Google Adwords or Pay Per click (ppc) advertising is a highly effective method of advertising and many businesses have used this method with great success to grow their business. In my experience of working with SMEs, a lot of businesses have found that they get little or no return from Google Adwords and there can be many reasons for this. This article will focus on why businesses should use PPC advertising and it will outline the reasons why many businesses do not see a return it.

Why Use Google Adwords?


Businesses use Google Adwords advertising for a number of reasons:

  • Google Adwords is called Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising because you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement.  You can advertise on Google search engine results page (SERPS), which is text based, or Google Display Network (GDN). GDN is Google’s network of third party websites where you can display text ads or image ads.
  • You can set your own daily budget and you can track website visitors, their activity on your website and any other predetermined conversion on your website. A conversion is when a visitor completes an action on your website that is of value to your business: it could be buying a product, completing a form or even visiting a certain page on your website.
  • It is intent based advertising: You can target people who are searching on Google for the products you sell or the services you provide. This gives you the ability to target the right customers at the right time with the right message.
  • You can quickly generate high quality targeted traffic to your website.
  • PPC data can provide a lot of very insightful information about your customers, for example, it allows you to see what search query brought each visitor to your website. You can then enhance your SEO efforts to organically bring traffic to your website.

Reasons Why PPC Advertising Isn’t Working For You


There can be many reasons why PPC advertising does not provide the return on investment (ROI) you were anticipating. I work as a digital marketing consultant with many businesses and the following are the most common reasons PPC advertising isn’t working.

1. The Ad Campaign Is Set Up Wrong

Many people have received a  free €75 voucher for Google Adwords to start their first campaign and they set up their campaign through Adwords Express. The campaign is far too broad and it provides little or no return on investment.

2. No Google Analytics (GA)

This is a huge issue and it provides the secret to a great ROI from PPC advertising. Setting up and linking GA to your Adwords account is essential so you can measure the performance of your campaign. Every campaign needs to be modified on a regular basis to maximise your ROI and GA can provide a treasure chest of data which will inform you about your campaign and the type of visitors it is bringing to your website.

3. Not Tracking Conversions

Many businesses are using PPC advertising but they are not tracking conversions so they do not know the return they are getting from their advertising efforts. Make sure you set up conversion tracking so that you can more effectively measure your ROI.

4. Unengaging Landing Pages

A landing page is the first page of your website that a visitor lands on when they click on your advertising. This page has to be engaging and it should demonstrate to visitors why they should do business with you. The landing page should also have a clear “Call To Action” (CTA), this is an action you want the visitor to take such as “Fill in a form” or “Get in touch”. GA will tell you how your landing page is performing, how long people are spending on it etc. The GA bounce rate and time on page is a great indicator of how your landing page is performing.

5. Keyword Match Type

A keyword triggers your ad to display when someone searches on Google using that keyword. A major factor that affects your ROI is the keywords and phrases you are targeting in your campaigns. Many people specify too many “broad” match keywords which means that their ad can display for irrelevant searches by customers. In the majority of cases if you are using “broad” match keywords, it should be coupled with negative keywords.


Spend Time Crafting Good Ads

6. Poor Ad Copy

The copy or wording of your ads is extremely important. In the ad copy you should try and use the keyword that will trigger the ad so the ad should appear relevant to the person conducting the search. This will improve your Click Through Rate (CTR) and your CTR is also measured by Google when assessing your “Quality Score” (QS).

7. Low Cost Per Click (CPC) Bid

Each advertiser specifies a “cost per click” (CPC) that they are willing to pay and this CPC is one of the main factors, with “Quality Score”, that determines in what position your ad appears in Google, i.e 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. It is important to know that the highest ad position is not determined only by the highest CPC but increasing your CPC can boost the performance of your campaign.

8. Low Quality Score (QS)

Each keyword is given a QS, between 1 – 10, based on a number of factors such as the quality of your ad copy, the relevance of your landing page to the keyword and the CTR. Google use the QS as part of a formula to calculate your Ad Rank, i.e the position your ad will appear in search results.

9. No Remarketing Campaign

I have written about the importance of Google Adwords Remarketing on numerous occasions. Remarketing, using cookies, allows you to advertise to people who have previously showed interest in your business by visiting your website even though they may not have purchased from you or provided you with their contact details. It would be a wasted opportunity to spend money on a Google Adwords search campaign that brings valuable leads to your website without setting up an effective Remarketing campaign.


I have outlined most of the major issues I have come across when I work with clients on their PPC campaigns. This form of advertising can be a highly effective method to target and attain new customers but if it is not done properly, you could spend a lot of money with little or no ROI.  If you feel you are not getting the return on investment from your PPC advertising, I would recommend that you address the issues outlined in this article to enhance its performance.

If you are new to this form of advertising, I would recommend that you consult with a PPC Agency to set it up and manage it for you. The benefits will far outweigh the cost of this service.

Featured image by Firmbee /

Cathal Quinn