Online Ads, Part 2

February 11, 2010
Randall Wong, MD

Last week AdSense was introduced as a way for Web pages to display advertising and generate potential revenue. AdWords is the other arm of Google advertising where advertisers pay to place the ads.

Last week AdSense was introduced as a way for Web pages to display advertising and generate potential revenue. AdWords is the other arm of Google advertising where advertisers pay to place the ads.

AdWords can generate traffic to your web site without achieving a high page ranking with the search engines. AdWords are three-line (commonly text) ads with the headline in bold. These are paid ads that appear in the right panel of search results page or randomly on a Web page. With AdWords, you, the advertiser, pay Google to run the ads.

The key to the ad placements is the relevance of the ad to the content of the Web page or subject of the search. Google matches the keywords used in the headline with the content of what you are reading.

If you Google the phrase “adhesive bandages,” the Google ads on the right panel are paid by the advertisers that sell bandages.

The order in which the ads are placed are a function of the keywords used in the headline, the "strength" of the advertiser and the "quality" of the ad.

• Keywords - depending upon the keywords you choose to use in the headline, the more expensive. Google keeps track of all words used in actual searches and ranks them (look up 'keyword finder'). In theory, the more often a word is used for a search, the more traffic that word will generate. For example, using "Band-Aid" instead of adhesive strip might increase the cost of your ad.

• Subject category - The subject you choose, for instance "healthcare," may be quite competitive and may prove to be more costly. A more competitive category will drive up the price of available keywords.

• Advertisers that have a strong relationship with Google and place lots of ads get special attention and rates. This shouldn't be alarming; this is true of any business.

• Good ad/bad ad - Every ad is tracked. Google will keep count of the number of "impressions," that is, the number times an ad is shown. Google counts the number of clicks an ad generates. If the ad fails to generate enough traffic (say, two to three clicks per 1,000 impressions) the ad may get yanked. More successful ads that generate more clicks may increase placement.

As an advertiser, it is important to know that you can control every aspect of your ads.

• Budget - You pay only when your ad is clicked. The fee you pay Google is based upon the price paid per click. If your ad has 500 impressions (that means 500 hundred times your ad was placed), but only generated four clicks, you pay for the four clicks. You may set up a budget of how much you want to spend per day, per week, or per month.

• Location - You decide what region of the country to run your ad.

• Timing - You are able to control when the ads are run. Your ad may have a contact phone number. Why have the ad shown at 2 a.m. or weekends?

So what does this mean? Placing Google ads, or AdWords, are a great economical way to advertise your practice on the Web. Your advertising is targeted to the people looking for you. You pay only for "clicks" or people interested in your ad.

AdWords is a great, effective way to generate traffic to your Web site via targeted marketing.