Not for small businesses; dishonest promotion
September 01, 2020

Not for small businesses; dishonest promotion

Anamaria Setti | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Google Ads (formerly AdWords)

I signed up as a new Google Ads user based on a promotion for new users. I don't have any prior experience using Google Ads. I tried the service to increase traffic to my website.
  • It has detailed tracking tools.
  • There is an app so you can monitor progress on your mobile.
  • You can customize settings to view stats most important to you.
  • Transparency and clarity of terms and conditions, especially for new customers.
  • Making the web interface more intuitive for new users.
  • Enable specific audience targeting in Smart Campaigns (this is done exceptionally well in Instagram ads).
  • Differentiate how Smart Campaigns are run by business size and category.
  • I've gained 2 new contacts for my email list.
  • I got stuck paying the full cost of my first campaign (no $150 credit).
  • I've learned which days and times have peak traffic to my website, but I have no idea if this is specific to my audience or due to how Google chose to show my ad.
  • I still don't know the locations of my audience; Google doesn't share this information.
  • I still don't know which keywords or search phrases are best for my business.
  • My clickthrough rate is very poor, but I have no understanding of why.
I've run ads on Instagram several times and while they are structured differently from Google Ads I found them to yield much better results as well as learnings regarding my audience. Instagram ads are far more affordable than Google Ads, they allow for extremely specific audience targeting, they yield much more specific insights from the very first campaign, and they actually did increase my followers and views of my Instagram profile. The low cost allows for far more experimentation and capitalizing on insights after each ad.
This is not a tool I'd recommend to small businesses or people new to Google Ads. Unfortunately, I responded to a Google Ads promotion aimed at exactly the aforementioned categories and got burned.

The promotion is a $150 credit for new users but the terms are vague and misleading. It should more clearly state that the credit will only apply towards a second campaign and that new users will have to pay for their first ad out of pocket. Since the promotion targets new customers it's obvious that many won't fully understand the process. I found out once the promotion completed and I saw an unexpected charge for the full cost of the campaign.

Like many other companies, Google is capitalizing on the pandemic and targeting businesses that are struggling and looking to earn new customers. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable due to limited knowledge of ad campaigns and a lack of funds. Perhaps Google Ads is far better suited to larger, more established businesses with experience running ads, a well-defined audience and the ability to spend on multiple campaigns.

Evaluating Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and Competitors

  • Price
  • Vendor Reputation
The $150 promotional credit was the deciding factor. While Google has a reputation for playing a huge role in every aspect of online business, I knew my competition would be very challenging. I figured even if I spent a small amount over the $150 it would be worth the insights I would have at the end of the campaign. In retrospect, having not received the credit toward my first ad I'm glad I didn't spend much more.
I would do twice as much research and ask questions of the vendor directly before responding to a promotion. When on a tiny budget, choosing where to spend the money makes all the difference in ROI.