What is Google AdWords and How Can it Change My Business?

Launched at the turn of the Millennium, Google AdWords has revitalised the independent retail business, but what is Google AdWords and can it help you?

Written by Tom 22 August 2017

Seventeen years after its inception, Google AdWords has developed into an awesome advertising network helping millions of businesses around the world spread their message and grow their revenue. At last check, 96% of Google’s revenue came from the AdWords network, which is the equivalent of $43.7b, and considering every $1 spent on AdWords equals $2 in sales, that means businesses are expected to make nearly $100b a year thanks to advertising on Google.

Google AdWords is the advertising system which allows you to place adverts onto the Google search engine. These ads will show when a term is searched for, and your ad will only cost money if it is clicked.

So for example on the screenshot above, I searched for “hairdressers new york”, and clicked the second link to take me to the company, ‘Roma’s Barber Shop & Hair Salon’. As you can see, the premise of AdWords is quite straightforward, though there is much to understand first before you dive straight in.

AdWords is Perfect For Any Business

"Our company's grown 100 fold since going online, on Google and Adwords," says the owner of Farm Fresh To You who deliver organic produce to homes and offices in California, United States. 

With Google AdWords, FarmFresh had the ability to target specific demographic such as; location, household income, gender, age, and parental status. This meant they were easily able to aim their Ads at people who are likely to be interested in their product, and those people who live in the state of California. 

However, if you take this approach, it means you first have to do some research into understanding your own customer and client base so you recognise the type of people who are buying from you already. If you're a local business, you're obviously going to target people in a specific area, but in terms of the likes of age and gender, you need to delve into your knowledge base. There's no use sending out Ads to who you think may be interested, at least not in the early stages; you need to send out Ads to those who you know who would be interested.

What's great about AdWords for small businesses is that you only pay every time your ad is clicked, so therefore, only when your ad is working. It's then your website's job to convert that website visitor into a customer. AdWords has levelled out the playing field so smaller businesses can compete against the global conglomerates. You don't have to pay thousands of dollars in the hope you'll catch someone's eye on TV or in a magazine; with AdWords you target only people who'll be interested in your product, and only pay when you have the customer at your mercy.

The beauty is, it doesn’t have to be costly at all, and you can get clicks to your website for as low as 1¢. That isn’t hugely common, but it is possible, and on average digital advertising is cheaper and more efficient than traditional media. Whereas advertising in magazines and newspapers are likely to cost you $14 and $32.50 per conversion respectively, advertising on AdWords will cost $1.90 and $10.40. 

But it's not solely designed for local businesses, or even small to medium businesses. Nissan's UK branch, who make a profit of over £100m a year and employ over 6000 people, use Google AdWords to increase their store visits, and have seen a return of £25 to every £1 they spend.

Nissan will, of course, target certain types of demographics and locations, but they also really focus on what 'Keywords' work best for them. Keywords are the words or phrases you choose on AdWords that describe your product or service to determine when your Ad will show in a Google search. You set the price for you Keyword, and you bid against other people who are advertising for it.

"When we go into AdWords we can go all the way down to keyword level to find out which kind of keywords are actually driving people into dealerships from our search activity," says the Search Account Director at Nissan UK.

Finding out the right keywords that are best for you is again about knowing your audience and your customer, but there's also more research you can do here. Firstly you should use the Keyword Planner tool that Google offers to measure how often a keyword is searched for, how much competition you'll face bidding for the term, and how much you'll pay for an average click. You should also research what your competitors, or likeminded businesses, are searching for too so you can gain some inspiration from their current activity.

Will AdWords Be Too Hard For Me To Use?

AdWords doesn't have the most straightforward, intuitive interface in the world, that's one of the main reasons we created Adzooma to streamline this process and make it easy for anyone to use.

At Adzooma, we took the AdWords interface, and adapted it for beginners. We've had a lot of experience working with AdWords, at all different levels, and we know it's not particularly easy to get the hang of. That's why we developed Adzooma to hold your hand through the whole process; by making the ads easy to create, making the data clear and painless to read, and by providing you with insights and suggestions to improve you adverts.

They're not the kinds of things you get with Google AdWords. Google provides the network, we provide the enhancement. 


89% of consumers use a search engine to find information on products or services before buying, and Google itself receives 3.5 billion searches per day so the need to spread your wings and enter the Google AdWords network is pretty much a must at this point in time.

It is possible to get to the top of the Google rankings without paying, but that requires years of hard work, and there is no quick fix. AdWords allows you to jump right to the top, and for a relatively small price too.

AdWords works so well that 40% of consumers are unaware that Google Adwords are adverts, they just believe they're just organic search results. This is how effective your ads can be, and with the customisation to lure the potential customer in all at your feet, you really have the ability to change your business with a powerful AdWords strategy.