For Good #002.
Podcast — For Good #002 | Google Ads SOS — How to Stop the Bleeding in Your Ads Account
Posted by Spicy Web
Tony: Alright everyone, welcome to the ‘For Good Podcast’, this time we have a title and I guess a semi introduction. This is David, he’s part of the Spicy Web team and basically I think we’re gonna rotate a bit. David would probably be my favourite guy cause he y’know, he likes to talk, I like to talk but we’ll try and bring some other faces in here so you can meet more of the team.
Tony: What we’re thinking about for this week was talking about, y’know trying to provide some information for you guys something of value, not just like - some like tips and stuff like that but we’re talking about what we can do this time.
Tony: So, we’ve been getting so many new clients coming in and they’re coming to us for many reasons, but essentially if you have a Google Ads account and it’s running, the reason you’re going to someone is you have a feeling something’s not working. Essentially you feel like you’re bleeding money or y’know it’s not working so you’re wanting to find out what can be done to fix that. So they come to us - ‘I feel like I’m bleeding money, what can you guys find?’ and we go in, we do an audit and tell them what to do. So, we thought we’d share some of what we look for so that you guys can maybe do that yourself, but also understand how we do things as well. So David, why don’t you talk about how we do this sort of stuff.
David: Yeah, so - well firstly thanks for having me.
Tony: Having you, I’m required to be here.
David: Yeah, look the reason why we kind of like decided to have an episode just talking about y’know - I wanted to call how to stop y’know money bleeding into the account.
David: Simply because y’know most of the inquiries we get are around - ‘Hey, my account or my ads are not performing as they should be.’ - And on the bad side of things that means that you’re probably pouring away money in areas we would try to pick up on as quickly and as early as we can.
David: Not only to stop the bleeding but also then to understand, okay how can we optimize the account for success.
Tony: Well that’s what account management is, like it’s not about stopping bleeding, like performance should - except for seasonality things - you should be getting slightly better as time goes on y’know. So if someone’s coming to us they either have a drop in performance or they’re going off gut feel for performance.
Tony: Y’know that’s usually the other option as well.
David: But also in many cases, I mean depending on how small the business is or what the actual goal is of the account, it can start off that someone has just set up an AdWords Express, as they would call it.
David: Where you have limited settings available to you to run your first campaigns. So it’s a heavily guided - Google guided - method to get your AdWords dollars out of you. And then on the other hand there are companies who say, look we had a couple of managers on it, we had some agencies looking at it, but y’know we’re still not getting the results we want.
Tony: There’s also people that maybe had it set up a long time ago and it’s been working, the problem is Google is constantly changing things so they can slowly die over time. Even if you’ve got someone watching it, y’know like some people suck.
David: Yeah, so what we wanted to do today I think in this episode is to say, hey y’know we have three tips to kind of like go back into your account and have a look at those.
Tony: You’ve got a cool acronym too.
David: Yeah so I came up - I did some notes previous to the show here and I kind of like tried to come up with a bit of a framework. I kind of like want to give three tips because it seems like there are three steps for you to quickly analyse where the bleeding happens and how you could stop that. Obviously to make it a little bit more memorable I put on a fourth tip.
David: So the framework is called C.A.K.E. Which stands for ‘Campaign’, ‘Ad Copy’, ‘Key Words’ and ‘Entry’ - Which is the landing page to your website. So if you think about cake, think about these four steps you want to look into your account to check if those are in order.
Tony: I’m already thinking about cake. Yep, cake time.
David: Cake. Yep, so you can have y’know either you’re stuck with the crumbs.
David: Or you have the full cake in front of you and you want to know, y’know, where the pie slices go too, so to speak.
David: So okay, campaign goal is usually, let’s say you are someone who came to Spicy and said - ‘Hey David, have a look at my account.’ Ideally, y’know we’d get access and we’d just understand what you’ve currently been doing in the past.
Tony: Yep, here’s my account, I’ve been doing it for a year, years, a few months, this is what it is tell me what you think. I have a gut feeling it’s not working.
David: So, in most cases that’s why I like to start with the campaign goal is, if I open your account and have, let’s say, no understanding of your business, if your account is well structured I get a really good understanding quickly on what your goal is.
David: In many, many cases that’s not the case. So what I mean by that is, with the campaign goal, so what you want to do is before you even start setting up your first ads and you create your first campaign, you obviously - If you do it yourself or someone has done it for you, you need to understand on a campaign level you assign your budget, then you have your ad groups so, when you start with a campaign, that campaign has an overarching goal right?
David: So you say, I have ten dollars a day and my goal is with that campaign to either get more visibility - so that might be just impressions and awareness.
David: Or it might be that you say look I want as much traffic to a single page or to multiple pages as I can.
Tony: Yeah, so clicks.
David: Clicks. The third one which we prefer personally is to focus on a conversion goal, which is - It can be a transaction, it can be a y’know inquiry form filled out, a PDF download. The higher the conversion for you, the better. And therefore what we see is - And I do it myself, where I always before I start setting up campaigns is write it down on a piece of paper.
David: On what I actually want to achieve.
Tony: So, take it back a step like - Cause all of those exist for a reason, like do you decide that there’s one that’s right or do you ask me whether what I’m - Cause every business owner, advertiser wants to make money right? So, why would I ever pay for anything that’s not the conversion one?
David: Yeah so, good point. I guess, yeah it’s a really good point because we have to speak now very broadly because we’re not focusing on a particular website or topic or service or product.
Tony: But I guess that was the point I was driving to is, if you’re a, if you don’t get many leads-
David: Yeah, okay. So let’s say you want to run ads to drive traffic to your site because your site is not ranking organically, you don’t have any social awareness.
Tony: You’re a B2B sort of business.
David: Yeah you don’t have any brand, so no one knows you. Let’s say you’ve started a business from scratch a month ago or two, started your first campaign and you’re running into trouble, it’s because you’re not getting anything, any traction out of it. You might have the right goal but then your campaign is set up in a way that is actually made to drive you a lot of clicks and traffic.
David: But then it’s not there to measure if you actually can convert the traffic.
Tony: Yeah, you have no idea what’s happening with that.
David: Yeah and it’s, y’know at the same time Google is a tool like, y’know any other ad platform out there so it’s not that you go on there, put on your website domain and it just does it all magically for you that’s not the case. You have to do a lot of homework before you do that and I think just to kind of like round up number one as a tip with a campaign goal is - And don’t do everything in the beginning as in what you could do, that’s what we see at the same time.
Tony: Yeah, exactly yeah. Over, overdoing it.
David: Focus on one thing. Let’s say if you are a small business and you have one particular service and it’s your main service, it’s your y’know your best seller, it’s something you have the biggest margin on - That’s your first campaign. So, your goal is to get as many inquiries for that service within a certain area of Melbourne, Victoria, Sydney, if it’s Australia wide and take it from there.
Tony: So we’ve picked a good campaign goal now.
David: Yep, so let’s say the campaign goal is to get inquiries to a service. The second one is, if we look at the C.A.K.E method is ‘Ad Copy.’
Tony: Yes, I love cake. What are you looking for there?
David: Yeah so I guess because we’re talking about stopping bleeding the money, if you don’t have the right goal, you’re not chasing - And we need to probably mention with the goals is, you can feed information back to Google ads, it’s not like you get the click from the search network and then you measure out how many clicks and impressions you receive for what costs. But also you can say through analytics, or through tags throughout your website to push back an event saying, hey I’ve brought ten clicks to my site yesterday through paid search with those keywords, one of them filled out a form.
David: So you’ve triggered an event on the website, which you can set up and it’ll happen automatically in the background and that event fires to analytics, if you have analytics installed on your website, but importantly it fires back to Google Ads. So, Google Ads knows yesterday at 12:37 I sent you that click, that user and it converted - Fantastic! So, we can optimize the account from there.
David: And obviously from your end, from the business owner or whoever is doing the inquiries and working through them can then say - ‘Was it a good inquiry?’
Tony: Yeah that’s when you take it a step further, is seeing the revenue that came from the inquiry.
David: Because we also get the opposite, it’s kind of like hey we get a lot of enquiries but they’re all wrong.
Tony: But they’re trash, yeah.
David: Yeah, or they’re in a different suburb, they’re in the wrong y’know state.
Tony: Exactly and at the end of the day, money talks. So you do want to be able to - But, so many people have just got accounts running and they’re not even tracking those events.
David: So with ad copy, y’know there are a lot of things you can do. Again, you need to start small, that’s how I would start my campaigns usually. Or the campaign and the account structure is small, because if you get the first win - Two or three wins on the board with a small campaign with a small account structure, you can scale it. Because you’ve already seen the value it gives you as a business and then you can scale it into more areas.
David: So start with one campaign and then with perhaps a couple of ad groups. Within that ad group sits your single ads and your ad copy. With the ad copy what I see most of the time where you bleed money is, if I search for a service and you only have a very non informative, non emotional description of it-
Tony: Yeah, generic ads or a broad set of keywords.
Tony: Yeah, I guess laser focus. This is something that should have been done from Google - Eight years ago we had this option and people weren’t doing it then and they’re still not doing it now, so yeah that laser focus really stops you bleeding money.
David: And I think it’s a good transition to the next tip which is ‘Keywords.’ So again C.A.K.E, y’know ‘Campaign Goal’, ‘Ad Copy’, ‘Keywords.’ With the keywords, if you have the right keywords set within your ad group and campaign level - Again, people think wrong about keywords, you don’t need a huge list of keywords.
David: Especially with all sorts of abbreviations and y’know, that’s not - Because it’s really, really hard, if you look at everything above I think ten keywords, you can’t caption that in the ad copy anymore anyway.
David: So, you make it just more difficult for Google to show the right ad copy with the right keywords you targeted.
Tony: I always say that you should instead of targeting, instead of keywords that get a lot of traffic, the broader ones get more traffic. So a lot of agencies go - ‘Oh we’re gonna target this cause it gets twenty thousand searches a month.’
David: Yeah, perfect example.
Tony: Yeah, yeah I see it all the time and I’m like great! That’s guaranteed to be full of trash.
Tony: It’s also gonna guarantee to be competitive. Like, so I say I’d rather create you twenty thousand keywords that get one search a month, y’know in ad groups over time, then create - You go after one that gets that because then you’re just, you’re so broad.
David: Yeah so, that’s a really good tip because again the keywords you’re targeting, if you want to be very specialised, and that’s usually what I prefer because if you have a clear campaign goal, you have a clear ad group structure, you know every service has its own ad group, because then you can play around with the different ad copy. And with that what you’ll realise is you want to go after the lower hanging fruits, you don’t have an extremely high budget when you start with, you don’t have any trust, you don’t have any data to back anything up.
Tony: We even when clients may be spending fifteen, twenty plus, even fifty grand a month, if they had them broad and they haven’t been tracking them right, we actually take it back. We pull their budget way down, we start it the same way we’d start anyone and go okay you’ve just been throwing money in the wind and hoping that some of it landed where you wanted. So even if you’re spending a lot, the same theory works. Cut it back, go focused and then build it from there.
David: Someone really smart, I’ve just recently read an article - That every time I start working with a new account I will tell the account owner or the client - ‘Hey you should expect less traffic with me.’ Because I’m cutting out all the crap you don’t need and really you don’t have to go after a lot of big search volume keywords at the early stage because all you want to do is, you want to take your money and spend it towards keywords where you know so clearly that with every single search you know the intent behind it.
David: You know that let’s say, you’ve only targeted five or ten phrases, so every time someone comes through that type of phrase to your ad, you have the ad so well written - And you’ve also, what I’ve written down here is, you want to show benefits, you don’t want to show features, you want to show what benefits you could offer straight away just through that tiny message in the ad copy. And if you have the user hooked onto that it clicks through to the landing page, then you want to back it up.
David: But another tip here with the keywords is: Use the keywords, behave like you would be your own client yourself and just search for it to see what results come up. You will be surprised how your competitors are structuring their ads, what results Google is actually showing for you, and then you might realise that, hang on, I’ve searched something which is so broad that it just gives me random stuff and I don’t want to rank for that because it’s very unclear.
Tony: Yeah and y’know the mindset of someone that’s searching broad as well, they don’t probably have that ‘sale’ mindset yet, they might be at a research stage y’know what I mean. So - Or if it’s broad they might be looking for something similar, so it just makes sense like don’t, y’know this isn’t an in person sale you can’t like coerce someone into what you do if they’re looking for this product.
Tony: See Google used to suck right back in the early days with their targeting, they got a bit better with their broad targeting, but I remember we had this client and they did house extensions and when I took over the account I said - ‘I can save you like a thousand dollars a month.’ And they were like what, how? Well, you’ve been spending a thousand dollars a month on eyelash extensions and hair extensions and because people were just searching that and they had a broad target for extensions and people were clicking on it. And because Google didn’t have as good - Like Google wouldn’t show that now, but they did back then, but even if it’s slightly related Google’s AI isn’t that brilliant.
Tony: But you’re still wasting money, even if it is in the right category, their sale intent, the mindset of the person isn’t correct.
David: Yep and another good point on that one is when it comes to volume, I work across some campaigns at the moment in B2B space where, unfortunately the query is well matched for B2C as well as B2B and then it gets hard, or complicated to cut out the keyword entirely because you know it overlaps with who I’m targeting and the service I’m offering but at the same time I know that people are using that query to look for jobs or to look to download a certain piece of information.
David: Again, what I’ve not mentioned so far is you only don’t have - You don’t have a lot of targeted keywords, where you really want to ramp it up is with negative keywords.
David: Because then your search target keyword list can be small, but your negative one can be huge if you have the time to bulk it up, and that way you get rid of a lot of stuff.
Tony: And let’s be honest, Google is a company trying to drive more revenue and stuff like that, so they are making it harder and harder to be specific. Like they’re adding more and more automation, more and more less control over what you can specify. So - But people aren’t even doing it in the first place so you’ve really got to lean into that. But you could also use, if you get your account working, then you’re training Google’s algorithm anyway. So that’s when actually their AI gets smarter and we can use the bid for conversion and bid for sale and return on ad spend and stuff like that. So if you build it really specific at the start then you can broaden it, give Google a little bit of free reign, because it’s smarter it’s not a dumb robot.
David: Yeah I mean getting Google’s help with especially the smart billing and learning is something I think for another episode.
Tony: Yeah, yeah I’m getting deep.
David: Y’know machine learning, especially with bidding types is a big umbrella term. Again, describing it from Google’s point of view right now it’s a feature, it’s like what’s the benefit of running it y’know? That depends on the campaign goal and the data you feed back. But it’s a good point!
Tony: I’ll stop ruining this for you.
David: The next step would be-
David: No that’s alright we’ll sail on here.
Tony: Alright let’s finish our cake!
David: So, ‘Entry Point’ landing pages. So if you have your campaign goal, you have your ad copy and your keywords in order, the last thing you want to focus on - Not the last thing but y’know I think in my little step plan here is the landing page because obviously Google is looking very closely on where you send that targeted traffic to and if that landing page is not mirroring what your message, your ad copy is about, then you will have a really hard time.
David: And I have also a good example for that one.
David: So, imagine you go into a library right?
Tony: Mhm. What’s a library?
David: A library or a bookshop. How about a bookshop.
Tony: I guess there’s still some of those left, yep. (laughs)
David: You can also go to Kmart, Target if you’re in Australia, but let’s say a bookshop. So organic for me would be to just browse around myself, just like oh I’ll probably go over there and check out - Obviously come in with a book in mind, but then I’m taking the time to try different shelves myself. Or I could do the adwords way and go straight to the sales person at the desk and say - ‘Hey where do I find this particular book or topic?’
Tony: And they’ll use a dewey decimal system to tell you where to go. (laughs)
David: So if the salesperson, which is now my ad I’m getting targeted, so the salesperson is the ad in that example. I’ve just made a query and if the salesperson or the bookshop owner would say, ‘Yeah go over there on that shelf is where the book you’re looking for is.’ If the old landing page is like that, you’ll land on a page with so much information and it’s just up to you the user, because I just gave you a very clear piece of information on what type of book I’m looking for and he was just pointing at the shelf.
Tony: So horror story number one is people that use their homepage as a landing page.
David: Home page, yeah.
Tony: But even then let’s say you have a service page to talk about all of your services or even you go specific. Maybe you happen to have a particular service page, but like really is that really specific enough sometimes?
David: Yeah, so - Or you don’t want to be too specific, you have three paragraphs and that’s it. Then because I’m looking at the shelf and I’m like oh you already have three books on that one and I’ve already read the other two.
Tony: There’s a balance here.
David: It’s a balance. Look, we’re just highly high level here dramatising, but you just need to really think about it sometimes from your customer's point of view. Entering the landing page, I don’t know your lingo, y’know most of the time if you have any inside information.
Tony: Yeah stop using acronyms.
David: Yeah and then again, because your goal is to convert the user, me, what do you want me to action on that page? Do you want me to fill out a form? Do you want me to call you?
David: Maybe both?
Tony: Make it easy, ask for it.
David: That’s the landing page and that’s where I see a lot of money being wasted. You have the right traffic most of the time, you’re bidding with good money, but then your landing page is just falling short.
Tony: Yeah, exactly.
David: So that’s the C.A.K.E method on how to stop bleeding.
Tony: Let’s recap C.A.K.E.
David: ‘Campaign Goal’, ‘Ad Group’, ‘Keywords’ and ‘Entry’, which is the landing page. So ‘Campaign Goal’, make sure you understand what the, y’know, the main mission is for the campaign you’re running or that you’ve spent the money towards.
David: ‘Ad Group’, make sure that your ad group is themed. Themed to a service, themed to a product. Then with the ‘Keywords’, make sure that your keywords are, y’know I would say very-
David: Specific, yeah.
David: Targeted. Start with those, even if it doesn't feel right, if you only have a handful of targeted keywords, start with it. You can always add more later on if you don’t have enough traffic and clicks. And then we have, yeah the keywords, ad copy, making sure that it matches the keywords, and then come back to the ‘Entry’ level which is y’know the landing page.
Tony: Make sure it’s nice, make sure it helps to sell.
David: And that it loads properly.
Tony: Oh yeah! Yes.
David: The amount of times it doesn’t load properly on mobile and you always have an odd user and your target audience might be that user still uses old mobile phones. Don’t y’know, don’t neglect that, don’t be rude.
Tony: Cool! Thank you David.
David: You’re welcome.
Tony: Alright well thanks for the C.A.K.E, I am actually hungry now. Thank you all for listening, this was the ‘For Good Podcast’, a Spicy Web production.
Tony: Alright, we’ll see you next time. Any comments, feedback, hatred, just put it in the comments we’ll read it all and comment on all of it.
David: Hatred, thank you. (laughs)