Every week I pick up the phone to talk to potential clients about marketing elements like web design, branding, SEO and digital marketing. I enjoy every minute of it — talking about marketing strategy and answering their questions. But, one of my favourite questions to answer is when a business owner asks me “what is Google AdWords?” or “Pay-Per-Click (PPC), what is that, really?” I’m not going to give the Wikipedia definition of Google AdWords or PPC here, because all it tells you is “you pay Google (or Facebook) some money and they show your ads to people.” Thanks, Wikipedia, that’s really insightful.
I’m not going to explain what PPC is because you can learn about that anywhere — but I am going to help you understand how it works. Here are a couple of analogies that’ll help you learn what a Google AdWords campaign is like, and what you can expect from running an AdWords campaign.
An AdWords Campaign Is A Lot Like Fishing
Managing a PPC campaign can be a lot like fishing. It’s really easy to set up an AdWords campaign. But at the same time, it’s also really easy to stick a rod in a pond and hope that a fish comes swimming by. An experienced fisherman knows what to bring to a fishing trip — what kind of fish to expect, what the best lures are, how to hold your rod, where to fish. But even if you have all the best rods and lures… ultimately, you’re fishing. You can’t guarantee that a fish will bite within minutes, or even an hour. Similarly, that’s why an optimized AdWords campaign will take time to collect clicks, depending on your industry.
When optimizing an AdWords campaign, you can’t expect to see results from your changes immediately. You’ll have to wait 2-3 weeks in order to see sizeable differences in minute tests.
If fish aren’t biting — it’s not that you’re doing something wrong, the fish just aren’t biting. Maybe it’s the lure. Or the area of the pond you’re fishing in. You have to be observant — but not impatient — in order to optimize your fishing game. With practice you’ll come to understand, instinctively, what works and what doesn’t work, even before taking on a fishing trip to a new pond.
Managing an AdWords account requires constant vigilance (I check my accounts every day, if not every other day) but also the restraint to hold off on tests until you have more conclusive evidence. You don’t want to be making too many changes at once — you have to be patient in order to see the deliberate results from your tests.
AdWords Is Like Picking Fruit From A Tree
When I was young, I used to pick berries from trees (I asked for permission and I knew they were safe — I’m not crazy, ok?) After a small handful, I’d see a few more berries just out of my grasp. I bet I could reach them if I jumped high enough. But instead, I decided to just eat what I had and go play soccer, instead. You know what? AdWords is like picking fruit from a tree. If you tell me you have a couple hundred dollars and you want to maximize your clients, I’ll make sure that you get the sweetest tasting fruit with the greatest bang for your buck.
When it comes to AdWords, there’s a case of low-hanging fruit.
You can get clicks for cheap, but that’ll limit the total amount of clicks you can produce overall. If you want more clicks then you’ll have to be willing to spend more — or in this case, put more effort in to get the berries just out of reach.
Fun fact: I always ask a potential client “what is your budget for this marketing project?” because I want to know if they’re aiming for a national campaign or a city-wide campaign.
Another way to look at it, is that managing an AdWords campaign you’re also in charge of the quality of the fruit you gather. Sure, you can get a lot of fruit, but it’s all useless if they’re rotten. For the same reason, don’t ever run an AdWords campaign if you’re not sure about the actual sales return. Optimize your AdWords campaign to fit your business goals and budget. Weed out the poor traffic. Pick the fruit that’s within your grasp. Make sure the fruit is good. Just some thoughts from one grocery shopper to another.
AdWords Is Skipping The Line To A Talent Audition
Your favourite band is in town, and their talent scout is looking for a fifth member. You’ve been practicing on the guitar for the past five years and you’re ready to show ’em what you’ve got. Except, on the night of the audition you see a couple hundred other rabid fans lining up to perform. UGH. It doesn’t help that you see the talent manager’s best friend skip the line and get to perform before you, even though you lined up first. And – wow – they just hired him on the spot. Wait, what? You don’t even have the chance to perform?
Well, life is like that sometimes. And AdWords is like that, too. There are only so many people searching for your product or service, and there are so many competing businesses looking to attract those potential customers. You know that if those customers just gave you the chance, you’d be the perfect fit for them. But, alas, the chance may never come. With AdWords and other PPC platforms, you pay to ensure that potential customers see your business. They’ll give you that chance. Whether or not they’ll choose you in the end, it’s up to them, but at least you go the opportunity to show them your best, right?
AdWords is Traffic
When it all comes down to it, Google AdWords, Facebook PPC, even LinkedIn advertising are all ways for you to get traffic to your website or footfalls to your store. That’s where I come in as a PPC manager, to ensure that you get the most out of your marketing dollars. That’s my thing. I generate visitors to your site. Some people like to suggest that marketing is made of fluff ¯ I strongly disagree. Marketing, especially in my field of digital marketing, is more of a Science. Everything is based on hard numbers, on traffic, on sales. You are a doctor, come to heal business pains. You are a scientist, come to hold tests and analyze results You are the Judge. You are the Jury. You are also the Executioner (of awesome campaigns).
…that’s kind of how I imagine my job. I do what it takes to get the right people to your site. The other members here at Cucumber Marketing — their role is to make sure your website and marketing materials turn visitors into customers. Whether Cucumber Julie is working on website UX design, or Cucumber Suhani on compelling content, we all work together to make sure your business grows.
And there we go — AdWords in a nutshell. What did you think? Do I make any sense — or am I just speaking baloney?
You can give me a call at (604) 559-7509 and tell me what you think — I’m always happy to talk marketing. Or you could just visit me at our marketing agency — we always have chocolate.