I used to try Google Adwords at least once per year to see if I could get it to work for us, but I just couldn’t get it to be cost effective. We even hired highly rated Adwords professionals to try to get it going with a decent return on investment, and even they failed to do so. The reason I kept coming back for more every year was for one reason. Our competitors’ ads never went away. Why would they keep advertising year after year if all they were doing was losing money?

In 2015 we hired yet another company to setup and test a variety of campaigns (search, display, dynamic retargeting and shopping ads), and once again, they were unable to make them profitable, despite all of the initial promises. So we canned the company, and put all of the campaigns on pause, and once again went back to working on other areas of our businesses.

In 2016 we concentrated primarily on improving our product ranges, setting up proper email campaigns (popups, abandoned cart sequences, after sales sequences) and improving on-site conversion elements (adding product videos etc.). The combined effect of which significantly improved our conversion rate and average order value. Out of curiosity, I unpaused all of our adwords campaigns, and lo and behold, the majority of them were now profitable.

Doh.

It seems so obvious in hindsight, but we never had a cost-per-click problem, we had a sales funnel problem. From that point on, we look at PPC very differently. Now we do what it takes to get our ad to a top position in adwords, and then if it’s not profitable, instead of pausing the ad, we try to figure out how to make it profitable. Think about it. If your goal is to dominate your niche, you need to figure out how to be profitable at #1 everywhere you can be. If you sell headphones for example, and you are losing money when you bid for related keywords, instead of giving up on adwords, try to figure out why you aren’t converting enough (or making enough) to make it profitable. Are your profit margins too low? Do you have an adequately converting website or email sequence? Maybe you need to increase the lifetime value of your customers through a better post purchase email sequence? Maybe you don’t have retargeting setup properly and your adwords competitors do?

So here’s your challenge. Don’t wait for adwords to be profitable – make it profitable. Because if you don’t, your competitor will.