The 5 major disadvantages of using Google AdWords for advertising

How well do you know Google Adwords? We know the tool pretty well.

Because we tested it. When googling, you’ll find numerous articles about what Google AdWords is capable of, how the tool is useful for you and which advantages it offers.

Well, that’s nice.

Superficially speaking, AdWords seems to be a good concept: We check the keywords of our business and choose the ones we want to place a bet on, write matching advertising texts, determine the time and days when the ads shall be displayed, restrict the AdWords budget, and give your payment details.

(But: setting up a successful campaign is not as easy as this. Read what’s really crucial in chapter 4.)

If your advert is relevant or matches the keywords of the seeker’s Google search, your advert will be displayed.

And the costs are overseeable: it’s CPC (meaning cost per click), therefore you only pay if your advert is actually clicked.

And only if it’s clicked.

But still — this type of online advertising offers some problems.

In this article, we’ll talk about the 4 biggest pitfalls, which might be the reason, why, instead of Google Adwords, you could as well throw your money down the drain.

1. You fail to target the right audience

There are 2 different types of keywords people can use to search for information on the web and which you can bid on:

  • broad keywords, like events agency
  • longtail keywords, like events agency for corporate events in New York

If you place bets on broad keywords, your advertisement will most likely be displayed to a broadly based audience.

This seems like a good possibility to increase your online visibility.

But develop this idea a little further. You’ll notice a problem: Often, there are rules which define the type of sponsoring a company can get depending on their sponsoring level. This means that you will not have to negotiate or compromise about the hard facts.

If you’re a locally bound event agency in New York, it’s of no earthly use to show your ad to companies from Chicago or San Francisco. Because there is no information of interest and they’ll probably close your page right after opening it.

Your visitors had a bad experience — and you even paid money for it!

There are 2 major problems when looking for a solution to this problem:

  • You either keep the funnel broad (with broad keywords) to attract as many people as possible or
  • You narrow the funnel (longtail keywords) and risk to exclude potential customers because they do not google the way you assume.

Both alternatives have major disadvantages: you either waste money on people which are not interested in your product at all, or you exclude potential customers because their googling behavior does not match your assumption.

2. You have to act reactively, not actively

Of course, you can set individual parameters, like:

  • weekdays
  • time
  • country
  • browser language

and much more when configuring your advertisement.

But — you are still not in control of the persons clicking on your advertisement. Of course, you are never completely in control, regardless of the medium you use.

In fact, Google enables you to monitor your loss by providing extensive information, such as:

  • short visit duration
  • non-matching origin of your visitor
  • lack of conversion
  • minimal number of visited pages

But this does not help.

Because you can only react to these negative numbers, not act in advance. Of course, you can change and improve your advertisements to match your target group’s behavior, but before, you’ll have to…

3. You are forced to wait

Right — you have to wait.

Every day, AdWords lets you monitor the number of the interaction of your visitors with your advertisements. But before you can draw reliable conclusions, it takes time. Because there’s no sense in analyzing and maybe even completely changing your campaign after 10 clicks.

No — you have to exercise patience and wait for feedback from potential visitors and customers based on their interactions with your advertisement.

The absolute minimum for your analysis should be 200 clicks.

And, depending on the keywords you chose, the level of your maximum bid per click or the strength of your competition, it can take quite long until you obtain your first results. Up to a couple of weeks. But during this time, you still pay money for AdWords. Quick actions in advance are simply not possible. Then you’ll have to wait again.

If you’re a friend of finding quick solutions to remove problems, AdWords is not your friend. When improving your campaign, another problem might occur:

4. You need the required manpower

Setting up an AdWords campaign is easy. But AdWords is an extensive tool, which needs to be set up carefully in order to be cost-effective. Gründerszene wrote an informative German article about the 7 biggest Google AdWords sins.

To set up all the details of your campaign just right, and prevent it from wasting your money, you might actually need some experts which give you a hand. Although there’s extensive literature to help you out, there are almost no “Quick wins” which could facilitate or lighten your workload.

Additionally to setting up your campaign, you’ll have to maintain it.

Maintenance includes:

  • excluding keywords from your list regularly
  • analyze your success as measured by your individual parameters
  • edit and — if necessary – remaking your campaign

Depending on the click rate of your ads, you’ll have to perform some of those steps several times per week.

5. You can’t segment properly

Unlike other platforms, like Facebook, you can only segment your campaign’s audience according to factors like:

  • country of origin or
  • browser language

But: if your events or services only address a specific target audience, like men at the age of 40 to 50 years in leading positions of big companies of about 500-2.000 employees, the segmentation of Google AdWords will be useless for you.


Of course, there are still numerous reasons why you should still try Google AdWords for your business.

But, a successful and representative campaign requires:

  • time
  • special manpower and creativity
  • money

If you cannot ensure that you have these resources at hand during the whole duration of your campaign — do not even think about starting.

Because your actions could backfire pretty quickly.

You maybe want to consider trying:

  • influencer marketing
  • sleek social media performance, i.e. with a great Instagram profile
  • a well-wrought content strategy

to increase your online presence.

So much for our insights — tell me about your experiences with Google AdWords!

Share this post