Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) can seem complicated and daunting. However, we’ve all heard the stories of friends of friends who chucked an advert out there and google a HUGE return for seemingly nothing, right?

Well, in this blog, we’ll run through how Google Ads works, how businesses use the platform, it’s pros and cons and why it’s worth integrating into your marketing strategy.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is Google’s advertising offering trusted by businesses of all industries and sizes across the globe. It works by allowing businesses to bid in an auction to be seen for specific keywords/search terms. For example, Divide Digital may bid for the keyword ‘Google Ads Agencies’ to connect with people searching for our services.

Whether we know it or not, we’ve all been involved in a Google Ads auction by simply using Google in the first place. Google Text Ads show up as text with short, sharp headlines, a URL, a description or two & the advertisers chosen extensions.

An example of a well structured Google Ad:

Google Ads Text Ad Example

What you’re seeing above is what’s known as a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Ads appear at the top with the yellow ‘Ad’ icon next to them so that you know it’s an ad. These are then followed by organic search results – in this case it’s ‘’.

In addition, Google also offers ‘Display Ads’. These are shown through Google’s Display Network and can appear in a variety of ways from text to image & videos. Ever looked at some new shoes or a car and that product has started following you around on other websites? That’ll likely be due to Display Ads retargeting which is a great way to drive new business.

Why is Google Ads Important?

The reasons to use Google Ads are endless. Here are just a few

Google’s reach is HUGE.

Every single one of us knows what Google is and has used their search engine at some point in time.

There is a whole planet filled with people doing the exact same thing, making new searches, looking for products/services to buy. In fact, Google handles over 2 TRILLION searches every year.

A percentage of those searches will be people looking for services just like yours. Believe me. We’ve run successful ad campaigns for anything from Cyber Essentials to Tractor Air Braking Systems. There is a search for EVERYTHING if you know how to find it.

High User Intent

As mentioned above, users are actively searching for specific keywords relating to a product/service they are interested in. Therefore, the buying intent of those users will be significantly higher when compared to users on other platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

Think of it like this: You sell running shoes. You’re in a room with 1,000’s of other businesses doing the same. Then, a potential customer walks into the room and shouts ‘I NEED NEW RUNNING SHOES’. Would you rather walk over to them, stand in front of them and start a conversation or stand idle and hope they find you?

With Google Ads, you’re bidding to put yourself front and centre with people who are identifying themselves to you as high intent buyers, actively researching the product/service you’re offering.

Conversion Rates

Following on from our last two points we come to conversion rates and ROI. Which, let’s be honest, is the biggest factor we all consider when it comes to any marketing investment.

Well, the good news is that based on major marketing KPIs, Google has proven to have the highest conversion rate and  ROI when compared to other platforms.

It’s staggering just how effective Google Ads can be when it’s set up and optimised correctly.

Examples of Successful Google Ads Campaigns

Shoe Carnival

As one of the nation’s largest family footwear retailers, Shoe Carnival offers a broad assortment of footwear for men, women, and children both online and in more than 400 stores across 33 states and Puerto Rico.


  • Shoe Carnival wanted to highlight its latest sales and promotions for potential customers
  • Faced with a large inventory and an ever-changing promotional calendar, the brand wanted an efficient way to keep its search campaigns up-to-date with its latest special offers
  • In the highly competitive retail industry, the brand knows how important it is to stand out on the search results page


  • Shoe Carnival used promotion extensions to cover more real estate on the search results page while delivering more relevant, informative ads
  • With less effort needed to set up promotions, the brand was able to free up more time and budget to invest in future shopping and display campaigns
  • The brand now plans to test different promotion extension features within Google Ads, like special occasion labels and scheduled expiration dates


  • 10% Increase in CTR
  • 20% Increase in ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
  • 20% Decrease in Cost Per Sale

“Promotion extensions allowed us to include an additional offer into our overall ad messaging, giving people more reason to visit our site. This new feature should be in every ecommerce advertiser’s toolbox.”

Michael Nuss – Director of Digital Marketing at Shoe Carnival


To drive product awareness of its new line of eye shadows, the Nudes Palette, Maybelline New York created a digital-first campaign featuring custom-branded videos from YouTube content creators and beauty vloggers. The campaign succeeded at raising product awareness by getting the right content in front of the right YouTube audiences.


  • Successfully launch the Nudes Palette and drive product awareness


  • Collaborated with YouTube content creators and 13 prominent beauty vloggers
  • Launched YouTube Masthead takeover for massive single-day awareness boost
  • Leveraged Google Preferred to place 15-second spots in front of popular and engaging content on YouTube
  • Used TrueView ads to drive opt-in views for longer pieces of content


  • 140M impressions and 1.46M clicks via the YouTube Masthead takeover, with 70% of impressions and 92% of clicks happening via mobile devices
  • 15M impressions via Google Preferred
  • 2.4X to 2.9X lift in brand awareness and messaging

John Deere

Deere & Company are an American manufacturing company in the agricultural, construction and forestry industries. Founded in 1837, they are the largest company of their kind in the world.


  • Engage homeowners looking to buy
  • Increase sales of utility vehicles
  • Drive improved performance for CTR, conversions, CPC and CPA


  • Tested similar audiences for Search over a six-month period
  • Employed look-alike tactics the brand has used elsewhere
  • Drive an increase in consideration and purchase intent


  • 300% Increase in CTR (Click Through Rate)
  • 31% Increase in Conversions

“We have been very pleased with the outcome of similar audiences and our ability to better reach consumers throughout the research and purchase process.”

Jennifer Cox, John Deere Agriculture & Turf Segment Manager, Property Care

Tips and Reminders for Google Ads

Have a Relevant Landing Page

This is SO important. Cater for your audience and make the buying process as easy as possible by always sending web traffic to a relevant landing page. 

Let’s say you’re searching for running shoes and see an ad stating ‘Best Quality Running Shoes – 30% Sale This Week Only’. You click on the ad and get taken to a page selling running tops, leggings, shorts, headbands AND the odd shoe.

Are you likely to wade through a sea of rubbish you don’t want, refine the results down, etc. to get the shoes that are on sale?

No. You’ll leave the site and go elsewhere to a site that clearly shows just a list of the running shoes that are on sale. Simple.

Use Negative Keywords

When you’re looking to rank for specific searches, it’s easy to get too broad and end up with lots of irrelevant traffic. Let’s take the Recruitment industry as an example.

You tell Google to rank you for all searches in Hampshire for ‘Automotive Recruitment Hampshire’.

Steve, an automotive recruitment consultant is looking for a new company to work for closer to his home in Hampshire. He searches for ‘Automotive Recruitment Jobs in Hampshire’. You pop up top.

Now, you didn’t want to pay for Steve to hit your site but now he’s seen your ad and clicked on it, costing you money and sending irrelevant traffic to your site.

Use Google’s negative keyword function to block these people out. A list of standard negative keywords may include:

  • Jobs
  • Cheap
  • How To’s
  • Books
  • Training

And many many more.

Use Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions are key to taking advantage of your ranking on SERPs. Extensions are effectively free, extra real estate for your ad. They take up more space and have more of a chance of engaging the users.

Your extensions could be anything from reviews, phone numbers, sitelinks, callout, values, locations and more.

Example of Google Ads Location Extension

All in all, YES, Google Ads is well worth considering for your business. It can and will put you head and shoulders above your competitors if used correctly.

For more information on how to run a Google Ads campaign feel free to explore our blogs here.

If you’re looking for more guidance and would like to have your Google Ads fully managed for you, then get in touch with us. We’re always happy to help and share our advice!

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