The Google Spigot Perspective

In recent years, I’ve noticed a couple of common misconceptions with the way companies view Adwords (Google’s paid ads platform). The first misconception is the belief that their account will always perform at a consistent level. In other words, “We’ve been paying $XX for leads, so we’ll always pay $XX for leads.” There are probably hundreds of reasons why that’s not true, but for now, just take my word for it. With Adwords, past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future success.

The second misconception is the one I want to focus on today. I call it the Google Spigot Perspective.

Imagine your kitchen faucet for a moment. As you turn the knob further, more and more water will pour out. But there’s a limit to how much will flow. At a certain point, turning the knob further doesn’t make a difference in the amount of water coming out. Adwords works the same way.

If you put money into AdWords, clicks will come out. And hopefully your products are enticing enough, your brand inviting enough, and your site usable enough that people will make a purchase or will submit their requests for more information, which means your clicks will turn to dollars and you’ll be so happy! But then a tempting idea comes into your head: “If we put more money into Google, we’ll get more out.” That might be true…for a while.

As businesses get excited about their Adwords results, they often expect those results to continue unabated as they put more money into the AdWords machine. And many times, their business begins to rely on the leads coming from AdWords, or they view AdWords as a growth strategy. However, there’s a limit to the volume of business you can get from Google. At some point you’ll have opened the spigot as far as it will go.

The reason for this is that there are only so many users searching seriously for what you have to offer. Google is more than willing to let you raise your bids or expand the scope of your ad campaigns, but it quickly becomes a game of diminishing returns. Your ad spend will go up, but your leads won’t rise at the same pace, rapidly inflating your cost per lead (or cost per sale, if you're an e-commerce business).

You can keep turning the faucet, but you're not going to get more water out.

To avoid the repercussions of the Google Spigot Perspective, make sure you adopt a diverse customer acquisition and lead nurturing program. Organic search, partner referrals, video content, and follow-up emails are all tried and true digital ways to do this, but don’t forget the “old school” methods either. Depending on your market, TV, radio, billboards, and print ads still hold an amount of sway and brand promotion that is not to be discounted. With a mixed media perspective, you’ll be able to protect your business from fallout if the Google Spigot runs dry.