Google Can Keep Their Stinkin’ Ping Pong Table Because I’m Not Doin’ It

In this article, I discuss the perks of being an official Google partner agency. What that means for us and for our clients.

In being an official Google partner agency, Google offers my agency a variety of perks. One of those perks are rewards points based on how much our clients spend along with how well optimized our clients’ accounts are based on Google’s criteria of automated metrics.

These reward points have never done much to incentivize actions with us at True Online Presence. Our focus has always been to do what is right for our private clients first and foremost. My sole goal with working with a private client managing their Google Ad spend is optimize their Google account with the purpose of increasing both their sales and profitability.

Now as a disclaimer, I did redeem some Google reward points about a year ago for a shiny new Google colored bicycle that I sometimes tool around my neighborhood riding. So, even though the points don’t incentivize us, I’m admitting to you that I do sometimes open and look at the Google reward point updates and some of the swag gifts they are offering.

Before I go any further, I’m not accusing Google of being diabolical and out to get their advertisers. However, truth be told, like with any mega company, Google has their own agenda that sometimes may not fully align with that of their advertisers.

I think that Google’s rewards system is genius in nudging agencies to optimize clients’ accounts in the direction that Google would prefer. It is a classic example of positive reinforcement and the bigger the rewards that Google offers the more effective this strategy becomes.

With all that said, a few days back I opened the Google rewards updates email that I received as I wanted to see what Google was currently promoting.

The first page that opens for a Google Partner Agency is an introduction page to Google’s Product adoption. Google refers to product adoptions as “challenges that are designed to help you improve the quality of clients’ accounts. Product adoption targets are specifically tailored to your company’s clients past performance”.

For my product adoption, Google was offering 11,000 points for converting at least 27% of my private clients shopping campaign ad spend into Smart Shopping campaigns (I’m currently at 0%) and 6,600 points for having at least 12% of my client ad spends dedicated to using display advertising (I’m currently at 3%).

Translating that into goodies and swag gifts, an agency would need 10,610 to redeem for a Google Ping Pong Table; 15,300 for a Google Pixelbook; and 16,260 for an official Google Foosball Table.

Now there are other ways for an agency to earn Google reward points; however, Google is currently being very aggressive with trying to have agencies such as mine move clients into using Smart Shopping campaigns and to spending more with Google display ads.

This begs the question as to why?

First, let us look at Google Smart Shopping campaigns and what they are.

By using Google Smart Shopping campaigns, advertisers no longer define their bids, negative keywords or devices they wish to advertise. In addition, the option to adjust bids by time or day or location no longer exist. Instead, advertisers are trusting Google to make those decisions for them.

I have written about both smart shopping campaigns and different 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 mostly avoid.

However, in a nutshell the biggest drawback of using these automated strategies is that Google assumes the control from the advertiser on how and where to spend their ad dollars. Instead, advertisers blindly trust Google to make the best decisions with their advertising spend.

Another factor to consider is where your ads appear now and where they will appear using Google Smart Shopping Campaigns. Currently, when advertisers create a standard shopping campaign, they are opted into Google’s Search Network. Google’s search network includes all Google sites as well Google.com.

In addition, ads are by default opted into also being shown on Google Search Partners, YouTube, Gmail and Google Discover. However, currently advertisers with a standard Shopping campaign have the option to opt out of showing ads anywhere other than within the Google search network.

However, with Smart Shopping campaigns the option to remove certain networks is no longer an option.

In addition, with Smart Shopping campaigns advertisers cannot see specific product bids, what keywords their ads appear for, what networks their ads appear in or in what device their ads are running. This takes a whole lot of trust.

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

Why would Google prefer advertisers even use Smart Shopping campaigns you may ask?

Of course, Google wants its advertisers to be successful. Because if advertisers are not profitable using Google, they will most likely not advertise anymore. I think we can all agree on that? But there are different levels of success when it comes to advertising with Google.

If Google is slightly reducing advertisers’ profitability while substantially increasing an advertiser’s ad spend and at the same time also being able to test different lesser used marketing channels such as display ads, then this may make perfect sense for Google.

However, is this an ideal strategy for you the advertiser?

If Google’s Smart Shopping Campaigns and other automated campaigns performed better, I would have no problem implementing them 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 all of these types of automated campaigns extensively and only once has an automated campaign outperformed one of our private clients manually optimized campaigns.

Now granted, we are doing more than the majority of agencies optimizing accounts particularly using Google Shopping strategies and best-practices as I detail in my new book Make Each Click Count Google Shopping.

However, heed my warning. When you are working with an agency or interacting with a Google representative, be aware that they are getting incentivized to increase your spend and to have you switch to using automated bidding strategies (which also will increase your spend).

I believe that the reward system is a very effective way for Google to make sure agencies are incentivized to help Google push their automated strategies.

However, my agency first and foremost works for our private clients. Our private clients with their goals of increased sales and profitability is our sole focus.  

Given that, it doesn’t look like I will be earning the rewards points for changing my clients over to Smart Shopping campaigns anytime soon.

Now On To Display Ads

Remember when I told you earlier that Google was offering 6,600 points for having my clients total spend for display advertising reach 12%?

Display advertising for those that may not know is when ads appear within the Google Display Network outside of the Google Search Network.

There are over 2 million websites within the Google Display Network.

Now display ads are typically promoted as being effective for building awareness and brand recognition. However, since they appear when users are not actively shopping or searching, they have a much lower conversion rates and generally are not nearly as profitable.

That is why the only display network ads I typically run for my eCommerce clients are dynamic retargeting ads. Dynamic retargeting ads work to show a product that a shopper looked at on your website where they did not purchase.

These type of display ads I find to be much more effective and therefore they are the only type of display ads that I typically use.

Dynamic retargeting ads work to keep businesses and products where a shopper has shown interest in the forefront of a shoppers’ mind. In addition, these type of display ads also give shoppers the impression that you are a large company that advertises across many sites.

In addition, to standard display ads not being effective, they are also riddled with fraud. If you listened to a recent Podcast episode that I did with Neil Andrew of PPC protect, he says within that interview that up to 80% of display ads are actually fraudulent clicks.

When it comes to display ads, it is important to keep in mind your advertising goals. With my private clients, the goal is typically profitability.

With display ads is your goal in advertising profitability 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, your goal is letting people know who you are and what 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?

So, with Google rewards system, they are offering 6,600 points for increasing clients spend to advertise more on a network that historically provides poor results and is riddled with fraud.

Darn, it doesn’t look like I’ll get the Google rewards points for display ads either!

Final Word

Google continues to redesign their search results trying to determine the optimal layout for its users. The more users continue to use Google the more advertisers will seek to advertise.

However, the number of advertisers is not infinite. If an advertiser is not successful showing profitability in their sales (depending if that is their goal) then most likely they will not continue to advertise with Google at least not for very long.

The more advertisers, the more competition and the more expensive Google will become.

Fortunately, for us, our private clients and those who have read and implemented the strategies inside my book Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping, using Google as a marketing channel continues to work driving profitable sales.

But those companies where their Google advertising may not be as well-run may indeed find becoming profitable using Google ads a challenge.

For those advertisers, they may be better off letting Google handle their ad placements and ad spend through Google Smart Shopping Campaigns. In fact, why they are at it, they may want to try to increase their brand recognition through some Google Display Ads (although I would highly advise against it for most eCommerce companies).

By letting Google manage campaigns in this way, they will most likely see better results than just setting up a single shopping campaign that has all their products with just one bid. This is what I unfortunately see all too common in companies starting to advertise with Google Shopping that do not have a plan.

However, with either letting Google run their ads or setting up a Shopping campaign and not optimizing it, these companies are missing an opportunity to use Google Shopping as a significant and profitable marketing channel simply because they do not know how it works or do not have the time to manage it. 

Fortunately, for our clients, this is not that case.

Although, sadly it doesn’t look like team True Online Presence will get that new Google Ping Pong table anytime soon!

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.

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.

My New Book – Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Just Released

Last week, my new and second book Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies was released on Amazon!

One question that I was immediately asked was “do you think it is wise to release your book in the midst of a worldwide pandemic?”.

My answer was a resounding YES and there is more than one reason why that is the case.

First and foremost, especially for e-commerce companies selling products online, due to the recent shifts in overall buying habits it has never been more important for companies to optimize their online marketing.

Overall, online sales have increased in a steady upward trajectory over the last 15 years. Recently, in 2019, e-commerce sales increased to 16% of all sales an increase from 14.4% in 2018 and 13.2% in 2017 according to Internet Retailer.

Although nice steady increases, many experts predict that the COVID-19 pandemic will change the way shopping is done and specifically accelerate the percentage of shopping that will forever be done online.

In 2020, online shopping could increase to as much as 50% of all sales. As new shoppers become more accustomed to shopping online and become more adept at doing so, the percentage of online sales could increase even higher than 50% over the next few years.

If you are selling products online, you should be filled with optimism. If you are not selling products online, you should be thinking about how and where you can start.

Either way, this book provides a ton of fundamentals and strategies to help business owners become profitable selling products using Google Shopping, the largest comparison-shopping website online.

Second, as companies prepare to either resume or expand their online marketing, it is essential for business owners to know exactly how their online advertising dollars are spent.

Before our current crisis and perhaps even now many ecommerce store owners simply would hire out their outline marketing to a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) agency.

Outsourcing paid marketing is common practice as many store owners either do not have the knowledge, the time or both to setup, manage and optimize their online marketing. This is especially true with Google Shopping with all its moving pieces including creating a Merchant Center account and optimizing bids in the Google Ads interface.

However, blindly trusting a company to have your best interest in mind could be a serious mistake and may not be a wise spend of your advertising dollars.

My new book, Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping, has been written in an easy to understand format with stories, screenshots and directions that will make it easy to understand how well your current Google Shopping campaigns are being managed even if you decide to outsource.

For those business owners, who decide to outsource their Google Shopping, it would be wise to read through this book to ensure their current advertising is producing to the best of its ability.

For business owners that are running their own Google Shopping campaigns, this book brings methods learned and strategies developed over two decades managing hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be quickly implemented into your campaigns.

Especially, in our current climate, being prudent with advertising spend is essential. This book will help business owners do just that whether outsourcing or running Google Shopping inhouse.

Am I Doing Anything For My Book Launch?

I learned a lesson from my first book 5 years ago that you need to do more than just publish a book and expect a ton of distribution.

In fact, did you know that the average book published on Amazon only sells a lifetime total of 250 copies?

This book is such a valuable resource to anyone who is selling products online that it absolutely needs to get it into as many hands as possible!

Therefore, I have substantially reduced the price of the kindle version to $1.99. Now through June 4th, buyers can purchase the kindle version at Amazon at an 89% discount.

Click Here to Purchase on Amazon

And although it makes me a little sick to the stomach offering what has been my main focus over the last 12 months of writing this book for $1.99, I must remember my ultimate goal.

My desire is to get this book into as many hands as possible who will be able to benefit and increase their profitability using Google Shopping from reading this book.

After June 4th, customers will continue to be able to purchase the book on Amazon for the standard price or they can purchase direct at www.makeeachclickcount.com where they will find a few more special offers not available on Amazon.

What Are Others Saying About The Book?

I am extremely proud of this book and feedback is proving to show that this book may be my best so far!

This book just received ‘The Official 2020 Best of Los Angeles Award’ for its content and we were greatly honored.

In addition, the reviews on Amazon have been extremely positive (see below).

For a writer, one of the most important aspects is the feedback. It helps you grow in so many ways, not only as a writer and teacher, but as a person.

I encourage all who order this book to read a few chapters and write an honest review of what they were able to take as far as strategies and lessons on improving Google Shopping.

You can read all reviews, by clicking here.

If you are looking to improve your results using Google Shopping, I encourage you to read this book and to place your order before June 4th to take advantage of the currently discounted price.

Also, if you have any questions, I also encourage you to reach out directly through this blog or email us at info@trueonlinepresence.com.

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 for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count book series.

Complete Access To The Academy of Internet Marketing For $1

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 see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

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, 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.

Sneak Peak – Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies

Below is a sneak peak into my soon to be released book Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies.

Introduction

Make Each Click Count Using Google Shopping – Revealing Profits & Strategies is your guide to unlocking profits inside Google Shopping and magnifying those profits using the latest techniques and strategies typically applied by the only the top Google Ad agencies.

The fact is that Google Search ads have continued to become more competitive as more and more businesses advertise their products and services using this original Google ad type.

Although opportunity still exists using Google Search ads, most eCommerce advertisers tend to achieve substantially higher profits and generate a substantially higher volume of sales using Google Shopping.

There are two main reasons that overall sales and profitability both are typically higher for companies advertising with Google Shopping ads compared to Google Search ads – how they work and how they are setup.

First – How Google Shopping Ads Work

When Google Shopping ads are displayed, users are shown the product image, price, product name and the name of the merchant before they even click on an ad. In addition, when they do click an ad, users are ALWAYS directed to the product page EVERY time. There is never any confusion on the shopper/user side.

For Google Search ads on the other hand, even with the best well-written ad copy some shoppers may be expecting something different when the click on your ad then when they land on your website.   

This confusion and surprise will lead to the customer quickly returning to Google (called a bounce). However, even when shoppers bounce you, the advertiser, are still charged for the visit.

Second – How Google Shopping Ads Are Setup

For Google Search ads, advertisers go into their Google Ads account, create a list of keywords, create an ad and typically the ad is live within a few hours.

This simplicity of setting up an ad is the main reason that especially Google Search has become more and more competitive.

In order to run a Google Shopping campaign, advertisers first must open and format their Google Merchant Center account. Upload their products into that account and link their Merchant Center account to their Google Ads account.

In order to run a well-optimized Google Shopping campaign, advertisers must then segment their products into different campaigns and adjust their bidding on products, device, location, etc.

Being a bit more complicated is a good thing for the advertisers willing to discover what is available in Google Shopping as being more complicated weeds out the competition that is either too lazy or too distracted to take full advantage of what is available using Google Shopping.

With so many moving pieces to optimize with Google Shopping, it is no wonder that automation such as Google Smart Shopping campaigns are becoming more popular (we will dive into these more in the chapter – Is Using Google Smart Shopping Campaigns Smart for Retailers?).

For now, know that what is laid out in this book is the current best-practices for quickly increasing your profits and sales using Google Shopping.

Won’t This Book Become Outdated?

The short answer is YES. 

It is hard to believe that it has been almost 5 years since I published my first book – Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

In the 5 years since that book was published, the Google interface has changed multiple times. Some of the terminology has changed. Heck, even the name has changed (Google AdWords is now Google Ads).

However, the strategies and underlying system for my original book has not changed.

Likewise, with this book, I can promise with absolute certainty that in a year or less (maybe even by the time this book is published) some of Google Ads interface will have changed.

That is just the nature of Google AdWords (excuse me, I meant to say Google Ads).

However, what won’t change are the advanced strategies on how to segment your account and how to use the historical data to optimize your account to predict future success.

What Does This Book Contain?

This book has been divided into 5 main sections.

  • Laying The Groundwork – Here Google Shopping is explained including the history, what it has now become and what it looks like.
  • Optimizing Google Merchant Center – Properly optimizing Merchant Center with complete data is essential for success using Google Shopping campaigns. This section focuses on the importance of Merchant Center as well as best-practices and common techniques for creating a fully optimized Merchant Center account.
  • Basic Optimizations Inside Google Ads – This section convers in detail the strategies and best-practices for optimizing Shopping campaigns inside the Google Ads interface. Discover how to best optimize your campaigns using historical data to predict future success in relations to keywords, adjusting product bids, adjusting mobile bids, adjusting location bids and more.
  • Automating Google – The fourth section goes into detail on automated features of Google Shopping including the new Google Smart Shopping campaigns, different automated bid strategies and merchant participating in Google Shopping Actions.
  • Advanced Techniques – Written for those wishing to dive even deeper into Google Shopping, this section looks at advanced techniques such as using the Google Ads editor; using supplemental feeds and using positive keywords to control search terms.

How Should You Read This Book?

How to read this book is going to depend on you and what you want to take from the book. Reading the book in order, cover-to-cover will lead to some great insights in a perspective you have never thought about – even for the most experienced advertiser and provide a full look at advanced techniques and strategies.

For the advertiser just starting with Google Shopping, this book will lead them through a journey from inception to completion with a step-by-step guide to create and maintain successful Google Shopping campaigns.

If you are pressed for time, start reading the chapter that details where you currently need help in your account. However, make sure you return to read the full book!

Why Did I Write This Book?

My name is Andy Splichal and I have been managing Google Ads campaigns for almost twenty years!  Since 2001, I’ve managed hundreds of thousands of dollars for my clients.

Since 2014, I have managed Google Ads for private clients through True Online Presence, where I’m the founder and CEO.

True Online Presence is a partnered Google Ads agency that continually strives to provide profits through best-practices and cutting-edge proprietary strategies for our private clients using Search, Shopping and Display ads.

Since publishing my first book in 2015 – Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google Shopping, the opportunity for profitability has shifted to Google Shopping ad types.

And although the original book included a section on Google Shopping, there was not enough specific step-by-step detail for someone to create a successful Shopping campaign TODAY.

That is why I released this book, to demonstrate how we are optimizing Shopping accounts with great success for our private clients and invite those willing to put in the work to not only read this book, but to apply the techniques taught in order to enjoy the same level of success!

I hope you enjoy the book.

Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author 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.

The Full Story of The Academy of Internet Marketing

How It All Started​ –

Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska in the Midwest, for as long as I can remember, I had wanted a career in advertising. Unfortunately for my ambition, many large advertising firms are not located in the Midwest. Well Chicago, but that is really cold in the winter, and I was trying to get away from cold. There is in New York, but that is cold too, so I decided that I needed to move to Los Angeles.

Many people move to Los Angeles to become movie stars. I moved here to become an advertising star.

However, before I pursued my dream job, like with anything, I needed the right tools. I attended the University of Southern California in the mid-1990s, where I was majoring in Business.

During my junior year in college, I earned an Internship at a medium-sized advertising agency, located in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles. Best of all, I was paid – a whopping $4 per hour, paid as a contractor so there were no tax withholdings!

​This medium-sized advertising agency had about 20 clients including a couple of larger well-known clients, Smart & Final, a grocery wholesaler and Del Taco, a lesser-known west coast version of Taco Bell (I guess they needed better advertising, maybe I should have looked for an internship with the company that handled Taco Bell instead:>).

He also gave me some advice that changed the trajectory of my education. What he said was that what you learn in Business would be obsolete in 5 to 10 years, while what you learn in psychology can be applied for the rest of your life.         

Upon returning to school in the fall, I abruptly switched my major to Psychology with a minor in Business. A decision that would add a year to my studies, but hey, this was my dream job I was pursuing, and this is the path the guy who had my dream job had taken. Considering this, I figured out that this change was a no-brainer to continue the course of becoming a high-ranking advertising executive.

The next summer break, I once again returned to the advertising internship. Although I was thrilled to be back at the ad agency, the atmosphere had changed. They had lost a couple of larger clients, including Del Taco, and you could feel the stress throughout the agency. Instead of rotating interns through the different department, they mainly used interns to fill their vacant receptionist role. They are thus avoiding having to pay a full-time receptionist as well as using interns for other chores that were not related to advertising.

Despite this, at the end of the summer, I was thrilled to have received a job offer. I was not excited to discover that the starting salary for a junior account executive was $16,500. In advertising agencies, by the way, junior executives were expected to work around 60 to 70 hours a week, and I calculated that this made their offer the equivalent of about $7.50 (quite a boost from the $4 they paid me as intern, although maybe not since this would be fully taxed. Furthermore, this was not precisely the salary I was expecting coming out of college).

Fueled with student loan debt, disillusioned by my last summer of internship and the subsequent employment offer along with the fact that I still had some general elective classes to take in the evenings to complete my degree, I reluctantly decided that working for an advertising agency was no longer for me.

The problem was that becoming an advertising executive had been my entire focus, and now I needed a new focus for my career.

I took a job with a temporary agency (that paid $17 an hour) while I completed my degree. During this time, I spent almost a year working at a Neuropsychology Hospital, where I contemplated putting my Psychology degree to work in a permanent career path. Although at times rewarding, I quickly concluded that most people visiting a Neuropsychology Hospital are kind of crazy (imagine that:>) and that permanently working in the actual psychology field was also not for me.

In 2000, I took a job for an online stock trading educational website and publishing company. After a year, when they expanded to selling their books online, I was put in charge of their online bookstore, and my new career in Internet Marketing was born.

Although the online bookstore was very basic, which at the time, most websites were, this was my first experience in the world of Internet eCommerce. With the website back then, there was no paid placement or even any SEO of optimizing title tags, the page content or anything else. It really was just throwing your products online, and customers would magically find them through the box genie thing that lived on everyone’s desk.

​Geesh, how I wish I were doing what I did then with the knowledge I now have!

As I look back, this was a good introduction to online eCommerce, and best of all, that job was going to make me rich. I was heavily compensated in stock options that were as common as toilet paper with Internet startups, although most of the time not as valuable.

Unfortunately after 3 years, the Internet bubble busted, and most of the staff including myself fell victim to downsizing and those precious stock options that were going to make me rich never exactly materialized.

Fortunately, the vice president at the stock trading/book company had also left after the Internet bubble collapsed in 2003, and decided to start his own online eCommerce venture. He quickly hired me to become the Director of Web and Marketing, which made sense to him since I already had experience running an eCommerce bookstore.

The only trouble was that my former position running the online bookstore was more of counting and shipping books than any actual online marketing.

To be effective at my job, I needed skills and needed them fast. I took night courses for HTML, JavaScript, and Photoshop. I immersed myself in top marketing tactics and strategies in online advertising, which in 2003 what to learn still wasn’t much out there. I attended marketing education conferences as well as straight SEO conferences and quickly became adequate in my new role.

I said adequate because I believe in becoming excellent, you need experience.

Over the next decade, the experience was exactly what I got. By 2010, we were spending between 60K and 100K per month on Google search ads. Back then, Google Shopping was still a free service named Froogle, so although we advertised using it from the beginning there with no money spent. The 60K to 100K per month was purely on Google Search Ads with another 10K to 15K being spent on Yahoo Search Ads.

Revenues from the website combined with sales on Amazon were approaching 10M annually, and the company was consistently on the INC 5000 list of the most successful companies.

However, like the advertising position that I turned down 15 years earlier, I was expected to be working 65-75 hours/6 days per week, which calculated into an actual dollar per hour rate that was substantially less than the market value for my position. However the good news, I was again promised stock options of some sorts, this time even dolled up in a fancy dress called stake. This translated into the agreement that I should receive a percentage of the gross sale when the company was sold.

Meanwhile, my wife and I had just welcomed our first child in 2009. Working 65-75 hours/6 days per week for someone elsewhere, I had no control  was becoming more of an undesired task than the career that I dreamed about growing up in the Midwest so many years before.

I trudged along for a few more years (probably too long to be honest) and when the company sold in 2013 and my stake in the company collapsed, I knew it was time for a change. I also knew that I would never again work for a company that I did not own.

Armed with over a decade of experience in Internet Marketing, I decided to launch my own search engine-marketing agency where I would work with small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses and bingo; bongo True Online Presence was born.

True Online Presence

After launching True Online Presence, the first year, I wrote my book Make Each Click Count –The T.O.P. Guide to Success Using Google AdWords and immediately gained quite a few clients.

Soon I was facing the issue of limited hours in the day with increasing demands from new companies wishing to become private clients. I felt that I was starting to transform into just another large, impersonal S.E.M. agency.

Not to disparage large S.E.M. agencies too much, but they face an ongoing issue that was difficult to solve and that most of their clients don’t even realize they have.

The larger an agency becomes the more account executives they need to hire to optimize accounts for their clients. Quite often, the account executives they hire have little to no experience and most of the time they are lowered paid positions right out of either college or are International, typically from India.

These junior account executives are quickly trained and then asked to manage accounts cutting their teeth learning as they go all on the client’s ad spend. The larger an agency becomes the more junior marketers they hire repeating a nasty cycle that typically leads to poor results for the customer.

Without experience, the best these junior marketers can provide is an adequate solution, and that is the best case scenario. This was not good enough for what I wanted to do for my clients.

In addition, possibly even worse than turning over accounts (unbeknown to most clients) to a junior marketer with limited experience, is the fee structure that the majority of search engine marketing companies use to determine what they charge clients.

Typically, clients are charged a percentage of how much they spend on online advertising through the agency. The going rate is between 15 and 20%. Therefore, junior marketers controlling accounts and the agency they work for are heavily incentivized to spend as much of the client’s money as possible regardless of the results that are producing.

Although not ideal, what are the other choices for eCommerce companies?

That was the issue that I struggled with when launching and operating True Online Presence.

I had to make True Online Presence different for my sake as well as for the sake of my customers.

Here is what I did:

One, I limited the number of private clients that I would accept. This way, I could continue to work and provide constant oversight on all accounts personally.

Second, True Online Presence uses a flat fee per month pricing structure instead of charging based on a percentage of ad dollars spent.

Since 2014, I have used these two guiding principles to separate True Online Presence from the large search engine marketing agencies. Working with a handful of private clients, some of which I have continued to work with since 2014, has been rewarding however I still had a calling that I should be doing more to share my knowledge and vast experience in the moving realm of online advertising.

The Academy of Internet Marketing

That is why in 2019, I launched The Academy of Internet Marketing.

A membership-training academy, The Academy of Internet Marketing is where I demonstrate techniques for those small to medium-sized businesses that I am unable to take on as private clients due to the policy of limiting the number of clients.

Going beyond what I share in my blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.comThe Academy of Internet Marketing provides video courses on Google ads, Bing, Facebook, SEO and many other topics that are important to the success of an eCommerce business, including all my new course, and Google Shopping Simplified.

In addition to courses, The Academy of Internet Marketing has video tutorials and articles that detail both what is working as well as changes that occur in the world of internet marketing as well as exclusive access to me.

If an eCommerce company is running their online advertising in-house, great, The Academy of Internet Marketing is a valuable resource to make sure that they are applying best practices to grow their Business while turning a healthy profit.

If an eCommerce company is using a large S.E.M. company, just as good, The Academy of Internet Marketing provides valuable insight so business owners can discover if their accounts are being handled properly.

Whether just starting a company or you have been running an online company for decades, The Academy of Internet Marketing has transformed into the online marketing destination for companies that are serious about substantially growing their online sales.

Today, The Academy of Internet Marketing  (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), is the premier online destination for small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales. Plus exclusive access to me, author of the Make Each Click Count book series and host of the Make Each Click Count podcast.

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 see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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.

My STORY & One Epic FAIL

So many times I’m asked of how I ended up founding True Online Presence.  Like any origin story it is a bit personal and there are things to be learned. Let me first say before I start the story that I would not change anything because as with everything in our past it is part of what makes us who we are today for which I am extremely grateful.

Okay, Now Story Time ….

For over 10 years (between 2003 – 2013), I had previously worked for an online ecommerce company, What She Buys, as the Director of Web & Marketing in San Gabriel, California.  In this position, I oversaw all online marketing as well as the daily website operations.

A rewarding experience, during my tenure, the company grew from a little under 1 million dollars in revenue to just over 9 million dollars in revenue.  The majority of the sales were attributed to the use of Google AdWords; although Amazon Seller Central was also added in late 2011.  As often happens, our advertising budget grew along with our sales going from around $100K per year to around $1M per year. 

A healthy growth, facilitated by the proper use of advanced techniques in Google, Yahoo (later Bing) and Amazon.  I’m proud to say that our accounts always showed profitable numbers for ROI, ROAS as well as other key performance indicators.

Also, through this time, I was on the front line gaining first-hand experience as the profitability of industry channels shift from first Google and Yahoo Search to then Google Shopping and Yahoo/Bing Shopping as well as the rise of Amazon Sponsored Ads.

In 2013, the company sold to investors that were currently running a pair of smaller ecommerce websites on the East Coast.  Shortly thereafter they made the decision to use their own marketing team and I was out the door.

Sad, right?  Well, not so much.   Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel like you have gotten into the same old routine and just really need a kick in the pants in order to change your direction?

Well, this is what has happened to me.  During the last 4 years since founding True Online Presence I have been able to help dozens of ecommerce and Professional Services through private client relationships grow their AdWords and Amazon sales while keeping profitable levels.Make Each Click Count - T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

In addition, I have been able to help many more companies through my book Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords, which was released in 2015.

Then, The Epic FAIL

So what happened to What She Buys you might ask?  Well, as the title might to suggest, it was one epic FAIL. 

The investors, which seemed like smart guys, in fact one even was a former publisher for a well-known ecommerce magazine . However, despite being ‘seemingly smart guys’  they quickly took a multi-million dollar profitable company for which they had paid millions of dollars to acquire and directed it into chaos. 

Today, they have bare minimal inventory (because they can’t pay their vendors); they have been evicted from the San Gabriel 15,000 foot warehouse (for lack of paying rent) and they have defaulted on many of their debts and are currently wrapped up in legal proceedings heading for bankruptcy.  As you can imagine, I have been following their story somewhat closely, after all after 10 years, the company was like one of my children.

So what happened?  How can two seemingly savvy ecommerce professionals have such issues and lose millions of dollars, their credit standings and their good names so quickly after purchasing a successful ecommerce company.  Even more importantly, what can we learn from these mistakes?

Well, I only worked with them for a few months after their purchase.  Did I mention they were my first client, hiring me back as a freelance consultant just a few weeks after we parted ways as an employer/employee?

Here are the mistakes, I know they made and what you need to make sure you avoid.

Mistake #1 – Not Knowing Your Advertising Channel

The majority of the sales were being driven by Google.  However, they didn’t have a full grasp of the Google platform or what it takes to be successful advertising with Google.  Google can be complicated, especially if you have not worked extensively within the interface or if you have not worked in Google recently. 

Google makes changes that can affect performance quickly (for instance, last month’s change to how Google handles advertiser’s daily budgets – read more about that here BLOG – Who Benefits From Google’s Recent Change To AdWords Budgets?). 

If you do not know your advertising channel and are trying to manage it yourself or maybe even worse you go and hire the cheapest Search Engine Marketing firm you can find, you are likely to turn profitable campaigns into non-profitable campaigns, sometimes as quickly as overnight!

Mistake #2 – Not Knowing Your Numbers

There are a number of key performance indicators that every advertiser using Google or any other marketing channel should know.  These KPI’s include your ROAS, ROI, CPA, CPC, CTR etc.  These key attributes are available for free by using Google Analytics; however, you need to know how to setup the Analytics code on your website and you need to know how to make sense of these numbers.

Do you know what these acronyms above stand for?  Hopefully you do.  If not, you should work on finding out what they are and why they are essential or at least work with a company who can explain what they mean, where to find them and why they are the lifeblood of you online advertising. 

Mistake #3 – Not Knowing What Your Team Members Know

So if you are a one-man shop, this doesn’t come into play, but even if you are a one-man shop hopefully you nailed #1 and #2.  Also, hopefully you have enough time to dedicate to properly managing your accounts?

If you are using someone else to run your advertising internally or outsourcing, does the person or company responsible for running your marketing really know what they are doing?

Unfortunately, one of the issues with hiring a large SEM company to manage your paid advertising is that they often use junior marketers many times just out of college with minimal experience, training them as they go.  When they get experience they then leave, taking a job in-house for a larger company or just changing careers.  Like I said it is a vicious cycle.

One of the issues with using internal personnel is that many times they do not have enough time to properly focus on the marketing.  Especially true for small to mid-size businesses such as What She Buys where employees often ‘wear many different hats’.

Also, an often seen trap especially if you have an in-house team, is do they know what they are doing?  Where we they trained? Are they spending enough time on the account optimizing?  Could it be done better?

As a rule of thumb, you should have your AdWords audited periodically at least every 18 months.

So the takeaways from my story – There are mistakes that can be easily made by even ‘savvy’ online marketers, but the good news is there is a good chance your competitors may be making them.  There is plenty of room to profit in ecommerce using online advertising and there is no reason to think that this opportunity will not continue to grow.

So what you need to ask the mirror is ‘am I putting myself in the best position to make sure I am as profitable as possible’?

If the answer is no, take a look at my special offer below or read some of my more detailed blog posts and discover how I can help you get to where you want to be with your online advertising.

Happy Marketing!

Andy Splichal

SPECIAL OFFER:

For blog readers only, I’m currently offering a copy of my book, Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google Marketing for just $5 with free shipping.  In addition, for a limited time, I am including a complimentary marketing strategy session ($149 value), where I will join you on a screen share/phone call reviewing your AdWords account and answering any questions that you may have on how to make your Google Campaigns more profitable.

>> CLICK HERE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS EXCLUSIVE OFFER >>


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

True Online Presence – Who We Are

TOP-Logo-WEBTrue Online Presence is a SEM (Search Engine Management) Firm located in Pasadena, CA. We specialize in helping businesses both eCommerce as well as Professional Services increase their revenue through paid online advertising. We are a certified Google Agency Partner and proudly display the agency badge. As a Google Agency Partner, we have demonstrated consistently that we use best industry practices in running clients Google AdWords accounts as well as have established a history of controlling a certain threshold of budget for current clients.

Founded by myself, Andy Splichal, in May of 2014, True Online Presence was established to bring clients in both the eCommerce and the Professional Services spaces an SEM agency committed to delivering the highest level of service and ethical principles available in the industry. Before founding True Online Presence, I served as Director of Web & Marketing for a company consistently on the INC 5000 and Internet Retailer’s Next 500 lists between 2002 – 2013. In this previous position, I managed an online marketing budget of approximately $500-$700K per year allowing me to fine tune the skills needed today in bringing best practice techniques to the successful online management for clients of various sizes.

The purpose of launching this blog is to educate those interested in online advertising with tips, techniques and insights geared toward increasing online success. Not only will I concentrate on Google AdWords, but I will also share what I do using different CSEs (Comparison Shopping Engines) as well as other venues such as Yahoo/MSN pay per click. I will share what I do and what I see on an ongoing basis in order to navigate the online marketing world. I welcome comments and value discussion as the online marketing industry continues to evolve and hope you join me on my journey as I continue to strive to share ways to increase company’s bottom line revenues.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.