So 2012 has come to a close and for some of you that will have come with a great sigh of relief.

Last year was a tough year for many of the industries we deal with and unfortunately for some it was unassailable.  In truth many of the business that didn’t make it online last year wouldn’t have made it in a boom either. There are still too many businesses out there with flawed business models.  If you’re selling purely on price, then you’re a dead man walking. Too many of you still depend on Amazon, but Amazon will take your living away in a heartbeat if they can make a quick killing.

Then again, I had several customers move to larger homes last December as 2012 had been such a success.  Even mentoring one as the removal men took his desk to his new house.

Google made some major changes; organic listings through the ludicrously named “Panda” & “Penguin” updates – I’m sure they used these names to make them sound cute and cuddly.

To a lot of businesses this had a massive impact and not a cuddly one either. Should we blame Google? Well, no.  It’s well known that Google operate the same model as Amazon – kill your own business by inventing a new one, before someone else does it for you.

When Penguin rolled into town, some businesses did the right thing and realised that they had to rethink their approach to SEO and get sales going again instantly.  Yes, they turned to AdWords to cover the shortfall in traffic and we helped many build new skill sets to keep driving their business forward.  The downside is many existing advertisers saw their business fall off a cliff. Our clients were by and large untouched by the change but for many experienced AdWords experts it was a shock.   I spent a day at a major door hardware supplier spending upwards of £46,000 per month, trying to uncover why they were 50% below target.  Their existing agency just did not have a strategy to rebuild the business. Penguin forced new advertisers into the market from SEO, and sales imploded as everyone fought for sales.

Others on the other hand panicked and did not know what to do, and when faced with a dilemma they buried their head in the sand.  What happens when your head is in the sand? Your backside is in the air and gets spanked.

Many businesses failed or struggled in 2012 because of a lack of knowledge. Perhaps the worst offenders have been AdWords accounts run by “I.T. tekkies” or “I.T. savvy” marketing managers.  There is nothing more dangerous to a business than an “I.T. know it all geek”.  They believe they know it all and no one can teach them; partly it’s fear that they’ll be found out or often plain arrogance.  Often for them the first sign of trouble came with their P45 this year.

Which business man or woman are you?

So what does 2013 have in store for us all?

Well the saying “do what you’ve always done and you will get what you’ve always got” is true for most people.

The economy does not look like it is turning round any time soon, so individually we cannot do anything about that and Google will undoubtedly be making many more changes to their search engine criteria again as they always do and we have already noticed changes such as their price comparison listings for hotels etc, which I’m sure will start to be rolled out across many more products in the next 12 months and guess what?  We have no power to change this either, or do we?

The only thing we can do is to make sure we are like the scouts and “BE PREPARED”.  Many more businesses are taking advantage of Google AdWords but looking to “agencies” to look after this along with their SEO as they neither have the time or inclination to keep up to date with Google’s constant changing of the rules.  But BEWARE!  There are far too many “agencies” out there that don’t know what they are doing but are more than happy to relieve you of a large amount of money on a regular basis.  Make sure the company you deal with is well established and have genuine testimonials, be cautious of claims like save 40% on your AdWords as these days are now long gone.  The focus this year should be on conversions not on wastage and better CTR as these mean nothing if you’re not getting any new business.

I have seen instances whilst reviewing clients accounts when they have been promised a discount of 40% reduction in costs, which has happened, but they had also noticed a severe reduction in there conversions but an increase in their cost per conversion, this is because the “agency” was applying a one size fits all approach and not understanding their business as an individual, therefore they were concentrating on reducing the costs not at what is bringing in business.  We have seen improvements for our clients of conversion costs of up to 50% and a doubled turnover but no reduction in spend but they are spending the money in the correct way clearly.

Google AdWords focus in 2013 will be moving away from the traditional search ads and looking at more effective styles of advertising so being in on the new ways is of upmost importance.  We will cover these subjects in detail in further blogs this year.

As I mentioned earlier the other elephant in the room we have to deal with in 2013 is the almighty Amazon! Amazon will continue to tighten its stranglehold on the world of online shopping in 2013.  Last year a large percentage of the small businesses selling products online that went into liquidation were helped merrily on their way to the grave by Amazon.  I read recently that “to Amazon nothing is sacred in the company”.  If a profit centreis about to fall, they want to be the one to strap a lead weight to it and toss it off a cliff.

Now the deeper part to this is… you may have heard of “tiger teams” or “skunkworks” projects where a team is separated from the main workforce and are told to make something happen by a set date.

Well  Amazon take this a step further, they take a team of 4-6 people and put them in an empty office and give them the job of doing something better than a competitor and put them out of business.  The twist is they define a competitor as anyone, including themselves!

Now in basic terms what I mean is that – they find a product that is selling exceptionally well for the little guys on Amazon then using their massive buying power source the product much cheaper and offer it at a much lower price for the exact same product and strangle the market. So my advice is to avoid Amazon or they will take your business simple as that!

In summary my Predictions for 2013 are that the economy will still struggle, that Google will keep changing and Amazon will keep growing there business along with their bank balance.

The real question is what are you going to do about it?  Stick your head in the sand?  Or do something about your online marketing and Empower your business by taking Control of your business and become Independent?

I predict that 2013 should be the year that YOU take your online marketing to the next level and make it work for you!!!

So Call us NOW and get the New Year off to the best start and become your very own Google AdWords expert.

John Langley

John Langley


I am the founder of Click Convert, an Award Winning agency, here to deliver great marketing for Small and Medium Businesses. We’ve created over $1.1 billion in sales for clients. We’re one of the top digital marketing companies in America and the UK for small and medium businesses digital marketing. We’re a Google Premier Partner, a Google Top 50 agency and our work was recommended by Google’s CEO in 2020. Outside of family and Click Convert, Cars, Adventure and Pizza are my passion. Our vision is to Inform, Empower and Deliver to help both clients and readers.

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