Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) offers a variety of ad types. Over the years, they've added and deleted several features and ad types. In this article, we describe the 4 most prominent ad types for bike shops: Search (text ads), Display (image ads), YouTube (video ads), and Shopping (product ads).
What Makes Your Ad Strategy Unique
No two ad strategies are alike. While it would be great to follow a set of hard and fast rules, in reality, it is a very fluid process with many factors that will make your specific ad strategy unique to your business and its goals.
This article won’t go into detail about how to customize your approach because it often takes a professional several months to refine what works for a business. For best results, get a professional consultation before starting Google Ads.
Here are just a few of the variables that are commonly refined within an ad strategy:
All Google ads require a long-term strategy to determine what works. An effective ad manager adjusts these variables each month as they dial in your strategy.
When getting started, check in on your ads daily since ad spend can fluctuate drastically while you get your footing. But once ad spend is in a stable place, start tweaking weekly or monthly to make your ad spend more efficient over a longer period of time.
Google Ads’ Ad Types
Search AdsWhat are they:
Text ads that display on Google search results pages.
Clicks to your websites and local conversions (clicks to call or get directions, store hours calls, directions, hours)
Search ads are always displayed towards the very top of results pages, frequently before any organic results—increasing the likelihood that your business will show up towards the top of a page for search queries relevant to your business like “bike shop near me” or “electric bikes.”
There is a lot of information on Google’s results pages. Google is constantly testing and adding new ways to display information that will provide the best answers to searches.
In the results pages of yesteryear, there were 10 standard blue links to organic search results. Now there are images, videos, maps, quick answers, suggested searches, Search ads, Shopping ads, and the knowledge panel (the sidebar that shows up for certain results) all vying for attention.
This increased competition for attention warrants a strategic investment in search marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) work is done to better the likelihood that your website will show up in organic search results. SEO isn’t enough to ensure a spot on page 1 for competitive search terms—that’s where Search ads come in handy.
Display AdsWhat are they:
Visual ads, served by the Google Display Network (GDN), that display while browsing websites that serve ads.
Brand awareness measured by impressions.
Google has a lot of information on us, whether we like it or not. Our browsing habits are recorded and Google knows our interests. They know what we are likely to be interested in.
Display ads are presented to people that Google has deemed are interested in, or might be interested in, the topic of the ad.
The goal of Display ads is brand awareness. Much like a magazine ad or a billboard, these ads are put in front of someone who is doing something else—browsing the internet, reading articles, watching a video, etc.—making it unlikely they will drop what they are doing and click through to your site and make a purchase right at the moment.
Instead, someone who sees your Display ads will have you top of mind when they are ready to purchase. This makes it more likely that that person will go to you rather than the competition.
Display ads are created using a variety of images and text. Google will serve up the best combination of these images and copy to the right people at the right time.
YouTube AdsWhat are they:
Videos ads that play prior to a YouTube video.Goal:
Brand awareness measured by impressions.
The purpose of YouTube ads are much like Display ads: Get your brand in front of people who might have an interest in what you have to offer while they are browsing the internet and, when they are ready to make a purchase, your brand is top of mind.
YouTube “pre-roll” video ads play right before a YouTube video and can be skipped after 5 seconds. The ideal length is 15-30 seconds and the content can be promotional or educational.
No need to go full Spielberg on these ads. All you need is a smartphone and someone who is comfortable in front of the camera. Toss your brand logo onto the video and you’re golden.
Check out a client of ours who has done a great job creating YouTube videos. And remember that you can use these videos for more than just ads, put them on your website, share them on social and in emails—video is very engaging.
Shopping AdsWhat are they:
Product ads that display on Google search results pages.Goal:
Shopping ads are the ads on Google’s search results pages that show a product and some pertinent information, like product image, price, seller name, and shipping info.
These ads tend to show up when someone is looking for a specific product like “mens mountain bike” or “bontrager bike shoes.” Google will display a few options to help the user get an understanding of the price range and where they can buy it. Again, Google’s goal is to get the most valuable info to a user as quickly as possible.
SmartEtailing websites have a feature that wraps up all of your catalog information in a file for Google so there is little work that is needed to get rolling with shopping ads.
Shopping ads can get very complicated very fast. It’s a competitive space to be in and it takes a lot of fine-tuning to find which products are best suited to promote. It is highly recommended to get a PPC professional’s help with setting this up—SmartEtailing manages many shopping campaigns for bike retailers so we are always happy to talk.
Google Ads are an effective way to ensure your brand is getting in front of as many potential and relevant customers as possible. The strategy and mix of variations that will work best for your bike shop will be determined over time. Much like any marketing effort, you’ll find some approaches will work better for you than others.
Google Ads is a long-term marketing tool. But getting started with any of the Google Ads types listed in this article is a great place to start reaching out to a new audience.
We plan to write more posts in the future about each ad type and best practices for the strategy behind each. In the meantime, check out WordStream’s PPC University or Search Engine Land’s Guide to PPC for further reading.
And, as always, give SmartEtailing a call if you’d like to learn how we can help with PPC for your bike shop. We offer a free consultation on what Google Ads strategy would work best for your bike shop.