Google began as a research project and has since reshaped the world and is the largest search engine receiving roughly 75% of the search market share. On October 23, 2000 Google launched the first ever self-serve online advertising platform, now known as Google Ads. Google Ads is simply an advertising platform where advertisers enter Google’s bidding system to have their messaging, services, products, videos and more displayed across Google’s Search and/or Display Network. The algorithms and bidding system is fairly complex and is a topic for another day, but in short, you tell Google how much you would be willing to pay to have your ad seen by web users, and your ads, created by you within the platform, are shown based off of many factors such as: other bids, available impressions, ad quality, overall account performance, and more.
You can display several types of ads broken down into two main categories: PPC (Pay Per Click) and Display Ads. PPC ads are keyword driven ads in which you bid on certain search terms and pay each time the bid is clicked on. This is an excellent way to place your ad in front of searches actively seeking out what products and services you offer. Display ads are a bit more broad in that they target as specifically as you determine through your account settings. These can be video ads, image ads, and more.
Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Google Ads Account Management
If you are a small business considering running campaigns on the Google Ads platform, there is one major question: in house, or outsource? The answer to this question really depends on your resources. Managing your ads in house is typically cheaper initially as agencies will charge a management fee. It also ensures the person creating your ads has a very clear understanding of your brand and is able to voice that messaging appropriately. Some cons of in house ads management include time and experience. Although Google portrays their platform as a “set it up and forget about it” model, this is not so. Once the account is initially set up, it requires ongoing optimization in order to perform well. Neglecting your account will lead to higher cost per clicks, stale ad copy, low quality scores, higher bounce rates, and a great deal of wasted budget. Google Ads requires extensive knowledge of the platform to be set up properly. While Google reps are there to assist you as needed, you must remember that Google Ads is a huge income source for Google. There are certain account settings that are “recommended” that will eat your budget and ultimately reduce your level of control over account performance. These “set it and forget it” settings are not ideal for optimum performance levels.
An agency on the other hand typically has higher levels of resources with Google and have teams of people on top of the newest changes with Google and how to properly implement them to accounts. An agency is not concerned with all the other areas of day to day operations of your business as an in house employee would be – they are strictly focused on account setups and optimizations. This level of expertise comes with many perks and often saves you a lot of money in the long haul. Some cons of hiring an agency include: management fees, lack of data metrics unless specifically requested, and trusting that the agency clearly understands your brand and your audience.
At Klout 9, we have found that the best combination is having an in house employee closely work with an agency to manage the account. The employee clearly communicates branding and objectives and monitors the choice of keywords and ads while the agency creates and manages overall account performance ensuring your budget is spent wisely. Set up your in house employee with this checklist to ensure nothing is missed or request account access from your third party to ensure they know what they are doing! Below we break down a brief highlight of some guide elements and what to look for.
Number of Keywords
Very large lists of keywords thrown into single ad groups is always a huge red flag. A large factor in quality score is based on keyword to ad to landing page relevance. It is very difficult to create ads specific to keyword groups if the groups are way too broad. Tightly knitted groups of keywords with very specific ads that lead to landing pages about that topic is the way to go.
Your audience selection should match the campaign type you have selected. PPC campaigns should not target display networks or you are asking to burn the budget very quickly. It is also not recommended that you too heavily segment your audience. If you find your ads are not getting impressions but the keywords have high search volumes, it is likely that you have narrowed your audience by too much. If you’re impression share is very low, you likely have too broad of an audience or should at least consider minimizing your target radius.
Another red flag we often see includes all broad match keywords. Broad match is the broadest match type and unless you have a very very good negative keyword list, can lead to a ton of wasted budget. There are four different keyword match types that you can read more about in our post “Keyword Match Types & Why They Matter”.
An account should have plenty of negative keywords! Negative keywords are search terms that tell Google “Do not show my ad if this is typed into Google”. It allows you to weed out a lot of traffic that you know will not convert. For example, if you are a commercial painting company, you would want to set up things related to car painting, or mural painting or even residential painting to prevent wasted clicks and wasted spend for services you do not actually offer. Start broad and closely monitor your accounts search terms to grow your negative keyword list overtime. Note that keyword match types matter! You do not want to include anything in your negative keyword list that would prevent your ads from showing when you actually want them to. For example if you were to exclude residential painting but left it as broad match, anything with the word painting in it would prevent your ad from showing, which is obviously completely counterproductive.
Your account should be linked with your Google Analytics account so data can be imported to and from the account. Data is everything with these types of digital ads so the more you know the better you can optimize. Google analytics linking will allow data such as bounce rate, conversions, conversion rates, etc to show within your Ads account.
Conversion and Call tracking should be set up and working! Getting traffic is great, but if it does not turn into actual leads, it is hard to measure the impact. The goal is conversions!
Google has several automated bidding strategies that allow you to let them bid on your behalf. This means you are giving Google full control over how your money is spent – money that goes straight to them… Manual bidding allows you much more control. Remember that Google is a business and is looking to make money too! This is one of those settings built in to eat budget.
There are many smaller account settings that heavily impact ad performance and overall account performance. Make sure the little things like Ad Extensions are set up and functioning properly at all times.
These are a few of the many items on our checklist that you should keep an eye out for whether doing ads in house or outsourcing them. If you are looking to outsource your ads or get a second opinion on how your ads are performing, we offer a free google ads account audit. Contact us for your free audit today!