Every few months or so we get at least one article crop up in our feeds telling us why AdWords does or doesn’t work for small businesses. It’s a predictable debate: one side picks as many AdWords flaws as they possibly can – some justified, others not so much – and the other blames small business owners for not using the right features, techniques or strategies.

Last week, another article cropped up to say AdWords isn’t working for you because you’re not using long-tail keywords and all the other nonsense we’ve heard a hundred times before. But none of these features/tactics explain why AdWords doesn’t work for some businesses, regardless of size.

Why is AdWords more difficult for small businesses?

There are a few reasons why PPC can be more difficult for smaller businesses than their larger counterparts. Bigger budgets are the first thing that come to mind, of course, and more spend gives you extra room to manoeuvre. But this isn’t the biggest challenge for small businesses when it comes to AdWords or any other PPC channel.

It doesn’t matter how much budget you’ve got, without the right kind of AdWords knowledge and time spent on getting the most from your ad spend. Likewise, small businesses can get genuine results from AdWords with a fraction of the budget their competitors have.

So how can this be?

The AdWords winners aren’t necessarily the businesses that invest the most money. Instead, they’re the ones who invest enough time to make sure their money is spent on ads that reach the right people and convert as many of those as possible. Which is where small businesses are really at a disadvantage.

“AdWords winners aren’t necessarily the businesses that invest the most money. Instead, they’re the ones who invest enough time to make sure their money is spent on ads that reach the right people and convert as many of those as possible.”

Getting the most out of your AdWords spend is not a one-person job. You need a team to make things happen and if you can’t build one yourself, you need to outsource to one than can.

Paid advertising is a team effort

These articles saying “AdWords isn’t working for you because you’re not doing this” are coming from things at the wrong angle. We’re talking about articles like this:


Yes, you should be doing remarketing to chase up leads. Yes, you need to be using negative keywords so you’re not wasting money on irrelevant searches. And there are hundreds of other things you should be doing with your AdWords account – but none of these explain why you might fail.

The only reason you’ll fail with AdWords – or any other advertising platform – is because you don’t have the right team or tools to handle all of the necessary tasks. It’s great for a blog post to tell you AdWords isn’t working because you’re not using ad scheduling but who’s going to monitor search habits across the day so you know when to schedule your ads?

Or who’s going to monitor your ad spend across each day of the week to see which days and times you could redistribute your spend to get a higher ROI from the same investment? These are things that turn smaller budgets into bugger results and they’re not going to happen by themselves.

This isn’t only a small business problem

As we said before, smaller businesses are at a disadvantage in the sense it’s harder for them to build a dedicated advertising team, not to mention the landing page designers, content writers and other marketing tasks their PPC strategy requires.

This isn’t only a problem for small businesses, though. It’s difficult for a business of any size to build a full team of advertising experts and staff that can handle the day-to-day running of multiple accounts. It’s not necessarily the most cost-effective approach either, depending on how many accounts they have (AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), the workload they require and the tools they need to use.

This is why agencies like ourselves exist and businesses of all sizes come to us to manage the advertising tasks they don’t have the resources for themselves. If you’re in a position to build your own advertising team, and you think it’s the most cost-effective approach for you, then you have your answer. If you’re not in this position, then you’re going to need to outsource that workload to an agency that already has the team, tools and know-how to get the most from your advertising budget.

It’s not AdWords features that define success of your advertising campaigns, it’s the people and tools putting them into practice.