Thoughts, tests, and tricks about digital marketing, advertising, and analytics.

Having Doubts About Google AdWords

· by Yigit Kocak · Read in about 3 min · (550 Words)
google adwords ppc doubts

in google adwords we trust

Advertising in 19th-20th Century

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. ~John Wanamaker

Advertising in 21st Century

Half the money I spend on online advertising is wasted due to click-fraud, branded keyword campaigns, A/B testing, finding profitable keywords; the trouble is I have to spend a lot of money and time to achieve positive ROI ~ Quote that I made up

When PPC was first released in 1996 by Planet Oasis the majority of merchants thought that it killed the «magic» of advertising. Digital ad spend Worldwide has reached $209 billion worldwide – 41% of the market in 2017. While TV brought $178 billion 35% of the market in 2017. Source ->

As digital advertising is getting more competitive it is creating bubbles that we haven’t seen before. The «magic» is shifting towards algorithms that we cannot understand. We’re spending ad budget on trying to make it work in the digital world. That’s why I’m having some doubts about using PPC services like Google AdWords.

I’ve become skeptical about paid search because It feels like my campaigns are never good enough although I follow best practices and optimization suggestions. I’ve even got the certificates without 50% on my own, 50% looking for the answers. The bidding thresholds that are totally up to Google’s calculations are hard to grasp. Also, what is wrong with branded campaigns? You cannot leave it out and you are paying for your genuine brand name just to outrank competitor targeting.

These are all some reasons why I’m getting allergic to PPC but let me give a common example where I feel like a sucker.

  • Budget: $1000/month
  • Theme: Tightly knit campaigns
  • Targeting: Data from GA audience
  • Keywords: 5-15 keywords for each ad group
  • Ad content: Keyword focused and action-based
  • Ad extensions: Used appropriately
  • A/B testing: Headlines, descriptions, everything

Following the best practices, 24 hours later my ads are approved. Everything’s ok. Let’s check the performance of keywords, ads, etc. I get advice on increasing my budget for maximum exposure. Maybe some suggestions on having a better ad copy, negative keywords, etc.

Now, this is where I start to get suspicious. From the very start, I get suggestions for increasing my budget and my min. CPC for some keywords that Google think is great for my business. Of course, they don’t know what my business is about, but giving me suggestions? I don’t about that.

Meanwhile, I’m spending money to collect data on my campaign and need to spend some more to analyze and optimize. A/B testing ad copy, audience, extensions, keywords, landing pages, all cost money to reach the users that I really want to target if they exist. The entire internet is filled with click-bots, zombie traffic, negative SEO tactics, fake follower/like networks.

With all these destructive stuff around, I’m getting lost and don’t know if real users are actually coming. That’s why we need other tracking services like Hotjar to monitor if the visitors behave as expected. If I’m paying for Google users, and the amount doesn’t matter here, I expect to get the results that they promise. Otherwise, the fraud detection and analysis is left on our shoulders in platforms that we can’t control.

I wonder if these happened in the traditional advertising business?

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