Are Google Ads Worth It for Small Businesses?


TL;DR: Google Ads for your small business

Google Ads is worth it for your small business because it’s a great way to get leads and conversions FAST. You can control what you spend, target specific demographics, and pause your ads whenever you need. Think of it as a fast but flexible investment for your business’s future.

Every small business owner’s dream is to get seen by the right people and get leads rolling in with minimal effort. The good news is that a well-optimized Google Ads campaign can make that dream a reality.

Google Ads is an effective way to advertise your business and get more eyes on it, but is it worth it? The answer to this question is a definite yes. At Succeeding Small, we’re paid advertising experts helping small businesses be seen and succeed online.

Here’s why we think Google Ads is worth it for small businesses!

A picture of a sponsored PPC post.

First Things First — What Is Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is the world’s most popular search engine advertising platform. It allows businesses to create and run ads in Google’s search engine and display network.

Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) system. PPC advertising means you only pay when someone clicks through your ad and comes to your website. This makes it a cost-effective way to reach new, qualified customers.

How Does Google Ads Work?

In the most basic sense, Google Ads uses an auction system to determine which ads are shown.

“But what does that mean,” you’re asking — we’re getting there!

When you set up your advertising campaign, you bid on keywords and how much money you’re willing to spend per click. You’ll also specifically use keywords or phrases related to your small business’s offerings.

When someone searches for a keyword related to your products or services, Google looks at the ads set up for that keyword and chooses the best one to show.

For example, searching “air duct cleaning Colorado Springs” could trigger ads for local businesses offering air duct cleaning services.

The Google Ads auction system then determines which ad appears based on several factors:

  • Your bid
  • The relevance of your ad
  • The quality score that Google assigns to each advertisement

If Google trusts your ad enough, it will appear above the organic search results, making it more visible to potential customers. Not to mention, your ad will also appear all over Google. That means you’ll appear on Google Maps, Google Images, and other Google services.

If you’re super serious about your advertising, you can even take advantage of Gmail advertising, YouTube Ads, Google Play advertising, and more.

You’re also only paying a few dollars ($1-$2) per click! Do be warned that more competitive industries can cost more — up to $20+ per click. But the best part? You can control what you spend on Google Ads. You can set a daily budget, or you can choose to pause ads whenever you need.

That means total flexibility in your digital marketing efforts.

A picture of organic and paid ads data.

Is Google Ads Worth It for Small Businesses?

What’s your first step when searching for a new restaurant to try or how to fix a broken watch? You probably open up Google and type it in.

Google is not only the most popular search engine in the world, but they are the most powerful digital advertising platform. In 2022, for example, Google captured 28.8% of ALL U.S. digital ad revenue.

So when it comes to getting eyes on your small business, Google Ads is undoubtedly a great way to do it. Unlike other search engines or advertising platforms, your potential audience is already on Google looking for your services. All you have to do is set up the perfect ad, and Google will deliver it to them.

Still not sure if Google Ads is worth it? Here are a few more reasons why Google Ads is an excellent investment for small businesses.

1. Target specific demographics with Google Ads

One of the reasons why Google Ads is so cost-effective for small businesses is that you can target specific audiences.

For example, you can choose which countries, age groups, genders, and even zip codes to show your ads to. Doing so helps you save money on clicks that won’t actually convert. Instead, you’ll target people more likely to become customers.

Google Ads is also a great way to target those in your area. You can even limit the radius of your ads to a single mile! With all of these targeting options, you can reach an audience who wants what your business is selling.

2. Get results NOW, unlike search engine optimization

We always want to speak well about our true love, search engine optimization (SEO). So, just between us, SEO can take a while to show great results. Like… a few months’ time.

Google Ads, on the other hand, can get you leads NOW. You don’t have to wait for your website to rank in the search results. You can get leads and conversions from the moment you launch your campaign (literally the minute after you launch it).

This is especially helpful for small businesses looking to get a jump start on their digital marketing campaigns.

With a well-researched keyword list and a carefully crafted ad, you can see results come in the same day.

With SEO, however, you’ll usually have to wait a minimum of three months, sometimes even longer, to start seeing leads. That’s why Google Ads can be a great way to jumpstart your SEO efforts while you wait for the organic traffic to future-proof your business.

3. Get great insights into your analytics

Google Ads has a suite of analytics that lets you know how your ads are performing. You can track impressions, clicks, and conversions to see which ads are working and which ones need some tweaking.

Plus, you can see crucial information on your ads dashboard like:

  • Click-through rate
  • Cost-per-conversion
  • Cost-per-click
  • Ad quality score
  • Conversions
  • Event data and so much more

A picture of the Google Ads dashboard.

All of this data helps you answer questions like:

  • How can I improve my ads?
  • Who is clicking on them?
  • What can I do to get more conversions?

You can also use Google Ads to A/B test different versions of your ads to see which one resonates more with your audience best!

Don’t forget to link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account for even more insight into where your traffic is coming from and how it’s performing on your site.

4. Compete with your competitors

We’re going to let you in on a secret; your competitors are already using Google Ads. So if you’re not using it, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach potential customers.

Google Ads can help level the playing field for your small business.

For example, if your competition is dominating the organic search results, you can use Google Ads to rank above them and grab the attention of potential customers first.

If they’re also running paid advertising, you can use Google Ads to outrank them for the same keywords if you outbid them.

Google Ads can also help you discover what keywords your competitors are using to get customers. Looking at your competitors’ keywords is incredibly helpful for optimizing your organic search efforts as well.

5. Target transactional keywords

When it comes to organic search, it takes a while for you to start appearing for keywords like “get moving boxes near me” or “buy vintage clothes in Denver.”

Even if customers are searching for these phrases, they may not be able to find you right away. However, if you’re using Google Ads, you can immediately start appearing for those transactional keywords.

Transactional keywords are phrases that indicate a customer is ready to buy. They usually include words like “buy” or “download.”

Google Ads is a fantastic way for small businesses to get in front of customers ready to convert. It can be a great supplement on top of organic search traffic, helping you reach customers who are already looking for what you have to offer.

A picture of Google Ads.

6. Customize your ads for your industry

Google Ads also allows you to customize your ads for your industry. For example, if you’re in the travel industry, you can create dynamic ads that automatically update based on a customer’s location or recent search history.

This kind of personalization is incredibly powerful and helps increase leads and conversions. Plus, it looks great too! Unlike other paid advertising platforms, Google lets you get creative and customize your ads for your industry.

7. Step ahead of your competitors

With Google Ads, you can get ahead of your competitors in terms of visibility.

You’ll be able to reach potential customers who are already searching for services like yours, and you won’t have to wait for your organic SEO efforts to kick in. Plus, with the targeting options we mentioned earlier, you can ensure you’re reaching the right people.

The insights you’ll gain from Google Ads will also give you an edge over your competition by helping you determine which keywords they’re using and how their ads are performing. This invaluable information can help fine-tune your campaigns for maximum results.

8. Show up all over Google

Google loves Google. That means you’ll show up all over Google when you launch a Google Ads campaign.

Your ads will appear at the top of search engines, YouTube videos, and even in Gmail inboxes, with the proper settings turned on.

Special ad formats, as we mentioned above, are great for industries looking for customization options. Depending on your industry, you can use videos, images, or map ads to stand out and be more visible to potential customers.

9. Control what you spend

One of the reasons that Google Ads is so appealing is because the platform gives you complete control over what you spend. You can set a daily budget and adjust it at any time.

As you can imagine, this helps small businesses stay on budget, which is crucial for success.

Plus, with Google Ads, there are no hidden fees or long-term contracts to worry about. You’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

You’ll notice budget fluctuations in your daily spending, but your overall Google Ads will be within the budget you’ve told the platform.

A picture of a Google Ads budget.

10. Turn your ads on or off anytime

Another great thing about Google Ads is that you can turn your ads on or off anytime. This means complete control over your marketing budget.

Say, for example, you need to pause your campaigns for a few months and put that money toward buying a new work truck. You can easily turn off your ads and return to them whenever you’re ready!

And because you’re only paying when a click happens — if no ads are running and no clicks — you’re not paying anything. It’s that simple!

11. Only target your local area

If your small business is serving a local area because it’s, let’s say, an HVAC business or a moving company, you can take advantage of Google Ads to target customers who are in your area.

Google is great at allowing local businesses to shine with their advertising platform.

Why? Well, they know that a TON of people searching on Google are looking for more information about local businesses. According to their data, 88% of people who conducted a local search on their phones visited a related store within a week.

So, for example, let’s say you’re a gutter cleaning company in Colorado Springs bidding on a keyword like “exterior home cleaning.” Chances are — you’ll waste a lot of money trying to get your ad to show up to the right people.

You’re going to be competing against all exterior home cleaning companies, regardless of location.

However, if you target your ads to just the local area you serve, like “gutter cleaning services Colorado Springs” or even a zip code, then you can avoid having to compete as hard for keywords and save money in the process.

Instead, use Google Ads to pinpoint customers who are within driving distance of your physical location; you’re sure to get more leads from a target audience specifically looking for what you offer.

Not only that, but you’re also going to be lowering your ad spend and increasing your conversion rate at the same time.

A statistic about Google Ads that says "88% of people who have searched local on their phone visited a relevant store in the same week."

The Disadvantages of Google Ads for Small Businesses

While Google Ads provides an incredible opportunity for small businesses to grow, it shouldn’t be your only digital marketing strategy.

In fact, depending on your industry, Google Ads may not even be the best choice for success. Let’s take a look at the downside of pay-per-click advertising.

1. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get results

Unfortunately, nobody can guarantee you results with Google Ads. You can work with a digital marketing agency to ensure that your campaigns are optimized and running smoothly, but there’s no guarantee that your ads will convert.

Yes — a PPC expert will make the most informed decisions based on their experience, research, and data, but Google Ads relies on humans taking action after clicking your ads.

2. Ads can be expensive

Google Ads is an auction-based system, which means the cost of each keyword or phrase depends on how many other businesses are bidding on it.

That means that the cost of each click can be expensive. If you’re not careful with your budget and keyword targeting, it’s easy to burn through it quickly without seeing much return.

Not to mention, some industries are naturally more competitive than others. If you have a highly competitive industry, chances are your ad spend will be higher.

3. It’s not a long-term solution

Google Ads is great for short-term campaigns, but it shouldn’t be the only tool you use to grow your business. It’s essential to recognize that organic traffic is still significant and should be included in your digital marketing strategy.

Organic traffic is more sustainable and provides long-term benefits that pay-per-click ads can’t necessarily offer.

Google Ads should be used as a way to supplement your organic search efforts, NOT replace them. Remember, once the clicks stop, so do your leads.

A picture of Google Ads data.


In addition to the fundamental strategies already discussed, small businesses can further optimize their Google Ads campaigns with these additional tips:

1. Start with a Small Budget

Understanding Your Budget: Initially, it’s wise for small businesses to start with a modest budget. This approach allows for testing different ads and keywords to see what works best without incurring significant expenses. A small budget helps in understanding the platform’s mechanics and gauging the return on investment (ROI) for various strategies.

Gradual Increase: As you start to see positive results and understand which ads and keywords are most effective, you can gradually increase your budget. This incremental approach prevents overspending and ensures that you are investing more in strategies that yield results.

2. Select Fewer Keywords

Quality Over Quantity: It’s tempting to include as many keywords as possible, but for small businesses, it’s more effective to focus on a smaller set of highly relevant and targeted keywords. This strategy ensures that your ads are more focused and reach the most relevant audience.

Long-Tail Keywords: Consider using long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific keyword phrases. They may have lower search volumes, but they often have higher conversion rates as they are more specific to the user’s intent.

3. Increase Budget Once You Start Seeing Results

Data-Driven Decisions: Once your ads start bringing in results, whether it’s increased website traffic, more inquiries, or direct sales, it’s a good indication to increase your budget. Make sure this decision is based on data and the performance metrics of your ads.

ROI Focused: Always keep an eye on the return on investment. Increasing the budget should be justified by the results your ads are delivering. The goal is to ensure that every dollar spent brings a significant return, either in the form of direct sales, leads, or brand awareness.

Continuous Monitoring and Adjustments: Even after increasing your budget, continuous monitoring of your ad campaigns is crucial. This ongoing process helps in fine-tuning your strategies, keywords, and ad copies to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness of your Google Ads campaigns.

The Limitations of Google Ads

Google Ads can be a powerful tool to help your small business grow, but it’s not without its limitations. And it’s important to understand the limitations of Google Ads before you launch a campaign so that you can make the most informed decisions and set realistic goals for yourself.

Google Ads should never be relied on as the “magic bullet” for your business’s success; instead, paid advertising should be used as one tool among many. Specifically, Google Ads, in conjunction with an organic search strategy, can provide your small business with a short-term and long-term boost.

However, be warned that Google Ads can take a bunch of your time as an already busy small business owner. And if not properly adjusted and monitored, it can quickly lead to wasted ad spend you can’t get back.

What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC

Depending on your industry and the marketing goals you’re trying to achieve, you may find yourself asking: what’s the difference between search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC)?

For starters, SEO is a form of digital marketing that focuses on improving your website’s visibility in organic search results. It involves optimizing both your website and content with relevant keywords that people are searching for.

On the other hand, PPC advertising uses paid search results — like ads — to get more visibility for your business. It works by bidding on certain keywords or phrases related to your business so that when someone searches for them, your ad shows up at the top of the page. You only pay when someone clicks or engages with your ad.

In short, SEO is a longer-term strategy that can help you rank higher and get more organic traffic to your website over time — but it takes time and effort to see the results. PPC is a great way to gain visibility in search engine results quickly, but there’s no guarantee of success if you don’t carefully monitor and adjust your campaigns.

Ultimately, it’s up to you as a business owner to decide which approach works best for you. If done correctly, SEO and PPC can be part of an effective digital marketing strategy for small businesses.

Bottom Line: Are Google Ads Worth It for Small Businesses?

Google Ads can be an excellent tool for small businesses looking to gain visibility and drive more traffic to their website. It’s an effective way to target local customers searching for your products or services.

However, it’s essential to understand the limitations of Google Ads before diving in head first. Not only that, but pay-per-click advertising should never replace organic search efforts as part of your digital marketing strategy; rather, it should be used as one piece of an overall approach.

Ultimately, with careful planning and monitoring, Google Ads can be worth it for small businesses — just make sure that you’re realistic about your expectations and goals! With the right setup, Google Ads can help you reach new potential customers and grow your business.

Succeeding Small is a digital marketing agency in Colorado Springs helping small businesses expertly set up and manage their Google Ads campaigns. Our team of digital marketing experts has a track record of Google Ads success to help your small business thrive. Schedule a free consultation today and see how we can help you maximize your Google Ads results and grow your business.

Grow your Small Business With Succeeding Small

Succeeding Small is an expert in growing small businesses through our amazing digital marketing, SEO, branding, web design and social media services.  Learn about our services today!

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