The Google Adwords Jumpstart

It looked so inviting, the Google Adwords Jumpstart. We just had to try it. What did we have to lose, except for the $299?

We decided to give them a really hard one to set up, house cleaning services for a little community located just outside a major metro area.

I actually give Google a lot of credit, because we got Jumpstarted by a real person. I had imagined that it might be like a fully-automated sort of thing, where we would speak into the phone and some voice recognition super-duper whambo-jambo software / hardware combo contraption would whip up a scientific concoction of an ad campaign-like we would get jump started by a robot, or something. It wasn’t like that.

We signed up. They had a 23 year old cheerily call back and speak with our General Manager about all the requirements. He asked really good questions about the scope in terms of geography, customers and the business. Our General Manager didn’t have to fake it a lot when she told him that she had no idea what exactly she was doing. Even for most reasonably capable people, setting up a Google Adwords account can be an intimidating experience. Afterall, you’re risking real money. And when the clicks start clicking, if the phone doesn’t ring, it feels like you’re dropping quarters in a slot machine.

Google was fast and efficient. They did everything they said they would. The account was setup in three days. We’d paid $299, and with the Jumpstart, had received an ad credit which could be used over six months.

It wasn’t just a Jumpstart, it was a launch–like to the moon. With the campaign they set up for us, we would have spent the entire $299 in less than a week. I paused it immediately so as not to waste the entire credit. The campaign they setup would have worked, in terms of getting us phone calls. It’s just that it lacked focus both geographically and in terms of keywords. They did some bad things-a lot of general keywords with no negatives. And their geographic area encompassed the entire adjoining metro area, which exceeded the company’s described service area in a very significant way. The combination would have caused us to burn through the entire credit in a very short time and then burdened us with a low click-through rate going forward. Giving Google the benefit of the doubt would require us to believe that our Google representative was naive. In fact, I don’t think Google is likely to hire a dufus. Irregardless of the cause, based on our experience, we don’t recommend Google’s Adwords Jumpstart.

The Ripple Alternative

Our website customers who have done the best with their web-based marketing all use Google Adwords. Ripple Applications began offering its own Adwords management for select industries, earlier this year for $250 down plus $50 per month, minus a $100 credit towards Google’s charges (because Google charges separately for the actual advertising). The $50 is the monthly fee to Ripple for managing the account. Ripple waives the $250 setup fee for website customers, and can pass management of the ad accounts back to customers once the Adwords is setup. So for our website customers, our deal is actually cheaper than Google’s jumpstart, because we waive the setup fee, and then give them the $100 Ad credit, and a month’s management of the ad account for free. It’s only after the first month that customers begin paying the $50 per month for management of the Google Ads Account.

For us, the point of managing Google Adwords for our customers is to improve the performance of their websites. When we setup Adword campaigns, we like them to earn click through rates of 5% or better. For cost per click campaigns, we generally pause any ad groups which earn rates below 3%. Our objective is to spend ad dollars efficiently.

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