Google Ads in Singapore: How to Go About It

how to set up google ads

Over the last decade, digital advertising has skyrocketed. In fact, many of the biggest brands have shifted large amounts of their marketing budgets to online ads. But why have the major brands cut down on the more conventional methods such as television, display, or print and started to lean towards internet marketing? The answer is simple: digital platforms are where people are spending most of their time. This is particularly evident in Singapore where the market is made up of sophisticated media consumers.

More than 2 in 5 Singaporeans shop online and offline. However, when looking at the results of a recent study conducted to show how Singaporeans first become aware of a product, it’s pretty easy to see which media they prefer. The study concludes that only 2% discover their products through radio, 4% through direct mail, 5% through posters and outdoor advertising, 5% through email, 10% through in-store ads, 15% through television, 16% through newspapers or magazines and 5% through other forms of media. However, a whopping 35% of Singaporeans first discover a product through online search.

This should speak volumes to the average Singapore business owner. It further proves that a business stands the greatest chance of attracting new customers if promotion is done online. While there are several routes one could take for digital marketing, there is one stand out method–Google ads. Let’s discuss what makes Googles ads more effective than other forms of advertising as well as the best way to go about. 

More about Google Ads

Google Ads which was previously known as Google Ads is a service for online advertising developed by Google. The new change got into market on 24th July 2018. The platform serves advertisers with unique and effective advertising services. Those who use these services pay for their brief advertisements to be displayed, product listings, service offerings as well as video content contained in the Google ad attached for site users to view.

The system of Google Ads’ is partly based on both cookies and keywords which depend on the advertisers. In placing advertisement copy on relevant pages as perceived, Google applies those characteristics. Payment by the advertisers is made when those who visit the site click the advert in their process of browsing. Partner website get part of the income generated.

The main source of Google’s revenue is known to be Google Ads, contributing to USD $95.4 billion of the company’s total revenues for advertising in the year 2017.In offering services, Google Ads uses pay-per-click (PPC) model of pricing. Although an improved strategy of bidding can be applied to automatically attain a predefined cost-per-acquisition (CPA), the case should never be mistaken with a real CPA model of pricing.

IP address exclusion

Apart from controlling placements of ad through aimed audiences in reference to language usage and location, placements of ad can be reined by use of execution of Internet Protocol (IP) address. This characteristic gives advertisers ability to exclude particular ranges of IP address if they are not interested in their ads appearing there. It is possible foe the advertisers to exclude 500 IP address ranges on an upper limit in each campaign.

Google Adwords Express

Google Ads Express service aims at business that are small in size that are trying to minimise the hardness of ad management campaigns by managing ad placement and keywords automatically. Google Adwords Express was initially called Google Boost.

It also gives support to small businesses that lack website by giving them a chance to lead clients to the business’s Google Place page.

Google Partners

Initially known as Google Ads Certification, is a partner to Google Ads program of certification. For you to be their partner you must excel in its Fundaments exam as well as another exam of Google Ads which entails Display Advertisement, Search Advertisement, Shopping Advertisement, Video Advertising as well as Mobile Advertising.

What Makes Google Ads So Effective?  

According to Net Market Share, Google owns about 74.5% of the search market. This makes it the world’s large network in terms of display advertising. In fact, according to Google Benchmarks and Insights, Google’s display ads reach over 80% of global users. And according to Google Investor Relations, 97% of Google’s total revenue is from advertising.

These particular stats only serve to highlight just how important Google Ads is to the business of Google. Google’s main priority is to continually improve its Google Ads tool. The harder Google works, the more successful advertisers are. This makes Google Ads a win-win situation.  

How to Go About It

This isn’t to say that using Google Ads guarantees that a business will be able to amass millions overnight. In fact, when not careful, many businesses find that they lose money rather than gain it. So, how can business owners avoid the common mistakes and take full advantage of all of Google’s hard word? Here are a few tips to make using Google Ads a more sure thing:

  1. Obsess Over Ad Copy

A lot of businesses take a huge chunk of time to find the right keywords for their ad campaigns. They spend days, weeks and even months coming up with a winning combination. However, they never ever see the fruits of all their labor and hard work. Why is this? Well, it all comes down to the to their ad copy. While these businesses spend all of this time preparing just the right keywords, they fail to use them in their ad copy. What’s worse, they craft ad copy that is very generic.

Customers are less likely to click on an ad if they don’t see a match for the keywords or search queries that they have just typed in. This is why an equal amount of time and persistence should be spent when crafter the perfect ad copy. Not only should the ad contain keywords, but it should also be customised for the target audience.

Businesses should also make sure to include keywords that focus on commercial intent. For example, the business should include the word ‘buy’ in their keyword phrases. For instance, if the business sells cupcakes, the phrase may be, “where to buy lemon cupcakes.” Remember, it is not enough to just show up on the right search pages. The ad must entice people to click it.

  1. Use The Business Location

A lot of business owners assume that since they are advertising online that they don’t need to refer to the location of their business. They figure that the broader the search is the better and that adding a location will only limit their earning potential. It is better to advertise worldwide, right? Wrong.

This another example of creating an ad that is generic. If the ad does not include the location, the business is setting itself up for failure. What most businesses don’t consider is that shopping behaviours vary according to locations. For example, if someone owns a bubble tea shop, they are more likely to sell more in Bugis and areas near schools like Novena, Bishan Junction 8 and Nex Shopping Mall.

Also, different locations will respond differently to certain ads. And this has a lot to do with their lifestyle and levels of income. Someone who lives in D9, D10, D11 will respond differently to a car ad than someone who lives in an HDB estate. So a business should always mention its location because it can make a huge difference in the campaign.

  1. Send Traffic to a Specific Sales Page, Not the Home Page

Here’s a piece of advice that usually confuses business owners. “Why would a business owner choose to send all of their ad traffic to a page that contains just one item or service? Doesn’t it make more sense to the traffic to a homepage? This way customers will be able to browse through the entire website and gain access to more options instead of just one product or service.” These are easy assumptions to make, but they could not be further from the truth.

Sure, when traffic is sent to the home page, it does give the customer access to more options, however, this does not guarantee that they will be anything. What most business owners don’t realise is that when customers click on an ad, they are usually looking for a solution that is immediate. They do not respond well when they are overwhelmed by a large number options. And this is why many potential customers immediately click the back button and continue their search elsewhere.

This isn’t to say that some won’t stick around. Of course, if a website looks good, some people will want to have a look around. However, this is taking a huge chance. So business owners should ensure that their keywords, ad copy, and landing page are all relevant to each other. In fact, in many cases, Google will uses the success of a landing page to determine the score the ad receives. This affects how well the ad is placed as well as how much it will cost.

  1. Test Absolutely Everything

It’s quite surprising to see how many small businesses never actually test their copy. In some cases, this lack of testing can be due to a lack of education. In some cases, it may be a result of a lack of time. However, in a great majority of these cases, a lack of testing is due to a business that is overconfident. They assume that just because it looks great to them, that it will also have the same effect on their potential customer. Unfortunately, it is this type of confidence that can be very costly when using Google ads.

Sure, a business may feel as if they know their audience. This business may also have hired an excellent copywriter who knows how to craft unforgettable headlines. But here’s the deal, testing can reveal a lot of flaws in ad copy.

By testing the ads with several versions of it, a business can find which one converts the best. They can identify which keywords are the most effective. They can figure out if the headline should be tweaked a bit. Perhaps the change is as simple as a few differently placed words. In any case, the business will never know if they are getting the most out of the copy unless they A/B test it.

When testing copy, the business should only change one element each test. They should set a clear goal for that copy. They should also watch the results over a long period of time, not just initially.

Leveraging Google Ads for Your Business in Singapore

Google AdWords rebranded to Google Ads, and it is the secret to getting the most out of your digital marketing campaigns. With that said, most brands in Singapore do not use Google Ads, and they wonder why they are not getting their projected ROI.

The process of leveraging Google ads for your business in Singapore might seem complicated, but it is doable. Did you know that it is possible to do it yourself?

Setting up a Google Ads Account

With a small investment in time, you too can run set up a Google Ads account without having to hire an agency to do it for you. Here is how to do it.

  • Use your Gmail or Gmail Suite email to sign up for Google Ads
  • Select a New Google Ads Account
  • Choose your goals
  • Choose your business, whether Existing or New Business
  • Input your Business Name and Website URL
  • Choose your preferred region for the ad to show
  • Specify your preferred Language and business categories you are promoting
  • Input the ad details
  • Set your budget, but it is better to start with the recommended budget for beginners
  • Review your advert and budget
  • Confirm your billing country
  • Set up your billing profile and input your credit card details

If you have all the documents and ad details with you, it will take you less than an hour to complete. However, as you become more conversant, you should take the reins and optimise your Google Ads for more streamlined results.  

How Much Does Google Ads Cost?

Google Ads is all about paid advertising and you should create a budget for it. On average, it costs between $1 and $2 per click for ads placed on the search network.

However, when it comes to the display network, the cost per click (CPC) is under $1. However, there are some expensive keywords where the CPC is as high as $50 or more. This begs the question, what determines the price of your PPC keywords?

Keyword Completion

In every business niche, there are bound to be competitors, and they will affect your bidding strategy, click through rate (CTR), ad position, and the CPC. The bid wars for certain keywords will affect how much you should set aside for your PPC budget.

Case in point, during the holiday season, the number of competitors will lead to a fluctuation in the PPC amount. The retraction of a strong competitor will also affect the variables that determine the CPC.

Keyword Bids

This is arguably the most significant determinant the CPC. Google Ads has a maximum CPC bid model that calculates the position of your ad and CPC. If you have a low bid, then your CPC will also be low and vice versa.

Quality Score

Having a high quality score will mean that you get to rank your ads higher at a much lower CPC. Conversely, a low-quality score will mean that you have to bid higher for your ad to rank higher.

The quality score directly influences your keyword’s CPC as well as estimating the first-page bid thresholds on Google Ads account, which then affect the position and ranking of your ad. Factors such as your ad copy, click through rate (CRT), and the position and rank of your ad will affect your quality score.

Sufficient to say, PPC changes daily, and this will affect your CPC. However, seasonality will also affect your CPC. For example, if your competitor has recently set up their Google Ads account or they have raised their keywords bids, you have to make changes to your bidding strategy and bid amount for the keyword.

Writing an Ad Copy for Google Ads

The ad copy is the text of your clickable ad, and ideally, it is the second and third line in your ad. The ad copy’s design ought to get the reader to take action. Moreover, the ad copy is the equivalent of the sales letter or pitch in traditional advertising that addresses the customer’s concern and possible objections.

The ad copy also outlines the key features and benefits the customer will receive. However, there is more to the ad copy than the text. Follow these tips to write an excellent ad copy

  • Leverage on keywords wherever possible
  • Be as specific as the user’s query
  • Never omit a CTA
  • Test different psychological approaches to find the right fit
  • Do not sell a false bill of goods
  • Incorporate ad extensions
  • Leverage on dynamic ad features

With these best practices of writing the ad copy, always ensure to engage the reader on an emotional yet professional level. With the ad copy complete, you should consider the following factors before submitting the ad

  • Does the landing page answer the promise outlined in the ad copy?
  • Is the final copy something you would click on?
  • Does the ad make sense?
  • Is the ad copy sound appealing?

Writing ad copies for your Google Ads is both a science and an art and the more times you practice, the better you will get. It is necessary that you look past the ad to the landing page and assess if your visitors will browse other pages of your site or make a purchase.

Working With a Google Partner

Truth is the process of creating the ideal Google Ad is daunting, and it might take a while before you get the hang of it. It is, therefore, necessary that you choose one of the many agencies in Singapore offering professional Google Ads services.

Here are the things to consider when working with a Google Partner

  • They should have a badge on their website demoting that they are a certified Google Partner
  • Assess their level of competencies

Google Partners have several skills that include search advertising, mobile advertising, video advertising, shopping advertising, and display advertising.

The Takeaway

Google Ads can be daunting for beginners, but as you can see, setting up your Google Ads is a quick and easy process. However, you need to keep on learning ways to improve your ad copy and the quality score for the best results in Singapore.

Singapore Google Ads can be incredibly lucrative. This is because Google has a huge interest in seeing them succeed. And as a business owner, this information priceless. However, Singapore business owners have to be smart about their approach. Sure, Singaporeans tend to favour digital media, but there are still ways a business can fail if not careful. Its prudent to hire an experienced digital marketing agency in Singapore because they have the benefit of managing hundreds of campaigns to know what works and what does not.

If business owners are to succeed with Google Ads, then they are going to have to be willing to go beyond the generic mode of advertising. Customers cannot be placed into a one size fits all category. Each individual, each location has different needs and wants. And the businesses that succeed in the world of Google Ads are those that are willing to cater to these needs and wants.

They have to always be willing to go a few extra steps and spend a little more time craft the perfect ad copy. They should also be willing to test their results. The best ad campaign is about more than keywords, it’s about the user experience as a whole.

The Pros And Cons Of Using Google AdWords To Grow Your Business

What is Google AdWords?

This is the number one question that business owners ask the first time they come across the term. Google AdWords is a paid advertising program by Google that post ad at the top of search results. They are very effective in driving traffic and boosting conversion rates.

The AdWord ad appears when a searcher uses your target keyword or keyword phrase to search for information on Google. Companies bid for keywords that are related to their niches through an auction. Google then determines which keywords are most relevant to a search query and the winning ads are shown at the top of search results.

To help you know if Google AdWords Ads are ideal for your business, let us look at the pros and cons that are associated with this kind of ads.

Pros of Google AdWords Ads

Results can be instant

Adwords ads have the ability to offer instant result if well executed. The right ads can drive traffic to your site quickly as compared to some SEO strategies that take months to deliver the same results.

Coming up with an AdWords Campaign is Less Time Consuming

The building blocks of an AdWords campaign are ad groups, ads, and keywords. It is quite easy to gather all this information thanks to advanced tools such as Google Keyword planner. With a good ad copy in place, there is no limit on the results that you can achieve.

Offer an Excellent Exposure on SERPs

Even though searchers may not click on your ads, you will still get exposure for free since the cost is calculated based on the number of clicks accrued overtime.

Ads Have Increased in Size

In 2016, the size of text ads was increased thereby giving Singapore digital marketers an opportunity to get more value for every dollar they spend on PPC. With the increase in size, you can make your ads as engaging and interesting as possible as well as leverage other options such as structured snippet extensions.

AdWord Ads can be used to Test New Ideas

You can use AdWords ads to know which keywords are driving traffic to your site, which landing pages are converting and much more. All this information will inform your SEO strategies.

It is Possible to Measure Results

Once the PPC campaign goes live, you will gather a huge amount of information in a short span of time. You can quickly analyze this data to know if you are heading in the right direction.

Budget can be small or big

It is possible to run a PPC campaign while on a budget, it does not have to be expensive. When creating the campaign, you can specify the amount of money that you intend to spend as well as the cost per click for your preferred keywords. As mentioned earlier, you only pay for clicks not views.

Full Control over Your Ads

If you can turn your AdWords Ads off and on at will and Google will not charge you for terminating the campaign.

Cons of Google AdWord Ads

Pay for Every Click to Your Site

Google will bill you for every click on your ad regardless of whether the searcher purchases your product/service or not. This means that you may get hundreds of clicks from searchers who are not interested in buying your product/service.

High Cost per Click for Competitive Industries

Probably one of the main reasons why you have decided to create a PPC campaign is because your competitors already have one in place. Note that competition will be fierce especially if you target the same or similar keywords. If your keyword bid falls below the set threshold, it will be relegated to page 2-3 of search results.

Ads Will Not Display if you don’t have a Budget

As mentioned earlier, you will charged based on clicks and that’s why it is important to have a budget. AdWords have a relatively short shelf life as compared to other ads and so when you exhaust the set budget, they will be turned off. On the contrary, SEO has a longer shelf life as it is a long-term investment on your brand.

There are Limitations

The headline should not exceed 30 characters while the description should not surpass 80 characters. You can also only add one customizable display URL to the ad. Therefore, you have to make the headline as catchy as possible to get maximum returns.

Keyword Targeting is Complicated

You have to make sure that you have sufficient negative keywords to prevent your ads being displayed to the wrong audience.

Invest Time into the Learning process

Mistakes when creating an AdWords campaign can be costly. Invest ample time to the learning process as well as campaign creation phase to ensure that it’s done properly. You also need to continuously monitor the campaign to know it’s offering the expected results.

Landing Pages Have to be perfect

To convert clicks into sales, you need to make sure that your landing pages are top-notch. They need to resonate with the ads, and so you cannot sideline SEO. Doing so will pump up your quality score and reduce the amount of money you spend on the clicks.

Customer Life Cycle

If your product requires the customer to think, save, and do background research about it before making a purchase, you might not see significant ROI from the campaign.


Google AdWords can help your business grow by providing the much-needed exposure on search results and connecting you with potential customers. Make sure that you take time to perfect the campaign and test it regularly to know if the keywords and landing pages are working as expected.

Contact us today for digital marketing services, which include Google Ads for your Singapore business. 


Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.

January 27, 2018

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