In the digital world, no search engine works quite like Google. In fact, as far as search engines go, they lead the pack by unachievable margins. So, knowing how to advertise on Google can definitely be an advantage as a business owner. Because, with Google Ads, you’re guaranteed to have a spot at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Which can take your search engine marketing (SEM) to a whole new level.

Ready to learn how to advertise on Google and why it works, as well as some helpful tips on how to advertise effectively? Read on!

How Google Ads works 

It’s free to create a Google Ads account. Based on your business needs, you set a monthly budget (called a cap) for running your advertisement on Google. However, you only pay whenever a searcher clicks on your ad — this is called pay-per-click or PPC. You can start and stop an ad whenever you’d like, and it’s all done directly through Google.

The ads on Google show up first on any Google search. They appear at the top of a SERP and emulate a first result.

How to advertise on Google -- have your business at the top of the list -- marked "Ad"
You can easily see which results are Google Ads because the word “Ad” appears next to them.

If you have some search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge, you know that it can take months to show up as a first result on the first page of Google. However, with a Google ad, you can more easily and quickly reach that coveted first page. 

With Google Ads, you pay to show your website or product at the top of the results list. It’s worth noting that this result is tied to certain google queries and keywords. This means that you are only shown to people who are looking up specific searches related to your business, product, or service.

For example, if you’re a plumber in New Jersey and someone looks up “best plumber New Jersey,” your Google Ad website would likely appear as a top result. However, you wouldn’t show up if someone searched “best plumber New Hampshire.” 

The problem arises when your competitors are also running a Google Ads campaign. You might get into a bidding match to determine who comes out on top. In a later section, you’ll see how to be the top overall ad on Google for your keyword.

What are the benefits of Google Ads?

There are a number of benefits when it comes to Google ads. Let’s explore some of them.

Fast results

Once you buy the ad, your site will immediately be sent to the top of the list. There’s nothing faster than this when you’re looking for results.

A vast majority of Google users stick to the first page of results when they’re looking for something. This is why this method works so well.

Capabilities for retargeting

Retargeting is when you send an ad to a user that visited your site but didn’t purchase anything. Google Ads lets you target these users and show them your site again. Your click-through rate (CTR) will increase since the searcher is already familiar with your brand and site.

Measurable results

One of the best parts of Google Ads is that you can measure the results. You can see what keywords yielded the best results, how many people converted a click to a purchase, and who clicked the ad in the first place. In short, you’ll be left with a bucket of data that tells you everything you need to know. Also, you can use this information to refine your ad and create the perfect ad.

Additionally, if the campaign didn’t work, you will have a good indication of why. 

Beat your competition

Simply put, Google Ads gives you the opportunity to beat your competition. Since you’ll be displayed above their site, you’ll get more people seeing your name and site before your competition. 

Likewise, through Google Ads, you can set up automatic bidding to make sure your result always shows up above your competitor’s. 

Drive traffic to your site

Since you’ll be appearing so early in the search results, you’ll likely get more traffic on your site. Additionally, since the ad is targeting keywords or locations, you’ll get meaningful viewers on your website.

As more people visit your site, you’ll start naturally ranking better on Google. You’ll also make more money through the goods and services you provide through your site.

Better brand awareness

Google Ads can also lead to brand awareness. At a minimum, having a Google Ad means your name is being seen by Google users. Even if they don’t click your ad or make a purchase on your site, people searching for certain topics are now familiar with your brand.

Google Ads are targeted to make sure only the right people see them. That means only prospective customers will gain awareness of your brand. Since Google is the largest search engine in the world, that’s good news.

The price of Google Ads

If you’re thinking of starting a campaign on Google Ads, it’s important to know what price you’ll pay. The price of an ad on Google depends on a number of factors:

  • Keyword. The keyword you choose will determine the cost. You’ll spend a lot more money on Google Ads for certain keywords. Currently, the term “insurance” is the most expensive keyword on Google Ads, costing you $54.91 per click.
  • Content. Another hidden feature that will determine the cost of your ad is how good the content is on your website. Google will screen the readability and some SEO factors on your website. If you have a strong website according to these metrics, you’ll pay less for the ad.

That means that you can put together an impressive page and therefore pay much less for a bump on the first page of Google.

  • Minimum Fee. The minimum bid per click is five cents — that’s the least you’ll pay for Google Ads. On average, you can expect to pay between one and two US dollars.

Types of Google Ads

The good news is that you have a lot of different Google Ads to choose between. Different industries and businesses tend to favor different types of ads. See which one is right for you.

Search campaign

A search campaign is based on what keyword is searched. This is the most common type of ad on Google Ads and it’s the major focus for most users.

The search campaign ad will show up before the natural results. It will look like a normal result to whatever the user is searching for. There is text that says “Ad” beside the result, but otherwise, it’s identical to a standard result.

The ad will link directly to a website or landing page of your choosing.

App campaign

An app campaign will show up as users interact with different apps on their phones. You don’t have to make a specific ad for every app you want to be on. You simply provide images and text for the promotion and Google handles the formatting. 

Often, Google uses an algorithm that combines different pictures and text that you send them. They’ll analyze the results and dial in on the combination that works best. If you’ve used a free app before, you’ve probably seen the different app ads that show up.

Most apps have large user bases within certain demographics. That means that this method works well for targeting certain people. 

Shopping campaign

A shopping campaign is like a search ad on steroids. In this case, your product will be promoted, not your website or page.

As people search for a product to buy, yours will be suggested as the first overall option. This is the case whether the user is looking in “all” results or specifically “shopping” results on Google.

To test this out, look up “computer for sale” on Google and you’ll see the shopping campaign that different companies are using. These ads will link directly to the product, allowing the searcher to complete a sale immediately.

Video campaign

As the name suggests, a video campaign comes in the form of a video. Since Google owns YouTube, most of these ads will show up on YouTube.

When you watch a viral video, the beginning portion always involves some sort of ad. There are long ones that you can skip, or 15-second ones that you can’t.

Sometimes, you’ll watch a very specific video on YouTube and see an ad in the same very specific niche. This isn’t by accident. Companies can choose exactly what type of videos to piggyback their ads on. Alternatively, they can roll out a general campaign that shows on random videos. 

You can also have your video show up as the first result through Google Ads. This is ideal for companies that aren’t looking to make a commercial but instead want to promote their video.

Finally, YouTube advertising is another beast, but it can be started through Google Ads.

Display campaign

A display campaign will show up on different websites across the internet. The term “display campaign” is an umbrella term that can apply to video, app, and miscellaneous campaigns. 

Many people who own a website will sell their blank space to Google for advertisement. This means that Google has a massive database of different sites that can advertise your company or product. This ranges from Gmail inboxes, random websites, and even apps. 

10 steps of how to advertise on Google

Now that you know the basics of Google Ads, it’s worth walking through the process. This section will teach you exactly how to advertise on Google. This is the tried-and-true method that’s worked for a lot of small businesses.

1. Log in and create a new campaign

The first step is to log in to your Google Ads Manager account. If you don’t have one, then now is the time to make one. Registration is pretty straightforward and takes almost no time at all.

Once you have an account, log in. On the menu on the left, you’ll see a tab that says “Campaigns.” Click this button then navigate to “New Campaign,” or click the plus button that pops up.

How to Advertise on Google - Log in to your account and choose "new campaigns"
If you don’t yet have any campaigns, your Google Ads dashboard may look something like this. In which case, just click on “New Campaign” in the center of your screen.
How to advertise on Google - just click on "new campaign"
When this pops up, just click on “new campaign” to get started.

2. Choose the goals and type

The first thing that the app will ask you is what your goals are. No, Google isn’t asking what you want to be when you grow up. It wants to know what you deem a success for this ad campaign. You can choose between leads, sales, brand consideration, brand awareness, website traffic, and app promotion. If you don’t have a goal, then you can create one without a goal’s guidance. 

After picking a goal, you’ll be asked what type of ad you want to run. This is where knowing the different types of ads comes in handy. 

Google allows you to choose between display, search, app, video, shopping, and smart. What they call “smart” is the same as a “display campaign” from earlier. When you select that, Google will ask for some information that will help further determine your goals. For example, you might be prompted to input your phone number if one of your metrics is how many phone calls you get.

3. Pick a name and network 

The next screen you’ll see will ask you for a campaign name and network. The name isn’t publicly shared — it’s just a way for you to keep track of your ads if you’re running multiple ones. Google Ads will default to your goal and type of ad when it generates a campaign name for you.

The network is a selection between a search or display network. There is more information about either option on this screen, but you learned about these types of campaigns earlier so you have a head start. When you fill in this information, you can advance to the next step.

4. Pick the audience

The next page is all about your audience. You’ll be asked to choose which countries to include, who to target, and who to exclude from your campaign. You can get really specific here and even target certain zip codes.

As you input information, you’ll get data about how many searchers or users are in these different locations. This might help you make your decisions.

If you want to be more general, you can target a radius around a certain location rather than a list of specific locations.

On this screen, you can also determine which customer languages you want to target. If your ad is in English, then you should only look for English-speaking users.

The final step involves the demographic that you’re targeting. This is yet another layer of preference that ensures only the right people see your ad. You can target people based on their age, whether or not they have kids, their marital status, if they are a homeowner, and their education — to name a few. The parameters go on and on, so you can get really specific here.

5. Determine your budget

As mentioned earlier, the cost of Google Ads depends on a lot of variables. In this step, you get to fill in some of the blanks and determine what your budget is. You’ll put in values that act as minimum and maximum amounts of money that you want to spend on any given day for this ad campaign.

There are different bidding strategies that you can choose between. You can opt for conversations, conversion value, clicks, or impression share. The recommended strategy is conversions.

6. Make ad extensions

Under your ads, there will be lines of text that explain your site or product. This is referred to as ad extensions.

In this section, you’ll be able to input some additional information about your ad. It can include site link, call, and callout extensions. Google says that you’ll get up to 15% higher clickthrough rates by filling out this section.

7. Choose groups and keywords

In this area, you’ll be able to put together the important words revolving around your ad. By making an ad group, you can bundle different keywords and phrases that you want to show up for. In other words, when users search these words, your ad will appear. 

Each ad group will be looking to push a different part of your business. In turn, there will be different lists of keywords and phrases in each group. For example, a plumber might have one group for emergency plumbing services and another for residential services. Either group will have corresponding search phrases.

If you didn’t know, keywords and phrases are what you expect your prospective customers to be searching for. This plumber in the example might target keyword phrases like “emergency plumbing in Daytona,” or “cheap plumber near me.”

Within these keywords and phrases, you can decide if you want exact, broad, or phrase matches. This determines how specific or general you want the search phrase to be in order to show your ad.

8. Write the ad

Finally, it’s time to write the ad. Google Ads does a good job of walking you through this step and shows you a handy preview so you know what the final product will look like. You can use Constant Contact’s helpful free Google Ads tool during this step if you need extra assistance. 

How to Advertise on Google -- Use Constant Contact's Google Ads tool
You can create your entire ad in your Constant Contact account.

You’ll have sections for headers, descriptions, the URL path, and some additional URL options. If you’re ever lost, there are help bubbles on this screen that give you a lot of detail about what you should put in the blanks.

This ad needs to be short and sweet because there are character limits in each section. If you want some help, read on.

Helpful hints to write an ad

There are a few key points to keep in mind as you write your ad. If this is your first Google ad or if you haven’t had success in the past, keep these in mind. 

Before writing the ad, it’s worth seeing what your competitors are doing. Search some keywords that you’ll be targeting to see what other people’s links and ads look like.

  • Use local phrases. People should know where you’re located just through your ad. Don’t be afraid to include the neighborhood, city, or area that you serve.
  • Throw in a promotion. Even a small promotion can encourage someone to follow your ad. Offer free shipping or a percentage off of the total sale.
  • Use your keywords. This is a big thing to remember. Using your keyword(s) in the ad will help searchers understand that your link is the right option.
  • Be clear about what you’re selling. Don’t make it a mystery. Since the ad is so short, people don’t have a lot of time to screen each ad to see which is right for them. They should immediately know what you’re selling thanks to your ad.
  • Have a succinct call to action. Once they know what you’re selling, they need to know what to do about it. A “call to action” (CTA) prompts readers to click, call, or schedule a consultation with your company.
  • Give people a reason to click. Be objective about this ad. A Google user will see hundreds of results every day, so why should they click yours? Establish your industry knowledge, tell the viewer why you’re the best option, and give them a reason to learn more by clicking your ad.

9. Launch it

When you’re comfortable with what you’ve done to this point, it’s time to launch the campaign. You’ll be brought to a screen that shows some of the information you put into the ad campaign with a button that says “continue to campaign.”

Review this info and see if you need to change anything. When you’re ready, click the button and celebrate. You just launched a Google Ads campaign!

10. Keep checking and optimizing

Step 9 is just the official beginning of your ad campaign. After launching it, you need to consistently check in on it and optimize the campaign. Not sure how to do this? You came to the right place.

How to track Google Ads with Google Analytics

The 10 steps above might seem like a lot to take in. However, the process is pretty simple once you get started. Simply put, Google Ads are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. If you want to have an even more successful campaign, however, you need to focus on your metrics and monitor the results.

Within Google Ads Manager, you’ll find a lot of data about past campaigns. This is all part of Google Analytics, an integration system that tracks your web results. You’ll see information like click-through rate, clicks, impressions, and conversations. In fact, you’ll even get scores for each of these categories. Through the help of Google Analytics, you can make your ads and future marketing tactics even stronger.

Here are ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of Google Ads and Google Analytics:

Check your quality score

Your quality score is like a flashback to high school — it is a grade to see how well you’re performing in different categories. Your quality score covers different areas of your ad, such as ad relevance, landing page experience, and click-through rate (CTR). As time goes on, Google will finalize your score and keep updating it as the campaign keeps running.

A quality score has a complicated algorithm that does a pretty good job of determining how well you’re doing in each of the categories tracked through Google Ads Manager. 

Your ad relevance score is how closely the ad and keyword are related. The landing page experience determines the link between your website and the keyword. If they aren’t related, then you’ll have a lower score. Expected click-through rate is the likelihood of someone clicking your ad after searching on Google. 

On your table of results, you can find the quality score in the far-right column. 

What does the score mean?

The final number you get shows you how well your ad will rank. If you have a 10/10 for a $1 keyword, you’ll rank higher than someone with a 4/10 with a $2 keyword.

Even if your competitors are paying the same amount, you can get a higher rank just by perfecting your quality score.

Review the general performance

Beyond the technical quality score, there are general pieces of the puzzle that you can monitor. Here are a few of the big players:


Simply put, impressions are how many times your ad showed up in front of a user. This is the grand total that you will use to compare the other stats.

If your impressions are very low, then you might not be bidding enough to show up on the first page of Google. Alternatively, your quality score might be really low, which could cause this too.

Pro tip: Make sure your ad’s keywords show up on your landing page if you want more impressions.

Click-through rate

The click-through rate on your ad is presented as a decimal or percentage. It’s calculated by taking the total number of clicks on your ad and dividing it into the number of impressions. 

If your CTR is less than one percent, then you’ll want to go back to the drawing board and change your ad. The value for a “good” CTR will vary depending on your industry and market.

Average cost per click

Your cost per click (CPC) is calculated by taking the amount you paid for an ad and dividing it by how many clicks you received.

If you paid $10 for an ad to run for one day and you received 100 clicks that day, your CPC is 10 cents per click, or $0.10.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the figure that will clearly tell you how well your ad is doing. It indicates how many people clicked your ad then did the action you are tracking. For example, if someone clicks your ad then sends you an email, that would be a conversion. 

The conversion rate should be compared to your CTR. If you have a lot of people clicking your ad but not a lot of conversions, then you need to fix your landing page.  

How does Google decide which ad goes on top?

As someone running a Google Ad campaign, you need to know what metrics Google uses to decide which ad goes to the top of the list.

Your bid

The quickest way to the top is to pay. Google has a deck of advertisers that are bidding a certain amount to have their ad shown. Paying more for your ad will get you higher on the list. This was discussed further in step five mentioned earlier.

Your quality score

As you learned earlier, your quality score is made up of a lot of different parts. The final score is rated out of 10. The closer you get to 10, the higher on the list of ads you’ll place. If you have the highest bid and highest quality score, you’ll be the top result.

The quality score is also a way for Google to make sure only relevant ads are shown to people as they search different keywords. It wouldn’t make sense to see someone’s locksmith business when a user searches for a computer company.

Your landing page

Finally, your landing page can make or break your ad campaign. Google puts a big emphasis on making sure the landing pages are relevant, high quality, and deliver a good user experience. The content itself needs to mirror the ad keywords. If your landing page is irrelevant to the ad keyword, you’ll start falling down the list of ads on Google. 

You can use different landing pages for different ad groups. For instance, a “computer repair” ad group can link to a landing page all about computer repairs. Meanwhile, a “computer parts” ad group can take the user to a page that lists the parts sold by the company.

Calculating your ad rank

Your ad rank will determine your overall ad position. The simple equation is to multiply your maximum bid by the quality score numerator. If you bid $2.50 and have a quality score of 3/10, your ad rank is 7.50. If your competitors have an ad rank higher, then they’ll rank above you.

If someone else has a bid of $2.25 and a quality score of 5/10, their ad rank is 11.25. They’ll be in the #1 ad position, and you’ll be in #2 (assuming no one else is in this race).

Start today

So now that you know all about how to advertise on Google, follow these simple tips to beat out your competition. Getting started on Google Ads is easy, and free. Once you have an ad running, don’t forget to keep monitoring and optimizing it to achieve best results. And if in doubt, Constant Contact’s Google Ads tool can help you. Check it out today.