How much do Google Ads cost?

“How much will Google advertising cost my business?” is a reasonable question, and one that those new to PPC may be considering, but in reality, the answer is much more complicated.

Advertising on Google can cost as much or as little as you’d like, as there is no minimum or maximum monthly spend imposed.

But whatever the size of your PPC advertising budget, advertising with Google provides companies with incredible opportunities for measurable growth and the ability to targeting specific audiences.

And with the right tracking in place, calculating the return on investment from Google Ads is relatively simple as well.

What is the Cost Per Click?

A cost-per-click (CPC) bid means you pay for each click your ad receives, so businesses can set a maximum CPC bid that is the highest amount they want to spend.

Often the amount businesses actually get charged is much less that what they’ve stated they’re willing to spend.

The average cost of a click can be anywhere from 50p to £15 in the UK, but the market sector massively impacts the cost. 

The legal sector, for example, can warrant clicks of upwards of £50 while niche markets are much most cost-effective.

Budget forecasting is key when planning PPC spend.

The average return on ad spend can be between 3.5x to 5.5x – high returns typically correspond to low profit margin sales and vice versa.

Different keywords cost varying amounts, based on the level of competition, the popularity and seasonal trends of certain keywords, the relevancy of the advert in relation to the keywords and the locations you’re targeting.

How Much Do Google Ads Cost

How Google Ads work

Google AdWords (Google Ads) is split between two Google networks which are suitable for different advertising goals – search network and display network.

The search network includes advertising locations such as other Google properties like Google Shopping, Google Maps and the actual search engine results.

The display network includes advertising platforms such as YouTube, Gmail and other partner sites.

From ads popping up while you’re browsing YouTube to sidebar ads while you’re visiting different websites, it is responsible for the ads you see in these locations.

The ads Google shows are displayed in a similar order to organic search results and the position your business achieves significantly impacts the traffic your ad pulls in.

As with search engine results, holding a top four position is preferable to being located at the bottom of the page.

The position is determined by a value known as Ad Rank which is created by Google and is based on the bid amount, the auction-time ad quality (also known as quality score) and the context of the search.

Google also factors in the impact of the ad extensions. Ultimately, bidding isn’t the only factor that influences where your ads place and how much of an impact they have.

Google’s Quality Score is ranked from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, and gauges how well each ad is performing.

There are three factors that make up the quality score – the expected click through rate, the relevance of the ad and the landing page experience, such as whether the page communicates the same keywords and information that are indicated in the ad.

These are factors that are well worth company’s investing time and effort into improving, as a higher quality score will result in a higher conversion rate.

Quality scores also let you know that you’re creating ads effectively or if they need improving when you’re optimising your campaigns, which is crucial when you’re targeting specific audiences.

Finally, the higher the quality score you receive, the cheaper your final acquisition costs will be, so there are financial benefits as well.

While ads on mobile and desktop are similar, there are some differences to bear in mind.

Firstly, device size impacts how much room you have to play with so you need to be concise.

Secondly, user intent varies between devices as people on a phone are typically on the go so the messaging should be tailored to reflect those needs.

Lastly, CPCs are based on keywords but they’re also based on the device, so tablets typically have a lower average CPC compared to desktop.

How to place an Ad on Google

In order to advertise on Google, you first need to set up a Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) account which is free to set up.

The next step is to set up a campaign, which is a more in-depth process. The first step is to determine the goals of your campaign and create buyer personas to provide insights into the who, what and why of your advertising messaging.

The influence of consumer behaviour is vital in terms of ensuring that the messaging is right for your campaigns across all devices, so that people see the right ads wherever they are.

Setting a daily budget is a good starting point to ensure you can plan ahead and know exactly what you’re paying in ads from month to month.

£10 a day is a reasonable price to begin at but once you have a better understanding of the bids on each keyword for your sector, this can be increased or decreased accordingly.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll be paying your maximum each day, but Google will ensure you don’t exceed the amount.

You also need to set your location, which is particularly important for local businesses that rely on people within a specified distance clicking on their ads.

Not only does setting the geographical area save you money but it also can ensure you are targeting the right audience.

You have the option of showing your ads exclusively on Google’s search network or including content sites by using the display network, so your ads show on sites such as Gmail and YouTube. If you’re new to using Google ads, the search network is a good place to begin as this ensures that people searching for your type of business will be exposed to your ads.

Ad campaigns are only as effective as the keywords they’re based on, so planning a good keyword strategy is incredibly important to your ad success.

Google Keyword Planner ensures that you kick off your campaigns with the relevant words and also provides guidance as to the keywords you should be using.

The data that Keyword Planner provides you with ensures that you’re making informed decisions for better results, as well as reducing the risk of you paying for keywords that aren’t going to give you a high return on investment.

Don’t just stick to singular keywords – focus on a mix of concise keywords and long-tail phrases which have less competition as they’re more specific but can garner great results.

The next step is to set your keyword bid or the amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad.

Bear in mind that you’re bidding against other websites for your ad to display in the search results, so if a website has an equally relevant ad and is willing to pay more per click, their ad is going to display higher than, or even in place of, yours.

The Keyword Planner will help you to see how much you’re likely to need to bid on a keyword and will allow you to see comparisons between different terms.

The final step is writing the ad.

You’re limited to a set number of characters – 30 for each of the two headlines required and 90 characters for the description – so brevity is key.

You need to use the same keywords that you’re bidding on in your ad and it’s also beneficial to use local identifiers and location-related terms in your headlines.

Make sure that your offer is strong and immediately obvious to the reader so that there is a clear reason for them to click on your ad over any others, as well as providing them with a bold call to action.

Finally, make use of ad extensions to provide additional information about your business such as contact numbers or addresses which will increase the amount of space your ad uses on the results page.

Ads which use extensions typically have a higher click-through rate, plus there is no extra cost for using them, so they’re a great way of maximizing the impact of your ads.


Google ads provide businesses with incredible opportunities to expand their reach and increase conversions, particularly when paired with other marketing strategies such as social media, Facebook advertising and blog content.

By using targeted, keyword-rich ads, companies can put their brand in front of the right people and encourage a greater click-through rate for incredible results.

Advertising in this way can go a long way towards bringing in new customers and once your first campaign goes live, you can track its performance and continually test the results to make better informed decisions with future ads.
If you're struggling with generating leads / sales for your business feel free to get in touch and one of our digital team will be happy to give you some help.

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