We love Google. Seriously. Where would we be in both our personal and professional lives without it? Because Google is such a powerhouse, you would think that we would be big supporters of a service like AdWords.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, here’s a brief reminder on what exactly Google AdWords is.
In a nutshell, AdWords is Google’s paid advertising product. Have you ever seen those ads that appear at the top or side of your screen? Those are AdWords ads that a company paid for so that people will notice their business whenever they’re searching Google. And, they only have to pay whenever someone clicks on the ad. This is known as cost-per-click advertising (CPC).
In theory, this sounds like a great opportunity to expand your business. After all, people are on Google all the time and when they catch your ad, they will head to your site and you will gain more customers. Besides claiming about 80% of internet users, AdWords is also easy to launch and you can set a budget. Also, ads are placed at the right place during the right time.
Note: I am a huge Adwords fan and manage millions of dollars in Adwords spend a month for some very large companies. I love it. But despite how much I love Adwords, it’s not for everyone. Here are the top 5 reasons why your business shouldn’t be using AdWords.
1. You Pay For Clicks
Of course you know that with Google AdWords you’re paying for clicks. This wasn’t a problem a long time ago when rates were more reasonable, you know, pennies instead of dollars. The problem nowadays is that a startup or new business is dropping $5 or more per click to get people to visit their site. Sure. That may increase visitors because you’re appearing at the top of the Google search page, but it’s not guaranteeing customers. Some clicks can be as high as around the $60 range per clicks.
What that boils down is that whenever someone clicks on your ad, you still have to pay Google, regardless if a sale was made or not. And, that becomes an issue whenever you have visitors who are just browsing the web with no intention in ever investing in your product or service.
In other words, AdWords potentially isn’t worth the investment because the bids that you are paying for are lower than the revenue that you’re receiving from each visitor. So, you may want to explore other options that aren’t as expensive, such as advertising with Bing Ads or other lower costing solutions.
2. Hard to Compete With Big Companies
Because AdWords is a bit on the expensive side, most small businesses and startups are unable to compete with larger companies. In fact, Robert Kenney even wrote an article called “Google AdWords – Destroyer of Small Business.”But, what are the reasons that made Kenney have such strong feeling against AdWords?
Kenney argues that in the beginning AdWords was effective for small businesses. Anyone could could launch a campaign and drive in high-quality traffic at a fair price. However, as we previously mentioned, AdWords got pricey. Which means, for a budding company, there’s no way that they can compete with established and well-known brands.
Because larger companies have a consistent cash flow, they can afford to drop well over $300,000 per month on an AdWords campaign. They have the resources and time to do that. This means by the time an up and coming business launches, all of their relevant keywords have been taken, which in turn, raises the price.
Kenney uses the example of working with a skincare startup. He states that everything was good, such as the product and brand message, but major companies like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder already locked down terms like “moisturizer,” meaning that this startup would have to spend $5 or $7 per click for that term. That’s just too much for a startup to spend when competing with a bigger company.
3. Limited Number of Characters
One gripe that you’ll hear about AdWords is that there is a limit on the number of characters that you’re allowed; 25 in the headline, 35 each in the two lines of text and 35 in the display URL. While this isn’t exactly the end of the world, this restriction can make using AdWords a bit tricky.
On top of all the other tasks you have to do, you now have to brainstorm and come up with an attention-grabbing headline, keywords, the benefits of your product and some sort of call-to-action. That can be challenging to accomplish with a set amount of characters. When I’m coming up with headlines, especially if I’m doing dynamic keywords insertion it becomes very hard to fit everything in there. This can be a large problem for companies with longer names or keywords that are 25+ characters in just the name…think of the medical industry? You may not even have enough characters for 1 word.
In short, you have to choose your words very carefully if you want to get the most out of AdWords.
4. Mistakes Can Cost You Dearly
We’re all human and it’s easy to make a mistake here and there. For example, there has probably been a time in your life where you failed to turn off the stove? Adwords is much like the stove. You’re paying for gas no matter if you remembered to turn it off or not. I’ve forgotten to turn off ads for a client and cost myself thousands. I’ve seen clients wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on ad spend because they forgot to turn ads off.
Another problem. Let’s say that you made a spelling error in a keyword or neglected your landing page because you’ve been doing this whole AdWords campaign, Google is going to penalize you. While we understand that Google only wants to feature high quality websites, mistakes happen. And, you don’t want to lose your presence on Google because of a simple oversight.
I see people take down landing pages while directing clicks to these pages. Google catches this, but sometimes you can spend thousands before this happens.
And, that’s not even getting into making a mistake during the implementation of the AdWords Conversion Tracking, like confusing it with Analytics. What this means is that you won’t be able to get real-time information, which could cost in gaining those so-important conversions.
5. It Doesn’t Fit Your Niche
Just because you’re working with the largest search engine in the world doesn’t mean that your audience is going to find you. Why? Because AdWords can be broad because it’s focused on the most relevant choice on the page. So, let’s say that you’re a landscaper that does everything from mowing, cleaning up a yard in the spring, planting trees and snow removal. How can you let people know all that information? They may search for “lawn care service” and get results that don’t reflect all of the services that you offer.
Of course, you could use Broad Match Modifier, but Google probably doesn’t want you to know because you’d be giving them less money.
For some markets, AdWords just doesn’t fit. It’s better to find an alternative that actually gels with your niche. For example, if you’re audience speaks Spanish you might want to try Intextual because that’s the market that they aim for. If you were in the software industry, then AdLandmark could be a better option than AdWords.
Before investing in an AdWords campaign, do some research on your audience and how to effectively reach them. It could turn out that they aren’t going to be effectively reached on Google.
Have you embarked on an AdWords campaign? If so, did it deliver results? Or, was it just a wasted of time and money?