AdWords Performance – I Win!

imageThis is the story of how I beat a Google AdWords Certified Partner at their own game – getting clicks to a website quicker and for less money.

I’m great with SEO, so most of my sites do well over time without advertising, but I use Google AdWords to launch sites, boost their performance and run time-sensitive promotions.

Recently, I was so busy I decided to engage another company to take care of my AdWords campaigns. I figured someone who solely does this for a living has to be better than me too. If they were good enough, they could justify paying for their services.

So I called a Google AdWords Certified company, which I’m not going to name, so let’s called them AW. They said they would audit my own campaign, make some generic suggestions and if I wanted, they were happy to take it over for me.

When I received their report, it was indeed generic. The recommendations came straight from Google’s standard documentation and seemed to ignore what was happening specifically in my campaign, but I thought that was all they had promised, so never mind.

I rang them and agreed they would run my campaign for 1 month, then stop and call me for a detailed phone review. They said I would have to double my budget for the campaign for best performance and pay them $150 for their services. Since this campaign had to do with a parenting workshop, for which each ticket was priced at $250, I figured I would do well anyway, so I agreed.

When I saw the AW-proposed keywords, I wondered why they were all singular. “Google doesn’t care about this”, they said, “It matches singular terms to plural queries. That’s not a problem”.

“OK”, I said, “You’re the experts”.

After a few days, I wondered if I could monitor their progress, so I asked to link the new campaign to my Google Analytics account.  What I saw in the following days was my ads appearing at the top of search pages for their chosen keywords, but very few clicks each day. My budget wasn’t being spent, but my business wasn’t getting any traffic either. My confidence did not improve by seeing a single plural term outperforming every other (singular) keyword phrase by a mile.

A month passed and I heard nothing. I waited a few more days and then inquired about the campaign. It was still going, so I asked to stop and have that detailed review they promised.

… and all I got was this lousy Excel spreadsheet (not even a T-shirt). The sheet didn’t even have a column for the one thing I wanted: conversions – people who bought tickets for the parenting workshop. The number of clicks was oh, so small, no wonder there were no conversions.

“Bugger!” I thought, “I’m going back to doing my own thing”.

To show you what happened in detail, here is a comparison of my first campaign, the AW campaign and my new campaign and you can judge for yourself:

Campaign Days Impressions Imp/day Clicks Clk/day $ $/click
Before AW 56 14,763 263.6 279 4.98 299.28 1.07
AW 37 2,150 58.11 57 1.54 75.84 1.33
After AW 10 3,005 300.5 54 5.4 55.56 1.03

Basically, if you gave AW $100 today and told them to run a parenting workshop campaign for you, they would take 49 days to deliver 75 visitors to your site. I would deliver 97 visitors to your site in just 18 days.

Like I said before, I win!

[Disclaimer: I am NOT a certified AdWords partner, but I’m happy to help with your AdWords campaign on a consulting basis or by managing it for you. Contact me for more]

Categories