This past month, I started purchasing Google AdWords
to promote a website on brake safety. It gave me a whole new perspective on what is happening to online and mobile advertising.
allows you to bid on and purchase text-based ads that appear on the top, bottom and sides of a search page results for specific search term when inputted by a “Googler” (AKA: potential customer).
A company only pays if a person clicks on an ad. Prices and keywords are set by the buyers in a live auction and are driven by search traffic and clicks.
Where it gets interesting is when an ad is “enhanced” to target people in a business’s vicinity by using an computer’s address or the GPS signal of a smartphone.
Terms like “brake job,” “warper rotor” or “tune up” can be very expensive because of the close association with a potential repair or parts purchase. These consumer searches terms can cost more than $3 a click without enhancements. If the advertiser targets a particular location or demographic, the click can sometimes cost an advertiser an extra $2.
Who would pay $3-$6 if someone clicks on a link to their website? The answer is surprising; 1.2 million businesses use these ads and Google claims that every dollar spent in their network results in $2 of revenue. They must be doing something right.
If you want to get a little taste of this type of advertising, go to Google.com and search the phase “brake job”
and see what comes up. If you are on your desktop computer, at the top of the search results are probably ads for major chains, dealers or parts stores. The ads may include the address of the closest location. If you were to view it on a smart phone or tablet, the links to location could open up a GPS navigation app or the shops phone number could be dialed with just one click.
The order of the ads depends on who paid the most for the search term in a given area. It is not based on who has the best website or best brake jobs. The ad at the top of the page may cost $3.00 while the ad at the bottom or in the right hand column may cost as little as .50¢.
Should your shop purchase Google AdWords? Yes, and no. If you are looking to expand your customer base, AdWords can be cost effective way to target new customers in your area. But, it can be labor-intensive and somewhat addictive. You might find yourself constantly checking to make sure a competitor has not out bid you for a keyword. Or, you can try to find less expensive yet just as effective search keywords.
In terms of cost, you set how much you want to spend per day, you are not locked into a contract. If it is slow and you need to fill the bays you can specify $50 a day. If business is going well and you are booked for the week, you can cut back to $10 a day, or even deactivate the ad until you need customers.
Is it easy to set up? Yes, go to adwords.google.com to set up an account. Google has done a great job creating video tutorials and they have call centers with intelligent representatives that can help you manage your account.
There is a statistic often quoted by internet “gurus” and journalist that goes “9 out of every 10 mobile phone Internet searches results in some type of action, such as a website visit or phone call.” It is a power statistic if it is true. For the independent shop with one or two shops, AdWords can allow you to compete with new car dealers and chains in the mobile and location base advertising arena, if you are willing to pay for the clicks.