Google Ads for Small Business Owners: What’s Involved and Why They Work

For many small business owners, online advertising can seem daunting. With so many platforms and strategies, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. One of the most popular and effective advertising platforms is Google Ads. If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toes into the Google Ads pool but would like to clarify what’s involved and why they’re practical, this blog post is just for you.


1. What are Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is an online advertising platform developed by Google. It allows businesses to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, and video content to web users. These ads can appear on Google search results pages and across their network of partner websites.

2. How Do Google Ads Work?

Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You can set a budget you’re comfortable with, and Google will display your ads until your budget is exhausted.

Setting Up a Campaign:

Embarking on a Google Ads journey requires a strategic approach. Setting up a campaign isn’t just about creating ads; it’s about understanding your audience, determining what they’re searching for, and ensuring your ads resonate with them. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  • Keyword Research: Before diving into ad creation, it’s essential to understand what potential customers are searching for. Keyword research helps you determine which terms are relevant to your business and which users might employ to find your products or services.
  • Ad Creation: With keywords in hand, the next step is crafting your message. Design compelling ads that capture attention and convey your unique selling points. Remember, you have limited characters, so make every word count!
  • Bidding: The world of Google Ads operates on an auction system. Here, you decide how much you will pay to click your ad. It’s a delicate balance; while you want to ensure visibility, you must also maintain cost-effectiveness. The more competitive the keyword, the higher the cost per click might be.
  • Targeting: Your ads will only be effective if the right audience sees them. This step involves choosing the geographic locations, times of day, and other demographics where you want your ads to appear. By narrowing down your audience, you ensure that your ads reach those most likely to convert.

3. Why Are Google Ads Effective?

Google Ads isn’t just another advertising platform; it’s a tool that connects businesses with potential customers at the right moment. Here’s why it stands out:

  • Intent-Based Advertising: The beauty of search engines is that users come with a purpose. People using Google actively search for something, be it a product, service, or answer. By placing your ad in front of them at this crucial moment, you’re reaching potential customers when their interest is at its peak.
  • Measurable Results: In the digital age, data is king. Google Ads provides detailed analytics, clearly showing your campaign’s performance. You can see how many people saw your ad, clicked on it, and took a desired action on your website, allowing for informed decision-making.

4. Tips for Success:

Success with Google Ads doesn’t happen overnight. It requires careful planning, continuous monitoring, and a willingness to adapt. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Start Small: The world of online advertising can be overwhelming. If you’re new to Google Ads, it’s wise to begin with a modest budget and a simple campaign. This approach allows you to learn the ropes without overextending your resources.
  • Monitor and Adjust: The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and so should your campaigns. Regularly review your campaign’s performance and make necessary adjustments. This iterative process ensures that you’re always putting your best foot forward.

Why Google Ads Are Especially Beneficial for Small Businesses

  1. Level Playing Field: Unlike traditional advertising mediums, where larger companies with bigger budgets often dominate, Google Ads allows small businesses to compete on a level playing field. With the right strategy, even a modest budget can yield significant results. It’s not just about how much you spend but how wisely you spend it.
  2. Local Targeting: Google Ads offers advanced geo-targeting options. This means a local business can specifically target ads to appear only to users in their immediate vicinity. For instance, a local bakery can ensure their ads are only shown to people within a 10-km radius of their location. Hyper-local targeting ensures that advertisers spend their dollars reaching the most relevant audience.
  3. Quick Results: While organic search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial, it often takes time to see results. Google Ads, on the other hand, can provide immediate visibility on the search results page. This immediacy can be invaluable for small businesses looking for a quick boost in traffic and sales.
  4. Budget Control: Small businesses often operate on tight budgets. With Google Ads, there’s complete control over daily and monthly spending. You can start, pause, or adjust your ad spend at any time, making managing costs easy and ensuring you’re getting a return on your investment.
  5. High Return on Investment (ROI): When set up and managed correctly, Google Ads can offer a high ROI. Small businesses can turn clicks into customers by targeting the right keywords, crafting compelling ad copy, and directing users to a relevant landing page.
  6. Gaining Insights and Data: Google Ads provides a wealth of data on your ads’ performance. This data isn’t just valuable for optimising your ads and can provide insights into market trends, customer behaviour, and more. Small businesses can use this data to refine their overall marketing strategy.
  7. Brand Awareness: Even if users don’t click on your ad, seeing it at the top of their search results can increase brand awareness. Over time, this repeated exposure can build trust and recognition, which is essential for small businesses trying to establish themselves in a competitive market.
  8. Diversification: Relying solely on organic traffic can be risky, especially with ever-changing search engine algorithms. Google Ads provides an alternative and reliable traffic source, ensuring small businesses have a diversified online presence.


For small businesses, every advertising dollar counts. Google Ads can be a powerful tool for small businesses looking to increase their online visibility and drive more sales. Its intent-based advertising model, detailed analytics, and flexibility offer a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers immediately. By understanding what’s involved and leveraging best practices, small business owners can effectively harness the power of Google Ads to grow their business. If you are considering getting started with Google Ads, why not speak with our team today about how we can help you convert clicks to leads and sales.


Leanne O'Sullivan

Digital Sherpa & CEO
I help businesses grow through strategic digital marketing.​ I am the founder, CEO and Digital Sherpa of Adventure Digital – a marketing agency based in regional NSW, servicing clients all over the Australian eastern seaboard. I’ve made it my life’s mission to help you grow a sustainable, enjoyable and profitable business.

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