Google Ads for Small Businesses: How it Works & The Cost

Google Ads for Small Businesses: How it Works & The Cost

Karl Latkovic

Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform.

In short, PPC advertising allows you to feature your website at the top of search-engines and display photo and/or video advertisements across the web - for a price.

That price, as you probably guessed, is charged every time an advertisement is clicked.

With a skillfully built campaign, Google Ads is an effective lead generating channel for small businesses across industries.

Getting Started with Google Ads

To get started, you'll have to decide which campaign type best suits your business' goals.

The five major campaigns on Google Ads include:

Search Network

Search Network

Rise to the top of Google search pages in the form of a text-ad when users are searching for terms relevant to your business.

Display Network

Display Network

Promote your business on popular sites across the web as image and/or video advertisements.



Display your store's merchandise on Google search-pages when customers are searching for them.



Showcase your brand on YouTube and across the Google Display Network through video advertisements.

Universal App

Universal App

Have an app? Make it known with photo-text advertisements on Google Play, Google Search, YouTube, and the Google Display Network.

Learn more about the Google Ads campaign types here.


The most popular campaign type is the Search Network campaign.

Why? Well, if you have ever had the need to "Google" something, you know that a Google search has the answer to essentially anything you may be looking for.

With the approximate 3.5 billion Google searches every day, there's guaranteed to be a chunk of users searching for your products and services.

Which brings us to the most important aspect of a Google Ads campaign - targeting your audience.

Targeting Your Business' Audience

"You only pay for results" is how Google describes the PPC advertising model - unfortunately, it's not that simple.

Sure, you're only charged when a user clicks on your website, but who that users is determines the success of your campaign.

On a Google Ad Search Campaign, there are a few ways you can target your small business' audience.


The most important step of any digital advertising campaign is defining your keywords.

Keywords decide which searches trigger your advertisements, and ultimately, decide the bulk of your target audience.


So how can YOU decide on the best keywords for your new campaign?


The first step is understanding the different attributes keywords have.

Once you recognize how these attributes work together, you will be able to make an expert keyword selection that is unique to your business.

Keyword Types

There are four distinct ways you can input a keyword in Google Ads - each way affects how your advertisement is triggered on the Google SERP.

Match TypeKeywordExample
Exact Match[Ottawa Marketing]Will only display ads for exact searches for: Ottawa Marketing.
Phrase Match"Ottawa Marketing"Will display ads for searches that include the keyword in the exact phrase order specified.


Best Ottawa Marketing Companies or Ottawa Marketing Agencies


Will not display for Marketing Companies in Ottawa or Best Marketing Ottawa
Broad MatchOttawa Marketing AgencyWill display your ads in any search that includes your broad-match keyword, including misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.


Best market agencies in Ottawa
Broad Match Modifier+Ottawa +MarketingWill display your ads for searches that include all the words in your keyword, in any order. Does not include misspellings, synonyms, etc.


Best Marketing in Ottawa

Search Volume

The number of users searching for your keywords will affect how many impressions and clicks your advertisements are receiving.

Use this data to your advantage!

For most digital advertisers, keyword search volume is used to determine which search queries are popular on the web. This helps when looking to broaden your keyword selection, or help identify keywords that are not being searched.

Another tip is to examine the search volume of your industries keywords over time. This data can identify peak times of the year for your industry and help you determine which months to push your digital advertising efforts.


Cost-Per-Click (CPC) defines how much is paid when a user clicks on an advertisement. Keep in mind, the CPC changes depending on what keyword prompted the advertisement.

If you have an Ad-Group with the keywords [Digital Advertising Companies] and [Digital Advertising Agencies Ottawa], [Digital Advertising Companies] may have a CPC of $15 while [Digital Advertising Agencies Ottawa] only has a Cost-Per-Click of $7.

Once you have enough click-data from your keyword list, evaluate conversion-rates and decide which keywords are giving you the best results, or, try out some new keywords!



Do you know which devices your customers are searching from?


Perhaps if you're an IT company, most of your customers are searching on a computer.

How about a restaurant? The majority of your searches may very well be coming from mobile phones!

On Google Ads, you can specify how much of your budget is allocated to computers, mobile phones, and tablets.

If you're just getting started with Google Ads, you'll likely not know which devices to target.

No problem!

Run your ad for a couple of weeks, review the results, and target your audience when you know which devices are working for you.

If you find you have zero conversions coming from one of these devices, you can completely remove that device from your target audience.


Pretty cool if you ask me!



If your small business is operating out of Seattle, why would you want your advertisements displaying for users in Los Angeles?

Google Ads allows you to target entire countries, cities, postal codes, and even a radius around a specific address.


On most Google Ad campaigns, the demographics you can target are age, gender, and household income.

If your small business sells feminine hygiene products, it makes sense to target women rather then men. However, for most businesses, target demographics is no as clear.

The good news is, you don't have to figure this out right away!

Like all the other targeting options on Google Ads, run your advertisement for a few weeks and set your targeting when you have enough data to back up your optimizations.

Even if you believe you know your target demographic, it can be a good idea to run a preliminary campaign without any precise targeting options to ensure what you THINK your target demographic is matches your demographic on Google Ads.


With Ad-Schedule, you can specify which days of the week and/or hours your ads will show on.

Are there specific days of the week that are busy for your business? Do you only want users seeing your ads during business hours?

Target your audience to the hour with Ad-Schedule.

Exclude Audiences

It's also important to recognize who is NOT a part of your target audience but may be confused as such.

For example, as a digital agency in Ottawa and Calgary, we would not want our ads displaying for users in parts of the country we do not offer services. Doing so would drain our advertising budget and our overall conversion-rate would take a hit.

Excluding users that are not converting into paying customers further targets your audience.

The Cost of Advertising with Google Ads

You know what Google Ads is and how it works, but before you jump in, you're wondering what your budget should be and what results you should expect.

What Should Your Ad Budget Be?

The old saying, "you get what you pay for" does not hold up entirely here.

Yes, your reach with Google Ads is limitless, but if you're not careful in targeting your small business' audience, your ROI will be slim to none.

1. Analyze how many users are searching for your services or products every month in your target region.

This can be done with any keyword research tool. There are many available, but if you're just starting out, Google has a free tool integrated into Google Ads called Keyword Planner.

2. Add-up all the monthly searches for your keywords and write that number down.

3. Analyze the average cost-per-click (CPC) for your target keywords and write that number down as well!

Now that you have your industries average monthly searches and average CPC, you can estimate your maximum budget.


If your average monthly searches is 600 and your average CPC is 70-cents, your estimated maximum budget is $420

Average Monthly Searches x Average Keywords CPC = Estimated Maximum Budget

This gives you an idea of what you could be spending but is not always in the marketing budget of many small businesses.

At this point, the best thing to do is decide what a feasible investment is for your business and start from there.

Why Working With Google Ad Specialists Will Save You Money

Let's face it, if you made it this far, you understand how much work goes into the best digital advertising campaigns.

The extra thing I've been keeping from you is all the work above is, unfortunately, only one slice of the pie.

Once research is executed and your ad campaigns are built, ongoing monitoring and adjustments are a MUST to ensure your ads are performing to the best of their abilities.

This takes a lot of time and if you do not fully commit to understanding the platform and optimize proficiently, your ROI will suffer.

Luckily, we can eliminate all this work for you!

Monthly Management Fee

For most small businesses, your monthly ad-spend will be under $750 which lands you in the lowest tier of our Google Ad management fees.

For only $299 a month, Transpera will monitor and continuously optimize your Google Ad campaign so they are performing with the highest ROI.

Why It's Worth It!

Still not convinced?

Let's break it down for you with a real-world example.

Meet Joe the Plumber

Joe is comfortable spending $500 per month in ad-spend and is investing another $299 a month for Transpera to manage and optimize his campaign.

In Joe's industry, the average CPC is $2.

With $500 a month in ad-spend and an average $2 CPC, we estimate Joe will receive 250-clicks per month.

Average conversion-rates across industries is 2.3%.

Conversions are tracked leads; customers reaching out to Joe's business by contact form, calls to his phone-number, completed transactions on his website, etc.

2.3% of those 250-clicks is about 6-conversions.

For Joe, his plumbing services average around $400 per lead, so every month Joe is earning around $2,400 from his Google Ad campaigns.

That's $1,600 profit every month!
Not bad, hey?

That's just with average conversion-rates and does not take into consideration those 6-leads Joe received this month may very well be coming to him for plumbing services in the future.

Top Google Ad campaigns can have up to a 12% conversion-rate which, using the same math as above, shoot Joe's return all the way up to $10,000+ a month!

Interested, now?

Let Us Help!

Contact us today and we'll have your Google Ad campaign up and running in no time.

Mention this article and get your first month FREE - shh!

Get Started with Google Ads Today!

Karl Latkovic
Karl Latkovic
Transpera Technologies Inc.