Are Google Ads Good For Restaurant Marketing Strategy?
Your restaurant marketing strategy needs to evolve and include every channel available to get the attention of the right people at the right time.
Since your restaurant likely works on thin margins, and you may be apprehensive about running any paid marketing strategies. With that said, it is essential to mention that Google Ads is just one way you can get in front of potential diners to drive more foot traffic to your restaurant.
Choosing the right marketing options to vary between restaurants based on your goals, the type of restaurant, your location, and your competition, just to name a few.
Google restaurant ads can be a substantial investment for some restaurants, but when used at the right time, they can be a great way to reach a targeted group of local restaurant searchers.
It’s important to say upfront that Google Ads can be very expensive if you don’t know what you are doing. There are thousands of ways to optimize your restaurant ads in Google Ads, and if you choose the wrong options, then you can lose out on sales or waste your advertising spend.
With all of that said, let’s continue to see how you can use Google restaurant ads, and then discuss some of the best tips to optimize Google Ads to get the most out of your investments.
How Do Local Restaurant Searchers Find Restaurants?
Most local restaurant searchers look to Google My Business, social media, and restaurant review sites before deciding on where they want to dine.
This is why Google Ads is best used by restaurants for specific needs. Some of the ways that you can appear to specific restaurant searchers are:
- Increase reservations on your website or app.
- Highlight a special event or other entertainment options.
- Generate demand for specific times fo the day (lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch).
- Feature items like gift cards or other merchandise.
While restaurant Facebook ads, restaurant local SEO, and your website are essential pieces of your marketing mix, you can’t forget about Google Ads for your restaurant.
Many restaurant owners write off Google Ads because of unknowns with costs, management, and expectations. However, this could be a big mistake, because as we mentioned earlier, Google restaurant ads could be just the thing your restaurant needs to drive more traffic and meet your business goals.
Since you pay Google each time someone clicks on your restaurant ad, you need to do everything you can to ensure your ads only appear to the right people at the right time and meet your business goals.
You take enough risks with your restaurant marketing strategy, and we want to make sure that you don’t waste your advertising spend or miss opportunities. This is why we put together the top pro tips to help you reach local restaurant searchers through Google Ads.
1. Target Restaurant Searchers In Your Geographic Area
Specifying the geographic area that your ads show help you pre-qualify restaurant searchers
One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when building a restaurant, Google Ads is that they don’t target the right audience. You need to drive traffic from local restaurant searchers in your geographic area.
You can talk to your staff to determine how far most patrons travel, but you can rest assured that most diners will not drive more than 30-45 minutes to your restaurant.
Unless you are hosting a big concert or you have established yourself as a go-to spot in your city, then people are likely looking for a restaurant near them.
You can take this information to your advantage and only target restaurant ads to show to searchers based on their geographic area.
The range that you choose will determine your goals, and you can run multiple ad campaigns throughout the week while adjusting the geographic targeting for each. Here are a few examples of how you can improve the geographic targeting based on your goals:
- Weekly Lunch or Dinner Crowd: Some restaurants have found great success by running Google Ads to drive awareness and foot traffic for specific times of the day. If you are trying to reach potential customers for Wednesday lunch, then you should use a 1-2 mile geographic area. This is because the lunch crowd will typically walk to your restaurant from work, and targeting a wide geographic range will only increase your ad spend.
- Special Events: You can use a more comprehensive geographic range for special events like concerts or live music. Since these are one-off events, you can target your entire city or region. This is an excellent way to generate more demand for a high profile event.
- Holidays & Celebrations: Typically, people are looking for the best restaurants to host a celebration or holiday. Each year you will see high demand for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. These dates typically drive lots of foot traffic without advertising, but your restaurant can use Google restaurant ads to help meet your business needs if you have seen a drop in engagement during these holidays in the past.
You can see from the above examples that you should use geographic targeting to reach restaurant searchers based on their needs.
Be sure to set the geographic range setting when creating different campaigns in Google Ads. Limiting the range that your ads show will restrict the amount of wasted marketing budget while also showing your ads to people who are more likely to take action.
2. Bid On Profitable Keywords & High Search Intent
Using Google restaurant ads is a great way to generate highly targeted traffic, and you should only run restaurant ads to attract the attention of specific restaurant searchers.
In the previous Google restaurant ad tip, we saw that focusing your ad spend on a geographic region near your restaurant is the first step to improve results from this marketing channel. In the same fashion, you should only bid on targeted keywords with high search intent.
Most restaurant owners are hesitant to use Google restaurant ads because they think they need to bid on high-cost keywords like [city] restaurants.
However, the truth is that you should not bid on the types of keywords that are too broad. Not only do these keywords drive lots of unqualified traffic, but they also have too much competition. Both of these factors me that generic (A.K.A. “short-tail”) keywords will eat up your marketing budget and result in poor performance.
Instead of using short-tail keywords, you should identify specific elements of your restaurant or the needs of your customers when bidding on long-tail keywords.
This approach will help you reach a smaller but higher-value audience with Google restaurant ads. You can use Google Ads like a sniper rifle, so you can hone in and target customers looking for a solution with specific needs.
Here are just a few examples of how you can use long-tail keywords to use when building ad campaigns are:
- Your Restaurant’s Name: This is to help keep you top of mind, while also combatting against the efforts of restaurant review sites like Yelp. You will notice that Yelp and other restaurant review sites dominate the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), and this means that you could be losing patrons in the customer journey. Instead of missing out on crucial information like email addresses during the reservation stage, you can drive qualified traffic to your site at a low cost with branded Google restaurant ads.
- Brunch/Sunday Brunch: Brunch and Sunday Brunch has become a staple for many communities. If your restaurant offers Sunday Brunch, then you can run restaurant ads to highlight this offer. You can use different variations of Sunday Brunch keywords to get your ads to appear at the top of Google, and this can be a great way to drive demand for this service.
- Vegan & Speciality Options: Many diners are looking for restaurants that provide special menu items like vegan and kosher meals. If your restaurant offers these types of dishes, then you should build compelling Google restaurant ads to appeal to this crowd. These ads should link to relevant landing pages with more information, or go right to your reservations tool.
- Live Music & Entertainment: If your restaurant offers live music or other elements that could drive a crowd, then you can feature these offers in Google restaurant ads. Be sure to link to a relevant landing page and provide more information to show people that your restaurant is the best choice.
- Special Events & Holidays: Typically, your restaurant will see an upsurge of foot traffic during holidays and other special events. Some holidays, like Valentine’s Day, provide the perfect opportunity to outrank your competition and drive more demand for your restaurant. You can capture more patrons by running targeted ads leading up to holidays to direct local restaurant searchers to your website or other content.
The list of ideas to build your restaurant ads around is endless, and you should think about your target audience when choosing keywords to bid on for Google restaurant ads.
3. Modify Your Restaurant Ad Schedule
You should always build your Google restaurant ad campaigns around a specific purpose. We have talked about a few examples in previous points, and this trend continues as we look at using ad scheduling to focus your marketing budget on your target audience further.
Google Ads allows you only to show your ads during specific times of the day. This means that you can choose when local restaurant searchers see one of your restaurant ads on Google.
- Weekly Lunch or Dinner Crowds: If you want to drive more foot traffic to your restaurant for specific meal times of the week, then you should only run ads a few hours before that mealtime on the desired day. For example, if you want to drive more demand for Wednesday lunch, then you should only run ads on Wednesday starting at 10 A.M. This ensures that your target audience will see the ads at a time that meets their needs and your business goals.
- Special Events/ Entertainment: You can use Google restaurant ads to raise awareness for an upcoming concert or event at your restaurant for a target audience. For example, if you have a concert coming up in a month, then you can run ads a few weeks leading up to the event. This is a great way to drive engagement among restaurant searchers who are looking for a good time.
- Holidays & Celebrations: If you want to raise awareness and drive more reservations for an upcoming holiday, then you can run Google restaurant ads leading up to that day. For example, if you want to use restaurant ads for Valentine’s Day, then you could run ads a few weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Be sure to link your ads to a relevant landing page with more information and a clear Call To Action (C.T.A.) to reserve a table.
4. Use Ad Extensions For Your Restaurant Ads
The goal of a Google restaurant ad is to reach the right time at the right time with the right message. You can accomplish this with the different ideas we talked about earlier in this post, but another goal for restaurant ads is to outrank your competition.
You want to do everything you can to inform local restaurant searches and push your competition down SERPs. You can accomplish both of these goals with different ad extensions through Google Ads.
There are a number of Google Ads extensions that you can use to make your ads stand out, here is a quick list of the top extensions that you should always include with your restaurant ads.
A call extension is one of the best ad extensions that you can apply to your Google restaurant ads. This is because this extension will prominently display your restaurant’s phone number, and this can drive more calls.
When seen on mobile, this extension allows potential customers to click on your phone number and call your staff. Most restaurant owners want to increase the volume and quality of calls to their restaurant to boost the chances of a valuable conversion. You can do this by adding a call extension to your Google restaurant ads.
In addition to driving more calls, you can also set up the option in Google Ads to track calls from ads using a unique phone number. This is great to track the effectiveness of your restaurant ads while making it easier than ever for potential customers to reach your team!
Location extensions help local restaurant searchers drive to your restaurant. This is because this ad extension displays your physical address on the ad, and when displayed on mobile, it provides a quick way for people to tap into Google Maps to get directions.
In addition to showing your restaurant’s physical address, it can also include the phone number and call button so patrons can quickly call your business.
If you want to encourage customers to visit your restaurant, then you should include location extensions in all of your ad campaigns. Since most restaurant searchers are using a mobile device to find a restaurant, you can increase foot traffic with the address and quick method to get in contact with your staff!
Seller ratings are an automated ad extension that you can apply to your Google restaurant ads. This extension shows the star rating and several reviews from your Google My Business.
Google requires your business to have at least 100 reviews and other requirements to show seller ratings on your Google restaurant ads. If you are serious about highlight the quality of your restaurant, then you can’t go wrong with including the review extension in your Google restaurant ad campaigns!
Sitelinks are a set of unique links that you can add to your Google restaurant ads. Each link will direct local restaurant searchers to specific pages on your website. Whenever someone taps on a sitelink, they will be directed to a page to learn more about your restaurant based on the information you provide in the ad.
Sitelink extensions are a great addition to any restaurant ad because they provide additional information to searchers and drive traffic to specific landing pages. In addition to providing a means to learn more about your restaurant, this extension also allows you to track engagement, and you can even customize sitelinks for mobile devices.
You can highlight specific aspects of your restaurant with structured snippet extensions. This information can provide even more details to restaurant searchers when choosing a place to dine at.
You can use structured snippets to help patrons find more information about your food and services. A few ways that you can use structured snippets in Google restaurant ads is to showcase amenities, types of foods, and upcoming shows.
Be sure to check out structured snippets to provide even more information to your audience today!