September 27, 2023

Decoding the Dollars: The Comprehensive Guide to Google Ads Cost

You're probably asking the same question as we all do: "How much does Google Ads cost?" Trust me, you're not alone. We all know the promise of Google Ads: you invest a little, and your business soars to new heights. But what about the cost? How do you get the most bang for your buck?

Ah, fear not. In this blog, we're pulling back the curtain on Google Ads spending. Think of it as your treasure map to making informed decisions. You're not just going to learn how much Google Ads cost. We'll dig deeper. Want to set a budget that won't have you crying at month's end of the month? Check. Need to understand the jargon like "CPC" and "ad auction?" Got you covered.

By the end, you'll not only know how to set a digital marketing budget but also how to optimize for those precious clicks that lead to cash. Ready to turn the tables on your Google Ads spending? Stick around!

How much does Google Ads cost: Infographic explaining how Google Ads work and associated costs

All about Google advertising costs: How does Google Ads work

You've probably heard the term 'Google Ads Auction' thrown around. But what does that mean? No, you don't need a fancy paddle or to dress up in a tuxedo to join. The Google Ads Auction is an online process that determines which ads will appear when someone searches for a specific term.

Here's the simplified version: If you want your ads to appear on Google, you pick the keywords you want to target and set a budget. When someone searches for those keywords in Google Ads, they will hold a super-fast auction. Several factors like your bid, ad relevance, and other mystical algorithms decide who wins the ad space.

Now, you only pay if someone actually clicks on your ad. No clicks mean no money down. This is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and is pretty much the cornerstone of how Google Ads work. But remember, it's not just about who throws the most money at Google; relevance and quality also play a big part.

Pie chart illustrating factors that make Google Ads costly for small businesses

Factors that impact Google Ads: What makes Google Ads expensive for small businesses? 

Google Ads costs aren't set in stone; they depend on a variety of factors like location, competition, and keywords. You must first understand this when planning to do Google paid search campaigns and before launching a Google business profile. 


Let's start with location. If you're targeting your ads in areas where many other businesses are also advertising, you're going to pay more. It's basic supply and demand. Targeting ads in, say, Amsterdam is probably going to be pricier than targeting a smaller town.


Next up is competition. The more businesses there are fighting for the same keywords, the more you'll have to pay to get noticed. It's like bidding in an auction where everyone wants the same priceless painting.


And that brings us to keywords. Some are cheap; others are like the Gucci of the keyword world. Typically, keywords that a lot of people search for cost more. That makes sense, right?

Graph showing Google Ads cost-per-click for different industries in 2023

Google Ads price & cost per click: How much does Google Ads cost in 2023? 

Let's get straight to the point: the cost of Google Ads has been a moving target, and 2023 is no exception. Here's the big reveal—an average of $1,000 to $10,000 per month is how much businesses spend on Google Ads. That's right; it might sound like a lot, or maybe it's less than you expected. Either way, this figure isn't arbitrary. It's molded by a myriad of factors that can make it shrink or inflate like a hot air balloon. 

Google Ads Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

You might've heard the term "Cost-Per-Click" or CPC by now. In 2023, the average CPC in Google Ads depends on which industry your business is in. According to LocaliQ, as of July 2023, the attorneys and legal services industry has the highest average CPC worth $9.21. This is followed by industries like dental services and home improvement, averaging $6.69 and $6.55, respectively. Surprisingly, the lowest average CPC in Google Ads is worth $1.55, specifically for industries like arts and entertainment and real estate. 

And if you're asking yourself, "Why should I care about CPC costs?" Well, the CPC is like the pulse rate of your Google Ads; it indicates the health of your campaigns and guides your financial decisions. Tracking this number helps you understand if you're getting value for your money or just burning through your budget.

Text banner asking if it's possible to run Google Ads for free

$0 spent on Google Ads: Is it possible to not pay for Google Ads? 

The idea of running Google Ads without touching your wallet might seem like a fairy tale. After all, Google is in the business of making money, just like you. However, that doesn't mean opportunities for free advertising don't exist. They're just not where you'd typically look.

Google Ad Grants for nonprofits

Firstly, if you're a nonprofit, congratulations! Google likes you. Through Google Ad Grants, nonprofits can get up to $10,000 per month of free advertising. Yes, you read that right, $10,000. That's not pocket change! But remember, there are restrictions, and you have to abide by Google's rules to get this golden ticket.

Google Ads promotional credits

Secondly, keep an eye out for Google Ads promotional credits. These are like golden tickets for new advertisers. Usually, it works like this: You spend a little, and Google gives you some free credit to spend more. It's not entirely free since you have to make that initial investment, but hey, it's close. These credits are often offered to new accounts, so if you're considering launching your first Google Ads campaign, this could be your moment to shine.

The barter system

Next up is the barter system, an age-old practice that's still alive and well. Have services that Google might find valuable? You could offer those in exchange for ad credits. Now, this isn't common and might require some serious networking, but where there's a will, there's a way.

A crafty approach to organic ads

Finally, let's talk about organic 'ads.' These aren't actually Google's paid ads, but they function similarly. I'm talking about Google My Business listings. These show up when people search for businesses like yours, and while not technically an ad, they serve the same purpose—getting you noticed. Keeping your listing updated and collecting positive reviews can boost your visibility without costing a dime.

Flowchart guiding how to create an effective budget for Google Ads

Optimizing your Google strategy: How to craft a Google Ads budget that works

You've probably heard the saying, "You've got to spend money to make money." While there's truth to that, the key is knowing how to spend wisely, especially when it comes to Google Ads. So, how do you set up a budget that maximizes your bang for your buck? Let's break it down.

First off, know what you're willing to pay for a single click, also known as your Cost-Per-Click (CPC). Ads have an average CPC, but this doesn't have to be a scary number. Start by looking at your business margins, the average value of a sale, and how often clicks actually lead to sales. Jot down these numbers; they're your new best friends.

Next, consider the average Google local services ads spend for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), which is crucial for those in the tech and IT world. The spending often fluctuates based on factors like industry competition, location, and keyword popularity. You don't have to match this spend, but it's a helpful yardstick to know where you stand in the grand scheme of things.

How to master the Google Ads auction

Now, let's talk about the bidding process. Imagine you're at an art auction. Instead of a priceless painting, you're bidding for a spot on Google's coveted first page. The more you bid, the better your ad's position—well, usually. It's a bit more nuanced than that.

Google isn't just looking at your bid; they're also checking out your ad's quality and relevance. So even if you're not the highest bidder, a top-notch ad could still win you that prime spot. The trick is to find the sweet spot where your bid is competitive, but you're not overpaying.

Strategies to keep costs low? For starters, consider automated bidding. Let Google's algorithms find the best CPC based on your budget. They've got more data than you could ever sift through, making their recommendations pretty on-point.

Another tip—use negative keywords. These are terms you don't want your ad showing up for. For example, if you're selling high-end laptops, you might use "cheap" or "discount" as negative keywords. This way, you're not paying for clicks from people unlikely to buy your product.

To run or not to run Google Ads daily? 

So, you've got your budget and bidding strategy in place. Now comes another question: Should you run a Google Ads campaign every single day? The answer, like most things with Google Ads, isn't black and white.

Running ads every day ensures you're continuously in the public eye. But think about it. Are your customers online and shopping for your services every day? If you're in an industry where decisions are made during business hours, then maybe you only need to run ads on weekdays or during work hours.

On the flip side, if your target audience is more of the night owl, weekend shopping type, then a 24/7 ad schedule might make sense. Analyze, test, and tweak. You can always change your ad schedule later based on the results.

 List of affordable alternatives to Google Ads for online advertising

Most affordable Google Ads alternatives

We know that Google Ads can be expensive, especially if you're in an in-demand market. So, what do you do when Google Ads start to feel like a luxury cruise you're not sure you can afford? Simple. You explore new seas of opportunity. Here are some of the best Google Ads alternatives that you can use: 

Facebook Ads

First stop on our journey: the bustling realm of Facebook. Picture this platform as a sprawling marketplace where folks gather, not necessarily to buy, but to chat, share, and hang out. That's where Facebook Ads come in, offering you a chance to casually slide into people's social circles.


• Less expensive than Google Ads

• Exceptional targeting options—age, interests, behavior, you name it!

• Ideal for brand awareness and community building


• People aren't actively searching for products

• It may require more nurturing to convert leads

Why it’s an alternative: If you have a product that requires some explaining or your target audience is highly specific, Facebook is the playground where you can captivate and educate. The cost-effectiveness of this platform gives you more room to experiment, making it a fabulous option for startups and small businesses.

Bing Ads

Now, let's drift over to the often-overlooked island of Bing. It's like Google's quieter cousin who doesn't get invited to parties as often but is cool once you get to know him.


• Bing Ads costs cheaper compared to Google Ads

• Less competition means better ad placements

• Serves an older, more affluent audience


•Smaller user base

•Not as sophisticated in terms of ad formats and extensions

Why it’s an alternative: If your target demographic consists of an older and perhaps more high-earning audience, Bing is your go-to. Less competition also means you can often get more for less, making Bing a cost-effective choice for smaller budgets.

Instagram Ads

Ah, the tropical paradise of Instagram, where everything looks like a postcard and life is one big photo-op.


• High engagement rates

• Exceptional for visual products or services

• Benefits from Facebook's robust targeting options


• Typically, higher CPC than other platforms

• Limited to a younger demographic

Why it’s an alternative: If your product is visually striking or trendy, Instagram is where you can shine brighter than a summer sun. It's perfect for fashion, food, and lifestyle brands looking to build a visually compelling narrative.

LinkedIn Ads

Finally, we arrive at LinkedIn, the swanky business club where deals are made over virtual handshakes.


• Unmatched for B2B advertising

• Highly specific job title and industry targeting

• High average user income


• More expensive CPC

• Smaller user base compared to other social platforms

Why it’s an alternative: If you're in the B2B sector, no other platform offers you the precision targeting of LinkedIn. Here, you can go straight for the decision-makers, the C-suite executives, and industry influencers.

Checklist for steps to consider before starting a Google Ads campaign

Essential steps to take before advertising on Google

Going into Google Ads without a plan is like sailing without a compass—you might catch some wind, but there's a good chance you'll end up lost. Here's a handy guide to make sure you're fully prepared before you set sail in the Google Ads ocean.

Step 1: Get clear on your objectives

First things first: what's the end game here? Are you looking to increase sales, website traffic, brand awareness, or customer engagement? Your objectives will guide your strategies, so get crystal clear on what you aim to achieve.

Step 2: Know your audience

You can't hit a target you can't see. Who are you selling to? What are their pain points? What language do they speak? You need to know who your audience is in order to craft messages that resonate with them.

Step 3: Do a budget reality check

Google Ads can be expensive, especially if you're in a competitive industry. Determine how much you're willing to spend in Google Ads daily or monthly, and make sure it aligns with your business goals.

Step 4: Research keywords

The backbone of any Google Ads campaign is effective keyword targeting. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords. Look for those with high search volume but low competition to get more bang for your buck.

Step 5: Analyze your competitors

Don't forget to check out what the other guy is doing. Tools like SEMrush can give you insights into your competitors' keywords and ad strategies. Learn from their successes and their mistakes.

Step 6: Set up Google Analytics

It's not enough to launch a campaign; you'll want to track its performance, too. Google Analytics will provide the metrics you need to evaluate what's working and what needs tweaking.

Step 7: Create a landing page

When someone clicks on your ad, where will they go? Your landing page should be a natural extension of your ad, offering a clear and compelling reason for the visitor to take action.

Step 8: Draft compelling ad copy

The best keywords in the world won't save a lackluster ad. Your copy should be compelling and action-oriented, telling potential customers exactly what you want them to do.

Step 9: Get your tracking in place

Before you launch, make sure you set up conversion tracking to measure the ROI on Google Ads campaigns accurately. You'll want to track metrics that align with your initial objectives, whether that's sales, sign-ups, or some other form of engagement.

Step 10: Conduct a test run

Before you go all in, consider running a small test campaign. This will give you a chance to iron out any kinks and make improvements before you scale up.

Scale weighing the pros and cons of paying average CPC in Google Ads

Is it worth it to pay Google Ads' average cost per click? 

You might be wondering if all this complexity is worth it. Is Google Ads just a flashy money pit, or can you actually see a return on investment (ROI)? Well, I've got good news. Google Ads can be a goldmine, but only if you dig in the right place.

First off, the potential for targeting in Google Ads is immense. You can aim your ads based on what people are searching for, where they're located, or even the device they're using. That kind of precision can really pay off.

Secondly, Google Ads are measurable. Unlike some traditional forms of advertising where you throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks, with Google Ads, you can track everything. From who clicked your ad to what action they took on your site, the data is there for you to analyze and learn from.

Lastly, the flexibility. Do you feel like your campaign isn't working? You can tweak it or pause it anytime you want. Try doing that with a billboard!

So, is Google Ads worth it? In the grand scheme of things, it's not just about how much you spend but how wisely you spend it. With the right strategy, Google Ads also brings you closer to your treasure chest of high ROI, consistent leads, and business growth.

MSPLaunchpad logo with text promoting it as the ultimate guide for Google Ads campaigns

Why MSPLaunchpad is your ultimate guide in the Google Ads campaign

Wow, what a journey we've been on together! We've navigated how much Google Ads cost, how to budget, and even set sail to explore alternative platforms. But at the end of the day, you want a reliable navigator—someone or something that can steer your ship in the right direction without emptying your treasure chest. That's where MSPLaunchpad comes into the picture.

You see, at MSPLaunchpad, we don't just understand campaigns in Google Ads and their cost of running; we understand you. We get that you're not just looking for clicks; you're looking for qualified leads that transform into loyal clients. Our specialized MSP Growth Accelerator Program aims to do just that. With proven strategies that focus on driving consistent, high-quality leads, we turn your Google Ads investment into a wealth-generating machine.

Our approach is comprehensive. We take care of the nitty-gritty, from creating clean, attractive HTML websites to implementing highly converting copy. It's all about making sure that when someone clicks on your ad, they don't just visit—they stay, they engage, they convert.

Interested in assessing your Google Ads strategy? Need a more personalized consultation? You can reach us at or call +31 6 4180 7066.

So, what are you waiting for? Turn your Google Ads curiosity into a game-changing strategy with MSPLaunchpad. It's your time to shine, and we're here to make sure your spotlight is brighter than ever.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to get started with Google Ads?

The cost of getting started with Google Ads is relatively flexible. You can set a daily budget for Google Ads according to your marketing needs. It's important to understand how much Google Ads will cost initially so you can plan accordingly.

What factors are involved in Google Ads costing?

Several factors are involved in Google Ads costs, such as your bid, the quality score of your ad, and the competition for the keywords you're targeting. The Google Ads pricing varies depending on these and other factors, like whether you’re using the Google search network or Google display network.

How do you use Google Ads effectively?

To use Google Ads effectively, you'll need to set up a Google Ads account and carefully select your keywords. Then, it's about optimizing your ads and landing pages to improve your quality score. You can optimize your Google Ads campaign through continuous A/B testing and keyword management.

How do Google Ads determine ad placement?

Google Ads uses an auction system that triggers every time someone searches on Google. Google Ads determines ad placement based on the bids, quality score, and relevance to the user's search query. This affects Google Ads performance and how much you could end up paying per click.

What is the average cost of Google Ads?

The average Google Ads cost-per-click varies greatly across different industries. Online advertising costs can range from a few cents to several dollars per click, which is why it's crucial to understand how much you're willing to spend per month on Google Ads.

Is the average Google Ads cost going up or down?

In general, there is a trend of higher costs for certain competitive keywords. The higher cost per click often results from increased competition in popular industries.