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  • Writer's pictureVicky Sidler

How Long Does It Take For Google Ads To Work? (And The Truth About Why You’re Giving Up Too Soon)

Are you tired of feeling like your ad campaign is a never-ending rollercoaster ride? Do you find yourself wishing for instant success and quick results? Exactly how long does it take for Google Ads to work? Read on to find out.

As a small business owner, you know that getting noticed online is crucial for success.

But in a sea of established competitors and constantly evolving algorithms, it can be tough to make waves.

That's where Google Ads has the potential to shake things up for businesses of all sizes – if you're willing to commit to the long game.

How long does it take for Google Ads to work? We’ll answer that question in this article.

Slow and Steady Wins the Ad Race

Buckle up and get ready to shift your mindset: Google Ads management is not a sprint, it's a marathon.

It takes time, patience, and persistence to achieve the kind of success that will make your business stand out from the crowd.

But trust us, the wait is worth it.

This may all sound daunting, but there are plenty of reasons why an ad campaign takes time to mature.

From gathering sufficient data to optimizing ad copy and targeting, there are many moving parts to consider.

But fear not – by understanding these factors and embracing the process, you can set your business up for long-term success with Google Ads.

So, let's dive in and explore the top reasons why patience truly is key when it comes to Google Ads campaigns.

1. It's Not Magic – It's Data, Strategy, and a Lot of Patience

If you think setting up a Google Ads account or campaign is as simple as writing up some copy, hitting the publish button, and then sitting back, think again.

Google Ads is a powerful tool, but it's not a "set it and forget it" type of platform.

Why, you ask? Because it takes time for Google to gather the data it needs to serve your ads effectively.

That's right – your target audience, keywords, and ad copy all need time to marinate in the algorithm, but once they do, the results could be a real game-changer for your business.

2. Incomplete Data Means Ineffective Decisions

If you're feeling tempted to throw in the towel on your Google Ads campaign, hold up – you might be making a hasty decision based on incomplete data.

Here's the deal: giving up on your campaign too soon means you're not giving it enough time to mature and gather the data it needs to be effective.

And let's face it, making decisions based on incomplete data is never a good idea.

So, before you make any rash moves, take a breath and give your campaign the time it needs to flourish.

With enough data in hand, you'll be able to make informed decisions and optimize your strategy for maximum success.

3. Think Like a Scientist – Test, Refine, Succeed

If you want to achieve true success, you need to be willing to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and experiment with different strategies.

Think of it like a science experiment (minus the goggles and lab coat).

You need to mix and match different ad formats, targeting options, and strategies to find the perfect formula for your unique business.

And while it may take some time and patience, the data you gather during this testing phase will be invaluable in helping you refine your campaign and achieve maximum success.

4. Impatience Spoils the Harvest

Effective campaigns take time and patience to reach their full potential.

If you give up too soon, you could be missing out on the revenue that could have been generated with a little more patience.

Think of it like planting a garden. You wouldn't give up on your plants after just a few days, right?

You know that they need time to grow and develop before they can bear fruit.

The same goes for your Google Ads campaign.

It needs time to find and reach your audience before it can bear the results you’re looking for.

But it's not just about missing out on potential revenue.

You’ve already invested time and money into setting up your campaign, and abandoning it too soon means that you won't see a return on that investment.

So, How Long Does It Take For Google Ads To Work?

So now you know why ad campaigns take time to become truly effective, but there’s still a big question to be answered – how long until Google Ads work?

The short answer is 90 days, at minimum, and up to 15 months. The long answer is ‘it depends.’

The Learning Curve Of Your Google Ads Campaign

For the first week or so of your campaign, the algorithm is hard at work learning about your niche, your business, and your audience.

While all this learning is going on, you might notice that you're not getting as many clicks and impressions as you were hoping for.

Don’t worry – Google Adwords takes it slow and steady to make sure your budget is used effectively.

During this phase, you can expect to receive a few clicks per day per ad group.

If you don't even reach this minimum amount, it might be time to check your campaign setup and budget.

However, if you see a steady stream of clicks and impressions, just sit back and relax as Google works its magic.

Your campaign will continue to gather data and become even more effective at running Google Ads over time.

Optimizing Your Google Ads Campaigns Without Compromising

So after the first week, you’re ready to roll, and the leads will start pouring in, right?

Unfortunately, no.

If you’re still wondering how long it takes for Google Ads to work, the answer is that it will still take some time – typically around 90 days – for your campaign to pick up momentum.

During this time, Google is gathering data on your ads’ performance and finding the best way to serve your ad to your target audience.

Resist the urge to make big changes in this time, as they can effectively set everything back to square one, forcing Google to start over with the learning phase.

You don’t want to add extra time to what is already a lengthy process.

What counts as ‘big’? Changes to your budget, bid or bid strategy, and/or conversion actions could all send your ad on a trip back to the learning phase.

If you make any substantial changes to the actual composition of the ad, that could do it too.

But don't worry – you can still make small tweaks to your keywords, ad groups, and targeting options without fear, as long as you don’t make too many of these changes at once.

So be sure to take advantage of this time to optimize your ad spend, target audience, keywords, negative keywords, location, and ad copy for better Google Ads results.

Trust It – Don’t Rush It

When optimizing your Google Ads campaign, keep in mind that it takes time for the impact of your changes to be fully processed.

The adjustment period can vary depending on the scale of the optimization, but it's crucial to be patient and allow Google Ads enough time to do its thing.

The Final Stretch For Your Google Ads Account

Once your campaign has made it through the learning and optimization phases, and you’ve made all the changes and potentially waited through the whole process again, your campaign is finally mature.

It’s still going to take time to grow to its full strength – anywhere from another four months to potentially a full year.

It’s important to keep in mind that all of this timeline information assumes there are no fundamental problems with your campaign, like tracking codes not being properly installed.

Issues like that will also add to the timeline for your Google Ads to reach peak efficacy – you can essentially restart the clock from the time the issue is resolved.

Cracking the Code on Ad Quality: What Matters and What Doesn't

Given that ad campaigns are so time-consuming to optimize and can be expensive to run, it's important to focus on the right optimizations.

Here's a quick rundown of what matters and what doesn't, according to Google:

  • Device Matters: Users might be using laptops, tablets, or smartphones, so ad quality calculations consider the device. Optimize your site for mobile and target mobile users with device-friendly ads and pages. Navigation should be intuitive for users on any device.

  • Relevance Matters: Ads and sites that address users' search intentions and provide relevant information are key to high ad quality. Focus on delivering ads with ad copy that answers queries rather than trying to manipulate your score.

  • Performance on Related Keywords Matters (for New Keywords): For new keywords, Google starts with data about your related ads and landing pages. If they're in good shape, that's a plus. However, as more data becomes available, that'll be the primary consideration. So, grow your coverage on relevant searches where your ads have high-quality potential and more efficient ad spend.

  • Account Structure Doesn't Matter: Your account setup shouldn't affect quality or Quality Score if it doesn't impact user experience. Feel free to modify campaign names or ad group numbers as needed. Also, moving keywords between ad groups won't affect their quality unless ad text or landing pages change.

  • Ads on Other Networks Don't Matter: Targeting the Google Display Network or search partners won't affect your ads' quality. Use performance metrics like conversions and cost-per-action to test other networks if you want more volume.

  • Ad Placement on the Page Doesn't Matter: While a high position is desirable, it doesn't affect the expected click-through rate (CTR) rating. CTR is normalized for your ad's position on the page and other visibility factors. You don't need to bid for higher positions to increase Quality Score, so focus on the clicks, conversions, and costs that work best for your business. So keep that in mind when considering your bid strategy.

Patience Pays – Don’t Give Up

So, there you have it – the top reasons why patience is key when it comes to your ad campaign.

It's not magic, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it's certainly not a get-rich-quick scheme.

It's about gathering data, testing and refining your strategy, and staying committed to the long game.

It can be tempting to give up on your Google Ads campaign when you don't see results right away.

But by embracing the process, giving your campaign the time it needs to mature, and partnering with the right team of experts, you can set your business up for online advertising success.

Ready to dive in and discover the true potential when your Google Ads work? Let theContenTribe help you optimize your ad campaign strategy for maximum Google Ads results, and watch as your business grows and thrives online.


1. How long does it take for a Google ad to start working?

Google Ads typically start working within a day.

However, keep in mind that it might take some time for the ad campaign to gather enough data to optimize performance.

So, it's best to give them at least a week before expecting any improvement in results.

2. How do I know if my Google ad is working?

3. Do Google Ads go live immediately?

4. Why is my Google Ad active but not showing?

5. How long does it take for Google Ads to start working?

6. Do Google Ads have a learning phase?

7. What does Google Ads learning phase mean?

8. How long is the learning phase for Google Ads?

9. Why are my ads in the learning phase?


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