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Are Google Ads “sponsored” Listings Better Than Organic Search Results?

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Last year from Steve Slisar's Twitter via Mailchimp

Did you know that Google earns between $1.50 and $7.00 for EVERY click that you make on a paid ad for Bookkeeping Courses ads? Per Click.

But you can’t just keep clicking on ads because Google limits the number of clicks from the same person/computer/ip address device etc.

Did you also know that some companies can work the Google Ads system and have more than one sponsored ad on a Google Results page? Is it fair? Are they the best solution? Do they end up costing more money?

Google Ads works

I confess that some years I spend over $100,000 in advertising but I never like doing it. Advertising definitely gets you noticed and it definitely gets people contacting you about the services and products you provide.

Digital Marketing Training Course Seminar presentation - spend less on Google Ads and more on SEO and blogging

I ran a local newsletter called The SignPost when we had our training centre in Dee Why on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and I went around to the local businesses to see if they wanted to advertise in it with me. I recall quoting the famous saying that a US merchant, John Wanamaker said about 100 years ago.

Half the money you spend on advertising is wasted, but the trouble is you don’t know which half

John Wanamaker

The main reason that business spend money on Google Ads is because their website doesn’t rank organically in Googles Search Engine Results Pages but they need to get new customers.

With Google Ads you can start a campaign very quickly and within days have people contacting you. The problem for business start ups is there is a lot of trial and error as you tweak and refine your ads, landing pages and phone conversations and it costs you money as you learn.

Google Ads Training

EzyLearn Digital Marketing Courses Google Adwords Training Courses

The most common way to get customers using Google Ads is to have people click on a Google Ad and get to a page on your website. It’s then up to you to make sure that your website has the right elements to get customers to make contact with you.

If you website is no good and visitors bounce right back out and back to Google Search Engine Results page then your Google Ads will start costing you more money.

Google Ads can very quickly learn how good the “user experience” is for people who click on your ads and if your business website is not good you’ll pay way too much for your ads and have very little success.

Learn about the Google Ads Level 1 Training Course

Spend Money on Google Ads and you need to charge more

It’s a hard balance to provide good value for money and covering the cost of marketing and advertising. Mentor Education was spending a LOT of money on advertising before they went into Voluntary Administration and they were selling a Cert IV in Bookkeeping for a low price.

They didn’t get the right balance of revenue vs expenses for their business and now it seems that MOST of their students who haven’t completed their studies might have to pay the full fee all over again with a new RTO!

When our team do our competitive analysis to see how competitive our course fees are we are surprised when we see some training provides sell something equivalent to our Xero Complete Training Course for almost $1000!


We haven’t spent money on advertising for the last 18 months and instead we allocate marketing budget to do research and write our blog to help our subscribers learn more about what is going on in the Bookkeeping and Office Administration industry.

We also allocate our budget to constantly adding to and update our training course materials.

The Career Academy appears in lots of ads

There is a company that spends a lot money on Google Ads for Xero Courses and sometimes you won’t know it’s them because they also advertise through a course marketing business.

This is the same company that use to advertise a “Diploma in Xero” for several thousand dollars. I won’t get into the legalities of using “protected” terms like Diploma for accredited courses in Australia, except to say that the director of this company was convicted and charged in their home country of New Zealand by their equivalent of ASQA.

The Career Academy ended up paying about $80,000 in fines and court costs for misleading students.

The Key to Google Ads Campaigns is Slick Sales People

The course marketing company I mentioned above does what a lot of digital marketing companies do. They create elaborate and complex digital marketing campaigns to capture as many leads as possible and then charge multiple advertisers a lead fee. The other option is that at the “landing page” they’ll give you several options (just like Google does already) and then you can click on their page and fill in an inquiry form.

Once any company has your details they can “actively” market and sell to you. This process is called “Opting In” and it means that you have given them permission to contact you. Once you’ve entered your details into a “lead capture form” most companies will then try to message you at least a couple times and make contact over the phone to speak with you.

If you have not done your research to understand exactly what you need and how much “the market” charges, you could be duped into spending a lot more than you need to.

Can you have too much information

We have always put a lot of information on our website pages so students know exactly what they are getting. Some companies put a form on their website to capture your details and promise a detailed course brochure but only deliver a glossy brochure with very little detail!

Xero Training Course and Microsoft Excel Complete Beginners to Advanced Online Training Course Package - EzyLearn

When I have shown our landing pages for MYOB and Xero courses to my friends some of them think there is too much information on them. However, we’ve come to realise that a lot of people WANT a lot of information if they are interested in enrolling into a course.

Our Xero training course landing page is very long with detailed information and it links to our “how it works page” and our “Xero Course Frequently Asked Questions page“. We do this because you’ll find answers to all your questions.

Open Colleges Landing Page with no menu

Sometimes you click on a Google Ad and get to a landing page with very little information and a lead capture form!

What I find the most fascinating about this strategy is that often a Google Ad will take you to a landing page (these are sometimes called splash pages) that is designed to give you a little bit of information and try to capture your information. These pages don’t even show the menu so visitors can’t even click around your website to learn more about you.

The risks you run here is you

  • don’t get website visitor traffic to any other pages of your website or
  • that visitors bounce right back out if they don’t like what they see on your landing page.

Make sure you’re helping

If you’re going to spend money on Google Ads make sure your landing page has high quality information and a lead magnet that people are interested in. We use FREE sample training materials to help students get to know more about our materials and how we deliver training and support them.

Then make sure you have a good understanding of your market and the goals of your customers. Sometimes your customers won’t know what to ask so it helps to have some questions for them to ensure that you understand what they need. This process is called “qualifying leads” and can result in a win-win situation where you match the customer with the exact product/service they need and want.

Check out Google Ads Training Course (Level 2)

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