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Google AdWords: not just the words of ads.

Digital stuff freaks a lot of ad people out. Anna Halliday crosses into the digital world to figure out what Adwords really is and how it all works.

Digital stuff freaks a lot of ad people out. Hell, it freaks a lot of PEOPLE out. Marketing people, the government, parents… It’s kinda weird, it changes all the time and all the experts seem to be 25 years old and speaking a language that sounds made up.

The most excruciating thing about digital marketing is that, once you think you have it all figured out, you kinda don’t, because something new is out already. Wait. Did I say ‘excruciating’? Because what I meant to say was AMAZING.

I’m a nerd. There is no denying this fact. I have a degree in English Literature. I get lost in Wikipedia holes because I love looking stuff up. And then looking up something from inside that thing. And then investigating another thing related to the second thing but not really related to the first thing. And then going off on tangents…

In addition to my love of looking stuff up, and writing things, I love the fact that this ever-evolving form of advertising means that I never have to stop learning and I can get paid to do it at work.

Sense Digital is lead by geniuses and features some of those still other-world-level smart people I talked about above. Their brains move at a pace many of us cannot even comprehend, but I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with them on Google AdWords and I made a discovery: as the title of this post suggests, they aren’t just words in ads. But they kind of are, too.

Pretty much, AdWords are the ads you see at the top, bottom and side of Google search results after you enter a search query into our beloved Google (which I am sure will one day be our benevolent overlord so I want to get it on record that it is TOTALLY beloved by me. It’s watching). Seems simple right? Well… It’s not.

In order to get these ads up on Google, you have to enter into a kind of deal. This deal says that, the higher quality the content on the site your ad refers searchers to, the higher your ad ranks in the list of results. ‘Quality’, in this case, means one thing: how much your site truly relates to the query you are using to attract prospective customers, and how much it relates to the words you used in the ad that takes them there.

There are a number of ways Google measures this, from the actual body of content on your site to the address of the page clickers are directed to. This is actually pretty complex and does require hand-holding from a professional.

The other part of AdWords that’s important to note is how you pay for them. Each query has a price. So say you are selling organic apples in Northcote on your site. The price for the query ‘organic apples Northcote’ would be maybe 50 cents. The price for the query ‘organic apples Melbourne’, which would, of course, get you a larger potential audience, is maybe $1.50. Keep in mind that this is per click.

That’s right! AdWords is so fair that you are only charged when a prospective client clicks on your link in response to the query you have paid for. Why isn’t all advertising like this? Oh, wait. Because traditional print, TV and outdoor media isn’t interactive. Forget I said anything.

So what does all this mean to a copywriter? Well, here is the fun part. AdWords ad words (geddit?) are limited to a 25-character headline with two lines following, each at 35 characters. So it takes a lot of skill, practice and creativity to put together an ad that is relevant enough to the destination site’s content that it will rate highly, catchy and straightforward enough that it will generate click-throughs and clever enough that it still works as a piece of advertising.

As an ad creative, putting together AdWords is an exercise in precision. If you thought creating a headline was hard, try creating a headline that’s less than 25 characters and includes keywords that refer to your client’s product or service. Don’t forget, you can’t be boring!

As a client, AdWords are a crucial part of pretty much every modern campaign, even for the simple fact that you can measure return on investment almost immediately, based on how much you’re paying for your advertising. It’s a win-win for any agency willing to test their creative mettle and, best of all, it gives us the opportunity to create compelling content for our clients’ sites to boost their AdWords ratings. But that’s a topic for another time.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we love creating clever digital strategy and executing it in original, creative ways. If you want to know more about how AdWords or other online advertising can work for your business, or hear some of our success stories so far, we would love to talk to you. Really. We love it.

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Digital stuff freaks a lot of ad people out. Anna Halliday crosses into the digital world to figure out what Adwords really is and how it all works.

Anna Halliday
Digital Campaign Team Lead