Advertising with Google Ads (formerly Adwords) is a great way of getting the word out about your business. Google Ads campaigns can be used to build brand awareness, generate leads and promote special offers. Campaigns can also be rolled out quickly and conversion rates are high for properly managed campaigns.
But one question we get asked more than any other is, how long does it take to see results with Google Ads? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The truth is it depends on the size and complexity of your campaign and the competition for keywords.
Google Ads timeline for a successful campaign
Timelines vary, but, we have created these figures based on our experience managing several Google Ads campaigns for small businesses and organisations.
Set up – one week to create a Google Ads campaign group
- Learning phase – it can take up to 3 months for a campaign to mature
- Optimization – up to 3-12 months to develop a strong working campaign
So yes essentially, it can take up to 12 months to see highly profitable results from your Google Ads campaigns, but the results are well worth the wait.
Google estimates that advertisers see a return of $2 for every $1 spent on Google Ads.
That represents an average across millions of advertisers. With proper campaign management, you can achieve much better results than that.
To get a better idea of what’s involved in creating a profitable Google Ads campaign, let’s take a look at the three stages of set-up before moving onto campaign optimization.
Setting up your Google Ads campaign
The set-up stage is one of the most critical to get right. Poor set up can compromise a campaign from the start. So you or your digital marketing agency must carry out proper research to establish clear business goals and objectives.
Step 1: Define business objectives
Start by defining clear goals. Ask yourself:
- What is the campaign for?
- Is it for lead generation, sales promotion, brand awareness?
If you have multiple goals it’s a good idea to separate them into different campaigns.
Step 2: Competitor research and cost per click
Next, you need to establish who your competitors are and the cost-per-click for keywords. The more competitive the keyword, the more it costs, so you need to make sure your budget is realistic to allow you to achieve a significant click-through-rate. You should also research the keywords your competitors are using. This will provide a good basis to start building your campaign.
Step 3: Customer personas
As with all types of advertising, you should use Google Ads campaigns to target specific customer groups. The scattergun approach is rarely successful in any marketing campaign, but it will cost you, dearly, using Google Ads. So think about who your target audience is and craft ads and offers to appeal directly to them.
Getting your ads approved by Google
Now you’re ready to start building your campaign. But not so fast, there is another hurdle to jump. The Google review stage.
Google manually reviews all ads that appear on its platform. This process is usually completed within a day or so, but it can take up to seven days depending on the complexity of the campaign.
Google is essentially looking to weed out spammy or misleading ads so it’s nothing to worry about. But to ensure your ads pass first time here are a few things to keep in mind.
It takes time for Google to approve your ad. Here’s what they look out for:
1. Headline: Your headline should not be spammy or misleading.
2. Ad Description: Does your ad promote prohibited* or restricted content**?
3. Keywords: Does the ad match the keywords.
4. Landing page: Does the landing page match the ad.
* Prohibited content includes the promotion of counterfeit goods and narcotics.
** Restricted content includes the promotion of gambling websites, pornography and political content.
If your ad falls foul of these guidelines Google will flag your ad for changes or in rare cases disapprove the ad. If this happens you will have to make the required changes and resubmit them for review.
You can obtain an up to date list of Google’s guidelines on its advertising policy pages.
Allow the algorithm to gather data
Once your ads have been approved you can start running your campaign. But new advertisers should be aware that it takes time for Google’s algorithm to gather enough data to run the campaign properly. During this time you will find ads run slowly and click-throughs are limited. This is nothing to be concerned about.
The amount of time it takes the algorithm to gather data varies according to the size and complexity of the campaign, the level of competition and the search volume for keywords. We typically find this process takes around seven days, but it can take longer.
Any good Google Ads Partner will be able to tell you when this process is complete.
The optimization stage
So your ads are up and running and you’re starting to get click-throughs. Your job is done, right? Wrong. It’s just getting started. All Google Ads campaigns are considered as work in progress. For your campaign to be successful the ad copy, keywords and landing pages all need tweaking.
All Google Ads campaigns are work in progress. They need constant optimisation to see good results.
The trouble is you can’t optimize a campaign without having enough data to make the right decisions. That’s why you should set up your campaign using best practice and then let it run for up to three months to gather enough actionable data.
The optimization stage is where a good PPC agency earns its money. They will spend their time trawling through the data to weed out keywords which are performing badly and ramp up the ones which are delivering results. They will also adjust ad copy, keyword matching type and landing pages to improve results.
Any good Google Partner will also be able to match the performance of your campaign with industry-standard metrics to establish whether the campaign is being run efficiently.
The key metrics to look out for are cost-per-click (CPC), click-through-rate (CTR) and return-on-ad-spend (ROAS). All this information can be obtained via the Google Ads keyword performance tab in your Google Ads dashboard. You should also start building a list of negative keywords at this stage, these are keywords which provide a negative ROI.
Does Google Ads deliver?
Yes, but it takes time to see results. It’s not as simple as publishing ads and watching the money roll in. Typically it takes up to three months for a campaign to break even and up to 12 months to achieve full profitability.
You can speed the process up, by establishing clear goals and carrying out competition and keyword research before building your campaign. Then you will need to continually monitor the performance of your campaign and optimize ad content, keywords and landing pages to see good results.
Managing a Google Ads campaign is a lot of work, but when done right it can deliver outstanding ROI. Get it wrong, however, and you’ll be left with a large hole in your bank account. If you would like help building a profitable Google Ads campaign for your business, get in touch with the search engine marketing experts at Design Point today.