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Is there still life in Google Adwords
26th January, 2012

Google missing an earnings expectation this week (www.wsj.com) and from my prospective Google Adwords is becoming a lot more complicated.  I have Chris however to help out and in our weekly reviews of all the accounts we run I am often astounded by the amount of work we have to do to keep to budget and stay on top of things.

The Very Very Old Days
Google Adwords built it’s strength on the idea that the more you pay the higher up the listing you went.  A simple auction system… who ever pays the most gets to the top… easy.

The Very Old Days
But – said many advertisers – I don’t want to pay at the weekend, or after 8pm or for France/another country, so Google gradually introduced more functionality to allow people to set their own criteria… That was awesome – because now you could advertise only between the hours of 9am and 2pm, Monday, Tuesdays and Fridays and only in the UK, and later London and later still SW19.

That power for the Advertiser was truly magnificent.

The Old Days
Google however weren’t quite so happy – rather I might say Google ‘big-spenders’ weren’t quite so happy… Now real spenders like eBay, Amazon and Walmart had to compete with every Tom Dick and Harry pays much higher prices depending on when and where there were advertising.

Googles response was to introduce a Quality Score system – this effectively and very largely handed a lot of control back to Google.  Quality Score takes into account, who you are, how much you spend, the quality of your keywords, brand and adverts and defines the cost you’ll pay based on this.

You can see that if Google decide they like eBay or Amazon (because they spend a lot) then there Adverts would take precedence over yours.

These days Google Adwords is a complex and gigantic beast of a machine… many people would feel daunted to start using it and Google have a scaled down version for beginners, the result is beginners often pay more faster and with less result.

Meanwhile big organisations have Google employees to help them out, doing a lot of the day to day work… but they also have to employee dedicated people or commonly specialist agencies to do the actual work.  Imagine your Marks and Spencers doing your Christmas Specials – Google Adwords becomes a huge undertaking very quickly.

And that leaves us middle men – we know that to get the best from Google Adwords, we know you need to run a lean and efficient account, we also know how to do it (at least I assume Chris am not alone in this respect).  But we know there is much work to be done.

The question is who does Google think is doing the work and how does Google think they are going to be paid.  So I leave you with the following thoughts:

  1. For your website – you could do it yourself – but that would be daunting, complicated and take too much time potentially without result
  2. If you have the money and are big enough you could employ a proper agency to do it… but the starting budget for this is probably £5,000 per month…
  3. You could use your website designer – but is it worth it for the work they have to do (and be paid for)
If there is anything to learnt from this analysis it’s this… What does Google think it’s doing?  I’m going to be watching Google Adwords carefully over the next few months, this isn’t the last you’ll have heard from me.