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Brisbane Businesses Wasting Millions On Google Ads

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Brisbane businesses spend millions of dollars every year on Google Ads and ½ of it is going down the toilet. Learn why it’s happening, how it’s happening and how you can profit from it.

Google Advertising can be the absolute fastest, most profitable advertising channel there is, but only if it’s set up correctly. And the problem is, it’s usually not.

Many of Queensland’s largest companies spend over $100,000 per month on Google Ads and have asked us to review their campaigns, only to learn that ½ of what they spend is being wasted.

We’re not talking about losing a 50c piece down the back of the couch here, we’re talking about millions of dollars every year in wasted marketing spend for zero return.

Why is this happening? How is it happening? And why does nobody seem to care?

Let’s start with the how.

How” Businesses Waste So Much Money On AdWords

It’s complicated.

Google’s advertising platform is probably the most complicated of all time, in a very similar way that the iPhone is probably the most complicated phone of all time. But with 1 huge difference:

It is borderline impossible to mess anything up on an iPhone.

That’s what’s so great about it. The iPhone is one of the most wildly complex inventions of all time but its front-end user experience is so simple and safe to use, most people have no hesitation giving one to their 95-year-old grandma or 5-year-old child.

Google’s advertising platform, however = not so simple.

The level of complexity in Google’s ad platform makes ‘messing things up’ both a daily practice and a phenomenally large cost to businesses everywhere.

What do we mean by messing things up? Here are a few examples:

Example 1:

  • Let’s say you’re a home builder.
  • You spend over $10,000 per month on Google Ads and it all seems very expensive.
  • But you keep doing it anyway because you know you need the phone to ring.
  • Then you realise that a lot of your budget is going towards appearing in searches for people who want to buy/build a home in New Zealand.
  • But the problem is: Your company doesn’t operate in New Zealand!!!!

Example 2:

  • Let’s say you’re an education provider.
  • You spend over $30,000 per month on Google Ads and again it all seems very expensive.
  • But you keep doing it anyway because you know you need students to enrol in your courses.
  • Then you realise that despite spending >$30,000 per month, your Ads don’t appear 90% of the time people are searching for the courses you need enrolments in.
  • Why? Your budget is being wasted on irrelevant keywords!!!!

If these were 1/100 stories then you could put this down to user error and this wouldn’t be a story worth reading (or writing). But these aren’t rare occurrences, this is the expected norm.

Almost every Google Ad campaign we’ve been asked to analyse has been pouring money down the toilet in some sense. To a small business, this might only equate to a few thousand dollars a month in wasted spend. But still wouldn’t that be better back in the hands of the small business owner?

To larger organisations, this can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in wasted Ad spend. Whichever way you look at it, that is a lot of shareholder profits/ Christmas bonuses that are just going down the drain.

Why” Businesses Waste So Much Money On AdWords

The reason businesses waste millions every year on Google Adwords is that it’s a Blackbox.

The premise of a Blackbox is that it’s a system with known inputs and known output’s, but the process in between is so complicated that it is hard to know what effects what.

When a business decides to spend a boatload of cash on Google Ads, the output they want is a significant uplift in leads, sales & revenue. But when that doesn’t happen, it’s very hard for them to know where they’re going wrong.

“What” Business Can Do To Profit From Google Ads

There are a number of things businesses can do to exponentially improve their return on investment from Google Adwords.

Here are just a few:

1. Do a quick “Cost Per Lead” VS “Lifetime Customer Value” calculation

If you are spending $1 to make $10, then you’ve got a strategy worth pursuing. If you’re spending $10 to make $1 then you’ve got a problem. But there is a bigger problem… most businesses we have never even done the math. A super quick cost-per-lead calculation will tell you exactly how much each lead if costing you and then you can make an informed decision as to whether it’s worth it.

Here’s how you do it:

  • How much did you spend on Google Ads last month? Let’s say you spent $10,000.
  • How many leads did you get? Let’s say you got 200 leads
  • Your cost per lead is just total spend divided by total leads. In this example that would be $10,000 / 200 Leads = $500 per lead.

Let’s say that in the example above you where a personal injury law firm, the “Lifetime Value” of a new customer might be $50,000 – $100,000 in which case $500 per lead might be fine.

But what if you’re not a law firm, what if you’re an artisan coffee table maker and you sell handmade coffee tables for $1000 each. Most people only need 1 coffee table so your lifetime customer value might only be $1000 which makes $500 per lead ludicrously expensive.

2. Don’t give Google AdWords up to the office junior

  • In business you have to delegate, but what you delegate and who you delegate to can make all the difference between profit and loss.
  • Getting coffee, filing documents and answering the phone are all things that almost anyone can do without destroying a company’s bank balance.
  • Managing a Google AdWords campaign, however, is not one of those things.

3. Get expert advice -> then get a 2nd opinion

  • Anyone can have an opinion but particularly these days anyone can also call themselves an “expert”.
  • But there is a difference between someone who’s an expert because they watched a youtube video and someone who’s an expert because they have spent years, relentlessly and meticulously focused on perfecting the exact skill set you need to get the outcome you want.
  • To discover how profitable Google Advertising can really be, you need to find the second type of expert. Then once you get their opinion, you should go and get a another one.
  • Why get a second opinion? Because contrast creates context and it’s very easy for 1 person to get it wrong. By getting advice from just 2 experts, you immediately see the trend and it’s a lot easier to know where you stand and how to move forward.

4. Double down on what works and sprint away from what doesn’t

  • Marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
  • Many digital marketers still identify strongly with this idea but this is a huge problem because John died over 90 years ago which was 10 years before the first computer was even invented.
  • The days of not knowing what works and what doesn’t are over.
  • One of the fastest ways any businesses can exponentially increase their marketing ROI is to find out what’s not working and cut it immediately. Don’t wait, don’t be patient, don’t give it more time, cut it right now.
  • Why move so quickly? Because every dollar you save on something that doesn’t work today can be reinvested in something that does work tomorrow and there have never been more ways to profit from digital advertising than there is right now.

Hopefully, you’ve found this helpful. If you have any specific questions or would like any specific strategy advice feel free to get in touch. Alternatively, for more information about how to profit from Google Ads, download a copy of our free report or our check out our webpage on Google AdWords.



Jason McMahon

Marketing Director @bambrickmedia, lover of Lucy, the ocean & caramel popcorn.

All stories by: Jason McMahon