Over the past few years Google Ads has become more and more automated.
We have automated bidding, automated ad generation – copy and images that Google take directly from your website – automated videos from still images for use on YouTube, responsive ads, automated conversions, automated extensions…. and the list goes on.
This is Google making things easier for the advertiser. It truly is. And it is a noble cause.
If you don’t have time to manage your Google Ads campaigns then you can add your basic details, give Google your credit card and let them build your business for you. What could be better than that?
It frees up your time to do what you really need to do – which if you are a small (or even medium) sized business owner is, well, everything else.
Many people have simply abdicated this responsibility to Google’s algorithm. And, let’s be clear, it is an algorithm. If you think that there is a Google employee making tweaks to your account to improve performance then I’ve got a bridge or two to sell you.
Everything about the process is automated. Which, by default, means that it is essentially a “one size fits all” process.
“That’s OK… my business is the same as every other business in my sector….” said no entrepreneur, ever.
So on the one hand you have the time saving automated solution that is Google (and surely they know more than you do…. true) – and on the other, the confusing world of online advertising.
And then on the other hand (I know, but bear with me, it’s worth it) you’ve got hundreds of snake oil salesmen offering an alternative automated solution that’s better than Google’s own automated solution.
So what to do?
Probably the best place to start is with a recognised Google Partner – Why? Well, because they have at least reached certain criteria that Google sets to show that they have a fundamental understanding of the platform. Ask them to run a quick audit on your account. It’s rare for us to audit an account and not find a number of quick win improvements… one advertiser we audited was running campaigns for $20,000 a month and 10% of that was being completely wasted in countries that they were not licensed to operate all because the advanced location settings. Think about that… $2,000 a month simply thrown away. That’s more than most advertiser’s budget.
And then turn the question upside down. Rather than thinking about how Google can work for your business, think about where Google would fail you precisely because their system is designed to be one size fits all. What are your unique selling points? What can you add to your ads that others cannot? Differentiate your business from all those others who are still simply swallowing the monthly Google pill.
Think about this. If you and your competitors all decide to advertise with Google and all decide to allow Google to automate the process, whose ad should appear in the top slot. Don’t say yours, because you simply can’t be number one all the time. Will Google rotate you all evenly? They are in the same position as advertising agencies who decline to work with a particular business because they are already working for their competitor and they have identified a conflict of interest. Google doesn’t make this distinction. And somehow their algorithm decides on the bids of two competitors bidding on the same keywords.
The ideal is somewhere in the middle. Some of Google’s automation can be very effective, but this is even more so if it is combined with smart, on hands management. Tweaking ad copy, making sure that extensions speak directly to the searcher, running ads and bidding on a tight schedule are all ways to lever the Google algorithm.
Think of it this way… a coffee machine is a coffee machine, right? So how do some baristas simply make a better cup of coffee? Because they know how to use the machine to its full potential… oh, and they’ve made 50,000 cups of coffee more than the new guy.
Your Google Partner is that barista.
There’s a huge temptation at this point to make all kinds of clever comments about coffee, but let’s get back to the original concept… you can keep taking the Google Pill or (I can’t help myself) you can wake up and smell the coffee!