Beware of The Phone Call From Google

If you are advertising using Google, you will likely at some point receive a call from a Google representative.

One way that Google continues to grow is by assigning representatives to advertiser’s accounts in the role of account strategist. Depending on how much money you spend each month, will determine how often a Google Account Strategist contacts you regarding well strategizing on your account.

Now, before I go into a tirade of how Google uses live representatives to convince their current advertisers to unnecessarily increase their spending, I want to talk about the positive side of advertising on Google.

I believe that Google is perhaps the greatest advertising channel ever invented!

That might sound over the top, but I really do believe it. Where else in the history of mankind can you reach so many potential customers where they have an interest to purchase? Regardless if you are a company offering roofing repair or a company who sells t-shirts, the ability to reach potential customers is incredible.

In addition, Google’s advertising platform continues to evolve. Google offers advertisers the ability to select where within the Google Network to advertise, using different keywords with different formats types all while being able to either manually or automatically control bids.

No wonder that with so many ways to optimize a Google Ads account, many advertisers do not take advantage of everything that would benefit their account.

Quick Analogy, then we will talk more about the Google account strategist.

Have you ever been to an all-you-can eat buffet?

At a good all-you-can eat buffet, there are going to typically be many more choices then you can possibly eat. Some of the options like the artichoke salad with fresh sardine oil may not look right for you. Maybe for some it is, but to most it probably would not.

Now what if there was ‘Buffet Strategist’ from the restaurant that came to your table, while you were eating and asked if you had time to discuss the buffet?

You probably would listen to what they had to say, right?

After discussing how to be go about the main dishes of the buffet like the roast beef carving station and the different pastas, the buffet strategist might ask you if you tried their new artichoke salad with sardine oil.

After you tell him no, he will tell you about the artichoke salad in how it was made, how good it is for you and how many other buffet goers have enjoyed it.

Now you may decide to try it. However, before you do would you want to know that the buffet strategist gets paid more depending on how many people eat this sardine salad? Would it change your level of trust knowing that is why he wants more people to try it?

I’m not sure if you followed my buffet story; however, let me plainly explain the point I’m trying to make.

Google typically changes representatives every quarter to managing different accounts. The goal of the Google Account Strategist is to increase spending in the quarter for their assigned accounts.

What is the best way for them to do this?

By having their assigned advertisers either:

  1. Increase spending on current types of advertising. (Eat more of the Roast Beef).
  2. Convince advertisers to expand advertising across networks not currently in use. (Try that artichoke and sardine salad).

As an official partner agency, Google rewards points based on how much money my clients spend and more points based on how well an account is optimized compared to Google’s automated metrics. In addition, an agency will receive additional points for having their clients spend more money on notoriously poor performing (at least profitability wise) channels such as Google Display.

These rewards have never meant anything to myself, although I redeemed them a few months ago for a shiny new Google decked bike that I tool around the neighborhood in. However, my agency first and foremost works for our private clients. They are number one with their goals of profitability.   

Now how much do you think these rewards motivate the Google Account Strategies that calls you on the phone? You and I will never know for sure, but it is something to keep in mind.

The first goal of the Google Rep – Increase accounts spending on current types of advertising.

This is where Google and the goals of its advertisers are joined.

If an advertiser is generating a healthy profit using Google Ads and they can fulfil all their orders, then an advertiser should increase their spending to garner more sales, don’t you think?

If advertisers are spending more money, that means more money for Google which means happy shareholders.

With so many different ways to tweak campaigns, this is where your friendly Google Specialist may come in useful. It is also why even I take their calls. They may have the insights of an expert looking at an account at an overview that you have missed working on an account on a daily basis.

Sometimes, you get too close to stuff and it’s great to get a birdseye view from an expert, wouldn’t you say?

However, do you make it a habit to look at Google’s automatic ‘Recommendations’ within your account?

If not, you should.

The Recommendations link is located in the left menu just below the ‘Overview’ link.

These recommendations are automated ‘Google Account Strategist’ and of course help an advertiser spend more money, but they also help advertisers ensure there is nothing negatively affecting their account.

Examples, of common suggestions and warnings.

– Warning regarding overlapping negative keywords.
– Suggestions for new keywords to add to a campaign.
– Suggestions on adding different ad types.
– Suggestions to add common ad extensions.
– Suggestions on adding new bidding strategies.

About a year ago, Google introduced a 0 – 100% rating on how optimized each account was optimized. An although I find this rating a bit arbitrary and meaningless, the percentage of increase percentage with each recommendation will tell you how important Google feels each change will be to your campaigns.

However, when reviewing you must realize that these suggestions are automated. Automated being the key word. Never blindly accept recommendations, in order to generate maximum results, you must know how these suggestions will affect your advertising.

Pro Tip – Even by declining the recommendations in the ‘Recommendations’ sections of your Google Ads account it will increase Google’s optimization score on your campaigns.

In addition, many of these recommendations Google automatically emails if you have selected to receive their customized help & performance suggestions.

Note, you can manage those email settings within your preferences notifications if you wish to receive or to stop receiving these recommendations.

Just like in within the account recommendations inside the account, Google commonly sends out are ways to increase your ad spend.

A favorite for them to do this is through adding keywords to your account. If you receive these ‘suggestions’, you need to be very careful because they are based on keywords your competitors are also advertising and may not be relevant to your account.

Come to think about it. It’s very smart for Google to let you know what keywords your competitors use as it inspires competition and increases the price for popular keywords! 

Another favorite of both the Google Account Strategist and the automated Google suggestions is the suggestions to either fully or at least partially automate your campaigns.

Through Google Shopping this means using Google Smart Shopping campaigns and in Google search it means using automated bidding strategies.

I have written about both smart campaigns and automated bid strategies and the drawbacks from using them quite a bit at blog.trueonlinepresence.com, if you are looking for more information on the pitfalls and exactly why you should not use.

However, in a nutshell what the biggest drawback of using is that these automated strategies take the control from the advertiser on how and where to spend their money. Instead advertisers blindly (in the case of Smart campaigns) and semi-blindly (in the case of automated bidding strategy) trust Google to make the best decisions with their advertising dollars.

Especially with Smart Shopping campaigns, where advertisers cannot see their bids, what keywords their ads appear for, what networks their ads appear in or in what device ads are running, this takes a lot of trust.

Trusting Google is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the hen house, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, Google wants its advertisers to be successful. If not, they will not advertise anymore. But there are different levels of success when it comes to advertising with Google. By reducing profitability just a bit while substantially increasing advertisers spending and testing different lesser used advertising methods inside Google Ads may make perfect sense especially if you are Google. But, does it make sense for you?

If the Smart Campaigns and automated campaigns performed better, I would have no problem implementing across all of my client’s accounts. In fact, it would make my life much easier and allow my team more time to work on other things to help increase client’s conversions. 

However, I’ve tested and the automated campaigns extensively and only once has an automated campaign outperformed one of our manually optimized campaigns.

Now granted, we are doing more than most advertisers optimizing accounts particularly using Google Shopping as I detail in my new book Make Each Click Count Google Shopping Simplified.

However, my warning is this when you are talking to your Google Account Strategist. They are getting incentivized to increase your spend and incentivized to have you switch to using automated bidding strategies (which also will increase your spend).

This fact you should keep in the forefront of your mind!

The second goal of the Google Rep – Expand advertising to networks not currently being used

This goal goes hand in hand with the first as it will help you spend more money with your advertising but is a bit different in how it goes about it.

Google offers five main networks – Search, Display, Shopping, Video and Discovery networks.

Almost all advertisers use the Search network. These are the traditional text ads that appear on Google.com or their partners when you search. Search ads are the original Google ad type.

In addition, the majority of eCommerce advertisers use the Shopping network. Shopping ads are the ads that appear with your product’s picture, name and price either on the main Google tab or within Google Shopping.

However, when it comes to Display, Video and Discovery networks those are used very little in comparison.

Display ads are ads that appear within the Google’s network. Commonly used display ads include retargeting ads, which I use. However, advertisers can also just serve their ads within the display network to users who have never visited their website.

These type ads are much cheaper to use, but they also have much lower conversion rates.

Video ads are just as they say. They are video ads that are served on YouTube and across the web.

Finally, there are Discovery ads. Discovery ads are non-video ads that run on YouTube, Gmail and Google Discover.

After your Google Account Strategist discusses why your account should transition to automation, the next topic will inevitably be expanding advertising to any of the networks that you are not currently using.

This is where it is important to know your goals in advertising using Google.

Is your goal in advertising doing it for profit or for brand awareness?

I love that term brand awareness. Brand Awareness means advertising knowing you are not going to get many if any sales. Instead, you goal is letting people know who you are.

And especially for those of you that are a small to mid-sized eCommerce company, who the heck cares they see your name if they aren’t going to buy?

Final Word

The more money you spend advertising using Google ads the more often you can expect to receive a call from a Google representative.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t pick up the phone and don’t take their calls. In fact, I always take their calls.

However, what I’m suggesting is to know their motivation is to increase your account’s spending and getting your account to advertise across different networks.

I am also suggesting to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER change how you are advertising a successful campaign without testing.

With search campaigns you can test by running Experiments in Google account. You can change variables within a search campaign, such as the bidding strategy, and actually test for a set time period and see what performs better.

Testing with Smart campaigns is a bit more difficult, but you can and should attempt different methods of testing. Whether it is side-by-side or testing different time periods, make sure you don’t make a change without testing.

By testing, you may indeed find that automated campaigns perform better. However, especially for those using Google Shopping that follow best-practices as detailed in my new book Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping, you will most likely find out that a well optimized manual campaign outperform Google Smart Shopping campaigns every time!

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination trusted by small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales. In addition, The Academy of Internet Marketing includes exclusive access to me, author of the Make Each Click Count book series.

The Academy of Internet Marketing

If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and discover for yourself what makes us special. Together we will grow your business!

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.