My experience managing Google Ads for a local bike shop


A little over a year ago I landed a small local bike shop client that wanted to experiment with Google Ads.

This bike shop also did bike repair, as that is how many local bike shops generate the bulk of their revenue. As more and more bicycle manufacturers begin to sell direct to consumer via their websites, local bike shops have taken the hit. This is why bike repair is now most shops main source of revenue.

Initially, my recommendation was to just run the ‘bike repair’ campaign as they had a limited budget and being that bike repair generated the most revenue for them, an ad campaign targeted toward ‘bike repairs’ would be more likely to generate a positive ROI than a more general ‘bike shop’ campaign.

The client wasn’t happy with that idea though, he had merchandise he wanted to move and so we also ran a ‘bike shop’ campaign in an attempt to drum up bike sales. This included some more specific landing pages and ad groups targeting specific bikes.

The campaigns generated a solid cost per conversion/call, but the owner questioned the quality of the calls. Unfortunately, since the client didn’t use a CRM to track sales, I wasn’t able to set up offline conversion tracking. Without offline conversion tracking, it was impossible to attribute any sales to the Google Ad campaign or accurately calculate return on investment.

I was basically left trying to convince them that the Google Ad campaign was worth it simply by the number of ‘call conversions’ it was generating, and the cost per conversion.

Clients don’t care about the cost per call really, they want to know the return on investment. This is impossible to calculate for businesses like this unless they’re accurately tracking sales in a CRM.

Little do they know that they only need to keep track of the customer’s phone # (or GCLID) and how many sales that customer has generated. Most small local businesses don’t’ do this though. Most make the mistake of simply asking customers ‘how did you hear about us?’.

Looking back, I also should’ve had a minimum ad budget of $1-2k/mo to help weed out the lower budget clients. It’s sad to say but typically the lower budget clients are the hardest to please. Having a lower budget also makes it harder to get quality results.

To get the best results, you need to spend more time on the account, and time is money. If I had more time, I could have built out more campaigns targeting different products to see which generated the best cost per sale.

I could have found out exactly which type of bicycle repairs were generated at the best cost per sale, etc.

Be smart and learn from my mistakes!