I'd like to turn my attention to Google and tell you about AdWords. This is one of the topics I usually stay away from because it's difficult to explain it in a Nugget without having your eyes glaze over. But I'd like to offer a brief overview anyway because something here should pique your interest...
Google's search results pages and millions of other websites across the internet are littered with ads, AdWords ads. They appear as text ads throughout most of the Google owned websites, but many other websites have banner ads, Flash Ads, and text ads that are served through the AdWords system.
Companies large and small, and many people just like you and I can sign up with Google and run ads for our business. Although Google says they charge you every time someone clicks an ad, the truth is that you need to prepay for your ads and they will deduct money from your prepayment every time there's a click.
The AdWords system is not easy for most people to learn, and it changes frequently, and requires continual relearning. The frequent changes often have an impact on how the per click prices work, and your campaign costs could skyrocket or nosedive unexpectedly when you make the smallest mistakes.
I strongly suggest that you hire an AdWords marketing firm rather than managing AdWords in house. The agency fees you pay will save you from hours of management, aggravation, and the easy mistakes that spin your per click price out of control.
However, you should understand the basics of AdWords before you do hire someone because many AdWords firms will take advantage of you.
All AdWords ads need to link people to a page on your website. This "landing page" is NEVER your home page. The landing page needs to match the ad copy. If you ad says "70% off Sale" then the page you land on needs to have a big banner saying "70% off Sale." If you ad says "Award Winning Custom Designs" then you need to land on a page that says something like "Your Custom Designed Ring Will be Crafted by Our Award Winning Designer," along with photos of previous designs, and perhaps even a photo of the award and the designer.
Ad copy is tough to write because Google only gives you 95 characters to work with in the text ads. The text ads with the highest ROI are evocative and relate to the landing page somehow.
Banner ads and Flash ads provide a lot more freedom because of the adage that a picture speaks 1000 words. Please don't think you can slap a few photos together with clipart and create a compelling banner ad.
Google AdWords allows for 9 different size banner ads. Even though you might have the same source artwork, creating 9 different size banners is a difficult task, one which sometimes takes staff in my own office 2 full days of work to create. If you are starting from scratch with Flash ads you need to give your creative team a few more days to get the job done.
All that creative work has a labor cost, which you typically pay for up front when you hire an AdWords firm, or you pay for with bigger monthly service fees. I urge you not to nitpick the banner ad creatives that your agent comes up with because they should be tested through small advertising campaigns before you spend a lot of money on them.
If your point of view is that "all ads need to be approved before use" then you need to expect higher costs, and lower ROI. Every AdWords firm knows that low performing ads will need to be reworked until they produce, and that "ad approval" is the death of fast paced successful AdWords campaigns.
Unlike traditional ads that take 30 days or more to measure, with Google AdWords you can measure the effectiveness of a text ad or a banner ad within hours, or days, depending on the amount of "impressions" the ads receive.
An "impression" refers to the number of times your ad appears on the internet. Remember that Google only charges you money when people click an ad. If you have 1000 impressions without any clicks then you need to create a new ad, then test it again.
Artwork, ad text, and well written landing pages are the 3 most important factors in AdWords. If an ad gets a lot of clicks, but no ROI then you need to improve your landing page. That could mean usability testing, presentation testing, or even a website redesign.
Most businesses only use AdWords when they have an e-commerce website because most people clicking on the ads are looking to purchase online.
However, there is another way to successfully use AdWords for "Remarketing" that non e-commerce websites can use extremely effectively using an amazingly low monthly advertising budget. I'll explain it in the next Daily Nugget.