Do Google Ads work?

Do Google Ads work?

How to understand and assess if Google Ads is working for your business

Generating leads and converting them into customers is the lifeblood of any business. But does Google Ads work?

With people spending more time searching for solutions online, Google Ads offers a significant opportunity that some businesses need to capitalise on to build their brand and drive growth.

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) is Google’s online pay per click advertising platform, where you bid for popular keywords relevant to your business to rank high on Google results, Google Shopping, Google Maps, etc.

It’s basically an auction for clicks and we want you to get it right.

In this article, we’ll discuss “does google ads work” and how to effectively evaluate your Google Ads management and address what might not be working for you, so you can see the potential value Google Ads could bring to your business.

Why Google Ads might not be working for you

The market for Google Ads is enormous, and that’s because the platform works. Even big brands who are already popular still use Google Ads.

But why is it that some businesses aren’t generating leads from it? 

Here are three common mistakes people make with Google Ads:

  1. Is your Google Ads traffic bringing in your ideal customer?

According to Kenshoo, there are 5.6 billion daily Google searches. But, the odds of users finding your website amidst all those searches is close to zero if your page has no relevance to what they want.

You might think that having broad keywords will mean that your content will cater to a broader audience, but remember that all these hundreds of millions of users search on Google with intent, meaning that they use very specific keywords to get what they need.

So the trick is to use targeted keywords. Your business has a specific audience, and that’s who you should be writing your Google Ads for.

The more relevant and specific the keywords you bid for are, the more likely that people who will find your page won’t be just random users, but potential customers who need the products and services that you offer.

  1. You’re spending too much money without the return on investment (ROI).

Using a type of auction is in itself a risky option if not done right.

Sometimes, businesses end up spending more than they earn from using Google Ads, or they don’t reach their target Google Ads ROI.

Let’s say your business target was a three to one return on your spend, but Google Ads only produced a 1.5 to one return.

It doesn’t seem worth it, right? But consider this: maybe there’s some factors you might have missed.

A Google Ads specialist will be able to work with you to analyse why you’re not reaching your target Google Ads ROI. Maybe the short-term return is low because your conversion rate could be higher, or your business has long-term returns that you haven’t accounted for.

Always look at the bigger picture when calculating your digital marketing ROI. 

  1. Your landing pages are not converting browsers to buyers.

Another possible reason why Google Ads isn’t working for you is because your landing pages don’t show your online visitors what they need to see.

Whether it’s information overload, the lack of calls to action (CTAs), or how difficult it might be for users to navigate through your pages. Truth is, if you give visitors a reason to leave they will.  

Remember that while you’re paying for clicks, ultimately, you want those clicks to turn into purchases. That means conversions. 

You can’t do that if your landing pages aren’t engaging, don’t directly answer a browser’s questions and make getting in contact with you difficult. 

So your keywords need to be specific, not just in your ads, but in your landing page too. Focus your keywords on the exact searches of the people who will want or need your products or services.

And don’t forget to make the pages responsive and user-friendly. Review your website conversion rate and complete a standard conversion rate optimisation checklist to cover off any easy wins.

Does Google Ads work for businesses? 

There are two main considerations to assess whether Google AdWords is a good fit for your business. 


Competition is everywhere in business and Google Ads is no different.

The cost per click for an emergency plumber or locksmith is far greater than say someone searching for a local childcare centre.

That’s because on most occasions, browsers will only click on the first three results they see and decide to contact or buy from there. So, it pays to be in one of these three positions.

Given that Google Ads is a pay per click auction, the competitiveness of your industry will have a huge bearing on how much will need to be spent to turn clicks into ROI.

Your Google Ads Agency should be able to help you understand how much you need to spend to get the number of leads you require, based on your industry.


Thousands of businesses are using Google Ads, so research how good Google Ads is for your industry. Are your competitors using it? How much do they bid for each keyword?

Understanding how important using Google Ads is in your industry will greatly help you with your marketing planning and budgeting.

The image below from Instapage shows the average cost per click in Google Ads Benchmarks by industry: 

how does google ads work

How effective is Google Ads?

Google Ads work, but ultimately its success is defined by what you as a business owner are looking to achieve and how you’re measuring success via KPIs. Through conversion tracking: are you counting a click on a button as a lead in google analytics or google ads?

There are several questions to ask that help judge the effectiveness of Google Ads:

  • Are you looking for online sales?
  • Are you looking for appointments, phone calls or leads?
  • Or perhaps eBook downloads? If so, how many do you need per month?
  • And how much are you looking to pay for them?

If you are a plumber looking to pay $50 per customer, then you might need to realign your goals.

As an example, let’s say a cost per click for the words “emergency plumber” is $25. That means you will get two clicks to your website for $50.

From those two clicks, you will need at least one of those to call or email. That’s a website conversion rate of 50%.

From that you need to be able to convert 100% of calls into customers to get a cost per customer of $50.

In theory that’s possible, but an accurate review of how realistic this is will help you get an understanding of what you need to invest and can expect from Google Ads to truly know if it can work for your business.

This will also help evaluate the lifetime value of a customer. For example, if you have a business where a customer returns every six weeks, like a hairdresser, the lifetime value of a customer will be much higher and needs to be considered in how much you pay per lead.  

Maxing out at $50 per lead when the lifetime value might be $10,000 could limit your overall Google Ads performance and ability to see results.

How good the Google Ads account build is.

The framework of your Google Ads account hugely influences the success of its performance.

If you have a Google Ads account that has one single search campaign, targeting Australia wide, with all your services or products in one Ad Group, this will be a massive roadblock and probably won’t deliver you positive results.

Google Ads rewards quality Account structure and ultimately you will pay less per click (and therefore less per customer) through having a good setup.

Think of it like a house: Time is spent on getting the floor plans and foundations correct because these two elements will create a strong and supportive framework to build a house that will last.

Google Ads is no different. If your Google Ads Management Agency takes the time to set up the campaigns with a solid and well throughout strategy, in most cases, you will be better off than your competitors.

So, is Google Ads worth it? Yes, it works but it’s not necessarily for every business. 

That’s why you need to get a Google Ads audit to check your Google Ads Campaign structure, keywords, landing page and targeting is correct and set up for success. A good Google Ads Audit will also include some competitor analysis, assess potential acquisition costs and review your landing page. 
Book in a free audit with our Google Ads Agency (not a smooth talking sales team) to see it’s potential for your company.