Google Ads for Small Businesses – How to Get Maximum Efficiency in Online Marketing with Low Google Ads Costs

Google ads

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Nasir Hanif

It is not uncommon for us to see that smaller companies deal with Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), but quickly abandon this marketing channel as ineffective: “We only burned money, it didn’t do us any good!” A bitter realization, especially when Google has a limited Ads budget. But why is it that Google Ads supposedly does not work for online marketing for SMEs?

Our experience shows that Google Ads is not only suitable for large companies with a five-digit Google Ads budget but can also be the right marketing channel for small and medium-sized companies. They can set a budget and launch their PPC campaign accordingly. More information is available on this website. In order to be able to use the paid Google results profitably, important steps and configurations must be observed, which especially inexperienced can quickly despair and give up.

To help, we have therefore compiled the most common mistakes and major challenges that we encounter in practice.

The right start thanks to a good foundation

If you haven’t had any experience with Google Ads Management, you have to try it out first. But the “trial & error” process can cost advertisers dearly: the belief that you are simply burning money and seeing no added value ends up in frustration.

A good account structure helps to prevent high Google AdWords costs (now: Google Ads). Many typical mistakes are made that we regularly encounter in practice.

  • General account & campaign structure: The first mistake starts with the campaign structure. Often only one campaign is created with one ad group in which all keywords are booked. Such a structure is a guarantee for an ineffective account and high Google Ads costs. Of course, such an unfavorable account structure also receives clicks on the ads, but these are very unspecific and, for the majority of the keywords, significantly more expensive than necessary.

Higher relevance through difference : Trying to post many different keywords, synonyms and related terms in a single ad group is at the expense of relevance. To show the most relevant ad and increase the likelihood that users will click on it, the ad text needs to be as relevant as possible to the keyword you’re looking for. This means that it pays off to create a larger number of ad groups that generate targeted ads that are optimized in terms of their message and wording for the target audience and search queries.

  • Conversion tracking: Missing or incorrectly implemented conversion tracking does not allow a meaningful evaluation of the account and does not provide any relevant information about whether and how much money is actually earned through the ads or which campaigns, ad groups and keywords are performing well. In addition to working tracking, the Google Ads account should also be properly connected to Google Analytics.
  • Budget restrictions: If the ads budget is too low, it may mean that no more ads are shown for half a day because the budget has been used up. It does not always make the most sense to optimize for the highest possible ad position, especially if the Google Ads costs have to be kept low. Lower bids can mean that the ad is shown in a lower position, but for the entire time, and thus receives more clicks.
  • The right keyword set: It is a misconception that the success of the campaigns depends on the number of keywords booked. On the contrary: With a limited ads budget, it is essential to book keywords in a targeted manner using the Keyword Planner and to concentrate resources on the keywords that are most relevant and promise the greatest success.

It is also important to make sure that several ad groups do not bid on the same keywords and are thus in mutual competition. Each keyword can only be booked into a single ad group. Negative keywords prevent matching in other ad groups. Other sensible restrictions relate to local targeting or the targeted display on certain display devices (desktop, mobile) or locations.

  • Keyword options: By default, keywords in Google Ads are booked with the match type “largely”. However, this means that you are bidding on an almost unmanageable and controllable variety of keywords and synonyms for related and similar terms. This displays ads for search queries that are only relevant to a limited extent and hardly any qualitative traffic is possible. The option “largely match” should therefore only be entered with a modifier (“+”), alternatively the match types “word group” or even “exact” can be booked.
  • Ad copy: If you’re not used to writing copy for ads, this task is often difficult. The small number of characters and the special formats are a challenge. When creating the ads, care should also be taken to use extended text ads, responsive search ads (RSA) and the full range of ads, i.e. use all titles (H1-H3) and both lines of text. Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) and call-to-actions should always be included, either in the ad text or in the headline (H3). In contrast to the usual language usage, complete sentences are usually not suitable. And even if the best practice rules are followed, it means: Test until the best-performing ad text is found.
  • Changes without a statistical basis: Optimizations and adjustments to the account are essential for the successful use of Google Ads, but they should always be based on sufficient statistical values. Daily changes without waiting for a valid number of clicks and impressions are counterproductive and can further degrade the performance of the account.
  • Read More: Use Google My Business to Drive More Customers to Your Store

Challenges for small businesses on a budget

In addition to the specific mistakes that many Google Ads beginners make, there are specific challenges that apply especially to small businesses with a limited Google Ads budget. These include:

  • Goal definition: Running Google Ads just for its own sake is one of the biggest guarantees of disappointment. The goals of the campaigns should be clarified in advance: Should traffic be generated? Is it about leads or sales, brand building, the general increase in visibility or the competition against the competition? These goals largely determine which keywords are booked, how ad texts are formulated and which landing pages are chosen. That is why the first step should always be the definition of goals.
  • False Expectations: Inexperienced advertisers often expect to see results from their campaigns immediately. Of course, clicks are recorded from the first posting of keywords and the first creation of ads; In many cases, however, these do not yet lead to purchases and a positive return on investment (ROI). Even Google Ads professionals can’t promise instant results. Each account takes a certain amount of time to optimize. In particular, the individual cost-per-click strategy is not always comprehensible for lay people, the only thing that helps here: Either let a professional explain what is booked, how and why, or rely on the experience of the service provider.
  • Difficult conditions: Driving Google Ads is generally not easy, even if Google may sometimes suggest that. And it doesn’t necessarily get any easier: higher competition, different strategies and increased click prices can make life difficult for advertisers.
  • Lack of time: Companies with few employees usually do not have the capacity to free up the necessary resources that would be necessary to set up and optimize an effective Google Ads account. Outsourcing can be a good alternative here, but it does not replace your own basic understanding.
  • Inactivity: Lack of time often results in a lack of activity in the account. There are no regular controls, successes are not analyzed, optimization measures such as excluding negative keywords are not carried out, which leads to high Google Ads costs. Small companies sometimes don’t log into their account once a month, although at least a weekly login would be advisable, even with an optimally set up and optimized account, in order to check performance.
  • Google Ads Express Account: With a Google Ads Express Account , Google promises small and inexperienced companies an easy introduction to the topic of campaign management, which is largely automated. Advertisers don’t have to do much more than determine the target group and budget, the selection of keywords and placements as well as bids is done by Google. Sounds tempting, but the offer has a catch: If you give up the optimization in this way, you lose control of the budget distribution, the targeted targeting and the manual optimization of the account, which experience has shown to be more effective and cost-saving.

Save costs with the right settings

In order to keep the Google Ads costs in check, the correct account and campaign settings are essential. These include:

  • Display network opt-in in search campaigns: An error that often happens through carelessness: When creating search campaigns, the display network is selected as an opt-in in the settings. This setting makes the evaluation of the campaigns very difficult and also causes a loss in performance. Therefore, the display network should be deactivated in all search campaigns.
  • Advertising scheduler and locations: In order to reach the target group at the right time and in the right place, an advertising scheduler and location settings should be set up to display the campaigns. This setting can generate more relevant search queries and keep Google Ads costs in check. The selection should be made based on data. 
  • Incorrect attribution: In connection with tracking, the attribution of conversions is often set incorrectly. Too often we still find “last click” instead of “position based”, “data driven”, “linear” or “time course”. A wrong attribution model prevents one from understanding holistic relationships in the account and thus runs the risk of not shifting the budget to the really valuable ads.

Opportunities for small and local businesses

After all the difficulties and challenges, it is time for a little optimism: After all, there are not only hurdles, but also opportunities that online marketing for SMEs in the Google Ads sector offers. Here is a small selection:

  • Low bar: Particularly in certain industries, great success can be achieved even with simple means and a good strategy, since the competition carries out its Google Ads activities with precisely the errors and problems mentioned above. The bar for doing better is often not as high as the situation in the search results would lead you to believe. With targeted optimization by increasing the quality factors of the keywords, the efficiency of the campaigns can be increased without necessarily paying higher click prices.
  • Remarketing: The targeted targeting of users who have already visited your own website can significantly increase the success of campaigns with a manageable budget. Other useful options are to exclude returning users who have already seen an ad, or to display modified ads specifically for these users. You can find out more about remarketing here .
  • Local targeting: For local shops and service providers in particular, it is important not to use up the budget by targeting advertisements nationwide, but rather to restrict visibility to the regional target group. This can be controlled through the location setting in the campaign or corresponding local ads.
  • Professional keyword research: With the help of the Google Ads Keyword Planner, your own analytics data or other keyword tools, specific keywords can be identified that can be targeted in order to limit the budget to the most relevant traffic. The more suitable the ad is for the respective search query and the more precisely it describes the offer on the landing page, the higher the probability of actually generating a lead / sale.

Conclusion: use Google Ads effectively even on a low budget

Google Ads is by no means just for large companies and high marketing budgets. Small businesses can also use this channel effectively to increase visibility and awareness, generate traffic, and increase sales. The keys are targeted targeting and continuous monitoring and optimization of the account, as well as patience to wait for success.

Author Bio – Vishal Garg has several years of experience in digital marketing. With good expertise in advanced marketing and promotional strategies, he has helped numerous brands establish their online niche with his out of the box internet marketing strategies and lead generation capabilities. Currently, he is running a successful seo company in Jaipur

Apart from that, if you are interested to know more about best Google Ads agency then visit our Digital Marketing category.