What is a “Google AdWord” and Why Should I Care?

If you sell things then you care about Internet advertising. Everyone who sells things is interested in their status on Google.

A Google AdWord is a classified advertisement that runs next to certain search results.

Classified advertisements appear on the Internet and in the back sections of the newspaper and many other places. Sometimes they’re free. Usually they’re just a few lines, perhaps five or so, in length. Most of them cost money.

The phrase “classified advertisement” means, literally, advertisements separated into classes. Used Cars is a class. Personal is another class.

For a Google search, the class Used Cars will get triggered when the user types such a request. Then a handful of relevant Google AdWord classified advertisements appear alongside the free listings.

The user might click a free listing or click one of the Google Adwords listings. Either way he or she is hoping to find a good deal on a used car.

Google AdWords, as you can see in the second column examples, are just “classified ads” re-invented for Google. The HTML was hand-coded to mimic the look of a real Adword.

Up to this point classified advertising appearing in most media works similarly. What makes Google AdWords different?

It’s smart. The classified ad for Chuck’s Used Junkers only appears — depending on several variables — when users in the zip codes surrounding downtown are searched. In fact it’s too smart! The super brains at Google made it that way. It only runs when a set of complex requirements are met. For example: How good is the ad? (No, really.)

It can be tracked. Once someone clicks it the ad’s specifics are recorded and Chuck pays a few bucks. Or it isn’t clicked, just read, and no payment is made. Either way details concerning the ad are recorded.

It costs. Well everything costs. Running a similar classified advertisement in a Chicago Tribune package could cost $75 a month. Figure a community newpspaper ad comparably. Can a Google AdWords classified advertisement run for less than $100 per month? Being stingy will help.

It’s an education. Optimizing search engine results isn’t an exercise for philosophers. Enrolling in Google’s program — the Analytics web statistics module stands out — enables web enthusiasts to learn first-hand what makes clicks tick.

What now?

Everyone with something to sell must decide for themselves how to proceed but an old tale says to spend about 5% of sales volume, per year, in marketing. Break it down yourself: With a $5,000 annual marketing budget, for example, $2,500 in ads spread around several media is not unreasonable. Brochures, cards, web site updates all might soak up the remaining budget in short order.

It’s something to think about.

Where do I sign up?

Right here. In the zip codes surrounding downtown, contact me and I’ll be happy to make a short presentation to your team so everyone can share their thoughts. Then we start advertising.


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