When Words Work

Posted on December 18, 2011 by


Words work…when they evoke the image of a blood-tasting Nico in you (whatever that might be) or the burning desire to find out how Lucas dealt with the wild. Or one step further-when they actually give you the impulse to click on their post titles.

In my previous post I suggested search engine marketing as an alternative of startup-marketing because it concentrates only on potential customers. That’s why this post is about Google’s Adwords. After explaining how it works, I’m going to present opinions about the effectiveness and efficiency of Adword-campaigns and find out whether and for what kind of startups they are useful.


Add words, add cash

For those of you who don’t know Adwords, it’s the Google tool that makes advertisements come up on your search results page according to your search term. You can bid for those keywords and pay for each time someone clicks on your link.

How it works

Startup hustle explains how to build an Adword campaign: at first, you have to bid on one or more keywords. You can also group those keywords to add them to one or more ads. If clicked on, those ads then lead to your landing page. They advise you to choose your keywords wisely because Google recognizes their relevance and reference to your ad-text and landing page and most importantly, it traces how many users that see your ad, actually click on it. Those three factors have an influence on the price per click and the position of your add.

Can words add meaning?

Founder Bob Crimmins from Moontango, an online-delivery-service-startup for women, was interviewed by Geekwire and states that his first indicator of success is when he hears a woman saying “I’m going to moontango that stuff”.  That places quite some emphasis on the importance of words. But can Adwords add meaning to your product. According to Gründerszene the use of Adwords for Branding purposes is possible but not common for startups because it’s expensive!

When words work

However, Bob Crimmins also points out that feedback on Moontango helped him grow and he recommends to quantify all information about your market and strategy.  Startup hustle and Gründerszene both agree that Adwords is useful to learn about your consumers. The account-statistic tool, for example, can reveal which keywords work best on consumers.

Apart from Branding, Gründerszene suggests two more purposes of using Adwords: acquisitions and memberships. If you have an e-shop they claim that Adwords is most likely to help you because users that google certain products most probably already have the intention to buy. Therefore, many e-shops select brands and products as keywords.

If you stir it up with a community or a forum it’s more difficult. Gründerszene remarks that you should only use Adwords if you are “willing to pay” for members and if you give an incentive to sign up, such as sweepstakes or valuable information.

I tested the foregone assumptions by googling a few key words to see if ads of any of our Berlin examples, we introduced in previous posts, pop up. And indeed! “Tamaris” makes e-shop Zalando appear in the pole position of ads. As foreseen by Gründerszene, I can’t find any Adwords-campaign for a community like SoundCloud. My click doesn’t seem to be worth enough. I suppose they rather rely on organic marketing as I mentioned in my previous post.  But if I type in “partner”, the Berlin startup partner community E-darling comes up. In that case, you cannot only suppose an incentive but also a very  strong type of intention of acquisition: the acquisition of a partner.

Posted in: start-ups, strategy