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Google Ads for Small Business

Google Ads for Small Business

Google Ads for Small Business

Are you starting to use Google Ads for small business? Google Ads allows small businesses to advertise their offering on Google's search and display sites and YouTube. If you can target the right people with the right offer, it will be a viable option for your business.

What and Why Google Ads for Small Business

Google Ads allows you, the small business to create ads on Google Search and other websites across the web for the right budget. Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) platform, meaning you will pay when your ad is clicked.

Google Ads can be a great tool for a small business as it allows you to reach your target customer when they are actively searching for products or services like yours. Small businesses can use Google Ads to target their ads by keyword, location, demographics, and other factors. This ensures that their ads are seen by those most likely to be interested in what they offer.

Here are some of the benefits of using Google Ads for small business:

  • Reach your audience by targeting by keyword, location, demographics, and other factors.
  • Get results quickly, as you can get your ads served immediately.
  • Control your budget by setting a daily budget.
  • Easily track the results and see how your campaigns are performing.

Effective use of Google Ads for small business:

  • Calculate an estimated return on investment. Before you start, estimate whether the ads will be profitable with our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to check if Google Ads will be profitable for your business
  • Start with a small budget. You can start with a budget as low as $10 per day. As you start to see results, you can increase your budget gradually.
  • Focus on relevant keywords. When choosing keywords to target, ensure they are relevant to your products or services and have a high search volume.
  • Craft compelling ad text that is both straightforward and succinct, incorporating your desired keywords for optimal targeting. Infuse persuasive language to capture your audience's attention. Lastly, don't forget to incorporate a compelling call to action.
  • Develop top-notch landing pages that align seamlessly with your ad copy, ensuring visitors receive the essential information to prompt action.
  • Leverage Google Ads' comprehensive reporting to monitor and analyse your campaign outcomes. Utilise these insights to refine your campaigns, progressively enhancing your results.

Getting Started with Google Ads for Small Business

You don't need to be an expert to get started with Google Ads, but you will need to learn quickly to get the best value and return on your investment. Let's run through the key elements to starting Google Ads for small business and what you need to watch out for to get the best value and outcome. 

Core concepts of Google Ads for small business 

Advertising on Google involves a bidding system. You design your ad based on your target audience, with your offer via your ad creative. You then must bid against other businesses competing to advertise to the same audience.

Luckily the bidding system is automated, and it will all come down to an appropriate daily spending compared to your competition and the quality of your ad.

Some basic terminology to understand Google Ads for small business 

Ads: the actual advertisement that will show up on Google

Ad group: the ads will sit within an ad group. This is where you will set the keywords and Call to action on your ads.

Campaign: The ad groups will sit within the campaign. This is where you will set your ads' overall objective and budget.

Impressions: An impression is counted every time your Google ad is displayed on Google and indicates the potential reach of your campaign.

Click: A click is counted when a user sees your ad and then clicks the link, which might be a:

    • Link to website
    • Phone call
    • Reveal more.

PPC: Pay Per Click is the Cost you pay per click.

PPI: Pay Per Impression is the Cost per impression (rather than click) and is mostly used with display ads.

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition is the Cost of achieving a goal or conversion.

ROAS: Return on Ad Spend is the amount you earn from Google ads.

Make sure you are in Expert Mode. 

If you're serious about running successful Google Ads campaigns, switch to expert mode immediately. It will give you the tools and control you need to get the most out of your advertising budget.

Here are some of the benefits of switching to expert mode:

    • Access to all campaign types and targeting options
    • More control over your budget and bidding strategies
    • Create reports to track your results in detail
    • Access to advanced features like ad extensions and conversion tracking

To switch to expert mode in Google AdWords, follow these steps:

    1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
    2. Tap or click on the Settings icon (gear icon) in the top right corner.
    3. Select Account settings.
    4. Under Account preferences, click Switch to Expert mode.
    5. Click Switch.

Once you've switched to expert mode, you can use all of the features and settings that Google Ads offers. This includes creating and managing all campaigns, targeting your ads to specific audiences, and tracking your results.

Setting up a Google Ads for small business campaign (the step by step process with screen shots!)

Every campaign needs:

  1. Understanding of the customer
  2. Keywords or targeting for your audience
  3. Clear objective with a call to action
  4. A converting landing page
  5. Creative (your copy or images/ videos) that hits the mark
  6. Sufficient Budget

Keeping the above in mind, the following is a step-by-step setup of the search campaign; I have assumed you have already started your Google Ads account.

1. To get started, select the Plus sign in the blue circle. Create a new campaign. 

Google ads starting a campaign

2. Choose your campaign objective. 

The objective should align with what you want to achieve with your ads.

Objective choices within Google Ads are:

  • Sales (designed to drive checkout conversions) will be more expensive than website traffic or product/brand consideration.
  • Leads (similar to the above but for a range of 'conversion' points) and similar to the above will be more expansive than other ads.
  • Website Traffic (designed to get people to your site)
  • Product and brand consideration/Brand awareness (both designed to make people aware of your product/ service without necessarily taking action)
  • App promotion (designed to drive downloads)
Google ads for beginners choose objective

3. Choose your campaign conversions

Conversions are key to success with Google Ads. They help you see if the ads are performing. You can either install a tag yourself on your website as a point of conversion or have your developer do this. Conversion points can be what is most relevant to your business, such as calls, contact form submissions, email, sales or downloads. You can have multiple conversions for a campaign.

If you have already set up your conversions within Google Ads, you will see a list of conversion goals. If this is the first time setting up a campaign, you must create the conversion points.

This is one of the most crucial yet overlooked points in setting up an ad. With the correct conversion point in place, the ads can perform properly. Google's Ad Artificial Intelligence uses the feedback from conversion to understand the right audience to send your website.

If you still need to set up your conversions, follow the below steps.

4. Setting your conversions with Google Ads

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Tools & Settings > Measurement > Conversions.
  3. Click the plus button to create a new conversion action.
  4. Select the conversion category that best matches your goal, such as Purchases, Leads, or App Installs.
  5. Enter a name for your conversion action.
  6. Select the conversion value and the amount of money you make from each conversion.
  7. Click Create and continue.
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your conversion tracking code.

Importing the conversions from Google Analytics (GA4) will provide you with a holistic view of your website's activity and is quick and simple. If you still need to set up proper tracking GA4, then now is the time to tackle this.

Hit continue to move to the next step.

5. Choose the campaign type. 


Next, you will need to choose the campaign type. The campaign type will determine the type of ad that you create. 


The choices are: 

  • Search - Text-based ads 
  • Performance Max – which will serve all types of ads at once.
  • Display – Images or videos
  • Video – For YouTube and the display network 
  • Shopping – you will need your products listed in Google Merchant for this and connect your Google Merchant account to your Adwords account 
  • Discovery – a broader inventory including YouTube, Gmail, Discover 
  • Local – ads served based on the location of the viewer
Google ads for beginners choose campaign type

6. Enter your website URL and name your campaign. 

You should enter your primary domain here, i.e. – not the final destination landing page (if this is different). 

The name of your campaign can be whatever you want. It will not impact performance or be visible to anyone but you. 


A good naming convention is the type of ad, the campaign name and a date, e.g. Search_cupcakedelivery_Sept25. 

Google ads for beginners website url and name

7. Choose your network 


The next step is to choose the network for where you want your ads to appear within the Google universe. You will be defaulted to show on search and display networks. 

Setting up google ads choosing your network

8. Choose your Bidding Strategy 

As mentioned above, Google Ads is an auction system where you must bid against your competition. There are two categories of bidding strategies:

  • Manual bidding: If you're using manual bidding, you'll tell Google your maximum CPC bid for each keyword. This is the maximum amount you're willing to pay for a click. It's important to know that this isn't necessarily what you will pay—it could be less. This strategy gives you total control, but it can be hard to see results.
  • Automated bidding: With an automated bidding strategy, you'll let Google determine your max CPC bids using their artificial intelligence. Usually, the machine can do better than the human.
  • You will also need to choose what you are bidding for between "maximising conversions" or "clicks".
  • Start with clicks before moving to conversions once you have some (minimum of 50)
  • Usually, you would start with clicks, as you need a minimum of fifty to bid effectively on conversions.


Google Ads bidding

9. Choose your network

Next step is to choose the network for where you want your ads to appear within the Google universe. You will be defaulted to show on search and display networks.

Google ads for small business - pick your networks

10. Pick location and language

Next is the location and language. These are self-explanatory. You can select a single country or multiple countries. You can also select specific areas such as by postcode or by a radius (you can access this via the advanced search).

Google ads for small business - pick your locations

11. Audience segment

You will now see the audience segments section, and you can leave it as the default or you can be targeted. I fyou leave it as the default, this will allow the Google ads AI to source from all audiences. Or if you are very clear on who you are targeting you can take advantage of this feature by narrowing your ads targeting by age, gender, income and interests which are determined from Google’s affinity and in market categories.

Google ads for small business - audience segments

There are two main types of audience segments in Google Ads: pre-built segments and custom segments.

Pre-built segments are created by Google and are based on a variety of factors, such as interests, demographics, and life events. You can target these segments by adding them to your ad groups.

You create custom segments and can be based on a variety of factors, such as your website visitors, your CRM data, or your email list. You can create custom segments by uploading a list of users or by using Google Analytics to create a segment.

Once you have created or added audience segments, you can use them to target your ads in a number of ways. For example, you can:

  • Target your ads to specific segments when you create your campaigns or ad groups.
  • Create separate campaigns or ad groups for each of your audience segments.
  • Use audience segments to adjust your bids or to exclude certain segments from seeing your ads.
  • Use audience segments to create remarketing campaigns to target people who have already visited your website or interacted with your brand.

Unless you are very clear on your audience, you should not narrow your potential reach with this feature, or at least not until you’ve learn more about your audience.

12. Broad match keywords

This setting will apply to your entire campaign for keywords you have selected to be a broad match.

Google ads for small business - broad-match keywords

Broad match is a loose matching against your keyword phrase, allowing Google a broad interpretation of what search terms will be suitable for your offering. While this can be a good thing, it also opens up to potentially bad matches as well.

Match types

Match types help Google understand which of these keyword variations you want your ads to show for. You will need to make a choice on the ‘match type’ with your keywords – and the default is broad. Here are the three match types from least to most restrictive:

    • Broad match: allows your ad to show for any query related to your keyword.
    • Phrase match: picks up queries with the same meaning as your keyword.
    • Exact match: only allows your ad to show when a query has an identical meaning to your query.

13. Start and end times for your campaign.

You have the choice of having a start and end time for your campaign and not having an end date (ie running the campaign continuously.

You can also determine a schedule based on when you would like the ads to be displayed. This can be useful for ensuring that you are spending your budget when you know your audience to be online eg on weekends or evenings. To access this “show more settings” and pick your start and end dates and ad schedule.

Google ads for small business - start end times

14. Choose your keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases your target is typing into Google Search.

You might decide to have a few different groups of keywords (separated as Ad groups) in a campaign for example

Ad Group 1 – Cupcake recipes

Ad Group 1 – Cupcake ordering

It’s best to do keyword research before you start the set up of your ads. By doing this you can understand monthly volumes and average cost per click before setting up your account. This is useful to understand budget and potential profitability of your campaign.

When selecting your keywords make sure they have clear commercial intent. You should also make sure tha the number of keywords is under 20 or less.

A note on negative keywords

Negative keywords are terms you select that you don’t want your ads to show for.


  • Cupcake delivery YES
  • Cupcake recipe NO
  • Negative keywords help you make the most of your budget and add them as you run your campaign and review the search terms displayed in your ads.

To complete this section you can either use your website for Google Ads to scan and suggest keywords, or you can upload your own keywords based on previous research, which is the recommended approach to ensure you’ve properly considered your market based on volumes, competition and estimated cost per keyword.

15. Tools to research your keywords and ads before you start

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner (within the Ads dashboard). Access from the top menu ribbon under Tools & Settings to do your keyword research.
  • com to help you review your competitors' website for keywords that they are receiving traffic from
Google ads for small business - keywords

16. Writing your ads

Now you can write your ads. The format is a responsive format and requires multiple headlines and descriptions. Google will mix and match these to find the perfect match for the person they are displaying this too.

Google ads for small business - writing ads

Responsive ads as the most common format, have multiple headlines and descriptions that Google will show different combinations to find the best results.

When writing the headlines and descriptions, include varying lengths, include your CTA and try and use the keywords you are targeting within the headlines.

17. Tools to help you write your ads

18. Extensions

Extensions are additional links that you can use to extend and improve the performance of your ad. You should at least three site links eg. About, Contact, Pricing or deals and three Call outs which can feature values or features of your business.

You will also need to input the landing page you want to send people to. This may be your home page or it may be a specific sale page that is a good fit for the ad offer.

Getting the right user to click is half the game, but your website is what will convert them. Here are a few landing page best practices to follow:

  • Cover the technical aspects. Optimize for page speed and make sure it’s responsive and secure.
  • Focus on the CTA: Be sure that the button, form, or whatever your action is clear and easy to access.
  • Have a clean, attractive design
  • Actively review and optimise as you send traffic through to the page.

19. Budget

Google ads for small business - budget

You must now enter a daily budget.

To calculate your daily budget, you’ll need to start with some keyword research and Cost Per Click Range. Then divide that number by 30.4 (the average number of days in a month) to arrive at your daily budget. This is one of the reasons it is useful to do your keyword research ahead of setting up your ad.

20. Payment details

 If you are setting up your account for the first time you will also need to add your payment details, and once done your ad is live.

Ads will be reviewed to ensure there is no breach of a Google policy but generally the review is very quick. (links)

To finish off add your payment details and then your ad is live. While there is a review process, it will only be paused if a problem is found. This happens usually within minutes.

Once done, your ads will be live (after Google assesses the as for compliance with their policy - its an automated thing and usually takes less than 24hrs)!


Assessing and optimising your ads

Conversions are the real test of success of your ads so make sure that they are set up and tracking correctly.

Your conversion will be a key activity you want a person to do as a result of your ad, eg. website purchases, phone calls, app downloads or newsletter sign-ups.

The set-up process is different depending on the type of conversion that you’re tracking, so the first step in setting up conversion tracking would be choosing a conversion source, or where your conversions come from.

You should also look at the Return On Investment for your ads.  To calculate ROI, take the revenue that resulted from your ads, subtract your overall costs, and then divide by your overall costs: ROI = (Revenue - Cost of goods sold) / Cost of goods sold.

We have a great step-by-step guide to help you work it out.

Optimising your ads for effectiveness

Here are some tips on ensuring your ads work well. They should never be set and forget rather an active monitoring and managing.

  1. Check the quality of the ads by looking at the click-through rate and conversion rate. You need 1000 impressions and 100 click-throughs to be able to assess the effectiveness of the ad.
  2. Check quality score of the keywords - if they are a low score, then you need to check how well the landing page relates to the ads and keywords.
  3. Look at the Click through rate and conversion rate is for the keywords
  4. Review the search terms that people have searched for to check that there are no keywords that are irrelevant. Make any that are not negative.
  5. Review the landing pages. They are most important part of your ads campaign.


Tools to help you assess and improve your ads


Google Ads for small businesses can be very profitable. However, it is essential that you ensure you set them up correctly, thinking about the right objective, quality ad creative, as well a high-performing landing page to take advantage of the traffic that you will generate by running the ads. Take the time to properly research your keywords, craft your ads and monitor the performance.


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