is experienced in developing creative marketing strategies, optimising websites, driving eCommerce sales, social media management, paid ad campaigns, and email marketing. Her experience also extends to new brand launches, product launches, development of marketing plans, data analysis, and developing detailed reports for a variety of stakeholders. Caitlin is client-centric and prides herself in her ability to grow awareness and engagement for both new and established brands, by creating high performing end-to-end marketing campaigns. In her spare time, Caitlin enjoys visiting local breweries and distilleries, getting outdoors for a hike or beach walk, trying new cocktail bars and restaurants, and has recently taken up motorbike riding.

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