Learning Google’s Advertising Tools

If you’re new to SEM (define) and want a guide to help you get started with Google AdWords and AdSense, consider picking up a copy of “Google Advertising Tools.”

This O’Reilly Media book by Harold Davis is the most basic introduction to the topic I’ve seen yet. It will mostly appeal to SEM newcomers.

In fact, the first section, “Making Money with Your Web Site,” has little to do with Google or even SEM marketing but rather takes a mostly higher-level view of the necessary ingredients required for online success, explaining the basics of creating a profitable Web site and the various options for driving traffic to the site.

This section has chapters covering basic SEO (define) techniques, affiliate programs, banner advertising — even how to profit from adult content. Though all this material is solid, the core of the book comes later, with in-depth looks at Google’s advertising programs.

Part two features how-tos about Google’s AdSense program, a curious choice, as most people start with Google’s AdWords program that display ads on search results, rather than AdSense, Google’s contextual advertising program that distributes ads to other content sites.

This section’s first chapter is a very basic overview of how Google works and the difference between AdSense and AdWords. The next chapters take you through the process of setting up an AdSense account, setting up an initial campaign, monitoring results, and getting appropriate reports.

The focus is very tactical. It barely touches on the creative aspect of writing effective ads and landing pages. In that sense, it makes a good complement to Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg’s “Call to Action,” a book I reviewed and raved about just over a year ago.

And such key areas as Web analytics are barely afforded any attention. Again, you’ll want to turn to other books, such as Eric Peterson’s excellent “Web Site Measurement Hacks,” which I also reviewed.

Part three focuses on AdWords. Again, the book takes you through the steps of setting up an account and launching a campaign. These chapters dig a bit deeper into such topics as understanding ad performance, using diagnostics effectively, and other important parts of creating a successful campaign.

Part four is classic O’Reilly, focusing on programming the AdWords’ API (define). The chapters are technical and require an understanding of programming. But if you’re looking to take full advantage of Google’s tools for maximum control of your AdWords campaigns, these chapters serve as an excellent introduction to using the AdWords API.

A more thorough look at the entire process of search advertising, from conceptualizing an effective campaign through running and analyzing its results, is Andrew Goodman’s “Winning Results with Google AdWords.” But for newcomers to SEM, “Google Advertising Tools” is a good place to start.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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