“You Could Benefit from a Free Consultation with a Google Representative”
If you use Adwords you may have seen or heard something like this by now. Either an alert in your account advising how you can beat your competition by reviewing your account with a Google rep, or maybe you had one call you directly offering to help. Either way, what sounds like a fantastic opportunity to get some truth right from the source isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
That isn’t to say it won’t be helpful. Reviewing your account with someone trained in all the system’s capabilities may provide insights into using the various tools at your disposal. You might even learn a new way to use features already deployed in your campaigns. Which can certainly be considered a positive thing. At the end of the day, I’d recommend that you do it, but…
So What’s the Problem?
First let me set the stage by letting you know that since I manage multiple client accounts I’ve fielded many of the calls with Google representatives. And since they rotate out every six months I receive a minimum of 2 calls a year, multiplied by all the accounts I manage, every year.
Now, you can say Google’s efforts are well intentioned, or you can say that it is Google’s job to get you to spend more money and this is one way of doing it. Both views could be correct. But that isn’t the primary issue at hand.
“I’m from Google, and I’m Here to Help”
Words that are supposed to fill you with a sense of confidence should make you stop and think for a moment. Who, exactly, are you speaking with at Google? And what, precisely, is their experience in running profitable Adwords programs?
Are they a new employee just out of training? Have they served in an advisory capacity for years? I recommend asking these questions before you get into any serious discussion about your programs. Yes, these employees are trained in the various tools of the Adwords system. But that is where their experience usually ends. The sad truth is that I have yet to speak with a representative that has run a real world paid search marketing program profitably. Not one yet. Period. Full stop.
In addition to that, they have zero idea of why you might be deploying certain settings or tools in any given campaign. They have been told that using X setting/tool/method will make you more successful, because Google told them so. So it must be true!
They may not understand you’ve made a choice to forego call extensions because you prefer to have more tractability even if it might result in a slightly lower conversion rate. Or that you want to receive leads only during business hours because your live contact rate increase results in more sales. Or you are using manual bid strategies to muscle your ads into the top 3 to see how you perform against the top competition.
Context is incredibly important when discussing something as complex as Adwords. Combine that with the fact they rotate every six months so even if you did manage to educate one representative you find yourself starting all over again, twice per year.
In my experience these Google reps have zero real world experience running active campaigns with their job on the line if it isn’t profitable. They are trained in the tools of Adwords and their job is to call clients and get them to use tools that will increase the amount of money Google extracts from your wallet, without any idea of if they will truly work or how to best deploy them.
A great example of this is the enhanced CPC that focus on conversions. Things may have changed, and every client is different, but so far everywhere I’ve tested this setting it has resulted in higher cost per conversions and lower conversion rates. The exact opposite of what they tell you will happen. Interesting, no?
What Should I Do?
As mentioned above, I would schedule the call and review your account with the representative. However, do not change anything in real time. Take good notes, then have some deep internal discussions about the pros and cons of each recommendation to make sure anything you implement matches your ability, tracking and goals.
Then, should you decide to implement a recommendation, be sure to do it in a way that you can test and track to an outcome. If the outcome is positive, you now have a new tool in your tool box to deploy throughout your program. If the outcome is negative, you can quickly revert back to your previous state.
The golden rule of using Google Adwords is first, do no harm. Implementing too many changes that negatively effect your performance is a recipe for disaster. So be smart and skeptical in your interactions with Google. And always remember, they have Google’s best interest at heart, not yours.