Thursday, October 28, 2010

Resources for quickly getting up to speed on Google AdWords

This post is mainly intended for students who will be participating in the second Ross Workshop on Search Advertising, Friday, November 12, 2010. It contains materials for quickly getting up to speed on search advertising with Google AdWords and will be useful for the case competition in the second half of the workshop. Search advertising as defined here specifically covers ads that appear in the "sponsored links" section of Google search engine results pages. For the record, Google AdWords can be used to advertise on much more than Google search engine results pages including: content producing sites like the New York Times, other search engines, Google Maps, and a host of mobile applications.

Ad groups, the key to search advertising with Google AdWords

The case competition will focus on creating ad groups, the fundamental unit in Google AdWords search advertising. An ad group consists of keywords (search terms) and advertisements designed to appeal to people who use those keywords.  Here are a few critical dos and don'ts regarding AdGroups:

  • Searchers reveal their intent by the keywords they type in to the search engine. They're asking for something, usually something concrete and specific.
  • The keywords you choose for your ad groups need to be concrete and specific, focusing on one thing searchers may be looking for. It is never a good thing for an ad group to cover more than one thing searchers may be looking for.
  • Your should be promises to searchers. You should, in effect, say you are going to fulfill the intent the searchers expressed in their search queries. Ads should make clear calls to action this intent. It is a very good strategy to include keywords in ads. By doing so, you are using the searcher's own words to appeal to them.

Online materials that will help you master keyword selection and ad creation are as follows, roughly in descending order of usefulness:

  • The ad group creation exercise from the Google Grants Account Creation Guide. The whole guide is a quick read, and it's worth going through because it tells you all you need to know to get started with search advertising.
  • Marketing and Advertising Using Google: A guide written for business students. It provides a good overview of search advertising and AdWords.
  • Google's Youtube Business Channel. It's one half to two-thirds AdWords. It covers both basic and advanced topics in a very accessible way. If you want to understand up to the minute happenings across the whole AdWords product, this is the place for it.
  • Google's page for business educators. It contains some good overview material on Google products, AdWords in particular.