A little knowledge is an expensive thing

Albert Einstein once said that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

I say “a little paid search knowledge is an expensive thing”.

Paid search advertising and in particular Google AdWords has a pretty bad image amongst the clients I meet.

Most of these clients are SMEs who have a very tight marketing budget and many of them are of the opinion that Google AdWords ‘doesn’t work and is a waste of money’.

As an online marketing expert I know that this is not true and that Google AdWords does indeed work.

I have seen some businesses do very well by using Google AdWords.

So why is there so much dislike for AdWords amongst the people I meet?

I believe it comes from the fact that the clients who I meet and dislike AdWords ‘know how it works and haven’t had any business from it’.

Now unless you are one of the companies that works in a vertical that just doesn’t attract search engine visits (not many SMEs fit this category) then the fact that you are getting no business from AdWords suggests that you don’t know how to use it.

Take for example an AdWords account I reviewed last week.

It was a near perfect representation of what-not-to-do with an AdWords account.

This rendered the account a money wasting machine; a very effective one at that.

This is where I have my problem.

Seeing this kind of marketing waste makes me annoyed.

First I am annoyed with the client for being so ignorant and not bothering to learn how to use something that costs a lot of money if done wrong.

Then I get annoyed with Google.

I have seen more ineffective AdWords accounts that will clearly never yield results than I care to remember.

Google actively encourages small business owners to sign up and use their paid search advertising service but I don’t feel it does enough to make sure that people don’t completely mis-use it and waste money.

On accounts where lots of money (thousands of pounds) is being spent Google does get in contact with the advertiser to offer help, but what about the smaller business?

It may not be thousands of pounds but it is still a high percentage of the business’s advertising budget.

The most frustrating part of this story is that a group of clients still insist they know what they are doing and write off Google AdWords as a marketing fad.

A dangerous opinion.


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