“How long does it take for Google Ads to work?” is a great question that most businesses will probably ask before committing to the platform. PPC (or Google Ads) is usually known to be instant compared to its slow-moving counterpart, SEO. In theory, this is true. Once your campaigns are enabled, your ads are instantly visible on the internet.
You will likely start getting leads and enquiries coming in. But you may like to know, “When will my budget start bringing the best return possible?”. The answer will be only a few months after running the ads.
Google Ads can be pictured like a big commercial plane. It consumes the most fuel and energy when stationary and moving off the airport. But once it’s cruising 30,000 feet in the air, it’s all in cruise control. It’s essentially riding on momentum.
So the question “how long does Google Ads take to fully work?” or how long until it hits cruise control. You can expect to see it 3 months in.
Why does it take this long?
While you will still get leads initially, it will not be as good and optimized until about 3 months in. This is due to many factors. Let’s take a look at the few main contributing factors.
The name of the game in any online advertising is data. Data decides if you will succeed or fail. As the account has not spent anything, it has not accumulated data. But once we start collecting, we can start optimizing for performance. Also, the machine learning algorithm (the one that Google uses) relies heavily on past data to know what works and what doesn’t. For example, knowing when it should raise or lower the bid. And knowing which ads should show more often and which ones less often.
All these optimizations can only happen when there’s data in the account.
Period for optimization
When you start a new campaign, Google usually imposes a learning period of 7 days. During this time, Google recommends you not to make any adjustments until it exits the learning phase. The advertiser may see minor performance fluctuations during this period as Google Ads optimizes your bids.
Still, even after it exits the learning phase, the account manager has to regularly go into your account to tweak and adjust the account. Like a plane, the jobs are not done after it’s on cruise control. There is still work to be done while riding the momentum. Work is constantly needed on the account, so it doesn’t fall off the momentum, and to continually build greater heights.
Just like the pilots wouldn’t parachute out of the plane mid-air, while leaving the passengers on board.
Ad testing and scaling
The final reason is ad testing. As the account progresses, more data is collected so we can optimize the ads by looking at the conversion column. The best-performing ads are usually the one that converts the most. Those are the ones that resonate most with your customers. We will have to pause the low-performing ads so the budget can go to where it brings the most returns. We should continually experiment by testing new ads in order to scale the account profitably. All this takes time and cannot be done in a day or a week.
In summary, you should expect your Google Ads to fully take off 3 months in. Be patient and let your account manager move you in the right direction. Continually check back with them and raise questions if you need clarification. Make sure your website and landing pages are mobile-optimized and load fast, as they have a direct correlation to your conversion rate.
Cyrus is a search advertising professional. He is currently certified in Google Ads, Advanced Google Analytics, Analytics For Power Users, Tag Manager, and Data Studio. He is also a Google Partner, which is awarded by Google to agencies who have achieved a high level of competency in driving their client’s results with Google Ads.
In his free time, he likes to write and research on different advertising techniques and ad pioneers.