Will Google Search Ads work for your business? Answer six simple questions to find out.

Search ads have timing on their side. Because they appear right when the customer is searching for a solution to their problem, the customer is in the perfect position to say ‘yes’ to what you have to offer.

But not every product is equally fit for this opportunity – with some returning a far better return on advertising investment than others.

This checklist will help you evaluate whether Google Search Ads is right for your (or your client’s) business.

#1 Do people know your product exists?

If you’re selling an established brand or product, then people will be using Google to hunt down the best prices, reviews, product images and more. If you are trying to establish a new type of product or new variant of an existing product that does not have strong demand yet, people might not know that it exists or if they do, they might not know the right keywords to use to search for it.

#2 Do enough people actually search for your product?

This can be easily investigated by using a keyword tool. For your first phase of research, I recommend Ubersuggest  because it gives you access to data without having to create an account.

The Google Keyword tool (it’s often the primary source of data used by Search professionals) is only accessible through a Google Ads account and as of recently only gives very rough estimates of keywords search volume if you do not spend money on Google Ads. So even if you’ve seen the Google Keyword tool suggested a thousand times before – now’s the time to switch to Ubersuggest.

Research a handful of keyword phrases, and if your product is being searched for at least 1000 average monthly searches across those, then it’s time to consider Search Ads.

#3 What does the competition on Google look like?

Enter your main keyword into the search engine and see who else is running ads on it. If it is established retailers like Amazon and big national players, then it will be hard to be successful. When your ad is served up against the big boys, the customer is likely to stick with the familiar.

There are exceptions though. If you have a very specific USP, or you sell something that has a local reference then Search Ads may be worth a try, as your ads could still win out.

#4 If you sell physical products, how deep is your inventory?

I have often seen small online shops struggle because people like choice (also not too much choice, but that is a topic for another time). If you for example run ads for “sofa throw pillows” and you only sell two different variants, the customer will likely see your ad, click through to the category page, then leave dissatisfied because they were hoping for a larger selection to choose their dream sofa throw pillow from.

In order to run successful campaigns you should ideally have at least 5 products per category that you advertise. You might get great results with less, but it will not be as easy.

Businesses carrying smaller ranges get better results when they focus on a visual channel, such as Google Shopping Ads, Facebook Ads or Pinterest, where customers can see an image of the products right away (rather than clicking through a text-based ad), and can decide right on the search results page if they want to buy it.

#5 How conventional or mainstream is your product?

Search Ads work well when the content you’re taking the customer to closely matches their expectations.

As the audience on Google is very varied, when bidding on mainstream keywords you will be most successful selling products that appeal to the mainstream.

If your products cater to a certain niche or are very specific but you have to rely on generic search queries you will have a hard time converting these users into buyers. For example, if you sell fashion items that are rather eclectic, and pay for Search Ads targeting ‘scarves’, the people who click through to your website may not be pleased with only finding glitter yarn scarves with bells attached at the ends. In that case a channel where the user sees your product before clicking on it might help (Google Shopping Ads, Facebook Ads or Pinterest….yes the same list as above).

Similarly, if your product is more expensive than the user would expect that will also decrease the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Customers may click through the ad and make it to your website, but nobody likes surprisingly high prices, and you won’t have time to explain your superior quality before they’ve left in search of a more conventional pricing structure.

However, if you are selling to a niche and the search volume for your niche products is high enough, then you are likely to be successful.

#6 Have you got the time and money to figure out how to make Google Ads work for your business?

In theory Google Ads is simple enough: you determine the words you want to target, where you want your ads to appear, and then write some ads that link people to your website.

But running a successful Google Ads campaign is much more complicated than this and it does take time and some learning money to figure it out. You can’t expect great results from day one. Instead you keep investing your time and money to optimize your campaign by trying something out, monitoring the results, tweaking your campaign, monitoring the results….you get the idea.

If after going through these questions you feel like your business or your client’s business has the potential for success on Google then give it a try! There aren’t minimum budgets or fixed campaign durations on Google so it’s easy to get started. And you have a fantastic opportunity to grow your business by getting into people right at the moment when they are looking for your product.

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