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Our Google pay per click findings

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On the face of it, Google’s pay-per-click model looks like an incredible proposition. Your website gets immediately catapulted to the top of the search engines and you only pay if someone clicks through to view your website.

With so much traffic going through Google, and with SEO being such a slow, expensive option, why wouldn’t you want to try it?

So we did, and we were stunned by the results!

We chose one of our under-optimised tradesmen sites (a for a customer who runs a plastering business) and set up a Google PPC account.

With a reasonable budget of £250 per month, we committed to a 3 month program of Google’s multi-billion dollar revenue generating business - pay-per-click, or PPC as they call it.

Rather than fall into any traps and make costly errors, we went to the extent of hiring the services of a Google Adwords approved pay-per-click expert to create our adverts and manage our account. The (reduced) fee for this was £125.

In order to get one of the top positions we 'out-bid' many of our competitors, which meant our cost per click was arguably higher than it could have been (Google works on a bidding process - the person willing to pay the most per click is shown first, the one paying the least is shown as the last ad), but we wanted to get a strong position and a return quite quickly.

What we discovered

What we discovered made some interesting but also frightening reading.

It took, on average, 23 clicks to generate 1 inbound phone call, and, during the test period, 2.4 phone calls to generate 1 sale. Average sale value from the PPC campaign was just £120. This was, apparently a little lower than our customer had expected.

Interestingly, when we compared this to calls generated through 'organic' listings, the conversion rate was 1.8 inbound phone calls to generate a sale. This could have been due to a number of factors, but it did suggest that people who clicked on Google's 'Ads' seemed to be more intent on getting multiple quotes, or were searching out more of a bargain.

Our stats were, according to our expert, quite typical.

The statistics

The results we achieved effectively meant that each sale of £120 cost us a total of £65.68 (56 clicks at £1.19 per click average). This meant that more than 54% of our total income was spent to generate each sale averaging just £120 – and that doesn’t include the fees we were charged by the PPC expert for his time.

A chargeable ‘click’ proved, in the main, to be nothing more than someone looking at our site – similar to someone looking into a shop window, however, with Google, the shop owner gets charged each time this happens. Now these clicks may be from potential clients, but also there will have been some from competitors, some from casual browsers just looking for information, possibly people searching for work, and, of course, salespeople.

Whoever it was and whatever the reason for them visiting our site, we paid for the privilege of everyone clicking and visiting our landing page. Google charged us the same sum, whoever it was, however long they stayed and whether they called us or not.

Was it worth it?

The big question that has to be asked is "was it worth it?". Well, if you want to get to the top of Google quickly, easily and get instant traffic to your website, arguably yes. However, it's very expensive, and not every job that comes off it will be as small as the ones it generated for our customer, but when you look at the return on investment we achieved, it wasn't healthy enough for us to continue.

The most interesting aspect was the cost per call. It worked out at a scary £27.37 through Google’s PPC.

When you look at our prices and charges, we ask for just £12 for the same thing. As part of the bargain, our customers also get a fully optimised website which is personalised with their company details, a recording of all the calls and enquiries that we generate, no charge for non enquiries and no need to go through the painful and somewhat confusing set up procedure. We also ask for money AFTER we've sent enquiries over, not before.

I’ll let you decide which offers you the best value for money!

1 Comment


Phil Said:

Good article google ppc is a total rip off

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" Since taking a Per Call site my business has probably doubled in size. Like anyone who hears about something which appears 'too good to be true' I was cynical at first, but I'm very busy while others are very quiet. That kind of says it all. "

Dave Jones - Roof Care Nottingham

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