Google Ads for Small Businesses, A Complete Introduction

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Google Ads is one of the most powerful marketing tools for small businesses due to its affordability, immediacy, and amazing targeting features. 

If you want to know how Google Ads works and how to run it for your business, read this complete guide.

The aim of this guide is to make Google Ads clear for small businesses, so it’s jargon-free and simple yet descriptive enough.

What exactly is Google Ads?

Google Ads is the most well-known form of online advertising. It is formerly known as AdWords. So don’t get confused if you hear people calling it AdWords.

Google Ads shows your business’s ads to Internet users when they are searching for similar services or products or browsing the net.

You can use Google Ads for raising brand awareness and introducing your brand to the public. You can use it to directly sell services or products online. Or you can use it to drive targeted potential customers to your website and collect leads from them.

There are a few reasons behind Google Ads popularity:

  • Google Ads charges the PPC method for most of its ad types. This means that you only pay for clicks, not impressions (the number of times people see your ad). So basically you only pay when somebody is really interested in your business.
  • Google Ads click prices are different based on industry, competitors, and ad quality. But the prices, in general, are affordable for most businesses compared to the value they provide.
  • Google Ads can do amazing targeting. This means that you won’t be displaying your ads to thousands of random visitors that have no interest or need for you (just like a billboard). You can target people based on demographics, location, interests, what they search and many more options.
  • Google ads provide clear reporting on its dashboard. There’s also the possibility of linking your google ads to Google Analytics to get more detailed info.
  • Google Ads are trackable and measurable. You can see where users go or how they interact with your ad and website. Do they like your product or not and … You can use this data in many ways, for instance, to further optimize your ads.

A couple of so-called “advantages” of Google Ads that you must look out for:

  • “Google Ads has no minimum budget. You can start with any budget”. That’s what Google says and it’s true. But you should know it’s not that simple. If you charge your account for 5 dollars, and the average price for clicks in your industry is 5$, then you’ll only get 1 click. So you’ll have to charge again. Therefore this advantage is not that practical.
  • “You can run Google Ads yourself. It’s so easy and it takes no time”. Again that’s what Google says. And it’s kind of true. The other truth however is that you’ll end up in a dashboard that needs expertise and a lot of knowledge. So you’ll have to spend time reading more about it. Also, there are so many tips and tricks to Google Ads. if you don’t know them, you’ll end up spending way more than you should and you’ll get clicks that are not optimized or useful to your business at all. Like any business, running Google Ads campaigns requires knowledge, expertise, and time. So it’s not that easy.

What is AdWords?

This is an obvious one, but we thought it deserves a separate title.

AdWords is a previous brand for Google Ads. Google rebranded its online advertising platform from AdWords to Google Ads in 2018. But many people still use the same term.

So if you see AdWords anywhere, rest assured, it’s just Google Ads.

How does Google Ads work?

Google has various ad types, but most of them work the same way. Let’s take Google search ads for instance.

There are 4 spots on top and 3 at the bottom of Google SERPS.

House listing for real estate website

There are however many businesses competing over these spots, especially for the first page because let’s face it, not many people see the second page of Google!

So Google holds an auction. Businesses who are willing to pay more, have a higher chance of getting the spots. 

But it’s not that simple, because Google strives on quality as well! So Google takes other factors into account as well: the relevance of the ad, the quality of the ad, and the possibility of people clicking on it.

So your ads won’t show for a subject totally different even if you wanted to. Also if the quality of your ad, especially your website is poor, your ad will be placed lower or you have to pay a lot more or your ad might not even get approved at all.

You can see all the reports, settings, and accesses in your admin dashboard.

Google Ads dashboard to see reports, settings & accesses

How much do Google Ads cost?

As we mentioned above, there’s no fixed price for Google Ads costs. That’s because the prices are determined in a live auction based on many things. 

However, the average price for each Google Ads click is between 1 to 2 $. You can also get a sense of the price range for your business key phrases through this tool. Just type in your keywords and the location and it gives you an estimation. 

You can do this by Google’s keyword planner too but for good results, you need to have active campaigns.

There are also a couple of things you need to know about Google Ads prices:

  • The quality of your website and ads can reduce your prices.
  • If you don’t manage Google Ads properly, you will end up wasting huge amounts because the system feeds on more spending from you!
  • If you bid 5$ for a keyword, you won’t pay higher than that, but you might end up paying lower based on the auction.

Google has 6 ad types that you can choose based on your goal, budget, and resources.

1. Google search ads

This is the most popular and well-known type of Google PPC ads.

Google search ads show up on Google’s result pages for related keywords. 

For instance, if you sell bags, and somebody searches for shoulder bags on Google, then your ad and other related ads will show up for it, like the image below.

There’s also a small AD badge next to the ad to show users it’s paid promotion.

Google search ads for shoulder bag

2. Google Display Ads

You’ve probably seen many display ads yourself.

Display ads are banners shown to you on various websites, like the image below.

Display ads are like billboards but in the digital sense. They’re also perfect for raising brand awareness. 

If you’re a new business or if you have new products/services that you’d like to introduce to people, Display ads are great for you.

House listing for real estate website

3. Google Local Ads

Google’s local ads promote local businesses for local searches.

They’re amazing small business marketing tools for brick and mortar businesses.

If you are a small business that works locally and especially has a shop or office that people visit, Google PPC local ads are great for you.

House listing for real estate website

4. Google Shopping Ads

eCommerce businesses use Google shopping ads to sell their products. However, you have to be a part of Google Merchant Center to be able to run these ads.

If you have an eCommerce website and you are a part of the Google Merchant store, you can use Google shopping ads to show ads of specific products to people who are searching for it.

House listing for real estate website

5. Google Video Ads

Google video ads run on YouTube and other video partners. 

If you want to raise awareness around your brand, or if you want to grow your YouTube channel, these are perfect for you.

Google video ads

6. Google App Ads

Google App campaigns help promote your app on various platform owned by Google, including Google Play and YouTube.

If you have recently launched an app or if you’re looking to drive more people to actually using your apps, app campaigns are perfect for you.

House listing for real estate website

Accounts, Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads

If you’ve decided to launch a Google Ads campaign, you will encounter these 4 words a lot. So we feel like a short introduction to them is a good idea.

The first thing you have to do is create an account for your business on Google Ads. After that, you can create a campaign. You can have various campaigns for various business goals and strategies. Locations and languages are shared at campaign level.

After that, you need to make several ad groups for your campaign. Each ad group basically targets a list of similar targeted keywords.

Within each ad group, you can have various ads.

Extensions are additional assets that you can add to your ads. The most common ones are call buttons, promotion or price notices, or direct links to different parts of your sites called sitelinks.

Extensions can increase the quality of your ads and therefore increase the chances of someone clicking on your ad.

Google ads extension

Importance of monitoring Google Ads

One thing that you should not underestimate at all, is how crucial it is to monitor your Google Ads. People often assume that once they set campaigns, and their ads start running, then they’re set. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all.

You have to keep an eye on your campaigns, ads, bids and CTR. You must also monitor your landing pages or your website constantly to make sure what works and what doesn’t.

Monitoring and managing your account will ensure you actually find clients and not waste any money.

This is the part that needs experience, knowledge, and lots of time. That’s why many business owners prefer to leave it to Google Ads management companies.


This is also one of the words you hear a lot in Google Ads and also other marketing discussions. If you don’t already know, conversions are desired actions with business values that businesses want users to take. This could be different for any business.

For instance, for one business, people signing up for their newsletter is a conversion. For the other one, people buying an item on the online shop is a conversion.

Conversions must be determined and tracked in order to analyze the efficiency of marketing efforts.

Keywords in Google Ads

Keywords are extremely important in Google Ads. Keywords are used for targeting users in search ads (the most popular campaign type). In fact, the keywords you set for your campaign, will tell Google when to match and show your ads to people who search for the similar terms. 

Now there are so many details for effective keyword targeting in Google Ads. But just as an example, when you set the keyword “best dental clinic” for your ad group. You’re basically telling Google to show your ads to people searching for this phrase in your location.

Google analytics and Google Ads

Google Analytics is a super useful tool by Google that allows you to monitor users’ behavior on your website and optimize your site based on the data you get.

Before you run Google Ads, it’s super important to set up Google Analytics for your website in the first place to gather data. You should also link your Google Ads dashboard to your Google Analytics in order to get more complete results.

Having Google Analytics helps run more successful campaigns. 

When it comes to Google Ads you hear that a lot of people buy Google Ads from other marketing companies and not Google itself. This might be a bit confusing to you.

You might ask: “why don’t they just set up Google Ads themselves?”, “Why should I pay extra to Google Ads management companies?”

The truth is running even acceptable Google Ads campaigns depends on a few things:

  • Experience
  • Knowledge of Google Ads
  • Knowledge of digital marketing
  • Time for monitoring and optimization
  • Knowledge of Google Analytics
  • Familiarity with website CMS
  • Time, time & time

If you don’t have any of the above or the time to learn them, you might want to consider Google Ads management services. 

You can also read this article to see if you really need Google Ads management.

Google Ads management services


The world of Google Ads is vast and full of new concepts. Here are some of the other common questions asked about Google Ads for small businesses:


That’s a wrap!

There you have it! All you need to know about Google Ads for small businesses. Well actually not all, because there are still many things more. But now you know the basics necessary.

You can try making a test campaign for your business, or you can hire an AdWords agency to do it for you. But this time, since you know the basics you are ready to hire the best one.



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