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Do AdWords and Other PPC Ads Really Work?

Jan 2, 2008
Many discouraged online advertisers will tell you to stay away from AdWords or any other Pay Per Click programs.

They will tell you that the ads dont generate sales and you will waste a lot of money even trying to make things work. They know from their own experience that the whole idea of PPC advertising is a complete waste of time and money.

Usually, newcomers to PPC make a common mistake they create an ad, then display that ad for hundreds, or maybe even thousands of different keywords. Then, to further insure failure, all keywords lead to the exact same landing page.

Here is a hypothetical example, Joe has a website thats all about the hobby of radio controlled model airplanes. On his website, he offers airplane kits, building supplies, radio transmitters and receivers, servo actuators, engines of all sizes, tires and wheels, just about everything thats related to model airplanes.

Joe decides to use PPC advertising to boost his sales, so he compiles a gigantic list of keywords. His list has several hundred keywords, all generally relating to radio controlled model airplanes. He works for hours creating what he thinks is the best ad he is ever seen. He is really proud of his new ad and surely, with his hundreds of keywords, he expects to see a big jump in sales.

Joe goes to his AdWords account and enables his new ad. Confident that he is done his best, he goes to lunch. While at lunch, he is contemplating all those new sales being made. He can hardly wait to get back to his PC and check the action.

Back at the office, Joe logs in to his AdWords account and his jaw hits the floor when he sees he has had no clicks. His ad has been displayed hundreds of times, but still no clicks. Then he notices that Google has disabled some of his keywords, telling him he has to increase his bid price to use those keywords. Joe raises his bid and his keywords are back in business.

A couple of hours later, he checks his account again and this time he does see that he is had some clicks. He is had 87 clicks so now he is confident everything is working. Joe checks his payment processor account to see how much money he is made, there are no new sales. Joe lets things run for a couple of days, but the results are the same. He is getting lots of clicks, but no sales.

By this time, Joe has spent over 800 dollars on clicks. Disgusted with the lack of sales, Joe cancels his AdWords account because PPC ads dont work.

Joe made several crucial errors. First of all, you dont want to use a single ad for hundreds of keywords. Some of Joes keywords were related to radio equipment, while others were related to construction kits and engines. All those keywords would trigger the exact same ad to be shown. If someone searches for a specific item, they are not likely to click on a generic, one size fits all ad thats just about model airplanes in general.

His next mistake was to raise his bid price to get more displays of his ads. Sure, more displays did mean that he started getting clicks, but those clicks did not do anything except cost him money. Those visitors may have originally searched for model airplane engines, but Joes ad took them to the home page of his site, not to a page related to engines. Most people wont waste time navigating around your website, trying to find the item that matches up to what they are actually searching for. They have already searched on Google, then they clicked on your ad, now you are telling them that they have to search even further to find what they are looking for. Thats it, they are gone in a flash.

To do things right, you should have your ad directly related to the keywords you are using. If your keywords are about model airplane engines, your ad should also be specifically about model airplane engines. And when someone clicks on your ad, you should send them directly to the page on your website thats about model airplane engines. Going this route will get you more clicks and more of those clicks will become sales.

Ideally, each keyword should have its own specific version of your ad and that ad should lead directly to the page on your website thats about that specific topic. Of course, this may not be practical, especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of keywords. But at the very least, you should group similar keywords together and connect them to an ad thats related to the group.

For example, if you have 164 keywords related to engines, you could write an ad specifically about engines and then connect that ad to the engines part of your website. Make it easy for the prospect to find exactly what they are looking for and you will be rewarded with more sales.
About the Author
Ranju is the assistant editor of FREE Pay-Per-Click Advertising and he is an "Under the Radar" Internet Entrepreneur who's been quietly selling various products for the last 8 years.
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