Is Google Ads still the best digital marketing strategy?

Before we dive into the debate over whether Google Ads is the best and only digital marketing strategy a business requires, let's take a closer look at what Google Ads entails.

What does the Google Ads Product include?

Many business owners are already familiar with Google Search Ads, a platform that enables them to bid on specific keywords and have their business ads displayed.

For example:

However, Google provides a broader spectrum of advertising options beyond Search Ads. 

In addition to the familiar territory of Google Search Ads, there is the avenue of Display Ads. This facet involves the presentation of a business's banner ads on various websites, strategically reaching audiences specifically targeted by the business owner.

Here’s an example:

Furthermore, Google extends its advertising reach to YouTube, presenting businesses with valuable opportunities to distribute their video content or ads on the popular video-sharing platform. 

This avenue enables businesses to strategically target audiences whose interests align with the products or services offered by the business.

This is what it would typically look like: 

Moreover, Google presents additional advertising avenues through Mobile App and Shopping Campaigns, although these options may not enjoy the same level of popularity as the top three. 

In the South African context the primary advertising channels that garner the most attention on Google include the first three mentioned. However, the adoption of mobile engagement campaigns and shopping campaigns has skyrocketed in recent years, indicating a growing interest and utilisation of these channels within SA.

Is Google Ads the best (and only) digital marketing strategy you need? 

The response to this query is, "It varies." The determining factors include whether your website functions as a straightforward landing page or has the potential for expansion, possibly incorporating a blog and additional landing pages for SEO optimisation. 

Additionally, the outcome hinges on the distinctive buying cycle of your product or service and the associated cost implications. These elements collectively contribute to the nuanced decision-making process

How your website affects your choice of strategy

Single page websites (or landing pages) have gained significant traction in the digital landscape due to their cost-effectiveness, swift creation facilitated by various tools, and their inherent focus on specific goals, particularly lead generation. However, a noteworthy limitation emerges when it comes to search engine visibility. 

In Google's search results, a standalone landing page typically struggles to outperform a comprehensive website, unless the landing page is intricately linked to a paid keyword or the search pertains specifically to your business's brand.

Nevertheless, this limitation need not be perceived strictly as a setback. For businesses offering specialised services such as plumbing or electrical work, a landing page coupled with Google's Search Ads proves to be an effective method for generating business leads. 

It's crucial, though, to bear in mind that the cost per click may escalate as more businesses engage in advertising on Google. Consequently, it becomes imperative to regularly reassess your marketing budget—ideally, every six months—or consider transforming your landing page into a fully-fledged website that can be optimised for search engines. This strategic shift aims to harness non-paid traffic to your website, offering a sustainable alternative to paid advertising.

How the buying cycle and cost affects your choice in digital strategy

Consider the intricacies involved in shopping for a high-end piece of jewellery; it's a process laden with extensive research. From understanding the nuances of diamond cuts and clarities to selecting the appropriate precious metal, each decision requires careful consideration. The less familiarity one has with these aspects, the more time they are likely to invest in research before arriving at a final decision.

These meticulous stages of consumer engagement, commonly referred to as micro-moments, hold true not only for the realm of jewellery but for all high-value products and services. Rarely does a prospective buyer of a luxury German vehicle impulsively point at the first available option and declare, "I want that one."

However, relying solely on the Google Ads platform proves insufficient in targeting these micro-moments. A true expert goes beyond, employing a blend of platforms and targeting methodologies to connect with your ideal customer precisely as they embark on the journey of selecting the perfect engagement ring. Solely concentrating on Google Ads, though effective to an extent, might cause you to overlook several crucial micro-moments.

To comprehensively reach your audience during their decision-making process, it's imperative to embrace a digital marketing strategy that encompasses diverse elements. This includes content creation, utilising social media for effective content distribution, and implementing search engine optimization. By incorporating these strategies, your brand ensures a presence in the various stages of your customer's buying decision, capturing their attention and influencing their choices.

What it boils down To

Approaching a digital marketing strategy requires a customised approach, acknowledging that a "one size fits all" solution may not be optimal. While employing Google Ads proves effective for swiftly generating leads or establishing brand awareness, it might not be the most suitable approach for marketing high-end business solutions.

To determine the most fitting strategy for your specific business needs and long-term goals, it’s advisable to engage in discussions with a digital marketing agency or strategist. Their expertise can help tailor a strategy that aligns seamlessly with your business objectives.