(All figures and charts have been omitted from the following excerpt. Click the link to read the entire Chapter 1 of AdWords For Dummies in PDF format, exactly as it will appear in the book.)
Have you ever bought an ad in the Yellow Pages? I remember my first time – I was terrified. I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t know how big an ad to buy. I wasn’t sure which phonebooks to advertise in. I had no idea what headings to list under. I had to pay thousands of dollars for an ad I wouldn’t be able to change for the next 12 months. And I had recurring nightmares that I mistyped the phone number and some baffled florist in Poughkeepsie got thousands of calls from my customers.
Why am I telling you this? (Aside from the fact that my therapist encourages me to release negative emotions?) Because I want you to appreciate the significance of Google AdWords as a revolution in advertising.
You can set up an AdWords account in about five minutes for five dollars. Your ads can be seen by thousands of people searching specifically for what you’ve got, and you don’t pay a cent until a searcher clicks your ad to visit your Web site. You can change your ad copy any time you want. You can cancel unprofitable ads with the click of a mouse. You can run multiple ads simultaneously and figure out to the penny which ad makes you the most money.
You can even send customers to specific aisles and shelves of your store, depending on what they’re searching for. And you can get smarter and smarter over time, writing better ads, showing under more appropriate headings, choosing certain geographic markets and avoiding others. When your ads do well, you can even get Google to serve them as online newspaper and magazine ads, put them next to Google Maps locations, and broadcast them to cell phones – automatically.
AdWords gives you the ability to conduct hundreds of thousands of dollars of market research for less than the cost of a one-way ticket from Chapel Hill to Madison. And in less time than it takes me to do five one-arm pushups (okay, so that’s not saying much).
AdWords can help you test and improve your Web site and e-mail strategy to squeeze additional profits out of every step in your sales process. It can provide a steady stream of qualified leads for predictable costs.
But AdWords can also be a huge sinkhole of cash for the advertiser who doesn’t understand it. I’ve written this book to arm you with the mindsets, strategies, and tactics to keep you from ever becoming an AdWords victim.
The Google search engine, found at www.google.com, processes hundreds of millions of searches per day. Every one of those searches represents a human being trying to solve a problem or satisfy an itch through finding the right information on the World Wide Web. The AdWords program allows advertisers to purchase text and links on the Google results page (the page the searcher sees after entering a word or phrase and clicking the Google Search button.
You pay for the ad only when someone clicks on it and visits your Web site. The amount you pay for each visitor can be as low as one penny, or as high as $80, depending on the quality of your ad, your Web site, and the competitiveness of the market defined by the word or phase (known as a keyword even though it may be several words long) typed by the visitor.
Each text ad on the results page consists of four lines and up to 130 characters:
* Line 1: Blue underlined hyperlinked headline of up to 25 characters
* Line 2: Description line 1 of up to 35 characters
* Line 3: Description line 2 of up to 35 characters
* Line 4: Green display URL (URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, the way the Internet assigns addresses to Web sites) of up to 35 characters
The fourth line, the display URL, can differ from the Web page your visitor actually lands on. I cover this in detail in Chapter 6.
Where and When the Ads Show
You can choose to show your ads to the entire world, or limit their exposure by country, region, state and even city. You can (for example) let them run 24/7 or turn them off nights and weekends. You also get to choose from AdWords’ three tiers of exposure, described in the following sections.
When someone searches for a particular keyword, your ad displays on the Google results page if you have selected that keyword (or a close variation) as a trigger for your ad.
Search partners results
Your ads can also show on Google’s search partners’ network. Companies such as AOL and Earthlink incorporate Google’s results into their own search pages.
A partial list of Google search partners includes
* American Online (AOL)
* AT&T Worldnet
* Netscape Netcenter
AdSense sites and Gmail
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Web sites show AdWords ads on their pages as part of the AdSense program, which allows Web site owners to get paid by showing AdWords ads on their sites. (See Figure 1-4 for an example.) Think of an online version of a newspaper or magazine, with ads next to the editorial content. The content of the page determines which ads get shown. On sites devoted to weightlifting, for example, Google shows ads for workout programs and muscle-building supplements, rather than knitting and quilting supplies. Google lets you choose whether to “syndicate” your ads on these “syndication” networks.
While anyone with a Web site can use the AdSense program, Google has a special relationship with some of the most popular content sites on the Web, including
* Food Network.com
* The New York Times – www.nytimes.com
* Reed Business.com
Gmail is Google’s Web-mail service. It displays AdWords results to the right of the e-mails you receive. If you choose to syndicate your ads, your prospects who use Gmail may see them if the text of the e-mail is deemed relevant to your offer. For example, Figure 1-5 shows an e-mail that I (almost) sent to the MacArthur Foundation, humbly explaining why I should receive one of their “genius grants.” To the right, you can see ads for small business grants, a Cow Ringtone, triggered by my mention of a self-esteem program for cows, and two resources for college grant-seekers.
AdWords in the Total Google Context
Google rose from nothing to become the world’s most popular search engine in just a few months because it did one thing faster and better than all the rest: help Internet searchers find what they were looking for. I don’t want to overload you with the details of Google’s search algorithm (especially since it’s a such a secret that if I told you, I’d have to kill you, as well as the fact that I would have to understand words like eigenvector and stochastic in order to explain it), but you will become a better Google advertiser when you get the basic principles. The most important word in Google’s universe is relevance…