Google recently renamed one of its more powerful marketing tools (AdWords, now Google Ads). As with anything like this, we saw a spike in conversation over the new name and how old habits die hard. However, for many small to medium businesses in the science and technology space, the tool itself is still a mystery, regardless of the name.
help your team answer the question that really matters — is Google Ads the right fit for your B2B Marketing Plan?
1. Do you have $500 per month to spend on Google Ads?
Google Ads often sounds like an expensive investment for a B2B tech company. However, most often the numbers that we hear referenced are more akin to B2C spend. In the tech industry, the window of possible customers is often quite narrow. For example, there are fewer people searching for "low frequency vibration isolators", than for "headphones". When helping a client build their first Google Ads campaign, we typically recommend an ad spend of $500 for the first month.
The beauty of Google Ads is that you have access to all of the data necessary to optimize your ad spend in the most effective way possible. This optimization can take quite a bit of work the first couple of months, but once you overcome some of the largest optimization challenges less time will be necessary to maintain your ads. We only recommend increasing your budget once you’ve proven that you are driving web traffic with your ads and that conversion rates are high enough to justify the spend.
2. Do you have the ability to make changes to your landing pages based on observations from coming from Google Ads traffic?
Optimizing your web pages for your Google Ads is an essential step if you are going to make an investment in Google Ads. You should be tracking both conversion rates as well as quality of traffic arriving on your website from your Google Ad campaigns. Note: you will need to use Google Analytics to check on-page performance of this traffic as Google Ads only provides ad performance data.
If your conversion rates or on page performance are not what you expect them to be, you will need to search for possible reasons and test your solutions. You might ask “are my visitors seeing what they are expecting to see when they click on my ad?”, and the answer may be as simple as changing the header on your landing page to incorporate the keywords that are most frequently driving traffic.
For example, if you are calling your product an "I/V source" but your visitors have been searching for "current and voltage sources", your landing page header should incorporate the words "current and voltage" instead of just "I/V source".
If making changes to product or other landing pages is not something you control or not something that can be easily accomplished due to resources or technology limitations, I would caution you against investing more in Google Ads. We have seen companies achieve click through rates as high as 5% with almost 100% bounce rates.
If your visitor thinks they landed in the wrong place after clicking, they are not going to spend time on your site and they are certainly not going to make a purchase.
3. Do you have lead generation content that has proven to bring in qualified leads?
Why are we talking about content when we were supposed to be talking about ads? Because an ad doesn’t just have to be used to sell a product. For many B2B tech companies, the buying process is a long and often starts with an engineer or scientist doing some early research on their own. In fact, very often these initial searches are focused on the problem that needs to be solved rather than the solution, so an ad pointing to a product page might not be the right fit for an early stage.
Educational content can be an excellent way to get these leads started on the buyer’s journey. An offer for a free whitepaper is more likely to get a click than an ad for a product they don’t know much about. For long sales cycles, your Google Ads budget may be better focused on bringing in qualified leads at the top of the sales funnel that generate visits to a product page. For an example on using content to generate leads, see How HubSpot and Technical Content increased marketing ROI by 10x.
Unlike the first two questions, answering no to this doesn’t preclude you from running an Google Ads campaign, but answering yes might be the motivation you were looking for.
4. Are you in need of market insights on language?
You can gain target audience language insights from looking at keyword volume and also from testing different language on your ads themselves. If you are struggling to understand how to best refer to your product or to the solutions it offers, run an A/B test with two different ads that mirror each other with the exception of those words. A significant difference in click through rate (you should use a statistical reliability calculator, like this one) can help you make decisions on the way you structure ads and the language you use on your website or in your sales materials. Though nothing beats old fashioned customer research, Google Ads can provide you with some insights while driving web traffic.
5. Are you already the SEO winner for your main product categories? Even if the answer is no, keep reading.
If the answer is yes, congratulations. Having the number one organic search ranking for a particular term means that your click through rate is likely 7% points higher than your nearest competitor. But what if you’re not? SEO is a long game for which there is no magic bullet.
The Google search algorithms are designed to provide quality results and no amount of trickery is going to get past them. At the same time that you are working on your long term SEO goals, Google Ads can help you get your website seen more quickly and more often, building domain authority. However, I would caution you that this is a temporary solution and that long term SEO still needs to be a vital part of your marketing plan. To see how content development can help you win in SEO, Blogging: The MVP of the Marketing Short-Game and Long-Game.
6. Do you have the time and resources to measure results?
Google Ads is not something to be completed and set aside. The dynamics of internet traffic, even around the products and services you sell, is always changing. For example, you may have designed a campaign that has an average ad placement position of 1.5. That’s great; we recommend a goal of top 2 spots. However, six months from now, your biggest competitor may decide to start their own Google Ads campaign or may increase their budget. This change in ad placement may significantly impact your conversion rates. If you’re not taking the time to track your results with some regularity, Google Ads may not be delivering the ROI necessary to justify the cost. Don’t get started if you can’t see it through.
If you're interested in talking through your current marketing strategy and where Google Ads may fit in, request a free consultation with our team.
Check out these additional resources to plan your marketing strategy: