SEA campaigns with Google Ads: How Search Engine Advertising Works

Michael Firnkes Last updated 08.07.2021
7 Min.
SEA Search Engine Advertising
Last updated 08.07.2021

Search engine advertising (SEA), search engine advertising, keyword advertising... Whatever you want to call it, placing ads on Google & Co. is an important building block for your online marketing. But for many, SEA remains a closed book. Sascha Humpel from our agency partner Potential² shows you how to get started and advertise on Google.

Google Ads: Tracking and budget

Sascha, SEA can be a great lever, especially in combination with promoting high-quality content. Why do many companies and freelancers shy away from the topic?

It's in companies from the service sector that we mostly encounter this "fear" of investing in Google Ads. Here, the biggest problem is not being able to accurately measure conversions (inquiry) to sales. An inquiry might come in today but only lead to an order several weeks or months down the load. That order may then lead to even larger orders. When we get this far, it can prove impossible to trace back that the order originally came from Google Ads. Customers then often say: "We did try Google Ads but it doesn't work for my company".

Companies from the e-commerce sector or companies with a simple online shop also make a similar statement from time to time too. We can usually put this reluctance down to the poor or even missing tracking. In these cases, you can't trace how Google Ads was responsible for the sale.

Guide to for Google Ads

Do you want to promote your product or service with Google Ads but don't know how to get started? It's simple: Our Google Ads guide explains step by step how to set up your first campaign and reach your target audience with Google Ads.

Another point is that companies invest hundreds and thousands of euros in Google Ads. For companies that have done little online to date or that are generally not equipped with large advertising budgets, there's often a lack of patience. Google needs a certain time of three to four weeks. Likewise, you need a higher budget to properly use the learning phase.

Google Ads Keyword Planner
Extremely useful: The Keyword Planner from Google Ads

In the end, what usually helps is to reiterate the fact that online advertising measures are very often successful. And that they just have to be carried out in a measurable and, above all, planned way. Of course, some campaigns flop. Especially in not yet established markets and with products and services that require a lot of explanation, you have to approach them step by step. But the two aspects of tracking and evaluation are always important!

SEO vs SEA

One objection you often hear is, "If I have good organic rankings on Google, I don't need SEA". When is that true and isn't it?

Generally speaking, the approach of relying a lot on organic rankings is very good. This method is sustainable and not dependent on a permanent budget. Moreover, the whole website becomes stronger and stronger. This also results in other advantages and the market value of the website increases.

The interaction of SEO and SEA is in our opinion one of the most successful advertising methods, however. Because good SEO optimization not only helps in the areas mentioned above, but it also helps Google read and understand your website better. The likelihood of a good quality factor is thus significantly higher. That in itself has, among other things, a strong influence on the click prices of your own account.

The "perfect way" would be good SEO optimization, a good content strategy plan and then targeted advertising efforts in the form of action-based campaigns and retargeting on organically well-placed posts.

How can you stop your business becoming too dependent on search engines when using Google Ads?

The best case scenario is to offer website visitors the opportunity to register on the site. Or you present free "goodies" in exchange for the contact data. This allows you to build a base of interested people independent of Google.

But by using Google Ads, there will always be a certain dependency. Because if you no longer pay, you'll no longer receive traffic. You should always keep this in mind. In the long term, a well-performing Google Ads campaign should open up additional sales channels.

Good content for SEA

Doesn't a company need to build a good content strategy first before spending money on advertising? After all, it's no use spending a lot of money advertising bad landing pages....

"Content is king", I'm sure you've heard this many times before. From our point of view, there's nothing more important than good content. From a pure advertising point of view, however, there are many more important things you should pay attention to. First of all, there's the most important point: trust. Visitors need to trust the website, the product or service and the company behind it. Videos and reviews work extremely well for this.

Instructions for your content marketing

Your content is not yet high quality enough to make efficient SEA campaigns out of it? Then read our guides on content marketing, finding content ideas and measuring content success.

Another important point is the structure of the site. The goal of the action, also called call-to-action, must be clear. Visitors must know what they're supposed to do - and what they'll get in return.

Neither the visual design nor the content on the website is the decisive criterion here. A clear structure can work wonders here. In summary, however, it can be said that a good content strategy always wins in the end. And this is where the topics of sustainability and SEO crop up again. However, you shouldn't take this point as an "excuse" not to start advertising.

The right network

Many say, "Ads on Facebook or Twitter aren't worth it", while others have had exactly the opposite experience. How does everyone find the right networks for SEA but also other ads?

Essentially, the only thing you can really do here is test, evaluate, change and test some more. Facebook can be an incredible revenue machine if it fits the industry and the campaign was implemented well. Nevertheless, we recommend starting with Google Ads. The reason is relatively simple: Google is where people search who have a high level of interest in a product or service.

With social media ads, on the other hand, you can address the target groups exactly, but the ads are always shown to people who aren't actually looking for anything. So you address them cold. This is much more difficult. For your first attempts in online marketing, we would always recommend trying Google Ads first. Try it out for a few months and keep optimizing until you get to enjoy the first successes.

How does outsourcing your SEA work, especially in industries with products and services that require explanation, i.e. knowledge transfer?

This can only work in close consultation with the customer. Even before the first ads are designed, clear agreements should be made and goals defined, as well as the creation of a company profile. The agency or freelancers don't have to become experts in their clients' service or product themselves. But there needs to be more than a simple basic understanding. Otherwise, you'll quickly work at cross purposes here. So always involve the customers directly.

One thing is essential for both client and contractor: you need to define clear goals! This way you can prevent unnecessary and uncomfortable conversations and work together towards a result. Important KPIs here would be:

  • What is a conversion worth for me?
  • How many clicks would I like to have?
  • What is my maximum spend per click?
  • How much budget do I have for the next 3 months?

Measuring success and conversion

What tools do you need to consistently measure the success of SEA - all the way to conversion? So beyond the dashboards of the networks?

The providers usually already share the most important information. You should start with these first before you put time you could be better investing in writing good ad texts and creating good campaigns into different tools. Having said that, one tool is now standard alongside Google Analytics and that's Hotjar.

You must pay attention to using it in a data protection-compliant way, however. Because you are, in effect, recording the website visitors anonymously (input as text or numbers are also hidden, for example). However, this data helps immensely to see how deep users scroll, which elements are frequently viewed or clicked on and, most importantly, why users bounce. With the help of the analysis, the website can be adapted much better to the average user.

Potential GmbH Team
The team of Potential² with Sascha Humpel (left)

If you have an online shop, for example, and notice that users always bounce after reading the reviews or discovering the shipping costs? Then that's where you may need to start to satisfy the customer.

Your three best tips: What else should you look out for when venturing into SEA for the first time?

Just start. There are great videos on YouTube on the subject that can directly eliminate the common mistakes, especially in the beginning. So here are my three tips for beginners:

  1. Define clear goals for yourself.
  2. Lower your expectations for the first campaign. Especially when you do SEA yourself, you learn a lot and improve your skills bit by bit.
  3. The daily budget shouldn't be too high but certainly not too low. People are a little "worried" here because it quickly gets expensive. With 5 to 10 euros a day, however, it's difficult to expect results. Neither the algorithm nor you can learn from the little data extracted.

If you have a budget of 300 euros, for example, it would be better for the last point to run the campaign with 30 euros per day for 10 days - instead of 10 euros per day for 30 days. Because especially at the beginning of a campaign, it should also have enough budget to generate more clicks and learn from it.

A few words about you and your agency?

At Potential² we've have made it our goal to simplify the digital world and present it in customer language. We support our clients in implementing websites, building or expanding in search engine optimization and Google Ads. We see ourselves as a visibility agency. And the most important thing to be successful online is visibility. What good is the best product, the highest quality service and the most beautiful website if it's ultimately not found?

Your questions about SEA

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