The Very Fine Line Between Success and Failure in Google AdWords

Do you have a Google AdWords campaign that’s in the toilet? I mean one that’s totally stinking up the joint?

Well, take heart, cuz I’ve got some good news for ya.

And it’s this…

… the difference between a successful, profitable Google AdWords campaign and one that stinks and is unprofitable might not be as big as you think.

I was thinking about this recently while watching my daughter’s soccer team. They got off to a horrendous start this season.

They lost their first 3 games and, making matters worse, they didn’t even score. In fact, the team barely got the ball past midfield. It was pretty painful to watch.

Now, in the big scheme of things, this really isn’t a big deal. It’s 2nd grade soccer. The stakes ain’t that high. The main goal is for the girls to have fun and improve their soccer skills.

All that said, it does stink to lose. And even though no official score was being kept, the team knew the score. (Or, in their case, the lack thereof.) So by the end of the 2nd and 3rd games of the season, there was some grumbling from the team about not scoring. And, at least some of the girls were feeling a bit dejected.

Then, one day at practice, the coach made a little adjustment that changed EVERYTHING.

What was it?

Well, when our goalie got the ball, he just had her run all the way up to the very edge of the goal box and throw or kick the ball up field as far as she could.

That’s it. Simple, right?

Maybe, but the the effect has been STARTLING…

Since making that one tweak, the team hasn’t lost. They’ve even BEATEN a few of the teams that trounced them earlier in the season.

Our coach had made the observation that our goalies were throwing the ball from too close to our own goal. And, more often than not, the other team would get to the ball first and, with such a short field, had an easy shot at a goal. While the times our team got to the ball first, they had to go the length of the field -through the opposing team – to get a chance at scoring.

Our goalies getting the ball further up the field turned the tide and gave our team much better odds at scoring.

Little tweak. HUGE difference.

A similar dynamic is often at play in your Google AdWords campaigns. The difference between success and failure may come down to one little tweak…

  • Writing new ad copy.
  • Changing the headline or offer on a landing page.
  • Identifying poor performing keywords and removing them from your AdWords campaign.
  • Making a bid adjustment to favor mobile traffic over desktop traffic (or vice versa).

Making changes like this can take a Google AdWords campaign that’s losing money and turn it into one that’s making a tidy profit… I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes!

Sure, sometimes a complete overhaul is necessary (whether we’re talking about a Google AdWords campaign or a soccer team). But often our tendency is to assume that it will take a Herculean Effort to fix things.

But the shame of making this assumption is that so many people give up when they are oh-so-close to success. So they end up thinking their AdWords campaign can’t be fixed or AdWords doesn’t work or isn’t worth fixing…

… and they end up stopping at the 1 yard line just before they score.

If you can have an expert give you some PPC help… or if you can take some time to stop and look more deeply at what’s going on… you can often see those small tweaks that can lead to a huge difference in outcomes.

In the case of my daughter’s soccer team, it took changing how the goalie put the ball back in play.

What might it be that can turn your Google AdWords campaign around?

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Adam K
Adam K

Adam has been fascinated with online marketing, particularly PPC, since 2004 and opened his own PPC management company in 2006. Over the years he's written extensively about Google AdWords and online marketing on his own sites as well as partnered with/written for Perry Marshall, Ryan Deiss of and Neil Patel.