Affiliate Marketing With Google Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide for 2023

By Hanson Cheng

While the concept of affiliate marketing is pretty straightforward, getting traffic to your landing page or website can be more challenging. The affiliate offer you’re promoting can have the best sales copy in the world, but if you can’t get any potential customers to go see it, then you won’t make any money!

In the world of organic traffic versus paid traffic, there is a lot of debate about which is better. And while there are pros and cons to both, paid traffic is usually a much quicker way to get people exposed to the affiliate offer you’re promoting.

One popular paid traffic platform is Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords. Google Ads is a complex platform, but once you get the hang of it, it can be an extremely effective way to generate leads and sales for your affiliate offer!

In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to do affiliate marketing with Google Ads, helping you create a successful campaign to promote an offer on ClickBank!

YouTube and Google Ad Setup

Why Use Google Ads?

Google Ads
Google Ads

As one of the top paid traffic sources you can start using today, Google Ads should be a crucial part of your affiliate marketing arsenal.

There are a few reasons why Google Ads are so effective.

1) You Can Reach Your Exact Target Audience

You can get your ad in front of potential customers already searching for what you’re selling.

With Google Ads, you’re not just blindly throwing your ad up and hoping someone will see it. You’re targeting people who are already interested in your offer!

You can target people by age, gender, interests, and location. This is extremely powerful because you’re not wasting your time and money on ads that no one will ever want to click on.

2) You Can Customize it to Fit Your Budget and Goals

Google Ads can be customized to fit your needs, allowing you to set a daily budget and choose how long you want your ad to run. You control how much you spend and when your ad runs.

3) You Get Tracking and Reporting Tools to Measure Your Success

Google Ads provides a lot of data that you can use to track your progress and optimize your campaigns.

You can see how many people have seen your ad, clicked on it, and even converted it into a sale. This information is valuable because it allows you to see what’s working and what’s not.

4) You Get a Lot of Useful Options

In addition to promoting affiliate offers, Google Ads can be used for branding, lead generation, and even e-commerce sales. While ClickBank focuses primarily on information-based products, the strategies within this guide can be applied to any product.

How to Set Up Your Campaigns in Google Ads

Here are the steps you need to take to start promoting an affiliate offer with Google Ads.

1) Create Your Account on Google Ads Network

To get started, you’ll need to create a Google Ads account. You can do this by going to Google Ads and clicking on the “Create an account” button.

2) Choose Your Ad Campaign’s Main Goal

Once you’ve created your account, you’ll need to choose what your objective is.

You can go with sales, leads, traffic, or various other options. 

Let’s go with sales in this case.

Then, you’ll choose the type of campaign you want to run.

In total, there are nine various types of campaigns, as follows:

  1. Search
  2. Discovery
  3. Video
  4. Display
  5. Local
  6. Shopping
  7. Performance Max
  8. App
  9. Smart

For our purpose, we’ll be focusing on the Search campaign type. This is the most common type of campaign, and it’s what you’ll need to use to promote an affiliate offer.

3) Choose Your Bidding

Here you can choose to focus on clicks, impressions, conversions or various other options.

Let’s go with clicks.

4) Choose Your Location and Languages

The next step is pretty self-explanatory. 

Ensure that you’re targetting the countries desired and the languages you want to go for.

5) Choose Your Audience Segment

Next up, you can search for an audience or browse from a list available.

6) Go Into “More Settings”

You could also decide to set your ads to rotate, have a start and end date, as well as a few other advanced options.

I suggest you leave these as they are.

7) Create the Google Ad Group

Here, you’ll create your ad group based on specific keywords.

You can either enter a URL and get a list of keywords from there, choose from a list of products to get keyword suggestions, or simply paste a list of keywords from your clipboard. 

8) Create the Google Ad

Now it’s time to create your ad. You’ll need to come up with a headline, description, and destination URL. The headline and description are what people will see when your ad is displayed. From a copywriting point of view, the highest converting ads usually offer a benefit or solution to the person’s problem.

Your destination URL is where you want people to go when they click on your ad. This should generally be your affiliate offer landing page. While you can directly link to an affiliate offer (i.e. the vendor’s site using your hoplink), sending people to a landing page is usually best.

This allows you to warm them up and increase the chances of them converting into a sale.

It’s good to note that you can create up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. 

Google will then find the best combinations to serve to its users.

9) Set Up the Spending Budget

The next step is to set up your budget. You’ll need to decide how much you will spend per day on your ad campaign. It’s important to note that you’re usually charged per click (CPC) with Google Ads. You can also (eventually) consider changing your bidding to be charged per impression (also known as CPM).

10) Review the Ad

Once you’ve created your ad, it’s a good idea to review it before you launch your campaign. This will ensure everything looks good and there aren’t any errors.

11) Launch the Ad Campaign

Once you’re happy with your ad and budget, it’s time to launch your campaign. Google will review your ad, and if everything looks good, they’ll approve it, and your ad will go live.

And that’s it! 

These are the steps you need to take to set up a Google Ads campaign to promote an affiliate offer. 

Structuring a Google Ad Search Campaign Correctly

Considering the entire trifecta of ad groups, keywords, and ads is essential for the success of your Google Ads search campaign. Here are a few tips on how to structure your campaign correctly.

1) Segment Your Ad Groups By Product Type, Topic, or Theme

The audience you define will largely determine the success of your Google Ads Search campaign. You must ensure that your ad groups are relevant to the products, services, or topics you’re promoting.

One way to do this is to segment your ad groups by product type, topic, or theme. This will ensure that each ad group is laser-focused on a specific audience. As a result, your ads will be more relevant and more likely to convert.

2) Create Ads That Are Relevant to the Keywords in Each Ad Group

Once you’ve segmented your ad groups, it’s time to create ads relevant to each group’s keywords. Remember, your goal is to create advertisements that benefit or solve the person’s problem.

You’ll be more likely to generate sales and commission from your affiliate offers if you do that.

3) Target Long-Tail Keywords With Low Competition

In addition to targeting relevant keywords, you should focus on long-tail keywords with low competition. These are the keywords that are most likely to convert into sales. Once you’ve found a few good keywords, add them to your ad groups and create ads that target those keywords. Check out the upcoming section in this article for more information on the best way to discover the right keywords.

Considering Traffic Quality

Here are a couple of important points to consider.

1) Match Types in Google Ads 

Another important consideration in your Google Ads Search campaign is match types. Match types determine how closely related your keyword must be to the searches that trigger your ad.

There are three different match types: broad, phrase, and exact.

Broad match is the most general and will allow your ad to appear for a wide range of searches. Phrase match is more specific and will only let your ad appear for searches that include your keyword phrase. Exact match is the most detailed and will only allow your ad to appear for searches that match your keyword phrase with 100% accuracy.

Which match type you choose will depend on your goals for the campaign. The broad match might be a good option if you’re trying to get as much traffic as possible. But if you’re looking for quality traffic more likely to convert, you might want to consider a phrase or exact match.

2) Negative Keywords In Google Ads 

Another way to improve your traffic quality is by using negative keywords. Negative keywords are words or phrases that you don’t want your ad to show up for.

For example, let’s say you’re selling women’s shoes. You might want to add “men” and “boys” as negative keywords so your ad doesn’t show up for searches like “men’s shoes” or “boys’ shoes.”

Adding negative keywords will help you filter irrelevant traffic and focus on the people interested in what you’re selling. As a result, you’ll get more clicks and conversions from your Google Ads Search campaign.

Tracking the Performance of Your Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Various types of affiliate tracking software will give you all sorts of statistics. But at the end of the day, only a few metrics really matter and give you the best bang for your buck. Metrics can be tracked using Google’s native tools within the Ads interface.

These are as follows.

  • Clicks: The number of times your ad was clicked. The higher this number, the more traffic you get to your affiliate offer.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of clicks that resulted in a sale or lead. The higher this number, the more effectively your ad converts traffic into sales.
  • Incremental revenue: The total revenue generated from your affiliate offer. This is the most important metric because it represents the bottom line for your business.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS): The return you get for every dollar you spend on your Google Ads campaign. ROAS is calculated by dividing your incremental revenue by your ad spend. The higher this number, the more profitable your campaign is.
  • Cost per sale or cost per click (CPS/CPC): The amount you’re spending for each sale or click you get. The lower this number, the more efficient your campaign is.

You’ll need to set up conversion tracking in Google Ads to track these metrics. Conversion tracking lets you see how well your ads perform in sales and leads. It’s a vital tool for any affiliate marketing campaign.

For more information, check out this guide from Google on different ways to track conversions.

Discovering the Right Keywords for Google Ads Campaigns

Affiliate marketing keyword research plays a big part in your Google Ads success. The right keywords will help you get in front of the right people at the right time!

Here are some ideas to get you on the right path regarding keywords.

Search on Google

Let’s say you’re considering promoting carbon credits products as an affiliate. As a newer way to reduce one’s carbon footprint, this might be an untapped market for you. If you want to get started with keyword research in this industry, good old Google is one of the best places to look.

Start by typing in the main keyword as a Google search and observe the keywords used in the SEO title of the resulting search results. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the results page and look at the “Searches related to” section.

Google search for paid ads
Google search for paid ads

These are other popular searches that people are making that are related to your primary keyword. You can also type in a broad keyword related to your affiliate offer, such as “carbon credits” or “carbon offset.”

These are all keywords that you could target with your Google Ads campaign.

Check Out the Competition

Another great way to find keywords is to look at what your competition is doing. If you know of any businesses or websites selling similar products to what you’re promoting, look at their Google Ads campaigns.

To do this, go to Google and again start your search using broad keywords for the industry you want to target. Notice the type of ads that come up and note down any keywords you might want to target.

Use Keyword Research Tools

There are several different keyword research tools that you can use to find the right keywords for your affiliate marketing campaign. These tools will help you understand what people are searching for and how popular those searches are.

Some of the best keyword research tools include:

Try Long-Tail Keywords

Another great way to generate traffic is to focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific and targeted than general, one-word ones.

For example, rather than targeting the keyword “carbon credits,” you could target the long-tail keyword “purchase carbon credits online.” This is a much more specific keyword that is less competitive and more likely to convert.

To find long-tail keywords, you can use the same methods discussed above. As you’re doing your research, keep your eye out for more specific, targeted keywords for your affiliate offer!

Quick Tips Before Starting Your Promotions

Before I close off this article, I want to leave you with some of the most important things to remember when promoting an affiliate offer with Google Ads.

Ensure the Affiliate Program is Active

Before doing anything else, you need to make sure that the affiliate program you’re promoting is still active. There’s nothing worse than setting up a campaign, driving traffic, and then finding out that the affiliate offer is no longer available.

ClickBank makes it easy to tell – if a product is listed in the marketplace, that means it’s available to promote and sell.

Ensure Your Landing Page is Focused on One Defined Action

Your landing page is an essential part of the success of your Google Ads campaign. This is the page that people will be directed to after they click on your ad. Your landing page should be focused on one defined action, such as signing up for a free trial or making a purchase.

Let’s say you’re promoting a financial platform built for growth. In this case, your landing page should focus on getting people to sign up for a free platform trial, explaining in detail why it’s the best option for them. This could include images, testimonials, a strong call-to-action, and a copy that deals with issues your target market is facing.

For example, if people in this industry have a problem tracking their spending, and don’t know where their money is going each month, your landing page could focus on the fact that the financial platform you’re promoting can help them with this.

In the world of affiliate marketing and direct response, this landing page is often a pre-lander or bridge page that moves people on to your chosen offer’s sales page. Just be careful to stay compliant with the Google Ads platform.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Negative Keywords

Once you’ve researched the right keywords for your campaign, it’s essential that you set up your campaign so that you are only bidding on these relevant keywords. This will help to ensure that you’re not wasting any money on keywords that aren’t related to your offer.

Let’s say you’re promoting a service that offers corporate shuttles for the working world. In this case, you would want to bid on keywords such as “corporate shuttle,” “commuter shuttle,” and “employee shuttle.” You wouldn’t want to bid on keywords such as “party bus” or “limo service,” as these aren’t relevant to your offer.

If you’re promoting designer lighting products, on the other hand, your landing page could focus on how the astethics of the product can enhance people’s homes. Considering that the typical customer of such lighting products is someone who’s looking to improve their home’s interior design, this would be a relevant focus.

Follow Google Ads Policies

Last but not least, it’s essential to ensure that you follow all of the Google Ads policies. These policies are in place to ensure that ads are relevant, helpful, and safe.

Some of the essential Google Ads policies to keep in mind include the following:

  • Inappropriate content
  • Abusing the ad network
  • Enabling dishonest behavior
  • Dangerous products or services

Suppose you’re promoting CBD products, which go against the advertising policy of Google Ads. In this case, opting for other methods to generate traffic is going to be your best bet.

For example, organic search engine optimization, or influencer marketing, could be alternatives to Google Ads in this case.

Branded Search vs Indirect Ads

Branded search campaigns refer to ads appearing when someone searches for a brand name or a specific product name. These campaigns can help get your brand in front of people who are already familiar with it and increase brand awareness and reach.

Indirect ads, on the other hand, are ads that show up when someone searches for a general term related to your industry or product but not necessarily your brand specifically. For example, if you sell informational products on gardening, your indirect ads might show up when someone searches for “how to start a garden.”

If you plan on running branded search campaigns as an affiliate, note that many vendors do not allow this. The more people that promote a particular keyword, the more expensive bidding becomes.

As a result, several vendors are against affiliates bidding on branded terms. Said differently, keywords like [product name] + reviews, or even the product name itself, could be off-limits for your branded search campaigns.

It’s essential to check with your affiliate manager before running any branded search campaigns, as you don’t want to risk going against a product’s terms and getting your affiliate account shut down.

Affiliate Marketing with Google Ads Wrap-up

Using Google Ads to promote your affiliate offers can be a great way to reach a wider audience and generate more sales. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that running a successful Google Ads campaign takes effort, and money, while always being open to testing new ad copy, landing pages, and keywords.

Finally, consider that being a paid ads marketer is just one of several affiliate types. There are other ways to succeed as an affiliate, so researching and finding the right strategy for you is vital.

Want to learn more about promoting affiliate offers through PPC? Be sure to check out Spark by ClickBank, the official affiliate education program from ClickBank experts!

Author Bio

Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.