Google Ads
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How Long Does It Take for Google Ads to Work

Jack Boulton

If you’ve considered dipping your toes into the Google Ads waters, then you’ve probably come across a few questions you’d like answering.Things like: ‘How do I set up a campaign?’And, ‘How much do Google Ads cost?’Etcetera, etcetera…But close to the top of almost every business owner’s list of Google Ad related questions when starting out is this:

'How long does it take for Google Ads to work?'

At the end of the day, being able to get a campaign underway and having a rough budget estimate is all well and good, but if you don't know how long it'll take to see results then you're going to feel a little left in the dark.After all, time is money right?

In this blog post we’re going to walk you through some of our most important findings we’ve discovered from managing campaigns over the years, both for ourselves and for our clients.You'll get a better understanding of what to expect once your ads go live so you're not left scratching your head wondering if you're on, behind, or ahead of schedule.So dust the cobwebs off your stopwatch and look lively, because you're about to be given some useful nuggets of information that you can start implementing in your business right away.

A few things to bear in mind

Before we dive into timelines and schedules, it's worth stressing that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question ‘How long does it take for Google Ads to work?As you can appreciate, lots of different factors and variables come into play when determining how long it'll take to see tangible results from your Google Ad campaigns.Things like the size of your ad budget and what industry your business is competing in will affect the length of time you have to wait before seeing your ads have an impact.Google Ads are a form of PPC advertising after all, so the likelihood is that the more money you're willing to spend on competitive keywords and different strategies early on in your campaign, the more likely you are to accelerate results.Having said that though, the speed in which you see results from your Google Ad campaigns doesn't just come down to the size of your wallet.Knowing exactly which targeting tactics and strategies to implement during the early stages of your campaign can prove to be way more productive than just throwing money at things, but you have to know what you're doing.That's where a trusty digital marketing agency (like us) can come in handy…

We usually tell our clients that it’ll take a minimum of 3 months before they see any significant results from their Google Ad campaigns.Now that’s not to say that results won’t be evident within the first 3 months of going live, but this initial phase is all about laying the groundwork for a successful campaign.You should try to think about your Google Ads campaign like the process of building a house.If you rush the start, the foundation of your house will be shaky and unstable. But by putting the time and effort into building a solid structure, your house will be secure and stand the test of time.And, if you keep putting in the same level of effort and attention during the rest of the build, you’ll eventually be the proud owner of the shiniest new house on your street.This doesn’t last forever though…For those of you that have built your home from scratch, you’ll know from experience that, over time, your house will slowly deteriorate and require some sort of renovation work.And your Google Ads campaigns are no different.Once your campaign has been built and your ads are live, you’re only just getting started.Because just like you renovate your home with a new decking here and a lick of paint there, you have to keep renovating, or optimising, your Google Ads campaigns.If you don’t, then you’ll get left behind, and you’ll no longer have the shiniest house on the street.So if you take only one thing from this blog post (hopefully not), it should be this:There is no finish line for your Google Ads campaign. There is no such thing as ‘done’ or ‘finished’ when it comes to Google Ads. Instead you should look at your campaigns holistically, and as a continual, ongoing process!

Why does it take so long for Google Ads to work?

Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, “3 months?! I can’t wait that long…!”So why does it take so long?And what should you be focusing on during the initial groundwork stage?One main reason why it takes Google Ads around 3 months to start working is because when you start a campaign from scratch, you have no data or performance history to refer to.Like we already established, the key to running a successful Google Ads campaign is constant tweaking and optimising, but it’s tricky to know what to play around with without any concrete data to go off.Only once a campaign is up and running can you start drawing valuable data and insights from your ads.But while your campaign is in its infancy, no matter how vital, your advertising data will be limited — especially if you’re operating in a small niche.

Another thing to take into account while your campaigns are blossoming is how favourably ad networks look at your ads.Just like when you meet someone new for the first time, ad networks want to get to know your ads better so they can figure out whether or not they get along and can trust them.If they get the green light, your ads will perform better in auctions and hopefully be shown to more users.This, in turn, creates more data to be drawn upon which you can use to improve things like your targeting or keyword selection.Then, as your ads become more targeted and gain more traction, they’ll gain a more accurate score and perform even better in auctions.And so, the cycle continues…

What can you do to speed up your Google Ads results?

We get it, you wanna see results fast, who doesn’t?But it’s worth knowing that there are certain aspects of your campaign that heavily influence the speed of your results.Let’s start by looking at some of the things we look at as an agency to help accelerate results.

Break the ice

Taking the time to really understand exactly what it is your business is looking to achieve is vital.Getting a feel for your goals, your competition, your target market (and where they hang out), are all key to making sure your campaign is as laser-targeted as possible from the get go.Even if you’re not working with an agency, having a clear idea in your mind of what a successful campaign looks like to you is much more sensible than jumping into Google Ads headfirst without a structured plan in place.It’ll also save you a whole heap of time in the long run!

Technical bits and bobs

This is where we like to get super geeky and dive into all the in-depth information about your product or service.We’re talking about things like keyword research, website audits and competitor analysis. This gives us a better understanding of what is needed to build your Google Ads strategy and ensure it’s a success.Knowing which key metrics to keep an eye on is also super important when doing your ad research. It’s definitely worth making a note of the average cost per click (CPC), click through rate (CTR) and return on ad spend (ROAS) for your industry!Whether you decide to partner up with an agency or ride solo, make sure you really have done your homework on the technical side of things otherwise you may be forced to retrace your steps further down the line.

Tweaking and optimising

As you’re well aware by now, continual testing and optimising is an essential part of any successful Google Ads campaign.To visualise things a little, imagine squeezing as much juice as possible out of a tasty citrus fruit…You may start by chopping your fruit in half and giving each end a good old squeeze.Then you might opt for a twisting motion or cut each piece into smaller chunks to get more purchase.Heck you might even get two hands involved to squeeze out every last drop out.The point is, as you try and get more juice from the fruit, you change up your squeezing technique, which is how you should approach your Google Ads — by changing up your techniques and tactics to keep getting results.Unlike squeezing any fruit however, Google Ads luckily never run out of juice.As long as you keep squeezing away at your campaign, you will have an endless flow of zesty goodness to bathe in.

But how do you know which squeezing techniques work best?The following four areas are a good place to start:

  • Optimising bid strategy
  • Changing targeting parameters
  • Reviewing positive and negative keyword lists
  • Checking for click fraud

But although changing the targeting parameters of your ads or reviewing your bid strategy may yield positive results, there is no guarantee. In fact, you may end up wasting time going down an optimisation shaped rabbit hole that an expert wouldn’t have.This is where working with an agency will come in big.Rather than trying to find a spare hour or two for optimisation in that busy schedule of yours, an agency will be able to offer a team of dedicated specialists that can focus exclusively on improving your campaigns.

Know what Google likes and dislikes

Remember earlier when we touched upon ad networks ‘getting to know’ your ads?Well, knowing exactly what it is that Google likes and dislikes can have a big impact on how quickly you start seeing results from your campaigns.Before giving it the thumbs up, Google will look at the following four components of your ad:

During this review process, Google is basically determining whether your ads are accurate, appropriate and spam-free, as it wants to give users the best search experience.It looks at whether there is any offensive or prohibitive content on show and whether your keywords and landing pages are relevant to your ad.

If Google isn’t happy with your ad, it’ll be flagged and changes will be requested before it’s approved. Google may even fully disapprove your ad, which means you’ll find yourself on the naughty step having to start from scratch.You can see an overview of Google’s ad guidelines below or check out their full advertising policy by clicking here.

Source: Google

Again, working with a digital marketing agency that looks after PPC accounts holds value here because they will (or at least should) know exactly what Google does and doesn’t like.By working with an agency, your ads should be approved right away because any issues ought to be picked up before being submitted for review — after all, it’s their job to stay on top of Google’s policy changes and the like.

Time to test!

Now you know how and why it takes Google Ads campaigns so long to get going, it’s time to get out there and start trying things out for yourself!You know what to do to speed up results and you know that there is no definitive finishing line for your campaigns.You’re ready to launch your campaign and to start testing, tweaking and optimising your ads to watch those conversions start piling in.If you’d like a second pair of eyes to look over your Google Ad campaigns to make sure everything is water tight, why not get a free proposal from us?We’ll take a look at your ads and tell you how to squeeze as much juice out of your campaigns as possible!

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Jack Boulton
Jack is the conversion copywriter at Local Digital. With a background in journalism and reporting, he specialises in getting to the crux of the issue when it comes to writing high-converting sales copy. You can typically find him in his copy cave writing pretty much anything from ad copy and landing pages to website content and B2B emails.

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