Google AdWords are awesome and more than a little confusing!

Readers of my previous posts will know that I’m a big proponent of Google AdWords for small business (check the Google AdWords category of my blog directory). I’ve stated many times it works really well when you have an easily defined product or service you want to promote. While Google has gone out of its way to attract new clients to the program there are definitely stumbling blocks that many small businesses struggle with when implementing their campaigns.Google AdWords

I recently wrote an explanation for a potential client and they found it particularly useful so I’m reworking that explanation here in the form of a checklist:

What exactly is Google AdWords?

AdWords is the program that allows individual businesses to have their ads appear on the Google SERP (search engine results page). These are the little ads that appear at the top, bottom and side of the SERP. Its also the biggest source of income into Google’s coffers – 2015 revenue was $74.54 billion of which $67.39 billion came from advertising. AdWords relies on individual users creating ads, associating the ads to keywords, setting a geographical area and then setting a budget. The budgets are set daily (for example $20/day) but are charged on a monthly basis or when you reach $500, whichever comes first. ($20/day would be equal to $600/month – if you reached $600 in a particular month you wouldn’t actually see a charge for $600, it would charge your credit card at $500.)

How much will I pay for my Google AdWords ad?

The AdWords program offers a couple of tools that give you an estimate of how much you’ll pay and how many clicks you’ll get. These really are “estimates” and often bear no relationship to what you actually pay or how many times your ad will appear. I tell my clients that the best way forward is to just get started with a budget and a geographical area and see what happens – you’ll get a sense very quickly of how much each click will cost. AdWords uses a mix of 20+ factors to determine exactly what you’ll pay and where you’ll appear. These factors include:

  • The wording in the ads
  • The keywords you’ve selected
  • Your budget and the budget of your competitors
  • The “quality score” of your website where you’re directing the ads – the more relevant the website, the lower the cost.

This is starting to get confusing! How do I know I’m getting the best results for my AdWords money?

There’s a whole bunch of data provided by AdWords to help you, the user, determine whether an ad or keyword is performing well for you. Getting to that data and understanding it is NOT easy so many advertisers use a one-time approach to AdWords – create their ads, set a budget and then forget it! This is typically a BAD IDEA! The algorithm that Google uses to determine click prices and position are changing all the time (every day, every hour, every minute!) so setting and forgetting is almost certainly costing you money in the long run. DSM offers a managed AdWords program that a) makes sense of the data coming from Google and b) keeps up with the algorithm and other trends to better manage your campaigns. This managed program keeps an eye on a number of factors on your behalf, including:

  • How individual ads compare against each other; for example if one ad is clearly doing better than another you can shift budget to the good one.
  • Which keywords are getting the best results – again you can shift budget to the better ones
  • Whether certain times of day work better for you
  • Whether you are getting a lot of traffic from mobile
  • Are there seasonal trends?

Based on the answers to these and many other questions we can make tweaks to the AdWords account on a weekly basis.

Couldn’t I make those adjustments to my AdWords account myself?

Absolutely! The question becomes whether its really worth your time to make those adjustments. The amount of data generated by AdWords is astounding and takes either a lot of time or a powerful software program to crunch through it all. Typically paying a qualified person to manage your account for you while in the long run be cheaper and get you to where you want to get faster – making your money work better for you, working towards getting you get more clicks for the same or less money!


In our next blog post we’ll list the most common Google AdWords mistakes that small businesses make and how to remedy them. In the meantime if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call us at 973-234-5623.



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