Can small businesses ultimately benefit from the use of Google AdWords for Digital Marketing?

(Photo credit: Clipart
(Photo credit: Clipart)

When it comes to marketing strategy Crowley, (2014) suggested that hard numbers will help make educated decisions, especially when tracking marketing metrics. Following on from the previous blog concerning SMEs and their online presence, this article aims to cover the impact that Google AdWords has upon a small business for digital marketing; whether that be positive or negative. A quick search on the web sees that it’s benefits are up for debate, some siding for its implementation, others stating that is nor a practical nor very good option for small business.

Google AdWords uses a pay-per-click (PPC) model of advertising for businesses. This allows the business in question to create their own simple ad-listings and pay for relevant keywords concerning their product and/or service; in turn the ad is shown to users searching for those terms. Moreover, the business will set a maximum budget (the minimum is £5 per day) and pay every time a user clicks on their ad until the budget is reached. An example of how this is presented in Google search results can be seen below:

(Photo credit: Google Search Engine)
(Photo credit: Google Search Engine)

AdWords does need to be optimised in order to be used effectively. For instance, the user can define 3 different types of phrase match to cater the ad to appearing in a potential consumer’s search:

  • Broad Match:  this is where the keyword(s) are present anywhere in a search query.
  • Phrase Match: this is where the keyword(s) are in order anywhere in a search query.
  • Exact Match: this is where the keyword(s) are in order and are the only word(s) in a search query.

How these matches are catered will affect a business’ visibility to the audience along with the rate of conversion. For example, a broad match will appear to a greater number of people but they are less likely to be interested/searching for what you are explicitly offering. As such, with incorrect optimisation financial resources can be wasted by a business using AdWords; relevance being key. Evidently, if the optimisation is poor or not sufficient then negating results will occur additionally to the financial aspect. This is something a business should bear in mind, as the optimisation may not always be an easy process. A useful video below however, demonstrates the most common mistakes by businesses using Google AdWords:

One of the benefits of using Google AdWords is the vast amount of metric reporting data they provide; relating to my earlier quote of “hard numbers will help make educated decisions”. The robust analytic nature it provides allows a small business to monitor return on investment real-time in a manner which would not be possible with methods of offline marketing. From this data provided, ads can be tweaked and monitored in an efficient manner to get better results, better visibility and ultimately improve profits. One online blog spoke of 12 reasons as to why a business can benefit from Google AdWords, along with tips for succeeding in its implementation.

An example of Google AdWords analytical features (Photo credit: Google PPC)
An example of Google AdWords analytical features (Photo credit: Google PPC)

One big issue relating to Google AdWords is the incorrect use of Negative Keywords. Negative Keywords remove a business’ ad listing from specific broad matches. For example, if one were to have an ad for “womens dress shoes” the Negative Keywords would be similar to “womens running shoes” – in order for the ad to not needlessly appear in that search. Negative Keywords attribute to a significant waste in a PPC budget, which can be solved if properly addressed. It does however serve to show that AdWords can in fact inhibit a small business if rendered incorrectly. Conversely, one website touched on the details involving such AdWord implementation failures.

Another aspect to consider is that of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and its role of enhancing a small business. It could be argued that SEO can be more cost-efficient to that of AdWords, with a business focusing on it’s website’s organic search listing without a sometimes costly daily spend associated with ads. This can work particularly well with local businesses whereby searches are more targeted, e.g. “cleaner in Brighton” as oppose to just “cleaner”. Resultantly, conversion rates would be higher for such businesses and a high organic listing may grow; sometimes providing credibility and trust to the consumer as they know it has not been bought. Another interesting article found delves into this in further detail.

Concluding, it seems as though that if correct implemented, monitored and optimised, Google AdWords can provide positive benefits for a small business in the form of visibility, conversion and enhanced profitability. One must ultimately take into account however that if poorly maintained, AdWords can serve to inhibit a small business’ financial resources which could have severe consequences in the long-term. Having said this, there are also other factors such as SEO to take into account, which may in some circumstances be a more effective solution depending on the type of business in question.


References and Sources

Crowley, M. (2014), “Optimize Keywords to Improve SEO”, Journal of Financial Planning, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 17.

Gardella, A. (2014). Business Owners Compare Notes on AdWords and Staying Competitive. [Blog] The Art of Running A Small Business. Available at: [Accessed 30 Jan. 2016].

Wishpond, (2013). Why Does My Small Business Need Google AdWords? [Ultimate Guide]. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Jan. 2016].

Kim, L. (2014). The Real Reason AdWords Isn’t Working For Many Small Businesses. [online] Search Engine Land. Available at: [Accessed 30 Jan. 2016].

BusinessZone, (2014). Is AdWords a waste of money for small businesses?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Jan. 2016].

How important is an online presence for SMEs?

(Photo credit: NPA Consultant)

Jenkins et al, (2013) outlined that “consumers play an active role in spreading content” through the use of social media. A substantial number of SMEs (Small-to-medium enterprises) often place their digital marketing focus solely on social media; for instance Facebook or Twitter. This is commonly attributed to the simple template that these platforms offer; whereby content just needs to be generated from posts and/or media (such as pictures or video). Resultantly however, businesses are increasingly neglecting defining an online presence (for example through a website domain) as they do not understand the true value of doing so. This blogging post aims to explore and outline why a solid online presence is valuable towards helping an SME to grow their business. An interesting place to start is Forbes’ article on How Much Is Online Presence Helping Small Business.

A study conducted by Verisign in 2013; namely “Benefits And Barriers Of Bringing A Small Business Online: Perspectives From Global Small Businesses“, demonstrated how smaller businesses can leverage their position with relatively minimal effort. If the effort is relatively minimal, the question is; why are some small businesses still falling behind and not maximizing the benefit of having an online presence? Let’s look into the facts. In the UK, for example, Verisign discovered that 28% of SME respondents stated that they were not looking to eventually invest in a website for their company. This is despite the fact that Weebly (the online comprehensive website builder), stated that from research in 2013, 56% of consumers opted not to trust a business which does not have a website. Combined with Google Consumer Surveys, Weebly outlined important reasons as to why websites matter; from both consumer and business perspective:

(Picture source: Weebly)
(Photo credit: Weebly)

So why do some still opt not to define their online presence through a website domain? This could be attributed to a variety of aspects, as outlined by Weebly’s research:

  • 75% of consumers surveyed stated that they believed they could not create a website of high quality on their own; evidently preventing them from setting up a website
  • 50% of consumers stated that they struggled to finish their website, due to not having a plan or structure in place to do so
  • 20% of entrepreneurs who were questioned outlined that their hardest challenge was trying to stay up-to-date with technology

It seems as though businesses which lack a website domain have an incorrect perception of the difficultly in creating one. Even areas which would seem even more daunting to those with little website design experience, for example cross-platform optimisation (PC to Mobile) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), have now been incorporated into new technologies allowing the small business entrepreneur to get up and running without existing constraints; outlined in an article concerning Weebly’s new planner and mobile editor.

Organisations such as Weebly and Wix offer amalgamated platforms for the aforementioned, whereby users can create a functioning website (sometimes for free or at little cost) using an integrated planning tool; including ‘drag and drop’ systems, allowing those with limited website creation knowledge to get started at lightning speeds. Despite the importance of social media, it is also important to note that the website domain is essentially the online foundation of any business. It is important to note also, that domain name registration can cost as little as 99p. Even if one chooses not to add content and simply use it as a redirection tool to their social media pages, the domain still adds credibility and professionalism in pointing potential consumers towards the business; whether that be a service and/or goods. Additionally, a website combines with the use of branded email (for instance, a hallmark of communication decorum which one does not get with Facebook or Twitter.

These aspects mentioned outline the utter importance of having a website or at the very least a website domain for redirection, and with the emergence of affordable and effective solutions which are widely available it can be argued that there are now no excuses for implementation.

The video below highlights the essential benefits a website brings to a business:


References and Sources:

Jenkins, H., Ford, S. and Green, J. (2013). Spreadable media. New York: New York University Press.

The Small Business Authority, N. (2013). How Much Is Online Presence Helping Small Business?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Jan. 2016].

BENEFITS AND BARRIERS OF BRINGING A SMALL BUSINESS ONLINE: PERSPECTIVES FROM GLOBAL SMALL BUSINESSES. (2013). 1st ed. [ebook] Verisign, pp.4-9. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2016]., (2013). Weebly – The Power of Sites. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Jan. 2016].

Empson, R. (2013). With Over 15M Sites Built, Weebly Launches New Planner And Mobile Editor, Brings Website Creation Service To Android. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 28 Jan. 2016].