June 28, 2016 9:30 AM / by Joshua Ballard Joshua Ballard

Each and every year Billions of dollars are spent across the globe on Adwords.

In fact, this figure is increasing every single year, and showing no signs of slowing.

In 2015 alone Google brought in about $75 Billion dollars from advertising.

Why is it then, that when you speak to a business about whether they have used, or would be interested in using Adwords that they often respond with:

“oh no, we tried that, we know it doesn’t work”

The questions become: 

“are businesses throwing billions of dollars down the drain every year, and then deciding year after year to increase this figure?

“is Adwords some sort of Ponzi scheme, propelled each year by bringing in new victims, burning them for their cash, and then finding more?


“do people just not actually know what they are doing, and then blaming Adwords for their lack of success?”


My First Encounter With Google Adwords

As many who know me would understand all too well, I am a serial entrepreneur. I have always got some form of business in the works, playing at some angle.

When I think about the idea of watching TV or spending money on entertainment, I have no interest what so ever.

I would always prefer to spend my time trying to find creative new ways to leverage opportunities, or generate income.

One particular project I had going whilst at university, was an E-Commerce website that sold body building supplements.

My business partner and I had spent huge on stockpiling our house with supplements (we didn;t even know what drop shipping was at this point) and were determined to sell our wares online.

Our entire marketing strategy:

  • build website
  • make facebook page
  • invite friends to like and share the Facebook Page
  • tell our immediate social network that we were in business

Surprisingly enough, things weren’t going too well.

Then, Google being Google, we received some lovely targeted advertising

“Spend $100 on Adwords and get $100 in FREE CREDIT”

We watched a fun video, and decided this was going to be our big break.

Some of our supplements had more health claims than simply building bigger muscle, so when the keyword suggester says:

185 keywords about “losing weight” >>>> Add to Plan

Then that’s a no brainer, of course our Acetyl L-Carnatine was all over that!

This process continued, all the way through:

  • build muscle
  • recover quicker
  • sleep better
  • improve brain function
  • lose fat

and so on.

Eventually, we even got all the way through to:

  • treat infertility
  • improve sex life
  • etc

Now, I can’t remember the total count, but there would have been thousands of keywords, all added en-masse via Google suggestion.

Suffice to say, the hordes of people that we very quickly drove to our homepage over the next 10 minutes, did not actually all become customers that day.

This left us in the same boat as many business owners that I have met, firmly in the “I’ll Never Use Adwords Again!” camp.

Now obviously this didn’t last, but it was a solid year before I decided to revisit Adwords, actually do some training on it and have another attempt.

The Real Problem With Adwords

If I had to decide on one problem that Adwords has, it is that it is an extremely complex tool that has been made to feel ridiculously easy.

Between the ‘hints and suggestions’, the massive list of automated keywords, and the simple design that actually comes default as hiding some very important settings; Adwords feels like it is something that anyone should be able to use.

This problem is only intensified when you start using a tool like Adwords Express,  which is a further expedited ‘dumbed down’ version designed to get first time advertisers operating in a matter of minutes.

This false security breeds two primary sub-problems:

  • Business Owners or Employees, that decide they can just try it inhouse with no training
  • Business owners who feel they can offer it as a service, with no training

If you find yourself in the same boat as the countless people who have sworn never to use Adwords again, then I would love to have a chat with you and see where it all went wrong.


Topics: adwords, Marketing Fail, ppc

Joshua Ballard

Joshua Founded Paradox Marketing with the goal of providing high quality Inbound Marketing services. Above all he values efficiency, transparency and communication.

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