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Should I Use Google Ads? Tips for Every Industry [2020]

October 7, 2020

Asking me "Should I use Google Ads?" is like asking me if you should order dessert. The answer is yes. I don’t care how full you are, there’s a separate compartment in your stomach for sweets.

But seriously, Google Ads affords too many benefits to businesses—whether they are large or small, local or ecommerce, in the healthcare industry or home improvement space—to be ignored. 

google ads benefits by network

But of course, as a company that supports Google Ads, we're going to say that you should run them. That's why in this post, I'm going to equip you with everything you need to know in order to feel confident about running Google Ads. I'll cover:

  • The benefits of Google Ads 
  • Common (mistaken) reasons business don't use Google Ads
  • Tips, tools, and optimizations for specific industries including healthcare, hospitality, law, and more. 

Why you should use Google Ads

Unless your product or offerings suck (which I’m sure they don’t; and in which case your business is likely to fail regardless), then I'd highly recommend advertising on the largest search engine in the world (Google).

I truly believe that if your company provides a valuable product or offering that has an in-market audience to sell to, then there’s no reason you should not at least try out Google Ads. The thing is, it all comes down to dollars and cents. If you’re not doing it right you’re likely not going to see a return. On the other hand if you have a solid team, individual, or combination of both carefully running your PPC strategy then your business growth could double, triple, or quadruple just from the PPC side of marketing. I know this because I’ve seen it happen to many of our clients here at WordStream.

Common hesitations for running Google Ads

Every industry is different and has its unique challenges. Later in this post, you’ll find out the challenges and recommended strategies to succeed with Google Ads based upon your business model and industry, but first let’s address common hesitations for running Google Ads.

Why should I run Google Ads if SEO is free?

When SEO is free, why should you spend money rather than focusing on appearing higher in organic results? I’ve heard this argument time and time again, but when you take the time to actually understand the difference between the two, you’ll realize that relying solely on SEO is unrealistic for long-term business success.

In comparison to PPC, SEO is harder to control and keep up with. You can create tons of quality content, optimize your site’s structure to appear in the SERPs (search engine results page), and follow all of the SEO best practices, but placements are still never guaranteed. And even if you do attain high organic ranking for a particular page or post, unless you keep it updated and optimized, it is likely to depreciate in "SEO juice" over time. Plus, Google shifts their algorithm quite frequently, so you need to stay on top of that. There’s also the issue that your competitors are likely paying to play; therefore, getting to the top of Google for free is possible for organic results, but paid results will always be at the very top. . Finally, while SEO is free, it takes time, and the ability to create and optimize quality content on an ongoing basis can be resource-heavy.

is google ads for me the seo process

Image source

If you’re finding that Google traffic is too expensive or that your queries never convert, there’s a high chance you’re doing something wrong. I cannot understate the importance of taking the time to learn Google Ads and other growth strategies. Understanding concepts like bidding, match types, negative keywords, and other tools can help you to control your budget and maximize your Google Ads ROI. You also need to understand landing pages, because even cheap clicks are money thrown in the trash if nobody converts after clicking your ads. The bottom line is that Google Ads works. You will get results if you do it right, and this guide provides you some specific tips on how to do just that.

Can I run Google Ads if I wear multiple hats?

I’m not going to lie—if you wear multiple hats, then running a Google Ads account can be challenging. For the sleep-deprived business owner or the sole digital marketer overseeing a field of marketing campaigns, I wouldn’t recommend relying on Google Ads alone. Why? The Google Ads interface is not built for the hat-juggler. Digging into the data, optimizing your campaigns, and managing the structure of your account can become a full-time job and eat up the majority of your week. Unless you’re an analytical Google Ads wizard who has the time to stay up-to-date on the ever changing PPC space, then you should consider one of the following options:

  • Hire a PPC employee: Take the weight off your shoulders and hire someone tasked with hitting certain PPC metrics, maintaining your account, and gaining new business from your paid ads strategy. This person can also be tasked with running paid ads through other networks like Bing, Facebook, and Instagram, depending on the size of your account. It is not uncommon for businesses to have a dedicated paid acquisition marketer on their team (we have one!). However, this can be quite expensive and requires making a reliable and quality hire!
  • Outsource to a contractor or agency: Again, this option can cost a heavy chunk of change. You have to ensure you’re hiring the PPC agency or consultant, and be comfortable with the fact that they don’t know your business like you do. If you decided to go down the outsourcing route spend time doing your research and having conversations to ensure the fit is right.
  • Leverage a software solution: Typically, this is the cheapest and most efficient option for those who want to “do-it-yourself” in way less time. Tools like WordStream’s 20 Minute Work Week take the hours upon hours of PPC analysis out of the equation and do it for you, while still allowing you the control to accept or reject the suggested optimizations since no one knows your business quite like you do.
is google ads right for me-software solution

Is Google Ads right for me if I'm a PPC novice?

So you put your ego aside and decided to admit it: your PPC skills are just about as sharp as an infant’s driving skills. Don’t sweat it, we’ve all been there. The first step to mastering PPC is admitting that you need to learn it. You might understand the difference between paid and organic listings, but what about the proper way to structure an account? Or match types and negatives? PPC is not rocket science, and it can be learned for free online. Check out the following resources to become a PPC pro:

  • Growth Academy: WordStream's latest free training resource, Growth Academy gives you access to online marketing video courses taught by WordStream’s own industry leaders. Here, you can learn about using Google Ads and other PPC strategies to reach your unique business goals.

  • PPC University: A complete school to get the new PPCer up-to-speed on important concepts, with advanced material for those who have mastered the basics. There’s also an app!
Should I use AdWords? Pic of PPC U
  • Google Ads Learn Center: Google Ads has a plethora of free learning material, and since it comes from the source you can be sure it’s legitimate.

Is Google Ads right for me if I have a longer sales cycle?

Whether you sell medical software, cars, or insurance, there are a long list of industries that struggle with longer sales cycles. Does that mean steering away from PPC is probably best? Actually, quite the opposite is true. For longer buyer journeys, PPC is a critical component of speeding up slow-as-molasses sales cycles. Just think about, if there’s multiple touch points during longer journeys, you want to ensure you’re present when the searcher is either starting out or in the midst of their journey (research phase). If you’re not in a prominent place on the SERPs then the searcher will likely go with your competitor. Basically, if you’re not advertising on Google, you could be missing out on a converting a huge audience.

Industry-specific Google Ads tips

Now that we’ve combatted some major concerns, let’s talk about the specific tips, challenges, and strategies for industries when it comes to Google Ads:

If you’re a SaaS or B2B business

The B2B/SaaS world comes with its unique challenges including longer sales cycles and niche audiences. PPC might seem like a path to avoid, but many B2B businesses (including WordStream) have found that PPC plays a critical role in their lead generation strategy. As long as you’re doing it right, you can succeed with Google Ads. To ensure you are doing it right, follow these tips for B2B Google Ads  success:

  • Conduct keyword research to gain insight on how your audience searches based on where they are in the buying cycle.
  • Bid on “problem” keywords and direct your ads to “solution” content.
  • Create a custom schedule to ensure you’re advertising during the most profitable hours. For B2B offerings, we’ve found that this is typically during working hours Monday-Friday.
Should I use AdWords? Data showing peak hours for B2B

Google Ads tips for retail and ecommerce

The biggest challenge for retail and ecommerce marketers running Google is the insanely high level of competition. According to eMarketer, US retail digital ad spending will increase by just 3.1% this year, for a total of $28.23 billion; and next year’s growth will rebound to 25.7%. 

is google ads right for me digital ad spend retail

To outsell your competition through Google Ads, make sure to:

  • Use Google Shopping ads. Shopping ads allow you display an image, price, your brand name, and even reviews allowing the searcher to get all the information they need before even clicking. This ensures more high-intent clicks, which are generally cheaper then search ads with higher conversion rates.
  • Ensure shopping ad images are high-quality and prices are accurate.
  • Don’t forget about search ads. Text ads are still important for retail marketers because they help raise brand awareness and create repeat buyers.
  • Take advantage of automation with Google Dynamic Search Ads. Things like ad customizers, dynamic remarketing ads, and ad scheduling will save your life when you’re selling thousands and thousands of products.
  • Understand your seasonal peaks and adjust accordingly. If you’re not running higher-budget campaigns for events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then I’d start questioning your career choice.
how to set up dynamic display ads how dynamic remarketing works

These tips are just dusting the surface. Check out the full guide of PPC retail marketing tips here.

If You’re a Local Businesses

Local businesses need not underestimate the power Google Ads can have in driving foot traffic to their storefronts. Whether it be local residents or out-of-towners, people are hopping on Google to find a new restaurant, a dentist office to fix their chipped tooth, or a place to buy baby clothes for their friend’s twins. The following things are crucial to gain success in the local PPC space:

Should I use AdWords? Image of local ad
  • Have a call strategy in place. Calls are critical for location-based businesses so you need to be utilizing call-only campaigns, call extensions, and have a complete mobile strategy in place. You also must track calls to properly optimize your Google Ads account.
  • Implement all relevant Google Ads ad extensions (call, location, sitelinks, callouts, etc.) to make it as easy as possible for searchers to gain information through the SERPs.

Google Ads tips for the legal industry

“Sixteen years ago all you needed to do was purchase a yellow page ad, and that was it. Nowadays if you don’t spend time on digital marketing, and paid search specifically, you’re not going to make it,” says Jeff Kelly, owner of his own law firm specializing in bankruptcy. “Your business will quickly dry up if you’re not marketing online.”

is google ads right for me-local online marketing

Folks, you must listen to this wise man. Legal PPC is tough since you’re dealing with some of the most competitive (i.e. expensive) keywords in search, but if people can’t find you on Google then you’re business growth with come to a standstill. To achieve Google Ads success in this industry make sure to:

  • Differentiate yourself from your competition. There’s a lot of it out there, so this is critical. Use actionable CTAs, implement ad extensions, and most importantly, highlight what makes you better.
  • Ensure your ads speak to the searcher’s intent and readiness to hire a lawyer.
  • Build trust in your brand. This is so critical for the legal industry because cases are often expensive and stakes are high, so your clientele needs to trust you. To do this provide ample opportunity for leads to call your business, use videos on your landing pages to put a face to the firm, and have an online chat system in place.

Check out the full guide to law firm PPC marketing here.

Google Ads tips for the travel & hospitality iondustry

Ah, one my favorite industries! Since 74% of both travel and leisure planning occurs online, with the majority starting with search, utilizing Google Ads is a necessity for those in the business. To maximize your hotel and travel bookings:

  • Bid higher on locations, days, and hours when people are more likely to book travel.
  • Create separate campaigns for each offering and destination.
  • Get visual on the Display Network. Just the image of your location can probably sell itself so why not take advantage by running captivating visual displaycampaigns.
best display ads of 2020-lexus example

For more travel AdWords tips check out this guide.

Google Ads tips for healthcare

From self-diagnosing (we’ve all done it), to sensitive information, to language restrictions, and the issue of not being allowed to remarket, Google Ads can turn healthcare marketers off, but according to a Google study, 90% of hospital administrators rely on search engines to identify vendor and product options and to research features. To foster healthy Google Ads performance in this space:

  • Get to know your audience well. What keywords will they use to search for when looking for a management software or specific medical equipment? Are there different levels of experience, occupations, or personas that you’ll need to target in an alternative manner? Asking questions like this will get you on the right track to running a relevant and successful Google Ads campaign.
  • Ensure your mobile strategy is top notch. With over 50% of healthcare administrators using their smartphones while making a purchasing decision, this is critical for healthcare PPCers.
  • More is always better when it comes to your landing pages. People want a lot of information in order to make a decisions when it comes to their health.

Check out this in-depth healthcare PPC guide for more tips.

If your industry was left out, check out our best vertical guides or leave a comment letting me know what industry you’d like me to cover next.

Still unsure of whether you should use Google Ads? Start off with a smaller budget, promoting your highest selling products. Once you’re seeing results, build out your other offerings and keywords groupings to maximize your results. In no time your business will be growing at a faster rate than you ever imagined. Good luck!

Margot Whitney

Margot Whitney

Margot is a content marketing specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking.

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