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Is Google Ads Worth It? 10 Pros, Cons, Profitability, and Pro Tips
Is Google Ads Worth It? Basic pros and cons
Before we get into the details, let’s look at some of the general pros and cons of Google Ads.
intention. Because you’re targeting keywords with Google Ads, you can get in front of people when they have the most buying intent. Not to mention the fact that 89% of the buyer journey begins with a search engine.
fast result. While SEO is essential for any business, it can take weeks or even months to gain traction on the SERPs. On the other hand, paid search ads are displayed instantly.
Contagion. Not only do search ads appear at the top of the SERP, but search engines are the top channel used by consumers when conducting online brand research… Are Google Ads worth it – Top channels used for online brand research
… and Google is by far the most widely used search engine among consumers. It takes 92% of the search engine market share. Ergo, advertising on Google is a great way to get in front of people searching for not only products and services, but brands—whether it’s yours or your competitors.
scalability. As with most forms of digital marketing, the Google Ads platform provides quantitative results so that you can read which ads, offers, keywords, and landing pages are performing best.
multiple formats. Although we typically associate search ads with Google Ads, there are many other formats to work with, and each advertising channel plays a different important role in your marketing strategy.
ROI. The nature of the Google Ads auction states that you pay the lowest possible price for a click on your ad. This is because your cost per click formula is the maximum bid for the ad that appears below you, plus a factor of a percentage.
And, of course, you’re only paying when someone clicks on your ad. PPC, on average, returns $2 for every $1 spent, and Google (so take it with a grain of salt) has gone as far as to say that Google Ads returns $8.
Low cost is not guaranteed. Building on that last point above. There is no need to pay the lowest price possible for a click on your ad. You are paying the lowest price compared to your competitors, and some keywords can be very expensive.
Also, it is no secret that Google Ads is one of the best marketing channels. The more people who use Google Ads, the more competitive and expensive it becomes.
maintenance. How much you pay for your campaigns depends on many factors—one of the main ones being how effective you are at optimizing your ads. Managing a Google Ads account properly includes structuring your account, doing your keyword research, and constantly monitoring and adjusting data collection. Are Google Ads Worth It? Google Ads Bid Adjustment
Automation does not mean hands-free. Yes, there may be a lot of machine learning going on from Google, but you still need to know how to work with automation and with the new information it provides. And for the most part, auto-implemented recommendations are, well, not recommended (by us).
learning curve. The evolution of the Google Ads platform is a bit of a contradiction—the more features and capabilities the platform brings out to the easier to use, the more difficult and more confusing it can be to use—or at least to learn.
So while there are many great Google Ads training courses out there, you can’t avoid the learning curve. Plus, so many useful features make you more vulnerable to mistakes in Google Ads.
Factors affecting the cost of Google Ads
You can get a more detailed analysis of these factors in our post on How Much Google Ads Cost, but here’s a quick rundown.
industry. Since consumers have different buying behaviors depending on the product or service, each industry has a different set of average click-through rates and conversion rates—resulting in a different cost per click and cost per lead profiles. Is. But also keep in mind that many industries that have higher costs also have a higher conversion value.
Customer Lifecycle. Similarly, the customer lifecycle also varies by industry. Some buyer visits are of a day, others of months or even years.
economic trends. Whether it’s inflation, a pandemic, a supply crunch, or anything else, these trends lead to a change in consumer behavior that affects your Google Ads results.
other channels. Other channels like SEO and social can improve your brand awareness and indirectly affect the effectiveness of your Google ads.
account management. As mentioned above, whether Google Ads is worth it to you will largely depend on how attentive you are to your account. Only those who conduct regular audits, keep their ads and landing pages relevant, stay on top of platform updates, and continually test and perform data-driven optimizations are successful.
You can get a free audit of your Google Ads to account with our free Google Ads performance grader. Try and watch!
Is Google Ads Worth Your Business? how to find out
As mentioned, the above is the basic, surface-level advantages and disadvantages of using Google Ads. Now we will go into a little more depth about these factors. And as mentioned above, we can’t provide a comprehensive answer for all businesses, but the ideas and tips below can help you determine if Google Ads is the right fit for your business. Worth it or not.
Idea #1: What do you want Google to do for you?
We need to start with the end in mind because there are many things that Google Ads can do and of course, there are things that it cannot.
What Google Ads can’t do:
Guarantee sales or leads.
- The sales or leads you get are guaranteed to be profitable.
- Steal your competitors’ customers.
- Place your ads on your competitors’ websites.
- Rank your site organically high.
The first three are the most common things I’ve heard that people want Google to do ads, and it can do those things, but it’s not guaranteed. The fourth depends on some external factors. Last, it can’t at all.
What Google Ads can do:
- Help you show people who are searching for your brand, products, or services.
- Help you show people who are searching for your competitors.
- Get in front of potential customers through audience and personality targeting.
- Promote your physical store to people near it.
So let’s say you’re in the camp that has realistic expectations and you want to use Google Ads to do something in one of these groups. Now let’s see if it’s worth trying these tips.
Idea #2: What is your profitability scenario?
No matter what your goals are with Google Ads, there are many profit scenarios you can face. Your given individual case is influenced by a variety of factors, some you can influence, some you may not.
Industry competition and things like cost per click, website conversion rate, etc. are examples of some of those factors. No problem, you’re likely to end up in one of the below situations. You can easily identify whether Google Ads is “worth it” based on the scenario you find yourself in:
What it means: In this scenario, you’re making money directly from Google, which is much more than you’re spending on the platform.
Tip: Don’t forget to count in any costs (whether internal, external, or your own time) to manage, but you’ll probably want to keep using Google if it’s making you money.
What it means: There might be some tracking issues or your attribution process is a little unclear, but you can tell that Google Ads is making money because if you turn it off… you stop making that much money give.
Is Google Ads Worth It? Probably yes, even if you can’t see it directly in the numbers on the platform.
Tip: Clear your tracking. It’s not always easy, but solving your conversion tracking hangup is essential not only to read about whether Google Ads is worth it to you but to perform performance-boosting and budget-saving optimizations. It is also necessary to get the data.
What it means: Here we are earning as much money as we are spending on the platform.
Is the added value helping your company move the product?
Are your margins high enough that sales are positive overall ROI, despite being equal to advertising costs?
Is it worth the extra work for fulfillment?
Do you usually have return customers? meaning. Could this first break-even sale be highly profitable given the user’s LTV?
Tip: Just make sure you are covering all affiliate costs and not selling yourself short as it is not profitable through the platform alone.
What it means: For these two groups, the answer lies more in your desired Google Ads result.
Do you just want to earn money? If you are not doing this, then Google Ads might not be worth it for you.
Do you want to make sure to show up for local searches only? Then depending on how unprofitable you are, it may still make sense for you to advertise on Google for brand awareness.
Are you trying to win over the competitors? These campaigns are almost always unprofitable (directly and sometimes even indirectly), so as long as you’re okay with losing money for this victory, Google Ads may still be a viable option for you.
Tip: Targeting competing keywords can be expensive. Check out Joe Martinez’s series on low-cost options here.
Just as I can’t answer whether Google Ads is a good fit for any company, I also can’t tell you what your profitability landscape will be. The only way to find out is to start over and see where you end.
Idea #3: What are your startup costs?
In addition to the financial, brand, and long-term effects of advertising on Google, it’s also important to count the initial costs associated with an account into your “worth it” calculation. No matter how much you bootstrap, there will be upstart costs. They may not be as blatantly obvious right off the bat.
Here are some common scenarios to consider and some pros/cons to figure out which one might be right for you.
If you DIY
If you plan to run your Google Ads account yourself, most of your start-up costs will be focused on the time and performance learning curve.
Google Ads is a complex platform and although Google tries to claim it is for the small business owner who can do it all, it can get out of hand very quickly if you don’t know what you are doing.
It doesn’t have to scare you so much as to give you a healthy sense of time and effort to make sure you’re not wasting your money.
Remember, all ads on Google cost money, so if your advertising skills aren’t up to par to make sure you’re driving quality traffic, you’re wasting your time and money.
If you hire an outsider
In this case, you won’t be using your time to learn and set up your campaigns, someone else will do it for you. Instead, you will have a high monetary cost to pay that person to create your campaigns and manage them for you.
There will still be a performance learning curve, but you’ll be in the hands of an expert (assuming you’ve tested them thoroughly) and you’ll be able to spend your time doing the things you’re best at.
Just make sure you check them out by asking all the right questions first.
If you hire someone internally
You also have the option to hire someone internally to run your campaigns. Depending on the size and needs of your business, this may be out of scope for some, but others may find it appealing. Especially if this new marketing hire can run Google Ads campaigns as well as meet other marketing needs.
My only caution here is to make sure you’re not overloading the person. Too many times I’ve seen a company hire someone with job responsibilities of only 2-5 people to do the “marketing”, essentially making it impossible for this person to be successful.
For this option, you will have the monetary cost of hiring someone plus their salary plus the benefits as well as the performance upstart phase.