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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Trick #68: Use Google AdWords

There's nothing to stop you from advertising your eBay listings on other websites outside of eBay. Perhaps the best way to do this is with a web placement service, such as Google AdWords. The AdWords program lets you "buy" keywords, and then display a "sponsored link" on the search results pages for that keyword. For example, if you buy the word Hummel, your sponsored link will appear on the results page anytime a Google user searches for the word Hummel. (Figure 7.12 shows some typical sponsored links.)

Figure 7.12

Figure 7.12 Sponsored links on a Google search results page—at the top and on the side.

In addition to the sponsored links on its own website, the AdWords program also places ads on third-party websites that feature similar content. (Figure 7.13 shows a typical AdWords ad.) This ensures that your advertising reaches qualified consumers who are interested in what you're offering; you're not blanketing the market blind, you're targeting specific consumers.

Figure 7.13

Figure 7.13 A typical Google AdWords website ad.

You can purchase ads for your eBay Store or for individual item listings. To do so, you first have to sign up for the AdWords program, which you do at adwords.google.com.

Determining Your Costs—And Choosing a Payment Option

Advertising with Google AdWords isn't like a traditional advertising buy; there are no contracts and deadlines and such. You pay a one-time $5.00 activation fee, and then are charged either on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. (You can choose either payment method.) You control your costs by specifying how much you're willing to pay (per click or per impression) and by setting a daily spending budget. Google will never exceed the costs you specify.

How much does AdWords cost? It's your choice. If you go with the cost-per-click method, you can choose a maximum CPC click price from $0.01 to $100. If you go with the CPM method, there is a minimum cost of $0.25 per 1,000 impressions. Your daily budget can be as low as a penny, up to whatever you're willing to pay.

If you go the CPC route, Google uses AdWords Discounter technology to match the price you pay with the price offered by competing advertisers for a given keyword. The AdWords Discounter automatically monitors your competition and lowers your CPC to one cent above what they're willing to pay.

You can opt to prepay your advertising costs or to pay after your ads start running. With this last option, Google charges you after 30 days or when you reach your initial credit limit of $50, whichever comes first. Google accepts payment via credit card, debit card, direct debit, or bank transfer.

Creating an AdWords Ad

It's surprisingly easy to create and activate an AdWords ad. You need to determine which keywords you want to buy upfront, of course, but from there it's a simple matter of filling in the appropriate web forms. Here's how it works:

  1. From the Google AdWords home page (adwords.google.com), click the Start Now button.
  2. When the next page appears, as shown in Figure 7.14, choose either the Starter Edition or Standard Edition option. (If this is your first time listing, I recommend going the Starter Edition route—which is what I'll discuss throughout the rest of these numbered steps.) Also check the I Have a Webpage option, and then click Continue.
    Figure 7.14

    Figure 7.14 Choosing either the Starter Edition or Standard Edition solutions.

  3. When the next page appears, enter your location and language.
  4. Scroll to the Write Your Ad section, shown in Figure 7.15, and enter the following information: the URL of the website you want to add to link to, your ad's title (25 characters max), and two lines of text (35 characters max each).
    Figure 7.15

    Figure 7.15 Entering information about your ad.

  5. Scroll to the Choose Keywords section, shown in Figure 7.16, and enter up to 20 keywords that you want your ad linked to. (Enter one keyword or phrase per line; a "keyword" can actually be a multiple-word phrase.)
    Figure 7.16

    Figure 7.16 Entering the keywords you want to purchase.

  6. Scroll to the Choose Your Currency section and enter the currency you'll be paying in.
  7. Scroll to the Set Your Budget section and select your monthly AdWords budget—$50, $100, $250, or a custom amount.
  8. If you want to, scroll to the Future Contact section to sign up to receive Google promotional materials.
  9. When you finish entering information on this page, click the Continue button.
  10. Google now prompts you to sign in to your Google account or to create a new AdWords-specific account. Follow the onscreen instructions to proceed.
  11. Google will now email you with instructions on how to set up billing information for your account. Follow the instructions in this email to activate your account and launch your ads.

If you chose a Standard Edition campaign, you have a few more options to consider. In contrast to the Starter Edition, the Standard Edition lets you:

  • Create multiple ads (instead of the Starter Edition's single ad)
  • Choose from a variety of pricing options, including keyword-specific bidding, content bidding, ad position preference, and so on
  • Target specific websites for ad placement
  • Utilize a variety of advanced planning and reporting tools, including the AdWords traffic estimator, conversion tracking, and a variety of sophisticated statistics and reports

As I said earlier, the Starter Edition is probably the best way for most eBay sellers to get started. After you have a few ad campaigns under your belt, you can graduate to the advanced options available with the Standard Edition.

Monitoring Your Ads' Performance

When your ad campaign is underway, you can monitor performance from the main AdWords page. After signing in to this page, select the My Ad Campaign tab, shown in Figure 7.17. You can view the performance of each keyword you selected, in terms of impressions, clicks, and total cost to-date.

Figure 7.17

Figure 7.17 Viewing the performance of your ad campaign.

This page also lets you change the parameters of your campaign. You can add more keywords (by clicking the Add More Keywords link) or delete existing keywords (by clicking the Delete link next to an individual keyword). You can also upgrade to the Standard Edition option at any time by clicking the Graduate to Standard Edition link.

If you buy the right keywords, you should be able to drive significant traffic to your eBay Store or individual listings. That said, the cost of this advertising is such that you probably want to use it only with higher-priced items—or to advertise entire categories within your Store.

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