A few things happened recently that renewed our skepticism on working directly with Google Reps (our mostly benevolent overlords) on their own platform.
I’m not saying you should ignore everything they have to say, but their goals for your account and campaigns can often contradict your own.
Here are a few things to watch out for when dealing with Google Reps:
1. They will encourage you to spend more than you need to on their platform:
Google makes most of their billions in revenue from the Google Ads platform. This includes Google Search, Display, and YouTube. Ad revenues are a key-indicator of the health of their parent company Alphabet.
We often work directly with Google Reps to optimize accounts. And many times they recommend new features and strategies that can be very beneficial to campaign performance.
Recently a Google Rep was very helpful in giving some optimization tips on a campaign. However, after a few 1:1 optimization meetings, the Google Rep invited someone from the ‘growth’ team to join the call. Within a short while, this person then made the case for almost tripling the client’s budget over a 90-day period
There were several issues with this massive budget increase:
A big portion of the new budget would go mostly to ‘prospecting’ targeting - reaching out to new audiences using less targeted techniques like affinity audience targeting via Display ads. This type of higher funnel advertising is much harder to turn into positive campaign ROI.
The plan didn’t take into account the businesses seasonality. They were actually going into a very different time of the year for their customers, that would have a huge impact on their prospective customer’s behavior.
They didn’t have any plan for reporting on the increased campaign spend. Getting reports from your campaign, and analyzing the data is critical to the campaign's success.
We got together with our client and agreed that this wasn’t a good idea. Saving them almost $180,000 in the process (how’s that for added value?).
We haven’t heard from the Google Reps since.
2. Automated Recommendations:
In any Google Ads account now, you’ll find Google’s recommendation engine pushing anything from new ads and keywords to automated bidding strategies.
Like any robot or artificial intelligence in 2018, the tech isn’t quite there yet.
Some make sense, but they can also be completely off base.
Google is using algorithms to recommend new keywords (again to increase spend) for the account. You should go through each keyword individually to make sure they are relevant to your business, and setup tests on bid strategies before rolling them out to the entire account.
3. Google Is Surprisingly Bad at Running Their Own Campaigns
Businesses are often pitched Google Ads campaigns directly by Google.
Many think that this is perfect - have Google run your Google Ads campaigns? What could go wrong?
A lot, apparently.
They often have someone very junior run the campaigns. We recently took over campaigns for a client, and in their account were campaigns managed by Google on their behalf. Looking at the search queries, they basically wasted $3K on irrelevant traffic using broad-match keywords. Conversion tracking was not implemented correctly, so it was impossible to tell if the campaigns worked or not.
Again, their goals are around ad spend, not necessarily performance. and they often don’t follow their own best practices. If a Google Rep sets up your account without even bothering to create a custom name for the campaign (i.e the default campaign name is “Campaign 1”), that’s a bad sign. (And if they ever try to set you up with Google Ads Express, run, don’t walk away as fast as you can.)
Whether you're setting up a new account, or trying to optimize an existing one. Be sure to consult a well educated and experienced third-party (like us!) for a second opinion, and do some research on your own.