How To Use Google Ads: A Simple Guide For Irish Exporters

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RICHARD TALBOT Head of Paid Search

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Using Google AdWords to export your products is no doubt a good idea. But AdWords can also cost a lot of money without effective ongoing ppc management. So before even setting up your AdWords account, you should really think about your goals and have a detailed export plan.

Are you ready to export?

Exporting products is not something that you decide in 24 hours’ time, and you should definitely think things through. Here are a list of questions that any business owner should consider before exporting products:

Which countries are you going to target?

This is no doubt the first question you should ask yourself. Why do you choose to export your products in that particular country? Is there a market there?

What is the language spoken in the export country? If the country is non-English speaking, how are you going to handle foreign language emails and phone calls? You probably should consider creating a campaign in that foreign language too. How are you going to translate keywords and ads? Do you know anyone who speaks that language that can help you? What about your website? Is it translated yet?

Is the country you want to target in a different time zone? How are you going to handle that?

Export rules and regulations might be different from a country to another. Did you conduct research about the rules in the country you want to export to?

Who are your competitors?

Before even considering exporting your products, you should research the market and know who your competitors are in the country you want to target. You should also consider your competitive advantage. What make your products stand out from the ones offered by your competitors?

Pricing and delivery

Is the currency different in the country you consider exporting to?

What will the delivery costs be? Will the price still be competitive once delivery costs have been added? Would you consider free delivery? Will you allow returns and how are you going to handle them? How long would delivery be on average vs. in-country competitors? Are there any hard to reach places, e.g. islands and other territories that impact on delivery times and costs?

Channels

Are you going to sell your products exclusively online? Or are you going to use agents or distributors in the targeted country or even a neighboring country?

AdWords account set up

You might already have an AdWords account if you already advertise your products in Ireland. If this is the case, you can use the same account to create new campaigns targeting foreign countries, so you can skip this section and go straight away to the next one.

However, if you don’t have an account yet, it is very easy to create one in 5 minutes. All you need is an email address and the website address of your business. You will then be asked to select a time zone and enter your billing information (although you can come back to this later, once your campaigns are created). Just be cautious not to accept the recommendation to use AdWords Express if it shows up, as AdWords Express is a limited version and you can’t do as much with it than with AdWords, and we recommend the full AdWords version even to small business owners.

Define your goals and track your leads

You need to define realistic business goals. What is the amount of products you want to export a month? What is your ideal Cost Per Acquisition?

What do you consider as leads? Do you only want to track export purchases? Or do you want to allow foreign customers to call you or to send you an email? You should clearly define your potential leads and assign separate leads tracking to each of them.

Campaigns’ structure and settings

How many campaigns do you want to create?

If you want to export your products in several countries, it might be better to create a separate campaign for each export country as it will be easier to analyse performance later. Or you may wish to combine several countries that share the same language into one campaign, e.g. Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Do you want to use search or display campaigns? It is recommended to create separate campaigns for each network type.

The Search Network allows you to define a list of keywords related to your business. Your text ads will then be triggered if someone search for terms related to your keywords. Every small business owner should start building a search campaign first.

The Display Network allows you to choose specific websites where your ads will appear, should that website support ads. You can still target users by keywords, but you can also use topics and audiences. You can use a variety of ad formats on the display network: you can use text ads, but also image and video ads. The Display Network offers a lot of possibilities and brings a lot of impressions, but usually less focus and ultimately fewer leads and sales. You should consider building a display campaign too if your goal is to get the maximum traffic (but not necessarily 100% relevant) so that people become aware of your brand abroad.

You also need to allocate a daily budget to each campaign. Not sure what budget to choose? Think about the maximum budget you want to spend on AdWords per month, and divide it by 30 or 20 (if you want your ads only to run from Mondays to Fridays). Of course this budget can be increased or decreased after. It is always better to start with a lower budget and increase it if you see that your campaigns are successful but limited by budget, than to start with a budget too high and have it all spent before even getting any leads (do not forget that as much as Google wants to help you advertise your products, they also want to make money, so if you set up a budget way too high, they still might find a way to spend it).

When it comes to bidding strategy, we recommend any small business owner to start with manual CPC so that you keep close control and don’t see your budget wasted quickly.

Another thing you should consider when setting up your first campaign is the devices you want your ads to show on. You can adjust bids on desktops, tablets and mobiles. Mobile searches are getting more and more important with people looking for products on the go, so it is not recommended to opt out of mobiles, but if your website is not adapted to mobiles yet, you could consider adjusting bids to -100% on mobiles until your website is fully responsive. In certain countries, mobile search is already more popular than desktop or tablet search, so consideration must be given to the priority of mobile in certain markets.

Split your campaigns into ad groups

Only well-structured AdWords campaigns will be highly performing with high keyword quality scores, higher Click Through Rates (CTRs) and lower Cost Per Clicks (CPCs). You should organise your campaigns in tightly themed ad groups, ideally following the structure of your website. For example, if your business is selling shoes, you could create the following ad groups for your women’s shoes campaign: sneakers, sandals, heels, wedges, flat shoes, boots, etc.

Conduct keywords research

First, you should write down the first keywords that come to your mind for each ad group.

You can then use the AdWords keyword planner to find new keywords. This free tool is very handy as it will populate new keywords ideas if you enter your original keywords ideas, a product category or your landing page. It is 100% free and you can find it in the “Tools” tab of your AdWords account.

AdWords keywords can be added in different match types: broad, broad match modified, phrase and exact.

Broad is the less restrictive type: your ad is shown whenever any variation of your keyword is searched. Example: your ads will be shown for ladies shoes if your keyword is women’s shoes (broad). A more restrictive, but recommended, version is broad match modifier: ads will only show if searches contain the modified terms (containing a “+”). Your ads won’t show for buy red shoes if your keyword is buy +black +shoes.

Phrase allows additional words before or after the keyword, but not in the middle. If your phrase keyword is red women’s shoes, your ad will be shown if the search term is buy red women’s shoes, but not for buy women’s shoes.

Exact is the most restrictive keyword type. Your ads will only show if the exact term or a close variation is typed in, it doesn’t allow any word before, after or in the middle.

We would advise small business owners to use broad match modifier as a start, so the searches are not too generic but not too limited either.

It is also crucial to add negative keywords, at campaign or ad group level. Negatives are a good way of preventing your ads to show for irrelevant searches so you don’t pay for this useless traffic. Example: if you sell only women’s shoes, you should add men, kids, babies, etc. as potential negative keywords.

Set your bids

The max CPC is the maximum cost you agree to pay for one click on your ad. With CPC bidding, you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad after seeing it, you don’t pay every time your ad is shown (impressions) but not clicked on.

Although you need to set your bids at ad group level, you can also set specific bids at keyword level if you want. This keyword level bid will override the ad group level one. If you don’t specify any bid at keyword level, the default ad group bid will be used.

If you use the keyword planner to find new keywords, the tool will also give you insight on average monthly searches and recommended bids. You can also use the forecast section to have a glimpse of the amount of clicks, leads, average position,… you would get for a set of keywords with a specific daily budget and max CPC.

Writing catchy ads

A lot of business owners don’t spend enough time thinking about their ads. Your ad text and the message it conveys is actually what will make people click on it and land on your website. That’s why you should put a lot of effort into it and think of what makes your products unique so you stand out from your competitors. Your ads should highlight your unique selling points, contain your keywords for higher quality score and relevancy, and contain a strong call to action.

Design great landing pages

The landing page people land on is also very important. It is useless to write a killer ad that stands out from your competitors if it sends people to a poor landing page that creates a bad user experience. Your landing page should highlight all the benefits mentioned in your ads, in fact it should mirror your ad text or closely match it.

Create ad extensions

AdWords ad texts have limited characters, so if you can’t highlight all the benefits that potential clients would get by buying your products, do not forget to use ad extensions as they are a great way to add more messaging and get a higher CTR too.

You should definitely create a few sitelinks leading to different pages of your website and call out extensions that allow you to add benefits up to 25 characters.

Routine optimisation

AdWords is a long term commitment and you will need post set-up optimisation to stay ahead of your competitors.

You will constantly need to tweak your campaigns to get the most of them: you will need to download search query reports on a regular basis, analyse keywords performance, pause performing ones and adjust bids.

Once your AdWords campaigns have been running for a while it may be a good idea to analyse performance by device and adjust bids accordingly. It is indeed possible in AdWords to set different bids for each device: desktops, mobiles and tablets, and you should take advantage of this opportunity as each device may bring totally different performance.

You could also analyse performance and adjust bids by locations, days of the week or hours of the days if you don’t want to spend too much money.

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RICHARD TALBOT Head of Paid Search

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An experienced digital marketer with 8+ years of industry experience, Richard has worked in client account management at both Google AdWords and Microsoft's Bing Ads in Dublin. He now leads the Paid Search & Display Advertising team at Tinderpoint delivering successful campaigns for a portfolio of diverse national and international clients across many industries.