Want a Free AdWords Budget for 2014? Grade and Get Paid!

June 14, 2019

Are you a small business using Google AdWords to market your offerings? That’s great!

The bad news is, you’re probably wasting about a fourth of your budget.

We recently did a survey of 500 small business AdWords accounts, and found that the average account owner is wasting over 25% of his or her AdWords budget. Since the typical small business spends $1200 per month on PPC, that means $300 is going in the trash every month – adding up to $3600 a year. And that’s just the average – many companies are wasting closer to half their total spend.

That’s not all we found. There is plenty of room for improvement in the typical SMB AdWords account.


We identified the top five areas where small business marketers need to renovate their accounts. Learn about the opportunities you’re missing in the below infographic – then read on to learn how to enter our $25,000 Marketing Makeover contest!

The State of Small Business PPC: Top 5 Areas You Need to Renovate!

Our latest infographic details the top five ways to revamp your account and get better results from PPC:

Free AdWords

Some key findings from our research include:

Missed Opportunities and Lost Leads

Depending on the vertical, that 25% of wasted budget adds up to a lot of lost business:

  • The typical finance & insurance business loses 126 insurance quotes per year
  • A bed & breakfast in the travel & tourism business loses 367 guest inquiries
  • A shopping company loses 569 product sales
  • A car dealership loses 273 test drive appointments
  • A fitness company loses 218 gym memberships
  • A B2B companies loses 157 leads
  • A software company loses 211 enterprise software inquiries

Low Account Activity

Just doing more work in your PPC account is probably the single easiest way to improve your results. But most SMB AdWords managers are guilty of laziness:

  • Only 1% of small business advertisers does work in their account every week
  • Over half (53%) of SMBs only optimize their ads once per quarter
  • 43% of advertisers haven’t added a new negative keyword in the past 30 days

In 2013, the typical small biz AdWords account has two campaigns and 212 keywords, but only:

  • 9 ad groups,
  • 18 text ads, and
  • 3 landing pages

(Hint: that’s not enough.)

Weak Keyword Research

Accounts of all sizes need to:

  • Do long-tail keyword research. These more specific, targeted keywords offer less competition, lower CPCs, and more qualified clicks.
  • Use the right match types. Over half of small business aren’t using modified broad match at all. 1 in 4 accounts only use broad match!
  • Leverage negative keywords. 1 in 5 small biz AdWords accounts don’t contain a single negative keyword.

Too few keywords and negative keywords and overly broad match types are a big contributor to all that wasted spend.

Poor Ad Relevancy

More relevant ads get higher Quality Scores. With a perfect Quality Score of 10, you’d enjoy 80% lower cost per click and a 50% discount on cost per action. The lower your score, the more you pay – and the average AdWords Quality Score for small businesses is 5.

Ineffective Landing Pages

Landing pages are how you seal the deal in PPC – once you’ve got the click, you’ve still got to convince your visitor to convert. Small business advertisers aren’t crossing the finish line because:

  • Over 25% of accounts send all their PPC traffic to one landing page.
  • 1 in 5 small businesses send all their PPC clicks to the home page.
  • Less than half of small businesses have conversion tracking installed.

These mistakes lead to poor ROI and big holes in reporting.

Lack of Mobile Optimization

It’s time to get with the mobile program. And yet:

  • Only 1 out of 20 SMB accounts has set up call extensions in all their mobile campaigns. (Call extensions increase mobile CTR by 10%!)
  • Fewer than 20% of AdWords accounts have mobile-preferred ads.

Any of this sound familiar? Have you even checked your account in the past week?! Things may be looking grim in there…

But all is not lost! 

Enter to Win a Free AdWords Budget ($25,000!) and Tools for a Complete Marketing Makeover

Next week, we’ll be announcing more details around our “$25,000 Marketing Makeover – Grade and Get Paid” contest, where a grand prize winner will receive a $25,000 FREE Google AdWords budget for 2014, plus a year of WordStream Advisor software and other prizes. Visit http://www.wordstream.com/gradeandgetpaid and use our free AdWords Performance Grader to generate a customized AdWords Performance Report. Your free report will highlight areas within your PPC account that need attention and provide tips on how to restore and repair your paid search campaigns. The grand prize will be awarded to the company that makes the most improvements over the duration of the contest. See the contest page for official rules and eligibility. You can learn more in the below video:

Good luck!

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is WordStream's Director of Content and SEO. Likes include wine, karaoke, poker, ping-pong, perfume, and poetry.

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