Google Adwords: Are they worth it?

Google Adwords: Are they worth it?

Small Business Marketing 1Are Google Adwords worth it? Sometimes.  How’s that for a definitive answer?

Adwords will likely drive traffic to your site.  There is little doubt that if the ad is written correctly, the budget is large enough, and the offer is compelling, some people will click on the ad.  But, based on recent numbers, 75%-80% of searchers online avoid ads, choosing to focus on organic search results instead.

This is an extremely important number to consider.  To put this in perspective, of all the available search queries, advertisers are competing only for 20% of the audience.  ALL advertisers in the category are competing for that 20%.


Too often, we see large SEO and Pay Per Click competitors pitching the total number of search queries to clients as the available visitors to their site.  Not true.  The vast majority of potential visitors will never click on an ad.  The impressions may be very large, particularly for popular search terms, but the percentage of online ads being clicked on is small.

It breaks our heart to see small businesses stretching themselves thin to purchase more and more advertising that provides very small returns on investment.  There is a misconception on Google Adwords strategies that needs to be examined to determine it’s place in the overall marketing strategy for a small business.

Common misconceptions promoted by large search companies:

  1. “More traffic is always good and leads to more sales.”  Absolutely not.  There are so many more factors than traffic that lead to actual customers.  Web design, conversion strategies, offers, buying cycles, and relevance of the traffic just to name a few.  Strategies used to convert traffic and place them into the sales funnel once they get to your site has more to do with higher ROI and than increasing traffic.
  2. “Buying lots of keywords will drive traffic to your site.”  Sure it will.  But who cares?  Let’s say you have a shoe store in Indianapolis, IN.  You sign a deal with your local big name search company to run ads that turns around and buys common keywords related to shoes.  Keywords include “shoes”, “Nike”, “red shoes”, “shoe stores”, you get the picture.  The problem?  You sell specialty women’s shoes for the nursing industry.  Oops.  “Look at all the really cool traffic we generated!”, the sales person says.  Problem?  None of it was relative to your business.  By the way, you still owe for the clicks.
  3. “We can get you to the top of Google results”.  Ummm…no.  They can get you to the top of PAID search results.  Sure, this will give you a leg up on the 20% of consumers that will click on an ad (as long as your ad is compelling and the search terms are relevant).  But, 80% of searchers will pass you by and click on real organic search results.
  4. “Clicks on ads and traffic to your site proves ROI”.  No it does not.  The worst marketer in the world can drive traffic to a site.  They can also get ads clicked on.  Neither measure success.  How do you measure success with your sales team?  Sales right?  Leads and closing rates, right?  Do you pay them extra because they talk to a bunch of irrelevant prospects?  Do you give them a bonus because they handed out more brochures than the other guy?  If you wouldn’t let your sales reps get away with it, why let your marketing company get away with it?
As an organization, Iconic Digital Agency uses Google AdWords.  It is a critical component of online marketing strategy.  Notice, “it is a component”.  It cannot be the entire online strategy.  Most times, it cannot even be 50% of your online strategy.  Too many other factors are involved.  Organic search results will take longer to produce, will take more effort, and may or may not cost more.  But investing in a chance to capture part of the 80% of searches rather than competing for the 20%, we argue, is a much more sound investment.Google Adwords can be extremely effective if proper care is taken to develop a strategy, target correct audiences, and develop a budget that provides a proper ROI.  Most importantly, you need to drive business to a site that is properly equipped to convert traffic.  Traffic does not mean business.  Traffic is just traffic.Our advice: focus 80% of your online effort on organic search results (including content creation, inbound marketing, and web site redesign).
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Jason Hutcheson

A hard working, scrappy entrepreneur with a passion for helping others succeed by mixing sales technique, creative design, and digital marketing into a potent cocktail of awesome sauce.

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