For many, when asked about Google Adwords they will refer to it as an online advertising channel which can be used to list ads for a business on a search engine results page by bidding on selected keywords. Whilst this is a not in inaccurate description of it, it does grossly underplay the full capabilities that the platform offers businesses & reflects a wide-spanning knowledge gap.

This blog showcases 2 key Google Adwords features that we often find businesses aren’t utilising or perhaps aren’t even aware of; real hidden gems for customer acquisition that can unleash the full potential of the platform and help to bring in more conversions much more efficiently.

1. Display Advertising – Show Your Products To The People Who Are Likely To Be Most Interested.

For those who haven’t heard of Display Advertising, it is an alternative campaign type within the Adwords platform where can you choose to place advertisements onto other people’s websites who have Google Adsense advertising space.

There are a number of benefits to display advertising that are often overlooked.

1) It allows you to reach new audiences who might not be actively searching for your goods/services but might be interested them. Some businesses may already have a supplier they turn to first, alternatively they might have an entirely different solution in place and did not know that there was a superior alternative available. Display Advertising allows for you to target the audience who are most likely to have an interest in your products, without having to rely on them coming to you.

2) It offers one of the easiest ways to quickly increase the volume of traffic to your website, and is offer a much cheaper source of traffic compared to search and shopping campaigns. You also have the ability to choose from traditional cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) pricing – where you can define how many people you want the adverts to see, and pay that set amount per thousand impressions. According to the latest Wordstream benchmark data – the average CPC for Display is only around 45p!

3) You don’t need a graphics team to whip up some display ads, or spend on outsourcing (though this is an option), Google offer responsive ads – upload your logo and a relevant image (make sure you have the right to use first!) and hey presto, instant ad for the Display Network and no graphics skills required! Text ads can also be placed on the Display Network when there isn’t enough space on a website to show a banner or rich media; you can dabble in Display with little risk in wasting money and time on creating graphics if it doesn’t work for you.

Responsive Display Advert
An example of a responsive display advert

4) What really makes Display Advertising a gem in my opinion are the vast targeting options available now. Amongst these there’s ‘Contextual Targeting’ where you can target visitors to pages based on the keywords that appear on them, ‘Placement Targeting’ where you choose the specific website you want to advertise on, ‘Custom Affinity Audiences’ when you can create an audience tailored to their brands by using free form interests entered as keywords and/or using URLs as a proxy for interest bundles, and ‘In-Market Audiences’ which are pre-created audiences based on behavioural data. Google recognises when people are researching and are actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer and puts them into these “in-market” audiences.

Whilst increasing sales in the end goal, I should clarify that Display Advertising is not a tool I would recommend for bringing in masses of direct sales. I would, however, highly recommend it as a tool for building that initial awareness of your brand and products from the type of people you want to buy from you. Therefore your message should be around getting them to go to your website rather than going in for the sale straight away. You should be aiming to capturing these visitors to convert at a later date through tactics such as email welcome campaigns or remarketing. When done well these visitors will begin to play a vital role in your overall acquisition strategy by filling the top of your sales pipeline very cost effectively.

If you would like more information on Display Advertising, check out our Blog “Display 101: Navigating The Display Network”.

2. Gmail Advertising – Reaching New Audiences Directly In Their Inbox

Email makes up the biggest form of daily digital activity. 86% of people globally use email, and Gmail has 1 billion active users.

We know already that email marketing is an effective channel for targeting and converting existing customers and prospects, so what if we could harness the power of email to target people who don’t yet know we exist? Gmail Advertising allows you to do just that, and drive awareness and influence purchase decisions by delivering content and messaging where people keep coming back.

Gmail Ads are interactive ads that appear at the top of people’s inboxes – and look just like an email. When someone clicks a collapsed Gmail Ad, it expands just like an email does.

These are set up and managed from within the Google Adwords platform, and no HTML experience is required! There are a number of different ad formats you can choose from including:

As with Display Advertising, you are able to target specific audiences of people based on a number of criteria. You can use all the targeting selections I outlined previously with display, so again you could utilise affinity audiences on in-marketing audiences here, or you can upload email lists of target customers that you already know and either target them or exclude them from your targeting, or create “similar to” audiences. ‘Similar Audiences’ looks at data relating to existing audiences and finds new, qualified consumers who have shared interests with that audience.Pricing is based off a cost-per-click on the collapsed ad. Once clicked, people can interact with your expanded ad in different ways, depending on your ad’s layout. They can play video, fill in a form, click to go to your website or (when they’re on mobile) click to call or to go to an app marketplace.

Aside from all the normal impression and click data, you are also able to measure how many people interact with the ads – how many people save the gmail, how many people forward it, and how many people go to the website and buy. Unfortunately. it doesn’t track view through conversions at the moment however.

Gmail is a very cost effective route to reach lots of potential customers – CPCs generally sit in between the 10-20p mark. This is because it’s much less competitive that Google Search or Display.

It is a much newer form of advertising, however I’m seeing good initial data for the clients we are running Gmail campaigns with. Again as these are new leads it’s more about the brand awareness building and going for data capture than the immediate sale – however if you have a compelling offer it’s a great way to put it in front of a lot of people who might buy for a very low cost.

If you would like to hear about more hidden Adwords gems for customer acquisition then make sure you sign up for the eCommerce MasterPlan Virtual Summit (for FREE!) and view my session from Day 1, where I talk about these in more detail along with how to apply the 7 levels to your Google Adwords Search campaigns, doing Google Shopping Campaign properly, Remarketing beyond your website visitors and bringing your products into YouTube Ads.

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