What is Google Ads and Why Use It?

MIT Presentation (part 1 of 8): What is Google Ads and Why Use It?

Learn the basics of Google Ads, the world’s largest online advertising platform, along with ad examples. See how it compares to traditional media, SEO and Facebook, and why to use it throughout the launch and growth of your startup.

Want to see the full presentation instead?  Click here: “5 Ways to Test & Optimize Your Business Model with Google Ads”

This presentation was delivered by Prometheus PPC founder, Andrew Percey, on MIT campus in Cambridge, MA, on January 24, 2019, as part of “The Startup Code 2019” marketing seminar, which he organizes and co-hosts with serial entrepreneur Kenny Goodman.  The attendees were MIT alumni, faculty, grad students and other members of the MIT community.

While this presentation includes specific advice for startups, the advanced strategies & tactics described can be used by any business that is looking to refine or troubleshoot their business model and marketing plan.

Video (part 1 of 8)

PDF slides (part 1 of 8)

  Download Slides

Links to all posts in this presentation series, including videos, slides & transcripts:

See all “Startup Code 2019” presentations and resources

See all MIT marketing seminars


Transcript of Presentation (part 1 of 8)

What is Google Ads and Why Use It for Your Startup?

What is Google Ads?

Has this happened yet in any of your classrooms? I’m sure Google would love to get pop ups on the blackboards. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen. But this is kind of how people often feel about advertising. Everything is popping up all over the place… how effective can it be? And I want to talk about some of the ways that it can be effective.

But first of all, what is Google ads? It’s a global online advertising platform. At a very high level, it lets you do three things: promote your brand, drive traffic to your website, and sell your products or services. What made it so special compared to what came before is the very high precision control you have in terms of targeting and tracking and analyzing everything that happens when a user interacts with your ad and your website. And of course, you’re paying for these ad clicks. That’s where the name Pay Per Click comes in.

Some examples – the one that most people are familiar with is on the Google search page. In this case, I typed in an example for robot vacuum. And I’ll be reusing this example throughout the day. And you might notice the whole top of the page is ads. These are all Google ads. The first set at the top are called shopping ads, that show an image of your product, the price, the seller, some other information. And then you have text ads, which can work for products and services, and provide a wide variety of information on your offer. I think everybody’s probably familiar with these. And you may also be familiar with what happens on third party websites that host Google AdSense promotions.

So this is a site called livescience.com, and right here, they actually have three locations for display ads. There we go. At the top, on the right, at the bottom. Those are all also Google ads, visual ads, sometimes text ads that display on third party websites that you can choose and target. And there’s over a million websites and apps in the Google Display Network.

So just before going on to the rest of the presentation I want to ask, does anybody have any questions about what Google Ads is? OK. Then let’s go on.

Why Use Google Ads for Your Startup?

Why do we want to use this for your startup? Why do we want to use Google ads for your startup? So this is a good example. I think my Nest smoke alarm is going off, Google AdWords just pitched me a fire extinguisher and an offer for temporary housing. It can’t do that yet! But again, they would love to be there. But this is sort of the promise of it, that you can reach good prospects, great prospects, right at the moment when they need your product or service. What does that mean compared to other types of advertising? Well, what do you think? What do you guys think, who’ve had some experience with this maybe, are some of the advantages of Google Ads compared to traditional media, SEO or Facebook ads? What would you think?

[audience: “Fully trackable.”]

Yes, it’s fully trackable, which you can’t do with a radio ad or TV ad for example.

[audience: “Because they will show you advertising based on what you are looking for.”]

It’s more targeted advertising. It’s not just random stuff that you’re seeing. anything else?

[audience: “If we are getting the same volume of ads, it’s really cost effective, especially given the precision that you have.”]

And those are all fantastic. That’s exactly what Google Ads lets you do.

So compared to traditional media you get very precise targeting. You can target ages, genders, marital status, household income, devices, geographies, you can track their behavior, after they come to your website, all the pages they visit, every step they take on the path. And again, you can reach those 1 million plus websites and apps with those display ads.

Compared to search engine optimization, you again get the precise targeting. With SEO, you’re trying to build your website and content to focus on certain areas that you think are high value. But it’s still up to Google to decide when and where to show your content. With Google ads, you get to decide. Additionally, AdWords is very quick. [By the way, I keep saying Google Ads and AdWords. They changed the name last year, it was AdWords, now it’s Google Ads. So I’ll probably say both, I’m still getting used to that, too.] It’s very quick, to get up and running. Turn campaigns on, turn them off, start and launch multiple campaigns, and see test results very, very quickly. If you’re trying to go for those free organic listings through search engine optimization, it can take years in a competitive market to put out enough high quality content to start to show you’re at the top of the page. And again, you have the broad reach.

Facebook is a different creature altogether. I’m sure you’re all familiar with Facebook advertising, you’re not there looking for a specific product or service, you’re there to connect with friends, see pictures of families, cats, whatever it might be. And these ads come up in your news feed. So it’s interruption marketing. Now they do target you still, they target, again, ages, demographics, your interests, a lot of different things. But you’re not looking for that right now. With Google Ads, you target people based on what they’re searching for at the moment, which can get you those hot prospects.

Business Growth Timeline and Google Ads

Now I want to put this in terms of a startup, you’re probably familiar with something like this for a timeline of startup growth, from vision and mission to a minimum viable product, getting something out the door to test, to really adjusting the product market fit, and then finally, scaling. And Google Ads really has something for almost all these stages. Testing and optimizing is something you should be doing throughout most of this cycle. In fact, I probably should have continued it on… you never really stopped testing and optimizing. And using limited search campaigns, which I’ll be talking about different ways to do that, is a fantastic way to test. Later, you can drive those leads and sales.

Hone in your targeting using a variety of different campaigns, typically search shopping and remarketing campaigns. And then at the end, you can work on building the brand, once you get to a certain point, display in video campaigns to get your name out, to get the visuals, to get the messaging, and to get the feel out in front of as many people as possible.

But again, today, what I’m going to be focusing on is testing and optimizing using Google Ads to grow your business. By the way, according to one great source I found, the startup Genome Project, they found up to 70% of startups scale too soon. They even go so far as to say it can explain about 90% of failures in startups is going to scale too soon. You want to fail before you scale. And that’s what this sort of work can help you do.



Rating: 5 / 5. Votes: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Be Sociable, Share!

Andrew Percey

Andrew founded Prometheus PPC in 2012 and has helped grow over 100 businesses through Google Ads advertising. He holds two engineering degrees from M.I.T. and has 8 U.S. patents from his years in Silicon Valley. Andrew hosts marketing seminars at M.I.T. for current and future startup founders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *