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Are small and medium-sized businesses being priced out of AdWords, or is the situation more complicated, especially in terms of them having the skills to do better with the ads?
Michael Tilma's profile photoJason Nethercott's profile photoTomas Kapler (SEO konzultant)'s profile photoJacob Hagemann's profile photo
Prediction: deep pockets will soon own the dictionary called adwords
I left years ago for that very reason.
We were given a $100 credit to try out out, so I gave it a shot promoting $100 dollars for a month got us exactly 8 clicks.
For fear of stating the blindingly obvious, has anyone ever watched a non-savvy user (i.e. ordinary business owner) try to use AdWords? Express is a very small sticking plaster to the much bigger open wound of a horribly opaque system that looks like it was designed for rocket engineers.

CPC is hard. Google need to find another paradigm for selling ads if they want to sustain their growth (or face up to the fact that CPC will only ever fit a subset of the advertising market and settle for lower growth expectations).
I do PPC for my company (mid-size and growing), and we are decreasing our use of Adwords consistently each month. Other avenues and solid SEO just provide a much better ROI. I think we'll never get rid of it entirely, but like a lot of companies, we just can't afford to be so dependent on it if we want to grow.
I think that the problem now is that Google AdWords a) far more complicated, that there were few years ago with much more options and functions and b) there are far more competitors.
So if you are highly experienced, you can still make great campaigns with great ROI, especialy if you can do some regional restriction. But if you are nt experienced, it is far more complicated to win over the competitors
Very true Tomas and AdWords is difficult enough for professionals to keep-up with! Extracting the most ROI through optimizing conversions takes multiple campaigns and the testing and adjustment of multiple criteria and variables which all adds-up to a lot of hard work. With the rise-and-rise of mobile searches, there is now a whole new level of understanding, optimization and digital assets that needs to be considered.

Having said that, I read a piece in the newspaper on the weekend (Australia), which detailed research by CEASA which said that by next year the media and ad spend share for online will surpass that of newspapers and TV. So, AdWords is still vital for businesses to use now and in the future but better services or tools to optimize and simplify Ad campaigns are essential. Failing that, many businesses will continue to waste money on poorly optimized campaigns with poor ROI.

Thanks for the 'seed' question Danny.
From my point of view - head of search of one of top 3 worldwide agencies - I like it is not easy, so we can sell it :-)
This may be another advantage for google as most money are spent by agencies for big clients, not by individual companies, so maybe google actually want to make it difficult so only experienced agencies will be able to handle it properly and will be able to sell there their added value, so client will not spent more with them and their uplift
I believe its more a question of risk profile combined with skills. There is plenty of room in Adwords. You just have to know what you are doing! Nothing comes for free and finding the right mix of keywords, budget and having a great website takes time. Time will cost and so will the traffic from Adwords :-) We have quite a few SME's and we simply kill the competition with strong campaigns = CTR 20+ and good CR's. Most big agencies cannot compete no matter the budget. Money can't buy you love :-)
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