An Introduction to Google Ads
Google Ads is the name of the most popular paid advertising platform in the world, and also the largest in terms of both revenue and activity. Launched by Google in 2000 under the name “Google AdWords”, Google Ads operates through “auctions,” where users bid on keywords by submitting the maximum amount they’re willing to spend for displaying ads on those keywords.
That’s more or less the gist of how Google Ads operates. Naturally, using the platform is much more complex than that, but the basic premise of paid advertising through Google Ads is that.
Where Do Google Ads Appear?
There are many places where Google Ads can potentially appear since there are many so-called “campaigns” (or types of Google Ads). However, the most popular form would be the search ads. These are the adverts that you see displayed at the top of the search results whenever you do a search on Google.
The other forms of paid ads are:
- Display Ads: these are the ads you see whenever you’re on your favorite website. They’re usually on the side or at the top of the page.
- Video Ads: these are the ads that you’ll encounter whenever you’re watching something on YouTube.
- App Ads: these are ads that will promote your app, but there’s no specific location for these to be displayed. In fact, they can be displayed on Google Play, YouTube, the Google Display Network, etc.
- Shopping Ads: these ads allow you to advertise a particular product on the search results page. These are much like search ads but trigger whenever a user is looking to purchase a product.
Generally, you’ll choose the campaign depending on what services or products you’re offering. For instance, if you’re an ecommerce store, you would choose shopping ads. To use another example: as a financial advisor, you could choose video ads as this would allow you to display your best financial advisor videos.
Video marketing for financial advisors can be useful since financial services tend to be difficult to comprehend for laymen, and so explaining everything in a clear video would more likely get users’ interests piqued.
Do Google Ads Actually Work?
It’s easy to doubt the power of the Google Ads marketing channel; after all, so many people scroll past search ads, pay no attention to display ads, and are continuously frustrated by video ads on YouTube. However, we can tell you from personal experience that Google Ads are definitely effective.
In fact, when using Google Ads effectively, you could drive more traffic to your website as well as increase your brand awareness by having your brand displayed in ads all over the Google Display Network or in Google search ads.
What Is PPC in Google Ads?
PPC stands for “pay-per-click” which is one of the ways you can bid on keywords. Through PPC, you are essentially telling Google that you want to pay for each click that your ad receives. Google then provides you with a figure known as “CPC” or “cost-per-click”, which shows how much you need to pay for every click on a particular keyword.
Other ways you can bid on keywords are the following:
- CPM: this stands for “cost per mille,” which is when you pay for every 1000 impressions that your ad receives. In other words, whenever your ad is displayed to 1000 users, you’re charged by Google.
- CPE: this stands for “cost per engagement,” which is when you pay for every time someone engages with your ad.
Using one or the other will depend on your goals. For example, using CPM makes more sense when you’re simply using paid ads for brand awareness rather than for people to click on your ad.
Do You Have to Pay for Google Ads?
Yes, paying for Google Ads is the only way that you can get the platform to display your adverts. It’s a fundamental part of the process, and without paying Google for them to display your adverts, you essentially won’t have any ads running. Moreover, as soon as you stop paying Google, your ads will stop as well.
What Is a Good Budget for Google Ads?
Calculating a good budget for Google Ads is imperative if you want to survive in PPC, and that’s because you can never spend too little on the platform or else you’ll be relegated to paid ads oblivion. Then again, spend too much and you’re essentially digging yourself a financial hole to bury yourself in.
However, the question of “how much should you spend on Google Ads?” is a little more complicated than just giving you a range of numbers so that you can figure out the rest yourself. To calculate how much money for Google Ads marketing you’re going to need, you will need to understand the variables that affect how much budget you should set aside.
These include things like the PPC strategy that you’ll adopt; your particular industry; the audience you’re targeting; the keywords you’re bidding on; and the Quality Score of your ads. This is only the tip of the paid ads iceberg, of course, and there are more factors than these that affect both your CPC (or CPM or CPE) as well as how much budget you’ll need.
Other than understanding the above variables, learning how to decide on a budget for Google Ads also involves making a few calculations from your end. In truth, your Google Ads budget is going to be the result of how much you’d like to spend, your marketing goals, and your potential returns; this is on top of the above factors that affect how much you need to spend.
To finish off, bear in mind that this is a very basic overview of a complex topic. For a more in-depth guide, please read our dedicated article on the subject.
What Is a Good ROI for Google Ads?
What determines a good ROI (return on investment) is something that, like most things in paid advertising, will depend on the industry that you’re operating in. For instance, certain industries will claim fantastic ROIs, such as an ROI of 500%, while much more competitive niches will only see a maximum ROI of 100%.
While ROI is something that is highly dependent on your circumstances, you should always aim to produce an ROI of at least 200%. In other words, for every dollar you spend on paid advertising, you should strive to squeeze $2 out of it. With smart use of the Google Ads platform, this is totally achievable, and even ROIs beyond 200%.
When it comes to the average ROI for Google Ads, this is also something that differs according to niche or industry. However, Google itself conservatively estimates that advertisers receive an ROI of 800% from Google Ads, or $8 for every $1 spent.
Of course, be aware that this is a generalization obtained from every industry that makes use of Google’s paid advertising platform. So, your actual ROI will probably be different.
Is Paying for Google Ads Worth It?
A common question we get from businesses both big and small is: “are Google Ads worth it?” This is a natural question to ask, especially when considering the fact that 1) Google Ads costs money, and 2) you are going to need a significant budget to even make so much as a dent in your industry.
However, if you look beyond how much money you’re paying (and even then, you should think of it as an investment not as an expense), you will see that there are many benefits to using Google Ads. This would include the fact that Google Ads brings results relatively quickly; it allows you to really target your ideal audience; as well as providing many options in order to limit your spending.
Of course, when we say this, we don’t mean to say that Google Ads and paid advertising should be your only marketing strategy. In fact, we wholly believe that pay-per-click should only be one of the marketing channels you make use of, together with others including SEO (search engine optimization), SMM (social media marketing), etc.
Do Google Ads Work for Small Business Enterprises?
While paying for Google Ads should be a careful and calculated investment by every kind of business, it’s smaller businesses that tend to exhibit more caution when it comes to using the platform. This is only natural as every kind of cost for a small business makes a big difference.
However, despite that, we believe that Google Ads can be a worthwhile investment for small businesses and this is because it can prove to be a quick way to enter the competition. In fact, other forms of marketing, like SEO, will require many months, if not years, in order to even break into the industry in any substantial way.
Moreover, the targeting options afforded to you means that you don’t need deep pockets in order for your ads to actually start registering clicks. You can really refine your ads to be shown to a particular type of person who’s more likely to convert than others, which increases your ROI significantly.
Google Ads for Financial Advisor Marketing: Top Tips & Best Practices
Now that we’ve gone through a basic introduction of what Google Ads is and how it operates, it’s time to go over the various practices that set aside Google Ads for financial advisors from the rest of the industries. We’ll be giving you a number of tips and best practices to follow so that your paid advertising can shine through.
Other than these best practices, however, be sure to bear in mind all the usual Google Ads best practices that you should be following no matter what industry you’re in.
Combine Google Ads With Other Forms of Marketing
The key to having a top-notch marketing strategy is diversification: never depend solely on one form of marketing. This is for many reasons, all of which depends on the unique challenges inherent in every form of marketing. For example, when it comes to SEO, you’re always at the mercy of the vagaries of Google.
On the other hand, in the case of Google Ads and paid advertising in general, you’re forced to pay in order for this marketing method to even function. Unlike organic methods of marketing that can provide returns without any monetary investment, when you stop paying for Google Ads, your entire strategy stops dead in its tracks.
Moreover, this is not to mention the fact that most users have been so accustomed to (and even frustrated by) ads that they simply scroll over them and pay no attention. In fact, WordStream found that the average CTR (click-through rate, or the percentage of users who clicked on a result) of the finance industry is 6.18%.
This is only slightly higher than the cross-industry average of 6.11%, and is definitely higher than the CTR experienced by other industries:
By comparison, however, the average CTR of the first organic result on Google is 27.6% according to Brian Dean. And this is why it’s smart to invest in other forms of marketing.
Go Beyond Cost-Per-Click
Other than understanding what the general CPC of your keywords should be, you should also consider other related marketing costs, mainly: cost per lead and cost per acquisition (or CPL and CPA for short). These are 2 related concepts but with slightly different implications. Let’s explore the difference:
- Cost Per Lead: your CPL is the cost of acquiring what is known as a lead in the marketing world; in other words, it’s the cost required in order to acquire a potential customer. This is someone who is only interested in your services and has submitted information in order to enquire further, keep in touch, etc.
- Cost Per Acquisition: your CPA is the cost of acquiring an actual customer. So, it’s not just someone who’s shown an interest in your services, but someone who has actually paid for your services.
According to WordStream, the average CPL for the finance industry is $90.02, which is higher than the Google Ads average $53.52, and on the higher side compared to other industries:
Calculating these metrics is easy: for your CPL you need to divide the cost of the paid ad campaign that produced leads by the number of leads produced. So, for example, let’s say you spent $300 on a paid ad that produced 200 interested clients. Your CPL would be 300/200 = $1.5.
On the other hand, to calculate your CPA you need to add up all of the costs of your marketing and divide those by the number of sales that you’ve generated. So, let’s say that you spent $300 on a paid ad, $100 on a PPC tool, and $50 to create your landing page, and all of that gave you 12 sales. Thus, your CPA would be 450/12 = $37.5.
Both of these metrics are important when calculating your costs.
Carve Your Niche
This is one of the most powerful pieces of advice that we can give you when it comes to paid advertising, and it’s a Google Ads best practice no matter which industry you work in. Since the finance industry is actually quite competitive, you’re going to need to find your place within it in order to get your slice of the pie.
There are many targeting options available on Google Ads, which will allow you to refine your target audience by many characteristics, including age, gender, interests, habits, etc. Moreover, if you have a physical business, you might also be interested in only presenting your ads to people close to your location.
That way, you won’t have to waste ad budget on people who live miles and miles away, and definitely won’t show up to your office! However, this depends on whether or not you also accept clients online, which changes the game a little. Finally, you ought to really leverage the power of negative keywords.
These are keywords that won’t trigger your ad despite being related to your main keyword. In other words, you tell Google not to show your ad when a searcher looks for those keywords. For example, you don’t want people finding your ad when looking up something like “free financial advice”—after all, you want to be paid for your services!
Create Attractive Ads
At the risk of seeming like we’re stating the obvious, we’re going to go ahead and do so anyway: no one is going to care about your ads if you don’t make them enticing enough. As we saw before, not many people tend to click on ads; the problem is compounded if you present searchers with lousy ads.
Therefore, you need to make sure that your adverts call out to your intended audience, increasing your chance of getting a click. To do so, you need to “speak” to your audience in ways that resonate with them. For instance, what’s the most common reason that people come to you? This might be a clue of what to include in your ad’s headline.
Moreover, in order to compete against other financial advisors who are also after the same potential clients, you need to explain what it is that sets you apart from the competition. Explain your USPs (unique selling points), or speak about how you’ve helped other clients with their financial issues, etc.
And speaking of which, in such a sensitive field as finance, it’s also good to explain your experience. For example, write how long you’ve been working as a financial advisor, or if you have any relevant qualifications or accreditations, etc. These are all great ideas to create as fantastic an ad as possible.
In this upcoming section, we’ll also be looking at another tip of how to further embellish your paid ads!
Use Ad Extensions to Your Advantage
Ad extensions are like add-ons that you can tack on to your ads so as to give them more features than the standard search ad you’re probably used to seeing. So, instead of simply showing the headline, the URL, and the ad copy, you can choose to add a number of other features in order to make your ad stand out more.
A few of the ad extensions that might interest you as a financial advisor are the following:
- Sitelinks Extensions: with this ad extension, you can show additional links to your website other than the original landing page.
- Location Extensions: with this ad extension, your physical location and a map will be displayed alongside the original ad.
- Call Extensions: with this ad extension, your phone number will be displayed alongside the ad. Mobile searchers also have the option of instantly calling you when clicking on it.
Thankfully, these ad extensions come at no extra cost, so feel free to add any of them so long as they’re relevant to your business.
Make Your Landing Pages Beautiful
It’s just enough to create attractive ads that will catch the eyes of customers: once they click on your ad, they’re going to end up on the landing page that you’re sending them to. This is the “make-it-or-break-it” moment in paid advertising, so to speak, as getting your prospective clients to click on your ads is the first step to getting a conversion.
However, in order for them to convert, your landing page has to be convincing enough for your visitors to want to make use of your services. Therefore, you need to create a landing page that is not only relevant to your ad (as otherwise you risk users bouncing away from your page), but also highly persuasive.
There are several things that you can do to achieve this, starting from creating a landing page that looks professional. With an unprofessional landing page, you’re already repelling potential clients. Moreover, you need to stuff in as many elements as possible in order to prove you’re the real deal and that you’ve actually given great financial advice before.
These would include things like reviews, testimonials, and relevant certificates and licenses that show that you’re a legitimate financial advisor. In other words, include anything (and possibly everything) that will set your visitors’ minds at ease that you’re the genuine article.
Finally, it would also be a good idea
If you want more detailed advice on how to create a landing page, we have a dedicated guide on that topic, which we would highly suggest checking it out.
Measure Your Results & Optimize
What’s the point of marketing if you don’t know how your ads are performing? Measuring your ads’ performance is one of the most important things you can do when managing Google Ads. Not only because you can discover how many of your customers came from your paid ads, but also because you can make optimizations based on this data.
For example, one of the most important metrics that you can track is your CTR. This is not only important from a “results point-of-view”, in the sense of seeing how many clicks you’ve gotten from your ads, but also because CTR has an effect on another highly important score that you need to keep in mind, which is Quality Score.
This is a score assigned by Google to each one of your ads that fundamentally measures how relevant your ads are to your searchers. Quality Score is important because the higher your Quality Score, the more relevant your ads are to users. When Google realizes that your ads are exactly what users are looking for, they will reward you with a lower CPC.
In other words, the higher the Quality Score, the lower you’ll be paying for your ads.
The final piece of advice that we’d like to give you in case you’re managing your own Google Ads is to make use of what is known as “dayparting”. Also known as “ad scheduling,” this is when you tell Google to only show your ads at particular times of the day.
This would make sense when, for example, you’re using a call extension on your paid ad. If your office has certain opening times, you don’t want people to call you when you’re not at the office; you’re essentially throwing away money that way.
Moreover, if there are certain points of the day that seem to be more “profitable” in terms of gaining leads, then you might want to use dayparting in order to save yourself some costs. This is instead of letting the ad be displayed all day long and having to pay for a few extra clicks that lead to nowhere.
Hire a Reputable Google Ads Agency or Specialist
If you don’t have the expertise to manage Google Ads, or the time, or even the money to build an in-house marketing team, then you should go ahead and outsource your paid advertising to someone who knows what they’re doing. Again, even in something as simple as this, there are some pitfalls you need to avoid.
When contracting a marketing firm or specialist, you need to make sure to choose the best Google Ads agency or expert that you can find. And this doesn’t just mean that they know how to simply use the Google Ads platform; no, they need to be absolutely proficient in it so as to get you the best ROAS (return on ad spend) possible.
This means that they need to provide proof of their claims and services, such as successful case studies of campaigns managed so well, that they saved their client a lot of money in ad spend. Moreover, not only do they really need to know their stuff, but they also should at least have some familiarity with the niche.
They shouldn’t be absolute experts in finance, but having some experience would be a great asset as they would be familiar with all of the best keywords and they would already be able to give you some ideas on budget, etc. If not, a good Google Ads agency would still be able to figure out your niche through extensive keyword research.
Google Ad Rules for Financial Advisor Marketing
Since the financial market is so sensitive, Google tends to be stricter in its policies with marketing in this industry. In fact, it’s not only in paid ads that Google tends to inspect marketing efforts with greater scrutiny in certain “sensitive” niches, but the same can be found in SEO, for example.
Therefore, under the ever-watchful gaze of Google, you’re going to need to keep these policies in mind and follow them as closely to the letter as possible. Otherwise, you risk having your ads removed and your account suspended.
If you would like more information, we highly suggest reading the Google Ads financial services policy documentation in full. It will provide you with useful details of what is and isn’t allowed based on your particular services. We’ll be keeping it rather general here, focusing on the general policies behind Google Ads for financial services.
Ads Must Be Truthful
Every ad that you put as a financial advisor needs to be as truthful as possible, that means that you cannot have any misleading information on your paid ads. Remember that everything you post on your ad will be scrutinized by Google themselves, and therefore you mustn’t make exaggerated claims about your services or anything of the sort.
Ads Must Be Transparent
Your ads must never omit any information which could be deemed relevant to a user; for example, if your business has a physical location, you must always provide the relevant contact information whenever promoting it. Moreover, you must never hide what fees you charge for your services, or force users to “look for” your fees by making them click on another link, for example.
Ads Must Be Fully Informative
Similar to the above, your ads must always be as informative as possible so as not to confuse your searches or leave them feeling unsatisfied. On another note, if you claim to have relevant accreditations, or other forms of endorsement that can help boost your credibility, you must always provide links to these.
Looking for a Reputable Google Ads Agency?
If you’re looking for a Google Ads agency to handle your paid advertising, then you’ve come to the right place.
We at Ads Institute have been managing Google Ads for a variety of businesses for years now, and we have managed to lead those businesses to profitability.
If you’re interested in our services, feel free to contact us to claim your free 30-min audit!
How do I advertise myself as a financial advisor?
There are many ways you can advertise your services as a financial advisor, one of which, as we’ve seen, is through the use of Google Ads. However, other ways of advertising your services is by opening a blog, being active on social media, attending networking events, hosting webinars, and so on.
Can financial advisors have Google Reviews?
After the SEC’s changes to its marketing rules on 4th March, 2021, with an effective compliance date of 4th November, 2022, financial advisors are now free to use testimonials in their marketing strategy. Technically, this allows financial advisors to leverage Google Reviews in order to attract new leads.
Are financial advisors allowed to advertise?
Yes, financial advisors are allowed to advertise. The recent changes to the SEC marketing rules for financial advisors has made it possible to use testimonials (that is, customer reviews) and endorsements (that is, statements from investors and non-clients) as part of your marketing strategy.