The Beginners Guide to Google Ads 2023

Learn the basics of Google Ads with this beginner's guide. Understand pay-per-click, keywords, quality score, impressions, clicks, and more to optimize your ad spend and reach your target audience.

June 30, 2023

Meet Jenny & John

Jenny and John are two young professionals living in Wellington. Their shared passions turned into a business venture, ‘Sokz’. Being marketing majors, Jenny and John knew about the digital marketing power-tool, Google ads. With nothing but the socks on their feet, they still had one small problem. How do you use Google Ads???

The value of utilizing Google Ads as a marketing tool is a case that makes itself. Easily measured and provides beneficial data that can really enhance your business's performance. Get your ads showing at the top of Google's Search results, the cherry on top, you only pay when you get traffic. 

This basic guide to search marketing is great for beginners to help kick-start your marketing journey. It is recommended to read up more on specific campaign types before launching a campaign to follow best practices. After all every marketing dollar is valuable.

Google Ads Advertising: Pay Per Click

Each time an ad is clicked, and a user heads to your chosen landing page, you are charged a small fee. The best part is, not only do you have a say in how much you pay, but all of your goals can be tracked down to the most miniscule of details. This provides you with enhanced decision making abilities, and you can decide how your money is spent. Whether your focus is driving more sales or enquiries, you’re in control. 


Nail the Basics

Of course, John and Jenny were getting nowhere without a basic understanding of some metrics…

  • Keywords: Keywords are words or phrases that are used to match your ads with the terms people are searching for on platforms like Google. Keyword match types come as Exact, Phrase, and Broad.
  • Negative Keywords (NKW): Negative keywords are keywords to be excluded e.g. “free”.  Meaning for any user who makes a search e.g. “Free socks wellington”, containing your NKW, your ad won't show (and therefore, you’re not spending money on terms irrelevant to your business objectives). 
  • Quality Score: The ‘quality score’ of ads is an umbrella term. The main scope of it relates to relevancy of keywords, landing pages and the ads themselves. The relevancy is decided by Google and is based on how applicable each of the factors is to the users search.
HACK: Your quality score has a huge impact on your CPC, a 10/10 quality score can reduce CPC by up to 40%!
  • Impressions: An impression is counted each time your ad is shown by google. Impressions aren't clicks and you don't pay for these, but they do help you understand how often your ad is being seen.
  • Clicks: A click is… well when someone clicks on your ad. Relevant, highly targeted ads are far more likely to receive clicks. 
  • CTR (Click-through Rate): The click-through rate measures how often people click your ad after Google shows it, this helps you understand the relevancy of your ad.
  • Avg. CPC (Cost Per Click): Average cost-per-click is the total amount you've paid for your ads divided by its total clicks. If your ad receives 2 clicks, one costing $0.20 and one costing $0.40, your average CPC for those clicks is $0.30.
  • Landing Page: The landing page is the first page a potential customer is going to see after clicking your ad, make sure this page is set up to make conversions as easy as possible!
  • Conversion: a conversion is an action that your business has defined as being valuable. Great conversions lead to or are business outcomes - eg: email signups, enquiries or purchases.


Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD

Google Ads works as an auction, with people bidding for specific keywords. However, the highest bid doesn’t always win.

Google combines both bids and quality score, this ensures they’re providing the best experience for the user. Google cares about their users search experience, because caring keeps users coming back. What this means for Jenny & John is if their ads aren't relevant, Google won't show them. No matter how much they were willing to pay!

A couple of points to remember…

  1. To win an auction, your bid has to be just enough to be higher than the last bid (this could literally be 1 extra cent). 
  2. To make the best of Google Ads, relevancy is key. If your ad has a high quality score, this can drastically reduce your CPC. Perfecting the quality of your ads is not just about creating the best user experience but it saves you money too!
What is an Ad and what isn't?

Lets Campaign

Ads are split out by campaigns, ad groups and then of course, keywords. The more refined or categorised your build is (maybe by product type, etc) the more control you have over a user journey. The point of separation is so the budget can be dispersed the way you want across all different areas. It also means you can target audiences for different things. For example, Jenny’s favourite flamingo socks are slightly more grown up than John’s Toy Story socks. Therefore, targeting different age groups could optimise their ad spend. 

Splitting things up also helps when it comes to creating Ad Copy (and yes these are personalised too). Ad Copy is the physical ads customers will see on Google. Ad copy needs to be as relevant to what the user is searching as possible (Remember, being unique is good). 

For example, if an ad for Jenny’s flamingo socks popped up when someone searches Toy Story socks, it's not relevant and most likely a waste of a click!


At the end of their educational chin wag with Aro Digital, Jenny and John finally understood what Google Ads can do for their business.

Google ads is an art that can almost never be mastered. It is a platform that is constantly changing, updating and perfecting. 

Google Ads has changed the marketing game. Everyone that reaches that little bar in the middle of the screen with the 6 letters above it holds a certain level of intent. They want to search for something, and when they do, you want your business there to sweep them off their feet.

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