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woman who is angry because google ads are not working
Christopher RyanFeb 22, 20226 min read

Google Ads Not Working? Here's the #1 Reason Why

We hear all the time from prospective new clients that "our current Google Ads aren't working" or "I keep spending money on Google Ads and I'm not seeing any leads." This is all too common in the marketing world and there is one main reason why.

Before we begin, a quick background: I own SIX Marketing and I decided to write this blog to help others understand the value and potential of digital advertising tactics like Google Ads. I'm serious when I say that 99% of the time when I'm in a meeting with a potential new client and they have previously tried Google Ads, they have a negative feeling about them. Most of business owners know that Google Ads are an integral part of digital marketing, but most view them as a cost instead of an investment.

So let's take a deeper dive into why people think Google Ads (particularly search ads) don’t work.

The #1 reason your Google Ads aren't working is...

The people you hired are not experts! 

In today's world, anyone can read a blog or go on YouTube to learn how to begin with Google Ads. There's absolutely nothing wrong with using online research to learn more about Google Ads, but it won't give you the expertise needed to run successful ads. 

More often than not, advertising firms have only a basic understanding of Google Ads. They create a strategy that seemingly makes sense, deploy it, and get all the wonderful marketing impressions and "qualified" clicks, but the client doesn't see much of an increase in calls, emails, customers, or sales! If you own a business, let me ask you, do you care about hundreds of thousands of marketing impressions or do you care about the phone ringing? So what are they doing wrong?

Primarily, they are pretending to be Google Ad experts. I spoke at an event a while back where I ran a live experiment that I welcome you to try.

The Google Ads experiment

SIX's main office is in the Albany area/Capital Region of Upstate New York. I Googled "Google Ads Albany," and here are the search ads that came up. Remember, these are firms paying for Google Ads, trying to get you to hire them through Google Ads.

examples of google ads that don't work

Obviously, we hid the companies' names. 

Company #1's Google Ad 

example #1 of a bad google ad

This company uses the term Adwords instead of Google Ads. The platform's name changed from Adwords to Google Ads in 2018. To be fair, targeting people who still call it Adwords might be part of their strategy, but read the ad. The copy is bad. It took me 3 read-throughs to understand it was one long thought. They ran out of characters in the headline and thought it would be acceptable to simply put the rest of the sentence in position two (right of the pipe "|"). At the end of the day, tactics aside, you are speaking to real people. Bad copy will crush a campaign in a second.

They also used a "?" in the ad. This is a little more technical, but question marks can severely damage a campaign if not tested properly. I'm not saying don't use them, but you need to test them. That's a topic for another day.

Company #2's Google Ad 

example of a bad google ad

These guys are supposedly Google Premier Partners, but they also use the term Adwords. Their ad states that they are "conversion-focused" and "ROI-focused," and they say to "call now" (twice) — but they don't even have a call extension in the ad.

Whatever the shaking my head emoji is, I'm doing it right now. If you want people to "call now," add a call extension or a phone number. This ad has a lot of great sales language and value propositions, but I question their ability to execute a good search ad, because an intern shouldn’t even make this mistake. No offense to our interns (love you guys).

Company #3's Google Ad

google ad with mistakes

I just can't. They're a "local ad agency" according to their copy, yet the very last thing you see is "Local California Agency." I'm in Upstate NY. What does this mean? Their geographic targeting settings are off. 

The second issue with this ad happens frequently: the copy is written in sentence case. Google will reward you with a lower cost per click if you Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Single Word, even in the description. 

Finding qualified Google Ads experts 

My goal is not to bash other agencies and make SIX look like some infallible firm. We have done our fair share of learning throughout the years. The truth is, there are plenty of qualified Google Ads experts out there; I urge you to take the time to vet them before you waste a lot of time and money.

If you want to make sure your current advertising agency is qualified, here are some easy questions to ask:


  1. Can you walk me through our Google Ad conversion strategy?
  2. What is our Quality Score and how can we increase it? This is a big one — a poor Quality Score could cost you as much as 630% more per click.
  3. Are we running remarketing campaigns?
  4. Are we running brand awareness and conversion campaigns?
  5. Are we targeting our competitors? Are we protecting our brand against our competitors targeting us?
  6. How many leads did I get this month, quarter, or year?
  7. How often are you updating our ads? Can I see the change log? In Google Ads, there is a record of every action someone takes in your account. Many agencies and marketers just "set it and forget it" and KEEP CHARGING YOU, even though they never update your ads for better performance.
  8. What's new in Google Ads? What's trending this year and how can we take advantage of it?

These are just some general questions that should help you figure out if the firm you hired is doing the job you hired them to do. Moreover, it will show them that you are holding them accountable.

If you want a comprehensive performance report of your Google Ads, please book a short meeting. We invest heavily in software that can analyze your Google Ads and give you an accurate report on how your account is truly performing. We will give you this report for FREE and have our PPC experts go over it with you for FREE.

After that process, if you think we can help, we want to discuss how we can earn your business. I guarantee we will provide you with an honest and impartial review. Yes, we want to earn your business, but building trust is our priority. Ask any of our clients, and they'll tell you that we strive to build lifetime partnerships.

I'm always personally available to every one of our clients... and I hope my next call is with you!

Thank you for your time,

Christopher Ryan | CEO & Supreme Commander


P.S. Want to learn more about Google Ads? See this post: The Anatomy of a Google Search Ad.



[Editor's note: This blog was originally published on January 14, 2020 and was updated on February 22, 2022.]


Christopher Ryan

CEO & Supreme Commander | SIX Marketing