The answer to whether or not Google ads are worth it for your small business depends on how quickly you want to start driving traffic to your website.

If you’re just starting out, you’ve likely spent time, money, and other resources on setting up a website for your business but you still need to get people to start visiting it.

Sure, you can tell family and friends, and post about your swanky new website on social media. But that’s not enough. There are millions of potential customers on the internet who are looking for what you offer. If they don’t know that your website exists, that’s a big problem.

That’s where Google Ads comes in.

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Is Google Ads worth it for small businesses?

Google Ads can help you be found online. Especially when you’re just starting out and your website is new.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about what Google Ads is, where an ad on Google shows up, and if there are any other options.

Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is Google’s pay-per-click platform that allows you to place text ads or shopping ads for your website on a search engine results page (SERP) for a specified keyword by paying for them. Pay-per-click, or PPC, means that you pay, if and only if, people click on your ads. These PPC ads show up right at the top of any Google search result and can be an effective way to generate traffic when you’re just starting out or when you want a little boost.

Something to keep in mind, however, is that paid ads aren’t the only results that show up when people make a search. Right below the paid Google Ads on the SERP are the organic search results. Getting your business to show up in organic search results requires using Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. And while having your website show at the top of the organic results is what you ultimately want to strive for, it does take time and effort to get there.

Example of Google search results showing ads at the top

In the meantime, paid ads are often a good way to go and Google Ads might be the answer for your small business. But before you decide, let’s take a look at some of Google Ads’ pros and cons.

Target potential customers when they are engaged

Let’s say I am in the market for a new sofa. I type in “buy sofa online” into the Google search box. On the SERP, I see several relevant Google Ad links to furniture websites that have sofas for sale before the list of organic results. I click one of the ads and start shopping.

This is an example of one of the biggest advantages of Google Ads. They target and reach people precisely at the moment when they are most primed to interact. So, as long as you bid on the right keywords for your industry, you can get in front of potential customers at the exact moment they’re looking for your products.

Focus on local or niche markets

Google Ads can be a great investment if you’re a local business that has an online presence. Statistics show 72 percent of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within five miles of their current location. Local Google Ad campaigns are an efficient way to reach potential customers in the vicinity of your place of business. You can also use location and call extensions which will display your location and phone number and make it easier for the customer to find or call you when they click on them from a mobile device. By using a geographic range to limit your keyword, you avoid competing with more nationally focused brands and you reach your local audience.

This is also the case for businesses that cater to niche markets or products. Since Google Ads is keyword-specific, it gives you the power to pinpoint an intended audience in a more targeted way versus other channels. By using very specific keywords, you can lower the cost of your ad and reach the right people.

Imagine you live in Tampa, Florida and you sell special supplies to train cats. If you bid on a very general term like “pet supplies” on Google, you will find that it is very expensive for two reasons. First, you are competing with the sellers of all types of pet supplies and second, you are competing across all geographies. However, if you bid on the term “cat training supplies in Tampa,” you will have a much lower cost for your ad and you will likely see a higher conversion rate from those who click on it.

Spend only what you need to

Google lets you set key parameters for your campaign that allow you to control your spending.

Google Ads work on a cost-per-click basis so that you only pay when somebody clicks on your ad. You can choose the most that you are willing to pay for a single click, and Google will not exceed that maximum bid.

You also designate an average daily budget for your campaign. This tells Google that over the course of a month, you do not want to pay any more than the average budget times the number of days. Some days may have higher performance and costs and others may be lower, but you will never exceed your budget over the course of the month.

Get quick results

One of the best things about Google Ads is that the results are pretty much instantaneous.

All you need to do is set up your campaign, enter the target keywords, select your daily budget, create ad messaging, and you’re good to go. You can potentially generate sales from your campaign on the day you launch it.

In contrast, other approaches to improve your search result rankings, like SEO, can take a long time to start working. There are a lot more factors to consider, and you might need external help too.

So, if you have the know-how, products, ad copy, and landing pages together already, Google Ads provides a simple way to start getting sales.

Track your results

A free tool brimming with information, Google Analytics can help you improve conversions on PPC ads; optimize your site and product descriptions, and track visitor behavior on your store.

Google Ads allows you to see how well your campaigns are performing and if you should be making changes. The statistics cover everything from the average cost per click, to advert position and even conversion rate. You can A/B test different ad copy and landing pages easily, to maximize ROI.

One reason Google Ads are such an attractive marketing tactic is the ability to track ROI. Return on investment is a huge consideration for your marketing budget, and PPC ads won’t leave you guessing.

One little catch

Google Ads isn’t necessarily easy to learn. If you’re just starting out, navigating the tool can be complicated. You need to understand how bidding works, figure out keywords you should target, and invest time into monitoring how your ads are performing and making adjustments whenever needed.

You could end up wasting a lot of money if you don’t manage your ad campaign closely. If you’re not using appropriate analytics tools, carefully researching and choosing keywords, and constantly adjusting to Google’s many changes, then it’s possible that no one will see your ad.

Keyword pricing can have a major impact on the budget you’ve set aside for Google Ads since pricing is largely influenced by the competition. The more people competing for the same keyword, the higher the bid will be. If a national advertiser with a much larger budget than yours decides to increase their bid on the keywords that you are targeting, you are going to have to up your budget in order to show up more frequently.

Additionally, even the most effective Google Ads campaigns can take a little time to really take off. It’s likely that you’ll be tweaking and adjusting your keywords and settings for a while before you’re able to optimally target the audience you’re looking for and see real long-term benefits.

Google Ads made easy

Google Ads can be worth it for small businesses. There are a ton of benefits advertising on Google can offer including the ability to reach targeted and motivated audiences, a pay-for-performance pricing model, and an easy-to-track ROI. And while there are disadvantages, you can easily find ways to navigate around them.

If you are concerned about your budget, you can avoid competing with larger companies by using more longtail and local keywords that’ll help bring down the cost of bidding on keywords everyone wants. These keywords may not be as highly demanded as the others but will be effective in driving higher converting traffic to your website, nonetheless.

If you are worried about learning how to use Google Ads effectively, you can stop worrying. You don’t need to be an expert because there are numerous tools available on the Internet today which can help make the process much easier for you.

Make it easy. Use the Google Ads tool offered by Constant Contact and help your customers find your business online, drive more qualified traffic, grow sales, and save money.