Back around Thanksgiving I received a letter from Google AdWords with an invitation to try the service. The incentive was $100 worth of credits. I’ve never used this service before, but with such a nice offer I decided to try it out. As I worked through the sign up process I found that I had to fork over a $10 sign up fee, but it seems I remember that they gave me another $5 worth of credits so I basically got $105 worth of credits for $10.
You probably don’t know a lot about AdWords so I’ll share my limited understanding of the program. Often when you visit a web site you’ll note a section of the page called “Ads by Google.” These are paid ads placed there for hopefully related websites. The owner of the site earns a small payment for every ad that is clicked on (or something like that).
Anyway, I designed a four line text ad, entered a bunch of keywords that describe my devotional writing, set a budget of no more than $7.50 a day, and watched to see what would happen.
At first, not much. My ad appeared on a few pages and I had a few site visitors but there were no fireworks. Then, about two weeks in, for some reason I don’t understand, things took off. My ad was appearing on pages that mentioned “devotionals” and the like and people began visiting my site. Ultimately, my ad appeared over 370,000 times and it generated over 550 visits to my site. Since the campaign started I’ve gained around 20 email subscribers to my devotionals.
Frankly, I’m impressed. I never expected that kind of response. Now, it may be that some of the new folks will loose interest and unsubscribe, although most of my subscribers have stayed with me for two or more years.
Will I put my own money up and do another campaign? I don’t think so. My writing is mainly for my own use and I don’t make a dime off of it. However, if I had an Internet business I think I’d consider it. After all, if you’re trying to make money on the Internet, traffic is the name of the game.
Also, I’ll mention that if Google AdWords wants to give me another $100 I’ll happily do another ad campaign! (hint)
Update: a year later, Google did, indeed, give me another $100 to play with. I reran the ad campaign. Results weren’t as impressive as the first round, still my number of site visits, which had sagged a bit, got a bump up that has stayed. Not many new subscribers though.