Google Ads for Restaurants – All that you should Know

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" Know how you can leverage Google Ads for your restaurant to its best potential so you get more discovery and more business online"

Covid-19 has accelerated the digital world progression. Most discoveries are now happening online with Google leading the share in online discovery. Hence, it becomes impertinent for you to be on top of Google search when people are searching for food and restaurants online. While improving your presence organically (without online promotion) takes ages, you need to start getting returns quickly. Advertising using Google Ads for your restaurant is the quicker way of getting more people know about your restaurant.

Customers typing ‘Best Vietnamese restaurants near me’ and if your restaurant serves Vietnamese cuisines you need to get discovered by the potential customer and be on the 1st few results of search. 

Here is what you are missing if you are not running Google Ads for your restaurant. Google Ads are placed above organic search results so even if you have worked hard on improving your organic search ranking, there are chances that your search result might not be seen if somebody is running Google Ads for the same interest area (cuisine, food etc). 

Google search result restaurant
Ads occupy top results in Google Search result

Take a look at this example, typing ‘Order food online New York’ gives 3 results from Google Ads which fill up the screen-view. No organic search result without scrolling down can be seen. So, if you have not advertised on Google, you probably missed in getting discovered.

Google Ads are structured in hierarchical form, on the top of the hierarchy is the Ad Account. 

Google Ads Hierarchy - Restaurants
Hierarchy of Google Ads with Ad Account on Top Followed by Campaign

You can have 1 Ad account per location, 1 Ad account per restaurant brand or whatever is suitable to your restaurant. Under Ad account, Campaigns are there; under campaigns, Ad groups are there. Similarly, under Ad groups, Ads and keywords are there. Each Ad group can have a maximum of 3 Ads. The Ad group defines the theme of the ad. So, if your restaurant serves multiple cuisines, you can have a campaign with Ad groups of each cuisine. One Ad group for Vietnamese cuisine, one ad group for Indian cuisine etc. 

Assuming you want to run a campaign for Vietnamese cuisine, you can have 1 ad group for Pho, another for Noodles etc. You can structure your ad group on your value proposition. Let’s say you offer salad with freshest ingredients, you can have an ad group highlighting your fresh ingredients aspect. If you offer low-cost Thai food, you can have another ad group for Value-for-money Thai food.

 

Starting with Google Ads, choosing the campaign goal

To begin with Google Ads, you need to have a valid Google Account and a restaurant website. Find out what a good restaurant website should have! First thing in Google Ads is deciding the goal of the campaign. You need to have a goal in your mind: Here are some questions you can ask before getting started: 

  1. Why is it that you are running the ads campaign and what you want to achieve from this ad? 
  2. Is it to get more online food orders?
  3. Is it to have more restaurant visits or to make people download your restaurant app so they order directly from it. 
  4. Any other reason – phone calls, form bookings, Awareness of new dishes, promo offers etc ?
Google Ads Goal or Objective - Restaurants
Google Ads Goals: What you want the campaign to do for you

Selecting the right goal is important because Google optimizes your campaign according to the goal you select. What optimizing a Google Ads campaign means is let’s say, you have app download as the objective of your campaign. Searcher A has typed ‘Best restaurant app’ on Google search, and searcher B has typed ‘Best Indian cuisine near me.’ Google will figure out showing the ad to searcher A will be more valuable than showing your ad to B. Hence, it will put its efforts on showing your ad to searcher A.

Campaign Type

Choose the campaign type best suited to your goal. 

Google Ads Campaign types - Restaurants
Types of Google Ads Campaign

Search campaign is the text campaign which appears when you type anything on the Google search. It is also the most common campaign type.

It is recommended that you add extensions to your Ad. Extensions help provide precise information on the Google Ads itself so you have a better chance of getting the Ad clicked by relevant people. It also increases the space occupied by the Ad so the competitor ad is not shown unless scrolled down.

Google Ads: Search Ad - Restaurants
Google Search Campaign: Search Ad with Extensions

There are several kinds of extensions on Google Ads. Price extension let people know the price of the dish upfront. Call extensions enable customers to directly call restaurants from the ad inquiring about any dish or any query they have. 

Images are a great way to get the attention of your customers. Use a delicious photo of the hamburger on Google Ads to get customers to order the hamburger from your restaurant. Somebody new to the ad campaign might as well try Smart Campaigns. They require minimal setup from you and everything else is taken care of by Google Ads. There are other campaign types which you can choose as per your goals and objectives.

 

Campaigns and Networks

Name the campaign in such a manner that you are able to recall what the campaign was all about from the name itself. So, a campaign for Christmas’2020 giving offer on food dishes could be named, ‘Special Christmas’20 Offer- 15% off’.

Setting Google Ads campaign - Restaurant
Setting up Google Ads Campaign – Naming the Campaign and Selecting the Network

Google has its own network of websites (Google websites – Google.com, Youtube etc) and partner sites which come under Google Network. Display network is a network of websites where you show your display ads on other websites and apps. The ads on display networks are contextual in nature. Ad about Pizza could appear alongside an article about the best pizza in Edmonton.  You might have seen such ads while reading an article and those are display ads on display networks.

Search Network vs Display Network

Search network shows Ads when people are searching for something on Google search and Google search partner sites. They have an intention of buying something or looking for a solution to a problem. For example, when people type ‘hot online food delivery’, ‘quick burger delivery’ etc, associated search ads will show. In this case, the person is interested in getting food delivered and he/she is already in the buying cycle. 

But if you want to target customers even before the buying cycle starts, display networks are much helpful. This kind of Ad strategy is used when your objective is creating awareness about your new restaurant, or new dish or if you want to promote your special discount offers enticing people to buy from your restaurant. You can run Gmail Ads, Image Ads and Video Ads in Display network. Run Ads of delicious looking photos of Burgers and get them craving for food.

Another important point to look for in the Display network is remarketing. Remarketing has a good impact on your Ad campaign if used right. Through remarketing you can target those people who have interacted with your restaurant website or app. This way you remind them of what you offer and be on Top-of-Mind recall

Display Ad network - Gmail Ad
Example of Display Ad network: Gmail Ad

Location and Audience targeting

Unless you are not a national-level food chain, you would want to target locally. If you expand the target location, you might end up spending more money and targeting irrelevant customers. For a local restaurant, the location targeting could be the whole of the city excluding the suburbs, if needed. Running a campaign locally is beneficial on multiple fronts as it incurs less cost, targets better and yields better results.

Setting Google Ads Campaign - Location & Language
Setting up Google Ads Campaign: Selecting Location and Languages

 

You must also understand the customer and its demographics you are targeting for your restaurant. If your restaurant is in the Spanish-speaking neighborhood and you want to target that neighborhood, it is wise enough that you choose the language to be Spanish. Google decides the language by the browser language that is selected. Speaking to your customers in the language they speak, gives better conversions and success rate.

 

Budget & Bidding

Deciding a budget is an important task. But how would you define your budget? Setting a budget too low, you might not get any clicks. Setting a budget too high, you might spend too much money. So the budget has to be set optimally. 

But before that, let’s find out what all factors the cost of the ad depends upon. Google charges you on ad clicks so you need to make sure that your ad is clicked by genuine customers. Each click has an associated Keyword which in turn has a cost-per-click (CPC) associated with it. The CPC depends upon your bid amount, Quality score of the ad, competition and other factors. If you bid high, the CPC will be higher and vice-versa. The competition also defines the CPC of the keyword, higher the competition for the targeted keyword, more is the CPC. 

Quality Score of the ad which depends on Expected Click-through-rate (eCTR), ad relevance and landing page experience. You need to make sure what your ad says, and the landing page of the ad, after people click your ad, are consistent and relevant to the searcher. If your ad talks about the best lunch deal in the city, your landing page must talk about the lunch deals. If what your ad talks about and what your web page talks about are irrelevant, you will have your quality score low which in turn may increase the cost of the Ad. 

You must provide better user experience to your website visitors. Visitors should be able to intuitively find things they came for like the restaurant’s contact number, restaurant menu, food ordering section or link, restaurant location etc because otherwise the person will click the ad without any desired action being taken. Your website speed should also be good for a better quality score. The better your ad is, your CTR will be above eCTR, the user experience on your website will be good and relevant with the searcher’s intent, the lesser it is going to cost you per click on your ad. 

In Google ads, you can set an average daily budget. The daily cost could go up or down depending upon the situation but for the duration, the ad spend is not going to exceed.  So for example, if you have set the average budget of $5 USD for 7 days, the total budget won’t exceed $5 * 7 = $35 USD. Although your daily budget could be below or above the set $5 but the total won’t exceed $35.

Setting Google Ads campaign - Budget
Setting up Google Ads Campaign: Selecting Average Daily Budget

Google makes a level-playing field for all so the big restaurant giants don’t take it all. It has made sure that the advertisers with the highest budget don’t get it easy and advertisers with less budget are also able to succeed in this bidding war. 

New AdWords Ad Ranking Formula: What Does It Mean?
Google Ad Rank: Highest bidder does not necessarily occupy the top spot

Every time an ad is shown, it undergoes a bidding process because there is limited space to show the ad and a lot of people are vying for the limited space. When deciding which ad to show, Google along with the Bid amount, also takes the ad quality score in consideration. So, even if your bidding amount is the highest, it does not necessarily guarantee that your ad will get the highest position called Ad rank. A bad ad with low Ad quality score, can either make you either spend more money to show the ad or not allow the ad to be shown because of low Ad rank.

There are several bidding strategies to follow: Target CPA – Target cost per action is one of them. 

Setting up Google Ads Campaign - Bidding
Choosing the Bidding Strategy: You can Also Choose the Max Bid Amount You are Willing to Pay

Action is any conversion defined by the advertiser to be tracked. It could be availing food coupons, food ordering etc. You can set the Target CPA value to your liking and Google will try to keep the actual CPA near the defined CPA. From user behavior, Google decides which is the best potential customer to show the ad to, as a result it dedicates its resources to show the ad to the person who is more likely to take target action whether it be clicks, or conversion of any sort. 

Another popular bid strategy is maximize clicks. Google will bid in a manner such that maximum clicks are made to your ad. For maximizing clicks bid strategy, Google also allows you to set the max CPC so that the CPC does not exceed the set limit.

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Next we delve into making Ad copies that bring results, choosing the right keyword, publishing the ad, reviewing its performance and making appropriate changes according to what’s working and what’s not. 

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Alex H

Alex H

Alex Hoy is an account executive and partner helping restaurants increase their web presence get more orders online

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Alex Hoy is an account executive and partner helping restaurants increase their web presence get more orders online

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