Are Google AdWords Effective?

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    http://www.flyteblog.com/flyte/2005/04/are_google_adwo.html
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Terry Matlen of ADD Consults commented on a recent post about click fraud at Google and Yahoo.

She wanted to know what I thought about AdWords and said she was having trouble determining the traffic she’s getting from it.

Here’s my response:

Terry,

I haven’t used AdWords much myself. On paper they’re great. You know exactly what you’re going to pay, you can get on page one of Google the day your site launches, you don’t need to worry about optimizing your site, (especially helpful if it’s Flash intensive,) you can drive really targeted traffic to your site, the list goes on….However, click fraud may undermine the trust that marketers have in these pay-per-click campaigns.

Also, I was just reading that the majority of searchers (70% I want to say) don’t click on sponsored ads at all. It’s important in the long run to have a strategy to appear in the organic listings as well.

I’m surprised you can’t determine how much traffic is coming from your AdWords campaign, however.

Google should be providing you with specific details on how often your ad shows, how often it’s clicked on, how much traffic they’re sending your way, and what you’re paying per click. Your own traffic reports should be telling you a similar story.

As a piece of advice, you may want to point your ads to a special landing page (NOT your home page) containing a special offer where visitors must signup to be entered. Sending a searcher to your home page may defeat or at least dilute the benefit of your AdWords campaign.

If you’d like to talk to someone about setting up and/or managing an AdWords Campaign, a lot of SEO’s specialize it in right now. I’ve had success with a friend and fellow entrepreneur: Elizabeth Harvey of Harvey Marketing Group.

Rich Brooks
Organic Searcher

  • http://livingwithadd.blogs.com Tara

    I have been playing around with google adwords for a few months. I ended up spending more money than I wanted to trying to figure out which key words to use and how much money to spend.Personally I don't think it's worth the time and/or money.

    I have had much better results investing $30 every few months and sending out a good press release through prweb.com. Depending on who picks up your release you can get some good back links.

  • http://livingwithadd.blogs.com Tara

    I have been playing around with google adwords for a few months. I ended up spending more money than I wanted to trying to figure out which key words to use and how much money to spend.Personally I don't think it's worth the time and/or money.

    I have had much better results investing $30 every few months and sending out a good press release through prweb.com. Depending on who picks up your release you can get some good back links.

  • http://www.timflight.com/ Tim Flight

    I'm curious how it is you ended up spending more money than you wanted to as Google allows you to set a daily budget. Once the amount you set has been reached your ad doesn't display anymore and you are not charged anymore until the next day. So you should only spend the daily amount you authorized.

    I run an adwords campaign for one of my websites. I started out with a $5 daily budget until I got comfortable with the system. Then I increased the daily budget to $20 until I figured out from the reports which keywords and phrases netted me the most sales. Now I have my daily limit set at $150. The volume of sales are worth every penny spent on advertising.

    The product in this case is one of top 50 most competitive products on search engines according to many reports. Thus getting a page to rank well in the "normal" results is very difficult. So I rely on AdWords to fill in that gap.

    Also, in the case of many of the keywords I purchase there are so many sponsored results that the first two sponsored results are shown on the top left of Google's search result page as opposed to the top right where they appear most of the time. In this case many people do not realize the difference between the top left sponsored results and the "regular" results since they are both on the top left.

    I can see many industries and product types where AdWords probably wouldn't work well. However in this case the company simply would not be in business were it not for AdWords. My $0.02.

  • http://www.timflight.com/ Tim Flight

    I'm curious how it is you ended up spending more money than you wanted to as Google allows you to set a daily budget. Once the amount you set has been reached your ad doesn't display anymore and you are not charged anymore until the next day. So you should only spend the daily amount you authorized.

    I run an adwords campaign for one of my websites. I started out with a $5 daily budget until I got comfortable with the system. Then I increased the daily budget to $20 until I figured out from the reports which keywords and phrases netted me the most sales. Now I have my daily limit set at $150. The volume of sales are worth every penny spent on advertising.

    The product in this case is one of top 50 most competitive products on search engines according to many reports. Thus getting a page to rank well in the "normal" results is very difficult. So I rely on AdWords to fill in that gap.

    Also, in the case of many of the keywords I purchase there are so many sponsored results that the first two sponsored results are shown on the top left of Google's search result page as opposed to the top right where they appear most of the time. In this case many people do not realize the difference between the top left sponsored results and the "regular" results since they are both on the top left.

    I can see many industries and product types where AdWords probably wouldn't work well. However in this case the company simply would not be in business were it not for AdWords. My $0.02.

  • http://www.addconsults.com Terry Matlen

    Rich,

    Thanks for your interesting and helpful comments. What I meant to say was, how does one judge whether AdWords actually brings in more *business*. I see an increase in traffic- yes, Googld does give all kinds of info- but I can't tell that it's helped bring in revenue.

    You do bring up some excellent points in that the landing page should not be the homepage- something I'll need to change if I continue to run the ads. I do see from my stats that lots of traffic does come in from this but again, how to know if traffic from that = revenue.

    Terry

  • http://www.addconsults.com Terry Matlen

    Rich,

    Thanks for your interesting and helpful comments. What I meant to say was, how does one judge whether AdWords actually brings in more *business*. I see an increase in traffic- yes, Googld does give all kinds of info- but I can't tell that it's helped bring in revenue.

    You do bring up some excellent points in that the landing page should not be the homepage- something I'll need to change if I continue to run the ads. I do see from my stats that lots of traffic does come in from this but again, how to know if traffic from that = revenue.

    Terry

  • http://www.timflight.com/ Tim Flight

    After logging into your AdWords campaign you should see a 'Conversion Tracking' link on the 'Campaign Management' tab. If you have something like an Order Confirmation page on your website you can place the conversion tracking code on that page.

    The conversion tracking code will then report back to Google if a particular sale was attributed to someone who came from an AdWords advertisement or not. Then you can easily track if Google AdWords traffic = increased revenue. You can even run reports that show the average cost of ads per actual sale attributed to Adwords ads… "Cost Per Conversion".

    Cost Per Conversion becomes the holy grail report of AdWords. You can start "test" keywords and keyphrases in their own campaign with a low daily budget. Run the "test" campaign for a week or two and look at what the Cost Per Conversion is for each keyword. Then make decisions on which keywords to keep and which to drop before moving those keywords into another campaign with a higher daily budget.

    Tim Flight

  • http://www.timflight.com/ Tim Flight

    After logging into your AdWords campaign you should see a 'Conversion Tracking' link on the 'Campaign Management' tab. If you have something like an Order Confirmation page on your website you can place the conversion tracking code on that page.

    The conversion tracking code will then report back to Google if a particular sale was attributed to someone who came from an AdWords advertisement or not. Then you can easily track if Google AdWords traffic = increased revenue. You can even run reports that show the average cost of ads per actual sale attributed to Adwords ads… "Cost Per Conversion".

    Cost Per Conversion becomes the holy grail report of AdWords. You can start "test" keywords and keyphrases in their own campaign with a low daily budget. Run the "test" campaign for a week or two and look at what the Cost Per Conversion is for each keyword. Then make decisions on which keywords to keep and which to drop before moving those keywords into another campaign with a higher daily budget.

    Tim Flight

  • http://www.spilerconsulting.com/ adwords and e-commerce

    before setting up an adwords campaign your should setup a way to analyze your traffic and find the "organic" keywords that are already associated to your site. You can do this using webalizer, webstats or any other web analysis/traffic tools that your hosting provider gives you, if you do not have any you can setup google analytics at your website, also at the google analytics website you have an option to track your adwords campaign, there are so many parameters that is a little extensive to explain in a post =)

  • http://www.spilerconsulting.com/ adwords and e-commerce

    before setting up an adwords campaign your should setup a way to analyze your traffic and find the "organic" keywords that are already associated to your site. You can do this using webalizer, webstats or any other web analysis/traffic tools that your hosting provider gives you, if you do not have any you can setup google analytics at your website, also at the google analytics website you have an option to track your adwords campaign, there are so many parameters that is a little extensive to explain in a post =)

  • KennSaa

    As a piece of advice, you may want to point your ads to a special landing page (NOT your home page) containing a special offer where visitors must signup to be entered. Sending a searcher to your home page may defeat or at least dilute the benefit of your AdWords campaign.

    Why is that?

  • http://ryanha.tumblr.com/ Ryan Ha

    Leading the visitor to the homepage may give too much information and lose the interest of the visitor. To have the ad lead directly to a special offer or product focuses ad ad once more, increasing the chances of a potential new customer. :)

  • Googlepro

    piece of junk

  • Everett

    It also allows you to monitor your success with your own website’s software, instead of Google AdWords (without having to pay for Google Analytics.) If you create a page specifically for your AdWords campaign, you know that 100% of the traffic there is as a result of your AdWords. If you direct them to a page that is getting traffic already, you won’t easily be able to tell where clickthroughs, time spent on site, etc are coming from.