Are Small Businesses Giving Up on Google AdWords?

Jul 23, 2008 • 7:40 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

An interesting thread at WebmasterWorld has discussion on the topic of less small businesses using Google AdWords. The thread create, senior member, annej, said:

I have a hobby related site and use AdSense. Ads from small online businesses were especially interesting to my visitors as they sell the hobby supplies. These small business ads have decreased.

I'm wondering if there is a reason. Have recent changes in AdWords affected small businesses? Or is the sinking economy the cause?

Have you also noticed a drop in small business competition in your AdWords sector? Let us know by taking this quick poll:

Many of the responses agree, but do you? As to why, many suspect it has to do with all the advanced features bundled into AdWords. Now, these are all features we have been asking for over the course of the years. But these advanced features simply make it hard for new advertisers to get started.

Senior member netmeg added that Google does have a starter edition but the issue with the starter edition is it is a form of "Budget Optimizer, and that lumps Search in with Content, no geo targeting, and sets an absurd maximum CPC amount." So small business allegedly are stuck paying a premium for not having the time to become an expert. I guess that is the price you pay - you either learn it yourself, pay someone to do it for you or pay the cost of competing against more seasoned advertisers.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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No Name

07/23/2008 01:00 pm

Yes No Other: text is dark on my lcd that I can't see it


07/23/2008 01:30 pm

Organic > PPC!


07/23/2008 02:02 pm

Small business are not just dropping out of AdWords, they are being crushed by larger companies that have bigger bugdets and bigger weapons. I wrote an entire 46 page exclusive report on this trend and what small businesses need to do to survive that I am giving away for free at Mike

David Brown

07/23/2008 02:28 pm

@Mike I still see a LOT of small business' running adwords campaigns. Most small business owners are not educated about adwords and just figure that it's a marketing cost... just like a Yellow pages ad... When most of them would get more value by submitting to Google Local... .02


07/23/2008 02:29 pm

My company, Convos (, just started using Adwords this year. I am fairly tech savvy and learned to use it well. I think the drop in usage is relevant to certain industries and keywords. You get an advantage with creativity, but there is also an advantage with good optimization and metric analysis. Perhaps it is those 3 things that really put pressure on small businesses because they take a lot of time. I really don't think advanced features have anything to do with getting started. You will get started right away and Google will help you spend your money. It's your job to make sure it's spent wisely and that takes practice.

Mike Calimbas

07/23/2008 08:44 pm

Perhaps business owners are starting to get wise in that they realize they need a more integrated approach in relation to how they spend their online marketing dollars. SEO + PPC = Conversions.


07/23/2008 10:41 pm

The people in our niche who no longer advertise have either went out of business or their business is really hurting due to the economy. I bet you will be suprised to see that some of the sites that used to advertise, are no longer in business.

No Name

07/24/2008 05:28 am

I agree with David Brown, most small businesses are just not educated enough. Heck even larger traditional agencies think you can just take the five minutes to set up an Adwords campaign right a few ads and add those 20 keywords Google recommends. Just like traditional marketing tactics and branding strategies, I feel that online marketing is also a trade. Just because you own a small business is not excuse to try and manage a PPC campaign on your own. As a small business owner, seek a professional PPC management company and you will get ROI. 90% of campaigns fail due to poor keyword selection and ad group organization. The bottom line is, you will just throw money down the drain if you are not tracking ROI OR know how to manage your account correctly.

Jordan McClements

07/24/2008 11:19 am

I know more than a few small businesses that Adwords for themselves, and saw a very poor return on investment - and decided to stop..


07/24/2008 04:46 pm

I'm more than well versed in PPC and struggled with promoting my own small business on AdWords. What it came down to was the money, I just didn't have the budget to pay for all the clicks that didn't convert. Even with geo-targeting, ad scheduling, google and search networks, it wasn't enough.


08/21/2008 11:08 pm

minimum bids seem to be getting higher and higher. perhaps that is partially caused by having a crowded marketplace of both large and small businesses, and this is merely a pendulum swing.

No Name

07/21/2009 07:31 pm

Well i can tell you why i stopped with adwords, one is that click fraud is really high, Two since google has made keywords relative, it gives no chance to find that niche keyword phrase which you could pay 10p a click, what i mean is if i include the word ink, cartridge in my phrase it will still cost me as high as if i just had ink cartridges, so b4 i could have a phrase like cheap t0711 ink cartridges, and if my competitors did not bid on the exact phrase then it would be cheap, but now google has it so that you can just bid on the main keyword ink cartridges and if anyone uses that keyword in their phrase then you will show up, now this has driven the costs up really high for any phrase in which you have expensive keywords. So now i just dont bother with google adwords anymore, small businesses should just stay away from it, its far too expensive and click fraud is far too high.


03/01/2011 10:36 am

I am a small taxi service in Richmond, VA. Years ago, it was easy to use the google ad words and get good results in calls to my service. Now I am very fustrated. It is so costly, the calls are wasted by "how much to and I will call you back" and they never call back because of my competition under cutting cost. So, I have had to stop using the ad words. Where did I get some help!

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