I sat down to watch Fifth Gear this week to find Vicky Butler Henderson trying to beat the record for the distance travelled in an hour by car. The record is 142 miles; Vicky and the team chose a Nissan GTR and a banked track – the only problem was that at 155 mph the car will run out of fuel before they break the record!  Step forward Vicky in a transit van, a tank full of fuel, and a guy hanging out of the side door trying to refuel at 80mph. What could possibly go wrong?

To cut a long story short, they managed less than 15 minutes before the rear tyre lost a large strip of tread at nearly 150mph with a bang.  I foolishly assumed they would change the tyre before trying again but they hadn’t got a spare! Game over for Vicky.

This got me thinking as to why it seems easier to fail than to succeed.  Why is it a pretty sure bet you’ll reach your destination by car, but if you try to set a world record or even create a successful business that lasts more than 3 years, you’ll more than likely fail?

If we bring the question closer to home and look at AdWords why is it that 80% of new advertisers fail? If you examine the major causes they break down as follows:

  • Market Research
  • Knowledge
  • Planning
  • Testing & Ongoing Reviews
  • Implementation

Online is becoming an increasingly saturated market and saturation has a nasty habit of creating low profit margins.  The trouble is that it’s often easy to enter a saturated market; the only problem is you don’t know it is saturated until it’s too late.  Online businesses just don’t undertake the market research required – basic research would have saved many a marketer their job or even their business.  Remember you’re often competing against marketing managers with very little personal exposure.  Valentine’s Day flowers used to be a pretty easy market for florists, I now know only one business, a client of mine, with the market knowledge and AdWords experience to compete.  This Valentine’s Day will be full of Marks and Spencer and Funky Pigeon type advertisers willing to pay over £20 for an order worth £15! They vainly hope that these new customers will repeat in future and justify the high conversion costs – even if it doesn’t work out the marketing manager can get a job elsewhere spinning their failure in to a success for their CV.  For you, it could cost you your business.

But the real problem is knowledge compounded by lack of planning and testing. Vicky should have known that the tyres would only last 15mins – surely the guys over at NasCar have this problem at 200mph and through research have overcome it.  Closer to home Bridgestone tyres probably could have helped the team.  Vicky’s venture was bound to fail.  The reason you reach your destinations by car without breakdown is manufacturers test and refine, until they can offer a 100,000 mile warranty.  It’s no accident, its years of testing and refinement. Yet most AdWords advertisers never test.

Many of you are in the same situation – your ploughing a large sum of money into AdWords without the knowledge to achieve the outcome you desire.  Many of you actually kid yourself that you understand AdWords – usually IT types are the worst offenders.  Can you actually remember the last time you planned your AdWords strategy, tested that strategy in a test exercise, refining it until you delivered results? Or are you too afraid to deploy the funding necessary for success? Do you really expect to make a living online spending just £10 a day? As a rule of thumb your net profits equal your AdWords spend.  Admittedly, product listing ads are converting at very high ratios in many cases.  Proficient advertisers can obtain £30,000 sales revenue for every £1000 spent. But do you have a strategy for product listing ads? Do you know what they are?

Ok, I’ve gone on a little, but the point is that you need to plan for success in 2013. If you fail to plan you’re just planning to fail.

I genuinely believe 2013 will be a great year and product listing ads offer you the best chance to cut AdWords conversion costs and “make hay while the sun shines” until everyone else jumps on the band wagon.

I am so convinced that Product Listing Ads are the future that I am busy writing a book on the subject.  If you’re looking for a Product Listing Expert call me today and let’s get you on the product listing band wagon before everyone else does!

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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