For those of you who may not know, before I start writing about Adwords, let’s define what an Adword campaign is.

When you do a Google search, there are two types of listings that come up. First, there are the “organic” search results. What we mean by organic is the natural Google search results in response to the search terms that you have entered.

Alongside these listings, either above, below or to the side of the organic listings are ads. These are the Adwords ads.

We can see this in the image below. Each paid listing has “ad” at the left of it.

Adwords example

Adwords ads work on what is known as a pay per click model. That is that for every time someone clicks on the ad, the business that has placed the ad gets charged. When the person clicks, naturally they are directed to your website.

So that, in a nutshell, is what Adwords are all about. But are they effective? As usual I can’t give an unequivocal answer. The reason is that the prices of the clicks vary, depending on the search terms you use. As a result, Adwords can be either very effective or prohibitively expensive.

The variation that I have seen when investing Adwords for clients is from around 60 cents per click (naturally very attractive) to up to 12 dollars per click (not so attractive).

This variation is caused by the way Adwords works. Google have been very clever with this. Each time a search is made, each purchaser of Adwords is bidding against every other person who has put in an advert for the same or similar search terms. Google have settled on this model because it obviously creates massive amounts of revenue for them.

Unfortunately with this model, if there’s a lot of competition for a particular search term, you pay the price. And sometimes that price is too high to make Adwords viable.

If the price isn’t too high, however, Adwords is attractive. You can set a daily limit of what you’d like to spend and once you have spent that amount (which means people have in fact clicked through to your site) Your ad doesn’t come up any longer.

And of course, since Google doesn’t get paid unless people click on your ad, Google are going to make sure it’s prominent in enough cases to use up your daily budget.

At the end of the day then, once Adwords has directed traffic to your site it’s a simple process of measuring the results you get from the people who end up on there. Are you getting conversions? At what rate?

If you are paying 3 dollars per click, selling a 200 dollar product and one in 10 of the visitors who comes to your site from Adwords make a purchase, it’s a no brainer. You’re going to do it forever. If on the other hand only one in a hundred visitors make a purchase, time to stop.

But what are other people saying? Does Google Adwords work? Or perhaps five reasons you shouldn’t use Adwords. As you can see, with any topic related to publicising your web page, there are many conflicting opinions.

So like everything else in the digital market place, it’s all about measuring the results you’re getting.


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A computer specialist who has had a long and varied career in IT, starting with the days of Novell, progressing through Microsoft on the way to Cisco and network security.Now running Revolution Web Design, to provide customers with great Web Design, SEO and digital strategy advice.