Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is a popular pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising strategy for many businesses around the globe. I’ve been asked countless times by new and current clients ‘are Google Ads worth it?’. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple yes or no answer.
Just like any marketing strategy, considering Google Ads for your business has to start with a why followed by a what. Why do you want to advertise on Google? And what do you want out of it? Then you need to look into how you’re going to measure results.
While Google Ads is the largest and most widely used online advertising platform for businesses, it’s not right for everyone. The key to ongoing success with Google Ads is to a bit of trial and error, some hearty split testing and careful management and reporting.
Even though I have managed Google Ads for over 5 years now, no two accounts are the same. Which makes sense, because no two businesses are the same either.
So today, I’m not going to give you a sales pitch as to why you should give Google Ads a go. But instead, I am going to provide you as a small business owner some food for thought as to whether Google Ads are worth the investment for your business.
Gosh, I know the feeling to want to do something just because everyone is talking about it. Social media is the perfect example. You need a Facebook page they say, you need an Instagram profile (read my Instagram tips) they say.
And then there’s the Google Ads offer for all new accounts: here’s $100 free of Google Advertising… However, before you go out and do it, take 5.
Yes, I am referring to doing a similar thing to a Take 5 Pre-Start Site Checklist. I want you to take 5 minutes (at least!) to think about the work you are undertaking and the hazards. No health and safety hazards here, but your money and/or time is at stake.
To fully understand what you’re getting yourself in for, you should understand how Google Ads work first and foremostly.
As a very brief overview (I encourage you to do further reading):
You can always distinguish an ad from an organic result by the little green Ad symbol or when you see ‘Sponsored’.
Google Ads consist of ads on the search result pages, display (image) ads on different websites which use Google Adsense, video ads on YouTube, Gmail ads in the ‘promotions’ tab in Gmail accounts and ads in mobile apps.
You pay every time someone clicks your ad, not every time it’s seen.
It is an auction which is not entirely reliant on how much someone is willing to pay – you also have to have a good website and a well-structured account
If you advertise with Google Ads, this willnot impact your SEO/organic search rankings.
You can target people in specific locations, on certain days at specific times, by demographics and more.
2. Don’t advertise if your website isn’t up to scratch
Even if you throw all the money in the world at Google Ads, this won’t make up for a website which doesn’t work properly. Running Google Ads is only half the work.
All ads lead to a ‘Final URL’ and this is typically a page on your website. If someone gets to your website and they can’t complete a purchase or form, or your ad bears no relevance to what you’re offering on your website, then you’ve likely lost a sale/lead.
Google is smart. It knows not to give an advertiser the top ad position just because they pay the most. Google will asses your ad relevance compared to the keywords you are targeting, it’ll analyse your landing page experience and more. All these elements help Google choose your ad position and ultimately how much you pay per click.
Simply put, if you have a great website and ads to match, you’ll have a higher ad position and pay less.
3. Research into keyword and management costs
Once you understand how Google Ads work and you know your website functions well, you then need to look realistically at costs.
You should consider:
Do you have someone within your business who is confident at managing the ads and reporting? Or do you need to factor a cost in to outsource this?
What sort of CPC (cost-per-click) will you expect to pay for your products/services (doing some keyword research is very important).
CPC can vary greatly from under $1 for some industries to upwards of $50 or even $100 per click for certain industries like law, insurance and finance which are all highly competitive.
It’s also worth researching into who is currently advertising for the areas you want to target. If you’re a small business and you’re going up against the likes of Ikea or Bunnings, you’ve got some tough competition to deal with.
Plus remember, unlike SEO, if you decide to turn off your Google Ads, there will be no continued benefits. Once the ads are turned off, they’re off. You can read more about SEO vs Google Ads here.
4. A well set up and continually optimised account is a must
The better you set up your Google Ads account from the get-go, the quicker you’ll see results and the less chance you’ll have of throwing away money. Your account should be structured so it’s highly relevant to your website and the results you want to achieve.
Google Ads (like your website and SEO) aren’t a set and forget strategy. Your Google Ads Specialist or manager should be checking on the campaigns weekly and optimising these based on performance. From making sure the ads aren’t showing for unrelevant searches to bid adjustments & strategies, ad copy, and more.
We have more and more control over when, where and who Google Ads show too. Therefore you should be keeping a close eye on your campaigns to maximise your return on how much you’re spending.
5. Accurate conversion tracking
Don’t sign up to Google Ads if you’re not going to set up proper conversion tracking! For anyone who is investing in Google Ads, SEO or their websites, you NEED conversion tracking.
You can’t answer the question of ‘are Google Ads worth it’? If you don’t have accurate conversion tracking in place.
When I say ‘conversion tracking’, I mean in your Google Analytics and/or Google Ads dashboard that you are tracking specific actions on your website. These could be tracking sales, contact form submissions, clicks on your phone number or email address, etc.
If you have accurate conversion tracking set up you can then work out the value of those conversion actions and ultimately work out if the money you are spending through Google Ads is worth it.
Pro tip: Do your website a favour and use Google Tag Manager to manage all your tracking and conversion tags. It’s a free tool from Google and you can easily set up Google Ads free website call tracking through it too!
So are Google Ads worth it? It depends!
If you’ve made it this far, then you’ll understand that you need to carefully consider whether Google Ads are worth it for your business. However, this post hopefully gives you a starting point. Do some further research, make sure your website and conversion tracking are up to scratch and then go from there.
If you are looking for some professional help, feel free to get in touch regarding my Google Ads set-up and management packages. I am a Google AdWords Specialist with over 5 years experience and have worked with businesses spending anywhere from $200-$30,000 per month.
Special footnote: Google Ad Grants for Nonprofit Organisations
If you are a Nonprofit organisation, please note you might be eligible to receive free Google advertising. For further information please check out my Cat Haven Google Ads Grant case study.
Casey is an absolute delight to work with. We've seen incredible results across our SEO and Google Ads, and would definitely recommend Grand Cru Digital. Casey really goes over and above for her clients. Thank you, Casey!
GLOW AND GIFTS
01:29 05 Oct 20
Casey is amazing!!1 month of working with her and I know it's going to be a successful partnership with her looking after our SEO. The communication is second to none and she always has answers for my (many) questions.The results from our first month working together have made me so excited to continue working with her, but also excited for the future SEO achievements I know the website will (now) make.Thank you so much Casey! You're a gem!
04:41 05 Aug 20
As a small family run online business, we have worked alongside Casey for many years and cannot speak highly enough of the service that she provides. This lady and her skill set are the reason we can sleep easier at night, knowing that our online presence is in the hands of someone so professional and personable, who gives 100% to what she does and has the results to show for it!
18:36 24 Jun 20
Awesoma and educational posts, nice personality <3
12:52 17 Jun 20
Although I have not yet used Casey's expert services, she is my go-to for knowledge, advice and SEO tips. She not only is amazing at what she does, she really knows how to run a good business.
05:12 08 May 20
Casey has been looking after my SME business SEO for more than 4 years, and I could not be happier with her efforts. She has been instrumental in growing our business, which she has come to know very well. She is on target with her suggestions, thoughts and ideas for us to continue to grow our online presence and we could not operate in the digital age without her expertise. Having Casey work 'side by side' with my business, allows me the time to get on with the business without the day to day time and worry of SEO. As far as I am concerned, Casey is an absolute star!
08:25 12 Feb 20
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23:34 02 Jan 20
Casey is AMAZING. She always goes above and beyond what is asked for, she is super friendly and efficient. She has helped me set up google ads/analytics for my business and actually helped make sense of it all (not an easy task).
04:09 23 Dec 19
Working with Casey from Grand Cru Digital has been fantastic in continuing to enhance my on-line presence. Casey is innovative, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and incredibly efficient !
04:12 06 Dec 19
I originally came into contact with Casey through her blog the Travelling Corkscrew. Casey has been a great supporter of our businesses and has over the last several month given me lots of complimentary snippets of information that have greatly helped us improve our business, web presence and social media content. Casey is also just a really, really nice person! Looking for useful & meaning information give her a follow! You won't regret it. Kind regards Karen Civello @MrMustangHire and @MsMu5tang
09:17 24 Nov 19
Casey is a lifesaver! She's helped me on a couple of occasions now where my SEO needed a little TLC - she's thorough, detailed and super smart, and she absolutely knows Google inside out. Plus she's also the nicest person you will ever work with! If you have a small business I would highly recommend Casey as your SEO and Google Ads manager!
Clare Wood Coach
04:03 18 Nov 19
Casey is absolutely fantastic! She is knowledgeable and very thorough in her approach and really goes above and beyond. And she does it in a really friendly manner! I highly recommend Grand Cru Digital
05:12 04 Nov 19
So very happy with Casey's services for SEO on our new webpage. Casey went above and beyond to deliver us with the right targets for our audience and worked seamlessly between our project manager and website teams. We highly recommend Grand Cru Digital for all your SEO needs.
05:00 18 Sep 19
Very happy with Grand Cru Digital, so refreshing dealing with someone like Casey who is constantly proactive and creative to benefit your on line presence.
01:51 08 Aug 19
Casey at Grand Cru Digital is amazing! Efficient, effective and also friendly. Everything is executed promptly, results are shown and explained, accurate timeframes are advised and all done in a professional and caring manner. Thank you.
10:48 05 Aug 19
Casey is awesome! She knows her stuff and is a dream to work with! Highly recommend her services!
04:23 18 Jun 19
I highly recommend working with Casey if you need assistance with SEO & Google Adword campaigns. She was great to work with and knows her stuff. We are already seeing terrific results with my businesses online presence and brand awareness and l look forward to seeing this grow. I have learnt alot about SEO & Analytics in my time working with Casey which will be hugely benefitial...Thank you Casey you are a star!
03:47 13 May 19
Oh my god this women is seriously amazing! Thank you Casey for being such a pleasure to work with. Casey knows exactly what she is doing and was very happy to explain to me as if she was explaining it to a 5 year old haha cause I was way out of my depth. I'm so glad I paid for a service that was able to take control, give me exactly what I wanted and take away the stress. The extra bonus is how lovely Casey is and always willing to go the extra mile. Thanks Casey x
10:50 22 Apr 19
Casey has been wonderful to work with. She held our hand every step of the way and gave us so much information to manage our Google listing. With her knowledge and support we have managed to increase our online presence in an new location that we have been targeting. We couldn't recommend Grand Cru Digital highly enough. Thanks Casey!
00:06 27 Oct 18
Casey was a dream to work with - really efficient, incredibly informative. Huge relief to deal with someone competent in this area. Highly recommend! Thanks Casey!
Budget Self Pack Containers Info
04:15 26 Oct 18
Casey at Grand Cru Digital is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in providing SEO and online marketing support. She is brilliant to work with - she responds quickly to all queries and always provides well thought out strategies and suggestions. We have seen a marked increase in traffic to our site since having Casey advising us and her services are excellent value for money. We would highly recommend her to anyone wanting to improve their online presence.
02:18 25 Oct 18
Grand Cru Digital is fantastic to work with. Casey is pro-active, results driven and always making valuable suggestions to improve leads and traffic to our business. An excellent company to work with.
Clarity Essential Wellness
07:08 29 Aug 18
I didn't even know SEO existed till I spoke with Casey. A friend passed her detail on to me. After talking for about a minute I knew this girl was onto it. Casey explained the ins and outs of what she does and why I needed it. Honestly I had no idea about half of what she was saying, haha, but trusted her instantly. And that was one of the best decisions I made. This girl has opened my eyes to the world of GOOGLE. Casey works so hard behind the scenes to make sure everything is spot on. I cant thank her enough. She has quickly become someone I respect wholeheartedly but more importantly a great friend. I cant wait to see what she has in store next
01:36 30 Jun 18
Casey is very generous with her knowledge, extremely helpful and her customer service is second to none! Highly recommend for small businesses who want a personalised approach.
06:23 04 Jun 18
I hit a big problem with the traffic on my website, and every SEO specialist I spoke with wanted to sell me a big support package, whilst I felt I had a fire I needed to put out first. Casey suggested an SEO audit, and uncovered so much useful information in such a short space of time, and got everything back on track. She knows her stuff and was brilliant to work with.
Cat Haven WA
06:15 31 May 18
Casey from Grand Cru is efficient and so helpful! She helped us optimize our website at Cat Haven and walked us through what everything meant and how to complete each stage, resulting in a highly optimized site. She was also able to help apply for our Google Adwords grant and apply the grant so we now have our site showing right at the top of Google search pages. Fantastic service, great result -so happy and highly recommend.
Renee Brown Brown
02:51 31 May 18
Casey is terrific at what she does, one quick audit, and we were ranking organically on first page ! No google ad spend (yet- we might do that later) we couldn’t be more pleased.We are ranking higher than some of the “big boys” in our market.Thanks Casey!
06:03 15 May 18
Casey from Grand Cru Digital is amazing! Her expert knowledge of SEO and GOOGLE is second to none! Casey helps you to grow your business online, whilst providing a personalised service you can trust! Thanks Casey for all your help! I have loved having you as my new online marketing specialist!