Google’s AdWords system (and its far lesser used equivalents at other search engines) will rightly one day be considered the greatest development in advertising of all time. What other advertising medium has ever been able simply to present your message to people who are actively searching for your product, in a specified geographical area, with no wastage?
It’s hardly surprising, then, that many companies are quietly spending huge sums on AdWords, including companies in your market sector. You would, I suspect, be amazed to find out what’s going on.
Yet it’s distinctly unglamorous. Producing and managing an AdWords campaign requires you to spend a lot of time hunched over a PC, examining data and testing what you’ve done. Writing a three line advert which won’t be seen by anyone other than interested potential customers has none of the glamour of commissioning a colour double-page spread in a leading trade magazine. But it’s a lot more effective at generating enquiries – and, as research is beginning to show, it has a branding impact which may be just as strong. No wonder many trade magazines are looking like pamphlets these days.
Google may have a monster on its hands, but the company is well aware of the work it has to do to get businesses like yours to commit to AdWords, despite the obvious effectiveness. There are three main hurdles it faces.
1. It’s a bit boring, isn’t it?
Firstly, for most of you, seeing through an AdWords campaign won’t be nearly as exciting as most old-school advertising. Unless you’re a data anorak (and those of you who are will love AdWords), it’s just a little bit tedious. I’d have expected a whole army of third-party AdWords management agencies to have sprung up by now to take the task off your hands, but in the UK at least they seem to be few and far between. It’s a big opportunity for someone still.
2. You shouldn’t do it (because we can’t do it for you)
The second problem for AdWords is that conventional advertising agencies hate it, and are pretending it doesn’t exist – or are finding ways to convince their clients, like you, not to do it. That’s because they don’t have the staff to service an AdWords campaign – they have graphic designers, media buyers and the like, none of whom are relevant here. If you ditch part (or all) of your existing advertising choices in favour of AdWords, they have nothing to offer you.
3. Advertising campaign? What advertising campaign?
Finally, AdWords might be effective, but its greatest strength – that the ads only show to people searching for your product – means that it’s constantly under the radar. To your own sales team, to your board or to your friends and family, you may as well not be advertising. And let’s face it, we all like to show off our work, don’t we?
All of the three reasons above are bad reasons for not doing AdWords. Tomorrow I’ll look at the economic arguments for and against it.