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2021 Martial Arts Google Ads Martial Arts Marketing

Martial Arts Google Ads (Updated For 2021!)

Check out our Foundational Guide to Martial Arts Marketing which covers the essential marketing strategy and all the different ad platforms you need to know.

 

Martial Arts Google Ads: Why Advertise On Google?

 

With so many ad platforms available, how are you supposed to know which one to pick? Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, Google Ads, Pinterest Ads, TikTok Ads – so many! How do you choose which one is best to advertise and marketing your Martial Arts Gym? 

 

In this guide we’re going to be breaking down Google Ads specifically and why it is an essential piece of your Marketing Arsenal. So why Google Ads?

 

The thing that makes Google Ads unique from pretty much every other ad platform that exists is search intent. Google is a search engine, and users (us) go to Google to ask their most difficult, most personal and most painful problems. Google probably knows more about our deepest darkest secrets than our friends, family and therapist combined. 

 

People go to Google to solve their problems. And Google Ads allow you to advertise right at that moment when they’re searching. For example, let’s say someone searches for a Martial Arts Gym in their local area – could be Karate, BJJ, MMA, Judo, Taekwondo, Muay Thai – whichever, but they go to Google and search for a gym and voila! Almost like magic your gym appears there at the coveted top of Google. 

 

How do you get to the top of Google – is it witchcraft? Nope, quite simply if you pay Google a few dollars, they will happily put you right there at the top of search results. Pretty cool right?

 

But before we go any further, you might be asking, okay, but how does this compare to ranking organically through Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Great question. In away, Google Ads and SEO are kind of the same thing. They’re both methods to get your site ranking highly on Google. 

 

The key difference is cost and timelines. Google Organic Rankings are as the name implies, free, however you have to be willing to put in a lot of time and sweat equity to build up your Organic Rankings. Google Ads on the other had, you can literally rank at the top of Google within a few hours, but you gotta pay to play. As long as you’re willing to give Google money – they will happily feature you at the top of the page. See how this works?

 

The key reason to advertise your business on Google is to be found, right at the moment when your future client is searching for you. That’s it. 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC channel takes you through a step-by-step complete comprehensive guide to setting up and optimizing your Google Ad Campaigns:

 

 

Martial Arts Google Ads Strategy

 

Alright – so what is the strategy to market your Martials Arts Gym with Google Ads? In truth, Google Ads really fits in as part of an overall marketing strategy. There is an entire ecosystem around your marketing as you develop your online omnipresence (a more advanced strategy, but we’ll return to that in a bit). 

 

The strategy on Google Ads is to drive targeted traffic to your site, right at that moment they are searching for you. Within the Google Ad platform there are additional ad types like Google Display Ads and YouTube Ads, but we’ll cover those in other posts. 

 

Let me give you an example – Google is so powerful, that you can show your ads exclusively to people who match these specific criteria (adapt as necessary to your own situation): people who’ve searched for “karate classes near me”, who are within 3km of your gym, who are aged 18-55, who are in the top 10% of household income, who are in-market for sports & fitness, and are using an android phone (that last one is optional, but shows you the level of detail and targeting you can get to with your ads). 

 

How insane is that? Compare that to buying a billboard – sure your ad gets seen by a lot of people, but are they the right people? Are they truly in your audience and would consider joining your Martial Arts Gym? You see my point. Mass market advertising is effectively dead. The year 2021 is all about laser precision. 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC breaks down more specific in-depth strategies to optimize your Google Ads Campaigns:

 

 

What You Need To Get Started With Martial Arts Google Ads

 

Ad Copy

 

This is one (of the many) area that Google Ads are completely different from Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads give you effectively unlimited text length, and you can write an entire essay in your ad if you wanted. Facebook Ads give you much more freedom and flexibility in terms of what you can write in your ad and the journey you can take users on. 

 

Google Ads by contrast is almost robotic by comparison (and maybe that’s why it secretly appeals to the nerd inside me – I’m an analytical guy, not a writer after all). Google Ads are extremely restrictive in terms of the length of text you can write. 

 

You get 3 headlines of 30 characters each, 2 descriptions of 90 characters each, and that’s basically it. So you better keep your message, short, sweet, and to the point. 

 

State clearly what your offer is, and how you can help people. This video by The Big Marketing outlines exactly how to write excellent Google Ad Copy, that’s optimized to convert:

 

 

The Offer

 

The Offer. This might be one of the most important parts of your Martial Arts Google Ad. I mean, why should somebody come to your gym anyway?

 

The offer is effectively a call to action (or CTA as they say in the biz), to incentivize your users to actually take the action to either pickup the phone and call you or to come walking into your gym. 

 

The hands down best off you can provide to drive action, is to offer a 30-Day Free Trial of your gym. People love free. But more importantly than that, think about it from their point of view. At this moment, you’re just a stranger to them. They don’t know you, they don’t trust you, and they probably don’t like you (don’t worry, we’re developing thick skin here). 

 

A 30-Day Free Trial, allows people to actually come and walk into your gym. Once they’re in your gym, they’ll actually get to meet you face to face, and probably they’ll start to like you (I mean, you are a pretty personable and relatable guy after all!). 

 

But more importantly, it gets them in your gym, it gets them trying out your classes, seeing what you’re like, meeting other students, and making friends. And that’s the key here, after 30 days, they will have actually built up some pretty serious relationships, both with yourself and with other students. 

 

The law of inertia holds, that most people at that point will continue on (unless for some reason they just really aren’t a good fit – but hey, it happens). 

 

Many business owners are afraid of offering 30-Day Free Trials, because they feel they’ll be taken advantage, the people will take the free trial and then vanish into the sunset, never to be seen again. And in truth, some will. But my question to you is, what is the alternative? 

 

If what you’re doing right now isn’t getting people actually walking in your gym, then you aren’t exactly losing much by offering a few free classes then are you?

 

This video by Alex Cattoni breaks down the 9 components of writing an irresistible offer:

 

 

Landing Page

 

One thing I love about Facebook Lead Ads is that you can be up and running without a landing page. Google Ads unfortunately does not have such and option, and you’ll need to have some kind of website or landing page setup before you can start running your Google Ads. 

 

Luckily, most Martial Arts Gyms already have a website, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Keep in mind though that you’ll likely still need to optimize your page for the best experience possible for the user. 

 

We’ll get into account Quality Score later, but let’s just say that Google is ranking the quality of your page, and it affects how much you pay for ads, so you want to absolutely make sure that you’ve got the best possible landing page (hing: make sure your pages is FAST). 

 

This video by Uzair of SF Digital Studios shows you step-by-step how to optimize your landing pages for the best user experience possible:

 

 

Google Analytics Tag (Optional)

 

It is by no means required to have Google Analytics setup to start running your Google ads, and in fact, we would recommend that if Analytics is going to be a hindrance, to move forward without it and come back to it later. 

 

But for those who have their Google Ads up and running, and want to have better insights in terms of how their campaigns are performing, Google Analytics is the (free) tool you need to setup. 

 

Google Analytics gives you greater insights and details into user behaviours on your site. It shows you all of your traffic sources (Google, Paid, Facebook, Organic, Newsletter etc), and can give detailed information around user demographics (age, gender), their location, and what device they’re on. And this list is just barely scratching the surface. 

 

But at a deeper level, Google Analytics allows you to setup conversion tracking and remarketing. These are essential especially when you’re running an e-commerce store to track conversions, and remarketing is essential when you’re trying to advertise again to users that have already visited your site. 

 

This video by Website Learners takes you through exactly how to get your Google Analytics Tag setup:

 

 

Martial Arts Google Ads Targeting:

 

One of the fun things (or terrible things, depending on your point of view), is the amount of laser precision that Google Ads allows you in your targeting. You can slice and dice your audience in so many different ways, to allow you to target only exactly the types of people that you want to target. Let’s get into the specifics:

 

Keywords

 

Keywords are the bread and butter of Google Ads. Really, Google Ads exists because users are searching for specific keywords. The rest of the targeting options are just gravy and the cherry on top. 

 

So how do you pick your keywords – let’s not overthink this – what would someone be searching for that should lead them to you? If you run a Karate Dojo, you could bid on the keywords “karate near me”, “dojo near me”, “karate classes in [insert city]”, “free karate classes”, “karate training”, “martial arts classes”, and so on and so on. 

 

Don’t overthink this, just pick out 10-15 different keywords and search terms that people will be searching for that should bring them to you, rather than one of the other gyms down the street. 

 

For some keyword ideas, check out Neil Patel’s UberSuggest, or Google’s Keyword Planner. Both are free (however the Google Keywords Planner needs you to have a free Google Ad Account setup.

 

Now before we wrap on keywords, there are a couple of technical details that I need to cover here: Match Type. There are different ways to write your keywords which signify different intents to Google. 

 

In short you have [exact match] signified by the square brackets, “phrase match” signified by the double quotes, and broad match signified by, well, nothing. The intent of the exact match is to give an exact match, meaning if your keyword is [karate classes], your ads will only show when someone searches exactly “karate classes”. 

 

By contrast if you use the phrase match “karate classes”, then your ads may also be shown when someone searches for “karate classes near me”. It gives Google more flexibility with the users search terms. 

 

Finally with the broad match karate classes, Google has even more flexibility and might show when someone searches for “karate dojo”, “martial arts classes”, “karate studio near me” – the original intent will still be maintained, but Google is free to mix and match some words. 

 

The benefit of the exact match is you have the most control over the terms you’re bidding on, the advantage of the broad match is it opens you up to a whole bunch of other terms you wouldn’t have thought to bid on. 

 

However, our personal preference is to use the phrase match – as its the ‘goldilocks’. It’s just the right amount of control mixed with some flexibility. This comprehensive guide breaks down by WordStream the nitty gritty details. 

 

This video by The Surfside PPC outlines 7 Google Ads Keyword targeting best practices:

 

 

Negative Keywords

 

Wait what – we need negative keywords too? You better believe it. But the good news is these are actually pretty cool. 

 

Let’s go back to our previous example, and say we’re bidding on the phrase match “karate classes”, but when we look in our search term report, we see we’re getting a lot of clicks for “free karate classes”, or “karate classes salary”, or “how to teach karate classes” – it becomes pretty obvious that people searching for these types of searches, aren’t your ideal, high-paying clients. 

 

The answer is negative keywords. By adding negative keywords such as “free”, “discounted”, “bargain”, “cheap” – you eliminate the bargain hunters, and by adding negative keywords such as “resume”, “cv”, “university” “courses” “salary” “how to teach” “how to become” you eliminate all the people looking to either go to school or are actively job hunting (this may be less relevant in the Martial Arts world, but in other industries it becomes extremely relevant). 

 

This video by The Surfside PPC gives you a comprehensive detailed guide to selecting your negative keywords, for maximum effectiveness in reducing poor quality clicks:

 

 

Demographics

 

Google Ads offers you some powerful demographic targeting. These let you narrow in on exactly the Age, Gender, Household Income (and for Google Display Ads: parental status) of your prospects. 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC breaks down exactly how to setup and optimize your detailed target demographics and audiences:

 

 

Age

 

These are all pretty self explanatory so we’ll blast through them pretty quick. What is the ideal age of your target audience?

 

If you’re a Martial Arts Gym, likely you’re going to be focused on 18-55 year olds. Maybe if you’re more high-end and you exclusively serve high net-worth executives, maybe more 45-65. 

 

Decide your target age, and focus exclusively on them. Note: for all demographics there is also an ‘unknown’ category – as much as Google is the ‘all-seeing eye’, it doesn’t know everything. If you’re unconcerned with your users ages you can keep on the unknown age, however if age is important to you (which it should be), then we recommend turning off unknown ages.

 

Gender

 

Same thing, pretty self-explanatory. If you’re a full service gym working with both men and women then leave all categories open. 

 

Household Income

 

This one is pretty cool – if you offer a more high-end service, you can focus your advertising exclusively on individuals from high income households (say, focus on the top 30% household income). This helps to ensure the clients walking into your doors actually have the money to pay you. 

 

Side note: it is probably no surprise that it will be more expensive to advertise to the high net worth individuals, but surprisingly is not that much more expensive, and the rates of return are significant, as top income earners tend to be the ones who spend the most and spend the most freely.

 

Audiences

 

We love this feature. Google Ads Audiences let you start getting super granular and narrow in your targeting. In brief, audiences basically break down into two categories: affinity and in-market. 

 

Affinity audiences are those people who are generally into a thing. For example ‘Foodies’, are people who are generally into food related stuff, ‘comedy movie fans’ are people who generally like comedy movie related stuff, and ‘sports enthusiasts’, are people who are generally into sports. With me so far?

 

Affinity audiences are cool when you want to go broad, but when you want to go super narrow, the in-market audiences will quickly become your best friend. These are people that Google has deduced through its algorithm, are ready to buy right now

 

An easy example would be in-market for travel – these are the people who right now are on expedia, they booked a hostel, they’re looking at flights, they booked an airbnb – they are clearly in the process right then and there of being ‘in-market’ to buy travel related stuff. 

 

Now unfortunately there is no (currently anyway) in-market audience for karate classes or joining a martial arts gym, however Google does have a more general in-market audience for “sports & fitness”, and can even get more granular with “Fitness Classes & Personal Training Services” or “Gyms & Athletic Clubs”. By focusing on these in-market audiences you’ll be more narrowly targeting those that are serious in making a purchase from you, and those that are merely browsing. 

 

Last detail to add on audiences here is the option to use either observational or targeted audiences. In a nutshell observational audiences allow you to select your different audiences that you want to observe their performance, but it does not actively affect the bidding strategy (ie Google will still be bidding on all audiences, but you can now see data on the specific audiences you’re ‘observing’). 

 

By contrast the targeted audiences only serves ads to that select audience. So if you select in-market for “gyms & athletic clubs” and set it to targeted, your ads will ONLY show to those users that are in-market for that. We’d recommend starting with observational first until you collect better and more reliable data. 

 

This video by The Big Marketer shows you step-by-step how to get your Google Ads Audiences setup for maximum effectiveness:

 

 

Location

 

Location targeting is also pretty self-explanatory: choose your local geographic location. If you are a physical gym that relies on physical people actually physically walking into your location, then likely a 5-10km radius will be good for you, depending on the size and density of your town. 

 

Alternatively you can also target by post code if there are specific neighbourhoods you want to target. 

 

You can also add location exclusions. So if for example you setup a 10km radius, but you knew there was one part of town specifically that wouldn’t be the right fit for you, you could exclude them. 

 

One last recommendation here, Google is a little sneaky, and if you look in more detail under the “location targeting settings”, you’ll see a default button selected that says “users who live in this location or have expressed interest in this location”, change that to “only users who live in this location”. 

 

With the default option, Google will show your ads to people in India and Pakistan who have ‘expressed interest’ in your geographic location. No disrespect to India or Pakistan, but they won’t likely be walking into your gym tomorrow now will they?

 

This video by The Surfside PPC takes you through some expert tips on exactly how to best setup your location targeting:

 

 

Devices

 

We are fully getting into the weeds here, but we promised a comprehensive guide, so we’re going to deliver all the goods.

 

If you’re just starting out on Google Ads, you likely won’t need to worry much about devices. In fact, we’d recommend just ignoring it for now. 

 

However, if you’ve been running Google Ads for some months now, and you have active conversion data in your account, you can start to get a picture of which devices actually convert well for you. 

 

For example, you may find that you get a whole bunch of traffic from mobile phones, but they never convert, however all of your conversions really come from users on desktop computers. 

 

And there’s some logic to this. Users on mobile phones are likely looking for a quick bit of info, while users on a computer are actually sitting down and can take the time to read your material and actually make a purchase. Both mediums are essential, but if you’re bootstrapping and you want to maintain the most effective campaign, likely focus just on desktop computers. 

 

This video by John Escape details exactly how to setup the device targeting on your account:

 

 

Scheduling

 

Again, we’re still way down in the weeds, but this is an important subtlety. Similarly, don’t worry about scheduling until you have more data and experience under your belt.

 

But in a nutshell, scheduling allows you to set the times of day that your ads run. It’s probably not surprising that the majority of your conversions will come from people during regular(ish) business hours, and that people trolling the web at 3am likely aren’t your ideal clients.

 

You can set ad scheduling to run from say 7am (to catch those early risers and eager researchers) to say 9pm (to catch those people searching before calling it a night) – those will be your primary business hours. 

 

Now the rules change if you’re an e-commerce store and you operate internationally, then likely you’ll want to run 24/7. But if you’ve got a physical local location where people walk into, standard business hours will be your friend. 

 

This video by The Surfside PPC takes you through step-by-step exactly how to setup your ads scheduling to maximize your ad spend effectiveness:

 

 

Google Ads: Ads Specifications

 

Warning: this will be an endless source of frustration. 

 

One of Google Ads’ quirks is the tight control they have over ad text length. They don’t just want any advertiser messing up their pretty search results page now do they!

 

What this means if you have very specific text parameters you need to meet in creating your ads. Specifically, you get:

 

3 Headlines of 30 characters each

2 Descriptions of 90 characters each

2 Display URLs of 15 characters each

 

And that’s your ad. Get creative, there is a lot that you can fit into those character limits. Focus on first identifying your business “Montreal Karate Dojo”, and then go to your offer “30-Day Free Trial”. Add in some descriptions of some of your more specifics, like how long you’ve been in business, how many happy students you’ve had, awards won, etc. 

 

Lastly – split test. One of the amazing things about Google Ads is your ability to A/B split test multiple ad variations. Essentially this means writing (slightly) different versions of your ads, to see which words, which headlines catch the most attention, and drive the most conversions. 

 

As a Marketer and an Engineer, I tend to nerd out a lot on data, and I love setting up all sorts of different variations of ad copy to get a better understanding of what resonates and what connects with people. 

 

On a surface level you’re working here to get people into your gym, but on a deeper level, we are working to understand human psychology and understand what people respond to and what they don’t. 

 

Excuse me… marketing nerd rant over. 

 

This video by The Big Marketer takes you through the best practices for setting up your Google Text Ads:

 

 

Google Ads: Ads Extensions

Now what in the heck is a Google Ads Extension – I can hear you asking. Great question – think of it as ways to ‘fill out’ your Google Ad and add additional details. 

Or, perhaps a better way to think of it is that Google is a data machine, and as such, Google loves have large variations of little discrete pieces of data that it can play and test with, to find out the optimal combinations. 

For example, you can add what are called ‘callout extensions’, which are little snippets of additional information, which could be things like “10 Classes Per Week”, “All Ages Welcome”, “30-Day Free Trial”, “Expert Teacher With 10 Years Experience”, “Kids, Teens, Adults Welcome”, “Payment Options Available”, “Call from 9am to 8pm” etc etc – Google then takes these little snippets, and each time it shows and add it will swap them around, show them in different combinations and orders. 

This is a great way to test what people are interested in. If you see that “30-Day Free Trial” gets a lot of clicks, while “All Ages Welcome” does not, then you know more about what people actually care about. We recommend doing as much A/B testing as you can to better understand your target market. 

This video by Ivan Mana breaks down exactly how to setup and optimize your Google Ads Extensions:

Callout

As mentioned above, the callout extensions are small snippets of text, with a max of 25 characters. They’re designed to be short and sweet, and just provide that little bit of extra data to the user. We recommend setting up at least 20 Callout Extensions to give yourself the most data possible. 

If you’re running out of words and unsure what you to say, you can duplicate some of your ad copy from the ads themselves, or grab little snippets of text right off your homepage. 

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, work with what you’ve got and ensure they’re focused on direct benefits to the user. 

This video by the legend Uzair at SF Digital Studios breaks down exactly how to optimize your Callout Extensions:

Structured Snippet

Yes yes I know, this name ‘structured snippet’ is an oddball. I don’t like it either, but we’re playing on Google’s turf here. The best way to think of the structured snippet is a product or service listing. 

For example, you could make a Structured Snippet of all your classes that you offer, which could look like: “Classes at Noon”, “Classes at 5pm”, “Classes at 7pm”, “Classes for Kids”, “Classes for Teens”, “Classes for Adults”, “Classes for Women”, “Classes for Self-Defense”.

Another legendary video from Uzair at SF Digital Studios on exactly how to setup and perfect your Structured Snippets:

Location Extension

This is probably one of the easiest extensions to understand, the Location Extension. Effectively, location extensions are just a link between your Google My Business profile, and your Google Ads account. By establishing that connection, Google Ads will show your business location to all local searchers (in a 5-10km radius). 

This is a must-have extension for all local business owners with physical locations, as it will greatly boost how many people locally will be able to find you. Also from the users point of view, it is helpful when you are searching for a local business, when one actually pops up. Win-Win. 

This video by WSI Priority Media details exactly how to setup your Google Ads Location Extensions:

Call Extension

As the name suggests, the Google Ads Call Extension is designed to get people calling your phone. It is recommended to only use Call Extensions on local or national campaigns, and not do internationally (you probably don’t want someone from India calling your phone in the middle of the night…).

Simply add your phone number and confirm with Google and you’re good to go. This extension allows users to call you directly from your ad, without needing to try to find your phone number on your website. 

Uzair from SF Digital Studios is back at it again, with this tutorial on exactly how to setup your Google Ads Call Extensions:

Message Extension

Similar to the Call Extension, the Google Ads Message Extension allows users to send you and SMS Text Message straight from the ad, instead of having to crawl through your website and try to find your number. 

Especially Millennials and Gen Z these days (guilty!), hate making phone calls, and love just being able to send a Text Message. Anything that makes it easier for your users to get in contact with you, is going to ultimately help you to get more butts in the door.  

This video by Clicks Geek takes you through exactly how to get your message extensions setup and running:

Lead Extension

The lead extension may be one of the more under utilized feature of Google Ads. For context, we’re huge supporters and fans of the Facebook Lead Ads and LinkedIn Lead Ads, however the Google Lead Extension leaves much to be desired. 

We’re including here simply for completeness of this comprehensive guide to Martial Arts Google Ads, however, this is one of those more advanced things you can probably skip for now. 

But to those who are brave enough – the Google Ads Lead Extension, allows you to create a Lead Form that opens directly from the ad instead of needing the user to click through to the website. All good so far. 

What makes the Facebook and LinkedIn versions of the Lead Ads so effective is that they auto populate with the users information. Google by contrast, doesn’t know exactly who you are (I mean they do…but also don’t as you’re likely not logged into a Google account). 

Which means the user needs to fill out the information themselves. Which is okay, some users still do it, all we’re trying to say here is the Lead Extension is underwhelming. 

One caveat I’ll add here though: YouTube Ads also have a Lead Form, however it is a premium feature that is only unlocked when your account spends $50k or more (yes that was a 50 with a k afterwards). Kinda ridiculous, I’m not sure why YouTube insists on spending so much money as this feature would greatly enhance the user experience, but alas, that is a rant for another day. 

This video by The Surfside PPC takes you through exactly how to setup and optimize your Google Ads Lead Extensions:

Google Ads Quality Score

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but we’re going down another Google Rabbit Hole here…

Alright, so in a nutshell, the Google Ads Quality Score is an attempt by Google to punish advertisers who put up bad ads, while reward those who put up good ads. With me so far?

Again, Google always wants to provide the best experience possible to its users, and that means providing the most relevant search results. If someone is searching for “best paint services”, and your ads for your Martial Arts Gym come popping up, probably not the most relevant, right?

Technically you can bid on any keyword that you want, but if your content isn’t related to the search term, Google effectively charges you more for it. 

The good news is that if you play by the rules and only the deliver the most relevant results possible, you’ll be reward with possibly cheaper clicks than your competitors are getting. And if your clicks are cheaper, then you can afford to get more of them. 

There are 3 separate factors that go into Quality Score – and we’ll cover all of them. 

This video by the Surfside PPC breaks down everything you need to know about enhancing your Google Ads Quality Score:

Click Through Rate (CTR)

The Click Through Rate (CTR) is simply the percentage of people who saw your ad and clicked on it. The more people that click on your ad, the better it looks in Google’s eyes (if people click on your ad more than the others, they must really like what you have to say). 

The better your CTR, the better your ad looks to Google. So how do you increase CTR?

Firstly, relevance, is your ad matching up with what the user searched for?

Second, are you offering an incentive to click? (ie offering 30-Day Free Trial).

Third, are you bidding enough? This one is harder to quantify, but the more you’re willing to bid, the higher up your ad will appear on search results, the higher you appear the more clicks you get (let’s face it, most people are too lazy to scroll, so most clicks go to that coveted #1 position). 

Our first recommendation is to review your ad copy and the keywords you’re bidding on, and ensure that your ad content matches up with exactly what the user searched for. Next step would be to increase your bids (but do so cautiously!). 

Ad Relevance

 

Seems like a funny thing to be concerned about, but yes, Google is concerned about your Ad Relevance. In a nutshell, that means that Google wants to know that your ad is relevant to what the user was searching for. 

 

How do you know if your ad is relevant? Like Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of breadcrumbs in the forest, just look at the trail of keywords. The best way I can imagine thinking about this is just look at the keywords and check whether they all match. 

 

Let me give you an example: let’s say that the keyword you’re bidding on is “karate classes”, then to get a high Ad Relevance, your ad also needs to mention “karate classes”, preferably multiple times. If your ad mentions karate classes in the headline, the URL and the description, that is a fine recipe for a high ad relevance. 

 

If however the user searched for “wine tasting classes” and you showed them an ad saying “karate classes”, I think you can see why Google might doc you for ad relevance. 

 

There is a term in the PPC universe called a ‘SKAG’, aka a Single Keyword Ad Group. And the intent is quite simple: have only one single keyword in an ad group ie “karate classes”, so that you have 100% over the ad you show, which will also say “karate classes”. The more variation there is between the keywords you bid on and the possible ads you show, the more likely that you’ll get hit with low Ad Relevance ads. 

 

This video by Ed Leake documents exactly how to start improving your Google Ads Quality Score, and specifically boosting your Ad Relevance:

 

 

This video by Jeffalytics breaks down the SKAG (Single Keyword Ad Group) in more detail:

 

 

Landing Page Experience

 

The last piece of the Google Ads Quality Score trifecta is the Landing Page Experience. Now you may be surprised to learn this, but Google (and Facebook) are actively crawling your website when you run ad campaigns with them. 

 

They aren’t just reviewing your ads for quality, they also want to know that your website is up to snuff as well. Feels like a slight invasion of privacy here, but again remember, we are playing in Google’s sandbox, and if we want the Google clicks, we need to play by Google’s rules. 

 

So how do you get a great Landing Page Experience? Remember what I said about the trail of breadcrumbs. The same applies here, let’s take it one step further. 

 

So the user searches for “karate classes”, your ads then say “karate classes” to score a high relevance, and your landing page then also says “karate classes” to score a high landing page experience. 

 

To ensure your success even further, make sure that the term “karate classes” (if that is your primary keyword, adjust as necessary) is sprinkled all over your landing page, it’s in your headline (H1 tag) and it’s sprinkled throughout your body copy. 

 

I know it seems complicated and like a lot of extra work, but think of it from Google’s eyes. They want to make sure that when the user searches for a term, they see that term in the ad, and they see that term on the landing page, and that signifies to Google a high user experience. 

 

Obviously there are more factors than that. For example, page speed will play into your Landing Page Experience, as well as whether you have an adequate Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions on your site. 

 

This video by Optimise Lab breaks down exactly how to optimize your landing pages for the best possible user experience:

 

 

Google Ads Campaign Types

 

Similar to Facebook Ads, Google Ads has a range of different campaign types to better target the goal you’re trying to achieve. However unlike Facebook, Google does give you an option to create a campaign “without a goals guidance” to allow you to fully customize your campaign. 

 

In my mind, the campaign types are less relevant in Google Ads than Facebook Ads for the above reason, however it is still important to cover each one (they don’t call this a comprehensive guide for nothing!). 

 

This video by SF Digital Studio breaks down exactly all of the different unique campaign types and how they work:

 

 

Sales

 

The Sales Campaign, is as the name implies, designed to bring in more sales. A cool feature you can use with Display Ads is a bid strategy called “Target Sale”, where you ONLY pay when a conversion occurs. You set your max payment per conversion, and as long as its high enough that Google’s machine learning algorithm can run, then you’re set. 

 

Leads

 

The Google Leads campaign is built to get you leads. This campaign focuses on email subscribers, so you’re able to generate new names, emails and phone numbers for your business. 

 

Website Traffic

 

The Google Website Traffic campaign is built to get you traffic. It is optimized to find those cheap clicks and drive more visitors and views directly to your website. This can be effective if you’re working to build a website visitor remarketing audience. 

 

Product & Brand Consideration

 

The Google Product & Brand Consideration campaign is designed to get your products out in front of the types of people who are considering buying from you. It’s is not necessary to drive conversions, but to get you in front of the right people. 

 

Brand Awareness & Reach

 

The Brand Awareness & Reach campaign is designed specifically to get you in front of the most people possible. Pure awareness. Often getting clicks and conversions on your website can be expensive, however if your goal is just to get your ads and your brand in front of as many people as possible, then the Brand Awareness & Reach campaign is your friend. 

 

App Promotion

 

If you’ve got an app, use this to start getting those downloads. 

 

Local Store Visits & Promotion

 

Again only relevant if you have a physical location (which if you have a Martial Arts Gym, then I bet you do!). This campaign is designed to get you in front of the types of people who are likely to actually come and visit your store, and providing directions on how to get there. 

 

No Goal Defined

 

Personally, this is our favourite, to work with Google’s ‘No Goal Defined’. I know it sounds scary to start a campaign without a goal, but this campaign actually gives you the most manual control over how your campaign is set up and runs. 

 

The Google Machine Learning Algorithm has a lot of neat and powerful features, however, it does require a SIGNIFICANT amount of data before it can really be effective. This means impressions, clicks, website visits, conversions. If you don’t have that data then you need to start somewhere. 

 

The best place to start is with Manual CPC (cost per click). This is where you manually set your bids (say $3 per click), and Google will not bid more than that (unless you use Enhanced CPC, but more on that below in Bidding Strategies). 

 

Start running on manual CPC, start collecting that data, start getting the machine working, and later we can switch over to fancier Bidding Strategies and Campaign types. 

 

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

 

Google is all about data. And the Google Machine Learning Algorithm, is all about big data. Now, Google Ads has some pretty great bidding strategies, but let’s crawl before we run here. 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC, breaks down exactly all the different Google Ads Bidding Strategies, and how and when to use each of them:

 

 

Manual CPC

 

As I mentioned above, I generally love to start with Manual CPC. Manual CPC offers you the most control, and maybe I’m just a control freak (guilty!). 

 

Manual CPC allows you to specify exactly what you want to bid, if the max you’re willing to spend per click is $3, then the most Google will spend will be $3. Period. It’s the most simple and straight forward bidding strategy – definitely recommend you start here. 

 

But I can hear you asking an important question “but Arthur, if I can set my bids, why don’t I just bid a penny??”. Great question. With Google Ads there is a direct relationship between bids and traffic. The more money you’re willing to spend per click, the more possible traffic you’ll be able to get. 

 

Similarly, you can bid as low as you want, but if your bids are too low, Google will stop showing your ads. It’s beyond the scope of this document, but Google does have a whole automate bidding strategy that it is running behind the scenes. 

 

Enhanced CPC

 

Enhanced CPC is like Manual CPC but with a little machine learning spice thrown in. Let’s go back to our example and say that you set your max bid at $3 per click. With enhanced CPC, if Google detects that a user just might be ready to buy, Google may inflate your bid up to $3.50 or even $4. 

 

Google has leeway to add about 50% onto your bid if it believes that’ it’s got a live one. Of course it is all subjective, and unless you have substantial historical data in your account, there probably isn’t enough in there for Google to actually make educated guesses. 

 

This is a cool bidding strategy to experiment with once you’re a little more established in your account. 

 

Target CPA

 

This bid strategy is pretty cool, and we’ve had a lot of fun with it. Again, this is advanced stuff, and we don’t recommend it until you’ve spent at least $3k in your account and have over 100 conversions. 

 

Target CPA works by setting the price per conversion you’re willing to pay. Now this is predicated on a few factors. The first is whether you have conversion tracking setup. If you don’t, then stay away. If you have conversion tracking setup (could be e-commerce sales, newsletter sign ups, whatever your ‘conversion event’ is), then let’s say with Manual CPC you’ve seen an average of $50 per conversion. 

 

You can setup Target CPA to aim for $45 per conversion, or $40 per conversion, or even $25 per conversion. Take it as low as you can, but appreciating that at some point if you go too low, Google will just stop serving your ads. 

 

Target ROAS

 

ROAS. I love that word. Stands for Return on Ad Spend. Its kind of like ROI, except it purely looks at Ad Spend, and doesn’t take into account your other business expenses. 

 

So let’s say you sell a product for $300. If you set a 200% ROAS, Google will try to sell your product for $150. Pretty cool in theory, but I’d rather stick to the Manual CPC or Target CPA. 

 

Maximize Clicks

 

Pretty self-explanatory, this campaign is just designed to get you the most possible and cheapest clicks. It’s designed to get that traffic going to your website. This is a simple campaign strategy, that most Google Reps recommend getting started with. Personally I’d still prefer Manual CPC to maintain that control. 

 

Maximize Conversions

 

Very similar to the Target CPA, however this bid strategy is designed just to get you the most possible number of conversions. 

 

Maximize Conversion Value

 

One feature of Google Ads is that it lets you specify what each conversion is worth to you. Maybe you’ve got a $300 sale and a $500 sale, those are two very different conversions. 

 

By using the Maximize Conversion Value bid strategy, it means that Google is putting extra weight and emphasis on the the more expensive conversions. Great strategy if you’re looking to maximize the big sales. 

 

Target Impression Share

 

The Target Impression Share bid strategy falls more under an awareness type campaign. Another cool feature of Google Ads is that they give you the impression share that your ads received. 

 

For example, let’s go back to “karate classes”. Let’s say there are 500 searches per day in your local area, and you got 250 of those impressions, you got a 50% impression share. 

 

The Target Impression Share bid strategy is designed to fill up a specific amount of impressions for each keyword search tem. A good bid strategy choice if you’re going more specifically for impressions and awareness, rather than conversions and leads. 

 

Google Ads Remarketing Audiences

 

I’ll just say it: remarketing is a big topic. We could go down a serious nerd rabbit hole here. But let’s start with the basics. Remarketing is simply a method to get back in front of your audience. 

 

These may be people who have visited your site, watched your YouTube video, become leads, given you their email, or made a purchase. There is a whole wide range of the types of people we could target as we build our remarketing audiences. 

 

As a starting point, we recommend setting up basic website remarketing. This means that everyone who visits your site, gets placed into an ‘all website visitors’ remarketing audience. 

 

The first step is to get your Google Analytics account connected to your Google Ads account. 

 

This video by Measure School shows you exactly how to link up your Google Analytics and your Google Ads Account so they can start talking with each other

 

 

Now that you’ve got your accounts linked, in Google Analytics you can setup and create audiences. We recommend setting up an audience for all site visitors, and setting the maximum duration to 540 days. This means that the user will be in your audience for nearly a year and a half (a pretty long time!).

 

We also recommend setting up shorter duration audiences, of say 7 days, or 30 days, as these people have more recently interacted with you.

 

Three important points to remember about remarketing audiences:

  1. They don’t create themselves, you need to create them
  2. They don’t go back in time, which means if you’re not careful, in a year from now you could be wishing that a year ago you did a better job of setting up your audiences. A 540 day audience takes 540 days to fully populate, you can’t speed it up if you change your mind a year from now. 
  3. Start today. 

 

This video by the Surfside PPC takes you through a comprehensive step-by-step guide to setting up and maximizing your Google Ads Remarketing Campaigns:

 

 

Google Ads Conversion Tracking

 

Saving the best for last. This is possibly one of the most complicated parts of this entire guide, but also potentially the most fruitful.

 

It is all well and good to spend money on Google Ads and get clicks, and get people visiting your website, but at the end of the day what you really want to know once they’re on your website, is whether they’re taking the actions you want them to take. 

 

For example, are they signing up for classes, joining your newsletter, buy from your e-comm store, are they reading your blogs, are they joining your paid members area – essentially any activity that involves them providing you with their name, email or cash – any of those activities you want to be tracking. 

 

Why do you want to track them. I mean first of all, just for your own sense of well-being. Most business owners are hesitant to even start running Google Ads in the first place, because they’re worried about the expense and it being a blackhole for their finances. All extremely valid concerns. 

 

Conversion tracking is the answer to that. If you sell a $1000 class membership, and you see you’re able to sell that for only $200 in ad costs that could be a pretty good deal for you (depending on your margins and expenses of course). 

 

The other aspect as well, going back to what we discussed about Google’s Machine Learning Algorithm – the more data you feed Google, the more it is able to serve you. 

 

By feeding Google Conversion Data, it is better able to recognize patterns in terms of the types of people who end up making purchases from you. The more well-oiled a machine Google becomes, the better it is able to serve you fresh clients, ready to buy from you. 

 

This guide by Ivan Mana shows you exactly how to get your Google Ads Conversion Tracking up and running:

 

 

Martial Arts Google Ads Conclusion:

 

And there it is folks. The comprehensive guide to Martial Arts Google Ads. 

 

It’s been quite the journey, I feel like we’ve covered a lot. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, but regardless we’ve definitely learned a lot more about the Google Ads platform than we knew a few minutes (or hours) ago. 

 

Please let me know if this guide has been helpful for you in the comments below, or if there were any particular stumbling points, the didn’t quite make sense, or could be explained better, please let us know!!

 

We’re making an effort to keep this guide as up to date as possible. As of this writing right now it is April 2021, and we want to ensure it comes updated at least yearly, as technology and platforms change so rapidly, I’m sure this article is already slightly out of date – as is the joys of working in the internet digital space!

 

To your success on your journey.

Os,

-Arthur

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