Small business PPC: driving footfall

Most of the advice on the web concerning PPC is aimed at the big eCommerce and lead-gen advertisers and written by account managers who want to get there hands on their big budgets! These clients require a lot of work, luckily they have the capital to pay for this kind of time. But what about everyone else? It’s an economy of scale, and it’s just more cost efficient for the smaller advertiser to use a consultant rather than an agency (or an agency that offers a consultancy service too like Attacat!).

Google seems to be the only people out there who are actively trying to encourage small brick and mortar businesses to make a start with AdWords. But they would wouldn’t they? Google’s gain value with user uptake, not necessarily user success, so whether you win or fail, Google still wins.

Whether your small brick and mortar business is big enough to have an agency manage your AdWords account or not, we thought we’d list 10 easy things you could be doing in your account to start driving more people through your front door. I’ve deliberately left off anything about budgets, keywords, account structure, tracking and attribution because they’re just too big subjects to fit into a post like this.

Location targeting

AdWords wouldn’t be much use to a brick and mortar business if they couldn’t limit their ads to their local area. However it’s not nearly as useful in the UK as it is in the US (where you can target down to post codes!) For a business in a small town the option to limit your ads to the town you are in can be very useful. to limit your ads only the town your store is in. For those running their business in larger cities, you could try finding a few local areas in your city and targeting the radius around them – possibly by only 1 or 2 miles. For us, areas in Edinburgh such as Stockbridge and Morningside could be targeted like this (though remember that the smaller the scale, the more vulnerable it is to the data being inaccurate).


 All images lovingly nicked from

Mobile ads

In the past advertisers had to treat mobile and desktop users as completely separate audiences, but now with AdWord’s new Enhanced Campaigns you can serve two different types of ads via the same campaign. This makes it really easy to show a tailored ad for users who are at a desktop computer, or on a mobile phone somewhere in your city, or on a mobile phone just round the corner from your store.

In addition, you can also adjust your bids based on these attributes too, for example if someone is in your local area, maybe you automatically bid 10% higher. If they’re on a mobile phone maybe you raise your bids by a further 10%. If they’re more than 5 miles away you may still want to bid for them, but you might lower your bids by 15%.



AdWords sitelinks are the additional blue links that can appear under ads on the left hand side of the search results page. They are designed to give users the option of alternative landing pages to arrive on. Users don’t click on these links as often as you may think, although ads sporting them do end up being clicked much more often overall. They also provide a great opportunity to tell the user more about your business, your special offers and even opening times.

Social extension

Probably one of the easiest extensions for an advertiser to get, is a listing of the number of Google+ users who have +1’d their business. You’ll need a link from your +1 page to your website, and then a link from your site back to your +1 page before it can be activated. Whether you’re very active on Google+ or not, there doesn’t seem to be a threshold for the number of endorsements required before the ad shows (unlike seller reviews which are the gold stars in the image below). Google reports a 5-10% uplift in clicks when this extension is used. Social proof like this can be very powerful in persuading people of your value, but it’s also just another way to make your ad stand out a bit more.

Location extensions

These extensions allow your ads to expand to include a map listing and your address, and can either take this information from your Google Places account or the address can be manually entered. For mobile users, check out the hyperlocal business ads below!


Hyperlocal business ads

Similar to location extensions, these ads can show mobile users how close they are to your business – absolutely perfect for the person out on the street looking for a business like your’s nearby.


Call extensions

Your phone number or a link to call can appear next to your ad on both mobile and desktop ads. This allows users to click on the number to call you rather than clicking though to your website (on desktop it appears as a Skype link). This may be just what the mobile user wants when they’re on the go and want to find somewhere they can quickly book a table. You can also use a dynamic number that changes every time and forwards the call to your real number, allowing particular attributes of the call to be measured and  recorded in your account. This used to cost per call but as of AdWords update to Enhanced Campaigns it’s now free!

Offer extensions

A new feature of AdWords is Offer Extensions, which allow you to include offers (as below) in your ads for redemption at your store. Google’s motives are a bit suspicious when you consider they now own Groupon, but for the time being it’s a great advantage for your brick and mortar store.

Time of day/ day of week bid adjustments

Nearly every advertiser will find that the traffic to their site behaves differently and is of differing value depending on the time of day it is. If you’ve got a physical location and no online shop, you’d almost certainly like to rein in your advertising during your closed hours. Like the bid adjustments for mobile ads and locations mentioned earlier on, you can also tweak your bids to go up or down during your best performing time of the day or day of the week.


Weather based ad and bid adjustments

The piece de resistance! And the one you’re least likely to be doing! Google launched AdWords Scripts last year, which allow you to setup simple automated tasks to make changes to your AdWords scripts based on internal and external factors. A simple example would be to say that on Sundays you want your ads to include your limited opening hours, though this could still be achieved using AdWords automated rules. What’s really exciting is that AdWords Scripts can use external factors such as a weather forecast’s API to make changes to your account. When combined with creative ad copy and customised bids, this could mean that on sunny days your ads automatically promote the ice creams you sell, and on cold days your hot chocolate!


I hope this has helped, though it’s really just some of the cool features you can add to your AdWords account, and isn’t even touching on how to form a strategy for your business.

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If you’re interested in adding any of these features to your ads, click the button above or give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss your account and help you through it. As I said at the start, we believe small advertisers succeed the most when they work in partnership with their agency and are trained to take on ownership of their own AdWords activity.


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