If you’re coming across this blog, odds are you are either struggling to kick-start some growth through your paid ads, tired of spending too much just to not get a return on your investment, or you’re just lost on what adjustments to make on your ads, when, and why.
Now, you may have just decided to offload this “guessing” and hire an agency or media buyer to help you scale your ads, but you still wonder how to know for yourself. For whatever ad “situationship” you might be in, we want to help you understand what the heck is going on with your data and how long it should take for you to see results.
Last week we broke down the foundation of scaling ads using Facebook Ads, and this week we will take a look at how you can do the same using Google Ads. If you didn’t get a chance to look at that one, head over to that blog for the basics of how long it takes for accounts to see results based on their account maturity, Average Order Value, and other metrics!
The good and bad news is, like we mentioned last week, scaling your ads just “depends”. There are several factors that go into account with each business, and you can use them to your advantage. Before you begin asking yourself when you can expect to see results or how much you should spend through Google, think through these 3 questions:
- What is my product or service? Are people searching for it?
- Is my product or service in a highly competitive space?
- How much does my product cost compared to my ad budget?
You may be wondering, “what does this have to do with when I should see results?” It sets you up for accurate expectations. Don’t worry, we will explain.
Are people searching for your product or service?
This question is extremely important because it frames what your expectations should be. Oftentimes, customers are searching for the product or service itself or searching for a problem that they need a solution to. If your product or service is being searched often and you are established in Google, then users will find you and it will be easier to get those clicks that later turn into conversions.
However, if your product or service is a bit niche, very innovative, or is hard to explicitly write out, it may not be likely that customers search it into Google even if you are using good keywords. This could delay the amount of time it takes to convert users, however, this could help you rank better when you do get established in your niche.
Does your product or service have a lot of competitors?
If your product or service is very popular and has many competitors, it may be searched, but you will have many other businesses to beat in search, making your CPC (Cost-per-Click) very high. Some of our clients in competitive spaces, like financial retirement, have small budgets and are put in a position to compete in search with competitors who spend millions on ads.
This is much different than Facebook, where your CPM (Cost Per Thousand) is variable, but your CPC is pretty consistent business to business. On Google, CPC can be from $50 to $75 to even $100 because the auction is directly competitive. Even with such intense competition, there are some tools to help if you’re in a competitive field. Our favorite is SpyFu, a search analytics tool, to help you spy on competitors and understand your market.
If you don’t have too many competitors, you can drive those conversions with targeted keywords AND some time spent within Google Ads. The more Google’s algorithm warms up to your account, the more it will help you efficiently spend. You want to spend a healthy amount over time so that it can work its magic!
How much does your product cost compared to your ad budget?
This is another good question to manage expectations. With a high-cost product (ex: $10,000 product with $30,000 ad budget and a $5,000 expected cost per sale), you will drive lower conversions. In this example, you would drive 6 conversions ($30,000 ad budget/$5,000 cost per sale) which is extremely low for Google’s algorithm. You want to aim for double or triple-digit conversions so the algorithm can warm up to you and give you tips, and better yet, results.
For low-cost products (ex: $5 product), your feedback loop and conversion will tend to be a lot higher because what you spend on ads vs. what you get can really be augmented. So consider which one you are before expecting to see results in a certain time frame.
Overall, when getting started, spend 2-4 months spending a healthy amount on ads, not too high, not too low (e.g. $25+ a day – lower will take 6 months), and if your conversion rate is not reflecting in sales, you may need to look into seeing where your customers are stopping in the funnel. For example, if you have 20-50 clicks and no add to carts, users are getting stuck.
For Experienced Users
Where are you in the Sales Funnel and how does that impact your ad spend?
Okay, so now that you’ve got an idea of what kind of position you should be in, in the Google algorithm, naturally you’re beginning to spend on ads and even spend significantly. If you’ve gone through this process, are spending, and still don’t see results, you may have changed direction, strategy, agencies, or account structure.
So for those who are warmed up to the algorithm, your ad scaling all comes down to the variety of Google products you are utilizing. Let’s explain them:
- Lower Funnel Products: Branded Search Campaigns, Smart Shopping, DSA (Dynamic Search Ads) etc.
These products are at the bottom of the sales funnel because customers are warmed up to your products at this stage and are very close to buying. These stages should not take too much time before you see results. If customers aren’t buying under these, there is something wrong with the flow.
- Mid Funnel Products: Non-Branded Search Campaigns
This stage may take time to see results. Give Google 30 days to reveal performance here. The Google algorithm is slow and one small change, even to ad copy, can reflect on the entire process from CTR (Click-Through Rate) to quality score to CPM to inventory, all the way to conversions. If your CTR is going up, and your bounce rate is not increasing, you can expect results in 2-4 weeks.
- Top Funnel Products: Discovery Campaigns, Display, YouTube, etc.
Driving ROI (Return on Investment) from these top-of-the-funnel products is hard and is usually at a loss. These campaigns are hitting new faces and people who aren’t aware of your product yet. However, if you shock this area with spend, you should see results in 30 days. If you have a higher ticket products (ex: $10,000 priced product), then it may take 90 days.
What You Can Expect
So we come back to the golden question: how long does it actually take to scale a Google campaign? We say, typically, 6 to 8 months to scale. For new accounts, it usually takes 2 months to expand into Non-Branded keywords and launch into DSA. After 2 months, the next phase is medium to the top of funnel campaigns like Non-Branded Search and YouTube campaigns. Our clients are not millionaires, so when one of Google’s products is not working for our clients, we cut the campaign.
Typically the first 14-30 days reveal an upward, stagnant, or downward trend and help us identify what is worth continual spend. This goes for anything. Spend money where it is working!
Note: Even if you see 0 conversions from a campaign, don’t miss out on those who may have not converted but seen your product. To catch these users, go into your conversions columns and look for “views through conversions” and see who viewed it, didn’t buy at the moment, but came back later to buy.
Key Points to Remember
- Understand the search standing and competitive nature of your product
- Give the algorithm time, Google likes to warm up to you before results come
- If you’re stuck after spending for some time, try seeing where you are in the funnel and diversifying the Google product strategies
- Look out for the first 14-30 days to see if your campaigns are working
- Trust your data and see if your metrics are matching up with sales, if not, re-evaluate where your users are in your funnel and troubleshoot