More Search For Your Money – AdWords 101

Google AdWords is the Google variant of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. Regardless of your budget, AdWords makes it possible to advertise on Google and its ad partner websites…

Even though entire books and websites have been dedicated to Google AdWords, this is AdWords 101, a brief overview for people who want to run an AdWords campaign but have no idea where to start.

Basic AdWords terminology

Before you can understand AdWords, you have to understand some of the collective terminology. Some of the most important factors that you have to be aware of include:


These consist of one or more Ad Groups (see definition below). You can set your entire advertising budget for a single campaign on AdWords. These are specific to a date range, geography, and a language. It is possible to run upwards of 25 simultaneous campaigns in AdWords.

Ad Group

A way to group one or more related ads in a campaign. Ads are displayed in rotation, following the settings you specify. These ad groups will target a specific list of keywords, meaning that they are only displayed if a customer searches for what you indicated. It is possible for you to define a maximum cost-per-click per each keyword. This is called ‘bidding’ and it has an impact on when and where your ad will be listed. Advertisers will often use these ad groups to have slightly different wording in order to determine which one performs better. After you find out which ad is more successful, you can focus your efforts on that one.


This is the actual advertisement that the viewer sees on Google. An ad group is comprised of one or more ads.


In most instances, an AdWords ad impression is counted whenever your ad is shown on Google or any of the associated network.


This is when a user goes to your website after physically clicking on your ad after it has been displayed to them.

How much does a campaign cost?

First of all, with AdWords you only –as the PPC acronym implies- pay per click. If no one clicks on your ad, there is no cost involved your end.

That being said, your campaign cost will always depend on your marketing budget – before engaging in any campaign you need to be conscious of your accrued costs and desired return, as those will greatly impact the maximum bid you are willing to spend on each click.

How much does a standard AdWords campaign cost? The truth is this is difficult, if not almost impossible to answer. There is no set answer. The range of options can be quite dramatic.

Costs for advertising on a specific keyword could range between over a hundred dollars to as little as five cents. Yet in some cases, spending the hundred dollars per click might be better for your return on investment than spending a nickel. A few of the different factors that go into determining the cost of a given keyword include the number of competitors and the size of the market.

Know your stuff

When mentioning that you need to know your ‘stuff’, we are talking about your audience, products, and market. You need to have a decent understanding of whom you are targeting, what products you are going to offer, and whom your competitors are.

For example, you need to understand what keywords your audience is going to search for when they see your advertisement. Without the right keywords, no one is going to see your ad. If you do not have the right ad to draw in your prospective customer, no one is going to click your ad regardless of whether they see it. You cannot just pick two keywords, design an ad, and hope for the best.

You have to think like your customer. Write your ad in the phrases or the terms that your customer might search for or describe your service or product. Remember that industry specific terminology or technical jargon is not a given for all customers.

How do you measure success?

It seems straightforward enough. If people are clicking your advertisements, it means that your AdWords campaign is working right? Not so fast. What you are most interested in are conversions. Conversions are actions you want your website visitors to perform: whether it is filling a form, signing up for a demo or buying one of your products. You want to measure the end actions, and how your AdWords campaigns contributed to that bit.

As with any marketing effort, you will not only need to measure your current success, but also implement ongoing refinements in your AdWords strategy.

One of the reasons that multiple ad groups are important is so you are able to display a variety of ads and see how they work. Just because a single add nets you 300 additional clicks each month does not mean that a different ad could not get you far more.

Ongoing refinements are also necessary because you want to maximize your advertising budget. Remember that in some markets, the cost-per-click is so high that you can blow through your budget rather quickly. If you are unlucky, you will have nothing to show for it.

An AdWords campaign is certainly not ‘set it and forget it’; you have to measure its success continually. You need to make sure that your ads are still running, make sure that your quality score is still good, and that you are actually turning a profit.


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