Should You Invest in Google AdWords

Should You Invest in Google AdWords

Launching a new business is tough, there is no doubt about that. In an oversaturated market of startups, small businesses, and corporate brands offering products and services just like yours, it can be hard to measure up and difficult to know where to start. Some may rely on word-of-mouth, some prefer traditional advertising, others may prefer out-of-home. And then there is the majority of brands that assume they must hop on the paid search bandwagon because everyone else is doing it and it’s all you hear people talk about these days. So then you ask yourself, “should I be investing in Google AdWords, and if so how much?” Well, the short answer: it depends. Long answer…well put it like this, a Google representative told me over the phone “give us a call back when you’re able to invest at least $10,000 a month. Because that’s the minimum threshold we’ve seen before brands start generating a real return on ad spend (ROAS).” Yes, that’s right. $10,000! Now I don’t know about you, but as a sole proprietorship, I certainly don’t have $10k to invest each month. So what did I do? I decided to test it out of course. I ran a campaign for 17 days with some NYU graduate-level colleagues of mine and here are the results.

The Goal

We launched an Awareness campaign with a daily budget of $10 per day utilizing the branded search network only, no display or google shopping ads were initiated. We targeted US & Canada in English and French. The campaign ran approximately 17 days targeting male & female audiences from the ages of 25 to 65. We set up some goals prior to the campaign aiming to achieve 300 clicks at a click-through-rate (CTR) of 1.2% while keeping the cost per click (CPC) below $1.50 with a total of 25,000 impressions.

Campaign Setup

We had a total of 198 keywords

We implemented 26 text ads. With three landing pages,, and


Here’s how we adjusted the campaign throughout. We started with 89 keywords > 198 > ended at 39 keywords, pausing 159. We began with 17 text ads and added 8 more along the way. We increased our CPC and daily budget the last 4 days from $10/day to $20.

The Results

The total spend was $230 with 293 clicks, and an average CPC of $0.78 and 12,000 impressions. Only 7 clicks short of our goal, so not too bad.

Our top-performing text ads were…

While we did not achieve any conversions, it did generate a spike in site traffic with what appeared to be highly engaged users.

Site Metrics Before the Campaign  


Site Metrics After the Campaign 

  • Sessions increased by 44.7%
  • New Users by 63.56%
  • Overall Users by 62.2%
  • Pageviews however only increased by 3.44%
  • Bounce rate decreased by 55.7%


  • No sales were achieved, but this was an awareness campaign, not an acquisition campaign. The goal of this campaign was to drive traffic and increase awareness, which it did. Had I carried out the campaign for the whole 30 days I would’ve spent $300. However $300 for one month, certainly isn’t enough to see any real ROI, especially as a brand new business.
  • So what I suggest: If your dedicated monthly spend is limited to $1,000 or less, run a campaign for at least 6 months adjusting your monthly budget and optimizing your campaign as you go before you can determine if investing in AdWords is the right approach for your business.
  • Ask yourself as you go:
    • Am I seeing a dramatic increase in site traffic?
      • What is your bounce rate along the process? If it’s less than 40% it’s safe to say the site visitors are fairly interested in what you have to offer.
      • If the bounce rate is high, try adjusting your audience targeting, increasing your CPC, or optimizing your ad groups, keywords, and text ad copy. Don’t waste time on underperforming keywords and focus on the ones that are performing well to avoid wasting valuable budget.
    • After the first 90 days, has it led to any conversions?
      • This could include email sign-ups, contact form submissions, or actual purchases. If so you know you’re on the right track and to keep analyzing the results.
  • Otherwise consider social advertising instead such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Consider Facebook lead generation ads, boosted posts, or remarketing ads. Boosted posts are obviously the most simple of the three options, however, Facebook advertising has become so advanced that you can implement several types of ads, at a low cost, with a highly engaged audience. Plus you can promote quality content in the form of images or video that stands a better chance of highlighting the brand’s story and products than perhaps a branded search campaign.
  • Try the Organic Approach: SEO
    • Start a blog on your site if it’s right for your brand and you have time and resources to do so
    • Ensure your on-site SEO is on point – product page titles, meta descriptions, alt image texts, keyword density, URL structure, and optimize thin content pages or remove altogether
    • Start building your backlinks – partnering with other brands and websites to drive traffic to your site
    • AND remember quality over quantity. Create quality, engaging content that will keep your audience wanting more and coming back

I’ll report back in another 90 days with any updates on my campaign results. To be continued…

In the Meantime

Check out some tutorials on Google AdWords setup and best practices here.

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