Google Adwords – Not Your Father’s PPC anymore

We had a client recently who decided to bring PPC in house. That’s not exactly what an agency wants to hear but yes, it does happen now and then. What struck me about the process was the frantic call we got on the last day looking for help in moving their Adwords account into Yahoo and Bing. “Good Lord”, I thought, “if only they knew what they were getting into.” This stuff isn’t as easy as it is portrayed!

Paid Search, in particular Adwords, is often acclaimed for its simplicity. “You can get a campaign up and running in about fifteen minutes” is the mantra.

I can recall the excitement I experienced when I launched my first Google Adwords campaign several years ago. From start to finish, it took me about forty five minutes to launch it. It was so exciting to see my ad running on the Internet. And it became even more exciting when at the end of the day I was able to see how many impressions and clicks I had received. “Wow, this is so cool”, thought I.

The next day brought the realization that no one had bought my product (it was a gardening e-book) and that I was out twenty five bucks in PPC cost.

That loss aside, the beauty of Adwords for me as a marketer was that I could launch targeted marketing campaigns in next to no time, with real-time feedback. It was easy back then, but not anymore!

Adwords was fairly straightforward in those days…but those days are gone now and instead we have an extremely powerful marketing channel whose apparent simplicity belies a complex set of sophisticated tools.

Take a look at what faces an Adwords marketer now when thinking of where to run ads:


· Google Search Partners

· Mobile devices: iphone, iPad, Android, Palm, not to mention which carrier to target (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.)

Not forgetting a smorgasbord of options to consider including:

· Ad extensions: product images, site listings, click-to-call

· Content network: using auto or managed placements, or designing campaigns around themes, not keywords as one might in a search campaign

And I haven’t even got to keyword research, bid management, analytics or even ad testing!

Over the years, Adwords has become increasingly sophisticated and marketers have to be more on top of their game than ever. Now don’t get me wrong. Google has done a great job in simplifying all of this, but at the end of the day when you look at all the options in just Adwords, you realize this is an incredibly powerful marketing channel (and that’s before getting into Yahoo or Bing!).

To succeed you need to be obsessive about training.Get trained and then keep training yourself or better still, hire an agency (I had to say that of course!).

Managing PPC requires a significant skill set – underestimate it at your peril!

Frank Coyle About the author
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