Five Misconceptions about Google AdWords

64901638 – paid search

Millions of advertisers are successfully using Google AdWords to generate profitable business.  This includes businesses that are also organically ranking in the top positions.   Paid search often makes good business sense.  Despite the many successes, there are companies that are hesitant to embark on paid search with Google AdWords.  Many times this hesitation or reluctance is based on misconceptions.  Here are a few of the concerns I here from potential clients who seem highly reluctant.

No one clicks on the ads

I hear many clients say “I never click on those ads” and then come to the conclusion that nobody will click on them.

Believe it or not, more people who have an intention to purchase are clicking on paid ads than the free organic listings. Source.

Take a look at an AdWords search ad compared to an organic listing for the same company below.

The top ad is a paid search ad.  Which ad is more eye-catching, which ad delivers more information?   In terms of content, a Google AdWords ad allows 3 times more space than an organic search listing.  AdWords allows one to precisely craft a compelling message.  Further if you look at a page of search listings, many times you won’t see the organic listings until half way down the page.   The truth is that Google AdWords ads take up the prime space in search listings and are getting the prime traffic.

Search engines make their money on paid ads, it is in their best interest to make sure that ads are seen and clicked on.  I can assure you that businesses that do paid search are getting lots of traffic.

We did it before and did not get good results

I have heard this many times.  The big question is “what specifically did you try?”   More often than not when I review past efforts I see a slew of issues that would cause poor results.  Here are just a few:

Grossly under budgeted campaigns:  If all you are only willing to spend is $50.00 per month, then you won’t get results.  The highly successful campaigns that I run are adequately budgeted so that the ads stay up most of the time and there is enough traffic to get meaningful results.

Using all broad match terms:  I see many new self-serve newcomers bid with all search terms on broad match while not employing any negative search terms.   The result is that 75% of the traffic coming to the site is not interested in buying your services.   The best campaigns are precisely targeting their market.  You can’t do this with only broad match.  Google makes it very easy to start up a paid ad campaign, but crafting the campaign to get good results is much more difficult.

Not measuring conversions:  A conversion is an event that supports your business goals.  That could be a sales lead, downloading a white paper, signing up for a news letter etc.  Not measuring key performance metrics and failing to optimize a campaign to those metrics will result in disappointment and wasted money.

There are dozens of other common mistakes that can result in poor PPC performance, but my main point is that there are lots of ways to set up Google AdWords so it runs poorly   , but a very select few ways of setting up an optimized campaign.  If you previously had bad results, it might be because of how the campaign was set up.

PPC won’t work for getting the big clients

Getting the right searchers to click on your ad, and only the right searches is tricky at best.   While one can hone in on the desired target by crafting specific ad content and bidding on the right keywords, one will always get a bunch of “small leads”.    Many of my clients will state that many of their leads are barely worth the time to deal with.  But all of my clients will admit that they will get several leads a year that more than justify the marketing budget.

Marketers who are diligent and patient will normally get rewarded with those big leads.

Click-fraud is rampant

Click fraud is essentially paid traffic coming to your site where there is really zero intension to engage with the website.  The two biggest categories of click fraud are:

  1. Advertisers who click on display ads to boost their own revenue
  2. Competitors who click on ads to drive up your costs

While click fraud is in general a big issue for paid internet advertising, Google has done a good job of developing ways to detect and remove fraudulent clicks.  I believe that a Google AdWords campaign that is properly set up and managed will have extremely low click fraud.   Setting up conversions, bringing in Google analytics so that you can view engagement metrics will help determine where you are getting the best traffic.


Paid ads will result in spam

If you are doing paid search in the US, you will probably not get much spam or sales pitches coming directly from clicking on a paid ad.  However there are lots of ways to find out if a company is doing paid search and these companies will undoubtedly get contacted by SEO specialists saying that there services will eliminate the need to spend money on paid ads.  I have done quite a bit of analysis on these types of solicitations and they seldom come to the site via a paid ad.  So you are probably not paying for these contacts.


Getting unwanted emails or sales calls is one consequence of being more visible on the internet.  This includes organically ranking, social media exposure and yes, PPC.    I would contend that the marketing opportunities presented by higher internet exposure more than compensates for the annoyance or inconvenience of unwanted emails or phone calls.



Doing Google AdWords is an investment from which you should expect a good return.  One of the key elements of a well thought out and managed campaign is having a good understanding of your return.   It is usually pretty straight forward to estimate what type of revenue your PPC campaign is generating.  .  I would never advocate doing paid search ads if you couldn’t justify the cost.  Paid search may not be right for everyone, but by not trying it, you could be missing out on some opportunities to grow your business.