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19Mar 13

Lessons learned from spending £100,000 on Google Adwords


Clear Books has spent more than £100,000 on Google Adwords. It has been our biggest marketing expense.

When we first started spending on pay per click advertising Clear Books was one of a handful of new online accounting software startups. We were all operating out of a broom cupboard with founder teams and little funds.

Sure, Sage was advertising on terms like ‘accounting software’, but ‘cloud accounting software’ and ‘online accounting software’ were completely new words associated with our new online segment of the accounting software industry.

With hindsight, I would have done things differently.

If you run a business that has only a few competitors in a new segment of an industry, or if you operate in an industry that has not yet embraced online advertising, then spend as much as you can early on. If you think it is expensive now, it is only going to get more expensive as time goes on.

The keywords you are competing for will stay the same. The supply is fixed.

But the demand is going to increase. Your new industry will get more competitive as your rivals and the industry grow.

To put it in context, the amount of money we spend to acquire a customer through Google Adwords has doubled since we started.

  • Rob Pickering

    Hi Tim, have you tried LinkedIn advertising? Far fewer people are using it, yet for applications like yours I’d have thought it would be really well targeted and be a better ROI than Google Adwords at this stage?

    • Tim Fouracre

      Hi Rob and thanks for the comment.

      We’ve experimented with Linkedin in but it’s not been as successful for us. What I have found is Google Adwords (search) has the advantage that people are actually looking for what you are selling so the timing of the advertising is targeted.

      With Linkedin, although you can target an audience, e.g. small business owners, you cannot target an audience looking for accounting software today.

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