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Search Engine Optimization

AdWords – A Waste of Money?

google-adwordsWe have a few clients that run Adwords campaigns. I’ve always pushed AdWords as an advertising vehicle since it can provide a quick fix to lousy traffic problems and sales leads. It’s the modern day replacement for the Yellow pages, with the potential to get businesses 3-5x more leads, for the same or less cost.

But I get wildly different feedback from people on its effectiveness. Some love it and say it works great, others are disappointed, calling AdWords a waste of time and money. Unfortunately 80% of new Adwords users fall into the money wasting category.

So, What’s going Wrong?

As an engineering person, my immediate thought was they way they used it. The people factor is nearly always why a product or service doesn’t seem to work out right. I saw this a lot in my digital printing days. Complex variable print jobs I could get our in 3-4 hours were taking some clients with the same tools 3-4 days who inevitably left everything in the ‘default’ settings. They needed to better understand the tools they had and how to modify the settings to work in different environments.

The real fix is to go out and get yourself Google Certified to run AdWords campaigns. However this is a costly exercise if you’re just running your own business. Even I don’t have the time for this, content to reading a few books and online blogs to work out what’s going wrong.

Outsource Maybe?

The other solution is to let others with the skills do your AdWords campaigns for you. This can make sense, especially if you’re already spending $1000+ per month and getting few returns. Again, I’ve had differing feedback from people that have tried this. Some love it, others say it’s a waste of time. The other problem with this is that these people have to make a living too. Does their cost more than offset the savings made or the extra leads obtained?

What I was after then was a quick independent toolset that could firstly tell me what was wrong and secondly, ideas on how to fix it. One system we stumbled upon recently was www.wordstream.com

qc_ws_logoWordstream isn’t particularly cheap if you’re a small/home business, with pricing ranging from US$299-$990 per month. It’s obviously aimed at the medium to large sector. However it did provide me a free tool that gave me a quick analysis of 8 parameters (below) from my AdWords campaign and what I should look at.

AdWords - sampleNo Magic Bullet Yet

But powerful tools like WordStream are no magic bullet. There’s not a ‘FIX ALL’ button and it’s done. It’s simply a powerful diagnostic, reporting and teaching tool that provide real-time data on what’s happening with your Adwords account, comparing it against thousands of other sites. Powerful stuff, but it still requires the user to study the results and then take some manual corrective actions, perhaps setting aside 30-60 minutes per week. Their tutorials and guides certainly help.

Those that appear to miss out in this is the small business owner perhaps budgeting $200-500 per month and getting very few sales leads. Here there are some good online tools, tutorials and books available that can likely make a big impact upon your results.  Email us for the listing.

Don’t Blame the Tools

It’s yet another lesson in not blaming the tools. sure, there are systems out there that don’t work well, with most of their claims coming out of the sales, not technical departments. But the major tools like AdWords really do work, in the hands of an expert or with someone who has taken the time to learn.