Why most businesses regret hiring their first Google Ads agency

April 19, 2024

Each month, I get several enquiries from business owners looking for an expert to manage their Google Ads account. Most of these businesses have previously worked with another web marketing agency – or they’re still working with another agency – but they’re not happy with the results.

The disillusionment with Google Ads consultants is huge. It’s typical in the web marketing industry for agencies and consultants to promise the earth – but the reality tends to be much different.

Most of the business owners who approach me feel they have been ripped off in the past.

This applies not only to Google Ads but also to other forms of online marketing, such as SEO and social media marketing.

As a small business owner, it’s impossible to keep up with the rapidly changing world of internet marketing, so it’s easy for unscrupulous agencies to swindle you out of your money. They when walk away and move on to some other unsuspecting business owner, while you lick your wounds and wonder if there’s anyone out there you can really trust.

Finding good Google Ads specialists is notoriously hard

For most businesses, you have to rely on either personal recommendation or do a search on Google and see who shows up near the top of the search results. The latter can often be a bit of a lottery.

If you choose to work with an agency they’ll deliver a smooth pitch, but in my experience the quality of work rarely stacks up to the billing.

If you work with a larger agency, your account will probably be managed by a salaried employee. They might know the technicalities of Google Ads quite well, but they have no real investment in the success of your project. They have no real skin in the game, and often it shows.

No business really wants to hire a Google Ads expert anyway

You might think you need someone to manage your Google Ads account. And on the surface, you are correct. But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, what you really need is not just a Google Ads expert. You need someone who will take charge of getting more customers or clients in the door, or more sales from your website, depending on the nature of your business.

You need someone who can take a broader view than just focusing on click-through-rates, conversion rates, quality scores and all the other technical Google Ads data. Certainly, these are important. But the bottom line for any business is to generate more enquiries, leads and sales.

The only two numbers that really matter with Google Ads (or any form of marketing) are:

1. How much you spend on advertising and management fees
2. How much extra profit you make as a result.

The second number needs to be substantially larger than the first, or you should pull the plug rapidly.
And yet, few Google Ads agencies really care about those two crucial numbers. They will bamboozle you with CTR’s, CPC’s, quality scores, conversion rates and other “geek speak”, which they claim are looking great. Even if you, as the business owner, know you’re losing money.

You need to go into any Google Ads engagement with your eyes wide open

Going in with your eyes open means becoming more aware of your true requirements. Most business owners pursue Google Ads strategies in a herd mentality. Often it’s as simple as seeing your competitor’s remarketing ads after you visited their website. Other times you’ll do a Google search on a primary keyword and find you are being outranked by a competitor.

Usually this leads to a frantic call with whoever is managing your Google Ads, to ask exactly what they are doing about it.

Of course, you should look at your competitor’s websites from time to time. And you should take note if they are appearing above you on particular search terms. But in my experience many businesses don’t make an outright profit on Google Ads, so blindly following the herd can lead you to a dead end.

You also need to bear in mind, Google Ads is becoming more and more competitive – and thus more expensive. There are just four prime spots at the top of the search results, where Google shows ads. If you’re in an industry where more than four businesses are vying for those four top spots, you need to pay for the privilege of being there.

As more and more businesses jump into the Google Ads game, they bid up the cost per click. That’s why it’s becoming harder and harder to make Google Ads profitable in many industries.

The answer is to manage your Google Ads from a solid foundation

A good Google Ads manager will:
• Keep an eye on your competitors, without blindly following them
• Have tightly focused, well organised campaigns
• Test a range of ads to find “winners” and “losers” and then use the winning ads elsewhere in your marketing
• Regularly work on your landing pages to improve conversions
• Use detailed conversion tracking to measure your return on ad spend

Above all, a great Google Ads manager will use the 80/20 principle

I have been managing Google Ads accounts since 2008. One thing I started noticing over and over again was that most of the positive results were coming from just few keywords and ads.

So, if a Google Ads account had, say, 100 keywords, only about 20 of those keywords were generating profit. The other 80 keywords were losing money for the business. The same applied to ads. Just a handful of ads were generating most of the results while the others were running at a loss.

Then I read Perry Marshall’s excellent book “80/20 Sales & Marketing” which explains the reason for this. Most successful businesses realise the 80/20 principle intuitively. They cut back on activities and expenses that are not generating profit, and channel everything into the 20% or so that are profit generating.

I started doing this with Google Ads accounts. At first, I was nervous because it made the accounts much smaller. I wondered if the clients would look and think I was getting lazy! After all, a large Google Ads account with a lot of keywords and ads looks more impressive than a small one.

But in fact, most business owners never look at their Google Ads accounts nor care how many keywords or ads are in it. The only thing they worry about is whether the money they are spending on Google Ads is adding to their bottom line profit.

Since then, I have ruthlessly applied the 80/20 principle to every Google Ads account I have managed. The results have been quite astonishing in some industries. It has made the difference between success and failure in competitive markets.

The bottom line with Google Ads – and all marketing

The bottom line is, the only way to measure your marketing is by something most marketing agencies rarely talk about.


It either works or it doesn’t. Google Ads works or it does not. Social media works or not. Content marketing works or doesn’t work.

I’ve been in the marketing business too long, seen too many business owners suffering after being ripped off – I can’t in good conscience take someone’s money unless I’m pretty confident I can get them results.

Do I get results 100% of the time? Unfortunately, not. But it’s a high percentage. Sometimes there are more fundamental issues in a business that can’t be overcome by marketing alone. Prices can be too high – or too low. The business is selling something people don’t want. There are many reasons why marketing fails.

But if you have a quality product or service, which a large enough group of people want to buy, there’s no reason you can’t get results from Google Ads.


Chris Mole - web design and Goolge AdsChris Mole is a Google Ads certified partner based in Christchurch. He manages Google Ads accounts for businesses throughout New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

He offers a 45-day profit guarantee for all Google Ads accounts. For more information visit https://www.chrismole.co.nz/google-ads