What Is Google Ads

Google Ads, previously known as “AdWords” or “Google AdWords”, is Google’s advertising system. Business set-up a Google Ads account and select specific keywords or search terms to show ads for. Depending on the campaign type, ads can appear on Google Search, Youtube, Gmail & almost any other network (which is part of the Google Display Network). When most people think of Google Ads, they think of Google Search, generally the first 3 or 4 listings on the search results page will be Google Ads, either in the form of Google Search Ads or Shopping Ads (the various campaign types will be discussed later).

Each search results page has an individual auction, where the advertisers who have selected that keyword bid in order to determine who appears on top. It is not a case of whoever bids the highest gets the top position however, Google factors in each websites Ad Rank (essentially ranks how relevant the website is to that query). Google looks at a combination of how much websites are willing to pay per click along with how relevant they are to determine the ad position. With billions of people searching a day and ads appearing in prime locations, it shouldn’t be surprising that the revenue Google makes from ads makes up the majority of their overall revenue.

Why Use Google Ads

Adwords works faster than SEO

One of the biggest benefits of running campaigns through Google Ads is that it was much faster than through SEO. The account is completely in the control of the advertiser, choosing how many keywords to advertise, turning on & off campaigns, let alone appearing at the top of the search results page. Running campaigns through Google Ads, and listings can instantly appear above SEO rankings that could take years of hard work to achieve. Not only that, but advertisers get more real estate on the page, having access to Ad Extensions to add more information to their listing and can test their messaging. Ad testing allows the advertiser to test and see whether “Save 35%” is more captivating than “Free Shipping” or any other messaging, this learning can be used across all forms of marketing for that website.

Measure your performance consistently

Another element that advertisers love about Google Ads is how easy it is to measure the performance of the campaigns. Advertisers have full access to see their clicks, costs, transactions, revenue, ROAS and much more. This makes Google Ads completely transparent, giving business owners the right information to make informed decisions about their marketing budget. This level of transparency also lets advertisers choose how much they are willing to pay per click, choose which keywords / search terms are driving value for the business and when combined with Google Analytics the learnings of which products / categories are working can be extrapolated to other areas of the website.

Run Google Ads & SEO for compounded performance

If shopify websites already have a strategy for SEO, then the next logical step is to expand to Google Ads. With proven results through Google Organic, then it makes sense that the same success can be found through Google Ads. If a website can have a text ad, organic listing & google shopping ad all appearing for their most valuable keywords, logically it will provide the best opportunity to maximise the clicks (and therefore sales) for those search terms. Ad tests have proven that when you combine a text ad with an organic listing, the chances of a user clicking on the ad exponentially increases. The application behind this test is that, when a high value keyword is found from Google Organic, then it should be followed with a targeted Google Search Ad.

List your website, when people are actively searching for your products / categories

Like SEO, Google Ads are a form of “active marketing”, meaning the user has already shown some form intent and taken an action (in the form of a google search) to find out information about the product or category. This makes it different to other forms of media, where advertisers need to grab the attention of the user. With Google, users are actively looking for products and are ready to make a purchase right there and then.


One of the most successful campaign types that shopify websites can run is called “remarketing” or “retargeting”. This allows the advertiser to re-engage with previous customers & potential customers who have been to the website previously, perhaps they have viewed several products, or added to cart but not purchased. Remarketing allows advertisers to display banners to these potential customers encouraging them to come back to the website and complete their purchase. Alternatively, advertisers can make their Search & Shopping ads more prominent to users who have engaged with their website previously.

Beat Your Competitor

With Google Ads having the capability to appear at the top of the search results page, this opens up opportunities for websites to compete on valued keywords that they are being outranked through Google Organic. Advertisers can be selective or aggressive in their strategy, this is dependent on their marketing budget and goals. Another option for advertisers is to bid on similar websites brand names with the intention of stealing customers. This is an aggressive strategy, generally used for websites who are price competitive, but can also be used to gain brand awareness for users who are interested in that specific industry.

What can I run through Google Ads

Google Search

Google Search ads (also known as Text Ads) is what most people think of when they think of advertising on Google. For popular search terms, Google will show 3 or 4 ads at the top & bottom of the search results page. With billions of searches a day on Google, search ads provide plenty of potential for websites to be noticed and to find new customers.

Search Ads are keyword based, meaning advertisers can choose which search terms they want to appear for and which ones they don’t. Advertisers also have the capability of being extremely specific or broad by using different keyword match types. There are three different keyword match types:

  • Exact
    • Ads will show up for the exact term, miss-spellings & very close synonyms
  • Phrase Match
    • Ads will show when the keyword has been included at some point in the search query
    • Other words can be included before and or after the keyword
  • Broad Match
    • Will show ads for anything related to the keyword
  • Bonus – Broad Match Modified
    • Will show ads for any search query as long as it includes the modified keywords
    • Keywords can be in any order in the search query
    • Other words can be included at any point of the search query

Search Ads basically follow the same format as the organic results, comprising of 2 or 3 headlines (up to 30 characters each), 2 description lines (up to 90 characters each), and 2 URL paths (up to 15 characters each). For advertisers who are just starting out with Google Ads, the more specific you are, the better your results. So starting with a combination of Exact Match & Phrase match or Broad Match Modified is a decent foundation.

Google Shopping

Google shopping is the image/product based ads that are shown on the Google Search Results Page. Where Search Ads are normally created for specific categories or brands on a website, Shopping campaigns are focussed on a websites specific products. Because websites will have substantially more products than categories, creating keywords for each individual product and keeping it up to date would be an impossible task. So, for Shopping Campaigns, Google uses information sent from the website in the form of a data feed. Google processes and reviews this feed in the Google Merchant Centre. In order to make adjustments to what terms your shopping ads appear for, you will need to update this feed and wait for the Merchant Centre to review your changes.

The data feed itself has format requirements that websites will need to adhere to, but as a general rule of thumb, the more information that is provided in a merchant centre feed the better. The main elements that must be included in a merchant feed include:

  • Product Title
  • Product Description
  • Product URL
  • Product Image URL(s)
  • Product Price
  • Product Condition
  • Etc.

Not only do websites have to provide this level of product information, but when creating a merchant centre, websites need to verify that they own the site (as no website can have more than 1 merchant centre), and websites also need to adhere to Google Shopping policies having clear returns policies, contact information, secure websites and more. These are requirements that are required for search ads, but can cause your shopping ads to be suspended until put in place.

Display Campaigns

  • Display ads are the billboards or banner ads from newspapers or magazines
  • Can display on almost any website in the world (around 90% of internet users)
    • Can display in a huge variety of formats
    • Display sizes vary for each device type and website format
    • Important to have multiple display sizes not to eliminate potential traffic sources
    • Have a huge range of targeting options

      Display campaigns are Google’s equivalent to magazine, newspaper or billboard ads. Display ads can show on almost any website in the world, as long as it is apart of the Google Display Network (which incorporates around 90% off all websites). This means that advertisers have access to display their ads on:

      • Websites
      • News pages
      • Blogs
      • Gmail
      • Youtube
      • Etc.

      In order to have access to these websites, advertisers need to make sure that they have created a variety of banner sizes. Each website will allow different size requirements, along with each type of device.

      One of the components that advertisers like about Display campaigns is the level of targeting options that they have available. Not only can they choose where their ads are placed, but also to which users they are showing them to. Some the targeting options include:

      • Specific Website Placements
      • Targeting Websites With Specific Content
      • Audience Demographics
      • Audience Interests
      • In-Market Audiences

      The best performing Display Campaign for Shopify websites is from Remarketing campaigns. Being able to re-engage with users who have already shown an interest in a website through a display campaign is a very effective way of encouraging the user to complete their purchase. Advertisers will use static remarketing to promote the website overall or a specific category, but the better option for ecommerce websites is Dynamic Remarketing.

      Dynamic Remarketing displays users the exact product that they were viewing on a website. Results for Dynamic Remarketing are generally much higher than for Static Remarketing campaigns, as users are much more likely to engage with a product that they were half way through purchasing. Dynamic remarketing does require extra code to be completed on the website called a “Data Layer”. This allows Google to understand which product users viewed, but in order for Google to understand this, the websites Data Layer must match the same information that is included within the Merchant Centre Feed.

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