What you should consider before deciding to DIY your Google Ads
If you run your own business, you’ve probably thought about investing in a Google Adwords campaign (now called Google Ads) to help drive more traffic to your website.
And when it’s done well, it can be very profitable, playing an important role in generating the enquiries you need to grow your business. We use Google Ads a lot for our clients, and we have many happy campers.
The questions we’re asking in this article are: do you need to get an agency involved to succeed with Google Ads? And if so, should you look for a certified Google Partner agency?
I’m giving you my views as skipper of a marketing agency. But still, I’ll try not to be one-eyed and biased in this article.
I’ll share from my experience and observations, so that hopefully you’ll get some insights that’ll help you to move forward with more confidence.
Humans or robots — who does the best job of managing Google Ads?
You may have already done some research on how to set up and manage a campaign by yourself. And chances are… you quickly learned how complicated Pay Per Click can be!
You may also have seen that Google’s new machine learning strategy is being pushed to the fore. I think they’re doing this in an effort to capture more of the small business market who want to have a crack at DIY.
Their latest sales pitch is along the lines of:
“Don’t worry about all that keyword stuff and hard thinking about your audience, your competitors, and the most appealing angle for your ads. Just write a few short sentences about your business, the robot will write your ads for you and away you go.”
“Oh yes… and don’t forget your credit card to pay us for those clicks!”
At the time of writing, (October 2018), we don’t feel that this offering from Google is up to standard for serious marketers. It is getting better. But it isn’t there yet.
We’ve run a side-by-side campaign, where we do things manually against the machine learning version. Our team beat it hands-down with a much lower click cost, higher conversions, and much better ROI for our clients.
It will no doubt get better. But I wouldn’t be handing my hard-earned marketing budget over to the bots any time soon.
But that’s my personal view.
If you have no other option and want to ‘hand it over to the bots’ and let Google look after it for you, you’ll probably do OK.
But if it is a serious part of your traffic generation strategy?
Nah. You won’t be taking best advantage of the Google Ads dashboard to finesse your ads, your click throughs, and find where your best opportunities are.
That doesn’t mean you should rule DIY out completely. You can DIY manually to keep a closer eye on things.
But you need to go into it with your eyes open. Here’s why…
Sharing from my own experience, I used to personally set up and manage Adwords campaigns some years ago. But now? Nah.
When I look at the hours of training and research that our AdWords specialist does here at Crockford Carlisle, coupled with the time and energy that goes into testing ads, setting manual bid prices, monitoring conversions and all the rest to get the ROI up, I wouldn’t try it myself.
The game has changed. It is a complex beast and takes hours (and hours!) to master.
So, if you’ve ruled out DIY, let’s look at whether you should get a digital agency being involved. And if so, does it need to be a Google Partner agency?
What does it mean to be a Google partner agency?
There’s no shortage of digital marketing agencies out there offering their Google Ads expertise to businesses both large and small.
But having been around a bit and spoken to a few gloomy-faced business owners over the years (and based on years of looking at good, mediocre, bad and brilliant campaigns), I can tell you that not all digital marketing agencies are created equal.
In fact, Google recognises those agencies who excel at Google Ads by bestowing them the title of ‘Google partner agency’.
Sounds fancy, right?
Well, a partner agency is just like any other digital marketing agency – with one exception. It has been given the ‘tick of approval’ from Google.
To achieve partner status, an agency must meet a certain set of requirements outlined by Google.
The general gist of these requirements is that an agency has:
- Demonstrated Google Ads skill and expertise
- Met Google Ads spend requirements (USD$10,000 over a period of 90 days)
- Delivered company agency and client revenue growth
- Sustained and grown its client base
Once an agency has fulfilled all the criteria, it will receive the much coveted Google partner badge which looks like….
A partner agency will usually display this badge on its website to indicate that it is a bone fide Google Ads pro.
So why is it worth working with a Google partner certified agency?
You’re probably thinking that this super special partner status is all well and good.
But how can YOU benefit from it as a business owner?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Here are 5 specific advantages of working with a Google partner agency:
- More for your money – unless you know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to pour large sums of money into Google Ads and get no results. Campaigns which have been carelessly set up and/or poorly managed will cost you dearly. A partner agency will know the ins and outs of setting daily budgets and how to get the most bang for your buck.
- Qualified staff – to retain partner status, agency employees must pass Google-administered certification exams every 12 months. This means you can be confident your ad campaigns are being managed by experts who are keeping their skills up-to-date.
- Ahead of the competition – Google is regularly developing new and exciting features for advertisers to use. Partner agencies receive early access to beta features for testing purposes. You can imagine the advantages of using a Google feature before your competitors can even get their hands on it!
- Constantly learning and improving – partner agencies have special access to Google resources such as online tutorials, workshops and training events. These resources allow agencies to make ongoing improvements to your campaigns, which is essential within the ever-changing world of Pay Per Click advertising.
- Best practices – Google has very specific do’s and don’ts for optimising Ads campaigns. Partner agencies are audited by Google to ensure they adhere to best practices and guidelines. So you can rest assured your campaigns have a high chance of success.
In a nutshell, by choosing to work with a certified partner agency, you can be confident that your campaigns will be managed effectively, professionally and profitably.
But wait! There’s more to this “Google Partner” business than meets the eye.
There are ‘partners’. And then there are ‘partners’
Here’s what I mean.
Google Ads campaigns require two different areas of insight to dovetail together:
- Technical expertise to tick all the “Google Partner” boxes
- Marketing nous to make the campaign sing and resonate with your market
Yes, you need to have the technical knowledge to set up and monitor campaigns properly. That’ll get an agency the “Google Certified Partner” tick.
But you also need talented copywriters who are practiced in the art of persuasion to write the ads. And not all partner agencies have this depth of expertise.
I’ve seen campaigns that were at what I’d call the ‘90% there’ stage – but that missing 10% is costing the hapless business owner dearly in lost opportunity.
Technically, these campaigns were fine. But not enough thought had been given into things like testing different key messages or ‘angles’.
Let’s dig into this for a minute. It’s important to understand where ‘technical’ and ‘creative’ expertise need to work together for you to make money from AdWords…
When the technical Google Ads specialist is working closely with the copywriter, the campaign should have a number of ads, each promoting a different angle. They will be displayed on rotation, and the clicks/conversions will be tracked to see where the bottom-line profit is.
- One angle to test might be “fast service”
- Another angle to test might be “reliable service”.
Getting this right takes a lot of finessing, and it isn’t just the “most clicked” ad that is the best to use. To really see where you are winning or losing, your agency should be tracking every step, from the initial ‘click’ to the final conversion.
This is important.
I’ve seen cases where the most clicked angle, (fast service) actually produces the least conversions — but nobody knew because nobody was digging that deep. It wasn’t until we got our hands on the campaign that the lost opportunity was identified and remedied.
I’ve also seen some cringe-worthy mistakes made by partner agencies, like this jaw-dropping example I stumbled across a few years ago…
I did a Google search for ‘optometrist Brisbane’ and was shown two Pay Per Click ads for two competing optometrists — both being managed by the same large, national Google Partner agency.
As you can see below, the ad copy is EXACTLY the same for each ad, because they were set up on “let’s copy and paste with no brain engaged Friday.”
Obviously, no one was carefully monitoring these campaigns for competing businesses.
And I strongly doubt anyone was looking into ways to improve conversion rates on the landing pages, or asking questions like ‘are these leads actually turning into appointments?’
This type of lack of attention to detail translates into a gloomy-faced business owner who has been burning money on clicks, but not seeing a ROI in sales.
So what should an agency with all the right skills and knowledge be doing to help you grow your business using Google Ads?
Using its experience and expertise, a decent partner agency will work alongside you to:
Set specific marketing goals
Your digital agency should have a genuine interest in growing your business (e.g. increase site visits by 35%, increase warm leads by 15% etc.).
Look out for this.
When you talk to them, listen to see if they are ‘goal’ focussed or just ‘activity’ focussed. There is a big difference!
Develop a comprehensive strategy
Your agency should want to look at your landing pages. (The pages your potential customers will land on when they click on your ads.)
They will want to make sure that the content is rich, the sales-pitch is strong, and that there is a solid conversion path to take your customers to the ‘next step’.
Conduct keyword research
They should want to find out exactly what search terms your customers are using to find you and your competitors. When doing this, the report they give you should come with insights and questions — not just a list of keywords and click costs.
Write (and test!) targeted ads
Your customers will want to click on to engage with you. There’s a lot more to this than perhaps meets the eye. Your Google Ads have limited space to impress your prospects! So when writing ads you need a strong ability to communicate succinctly, clearly, and engagingly.
Recommend budgets for achieving optimal ROI (Return on Investment)
How much should you pay for each click for the keyword “roofing replacement in Brisbane”? What about “best material for dental implants”? What’s the going rate for “four post hoist to suit Mack 12t truck”?
A Google Partner agency can bring their guns to bear and work out the best place for you to spend your advertising dollars effectively.
Constantly monitor and improve your campaigns
This one is so easy to let slide when you’re a busy business owner or manager with a thousand things to accomplish before closing time.
Yet it’s so important that you don’t simply let your Google Ads campaigns sit and roll on as-is. They need to be constantly monitored, fine-tuned, and checked to make sure everything is working as intended. It is literally a full-time job!
Provide detailed reports on your campaigns... so that you are always informed about your ad spend, click-through rates and goal completions for a start.
The Google Ads interface is so powerful, so detailed, and so overwhelming, that it can be very tough for a DIY user to get it all working efficiently. That’s where engaging a professional really pays dividends.
Ready to grow your business by teaming up with a Google Ads agency?
There’s no doubt that Google Ads can be overwhelming. Yet you don’t have to go at it alone. An experienced agency will do most of the grunt work for you, so that you can focus on doing what you do best – running your business!
As a certified Google partner agency, Crockford Carlisle can create highly effective Pay Per Click campaigns that will drive more traffic to your website.
We help business owners and sales managers who are serious about growth but are frustrated that they’ve spent time, money, and effort on their website — yet it still doesn’t produce the traffic and qualified leads they had hoped for.
Our team has a great deal of Google Ads expertise, and we can offer assistance wherever you are in Australia. You can click here to shoot us a message via our Contact Page or give us a call on (07) 3891 3800.
You won’t get a ‘sales pitch’ when you call.
Instead, we’ll talk about your challenges and your plans for growth, and look at how digital marketing can help you to achieve your particular business growth goals.