Google Ads: A Small Business Guide to Ad Campaigns

How Google Ads Works:

Imagine a virtual auction held every time someone searches on Google. Businesses like yours bid on relevant keywords and the highest bidders get the prime ad spots. These ads can appear above or alongside search results, on partner websites, or even on YouTube videos.

So if you are selling cakes and you and your competitor business are bidding to show an ad to someone who has just searched in Google for “best cakes”. Then if you are willing to pay 65 cents to show that someone your ad – but the other business is only willing to spend 64 cents, then your ad gets shown.

But it’s not just how much you bid. You actually get judged on the quality of the ad too. Google has a lot of metrics to work out who has the best ad (“best” as in most relevant to the customer’s search and most advantageous for the customer). Google want you to do well but the want the customers to do well also. Remember that when starting an ad campaign.

Advantages of Google Ads for Small Businesses:

  • Targeted Reach: No more shotgun blasts! Google Ads lets you laser-focus on your ideal customers by targeting specific demographics, interests, and even past behaviours. Want to reach parents with toddlers in your local area? No problem!
  • Measurable Results: Unlike traditional advertising, you can track every click, conversion, and dollar spent with Google Ads. This data-driven approach gives you valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not, allowing you to optimise your campaigns for maximum ROI.
  • Budget Flexibility: Whether you have a shoestring budget or a marketing war chest, Google Ads offers various bidding options to fit your needs. Pay only for clicks, impressions, or specific actions like sign-ups.
  • Fast Results: Unlike Search Engine Optimisation – which takes time to build, Google Ads can put your business in front of potential customers the very same day you set up your campaign.

Disadvantages to Consider:

  • Learning Curve: Setting up and optimising Google Ads campaigns can be pretty complex. While Google try and make it user-friendly this requires some research and ongoing management to achieve success.
  • Competition: Popular keywords can be expensive, with bids driven up by larger companies. However, smart targeting and effective ad copy can help you compete. To use our earlier example; “best cakes” is going to be an expensive keyword and a lot of people using it aren’t looking to buy. They are maybe just looking for recipes. So how about “popular cake shops” instead?
  • Time Commitment: Google Ads needs regular monitoring and adjustments. If you don’t have the time or resources, consider hiring a professional manager.

Before You Dive In:

  • Define your goals: What do you want to achieve with Google Ads? More website traffic, increased sales, or brand awareness? Knowing your goals will guide your campaign strategy.
  • Research your keywords: Identify relevant keywords with high search volume but low competition. Alternatively, research low volume keywords that are high conversion (in other words, not many people use this keyword but those that do – often buy cakes) . Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help.
  • Craft compelling ad copy: Your ads are your first impression, so make them clear, concise, and irresistible. Highlight your unique selling proposition and include a strong call to action.
  • Set a realistic budget: Start small and scale up as you see results. Remember, even a modest budget can be effective with targeted campaigns. Remember!!!! it is very easy to track online how much money you are making form your ad campaign. If you are not making more money than you are spending – you are doing it wrong.


Google Ads can be a powerful tool for small businesses to reach new customers and achieve their marketing goals. While it requires effort and strategic planning, the potential rewards are substantial. So, if you’re ready to take your online visibility to the next level, consider giving Google Ads a try. Just remember, like any business endeavour, success requires dedication, learning, and a willingness to experience and adapt. Good luck!

Useful Resources:

Bonus! How to find the right keywords

Keywords are the foundation of your Google Ads campaign, guiding potential customers to your business. Choosing the right ones is crucial for attracting the right audience and maximising your advertising budget. Here’s how to conduct effective keyword research for your online ad campaign:

1. Understand your audience:

  • Who are your ideal customers? What are their needs, interests, and online behavior? Knowing your target audience helps you identify relevant keywords they’re likely to search for.
  • What stage are they in the buying journey? Are they just browsing, comparing options, or ready to buy? Use different keywords depending on their intent.

2. Brainstorm initial keywords:

  • Think about your products or services: What terms best describe what you offer?
  • Consider common questions your customers ask: These can be great long-tail keywords.
  • Analyse your website content: Identify keywords used in your website copy and meta descriptions.

3. Leverage free keyword research tools:

4. Go beyond basic keywords:

  • Long-tail keywords: More specific phrases with lower competition can be highly targeted and effective.
  • Negative keywords: Exclude irrelevant searches to avoid wasted ad spend.
  • Synonyms and related terms: Expand your reach beyond exact keyword matches.

5. Analyse and refine your list:

  • Prioritise keywords based on search volume, competition, and relevance.
  • Group related keywords into ad groups for better control and targeting.
  • Regularly monitor your campaign performance and adjust your keyword list as needed.

Bonus Tips:

  • Spy on your competitors: See what keywords they’re using in their ads.
  • Use keyword research tools creatively: Explore “related searches” and “people also ask” sections.
  • Stay updated on keyword trends: New keywords emerge all the time, so keep your research ongoing.

If you would like some advice on all of this, please call us on 1300 268 800