Google AdWords has great potential for filmmakers - especially if you have a Producer of Marketing and Distribution ("PMD") whose job it is to build and maintain your Google Ad Words presence.
Unfortunately, this is not just a routine job you can delegate. As a "new world" filmmaker you need to understand how to use Google AdWords - a tool that is designed to get interested customers to your site. Google offers a tutorial for help getting started but having a succesful campaign on Google AdWords requires more than reading their "how to set up an ad" tutorial. Simply deciding that you want a Google Ad and handing your PMD some cash for an ad on Google AdWords won't be enough: You need to understand how the Adwords program works - especially what sort of ongoing commitment you (or your PMD) will need to make - and then ask yourself "Is Google AdWords worth the Money, Time and Effort?"
Not every filmmaker will have the budget or the patience to run a Google AdWords campaign. But, if you're marketing your film online, you and your PMD need to understand how ads on Google AdWords (and the other major paid ads programs) work.
Ads on Google are shown only to people who indicate an interest in a specific topic. Consequently Google AdWords has the potential for a very high return on investment: If you do it right, you're only reaching potential customers who are already searching for something like your film.
But someone on your team must spend a few minutes daily reviewing the analytics (the reports about how people are reaching your site via Google AdWords) and then tweaking the ads.
If you're considering spending some of your marketing budget on online ads, Mashable has reposted (from American Express OPEN Forum) an article that contains several key introductory tips about how to use Google AdWords (the sponsored links that appear alongside search results). And here's a list of 25 more advanced tips.
One very important piece of advice? Don't pay for search terms that you already own for free. "Think about terms that are unique to your offering and try to make the most of those keywords by standing alone in paid search."