Pause Your Google Advertising (At Your Peril)

For home improvement companies, one of the biggest advantages of Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is that you can precisely control when and where your ads appear. There are no purchase orders and no lengthy contracts. All you have to do is click to turn your Google ads on and off.

Simple and convenient, right? If your budget is getting tight, or you’re dealing with more leads than you can handle, you just switch off your AdWords campaigns. You certainly can’t do that with your other lead sources like radio or home shows. The problem is, switching off an AdWords campaign will be detrimental to your business in the short and long term. This is why, in fact, AdWords is the LAST lead source you want to pause.

We’ve seen considerable evidence that when contractors pause paid search campaigns – even seemingly for the best of reasons – they will encounter hidden challenges and a higher cost-per-lead (CPL) when they turn their campaigns back on. Here is what you need to know.

Meet Amazing Sunrooms

Let’s consider a hypothetical example. Amazing Sunrooms is a well-respected dealer in a major metropolitan area. They have a blowout home show season and are now overflowing with leads. Moreover, one of their salespeople just resigned, and another is about to go on maternity leave.

Now with a 6-week backlog of appointments, Amazing Sunrooms decides to pause their successful AdWords campaign. This seems like a reasonable, low-risk solution, right?


Cut to two months later. Home show season is over and Amazing Sunrooms has hired new sales people. Then, Amazing Sunrooms restarts their AdWords campaign. What happens next is a nasty surprise – campaign performance sputters, cost-per-lead skyrockets and lead volume is low.

What the Heck Happened?

Lots, and none of it good. First, Amazing Sunrooms lost valuable leads to the competition. Their ads were paused, so Google promoted the ads of their competitors. When serious homeowners searched on important terms like “sunroom company” and “patio covers,” those leads went to companies other than Amazing Sunrooms.

“But,” you may be saying, “Amazing couldn’t handle the volume anyway.”

Perhaps. Perhaps not. What is certain is that winning companies don’t allow good leads go to their competition.

Second, upon restart, top ad placement is more expensive because Amazing Sunrooms is now forced to displace their competition. The only way to do that is to outbid them, which drives their CPLs higher.

Third, the only other strategy Amazing Sunrooms can take if they don’t want to tolerate higher CPLs is to accept a lower ad position. Naturally, this lowers lead volume.

So, by pausing their AdWords campaign for six weeks instead of seeking an alternate solution to their problems, Amazing Sunrooms lost leads to the competition and is faced with the no-win choice of higher CPLs or lower lead volume. Not exactly a winning formula.

What to Do Instead of Pressing Pause

In short, AdWords campaigns are not meant to be turned on and off like a faucet. Building and maintaining a successful Google campaign takes time, effort and consistency. If your campaign is working, let it run and reap the rewards over the long haul.