Google Ads is a very powerful marketing tool. It is not just a great way to advertise your products and services. Through this tool you can learn what your customers are searching for, whether you need to pivot when it comes to your product/SEO, and so on.
However, amongst all the praise, there are certain things that Google doesn’t tell you about Google Ads and their practices. This article focuses on some of those hidden “gems” (read, “traps”).
Every Google Ads account has customer support. But, did you know that from a certain point you also get an account manager assigned to your account? If you are a start up/micro business, and you are spending around $1,000-$1,500 a month on your Google Ads, you are “small fish”. Google is not going to waste its precious resources and assign a dedicated account manager to you.
You can send a support ticket and get in touch with a friendly customer support person. But, that’s going to be someone from the team outsourced by Google in India most likely. They will go through any obvious errors with you, and run through the list of recommendations. However, there can be instances where you face technical issues, or you want some actionable advice from them to drastically improve your campaigns’ performance. Don’t hope for too much then.
Account managers get assigned to accounts with big consistent ad spends. It is not clear what the threshold is for that to happen, but it must be somewhere around $5-6k/month at the minimum.
When that miracle happens, your Google Ads campaigns’ performance still depends on your marketing ingenuity and many other factors. However, an account manager is usually someone who can give you more insights, advises beyond the standard recommendations (that you can implement yourself anyway), and is more proactive when it comes to helping you address any technical issues.
It seems like lately Google has been assigning more clients to each account manager, as the communication levels have been lacking (at least in my experience and from what I have heard from other marketers). In any case, you won’t find out about any “growth hacks” from your Google Ads account manager. But, they can make your life easier.
Smart Display Campaigns
Smart display campaigns are a tricky proposition (you may have seen some of them on this page actually). In my experience they are not great at delivering specific conversions. However, it depends to a large extent on your business. The one thing to watch out for is the budget spend on these.
In 2019, the smart display campaign that we launched was showing a ton of impressions. However, in terms of the budget spend, for 3-4 days, we continued to see $0 on our account. At the time the team thought that it was due to the fact that we were optimising for conversions. No conversions – no cost, right?
Five days later we discovered that this new campaign updated the cost for the previous period – it was 1.5x our monthly budget. What followed next were endless debates with the Google Ads support team, accounts manager, and us getting the rebate on a part of that sum. Whether it was a technical error, or specific to this campaign type remains unknown.
So, two things to watch out for:
- If you see impressions and no budget spend, stop the campaign immediately.
- Smart display campaigns can be very unreliable results-wise. Use them at your own risk.
Increasing your budget and the TCPA bid
Getting you to spend more on your campaigns for “optimisation purposes” if Google’s favourite trick. It is true that at the start you need to experiment as much as possible to find that combination of ads, keywords and budget that work for you and give you a positive ROI. Testing is the name of the game in marketing.
However, once you have optimised your campaigns, be careful with always adhering to Google’s recommendations. They are not always there to help you. They milk you.
Ex) Your current budget is $200/day for a particular campaign, you are receiving conversions at $50 per conversion. Google may show the infamous “limited by budget” recommendation. This means that theoretically you are not receiving as many impressions as you could because your ads “stopped running during x times of the day”. However, always look at the actual budget projections and how many conversions you are likely to receive at an increased price.
As a result you may reach more people by spending $400/day, but your conversions cost will increase, too, to $70/day. It is not proportionate most of the time. Keep that in mind.
Bidding on your brand’s name
Bidding on your brand’s name is an unfortunate but now necessary phenomenon. This is Google’s way of smartly milking competitors, while the latter fight for that ad space amongst each other.
If your business has existed in the Google Ads space for more than 1-2 years, chances are you are competing with someone for that spot on Google’s first results page. As the result, a lot of companies choose to bid on their competitors’ name.
Ex) You type in “Adidas” as a user on google search, and then Nike’s ads pop up at the top. There is some kind of % offer, new releases announcement, etc. You just saw it because Nike bid on Adidas’s name.
Having said the above, I would not recommend bidding on your competitor’s name if you are a small business. This is where you would lose a lot of money on impressions, but will get few customers. However, it is likely that your own brand name will cost you quite a bit, if you are beating your competition. Businesses do get desperate, and that leads to them spending money on stupid exercises like this.
I hope this Google Ads guide was helpful for you. Be vigilant, implement recommendations that are relevant to your business, but don’t spend more than you need to.
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