Since launching Testuff about 7 years ago, we’ve enjoyed fairly impressive organic search traffic for keywords like “test management solutions” and “SaaS software testing.”

But like most businesses out there, we’re always on the lookout for more traffic opportunities. So naturally, we turned to Google AdWords – one of the largest and most trusted advertising platforms in the world.

As you can guess from the title, our foray wasn’t very successful. We could not see any impact on the number of new visits to our website. But this wasn’t from lack of trying. We explored every option and turned over every stone, including:

  • setting up countless campaigns on our own, complete with constant tweaking, testing, and improving. No luck.
  • hiring numerous AdWords experts over the years. They brought with them the full weight of their collective experience. No luck.
  • increasing our budgets (x4 and then x8), expanding our geographic parameters, adding new languages, changing the wording, and doing A/B testing. No luck.
  • reading tutorial after tutorial, taking webinars, and attending workshops. No luck.

When we finally stopped using AdWords for about 12 months, our traffic remained unchanged. Downloads of our trial test management solution stayed the same. Visitor lengths didn’t vary one bit. We’ve tried this ‘on’ and ‘off’ approach several times to make sure the numbers are real. They were.

After a year, we contacted Google for some professional help. Given our budget, they were happy to be of service. But after numerous email exchanges, and a conference call with one of their experts, their advice really didn’t improve the situation.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Google AdWords obviously works. After all, the search behemoth has built a multi-billion dollar empire out of its ad network.

What’s more, there are companies out there that generate almost 100% of their enviable traffic from paid clicks.

We’re just not one of them.

So I’ve been racking my brain, trying to come up with explanations as to why that is.

The first and most obvious explanation is that we’re just not good at Google AdWords. A tool is only as powerful as the person using it.

But remember, we outsourced our campaigns to several highly renowned experts. Surely, they should have generated some results, right?

The second explanation – ours is an industry not set up for the Google AdWords model. People looking for test management solutions aren’t likely to click on contextual ads or banners. Software testing isn’t an impulse purchase like weight loss pills or iPads. Potential customers know exactly what they want, and they use Google’s organic search technology to really drill down into the results.

But this explanation doesn’t sit well with me either. After all, we do have banner ads through special partnerships with suppliers and distributors in our network. Although we must constantly update the formula and change some of the graphics, I know for a fact that these banner ads drive traffic. We’re able to track clicks and conversions on our test management solutions download page.

So there must be a 3rd option – one that I haven’t explored yet. But I’d be interested to know what your experiences with Google AdWords have been like. Have you had success? Or have you faced the same challenges we have?

Don’t hesitate to comment down below. Or if you’re concerned about publishing industry secrets for the world to see, then contact us directly (we’ll keep your comments private).

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