Google search is huge! It currently controls more than 92% of the global market share.
Google has been pivotal in empowering this very era of information. Its search engine is totally free, and so is Gmail.
Given the free search, some people may assume that Google Ads toes the same line. Well, sorry to burst the bubble, but it’s not! You may sign in to Google Ads for free, but going onward, you need to pay.
Google Ads is the main source of revenue for the company. Besides, the revenue from it is crucial for Google to serve its phenomenal free web offerings.
Let’s have a look at the costs involved, and the extent to which you can use it without paying.
Google Ads is not organic
This is the first thing you should know about Google Ads. Advertisers are usually familiar with the organic method of SEO on Google.
So, it can come as an online culture shock to find out that Google Ads is not organic at all. Here, you pay to get ranked, period.
The company maintains strict boundaries between its SEO and paid aspects.
For example, the traffic derived directly from paid campaigns does not count in improving your page rank in SERPs. Moreover, keyword policies of SEO and Ads are very different.
Also, visibility via Google Ads is typically much faster. Your ads may show up in response to search queries within a month. In comparison, it usually takes more than six months to get a visible organic rank.
Signup for Google Ads is free
Signing up is absolutely free. You will only need a working email, preferably a Gmail account.
However, the free pass ends there. Advertisers will have to create a campaign. You can either do it manually (if you know how to), or let Google do it for you.
In manual mode, you set the particulars. Most experienced advertisers prefer it instead of choosing the automated smart campaigns. Manual campaigns are more transparent and allow greater control.
You pay only when your ad performs
No matter which mode you choose, you got to pay for running an ad. It is not as simple as booking a slot, though.
Potential ads need to pass an internal auction curated by Google. It takes into account three key factors to assign a quality score to the ad.
- The expected Click Through Rate (CTR)
- Relevance of the ad with user intent
- Landing page quality
The CTR is an estimate of the number of clicks your ad may receive.
In addition, your maximum bid is also taken into consideration. Do note that the highest bids are not always the winners. Neither is the quality score an input for the ad auction. It is merely a diagnostic tool based on historical searches on the given keywords.
However, you pay only when the ad performs. You can choose any of the three performance parameters.
- CPC: Cost per Click
- CPA: Cost per Acquisition
- CPM: Cost per Mille (a thousand impressions)
If your ad does not perform, you do not pay anything. But, you probably don’t want that kind of free service!
Payments and billing modes
You would have to specify your billing details while accessing Google Ads for the first time. This is true even when you are using Google Ads without a campaign. (Using it without a campaign is tricky. But, we will tell you about it here.)
Meanwhile, here’s what you should know about the billing modes in Google Ads. Advertisers have three options. Nevertheless, their availability depends on the currency and the country’s settings.
- Automatic payments
- Manual payments
- Monthly invoicing
In the first mode, Google automatically deducts the costs accrued from the primary payment method you specify. For manual payments, you first pay an amount. Google runs your ads as long as the funds allow it.
In monthly invoicing, Google provides a temporary line of credit. You pay it on time with a bank transfer, checks, or other payment methods.
Google wants you to spend more
Google maintains a carefully planned system to encourage greater spending. For example, manual billing is available on select locations only. Google Ads pushes automatic billing in most locations clearly because of the autonomy to deduct money.
In addition, it encourages the use of credit and debit cards. Other payment modes include bank transfer via online payment partners, e-wallets, and net banking.
However, these are very restricted, and are available only in some countries. Cards are available universally.
The reason seems very obvious. Cards are instantaneous and hassle-free, and offer assured modes of payment. Prepaid cards are not eligible, though.
Finally, Google Ads pushes smart campaigns. It is the default mode for newcomers. It cleverly conceals the manual campaign mode, reserving it only for ‘experts.’
In smart campaigns, advertisers have very limited say on how Google spends the budget. You will have to leave it to Google Ads to specify the maximum bid amount.
You can manage your budget
Here’s the best part. Google Ads allow neat flexibility to plan your ad budget. Firstly, there is no minimum budget. You can set your maximum budget limit. Google has tools like the Performance Planner to help you.
Besides, you can access Google Analytics, which provides granular insights on how you spend your budget. Advertisers can also edit the budget amount anytime they want. You can also pause all your campaigns if you prefer it.
No, you cannot run campaigns for free on Google Ads. You can create an account without a campaign for free, but that’s it! Of course, you can manage your budget with great flexibility. Also, you will have to secure your place via the bidding auction.
All these may seem very daunting at first.
This is why the best option is to work with an expert, especially for first-timers. This ensures good ROAS right from the start. It also helps grow your business both online and offline in the long run.
If you have any plans to work with me, contact me any time without any hesitation. I am always happy to help you 🙂