Google Ads For Dummies

So you want to start advertising on “The Google,” but you really don’t know how it works? Well, then my friend, you’ve come to the right blog post! I’m going to get you up to speed on what exactly an ad platform is, how Google’s ad platform works, and how you can use it to make BILLIONS. Okay… maybe not that last one but I’m just the teacher, what you do with my knowledge is up to you

Okay, so what’s an “online advertising platform”? I’ll explain it by using an analogy that will hopefully clear things up:

Pretend the internet is a highway. Pretend it’s a billion highways, crisscrossing all over the place. Let’s call it “The Information Highway.” Along this highway, there are billboards — hundreds of them. No, wait, thousands of them. No, wait…. MILLIONS! These are your ad placements. The more traffic that passes by each billboard, the more expensive advertising on that billboard is. Following along so far?

Let’s say that you want to buy space along a particular stretch of highway… whom would you go to? You could try going to the owner of the land where each billboard sits, but you’ll find that they sold the rights to that billboard to another company. Finding advertisers to buy the space and manage the installation, maintenance, and changeover of the billboard isn’t the land owner’s forte.

You may have guessed already, but the company they sold to is Google. That’s essentially what an ad placement is; websites insert these frames (billboards), and Google manages to get the ads to the frames. Google’s infrastructure behind the scenes and its collection of placements is considered an Ad Platform. As billboards can be any size, Google decided long ago that there are only a few optimal sizes it wants to deal with. That’s why online ads have size requirements.

Now that you know what it is, how does it work? Let’s go back out on the open road.

Let’s say you’re on a highway called Route “How To Cook A Boiled Egg.” The route name is your search query. The active words (“cook,” boiled,” “egg”) are called keywords; these words form the unique construction of your search. AKA you could remove “How” “To” and “A” and the search query would still “make sense.” If someone said “Cook Boiled Egg?” to you, you could probably figure out what they wanted to know.

So you’re on the “Cook Boiled Egg Expressway” and there are billboards everywhere! Not just any billboards, but these are specifically to be related to “how to cook a boiled egg.” I mean… if you saw a billboard for truck tires you wouldn’t care because you’re here to make breakfast, not burn rubber.

Figuring out how many people pass these billboards, and what exit they get off at, that’s keyword research. Maybe some people get off at “how to cook a boiled egg quickly” avenue, or “how to perfectly cook a boiled egg” lane. Those exit ramps also have billboards so that you could advertise there too!

That’s how you expand your keyword list. However, we’re concerned with how to buy space on those main billboards. You approach Google and say “ONE BILLBOARD SPACE PLEASE” and they hang up the phone. It’s too expensive for them to take your call, there are thousands of calls coming in every second! They need a more efficient way of screening the legitimate calls from the crank ones for “Seymore Butts,” and since they’re also a business, they want to make a little money as they do it.

This is why you have to bid on keywords and can’t just buy direct. Google wants the most money per space, but also wants to fill all the areas so that as new off-ramps are built these landowners are incentivized to put up a billboard and sell the space to Google. This is why keyword bids change, as traffic increases or decreases the optimal price per view is achieved.

This is a VERY simplified way of explaining what Google Ads are.The nuance and complications behind finding the right spots for your ads is what gets me out of bed in the morning. The rabbit hole is deep.

I mean the title said “For Dummies” and I had to break it down for the knuckle-draggers among us. What did you expect, Shakespeare? If thou dost know so much why don’t YOU tell me how it works in the comments?

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