NOVEMBER 28, 2023

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

full tilt

What To Know About Google Ads

You can start a content business without paid advertising, but growing a content business is difficult if you don’t invest in it.

If your target audience uses search engines to find content related to your tilt, Google Ads can be a good investment.

If your goal is to secure sales, Google Ads can be a good choice, according to Shopify. (Facebook Ads work better for building brand awareness and connecting with customers. The Tilt will share a primer on social media advertising in December.)

But how do you get started? What’s the process?

First, it’s back to basics – keyword research. What words and phrases does your target audience use to find content like yours? Google Keyword Planner can be a good starting point, as can multiple paid services. You can assess how frequently users search for those keywords and how competitive the keywords are for advertising. In the beginning, look for lower-volume keywords with some or no competition, as your ad is more likely to be delivered to and noticed by the searcher.

Next, you tell Google what you would pay for the ad to be seen and clicked by the searcher. Google refers to this as a bid. The goal is to win the auction and get your ad in front of the searcher. Of course, you can’t attend, and you can’t watch the actual auction. So you set a maximum bid – the most you would pay for a searcher to click on your ad. You can set bids for individual keywords or by groups and campaigns.

Bid pricing varies widely. In industries with high-ticket clients, such as finance and law, companies are willing to pay high prices to get a lead. I see Google ad pricing operating similarly to dynamic pricing for a sporting event – the cost fluctuates depending on advertiser interest, available inventory, and timing.

Think carefully about the value someone clicking on the ad and visiting your page will bring. (And recognize not everyone who clicks on the ad will convert into a paying customer.)

Wordstream reports the average metrics across all industries:

  • Click-through rate: 6.11%
  • Cost per click: $4.22
  • Conversion rate: 7.04%
  • Cost per lead: $53.52

Wordstream also breaks down these figures based on industry.

Price isn’t the only thing that matters to Google. Quality does, too. Google gives a quality score to every ad – including its linked page – based on its relevance and usefulness to the searcher.

Then, Google calculates an ad rank by multiplying the bid amount by the quality score. Ad placements are prioritized based on those rankings.

In the beginning, your Google Ad program is based on educated guesses, but that will soon evolve as you have the data to know what works and what doesn’t. Closely monitor the analytics to understand who clicks, what ads convert better than others, what visitors who click do once they land on your site, etc. Scrutinize to see if geographic targeting or ad delivery timing could make a difference.

Even if you have big success early on, don’t stop reviewing the metrics. Audience behaviors change. New competitors enter the market. And if you keep investing in Google ads, you want to keep up your success.


– Ann Gynn

we stan Haley Ingram

Entrepreneur: Haley Ingram

Biz: Coffee & Contracts

Tilt: Marketing education for real estate agents

Scene: Blog, membership community, affiliate program, Instagram (59.5K), Facebook (32K), Pinterest (2.6K), LinkedIn (306)

Snack Bites:

  • A new real estate agent, Haley found her clients reached out after seeing her Instagram posts. Fellow real estate agents soon asked her to help them with their social media.
  • Haley pivoted from being an agent to being a content entrepreneur, selling a monthly membership program that includes a private community.
  • Coffee & Contracts has grown its business by partnering with entrepreneurs with similar but distinct audiences and paying commissions for referrals.
  • Haley is the sole employee but works with six contractors to get all the work done.

Why We Stan: Haley started with an audience, then she built the content business (and grew that audience.) She also embraces the power of partnerships, including an open submission for anyone who wants to get paid for member referrals.

– Ann Gynn

Read the Haley Ingram story.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us. Or email [email protected].

things to know

  • Snap farther: Snapchat creators in the Middle East with at least 50K followers and 25M monthly views may now join Snap’s Stories revenue share program. (Campaign ME)
    Tilt Take: Global expansion isn’t surprising. But everybody needs to remember revenue from social platforms shouldn’t be the only one for your content business.
  • Going public: Instagram now lets users download public reels to their devices. The videos will contain the Instagram watermark with the account name. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: Another reminder that it’s Instagram’s content first. What content are you OK with other people using without your permission?
  • Sad news: Fourteen percent of all Americans get news through TikTok. For 18- to 29-year-olds, it’s 32%, according to Pew. (Fast Company)
    Tilt Take: We can only hope they also use fact-based, well-researched news channels too.
  • Know what you read: Elon Musk says X will bring back headlines for URLs posted in a tweet. (Social Media Today)
    Tilt Take: Media sites might rejoice if X wasn’t continuing to lose users and advertisers by the droves.
Tech and Tools
  • Slow down: YouTube users who use ad blockers do see a delay in video loading time. (Android Authority; h/t Geekout)
    Tilt Take: It’s a relatively new move, but it’s not surprising, given that YouTube needs ads to be viewed to make money.
  • Bye-bye: Google is ending operation of its crawl rate limiter tool in Google Search Console on Jan. 8. It says other technology makes it possible to limit the bandwidth consumed by crawlers. (Search Engine Land)
    Tilt Take: Site publishers who didn’t care about search used the tool to free up bandwidth for their visitors, not Google’s crawler.
And Finally
  • Never see again: Gmail and Google Photo accounts inactive for at least two years will get the boot beginning Dec. 1. (Forbes)
    Tilt Take: Take a moment to think if you have a dormant account that you may want to resurrect and save everything.
  • Marquee status: YouTube’s added a Shorts tab under the channel content lineup on YouTube Studio desktop. (YouTube Liaison)
    Tilt Take: Another indicator that YouTube is all in on Shorts.

the business of content

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