The State of PPC Ads in 2020

What is the current state of advertising online in 2020?

Whether you are a brand or an agency, its extremely important now to use paid ads as part of your strategy to get customers.

No longer can you just put up a website and expect to build huge without some kind of paid ads strategy.

But what is the best bang for your buck? And where should you spend your ad dollars?

Since 2012, I’ve been running ads online. A lot has changed, but also, a lot has stayed the same.

Still in 2020, search PPC is the giant in the room offering the best results since its very simply driven on search traffic. People looking to buy right now or people looking for more information right now.

Since, 2015, I’ve been deep into social media ads. Facebook Ads mostly. Results can be hit or miss in comparison to search PPC because you are interrupting people versus providing people answers to their searches. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social media PPC. You just need to know how to target your key audiences. This is where many agencies and brands struggle with.

Since 2018, I’ve been deep into YouTube Ads. I see video ads both on FB and YT as the key spots where you can get cheap ads and millions of video views quickly to your offers.

In 2020, I see video ads, Youtube Ads continuing to grow. Almost no one is doing it in the ecommerce space yet, but this will change this year as more and more ecomm brands are developing cool YT Ads such as dollar shave club.

According to Think with Google, consumers have watched 50,000+
years of product review videos on mobile in the last 2 years and
are 3x more likely to prefer watching a YouTube tutorial video over
reading the product’s instructions.

By 2025, 80-90% of traffic will be mobile and consuming video content.

Ryan Shaw

Things like manychat, chatbots, push notifications, and podcast advertising are still very new and growing. Email and Google Ads are still the giants in the room when it comes to paid ads and communication, but all these AI options and new forms of content like video and podcasting are growing like crazy.

My advice: Get great at the basics of advertising. Learn one or two platforms and master them. (Facebook and Google.)

Then get results for clients and build an agency. Most agencies offer high prices and subpar results. Most agencies dont have more than a couple clients.

Master your craft and grow your business online.. And make sure to follow me for future YouTube videos and posts like this.

I think 2020 is the perfect time to master PPC ads. Make sure to follow people like myself or Jon Loomer. Attend live events. Follow PPC Hero, AdsEspesso and other industry leader blogs.

Watch my FULL Youtube Video Report of PPC Ads in 2020 Here.

Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads: Why You Need Them Both

A few months ago, we broke down all the numbers and took a close look at which was better, Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads. Facebook won that battle without question. With our recent addition of blog posts, resources, and e-courses focusing on Google Adwords, it makes sense that a lot of users have started asking us if we had to pick, which would we choose between Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads.

The answer to this question does not really have a winner, like Facebook and Twitter, which operated off a similar concept and had the same marketing goals. Facebook Ads and Google Adwords are two different systems that go about a similar goal (exposure for a site) in different ways.

Yes, there are similarities (both deal with bidding systems that are affected by competition, for example), but the systems are so different that using both can benefit your overall marketing campaign and increase both sales and exposure.

Here’s why…

Google Adwords: Strengths and Weaknesses

How Google Adwords Works

For those unfamiliar with Google Adwords, the driving force behind it is keywords. Where Facebook relies most heavily on targeting when determining who sees your ad, which can include things like interests, Adwords is all about the keywords.

When someone uses Google (the most popular search engine by far) to search for something, Google almost always will offer up the first several suggestions from their paid ads. These are marked with small yellow “Ad” boxes, but that doesn’t matter—your site will be among the very first that the user sees and likely clicks on.

Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads
When Googling “oil change service,” Google automatically showed me ads for companies near by me that offered this service. The ads are marked with yellow “Ad” boxes.

In addition to having your site show up on the first page of Google results, Google determines whose ad gets shown the most (and the highest) by a combination of factors, including bidding price (how much you’re willing to spend), the quality of your ad and your website, and what they expend the extended impact from ad extensions will be.

Adwords operates off of bidding, just as Facebook does. The more you’re willing to pay for those keywords (some of which you’ll have high competition for, just like certain audiences in Facebook), the more likely your ad will show up.

Strengths: When you’re using Google Adwords, you’ve got a good chance of capturing users that could be further along in the buying cycle. Someone who searches “oil changes” isn’t a random person who may not be interested in actually getting an oil change. They are actively seeking out businesses that provide that service. Grabbing users at that point of the buying cycle—users who are ready to purchase—can boost sales. You’ll rarely get a more relevant audience when they’re searching for exactly what you’re selling, looking to buy (even if they’re only considering it).

In addition to this big advantage Google Adwords offers, you also get the benefit that Google will place your ads on other sites, too. These ads can appear on Google owned sites like YouTube, or on Google’s partner sites, like You’re expanding your reach off the platform of just the search engine.

Google Adwords, when done right, is also relatively cost efficient as Google only charges per click to the website. Since Adwords isn’t necessarily about brand exposure as it is that click, that’s beneficial for this platform.

Weaknesses: Google Adwords relies purely on keywords as a targeting method when deciding who to show your ad to. Keywords can be a tricky business, especially if you’re new to the concept.

With Adwords, this disadvantage of being dictated by keywords (a double edged sword, as the keywords are both a strength and a weakness) means that if users aren’t searching for your product, they’re unlikely to see it. While this isn’t bad if they know what they’re looking for, certain products just don’t get researched before purchasing.

Razors or shaving cream, for example. Except for expensive shaving kits, most users don’t think to search for razors online to research or make online purchases for the company directly; they swing by and grab one from a supermarket or a drug store. If you’re looking to get your brand exposure and to show an audience a product that they don’t know they want or need, Adwords may not be the best approach for you.

Facebook Ads: Strengths and Weaknesses

How Facebook Ads Works

For those unfamiliar with how Facebook Ads works, you can view our extremely thorough Beginner’s Guide. For a basic run down, Facebook uses a competitive bidding system where your ad is shown to users (paid for either by clicks or per 1,000 views), and is driven largely by audience targeting.

You can target users based off demographics, behaviors, and interests, among other criteria, and targeting is the big focus here on who sees your ad instead of keywords. Your ads will appear either in the users’ Newsfeed, smack dab in the middle of the action, or in the right side column. Both placements have their benefits, which you can see here.

Strengths: Remember those certain products and services that people don’t realize they need or want to try, like the razors or shaving cream? Facebook Ads is a great way to showcase your product to a relevant audience, even if they didn’t know they wanted or needed it. Dollar Shave had great success with their Facebook Ads campaigns.

google ads vs facebook ads
This is a great example of a perfect campaign for Facebook Ads. A lot of people may not search for “free genetic testing” or know even about genetic testing. This ad targeted users in my local area (likely those around my age, the child-bearing age) who might be interested.

Perfect for discovery of items that people don’t search for. Facebook is fantastic for exposure for your brand and product. Online companies like AdoreMe, Modcloth, and DollarShave have done remarkably well, largely thanks to their Facebook Advertising, which gave them repeated exposure.

Facebook Ads are also often slightly more eye-catching, with large pictures that can catch a user’s interest and attention. While some Google ads have an image, largely off-site ads, Facebook ads has the advantage of reliable imagery to help attract a user.

google adwords vs facebook ads
I know, here I go again with the food. But the image makes the difference here between whether I’d click or not.

Facebook also offers the benefit of user engagement. Users may flock to a Facebook Page as well as potentially buying or signing up for an opt-in list, giving a business free marketing opportunities to those users via their Page and posts in the future. You can get user engagement, build up excitement, and build a rapport with followers as the ad happens on a social media platform.

Weaknesses: Targeting, like keyword research, can be difficult. It can also be imprecise, especially if you’re new to the system. It can be hard to find the balance of getting your audience narrow enough to find your niche, and broad enough that you don’t exclude too many users.

google ads vs facebook ads
Facebook Ad’s targeting decided to show me a McDonalds ad. Sadly for them, I hate McDonalds and get sick every time I eat it. This can show how imprecise targeting can be.

Because you’re not going off of actual searches happening at that moment, you may miss people at the right stage of the buying cycle. Sure, you can use special targeting to show your ad to someone who’s researching buying a car, but maybe they’re already done researching by the time your ad pops up on Facebook.

Facebook Ads can also easily become expensive, like all paid ad platforms. A lot of inexperienced marketers have lost a pretty penny, but to be fair, that can be said about Adwords, too. While Facebook Ads is now relatively affordable, with organic reach declining, we’ll have to see how that affects overall bidding prices and general affordability.

Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads: You Should Use Both

Facebook Ads and Google Adwords have different focuses, even though the end goal of giving your business exposure and increasing sales is the same.

Dollar Shave is a great example of a business whose campaign thrived on Facebook Ads but may not have done quite as well on Google Adwords. On the other side of this issue, catching users far along in the buying cycle tends to happen best—in the majority of cases— with Adwords.

For this reason, the strengths and weaknesses of each ad platform make it less of an argument of Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads and more of a “why you should use both” kind of argument. You can utilize Facebook Ads to gain exposure to new clients and capture some sales, but you can use Adwords to capture an audience searching for products like yours, an audience often fairly far along in the buying cycle. Facebook Ads gives you exposure; Google Adwords helps you connect with users looking for what you’re selling.

Both systems, regardless of their respective strengths and weaknesses, are complex and take some time to learn and be successful with. To make this process easier and help you run successful, profitable campaigns every time, we’ve got our FB Ads Formula and our Google Adwords Formula. Make sure you take a look at both and learn both systems. After all, even if you favor one or the other, there may be a time when both systems are best used at once for the maximum amount of ROI off a campaign.

What do you think? Have you used Google Adwords and Facebook Ads? Which has worked best for you?
Leave us a comment and let us know!

5 Deadly Sins Adwords Consultants Commit…Daily

I spend a lot of time auditing accounts for prospective clients, and I get to see a lot of different things.  Sometimes I see some really great campaigns and pick up some pretty cool tricks and strategies.  But what I find more often than not are poorly designed campaigns that are wasting money.  Some of the worst accounts I’ve seen are actually being managed by professional companies.  So I’ve compiled a list of five of the deadliest sins that I see by professional Adwords consultants:



As a paid search marketing consultant you have a responsibility to manage a client’s account that goes beyond the account / campaign set up. You must actually “manage” and “optimize” the account. To manage and optimize an account, you need to go into the account periodically and make the necessary changes to improve the performance of the campaigns.

When I audit prospective clients’ accounts that are currently being managed by other companies, or consultants, I consistently find that these accounts are being neglected by the account managers. They set up these accounts and basically just forget about them. I’ll look at the change history and notice where no changes were made to the account in a month, or two months, or even longer.

Here’s a quick example of this very issue I found with a new client. He owns a small local plumbing company. He wanted me to audit his account. A very large PPC company was managing his account and his results were terrible to say the least.

He spent $4600 in two and a half months. This $4600 resulted in 11 phone calls, some of which were junk calls.

When I looked at his keyword history report, this is what I saw:

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.15.40 PM

Roughly $2k spent on “water softeners,” “reverse osmosis system,” and “hot water heaters.” Do these sound high quality keywords for a small local plumber? Do these three keywords justify 43% of the budget?

So I looked at the change history in Adwords and noticed that no changes were made to the account in the previous three weeks. They neglected this account. They looked ridiculous when I pointed this out to the client, and they could offer no reasonable excuse. Yet they refused to reimburse the client.

When you manage a client’s account, you really need to log in periodically (at least every two or three days) to simply check to make sure there are no “runaway keywords” chewing up the budget and wasting the client’s money. When other competing companies pull their ads down for whatever reason, your ad may jump up in position under certain keywords. Those keywords can “runaway” with the budget spending wasted money like in the sceenshot above.



When you bring on new clients, one of the first things you’re going to look at is their website and/or landing pages. In a lot of cases you’ll find that their landing pages are not designed for marketing purposes. They may love their website, but it’s not going to convert well with paid search. As a marketing consultant you have a responsibility to encourage them to either optimize their landing pages or have new landing pages created, which is a possible upsell for you.

Contractors (plumbers, roofers, electricians, etc) typically have poorly designed websites. I’ve been doing some testing recently with Unbounce Pages. I haven’t had any problems getting the pages approved and I like the A/B variant testing UB offers.

But two weeks ago, I found a new option for local businesses, and quite honestly, it knocked my socks off. About a year ago I was talking to a good friend of mine, Jack Hopman. Jack is local ppc marketing genius, specifically for pay per call marketing. Jack and I were talking about the need for a really, really good WP template for local businesses. A template that would come with many different themes for all different types of local businesses. The idea was to create a beautiful website for local businesses with just a few clicks, and built in a way that would increase phone calls. No more than 10-15 minutes to create a site.

Fast forward one year later and Jack created “Local Theme Jack.”  The template he created was even better than I had imagined. I used it for the first time last week, and created a website for a plumbing company in about 10 minutes. I spent another five minutes going through and making minor tweaks to the default content within the site. When my Google rep saw the site, she said “is this their site or did you create this? Wow! This is perfect.” This is my new solution for creating websites and landing pages for my clients that need them.  Check it out here and see what you think.



A lot of paid search marketing consultants do not want to spend the necessary time to communicate with their client and get all the necessary information they need to build an effective marketing campaign. I am not a plumber and I don’t pretend to know everything I need to know about plumbing to build an effective campaign. So I ask my client to help me build the keyword list. There is nothing wrong with asking for their input. Your clients know their businesses better than you do and they know the industry lingo, the different services they offer, and how people ask for them.

In the example above, here is a question the former ppc manager probably should have asked the client:

“Are water softeners, reverse osmosis systems, and hot water heaters a big part of your business?”

Because when I asked him this question, his response was “hell no.” If 43% of the budget is going to be spent on these three keywords, shouldn’t you at least ask the client if these are relevant keywords?



If the business you’re marketing has a measurable goal (phone calls, sales, leads, downloads, etc), you need to be tracking these goals with Google’s conversion tracking. It’s very easy to set this up. Conversion tracking will tell you exactly which keywords and ads are generating all your conversions. Once you know the keywords and ads that generate conversions, you can focus on those keywords and ads and eliminate wasted money on keywords and ads that are not converting. This will greatly increase your client’s ROI.



Spend time thoroughly researching your clients business, their competitors, and similar businesses in other geographical areas. Thorough research will lead to more keywords, keywords that are probably being missed by competitors. By spending time digging and mining for keywords, you will find some real gems that will pay off. You will also find more negative keywords which will help increase your client’s ROI.

By researching similar businesses in other areas, you will find some great ideas for your ad copy. You may also find some great ideas for sales and promo’s your client never considered. You may even find an entirely different angle for your keywords and ads that you missed completely.

Research pays off. Communicating with your clients pays off. Creating landing pages, and simply managing the accounts routinely are all things we should all be doing.   When you stop doing these things, you stop providing quality service to your clients, and someone like myself will come in and audit the account, and take it from you just like I did in the example above.

AdWords – 5 Things You’re Probably Doing Wrong

Google AdWords is a powerful way for businesses, big and small, to cost-effectively advertise online. Despite the ease of basic use, we know there is a chance your ROI may not be as high as your competitor, or at least as high as it once used to be. If this is you, don’t worry because we’re going to help you identify 5 potential mistakes and their solutions:


1.    Improper Keyword Grouping

If your Google AdWords campaign is not performing very well, there is a good chance you’re not grouping your keywords properly. As a result, your keywords won’t match with the searches and thus reduce the effectiveness of your campaign.

One of the quickest & easiest ways to help group your keywords is by using an Awdords Editor tool called “Keyword Grouper.”  When you’re logged into Adwords Editor, go to your campaign or an individual adgroup.  Click “Tools” > “Keyword Grouper.”  Use the drop downs to select the campaign and adgroup (or all adgroups).

You can either click “Generate Common Terms” or manually enter terms you want to parse out into separate adgroups.  I prefer to do this manually.  If you let the tool generate the common terms, it tends to give you way too many terms and you have to go through out delete the majority of the terms.

Click “Next” and preview the results.  Select “Yes” if you want copy the ads from the original adgroup > click “Finish.”  Go to the new adgroups and enter an adgroup bid amount.  Change the ads so they’re specific to the keywords and you’re all set.


2.    Not Using CPA Bidding (Conversion Optimizer)

Cost per acquisition (CPA) bidding is considered an “advanced” Google AdWords technique. As such, many people never use it. However, CPA bidding can greatly improve your ROI.  Once you have at least a month’s worth of conversions you can switch the bidding strategy over to CPA bidding.  The conversions you have in your history, the better the conversion optimizer will work.  So if you only have a handful of conversions, you may want to hold off another month or so.

To enable CPA bidding, just go into your campaign settings > Bid Strategy > select “Focus on Conversions” > either select the recommended bid, or choose a targeted CPA bid.  I always start off setting my CPA bid a little higher than my goal to start.  I can always go back in and lower it later.


3.    Landing Pages

If you truly believe Google AdWords is the key to your growth, you (and millions of other business owners) are sadly mistaken. Google AdWords helps you advertise your content but it cannot help you if your landing page is bad or if you cannot convert your visitors to customers.  Make sure you’re sending the visitors to the best possible landing page for each particular keyword.  Don’t make the mistake of sending everyone to your Home page.  Instead, find the most relevant page within your site for each keyword and use that page as the destination url.


4.    Not Optimizing Your Campaigns

It’s time consuming, and sometimes boring.  But you have to optimize your campaigns to continue to increase campaign performance.  Test different keywords, different ad text, different landing pages, ad extensions, etc.  Manage the under-performing keywords (pause them or peel and stick them).  Dig deep and find negative keywords.  All these mundane tasks are necessary to improve performance.


5.    Not Monitoring Your Google AdWords Campaign

One of the biggest mistakes many business owners make is starting a Google AdWords campaign and then leaving it for a while. Google AdWords demands plenty of attention because you need to monitor the effectiveness of the campaign and make changes accordingly.  I’ve been burned by this in the past, I don’t want to see it happen to you.

If you’re not monitoring your campaign’s performance, things can go haywire in the account and before you know it, you’ve wasted your money, or worse your client’s money on a handful of under-performing keywords that eating up the budget.

I had this happen several years ago where I thought I had a client’s account running like a well oiled machine.  I thought I could let it run on auto-pilot for awhile so I was spending much less time monitoring the account.  I was only checking in on it once a week.  Well, a high ranking competitor decided to pull his ads down.  Ten days went by before I checked the account and I had blown around $1500.  Most of that money was spent on a handful of keywords that were not producing any results.

So be sure to log into Google AdWords everyday and monitor the performance of your campaign.

Stay tuned for more great Google AdWords tips, tricks, advice and strategies, coming soon!

Google Adwords Callout Extensions

All You Need to Know about AdWords Callouts

Adwords has recently introduced callout extensions. Just like the other Ad Extensions that Adwords offers, there are huge advantages when you ad the Callout extensions to your ads.

What Are Callouts?

The Adwords Callouts added feature is helpful for Adwords users in order to give their visitors a bit more information about their business. This information can increase sales and a customer’s understanding of their message.

Like the name implies, callout extensions extend your ad. That means they will allow you to place relevant, business-driving and customer-drawing phraseology, to your already search specific ad. Don’t let that concept sound daunting. Basically, if you’ve got some pretty cool extras that customers might appreciate, the extensions are your opportunity to share them.

Callout extensions include messages like: free shipping, 10% off-mention this ad or 24hr customer service. Basically, they represent whatever piece of information makes your business exceptional, and can enable you to stand out from all the other same-service providers found on that search result page.

So, how do they work? You have to create at least two per campaign, adgroup or account, though most people recommend you go the maximum of four per level to make sure as many as possible are seen.

Next, you must be aware that there is a character limit. If you’re ad is in English, Spanish or Italian (or any other single-width language) you get up to 25 characters per callout.

Some additional things to note: callouts are only available for certain types of campaigns (Search Network and/or Search Network with Display Select), and you can’t use duplicate texts, emoticons or any non-family friendly language. Also, be sure to use sentence style writing. Google will ensure that your best combination of extensions will show up.


What’s So Great About Them?

Every business owner wants to know why he/she should take the extra time to think through specific word usage and to concern him/herself with less-than-Tweet-sized messages. However, let us remind you, these are free and therefore you’ve nothing to lose but the time it takes to create 12-15 characters (that’s Google’s advice even though they allot you 25).

The most obvious reason callout extensions are great is the fact they give you an additional opportunity to make your business standout; they’re a chance to highlight those great things you do, or offer. They help your ads appear in higher positions, help increase your click thru rate & conversion rates, and they can be optimized for mobile devices. Finally, you can edit them without having to make changes to your original ads and you can choose the days of the week and times they will appear.

By using the Callout extensions, you’re able to free up valuable space in your text ad to include additional info, better call to actions, additional benefits, or whatever other info you want to add. I typically include phrases like “Free Shipping” in my ad text. Now, I can put “Free Shipping” in a Callout, which gives me additional space in the text ad for other sales copy or a call to action.


How Do You Set Up Callouts?

It’s actually very easy to set these up. You can set them up at the campaign level or adgroup level. Go to the level where you want to set them up (campaign or adgroup) > click the Ad Extensions tab > make sure Callout Extensions is selected in the dropdown > click “+ Extension” > click “new Callout” > type in your callout > check the box if the callout will be mobile preferred > add start and end times for the callout if applicable (like a time limited coupon or promo) > click save. Make sure you add at least two callouts, three or four callouts are even better.

Have additional questions about AdWords callout extensions? Feel free to leave a comment.





Adwords Quality Scores 101

AdWords Quality Scores 101

Quality scores dramatically impact ad effectiveness and their cost per click. If you’re trying to get the most out of your pay per click (PPC) ads, understanding the value of your quality score is essential. Basically, it has nearly the same power as your credit score; it is the determining factor on how much you pay for each click and whether your ad is performing as successfully as you’d like.

Since quality scores hold so much weight in the realm of online marketing, we hope to break them down into easily digestible explanations. Ideally, you will walk away from this article prepared to understand the components of your score, check it and enhance it.

Components of Your Quality Score

Quality scores are broken down into a number of components, which can be overwhelming and exasperating if you don’t know what they are. Therefore, allow us to alleviate some of that burden here. These are the components of your quality score:

  • Previous AdWords account performance
  • Landing page relevance and quality
  • Ad text relevance
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Keyword relevance to its ad group
  • Geographic success in the region targeted
  • Performance on targeted devices


Unfortunately, no one knows what portion of the score each of these components constitutes. We do know, however, that CTR is a crucial factor. Therefore, we advise that you keep an eye on your score regularly. So, how do you do that?

How to Check Your Quality Score

Now that you understand how important your quality score is to your ad price and its successful reach, it might be beneficial to know how to check your score. There are actually a few ways to do that. The first step though is to go into your Keywords tab. From there you can run a keywords diagnosis. All you have to do is click on the white dialogue bubble next to each word.


Additionally, you could enable the quality score column. This is also done under the Keywords tab. In the statistics table, look for the Qual. score column. If it’s not there, you can add it by clicking on the drop-down menu labeled columns. Then, select customize and attributes and then add Qual. scores. Make sure you save it so that it’s there for good.




Benefits of a Good Quality Score

Since a consistent CTR is critical for achieving a good quality score, you should understand it’s benefits. When Google sees that those who are exposed to your ads have a tendency to click on them, they reward you. Some of these benefits, or rewards, include:

  • Keywords first bid estimate – The quality of your ad directly effects these estimates and determines whether or not your ad will show up on the first page of a search.
  • Higher ROI/lower CPC – Since a higher score enables you to pay a lower cost per conversion (CPC) your rate of return on investment (ROI) increases!
  • Eligibility to take part in ad auctions – Lower scores inhibit your hopes for successful bids in ad auctions.
  • Ad rank – This determines where your ad will appear in paid search results. The better your quality score, the higher up the ladder your ad goes and the less it costs to do so.

Effective Ways To Improve Your Quality Scores

There are different actions you can take to help improve low keyword quality scores. By simply moving keywords into new or different adgroups, changing the text ads so they’re more relevant to the keyword, or even just removing keywords with extremely low click through rates all help improve quality scores within your adgroups.

You really want to make sure your adgroups have a small number of keywords that are all closely related with text ads that are written specifically for those keywords. If you have 10 or 12 keywords in an adgroup and two of the keywords have very low ctr’s while the rest of those keywords maintain a high ctr, peel the low ctr keywords out and place them into an adgroup of their own with ads written specifically for those keywords.

Low ctr, low quality score keywords are toxic to the rest of the adgroup they’re in. By pulling them out, this will improve the quality scores on the other keywords in the original adgroup; and if the ctr improves for the keywords in the adgroup, the quality scores should also improve.

Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Quality Scores

Everything you ever needed to know about quality scores in a limited space has been thus far provided for you. If we were to truly sum it all up, a good quality score is based on ad relevance and the number of people actually clicking on it. Ultimately, that score will make or break your return on investment because it determines the CPC for each of your ads as well as their placement on search result pages. Therefore, it is definitely in your best interest to utilize the quality score column in your keywords tab. Always monitor your investments!

Worried About Adwords Click Fraud?

Worried about Adwords Click Fraud?

This is a question I’m often asked by new and potential clients. A surprising number of potential clients are very concerned about people, especially competitors, fraudulently clicking on their Adwords ads and wasting their money.

Adwords click fraud is a very legitimate concern, especially when you’re in a competitive niche or market and have a high cost per click. Fraudulent traffic could be crippling to a small business with limited marketing budget.

Adwords click fraud


What is Adwords Click Fraud?

There are two types of clicks that fall under Invalid Click Activity.

  • Fraudulent Clicks – which are clicks to your ad with a malicious or fraudulent intent.
  • Invalid Clicks – clicks to your ad generated by automated software, robots or accidental clicks.

This is really nothing anyone should be concerned with, for a few different reasons:

  • Google has an algorithm that analyzes all the clicks to your ads and identifies and filters invalid clicks, whether it’s intentional and malicious clicks solely to waste your money; or unintentional multi clicks from the same user, automated tools or robots. Google’s algorithm will identify these clicks and credit you any cost.
  • If you are able to identify suspicious activity from specific IP addresses in your web server logs, you can easily block these IP addresses from seeing your ads.

If a small fraction of invalid clicks do somehow slip through, I consider this to be a cost of doing business expense. What matters most is whether or not you’re reaching your conversion and ROI goals. Every campaign has some type of goal. Your goal may be to generate sales, phone calls, leads, email opt-ins, etc. If you’re reaching, or preferably beating you cost per conversion goal, that’s what matters most.


How To Find Invalid Clicks

In your Google Adwords account, you can actually see the number of clicks Google has identified as invalid. There’s a couple different options to see the invalid clicks in your account.


To view invalid clicks:

  • By time period – Click on a campaign, or all campaigns > click Dimensions > View > Time > Select a time period (day, week, month, etc).
  • By campaign – Click on all campaigns > click campaign tab > Columns > Customize columns > Performance > Invalid clicks (Add) > Save


You should now see a column that contains any invalid clicks that Google found and did not charge you for. Here are a couple screenshots:

By Time Period



By Campaign


You can also go into your Billing Transaction History and see any invalid clicks that you were credited.


There’s no need to be concerned about Adwords click fraud. Google will filter out the vast majority of these clicks. If you feel that are being targeted by fraudulent clicks, you can request an investigation by Google Adwords.