google

Top 3 Myths Expelled: Just Because Someone Works For Google Doesn't Mean They're A Google Ads Expert

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Let me start off by saying this blog article by no means is to bash Google reps. In many cases, we work with them on a weekly basis with our clients on specific questions. It's intended primarily to warn clients of the potential downsides to listening to everything an account representative from Google tells them. It's also intended to help us Google Ads managers out there that have had clients do one of the following:

1. Forward an email to them from Google stating something along the lines of "Google recommends we make this change, can you please implement it?"

2. The client has a call with Google outside of the Google ads manager's knowledge in which one of two things happens. One, the client approves Google making a recommended change. Two, the client implements it themselves. Days, weeks, or sometimes months later we discover the change and the negative effects that it had.

3. A Google Ads dedicated account rep threatening the account manager or the client that if they don't make a certain change, they will lose the dedicated support (yes this has happened to me)

4. Lose a client because Google has offered to build and manage their Google ads account for free while I'm charging a management fee (yes this has happened to me multiple times)

If you manage Google Ads accounts for other companies, if you haven't had any of those happen yet, don't worry you will soon enough. I completely understand the challenge this poses to our companies that advertise on Google.

For a potentially new or early stage client, they don't have a "trust" factor established yet. For a long-term client they do, but unless they have already experienced losing performance and money to a change Google made or recommended, who are they to question the very people that built the search engine on how to best advertise on their search engine?

That all seems to make sense, but unfortunately it is not the case. Let me dispel a few myths about your average Google account representative (they change their titles so much I'm not sure what they are called now).

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Myth 1: They work for Google, so they have access to information about the Google ads platform that the public doesn't

Truth: Google holds any secret information about their algorithm from the vast majority of their company, especially anyone that works directly with clients. If anything I've found that the public find out about platform changes before many of the Google ads account reps because we're actively seeking and following. I can guarantee if your paid search manager is keeping up with the latest releases and trends they know at least the same amounts as a Google ads account rep about the advertising platform.

Myth 2: Google ads representatives know and understand the Google ads platform and algorithm better than anyone because they work with it every day.

Truth: Most Google ads representatives, unless you are an account spending high 6-7 figures per month have less than 1-year experience with the platform. Of the dozens if not hundreds of Google Ads account reps I've worked with over the years, I've never come across a single one that not only ever managed a Google ads account on their own, but had any sort of marketing role prior to working at Google. Typically they have a sales background because that's technically what they are considered within Google.

Myth 3: Google Ads reps and Google Ads agencies have the same goal for their clients, long-term success and spending money.

Truth: This one I have some challenges with because theoretically, it should be true. Account managers or agencies need our clients to increase their spending on Google ads and be successful in order to continue working with us. It's in our best interest to optimize the account towards their ROAS or CPA goals. That is true. One would think Google would have the same intention, but time and time again all I've ever seen them caring about is spending more money on the platform regardless of what the conversion results are. In fact, there are many businesses that stopped advertising on Google and never will again because of the experience they had losing money, but because it was set up by Google Ads reps.

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Where is my evidence to back all of this up?

I've been managing Google Ads/Adwords clients for more than 12 years. I have fought this battle with Google and clients for that entire time. I've taken over clients where I cringe even to tell them the amount of money they lost because of what Google reps did to their account. I've lost clients for refusing to make changes Google recommended. Don't get me wrong, there are many terrible private paid search managers out there. In fact, I would argue less than 10% of us are actually really good at what we do, but that's another blog post.

Just last week I took over an account that had 4 campaigns set up by Google and run for 6 months. Three search only campaigns were all broad match keywords and one what was supposed to be "remarketing" audience was targeting a irrelevant in-market audience. Not one search term over a six month period because of the broad match setup was right for his business. Great, he didn't pay anything for a management fee. Unfortunately, he lost $10,000 over the time period.

Not everything they tell you will be wrong. I'm not here to say that. I just want perspectives to change when Google does recommend something. Maybe get a second opinion? At the very least be open to your pay per click manager not implementing a suggested change if they have a good reason not to. A good reason isn't "everything Google tells you to will waste money." If they tell you that you probably should find a new pay per click manager or agency.

A good reason would be something like:

"We prefer to rotate our ads evenly and decide on our own which is the best performer. There are many factors we use to determine the success of an ad, and while Google has improved their automated functionality for ad copy optimization, we often test this and believe our method works better."

I hope there are Google advertisers that read this and I save their PPC Manager and agency from having to argue this or even worse, give in and watch their client's results suffer. After all, would you let the IRS do your taxes?

If you have any questions about this don’t hesitate to message us. Just click on the Facebook messenger icon and we’ll respond. If you need a second opinion on a recommended change we will be happy to help. Most importantly, if Google setup your campaigns or is managing your account, please let us audit it.

Google Says My Bid Is Below First Page Estimate, What Does That Mean?

For the past couple years clients' have been logging into their Google Adwords account and then asking us "why are our keywords below first page bid?"  While this estimate has been around since 2008 or 2009, at some point it was added to the status column and has resulted in it being much more visible.

Typically my response has been: "Ignore That.  It doesn't really mean anything."  Although I sort of believe that to be true, I thought I would take some time to put together a slightly more satisfying response.

Here is what Google says about the first page bid estimate:

This estimate approximates what cost-per-click (CPC) bid is needed for your ad to show anywhere on the first page of search results when a search query exactly matches your keyword. Your ad can still appear if your bid does not meet this estimate, but it's less likely to appear on the first page of search results.

This is actually a quite perfect response.  Let me elaborate on a couple of the most important pieces of this response.

when a search query exactly matches your keyword

Let's say you are bidding $1.50 on "red shoes," but the first page bid estimate is $2.50. You are much more likely to show on the first page of results when the user's query is "where to buy red shoes", so if you want to increase your chances of showing for "red shoes" you should increase your bid.

Your ad can still appear... but it's less likely on the first page

After digging into this one further, I was proven incorrect on something I've been telling clients for the past couple years.  For those who have been doing this for 10+ years like me, you will remember it was not uncommon to see an average position of 32, 47, or even higher in the past.  Google got rid of that years ago so now at first glance all pages appear to have the exact same ads as page 1.  Upon further review and test searches, I discovered that every now and then you'll see a few ads after page 1 that have not shown on page 1 at all. 

So, as we're managing your account, how do we use this information?

Depending on the goal, there are a couple of ways we use this.  When we first launch an account or keywords, we often have to repeatedly bring keywords up to the first page bid estimate as Google adjusts the initial quality score.  If we are managing an account and we need more traffic volume, we typically start with doing this as a quick method. We can also use the estimates to our advantage because they give us an indication of which keywords have more volume potential and serve as a quick way to identify "high quality" keywords that we might want more volume from.  While we also consider impression share and average position, first page bid estimates are a simpler value to look at.

The final way, which is very often an indicator of a bigger issue, is low quality score.  If it's a big enough issue within the account, we might look at ways to improve overall quality score so that Google drops the first page bid estimate down and we are eligible for more auctions without increasing our bid.

Below is an example.  This particular keyword as a $15 bid with a $16.90 recommended first page bid, but the keyword has an average position of 2.1.  Seems pretty good right?  If you look to the far right though you see that we are losing 26.16% impression share to ad rank.  That means 26.16% of the time the keyword is searched, we aren't eligible to show.  Increasing the bid to the first page bid estimate increases the ads chances of showing when the particular keyword is searched.

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One final point to note.  If the campaign is limited by budget, we almost never increase bids above first page estimates.  What that causes is us to pay more money per click and get less clicks within our budget.