Google AdWords changes at warp speed and in technology keeping up with the most current thing is often referred to as staying at the leading edge. In the business world this is jokingly referred to as the ‘bleeding edge’ because early adopters often suffer losses being first into the game. As a result of this many businesses take the position of letting others go first so they enter the new area after the chaos has settled down. This strategy has both positive and negative attributes to it.
The Upside of Early Adopters
Waiting to implement a new feature is not a simple decision. As the new feature rolls out the results might be great but they often degrade over time. One of many possible reasons for this could be that the feature works better and the people that jump immediately get that advantage but only until the rest of the market adopts the new feature. While nobody outside of Google can actually prove this we believe we saw this happen with conversion optimization. Early adopters got a big improvement that degraded over a period of time returning to the same performance level as before the great improvement.
The Downside of Early Adopters
On the other side of this is that many times new features have bugs. Google is infamous for its release and iterate development cycle but the reality is that you could also call it release and test. A bug might be to your benefit or not but what gives you an instant improvement might come roaring back when a problem is found and fixed at your expense.
Early Adopters Need to Be Paranoid
Being an early adopter means that you have to keep your eyes open and be very careful about what you think you know. It is common for performance of a feature to change over time so the fact that one setting works for you today does not mean it will continue to perform. We have seen many features over the years that change in performance over time. The bottom line with all of this is that you have to test continually and never be satisfied with a specific outcome.
Test and Repeat
Regardless of where you are on the adopter spectrum you need to continually test and repeat your tests so you can detect when the system shifts under your feet. Note here that my statement was when it shifts not if it shifts because it simply will – never stop testing!