With online advertising spend overtaking TV advertising a year ago for the very first time, and almost all allocated to Google AdWords, clearly SMEs need to learn how to master Google to survive and grow online.
The benefits of Google Advertising versus offline are clear: inexpensive commitment, high level of control, high measurability, the capability to perform accurate geo targeting of customers, and the capability to react quickly to improve performance.
The difficulties SMEs face are considerable: limited time and money (75% of SMEs from a recently available survey ran advertising campaigns direct and not via an agency to truly save money), yet very few feel they learn how to optimise campaigns with 46% of the survey saying they don’t realize it enough to make campaigns work effectively and 39% saying they don’t have time to handle the campaigns. Fifty-two per cent said their campaigns were not profitable, with 54% saying they get traffic for their site but very little converts to actual business.
There also is driving a car factor: driving a car from the mountain of questions such as whether to use Google’s Search or Network service, an agency or to run campaigns directly, what the optimal levels to invest are, what is an excellent ROI, steps to make banner ads, and how exactly to use the Google tools and reports to optimise campaigns.
In terms of the agency versus direct question, the benefits of utilizing an agency are the ability you tap into and the time saved as campaigns could be live exactly the same day. Google Advertising Services The disadvantages are cost (with fixed monthly charges, a portion charge on advertising spend and 6-12 month lock in contracts).
The Search versus Network question on Google depends on the character of your advertising. If the service is very niche and specific to a restricted quantity of keywords then Search is the higher option, otherwise you must grab businesses from the cheaper network showing banner ads.
Banner ads can be a costly exercise and SMEs should use and try a good online service.
In terms of optimising campaigns, you will find a number of techniques including AB testing of different ad styles, developing specific keyword journeys (from keyword to ad text to content on the landing pages) to build up Quality Scores and lower the price per click paid, testing board and narrow keyword terms, long versus short tail, optimising between click through rate, impressions and conversion rates on your site, to mention a few.