By far, the question we are most frequently asked when starting a new Google Ads partnership with a client is, “What should I expect — how fast will we see results?”
The most honest answer I can give clients — it depends.
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It always boils down to me having to bring my clients back to reality.
Their expectations should be that they are investing in a collection of data and not gaining immediate leads or sales. Google Ads are not a silver bullet. Instead they are a foundational element of your digital marketing campaign.
Theories and hypotheses
Now, this isn’t to say that I haven’t seen clients get results quickly after an initial campaign launch, but remember that all initial campaigns are an experiment.
Even better, think of them as a theory or hypothesis that must be tested to see how your potential paid clicks will react to your ads — and ultimately your landing page call to action.
Try to keep in mind that Google Ads are experiments to learn from, tweak and scale.
Running an effective campaign requires strategy, research, and data analysis. You can't simply throw money into the great Google machine and expect to get immediate return on ad spend.
Instead, you need to do your homework and leverage the data you already have available like feedback from your sales team, email lists from your CRM, buyer personas, and most of all your Google Analytic data.
I always tell my clients as we work together at building our first campaign experiment that the closer we can get to following a basic framework pre-launch, the faster we get to determining the success of the campaign.
We like to define success by the quality of the clicks we are getting.
So what does this framework look like? Let’s dive in as we work through expectations at each level.
Prepare before you put a single penny into your Google Ads campaign
Think about making your favorite dessert.
Mine would be a Boston Cream doughnut.
In preparation you would need to gather the ingredients and combine them in a particular order, from making the dough to filling the donut to layering on the chocolate glaze.
The same is going to go for how we build towards your first Google Ads campaign. (And now I’m hungry.)
So what do these ingredients...I mean steps look like?
Step 1: Understanding Google Ads
This is pretty obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how fast people are willing to throw money at Google before even understanding how the Google Ads platform works. It is critical to the success of any Google Ads account that the account manager in charge of building and maintaining any and all campaigns has a full understanding of the platform. Without this you are simply wasting money.
Remember that delicious donut. Imagine if you attempted to create such a spectacular desert without knowing how to bake or what ingredients are required.
If you are reading this and are not completely familiar with the Google Ads platform and how Google Ads works, please take a moment to check out our Ultimate Guide to Google Ads. Your wallet will thank you.
Step 1 goal:
Take your time and get to know enough of the platform before investing. Know that you will make mistakes that will cost you money, but by understanding the platform you will be able to mitigate these losses.
Step 2: Research and understand your target audience
Once you have an understanding of the platform itself, you will need to dive into your target audience.
This is an exercise I love working with my clients on. Start simple and build your way out.
I typically start by asking basic questions like:
Who are you targeting?
Where do they live?
What do they like?
Do they need to be of a certain gender?
Do they need to be of a certain age range?
Then we get a little deeper:
Why would they need you?
What would they ask for?
What makes you different?
Do they know who you are already?
Where would they find your product or service today?
You will find that working through these types of questions will help strengthen your campaign messaging even before you begin writing any ads.
I also encourage ALL my clients to talk to their Sales Team and bring them into the conversation. It is amazing the data feedback lost between Sales and Marketing — which makes for another conversation on a rainy day over some donuts.
Don’t forget to dig into your Google Analytics to help with the Who, When, and Why of your site visitors. I know this sounds like a given, but you would be shocked on how often this is forgotten.
Step 2 Goal:
You should expect to have a clear vision of who you want your ads to get in front of and what you want to say. You should also expect to hit a few speed bumps along the way. This is why testing is critical to your success.
Step 3: Have a specific goal for each of your campaigns
Setting campaign goals is our last step and it’s equality just as important.
Asking yourself what are you trying to achieve will not only help with campaign expectations, but again will help towards your ad and landing page messaging (a win-win).
The most common goals are:
Product and Brand Consideration
Brand Awareness and Reach
These are also found within Google Ads as Advertising Goals. When you select these within Google Ads you will find which ad type is available to help achieve which goals.
Make sure that your goals are in line with your target audience and, ultimately, messaging. It is always a challenge to separate yourself from your own business, but you must you.
Step 3 Goal:
You should expect to have a common set of goals between the marketing and sales team as well as buy-in from the company. You should also expect to continually be re-evaluating your goals.
Okay, so now you are comfortable with Google Ads and have gotten with the team to review audience and goals. Next, we need to work on messaging and launching your first Google campaign. It’s donut making time!
By this point while working through your target audience and goals you should have a strong feel for how you are going to achieve those goals with the answers from above.
Remember, to effectively reach your potential customers, your text ads and landing pages need to be specific, relevant, attractive, and empowering.
Let’s dive in.
Step 4: Create a targeted landing page for your ad
Unfortunately this area is often overlooked and yet is one of the most influential pieces necessary to your Google account success.
We all know that as Google users ourselves when we click on an ad that has enticed us, the landing page had better continue to resonate with us.
The most common practice I see is advertisers spending money with Google only to drive a click to a homepage where messaging gets lost.
Remember that optimized landing pages with targeted, relevant messaging generally drive more conversions and provide higher return on ad-spend.
So, when you are working with your team and reviewing your audience and goals, ask yourself if this were you clicking on your ad, what would you expect to see? What would you like to have answered? What would you hope to achieve?
Then ask yourself if your landing page does just that.
If you answer NO or NOT EXACTLY to any of this, you need to make sure that this becomes a YES before launching any ads.
Step 4 Goal:
You should expect to find that your website doesn’t exactly line up with your Google Ad messaging in a single landing page. You should also expect to test headlines, copy, and call-to-actions frequently until you are able to determine what resonates best with your audience.
Step 5: Create multiple versions of your ad copy
When it comes to your ad copy, make sure that you stick with your messaging goals and that your paying attention to you audience reactions.
Always make sure to:
Highlight what makes you unique
Empower your audience to take action
Ensure that your ad matches your landing page
Test, Test, and Test!
I recommend that you create at least three variants of your ads. This will help you learn about your users’ preferences and improve your performance by honing ad text, especially the pitch presented by your headlines.
Don’t forget to enhance your ad copy with the use of Google Ad Extensions. If you did you homework above, you know the importance of this key ingredient.
Step 5 Goal:
You should expect to be able to determine your best performing ad based on performance metrics and ultimately the worst performing ad, which is where you will cycle in new ads to test.
Now that we have made the donuts, it is time to sit back and enjoy them as we analyze the data that we are starting to bring in.
Out of all of our expectations from launching a Google Ads Campaign, data collection is the most important. This is going to become your beacon to success.
Make sure that you and your team stay diligent about monitoring your account. Google Ads is NOT meant as a ‘set it and forget it’ strategy.
You should expect to make moves within your account after the first 7-14 days, but you will want to log in daily to make sure everything is going as expected.
It's much easier to correct a slip up in the account if it's only taken place within the past 24 hours.
Some typical moves you can expect to make include:
Ad copy changes
Ad extension optimization
Negative keyword creation
Landing page messaging
You should (but not always) be able to tell if the campaign is going to be a success within the first 30 days. However, it is important to know and set a point of statistical significance that will confirm your campaigns success or failure.
If you are unfamiliar with how to do that please make sure to check out our Ultimate Google to Google Ads. It provides a deep dive into everything I have outlined here.
Go forth and create your first Google Ad campaign. If you have any questions, or want to share your adventures, drop me a line in IMPACT Elite. I am always happy and excited to talk Google Ads, and donuts, too!