How does AdWords work and how can it be utilised by artists?

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As one of the world’s most influential companies, and the world’s leading search engine, Google has a huge degree of influence in the advertising world. Although first and foremost a search engine, the site introduced AdWords in 2000, allowing companies to advertise their content seamlessly amongst search results. AdWords has now earned Google $32.2 billion since its inception, accounting for 97% of the company’s revenue. Alongside the online advertising boom, AdWords has become one of the world’s most powerful advertising outlets, with a huge level of influence across the corporate sphere.

How does it work?

The algorithm behind AdWords is centred around pay-per-click adverting based on auctions and bidding. Companies are able to bid specified amounts for keywords of their choice, relevant to their brand or the product they are trying to advertise. An example of a keyword artists may use is “house music”. The more obvious and heavily searched the keyword is, the more companies will have to bid against in order to appear in the search results. Search queries and keywords don’t always match up, for example the keyword “tech house” may be entered into an auction for the query “tech house summer mix”.

Advertisers first choose the keywords they’d like to bid on, allocate their budget, and create groups of the keywords pairing them with ads. After a search query has been made, Google chooses the most relevant keyword they have chosen and creates an auction using the maximum bid they’ve selected. Even if an advertiser has multiple ads suitable for a search query, only one of them will appear.

Appearing among a user’s search results is based on two factors, the advertiser’s chosen maximum bid and their advert’s quality score. Multiplying their maximum bid by their quality score chooses their ad rank. Their quality score is determined by looking at the relevance of their keyword, ad and URL tied together, then this data is added to overall user experience to ascertain the quality score. Arguably, the quality score is much more important than the maximum bid, as achieving a high score has more potential to put adverts at the top of the ranking.

Although a maximum bid has been selected, this is usually much more than advertisers will pay per click. The price is selected by dividing the ad rank of the person below by the quality score of the advertiser who is paying, and adding $0.01. For example, if an advertiser has bid $2, the person below’s advertising rank (16) needs to be divided by the quality score (10), plus the $0.01 added payment, totaling at $1.61 paid. A higher quality score can lead to a much lower payment.

With such a huge amount of flexibility and options available, AdWords caters to brands of all sizes, from small businesses to corporate leaders. The ability to control your own budget so closely, and to bid an extremely low amount makes AdWords accessible to all. The software’s flexibility to suit business needs is no doubt one of the many reasons for it having brought in such a high volume of revenue for Google, with companies of all shapes and sizes eager to be more present in search engine results.

Example of an AdWords advert: Festicket

What this means for musicians

If you choose to advertise your brand using Google AdWords, it is vitally important to understand the algorithm behind the process in order to avoid overspending or wasting budget. By fully understanding the system, you will be better able to select an appropriate maximum bid, and bid for keywords which give you a high quality score, a vital component of appearing on relevant search queries and saving money. Make sure that your advert and your URL are both relevant to the keyword in order to avoid spending money on clicks which wont ultimately result in revenue or brand exposure to meaningful sources. A poor choice of keyword and irrelevant advert can be a lot more costly than a thought-out advert that really speaks to the visitors conducting the search.

Using AdWords is a great option for producers, especially those who are just starting out, as it allows you to appear at the top of the search engine even though you are potentially not appearing there naturally. Using AdWords, you can really get word out there about who you are and what your music offers, which is ideal for driving clicks to your artist website. In order to fully utilise AdWords, you must first have a website to drive visitors to, otherwise your efforts will be rendered useless. AdWords is an ideal method to increase revenue by directing visitors to your merchandise store or your upcoming tour dates to aid ticket sales.

Once you have a great understanding of AdWords as a tool, the world of advertising is your oyster, and you can begin to encourage website clicks from potential new fans. With full control over your advertising as well as access to all analytics involved, it is an ideal tool for any budget and artists at any stage in their career. As long as full research is conducted, you will have no trouble making AdWords work for you. Don’t forget to hunt down the keywords that are relevant to your brand and receive plenty of search queries but may not receive bids from competitors. These are the keywords that you should focus your efforts on, as they will likely bring you the most results while spending the least money. As with any advertising option, with thorough research and strategized usage, you will quickly be able to exchange budget for results.