What Happened to Google Ads?

New advertisers signing up for Google Ads search ads are being treated to a “training wheel” experience, according to Matt.  Matt and Ashley look at the sign-up and set-up process through the eyes of a new advertiser and find too many areas where the instructions are unclear, incomplete, or simply unavailable.

These new “Smart Campaigns” may cost advertisers more money than they are worth, as they remove many of the management tools that enable advertisers to match keywords and perform more advanced account management.  In order to get access to limited tools, new advertisers must find and select “Expert Mode” which still doesn’t provide the reporting and management features that those with legacy accounts enjoy.

So why are new advertisers being forced into this format?  It has everything to do with Google’s machine learning.  To start their Smart Campaign, advertisers must allow Google to make changes to their ad headlines, ad copy, keywords, and keyword matching. Google is striving to make the ad experience purely automated, but it doesn’t seem ready for prime time just yet.

Before you launch a Smart Campaign, here’s what you have to agree to:

Google Ads Terms


[00:00:00] Matt Bailey: Google will give you more scoring if you opt in to the search network and the partner network. So right away, those are two things I try to avoid at all costs, but Google removes almost 10% or 15% off your optimization score, because we know this makes Google more money. But it lowers that optimization score, and like you said, there is this perception, because it’s called an optimization score, that it’s affecting my campaign.

[00:00:33] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

[00:00:58] Matt Bailey: Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. And for those of you that are actually watching, you can see now, uh, we have an in-studio guest. I think I can say that correctly. Ashley, how are you doing?

[00:01:12] Ashley Schweigert: I’m good. I’m good. Thank you for having me today.

[00:01:15] Matt Bailey: Well, it’s been a while, and even though we’ve been talking, it’s just not happened for the podcast here. And, uh, it was, you can see we’ve made a few changes in the studio here, so it took some learning to figure out how everything works.

[00:01:29] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. I love it. I love the way it looks and I’m very excited to be here for this.

[00:01:33] Matt Bailey: Well, cool. Well, the topic of today’s podcast is Google Ads. Uh, both Ashley and I have, we’ve been banging our heads against the wall, uh, with Google Ads. And, uh, so it might stop short of being a rant or a full-on complaint about Google Ads. I don’t know.

[00:01:53] Ashley Schweigert: Very true.

[00:01:54] Matt Bailey: I, all I can say is, I feel for people. If you’re a new advertiser setting up a campaign on Google Ads, you’ve got to be so confused. I don’t understand how people were able to make this happen.

[00:02:08] Ashley Schweigert: I’m even concerned about small businesses because I’m concerned about, well, how much is it going to cost to compete in Google AdWords in the future?

[00:02:17] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. So, I mean, let’s get right into this. This is, uh, and, and by the way, listener, I’m going to tell you right now, anything you hear is our opinion. Uh, I’m going to, I’m going to give a disclaimer. This is our opinion based on just recent work within Google Ads in setting up a search ad campaign.

I am at such a level of frustration because, what started this is I set up a campaign for a friend of mine. And instead of putting it under my account, we started fresh. I told him, “You, you set up a Google account and then I’ll go in and set up your, your ads…”

[00:02:56] Ashley Schweigert: Sure.

[00:02:57] Matt Bailey: “…for you.” And I was amazed that as I started to build this, well, number one, it does the basic, “Who are you?” And then it asked what your website was. So, I put in the website. And then it went, it showed how the website will display on desktop and mobile, which was interesting. But then it took the keywords from the website and it auto-populated suggestions for the business.

[00:03:28] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:03:29] Matt Bailey: I was kind of surprised, and, um, you know, in one way I was like, well, that makes sense. If you’ve got a well optimized site, this is great. But right away, I started seeing that, now, and this is all the AI that Google is incorporating now. About three quarters of the keywords made no sense.

[00:03:48] Ashley Schweigert: Mhm.

[00:03:48] Matt Bailey: They were completely off. Now, I’m, I’m using a very highly targeted keyword for their business and it’s like, they were trying to be relevant, but they weren’t even close.

[00:04:03] Ashley Schweigert: I know. That really says something actually about artificial intelligence, and if it really can determine search intent, because right now the Google algorithm has artificial intelligence and you are supposed to look at search intent, right? And I mean, you noticed, I mean, this has been going on for years, right?

And specifically, the last year, you can really see that whenever you’re doing a search within Google, but that just goes to show that it still has a lot to learn to really understand search intent.

[00:04:33] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. It’s got training wheels, really…

[00:04:36] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:04:36] Matt Bailey: …uh, from what I saw, because it made very generalized suggestions that, even looking at the website, a human could figure out that that’s not relevant.

[00:04:47] Ashley Schweigert: And I think Google knows that which is why it’s promoting a lot of broad targeting, so, um, it can learn even more. So that’s why when you saw the keywords that it was auto-populating, I’m sure you saw a lot of broad match. They’re really promoting the use of broad match.

[00:05:03] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:05:03] Ashley Schweigert: Which I think is also interesting, since they are changing broad match modifier type keywords into that more phrase match, which will catch that. But I do find that a little interesting, but they are promoting more of a broader target use, which is why they expanded into adding the display network whenever you’re doing a search campaign, that you can have your responsive ads show up on both networks.

[00:05:28] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:05:28] Ashley Schweigert: So, they want you to do that broader targeting, and I think it’s so artificial intelligence can learn more about the user. I think that they are well aware of that, and they’re using paid to get their robots to understand.

[00:05:39] Matt Bailey: So, basically, we’re financing….

[00:05:41] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, yeah.

[00:05:42] Matt Bailey: …their robots getting smarter or their AI getting smarter. That’s how I feel about this, is that I’m financing something. So, with this, setting up this new campaign, I was ultimately very frustrated because it was a wizard of add your business, add your website. And then here’s three options. 15 a day, 20 a day, 25 per day, this is how many clicks you can expect per month.

And okay, I, I got a sense of, again, the training wheel, it’s a wizard setup, but in the back of my mind, I know it’s a lot more complicated than this.

[00:06:22] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:06:22] Matt Bailey: There are a lot more factors going on, and there was nothing about the Google Display Network. There was nothing about Google Partners. And so, I’m wondering, am I automatically opted in to all of that?

[00:06:34] Ashley Schweigert: Well, that’s what I said, I wonder when this all happened, because I did, it, I mean, it might’ve been in December. I can’t quite remember when I did it, but I did the exact same thing that you did. I created a new account for the client, and I gave myself access to that account so I can manage it through my MCC account, like I do all my clients.

But I didn’t see that. And so, this has all been something that’s been very new, and you also don’t see that within the different publications that we’re reading online, they’re not really advertising this. You’re seeing a lot about user experience being a ranking factor, how that’s going to come into place in May, you’re seeing, um, other things like the, the changes and keyword matching, how you’re not going to be able to do a lot with broad match modifiers, but you’re not seeing this. That Google is really trying to take control. And I did see that today. You showed me.

[00:07:26] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.

[00:07:26] Ashley Schweigert: Created a new account because I was really kind of astounded by that. I’ve been seeing Google take control in other areas, which has been very frustrating for me, which I know we’ll get into that in a bit, but I was astounded with what you were showing me.

[00:07:39] Matt Bailey: Well, and so, if you’re a new advertiser and you’re setting up an account, you go through this wizard, you get to the end and it asks for your credit card information. And it’s ready to launch. And of course, I’m looking at this going, “How can this be ready to launch?”

[00:07:55] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:07:56] Matt Bailey: I threw a couple titles in there, threw a description, and then it asking for the credit card to launch. Then I, I hit submit and this little box pops up and it said, “What you should know. Take a minute to review this info. It describes how some of our smart campaign features work. After accepting these terms and settings, you can’t make changes to them in this account.”

Now here’s the thing. You can’t opt out of any of this. Number one is Smart Campaign optimization, helps improve advertising results. By clicking accept, you agree to let us make improvements to your Smart Campaign, including updates to your ads, location settings, search terms, and keywords. You’re always in full control of your account. We just help you get better results.

[00:08:47] Ashley Schweigert: And we know…

[00:08:48] Matt Bailey: What?

[00:08:48] Ashley Schweigert: …by some of the suggestions that have been made…

[00:08:51] Matt Bailey: What?

[00:08:51] Ashley Schweigert: …in Google, that that’s not necessarily the case. I’m sure anybody who’s watching this has seen those suggestions come up with any account that they’re…

[00:08:59] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:09:00] Ashley Schweigert: …either managing. And those suggestions don’t always make sense to how you’re running your business. And I know you’re going to get into this on the retargeting function, but that’s huge because not every website is really geared for dynamic.

I know that there’s not always a lot of corporations that are watching. We have a lot of small and mid-sized business owners, but if you’re a corporation and you have a large site and you don’t want to do dynamic off of a large site, because, I mean, every area is almost like a different business. It’s a different, uh, unit. It runs separately. So, you don’t want Google pulling in an ad that is irrelevant to your business. Talk about a waste of money.

[00:09:40] Matt Bailey: For a large corporation, what this tells me, if you’re a large company, you have to work with an agency.

[00:09:46] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:09:46] Matt Bailey: You have to work with a Google preferred agency who has the tools and the tool sets to manage your campaign, because if you go to set this up in your own, you, there’s no way you could do this. You are being forced into the system.

[00:10:00] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. Now I will say it was nice that even if you did continue with that, you could put that campaign on pause and start a new one, right?

[00:10:11] Matt Bailey: Yes, but a few months ago I’m doing a training in Google Ads, and I’m showing a keyword report. I’m showing a ad group report. I’m showing these reports and people started coming back saying, “We can’t see those.”

[00:10:26] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah, they were saying that.

[00:10:27] Matt Bailey: “Where, where are you accessing that? Where’s that from?” And I’m looking at, you know, I’m hearing this going, “What do you mean? You click here and here?” And they said, “Well, we don’t have those options. It’s, what we’re seeing is not the same as what you’re seeing.” and I’m trying to wrap my head around this, figuring what is going on. Then I, someone says, “Oh, you have to go turn on expert mode.”

[00:10:49] Ashley Schweigert: And even that has limitations because when you showed me that, see I don’t have to do that because everything’s in my MCC account and a lot of my clients already have…

[00:10:57] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:10:58] Ashley Schweigert: …accounts, uh, created. So, I’m just giving myself access. So, I haven’t had to deal with this as much yet. And when you switch over to the expert mode, as I found out, um, the limitations with data are just, it’s insane. You really can’t dive in and see what’s, what’s going on with the click-through rates or what’s going on with, um, how they’re determining a low-quality score, um, it’s just, it’s really insane.

So, you want to really leverage data to make smart moves about what you’re going to do next within, within Ad Words. Like you shouldn’t just say, “Okay, these are best practices. Every month I’m going to do this every, every month.” You should look at the data and you should let the data determine what you’re going to do the following month. That will help you to get the best results. But you can’t do that now.

[00:11:44] Matt Bailey: Yeah, no. What they’re trying to do is make Google Ads, search advertising, look easy.

[00:11:52] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:11:53] Matt Bailey: That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to convince, and especially like you were talking about small business owners, entrepreneurs, anyone who is going to manage their own account. They’re trying to make it look easy.

And the problem is, even this expert mode, and those of you on video can see me doing air quotes. Expert mode is not expert mode.

[00:12:12] Ashley Schweigert: No.

[00:12:12] Matt Bailey: It’s still training wheels. If you start a new account, you have to go find the expert mode in, I believe it’s the preferences, to turn that on. What that means is now you can go create your own campaigns.

And when you create your own campaigns, you have to create four headlines and write four individual headlines. Then you have to create at least two descriptions. And what that means now is, I’m not actually creating my own ads. I’m creating dynamic ads, or as they’re calling them, smart or responsive ads.

[00:12:51] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:12:52] Matt Bailey: That they will choose between this headline and that headline and that description and put it together and put it out there. And they were saying they need about 5,000 impressions in order to figure out what combinations are going to work the best. That’s completely taken everything out of my hands.

[00:13:11] Ashley Schweigert: It’s going to be spending more money. That’s what it’s gonna…

[00:13:13] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:13:14] Ashley Schweigert: …that’s what it’s gonna mean. And then also, you know, what gets me about that, with accounts that, you know, aren’t new and you’re looking at the recommendations that Google is providing, and it’s saying, “Hey, you need more headlines.” Well, I just created new ads. And I know I have plenty of headlines. I would like it to have some time…

[00:13:33] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:13:33] Ashley Schweigert: …to see how it does. Um, and I think that they’re doing that because they do want you to get, you know, more of those impressions, but, you know, obviously you’re going to be limited by your daily budget as well, but I, I mean, you see where it’s going.

[00:13:48] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:13:48] Ashley Schweigert: I mean, this is a robot that’s making recommendations that aren’t really, um, strategic…

[00:13:53] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:13:53] Ashley Schweigert: …to how you’re running your business. So, I think what’s going to happen, we’re going to see less control and, that I’m just wondering what’s going to happen with the small business owner. If you’re going to really be able to leverage Google AdWords, like, to really get those results. I mean, are you going to have to rely on organic?

And that takes what that can respond, six months on average for the catch on, if you have everything in place and if you are being strategic about the keywords that you’re using, because you don’t want to go after keywords that, say, a big box brand is using, um, good luck with trying to rank for that.

[00:14:29] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:14:30] Ashley Schweigert: If you were starting a new site. So, it’s really, it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to require a different kind of marketer moving forward. You do have to understand SEO. Um, you have to understand, um, why Google is doing what it’s doing. And that’s what I do recommend, utilizing an agency or someone who does understand the platform so you’re not being taken advantage of by Google.

[00:14:54] Matt Bailey: Well, and the agency is going to have access to much more reporting.

[00:14:57] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:14:58] Matt Bailey: So even this expert mode, quote unquote, you get one box that shows you a basic overview of impressions, click-through rate, you know, clicks, click-through rate. It’s a very, very stripped down, basic.

Then you get a view of some of the keywords that were used, and then you see an ad combination. And then to get any further reports is very difficult to dig in and see. Uh, I had to go in and, and really it was under the keywords. There I could see a report, but then I had to go add columns in order to see what’s my quality score, where, where’s my quality score assessment, and those types of things.

And first of all, just to set up, I am automatically opted in to Google improving my campaigns and making changes to my search terms and keywords. I am opted in. I’m also opted in to remarketing. I can’t turn it off. I’m opted in. And the only way I can get past that credit card screen to set up my account and launch it, is to accept these. Then there is a “Learn more about smart campaign optimization.” And so, I printed that off there.

[00:16:13] Ashley Schweigert: I saw that.

[00:16:14] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, examples of changes that Google Ads might make to your campaign include improvements to your audience targeting by adjusting your search phrases, uh, improvements to your ad creatives, such as fixing punctuation errors, capitalizing words, or adding a call to action.

What? Google’s going to add a call to action, because so far what I’ve seen out of the AI in their ability to relate good keywords, relevant headlines, is pretty poor. And now they’re going to create a call to action?

[00:16:53] Ashley Schweigert: That’s one of the reasons why I think the user experience is really important and why Google is putting that as a ranking factor, and because you know, that’s going to happen in May, and that Google’s really going to start looking at your site and the usability. I mean, it’s already has happened when it comes to, you know, responsive, right? But now it’s going to another level. So that makes me wonder again, is there, is this, are they, are they using this as part of their, they’re using paid as a way to pay for their, like, what would you say earlier for their research and…?

[00:17:27] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Their financing.

[00:17:28] Ashley Schweigert: To make their, yeah, right?

[00:17:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah, we are financing their AI…

[00:17:32] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[00:17:32] Matt Bailey: …learning. The third one here is an example of a change that Google ads might make, create new ads for your campaign. I’m just looking at another shock and horror.

[00:17:43] Ashley Schweigert: Well, I think it’s already starting to do that. Like what it, like a year or so ago that, that they would recommend an ad and it was up to you…

[00:17:51] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:17:51] Ashley Schweigert: …to deny or accept it.

[00:17:53] Matt Bailey: Yeah. And I mean, this just blows my mind because so far what I have seen, the recommendations, the key words that they’re suggesting, and, and, and I haven’t even got into what I’ve had to deal with in the keywords at this point.

Now, the campaign that I’m developing is a highly targeted product specific. And so, the target for this is very small. I know I’m targeting a small audience, but so far what they are trying to do is get me to target broad, more broadly. I don’t want that. I only want to be seen by people who are using these, you know, one of two terms or both together.

[00:18:36] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:18:36] Matt Bailey: Because I’m not selling something that’s more general. I’m selling something that’s very specific. And so, I have to do that.

[00:18:43] Ashley Schweigert: Well, you want to do that too, so you’re smart with your budget.

[00:18:45] Matt Bailey: Right. Absolutely. Oh, don’t get me started on that now.

[00:18:48] Ashley Schweigert: Like you don’t want that showing up for things that don’t make sense. That’s going to hurt, like your click-through rates, it could…

[00:18:55] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:18:55] Ashley Schweigert: …eventually impact, I was going to say your cost per click, but we just found out, well, we’ve always known that quality score does impact your cost per click. Um, but you would think, too, that click-through rate is going to impact that as well. But quality score definitely, um, takes precedence over that.

[00:19:12] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. And so right away, what I’m opting, opting into is Google has the right to change just about everything in this campaign, except for my budget or billing settings. I have to do that. But writing new ads, creating a new call to action, uh, adjusting my search phrases. Those are the heart of my research, my ownership, of my creative. I’m putting creative in Google’s hands.

[00:19:44] Ashley Schweigert: If you think about it, everything that we’re saying right now, and, you know, I have been bouncing back and forth between paid and organic, uh, today as we’ve been talking, because I do do a lot with SEO as well.

[00:20:00] Where is the future of Google going? Like, they’re going to control everything. It just goes to show you, like, if you’re doing a search, what is really going to happen? Um, or they, they’re going to control everything.

[00:20:08] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:20:08] Ashley Schweigert: It, it, it really leaves, I just remember like five years ago, right? Or, you know, not, like less than that, people talking about the value of SEO and if you’re, you know, you’re writing and you’re creating, you can even say this with ads.

If you’re creating high quality ads, and you’re just, thinking about the content, having quality content at the end of the day, that’s where it all comes down to, right? Is that really what’s going to happen in the future? Is it really going to be about quality content? Is, or, or is it going to be about giving Google what it wants?

[00:20:37] Matt Bailey: Oh, well, here’s the thing.

[00:20:39] Ashley Schweigert: Is it quality? Is it really quality?

[00:20:40] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:20:41] Ashley Schweigert: Or is it money? Right?

[00:20:42] Matt Bailey: Well, and because we’ve learned from day one with Google it’s content. And so, I remember, you know, 2005, 2006, when I was very active in a lot of the SEO conferences, great content, get content up. Google made us all publishers.

[00:21:01] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:21:01] Matt Bailey: That’s really, Google by nature of its algorithm, favored content. And so now you have people just pushing content, regardless of whether or not it’s good. And now Google is trying to say, “Well, you need expert, you know, the expert authority trust.” Yeah. Okay. We know that. However, by nature of your algorithm, it produced millions of people just simply creating content to rank because we knew content was what feeds Google.

[00:21:31] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, it does. And even if you have a blog post that, say, is it written it’s, it’s about some, some kind of piece of news that’s at a company, ‘cause I see this happen all the time, that the blog post, it really isn’t written for optimization in mind. Well, what you could do is, you can use it for internal linking. And that happens all the time, and you and I know that internal linking is extremely important when it comes to, um, domain authority, building that, and making sure that Google understands what a page is about.

So, it does help with ranking of keywords with your most important pages. So, you can use some of those to help, but in return, you’re getting all this, all this content on the web that really isn’t quality. It’s really not what people are looking for.

[00:22:10] Matt Bailey: Oh, how many articles do we need about, you know, the top five ways to write a headline? I mean, I’m seeing people write articles now that could have been written 10 years ago. It could have been written 15 years ago. In fact, if you go search for that type of a headline, millions of articles around that.

[00:22:27] Ashley Schweigert: Or it’s just, it’s really, um, optimized, right? They have the question right there in that headline, they have it in the URL, and you’re looking at that, at that peak, at that blog post or that article, and you’re just like, “Oh, this really isn’t giving me the answers that I need.”

So, as I am going to be interested to see like this integration of the user experience, what’s that going to do? So once somebody lands on, say an article and they’re reading it, right? And, you know, I know bounce rate has always been like kind of a thing, is, is that a ranking signal? I, I, I think it is.

[00:23:02] Matt Bailey: I, no.

[00:23:03] Ashley Schweigert: It depends. It depends.

[00:23:04] Matt Bailey: It, well, it’s more about the behavior than the bounce rate.

[00:23:07] Ashley Schweigert: Right. Right. Because well, well, yeah, you could get into multiple things there, which I don’t want to get into too much.

[00:23:13] Matt Bailey: No, I am a firm believer, if you, if, if someone hits your site and they hit the page that answers their question, that’s a bounce rate. That’s a big bounce rate because you answered their question on one page. They didn’t need to go further. That’s a successful visit.

[00:23:27] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:23:28] Matt Bailey: Now, bounce rates where people are going back and forth to different documents, but at the same time, if someone’s researching something and they’re getting information from different sites, does that mean that’s a poor experience?

See I, with bounce rate, you’re trying to interpret behavior and, and, and that behavior is based on the need or the intent. And bounce rate, I think is a very, very poor way of assessing the quality of a site, unless I’m evaluating my own site.

[00:23:59] Ashley Schweigert: That is true.

[00:24:00] Matt Bailey: In terms of comparing different landing pages, comparing different blog posts and seeing, okay, that’s got a high bounce rate. Well, now go look at that page. What am I presenting on that? You know, so it’s… yeah.

[00:24:12] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and that’s why, like, as a company, if you have a high bounce rate with that, you, you know, you do have to think about what your call to actions are. Like every blog post should have a call to action. And, also, this is a big thing that gets overlooked quite a bit, it has nothing to do with this, but I’m just going to say this, ‘cause I see this all the time, um, that call to actions are PDFs.

[00:24:29] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:24:30] Ashley Schweigert: Or, and, you know, somebody, I don’t care if that is your PDF. If they click on that, that’s going to be a bounce. It’s a bounce.

[00:24:37] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:24:37] Ashley Schweigert: So that’s how you do want to make sure you are creating, like, web pages for call to actions, but, you know, anyways, um, no, I agree with you. It does tell you more about your site and your content. But Google does look at that in regards to quality. It does, and it’s becoming more of a thing.

[00:24:54] Matt Bailey: I think SEO companies that publish these, uh, and we do have a podcast about this, where we evaluated, uh, what SEO companies research, uh, that the sample sizes aren’t big enough. It really is, they’re starting with an assumption and they’re reading the data to back up that assumption. And so, I, I really highly avoid those studies put out by SEO companies, that, by the way, benefit…

[00:25:21] Ashley Schweigert: Oh yeah.

[00:25:21] Matt Bailey: …by that advice. So, I’m, I’m on the other side. I’m no, I, I don’t see that.

[00:25:25] Ashley Schweigert: I mean, I am an SEO person, so I’m not going to lie to you, but, but I, I don’t know. I’ve just seen things that when a company has a really high bounce rate, I’ve noticed that they do drop in ranking. So, there is some correlation there.

[00:25:37] Matt Bailey: Well, I think also the correlation would be lack of design skills, lack of…

[00:25:41] Ashley Schweigert: Well, it goes into user experience, right?

[00:25:43] Matt Bailey: I mean it all goes to user experience.

[00:25:44] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. So that’s what I’m wondering.

[00:25:45] Matt Bailey: So, it’s not just the bounce rate. It’s overall user experience. If you haven’t designed your site well, which means you probably didn’t optimize well, which means, you know, there’s, there’s hundreds of factors that go into this.

[00:25:55] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and usually the right hand and the left hand are connected in some way by a body, right?

[00:25:59] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

[00:26:00] Ashley Schweigert: So, you know, there’s usually multiple things and you’re absolutely right. But I do wonder what that’s going to look like in May, right? Once, you know, Google starts looking at that too. So that’s why I’m just thinking, going back into this, that the future, I think of digital marketing is going to be much more controlled by Google than I think what we realize.

And we’re seeing that now, and I’m, I’m shocked over what you were showing me this morning. And, um, it’s disturbing because, and you know, maybe, too, they’ll find out, I’ve been noticing, I, I’ve been getting a lot of surveys, um, from Google and I think that they have been getting some complaints on different things here and there. So, I’m just wondering if that is going to make a difference. And maybe we won’t see that as much. I don’t know.

[00:26:41] Matt Bailey: I have never really been happy with the way that Google Ads presents itself to small businesses.

[00:26:48] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:26:48] Matt Bailey: I’ve never been happy with that because they project that it’s easy, three steps, by the way, here’s free $50 coupon that you can use for free clicks. And it’s always been presented this overly simplified view of setting up a campaign. And we’re seeing that now for people that are setting it up.

And about the Smart Campaign Optimization, they hear here’s an opt-out. Smart Campaign Optimizations are designed to maximize the performance of your smart campaigns. If you’d prefer to opt-out, you can also create other campaign types in Google ads, so just search a display, which you’re recommended if you have previous experience. Okay, great. But the thing is, I got to find the expert mode, turn on the expert mode, and then what I recommend is delete the campaign you just set up…

[00:27:34] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:27:34] Matt Bailey: …with the wizard and start over. The issue is, as you saw, I don’t have the tools. I don’t have the reports that a, I would call it a grandfathered account that was created a couple of years ago, has many more reports, more in-depth reporting, more tools than these new campaigns that people were forced into.

[00:27:58] Ashley Schweigert: But I wonder though, too, if, and I’m just guessing here, ‘cause I don’t know, because I haven’t had to experience this just yet like you have, um, you know, so we went through, you know, you pause that campaign and then if we started a new one, would that data then become available because we were able to access it, but it wasn’t easy, right? You had, like the design, the interface is completely different.

[00:28:20] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[00:28:21] Ashley Schweigert: Um, and you did have to, if you are, if you’re not aware with AdWords, you wouldn’t know some of the things that we know to do, like changing your columns and things like that, right?

[00:28:31] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.

[00:28:32] Ashley Schweigert: Um, but I have to say, just finding the ad group data, right? I had to, like, look for different things that I wouldn’t normally look for, in say, um, a legacy account, I guess we’ll call it.

[00:28:45] Matt Bailey: Yeah. The interface is, you know, and granted, even the expert, you know, my old account that has all these settings…

[00:28:53] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:28:53] Matt Bailey: …it confuses me. The interface to manage your Google Ads account anyway is difficult, confusing, redundant. I find it, I know what I want to see, but like every week I get in there, I have to refresh myself where things are and what, where’s the report that I wanted, it’s, it’s hard to find.

[00:29:12] Ashley Schweigert: Mhm.

[00:29:12] Matt Bailey: Now, even with the limited interface of these smart campaigns, it’s just not there. It’s very difficult to find. And, and, and here’s a couple of the, here’s a couple of the things that I ran into. Number one, I had to go find the report under keywords and in the keywords report, I could add columns to see my quality score and what was happening here because what the problem was, and here’s, here’s a whole ‘nother issue, we could do a whole ‘nother podcast on this.

[00:30:00] I’ve got a $12 product. Like I said, anyone who knows what they’re looking for, they’re going to use these words and I’m typing it in. On average, I’m getting a $2 to $3 per click. Now, immediately, I’m looking at this going that’s unsustainable.

[00:30:02] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, it doesn’t even make sense to do AdWords.

[00:30:03] Matt Bailey: Even if one click makes a sale, that’s still nearly 30% of my cost to sell this product.

[00:30:10] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, the ROIs not there.

[00:30:10] Matt Bailey: No, it’s not even close. It is a completely unsustainable system to sell this product at that price, when the average is $2 to $3 per click. Now, I had it set to optimize for sales. And I thought it was interesting that an article came out, uh, by Dr. Fou, who does a lot in ad fraud, where he was talking about, he switched it to optimize for clicks instead of sales, especially if it, because he’s not convinced that the tracking for, uh, optimizing for sales is really that good. And for switching over as a campaign goal of more clicks, started seeing better performance out of the campaign. So, I did that.

[00:30:54] Ashley Schweigert: I usually do do that, in all actuality, because, um, if you look at how they calculate the conversion, because you’re talking about automated bidding, right? And that’s another thing too, you know, when you’re talking to a Google rep, and usually all of us get a call from a Google rep who has an AdWords account.

They will recommend a bidding strategy that is automated, and some of these bidding strategies that they are recommending force you to spend more money.

[00:31:20] Matt Bailey: Mhm. Oh.

[00:31:22] Ashley Schweigert: You know what I mean?

[00:31:22] Matt Bailey: I haven’t even gone there yet. I haven’t even brought that up yet.

[00:31:25] Ashley Schweigert: I know, I know, that’s why I don’t want to get too much into and confuse anyone, but yeah, I do agree with you. The clicks is the better way to go. Um, and that’s usually what I do, because if you think about it, if you’re getting more clicks, your click-through rate is going to go up and you’re getting, and if your ads are quality, but see, this is the thing.

If you’re not doing this kind of campaign, right? So if you’re doing a campaign that you can control, then you can see the actual performance by having an optimized click bidding strategy that will work for you. But, you know, you do have to be careful. And I just wonder if, you know, what you’re talking about with the smart campaigning, what’s that bidding strategy looks like?

[00:32:04] Matt Bailey: Oh. So, I went and looked at my quality score, because initially I’m looking at anywhere from an 8-11% click-through rate on my ads.

[00:32:14] Ashley Schweigert: Right. Right.

[00:32:14] Matt Bailey: I’m like, great. I’m pretty happy with that.

[00:32:17] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, right. Anything over 2% is considered great.

[00:32:18] Matt Bailey: Um, you know, and I, I know for that, I’m seeing anywhere between 5 to 7 competitors for that keyword. And I’m thinking, well, obviously, you know, I know what my budget is, so I’m probably not at the top of the page, probably showing up on the bottom or the second page of results.

I’m not competing for the top 2 because I have, I have an idea what they’re, what they’re paying for that. And I’m looking at an equivalent price range. They could be anywhere from $12 to probably $18. We chose the lower where we’re at, and I’ll probably recommend them to increase their prices. Uh, but still, I’m looking at, in order to get those top spots, you’re gonna have to pay more.

But I start looking at it, and the quality score assesses my landing page as average, which like, yeah. Okay. I don’t know how well, how much more I can improve it without over-optimizing it, because I had the two primary words. They’re there, they’re in the description, in the title, they’re, if I start adding those two primary words in more and more, it’s going to look ridiculous.

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[00:34:56] Ashley Schweigert: You have different variations of terms in one ad group. And I know we talked about this in a previous podcast, but you know, how many keywords should you typically have in one ad group to know if your agency is doing, you know, what is right? And I know that I said, I think 20 is typically what I try to stay around with, you know, different, uh, keyword matching options and things like that.

Um, now if you want to get that to be, um, you know, more so, more targeted, so, you know, you, you get a variation, you take one variation and create an ad group, and then you have another variation and you have an ad group. So, you can make that even smaller and have that keyword show up exactly how it is in the ad. Right?

But then you have the landing page, right? And these two keywords, it would make sense to have one land page, one landing page for both of those, because it’s the same topic.

[00:35:47] Matt Bailey: Right, right. Yeah.

[00:35:48] Ashley Schweigert: But now what’s happening is, ’cause they’re looking at exactly at the keyword and how those keywords are, and this is what’s astounding, artificial intelligence isn’t supposed to do that. It’s supposed to look at the search intent. And this is telling me it’s not. It’s looking at exactly how those keywords are organized. So, then you have to have two landing pages for that.

[00:36:09] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:36:09] Ashley Schweigert: And to me, that’s, it’s kind of a waste of time and money.

[00:36:12] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Well, and that’s what I’ve run into here is, how can I further optimize this page? It just has an average, you know, 5 out of, or whatever it is, 5 out of 10 or whatever, something for the ad score. It’s average. Well, and, and here’s my issue with machine learning AI, and some of the best ways it’s explained to me.

Number one, machine learning is like having a million interns, not an Einstein. I love that, because machine learning looks at mass amounts of data and finds a common factor. Something that would take us hours, days, or years to do.

Also, machine learning is mathematics. It’s, if this, that that. If this, then that. It’s, it’s always looking through that, but machine learning doesn’t know why it’s doing it. It, it, I can say, “Find the best keyword, okay, and, and the best combination of words and, and how that word appears. Is it plural, singular, those types of things.”

I’m giving instructions. But a machine doesn’t know the intent of, why am I doing that? Why am I asking for that combination of words? And so, a human does. A human understands, “Oh, here’s the underlying motivation. Here’s what you’re trying to achieve.” The machine, the AI, does not understand what I’m trying to achieve as terms of a consciousness.

That’s why humans will always be necessary. Part of this is because when I start seeing the suggested keywords, they have no idea what I’m trying to achieve. Because what I’m doing is trying to reach the small target. And what they’re trying to do is get me to expand through use of these key words, and they’re suggesting broad match on stuff that makes no sense.

And by the way, those keywords cost more. I started seeing a couple of keywords show up where my ad was shown for a completely, I won’t say completely irrelevant, it had one word in there. Now, I’m phrase matching. I’m phrase matching two keywords. Two phrases I’m phrase matching. And somehow, this keyword came up, you know how much that keyword cost me? $8.

[00:38:28] Ashley Schweigert: Oh my gosh, there goes your budget. There goes your daily budget.

[00:38:31] Matt Bailey: $8. $8 for this one key word.

[00:38:35] Ashley Schweigert: Didn’t you say you had how much to spend today?

[00:38:38] Matt Bailey: I, I started out like 20 bucks a day.

[00:38:40] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. Yeah. Right.

[00:38:41] Matt Bailey: And I have an, one keyword for $8 showed up. So, I, I immediately had to go in and add that to negative keywords. I have found that I’ve had to do more management and adding things to my negative keywords with these smart campaigns than other…

[00:38:54] Ashley Schweigert: Well, which makes sense, cause its broad targeting. That’s why you don’t ever want to get into broad, anyway.

[00:38:58] Matt Bailey: But I didn’t set broad.

[00:38:59] Ashley Schweigert: I know. I know, so that’s, but this just goes to show you, it’s like it’s going backwards. It’s really frustrating. And you know, I remember prior to COVID we had, we were talking a lot about artificial intelligence. I don’t know if you remember that.

[00:39:11] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:39:11] Ashley Schweigert: I love it. And, um, I thought it, I just think we’re putting the cart before the horse, and clearly, they’re not ready to make these kind of decisions with machine learning. It’s not there.

[00:39:23] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:39:23] Ashley Schweigert: It’s just, it’s really not. And you can see that alone with just doing an organic search on your own. Whenever, oh, of course.

[00:39:30] Matt Bailey: More coffee?

[00:39:31] Ashley Schweigert: Of course.

[00:39:31] Matt Bailey: Sorry to interrupt you, but…

[00:39:32] Ashley Schweigert: No, no, no, it’s okay. But you can see that. I get very frustrated whenever I’m looking for different things or I’m doing research and I can’t find what I need because it’s guessing what my intent is, and it’s wrong.

[00:39:45] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:39:45] Ashley Schweigert: It’s wrong. So, I have to do a lot of different searches and it takes me longer to get things done. And anybody who knows me, I am a person of efficiency. I don’t want to waste time on anything. I just want to get it done. So, if I have something that’s taking me longer, I’m annoyed.

[00:40:00] So, I really do think that Google is putting the cart before the horse. I think there’s a lot more that needs to be learned, and I think that they are using, unfortunately us, who are managing AdWords, to fund their R & D department.

[00:40:18] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:40:18] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:40:19] Matt Bailey: That’s how I felt doing this. So, my ad relevance was above average, which I was like, “Well, yeah, I wrote, you know.”

[00:40:25] Ashley Schweigert: “Of course, I wrote…”

[00:40:27] Matt Bailey: “Yeah, that’s what I made.” I had to write four different headlines and three different descriptions.

[00:40:31] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and ad relevance goes into quality score.

[00:40:34] Matt Bailey: Right. And I’m using…

[00:40:35] Ashley Schweigert: So, your quality score should be high, right?

[00:40:36] Matt Bailey: And I’m using my qual, I’m using my keywords.

[00:40:38] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[00:40:39] Matt Bailey: Okay? Landing page was average.

[00:40:41] Ashley Schweigert: Okay.

[00:40:42] Matt Bailey: My click-through rate…

[00:40:44] Ashley Schweigert: Was above average. I remember saying that.

[00:40:45] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:40:45] Ashley Schweigert: I thought you said it was like at a 6 or something.

[00:40:48] Matt Bailey: I thought it was. But no, my average click-through rate was between 8% and 11%. Sometimes 12%.

[00:40:53] Ashley Schweigert: Right. Right.

[00:40:55] Matt Bailey: Google is telling me my click-through rate was below average.

[00:40:59] Ashley Schweigert: And how did it, okay. So how is that below average?

[00:41:02] Matt Bailey: That’s my question.

[00:41:04] Ashley Schweigert: Hmm.

[00:41:05] Matt Bailey: I’m seeing between 8% and 11% click-through rate on this product, on, considering the, you know, where I’m at, I’m pretty happy with an 8% to 11% click-through rate. My 20-year history in digital marketing tells me that an 8% to 11% click-through rate is pretty good. I’m pretty happy with that. According to Google’s quality score, it was below average. Then I get a little notification. Your ad is being limited because of a below average click-through rate and budget.

[00:41:41] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, that “and budget” right there.

[00:41:44] Matt Bailey: Right?

[00:41:44] Ashley Schweigert: That’s what it is.

[00:41:45] Matt Bailey: Right?

[00:41:45] Ashley Schweigert: That’s exactly what that is.

[00:41:47] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, and here’s the thing. I’m, I’m viewing this through the lens of a business owner, a, a lens of someone doing this.

[00:41:54] Ashley Schweigert: And they’re going to be like, “I’m just going to spend more money. Okay.”

[00:41:56] Matt Bailey: So, what Google, number one is, through that little sentence there. Here’s what Google is telling someone, “Oh, you got a 10% click-through rate? Yeah. That’s not good. That’s actually below average.”

What? No, talk to anyone in the industry. Go look around, you know…

[00:42:14] Ashley Schweigert: There is recent data that talks about click-through rate on every industry. I mean, you have a canned response of 2%, right? Anything around 2% is considered good. But if you look for your specific industry and try to find that data, you absolutely can find it. And it is a recent data. So, what’s this, what this is telling me is, is that those robots don’t really know what it’s talking about.

[00:42:37] Matt Bailey: No.

[00:42:37] Ashley Schweigert: Because you know that that’s, what’s happening.

[00:42:39] Matt Bailey: I’ve…

[00:42:39] Ashley Schweigert: A robot is looking at that and making that, that, uh, decision.

[00:42:43] Matt Bailey: But it, yeah.

[00:42:44] Ashley Schweigert: So then it’s trying to get you to spend more money, so…

[00:42:45] Matt Bailey: Well, and, and there’s…

[00:42:46] Ashley Schweigert: It doesn’t matter if you have a low-quality score, if you spend more money, you’re going to show up, right?

[00:42:50] Matt Bailey: Well, here’s my question. What’s the AI focused on? Is the AI focused on me spending more money? Is it giving me suggestions that will make me spend more money?

[00:42:59] Ashley Schweigert: That’s what I think it is.

[00:43:00] Matt Bailey: Because, you know, number one, Google is telling me I have a limit, that, you know, a below average CTR. I’m like, “Come on.” I, I don’t, I don’t trust that whatsoever. But then, a, a limited budget. So, you want me to spend more. And, in order to spend more, what they’re suggesting is I go for more broad keywords, which broad keywords cost more money, but have, broad keywords cost more money, but have a lower click-through rate.

[00:43:29] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, ’cause you’re…

[00:43:29] Matt Bailey: We know that from experience.

[00:43:30] Ashley Schweigert: You’re casting a larger net.

[00:43:32] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:43:32] Ashley Schweigert: It’s almost like, if we want to just, put all of this aside. Okay. You don’t know anything about AdWords. Put it all aside. Let’s just look at it from a mailer, from like a postcard that you’re sending out. If you’re sending it out to a broad audience, you’re sending it out to everyone and their brother. I don’t care who it is. I want everyone to know about my company and what it is I have to offer.

But these people aren’t necessarily your target audience. So, you’re wasting money, right? Because it costs money to send a mailer. So, you want that to be targeted so you’re spending less money, and you’re going to increase the probability of your target audience actually completing an action.

Not everybody having it. That makes no sense, right? So, it’s the same thing here. And that’s why, too, you do have to consider it. I know you talk all the time about, um, you know, fake news and things like that, and bias, we always have to think about bias, and this is a Google platform. Of course, they want you to spend more money.

Of course. It makes sense. It’s almost like whenever I’m doing PR for our client. Yeah, I’m going to write a great article that is about, um, uh, uh, their expertise within the industry, right? That’s not going to be promotional. But guess what? Because it’s written by a person at a company, and there’s a link to their website to learn more about that subject matter expert or whatever it is, then I know that’s not only going to help with off page optimization, but that also gets their company seen.

So, there is some, you know, bias there, right? And I’m going to obviously talk about a solution in an educational way, that is going to say, “Okay, I need that solution. Where am I going to go?” Also, that’s going to promote a purchase.

[00:45:13] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, I’m going, I’m going to give an example here, because what’s happening is, I’m getting penalized for targeting long tail terms. So, I’m not going to give the actual client keywords here.

[00:45:25] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:45:26] Matt Bailey: But let’s say for example, what I’m bidding on is a “20-inch red beach ball.” That’s all I want my ad to show to, is anyone who knows exactly that they want a 20-inch red beach ball. That’s the term I’m bidding on. Uh, I’m really not, this is an example, again, for anyone listening.

Now, what Google is telling me, is I should be bidding on “beach balls.” And, um, yeah, okay. I can see that. But then, Google is now telling me, “You should bid on ‘beach toys,’ or even better yet, you should bid on ‘vacation supplies.'”

That’s kind of what’s happening in this account, that I’m bidding on the exact detailed term that I want my ad to show for, because people know exactly what they want. I don’t want the short tail. I don’t want the broader concept. I don’t want to bid on vacation supplies because with my budget, I want the people who know exactly what they want. They want that red beach ball. I’ll want my ad to show for that. And I’m getting penalized.

[00:46:26] Ashley Schweigert: Well, see, because the robot thinks that vacation supplies is lower in the funnel, and that actually brings up another discussion too. So, if you can’t use long tail keyword targeting, then what does that mean for people who are combining their paid and their organic efforts?

Because I do have that quite a bit where, um, I’ll have a large company that says, it’s like, “You know what? We have, you know, a distribution channel that handles that, but we do want to do AdWords and maybe help with understanding more about our target audience ’cause it’s faster, and we have a new blog, and,” and those are typically long tail keywords.

So, what’s going to happen there? Am I not going to be able to do audience research and really see, like, how some of these longer tail keywords are going to perform? If that makes sense. I mean, you can really use AdWords for multiple things. It’s not always for e-commerce or…

[00:47:19] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:47:20] Ashley Schweigert: …uh, bottom of the funnel targeting. And I think that this robot sees vacation supplies as being detailed, and you want to make it even more detailed, right? By getting into that red beach ball.

[00:47:30] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:47:30] Ashley Schweigert: It’s not seeing that. It doesn’t understand. So, that’s where it’s like getting into a search intent and how you’re utilizing the platform is very important, and I think that Google is forgetting that.

[00:47:41] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. So, you know, to my example here, if I’m spending $2 to $3 per click on “red beach ball,” and I’m getting a, let’s say a 10% average on click-through rate. Now, again, if I’m selling a beach ball for $15, again, is that a sustainable, now, if it take, if it cost me 5 cents to make, absolutely, you know.

[00:48:07] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[00:48:07] Matt Bailey: But then I’ve got all my other ad costs in there. But if I start going towards “beach toys,” well, that’s going to cost more. And so, my, it’s going to now take me to, maybe $2.50 to $3.50 per click. And my click-through rate may drop from 10% to 9%. But the thing is, you only know this if you have the experience of seeing this happen before. And it doesn’t take much to go online and read articles about paid search that give you this very instruction. That the broader you go, the more you’ll pay, the lower your click-through rate will be.

And so, now I’m doing those things. I’m taking a very conservative approach with a long tail term. I’m looking at, okay, if I pay more, maybe it will get me higher position on the page, but ult, what’s the end game here? The end game is to get me to pay more. It’s to get me to increase my budget, and increasing my budget seems to insinuate in this comment by Google, that it will increase my click-through rate. And from experience, those two things are not always related. So yeah, I’m looking at this going, “I can’t trust what I see.”

[00:49:24] Ashley Schweigert: I’ve already had have discussions with clients just on, you know, some of the changes, and what’s, what that’s going to look like as we are planning the rest of the year, when it comes to AdWords, because I know you and I were just talk, uh, talking about landing pages, and I’m already starting to look at that, because it, you know, you can use paid to help with your organic efforts. I do it all the time.

[00:50:00] Because you have a new site you want to get user signals on there right away, and Google is going to look at the user signals and see how people are interacting with your site. So, you can use paid to get them there faster, you know, but unfortunately, sites that don’t have those unique landing pages are now going to have to have those. And I think that changes the strategy quite a bit.

[00:50:10] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:50:10] Ashley Schweigert: It’s going to cost a lot more, not just, you know, within the AdWords platform, but with whoever is building the landing page or, um, working on your site, you really do have to understand, now, both elements, SEO and paid. So, you do need understand all that.

[00:50:26] Matt Bailey: Well, and to your point, you, you’d mentioned this earlier. Now, if, if we’ve got AI judging the quality of our landing page, which it kind of always has, but I feel like the AI is different. I feel like it’s looking at different things. And so, now, if I have a product catalog, you know, if I’m doing inbound marketing and I have 30 or more landing pages, that 4 are similar because of a similar offer, I can’t send everyone to that same page.

Now I’m, like you were talking about earlier, and now I’m going to have to start creating all these different landing pages in order to get that quality score assessment of that landing page higher. And then, you know, I’m looking at that landing page going, “What else can I do…”

[00:51:13] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah

[00:51:13] Matt Bailey: “…to raise that?” And, and that’s where, yeah, you have to look at that landing page through the SEO lens of optimizing that page, and you’re very similar to, you have the organic algorithm, but yet if I start over-optimizing, will that reduce the quality? It, it’s, there’s a lot of questions as to, I, I feel the quality score has changed, especially on that landing page assessment.

Um, but then the click-through rate, I am not sure where that’s coming from. That blew my mind that, that something that was averaging an 8% to 11%, sometimes up into the, you know, high, 11% click-through rate, was considered below average. That, that made me mad.

[00:51:55] Ashley Schweigert: I think that should be, like, our next podcast. Cause I know we talked about quality score before on here and just, you know, why it’s so important and how to really evaluate that.

But I think moving forward as we’re seeing these things, I, I do think, ’cause I’m going to be looking into that quite heavily, ’cause of all these, I do AdWords, like, almost every day.

[00:52:13] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:52:13] Ashley Schweigert: So, I have to look at that a lot. So now that I’m seeing these changes, that’s going to impact performance. And, um, I do think that the next podcast should be like…

[00:52:23] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:52:23] Ashley Schweigert: …talking about how to really evaluate your keyword, I mean, your quality score, well, yeah, your keywords and your quality score today, and what kind of changes should you be making for tomorrow?

[00:52:34] Matt Bailey: Well, and, and here’s the contradictory information that Google’s giving me. My ad relevance, the ad I created, was above average. So, if my ad is above average, but my quality score or my, my click-through rate is below average, how does that happen?

[00:52:53] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, that makes no sense.

[00:52:54] Matt Bailey: No, not at all. How can I have an above average ad, but a below average click-through rate? Well, according to Google, the only wildcard there? Budget. That is the only other factor that Google is giving me in these instructions. And so, yeah, that’s what make, so I’m going now to my friend, and I’m telling him, “Look, according to Google,” you know, and, and I’m giving him my background of all this, you know, I’ve got an above average ad, but that above average ad is producing a below average click-through rate, which blows my mind.

[00:53:28] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:53:29] Matt Bailey: I can’t say that enough. What is wrong, something is wrong with the quality score if that, ’cause when I teach people how to do this, I’m telling people the, the click-through rate is the evaluation of the quality of your ad.

[00:53:45] Ashley Schweigert: Yes, it is. And that’s, that’s one of the things I look for, so if I’m, see if I get, um, an account and they’re like, “Hey, we don’t know if we necessarily need a new person to manage this, but how about you going there and tell me what you think. Um, do you think it’s a, a landing page, a site thing that needs to change, or do you think it’s our ads? Like, what’s going on? I instantly go to the click-through rate. So, if the click-through rate is good…

[00:54:06] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:54:06] Ashley Schweigert: …I know that the ads are good. And then if the conversion rate is good, I typically know if it’s going back to the website, so obviously this is going to depend on the call to action.

[00:54:15] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:54:15] Ashley Schweigert: But if it’s going back to the website, I know that the website is good. It’s doing what it needs to do because it’s converting people. It has a high conversion rate. But now, like it is, it’s getting sloppy.

[00:54:26] Matt Bailey: Oh, very sloppy. When I see the keywords that are recommended, and also, the keywords that are recommended and even the keywords, this, if you’re not, if you set up a new campaign, you better be going in at least daily to look and see what keywords your ad is showing for. Because I have caught so many keywords that were not relevant that needed to be added to your negative keywords. Now I will say, they have made adding keywords to the negative keyword list easier.

[00:54:57] Ashley Schweigert: And that’s with this new campaign, right?

[00:54:59] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:54:59] Ashley Schweigert: So, yes.

[00:54:59] Matt Bailey: This is the new smart campaign.

[00:55:00] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[00:55:01] Matt Bailey: I can now add things to my negative keyword list much easier than before. And maybe that’s because it has been so terrible. What they’re recommending, again, did you even look at the website? You know, your robot’s view of my website is very poor because you’re connecting words, you know, it’s like, again, I’m bidding, for example, if I’m bidding on “20-inch red beach ball” or just “red beach ball,” you’re telling me I should be bidding on “Hilton Head.”

That, that’s, that’s the, that’s what I’m seeing, is that level of, you’re way off. And it’s suggesting that I bid on “Hilton Head” as a broad match. So, are, are you serious? This is insane. This type of beginner level, and, and I expect so much more.

[00:55:52] Ashley Schweigert: Well, that’s what, I just want to see what happens in May with user experience and what Google is going to look at as being a part of the ranking factor. Because right now, as you can see, it’s your keywords and it’s the exact use of that keyword, which is why SEO is so important. You have to optimize…

[00:56:12] Matt Bailey: Oh!

[00:56:12] Ashley Schweigert: …but you do not want to over-optimize. You don’t just want to dump a bunch of keywords, but this gets into too, making sure that you have the right amount of copy on your page. I know you and I have discussed, like, you know, do you really have to have, you know, 500 words on a page for it to be considered quality? Do you really need to have that? Well, yeah, I think for it to look like it’s natural, now I do think that that’s changing it slightly.

[00:56:38] Matt Bailey: Well, and so my final report to my friend was, “Okay, look, you’re paying $2 to $3 per click for a $12 product. And, now granted, even if you’re doing one sale per, if you have a 100% conversion rate, that’s still $2 off your product, almost $3 off your product. That’s almost a, you know, 30, 20% to 30% cost of ad spend, uh, or return against ad spend. Is that sustainable?”

He doesn’t like it. I don’t like it. Now, if I’m looking at a 10% conversion rate, which is pretty good. Still, though, now I’m looking at per conversion, a cost of almost $20 per conversion.

[00:57:22] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:57:22] Matt Bailey: And that’s if they’re just buying one product. Now, they’ll, they’ll typically buy 2 or 3, which, you know, bumps this up.

But even at a 10% conversion rate, at the bottom I’m looking at $20 spent to get a $12 sale. It didn’t take long. We’re both just like, “Yeah, it’s a completely unsustainable marketing channel.” Because I’m telling him, you know, in my opinion, 8%, 11% click-through rate.

[00:57:46] Ashley Schweigert: That’s good.

[00:57:46] Matt Bailey: That’s good, especially for e-commerce, especially when you got all, you’re competing with 18 other things on the page, because there’s also shopping that shows up, as well.

[00:57:56] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[00:57:56] Matt Bailey: And here’s the thing. I know if I talk to a Google rep, I know exactly what they’ll, “Well, have you tried bidding on other words?” That’s, it, I mean, your experience, you’ve talked to Google reps, isn’t that like the first default thing is number one, did you increase your budget?

[00:58:12] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[00:58:12] Matt Bailey: And number two, have you considered bidding on more broad terms? Those are the two default things that a Google rep will ask you to do.

[00:58:20] Ashley Schweigert: They do try to get you to leverage more automation, too.

[00:58:23] Matt Bailey: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

[00:58:23] Ashley Schweigert: Like, they’re always trying to get me to do that. And that’s how I know, like at the beginning of this, I was touching on the display and the search network and, you know, I had a client with, well, I have a client that has an, an awesome hours campaign. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I mean, they’re doing very well, and I’m thinking, “Well, what else am I going to do here? I mean, we’re spending the budget.” Uh, we’re typically spending the budget. I know that we, like, almost exhausted things, so they’re rocking and rolling and, thinking, “Well, let’s go ahead and take this call. Maybe, maybe this Google rep does, ‘cause I mean, I don’t always take my Google rep calls, I’m not going to lie to you, because I typically know more than them or I’m getting bad advice.

[00:59:00] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:59:01] Ashley Schweigert: So, I’m like, I’m going to go ahead and have that meeting and see what it is that they have to offer. And they were talking about, um, opening it up, “Why don’t you go ahead,” cause whenever you set up a campaign, you can pick, even if it is a search network campaign, you can pick to have your responsive ads show up in the display network, as well. So, I thought, “You know what, why not? Let’s go ahead and click it.”

Now, I will say, another client did extremely well having both of those clicked because they were not spending all of their budget. So, if they weren’t spending all their budget for the day and opened up another network to have those ads show up, didn’t make sense. But this particular client, it didn’t. It lowered their click-through rate, which you and I both know that the standard click-through rate for this display network is much lower than the search network…

[00:59:45] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

[00:59:45] Ashley Schweigert: …for the exact reasons what we were talking about, because it’s a broader targeting, um, methodology. It’s just, it’s…

[00:59:53] Matt Bailey: Well, and people don’t click on display ads.

[00:59:55] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, they don’t.

[00:59:56] Matt Bailey: I mean, that’s… yeah.

[00:59:56] Ashley Schweigert: Like, it’s, they’re looking at other areas. They just don’t. So, we just know that. So, I went ahead and I, I don’t know why I listened. I don’t know why I listened.

[01:00:00] Matt Bailey: I don’t know.

[01:00:05] Ashley Schweigert: But I was just noticing it was changing the performance, and it, and you can dive down into the data to see what your click-through rate is for the search and the display if you do have both of those, uh, checked off within your campaign. So, you can look into that, but if things are changing within the platform, and even if you’re not doing, um, this smart campaigning, are you going to be able to really drill down and find that data?

[01:00:31] Matt Bailey: Here’s what Google is doing, if I were to translate what Google is doing into the real world. Let’s say I’m back in the agency business, and a client comes to me and says, “You know, we’re just not seeing the results out of working with you that we’d like to see.” And my response to them is, “Well, tell you what? Number one, have you thought about increasing your budget? Number two, why don’t you let us go outside the scope of work that we established, and give us more freedom and more leeway in marketing you?”

What would that client say? I mean, this is, if we were to translate what Google is doing into the real world, if a client came to me and said, “We’re just not seeing the results,” and my first response is, “Well, have you considered spending more with us? And by the way, if you’re spending more, give us more freedom to interpret your instructions or to interpret what you’re trying to do.”

[01:01:21] Ashley Schweigert: Fired.

[01:01:21] Matt Bailey: You’d get kicked out of the room.

[01:01:23] Ashley Schweigert: Fired! Yeah.

[01:01:23] Matt Bailey: You’d be laughed out of the room. If you, if your first response when someone says, “We’re just not seeing the results, you know, we’d like to optimize,” and I love how Google is, you know, trying to optimize your campaign. If I went to, “Hey, you know what, client? We’d love to optimize your campaign. Give us more money and let us go, give us more freedom.” Where does that work?

[01:01:44] Ashley Schweigert: You know, I don’t even like, I know this is slightly different from what you’re talking about, but I don’t like the fact that they have an optimization score in there, because I have clients all the time that will just go into the account and they’ll see that the optimization score is like, you know, 80% or 85% or whatever.

[01:02:02] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[01:02:02] Ashley Schweigert: And, you know, I’m just thinking, “Oh my God, don’t look at that.” Cause that’s based off of, if you took their recommendations, recommendations that we are just now talking about that don’t make any sense, do not look at that score. If you have someone who is managing that account, that knows what they’re doing, they will dismiss some of those, uh, recommendations, and it will bring up your optimization score, but I mean, come on.

I mean, you’re not going to always go into an AdWords account every day to make sure that you’re dismissing a recommendation depending on the size of the client that you’re working on and really what’s going on. I mean, sometimes you’re going to go in maybe a couple of times a week, right? So, you shouldn’t have to go in there every day. So, to not base the performance of your campaign off of the optimization score, that is a completely biased score.

[01:02:53] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Absolutely, and you just added another 10 minutes to this discussion.

[01:02:56] Ashley Schweigert: I know, I’m sorry. I just…

[01:02:57] Matt Bailey: So, yeah.

[01:02:58] Ashley Schweigert: It just irritates me because I deal with it every time I have an AdWord’s client.

[01:03:01] Matt Bailey: No, and not just…

[01:03:02] Ashley Schweigert: “I noticed something in the account today…”

[01:03:03] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:03:03] Ashley Schweigert: “…and I see that my optimization score is at 85%, shouldn’t that be at 100%?” I’m like, ugh…

[01:03:08] Matt Bailey: Oh. No.

[01:03:08] Ashley Schweigert: And then I have to open up this can of worms and explain all of this that they don’t always understand. Now, sometimes I have, you know, clients that do understand what I’m talking about, so it’s perfect, but not always. I mean, if you are a small to midsize company, you’re not going to understand that, because you don’t have people that necessarily do the marketing, right? Like, you’re the business owner that’s trying to do it.

[01:03:31] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, in the smart campaign, it shows up as an alert.

[01:03:35] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:03:35] Matt Bailey: And it says, and basically the alert is, “Your ads are not being seen by people who want to see them.” And I’m looking at it going, “What?” You know, “Oh, so what should I do?” Broad match a keyword. I’m sorry, what?

And, and yes, about the optimization score, and, and dear listener it, go into your account, you’ll see at the very top of it, “Optimization Score,” and, and yeah, I think I, last time I checked I was at like at a 70 or 75 or something like that.

[01:04:04] Ashley Schweigert: Ugh.

[01:04:04] Matt Bailey: Because, number one, if you opt in to the search network, now, what that means is anyone who has Google search on their website as their search box or something like that, my ad would show on their Google feed, their, it would show in the search results on their website. That’s the search network. I always turn that off. I don’t want my ads showing anywhere that’s not on Google.

[01:04:31] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[01:04:32] Matt Bailey: That’s, why would I do, then also the partner network, you know, that’s, and that’s where you get into some of the display ads, and that’s anyone who, you know, has Google AdSense or ads showing up on their site where you’re allowing your ad to show up on someone’s blog who is putting ads on it.

I don’t like that either. And, and again, I’m going to refer to Dr. Fou, advertise on Google. When it’s a one-to-one relationship, you get better results.

[01:04:59] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[01:05:00] Matt Bailey: As soon as you start adding third parties, and the more third parties you add in, the more it opens up your campaign for fraud, the more unaccountability of the spend, the results, the tracking, it gets more and more difficult.

So, in the optimization score, Google will give you more scoring if you opt in to the search network and the partner network. So right away, those are two things I try to avoid at all costs, but Google removes almost 10% or 15% off your optimization score because we know this makes Google more money.

And so, I’m not going to opt in to that, but it lowers that optimization score, and like you said, there is this perception because it’s called an optimization score, that it’s affecting my campaign.

[01:05:46] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I can’t stand that.

[01:05:47] Matt Bailey: Because of how they call it, the words they use, the percentages, and then, usually there’s a suggestion to broad match. There’s a suggestion to use this keyword, it, if you look at it, like, most of those suggestions on the optimization score have nothing to do with running a good campaign.

[01:06:06] Ashley Schweigert: No, in fact, I have to tell you something, this is so funny.

[01:06:09] Matt Bailey: I, yeah. That’s enough of my, I think I have yelled more in this podcast than, than anything.

[01:06:14] Ashley Schweigert: Well, and this is astounding at how much money is just being thrown at Google just to show up in results. It’s really sad. That’s why you do want, if you are, if you’re sending them back to your site, you do want to do some SEO, too, I mean, come on.

It’s like, just, you know, think of multiple ways to kind of get past the ads platform at this point. But I will say, I had a friend of mine and I love her to death. And she was like taking all the recommendations that Google was sending her. She’s like, “Yeah, I’m doing so good.” And it was a small budget that she had, I was like, “Oh, well that’s great.” and I’m thinking, “Well, maybe she just didn’t have a lot of keywords.” And they, you know, Google kept recommending different keywords for her, and she was adding them into her campaign, and, um, she’s like, “I know that there’s more that I could be doing with this. What should I be doing in this?”

So, I’m asking her some questions like, “Well, how many keywords do you have?” Cause I’m asking her about her click-through rate, right? And, so she doesn’t usually give the click-through rate as a performance score. Cause you know, she’s newer with hours, so we’re talking about this.

[01:07:11] Matt Bailey: Oh no.

[01:07:11] Ashley Schweigert: And I’m thinking, “Oh, you don’t, huh? So, like, so what are you looking at?” and she’s like, “I’m just looking at all the, you know, the volume, right?” And I’m like, “Well, of course your volume’s going up, but is it quality? Right?” It’s almost like what I was telling you about with that, that mailer going out to that mass audience.

[01:07:28] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:07:28] Ashley Schweigert: Is, is it quality? And here I asked her, I’m like, “Well, how many keyboards do you have in, you know, one ad group?” And I mean, if I, I mean, it was, it was honestly, it was hundreds.

[01:07:40] Matt Bailey: Oh. Oh my. Yeah.

[01:07:43] Ashley Schweigert: There were so many of them, and I just like, I shouldn’t be laughing, but I was like, “Oh my gosh, what are you doing? Of course!” Like, you are just wasting that money, that daily budget. So, it’s like, “Look, do not take those recommendations anymore. Like, do not.” Now you have to start matching your keywords, and you have to understand that when you’re matching, you’re going to hit some of those other keywords, but then now you have to look at what keywords are relevant.

[01:08:08] Matt Bailey: Yeah. So, I was training a company the other day and they were telling me that when their agency sets up a new campaign, the agency tells them, “Okay, we need to give this 30 days before we change anything.” Yeah. They set up the campaign and then they tell the client, “Give us 30 days, then we’ll know what needs to be changed.” My mind, and you know, my brain is exploding at that point.

[01:08:32] Ashley Schweigert: You know why they do that, because you and I both know that it takes time…

[01:08:36] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[01:08:36] Ashley Schweigert: …to set up a campaign. It takes a lot of research and time, and they, they know that all of those hours are probably spent, and they don’t really necessarily have the time, so like, “Know what? We need to give this time for it to catch on, and then we’ll address this again next month,” or, or something like that. You and I both know that that, they’re doing something like that.

[01:08:54] Matt Bailey: The first, the first two weeks of a campaign is when you catch all the crap that Google starts throwing in.

[01:09:00] Ashley Schweigert: Like, yeah, you’ll know well before a month.

[01:09:01] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[01:09:02] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, you know.

[01:09:03] Matt Bailey: Well then, you’re catching all the, the keywords that are irrelevant, that I need to add to negative keywords.

[01:09:07] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:09:07] Matt Bailey: That’s within the first couple of days. I can start seeing which of my headlines is performing or not. And I’m telling the, you know, the company here, “Okay, I understand why they’re saying that. But the problem is, when you set up a new campaign, it’s dynamic. It’s daily. You don’t need to wait for volume. You can immediately see irrelevant keywords. You can immediately see based on some of the volume, words, title, you know, headlines that aren’t working.”

[01:09:35] Ashley Schweigert: Even if you’re doing AB testing, you’ll know in time.

[01:09:38] Matt Bailey: Well, now there’s no more AB testing.

[01:09:40] Ashley Schweigert: I didn’t know that.

[01:09:40] Matt Bailey: You can’t AB test in the smart campaign.

[01:09:42] Ashley Schweigert: I didn’t even know that.

[01:09:43] Matt Bailey: No, Google is doing it for you, because you, when you set up the smart campaign, when you go into expert mode, set up the smart campaign, what Google has you do, is to create four headlines. Then, create a couple of descriptions. So now, when I go to edit my ad, what I see are four headlines and three descriptions. And what Google is doing is dynamically choosing the headlines and descriptions to make its own combination.

[01:10:00] Now, I don’t like this. I like creating my own ads, because now some of my headlines had a call to action. Some of them did not. I don’t know which they’re going to do, but Google is basically saying, “We’ll figure out which is the best, headline one, headline two, headline three.”

[01:10:28] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, I don’t like that. I mean, I knew that part, but…

[01:10:30] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:10:31] Ashley Schweigert: I don’t like the fact that we can’t test.

[01:10:32] Matt Bailey: No. So now I can’t test a full ad. I have to set up the campaign and giving Google the dynamic headlines or the headlines, and they dynamically pull which one they think will work. And so, if I have a poor click-through rate, that’s your fault Google, because you’re pulling from four different headlines…

[01:10:52] Ashley Schweigert: You can’t even AB test landing pages with the new…?

[01:10:56] Matt Bailey: I haven’t even gotten that far yet.

[01:10:57] Ashley Schweigert: Because that’s usually what I use it for, is to test different landing pages.

[01:11:01] Matt Bailey: Uh, I have not gotten that far, and I’m not really sure how I could set that up.

[01:11:05] Ashley Schweigert: Okay.

[01:11:06] Matt Bailey: Because I haven’t seen that. I’m still wrapped around the axle driving, yeah, yeah, yeah, just, ahh!

[01:11:12] Ashley Schweigert: I just want you to give me access to this client so I can play around with it.

[01:11:15] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Oh, yeah. By all means, I will. I mean, it’ll blow your mind, too. So, here, here’s kind of the bottom line. Last year, I’m writing down a number $146.92 billion is what Google made from Google Ads.

[01:11:35] Ashley Schweigert: Well…

[01:11:36] Matt Bailey: 100 and let’s round it off.

[01:11:39] Ashley Schweigert: So, they care how that…

[01:11:40] Matt Bailey: $147 billion from Google Ads. Now, I’m looking at that number going, “How many people have set up these campaigns that are following the optimization score, that are following the recommendations, that are spending money, and then, let’s not even get to the profit equation of, are you even running a sustainable campaign?”

[01:12:05] Ashley Schweigert: Well, I’m wondering if they’re changing this, ’cause they’re saying that a lot of this stuff is being changed because of privacy, which I, I call BS.

[01:12:14] Matt Bailey: How does Google Ads have anything to do with privacy?

[01:12:17] Ashley Schweigert: I’m sorry. Well, they say that a lot of these changes are because, I’m dead serious, I’ve been reading about it. I’m just like, “What?” Oh, you know…

[01:12:22] Matt Bailey: I can’t, I can’t write my own ad copy. I can’t create my own static ad because of privacy? I mean…

[01:12:30] Ashley Schweigert: That’s what they’re saying.

[01:12:31] Matt Bailey: I’m sorry, that is the most…

[01:12:32] Ashley Schweigert: I mean, I’ve been looking into some of this…

[01:12:34] Matt Bailey: Oh, that’s terrible.

[01:12:34] Ashley Schweigert: …and it says, you know, because of a lot of the regulate, regulations that they have to change…

[01:12:39] Matt Bailey: That has nothing to do with it.

[01:12:40] Ashley Schweigert: …you know, just targeting and which is why targeting has gotten a lot broader because they, they say that, you know, they have to protect the user, but listen, listen. I’m wondering if they’re doing this on purpose. And listen, listen, listen, I, I, I am thinking that they know that people are, so let’s go into this privacy, right? You’re one of them. You don’t use, uh, Google as much anymore. You’re on Bing, right?

[01:13:04] Matt Bailey: I don’t use Google at all.

[01:13:06] Ashley Schweigert: Okay. I, I, I am on Google and I should probably, like, I don’t even care. If they, they want to know stuff about me, go ahead. My life’s not that exciting. But, but what gets me is, is that they know people are leaving the search engine, right? And that’s becoming more of a thing. It’s becoming very common. A lot of people are not using Google anymore. And I think that they know this and are like, “Well, how are we going to keep this revenue up to 147 billion? Oh, well, we’re going to go ahead and use that privacy to make this targeting broader, so we’re, the business is going to have to spend more money on ads, so therefore we won’t lose any revenue.” See where I’m going with that? I think that there’s definitely selfish motivation going on here.

[01:13:49] Matt Bailey: Google has selfish, motivation? What?

[01:13:52] Ashley Schweigert: I know, I mean, we already knew that, but I just think that I actually think this is worse strategic than what we think. I…

[01:13:57] Matt Bailey: This is a company that has repeatedly over the past 20 years defaulted to the side of ask forgiveness instead of permission when it comes to privacy. That has been the default for them, is to just go do it, and if we get in trouble, pay the fine ’cause the fine’s negligible, um, even if it’s $10 million. So what? We made $146 billion.

[01:14:19] Ashley Schweigert: Well, see, they have less people on Google, and they still have people advertising, and they’re like, “Oh, well, you know what? We’ll get them to spend more money, even if people leave the search engine, we’ll still be able to make that revenue.”

[01:14:30] Matt Bailey: There’s not as many…

[01:14:31] Ashley Schweigert: Right?

[01:14:31] Matt Bailey: …people leaving Google as we think.

[01:14:33] Ashley Schweigert: Oh, really?

[01:14:33] Matt Bailey: I really don’t think so. And the amount of searches and things like that, the thing is, to tie this to privacy is such a red herring. It’s such a smoke screen.

[01:14:42] Ashley Schweigert: Well, Facebook’s doing it too. It’s such a thing right now.

[01:14:44] Matt Bailey: Oh, Facebook, I don’t…

[01:14:45] Ashley Schweigert: I know, we won’t go there, because you know what, I will go on a tangent.

[01:14:49] Matt Bailey: That’s a joke.

[01:14:49] Ashley Schweigert: You know how you went on a tangent on the optimization score?

[01:14:51] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:14:51] Ashley Schweigert: You’re going to see me throwing things.

[01:14:55] Matt Bailey: Oh no. I just, oh…

[01:14:55] Ashley Schweigert: Facebook has just opened, I just, I’m so annoyed. But, but yeah, this privacy thing is really attacking all advertising platforms. Ha, have you been doing anything in Bing, I’m just wondering, ’cause you know, Bing usually copies Google quite a bit, so I’m just wondering.

[01:15:07] Matt Bailey: Yeah. You can import everything into Bing that you do in Google.

[01:15:09] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[01:15:10] Matt Bailey: No, I haven’t played around with Bing at all.

[01:15:11] Ashley Schweigert: I’m just wondering…

[01:15:12] Matt Bailey: But on this…

[01:15:12] Ashley Schweigert: …if there’s going to be changes they’re going to align with this.

[01:15:14] Matt Bailey: Well, how is this privacy? I want my ad to show when someone searches for that word. What does that have to do with privacy? I’m not seeing anything about the end-user. All I’m seeing is click data. I don’t know who clicked on it. I don’t know who searched for it. I, you know, in my analytics I can find out, you know, the browser type, or their, where in the world they are, but I don’t know the search term. I, how, what privacy is being involved here?

[01:15:40] Ashley Schweigert: There’s obviously a retargeting. So, retargeting really isn’t protecting privacy.

[01:15:45] Matt Bailey: No, not at all, and I’m opting in to retargeting.

[01:15:47] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:15:48] Matt Bailey: So, exactly, there is no, privacy is a smokescreen for, from what I’ve seen. I, I, you know, and this is from the company that, you know, what, how many years ago did they take away the ability for us to see the keywords that people were using to find our websites in an, in an organic method? That we can go into analytics and see the keywords that people were typing into Google to find our, our website. They stopped doing that because of privacy.

And again, it was, what do you mean privacy? What, you’re the one who has all the data. You’re the one who’s seeing all this. You’re the one who’s doing that. We, on the, the end side, we’re just using that data. I think this was an end game to take away the keyword intelligence. To take away…

[01:16:35] Ashley Schweigert: Our control. Yeah.

[01:16:35] Matt Bailey: …our control of, you know, because back then, I’m focusing on plurals of a certain word, because I know that someone who comes to my website using the plural version of that keyword has a 15% conversion rate. Someone who has a singular version of that word when they come to my site converted less than 2%.

So yeah, I’m, I’m following that. Now they take away keywords. Then, when you’re in AdWords, well, the plural and singular are the same by matching standards…

[01:17:07] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:17:08] Matt Bailey: …and how that works. So, I now can’t control…

[01:17:11] Ashley Schweigert: Which is really not the case, ’cause now that we see how they’re making these recommendations and how artificial intelligence is working, we know it’s very keyword driven.

[01:17:20] Matt Bailey: Yeah, absolutely.

[01:17:21] Ashley Schweigert: So, that’s a complete lie.

[01:17:22] Matt Bailey: And the intent from plural and singular, so different. And now you’re telling me it’s the same. No, it’s not. No, it’s not. And, and you’d only have to go into, uh, Greg Jarboe, I interviewed him a little while ago and he’s like, “Do your keyword research on anything that’s not Google because Google puts together 10 terms into 1 and says that’s the term you should be bidding on.”

[01:17:46] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:17:47] Matt Bailey: And you can’t get plurals. You can’t, you know, specific routes or variations of words. No, it’s all lumped into one and that’s what you’re bidding on.

And so, no, what this is is absolute, and this is what they’re doing with cookies. It is absolute iron fist control of the ad market by controlling the words you bid on, by making you open up and pay more, and then also on the other side, uh, going to their own cookie solution, their privacy sandbox, you know, by tagging certain Chrome users.

[01:18:25] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[01:18:25] Matt Bailey: I mean, oh my goodness. That is not a privacy solution at all. It’s control. That’s exactly what it is. It is all control, and they are consolidating their power in the ad industry.

[01:18:39] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, they are, and that’s how, I do think…

[01:18:40] Matt Bailey: I feel like I should have tin, you know, aluminum on my head at this point.

[01:18:43] Ashley Schweigert: I know, I was thinking that. You know, I do feel that search results are going to be eventually dominated by advertising.

[01:18:50] Matt Bailey: They already are, I mean, let’s, yeah.

[01:18:51] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. Well, we get the expansion of, you know, the search ad and you know….

[01:18:56] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:18:56] Ashley Schweigert: …all that, but you know, this is, this is really crazy that the future of digital is going to be run by paid.

[01:19:05] Matt Bailey: $147 billion.

[01:19:06] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:19:06] Matt Bailey: That, that is just last year’s revenue from Google Ads. Uh, that’s like 99% of their revenue.

[01:19:13] Ashley Schweigert: And you know the data supports, and you’re a huge data guy, huge research guy, so you know that most people will click on ads, not knowing that they’re ads.

[01:19:24] Matt Bailey: And, and especially mobile.

[01:19:25] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[01:19:25] Matt Bailey: If I do a search on mobile, that first ad with all of those add features that fills up the entire screen on mobile, you’re getting served an ad first that takes up the whole screen and you have to scroll down to get to the organic results.

[01:19:42] Ashley Schweigert: And that just gets me, it’s like, as a person in society, like I do not want to be controlled by a large company like Google. I want to be able to do my own research and find my own information. And this just goes to show you that these results are going to be so controlled that we’re not going to be able to do that. So, what does our future look like?

[01:20:00] Matt Bailey: It looks like Firefox with an ad blocker, using Bing, or Duck, Duck Go, or some other search engine. That’s what it looks like if you want control over what you see.

[01:20:16] Ashley Schweigert: Yes.

[01:20:17] Matt Bailey: Um, because this is, you know, this is all consolidation and, you know, just to sum up what I’ve seen so far out of this AI running Google ads, I’m not impressed. In fact, I’m more repelled than I am impressed.

[01:20:33] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, I’m disappointed because I had high hopes for AI. I mean, as you remember, I was excited about some of the things, because, you know, as a marketer, there’s just some things that we have to do day in and day out that can be very tedious, and I was excited about AI and to see where it was going, and seeing this has just really, I lost some hope. I’m not as optimistic as I once was.

[01:20:58] Matt Bailey: No.

[01:20:58] Ashley Schweigert: So, I’m hoping that, you know, Google wakes up and, you know, people are filling in their surveys and that they see that if they don’t do something that, you know, maybe businesses are going to change the way that they go about marketing. I don’t know, but I, I am concerned for those who are small business owners or mid-sized business owners, if you’re really going to be able to compete on the Google AdWords platform with small budgets.

[01:21:20] Matt Bailey: It’s not just even being able to compete. It looks to me like those are the ones that are being taken advantage of the most.

[01:21:26] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[01:21:27] Matt Bailey: Because your large businesses are using agencies that are Google partners, they’re spending money, and those Google partners have access to tools that the small, medium sized business do not.

If you’re trying to run your own campaign, now, if you’re grandfathered in with an older account, granted, you’ve got these tools, but if you’re just getting in now, that’s who’s paying the penalty. That’s who is financing this, this AI effort, are small, medium sized businesses who can’t afford an agency, trying to make it on their own, and they’re the ones that are going to get taken advantage of the most.

[01:22:00] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, it’s sad.

[01:22:02] Matt Bailey: It is.

[01:22:03] Ashley Schweigert: It’s very sad. And you’re not just seeing that with Google, unfortunately, you’re seeing that with, with Facebook and, you know, some other platforms.

[01:22:10] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[01:22:10] Ashley Schweigert: So, I, I am concerned about the futures of small to mid-size com, uh, business.

[01:22:15] Matt Bailey: Yeah, absolutely. Especially when it’s being positioned as something easy to do. It just really rubs me the wrong way when Google does that.

[01:22:22] Ashley Schweigert: And especially right now. I mean, we’re going through a pandemic, and there are a lot of companies that are just been struggling, and some haven’t made it, and now we have this?

[01:22:34] Matt Bailey: Mhm. Yep.

[01:22:35] Ashley Schweigert: And I’m saying “we” because I am a small business, and, you know, so I feel the pain too, and I just think it’s really sad because, you know, I want to see businesses recover after all of this.

[01:22:47] Matt Bailey: Yep.

[01:22:47] Ashley Schweigert: Like I, I like the, the good old days, right, where, you know, people are talking about, you know, the future of entrepreneurial, uh, thinking and how, you know, we really felt that anybody could start a business, and I don’t feel like that today.

[01:23:00] Matt Bailey: Well, and then there’s also the good old days of Google Ads.

[01:23:03] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah.

[01:23:03] Matt Bailey: The good old days of Google Ads is you put some ads in, you’re making sales.

[01:23:07] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:23:08] Matt Bailey: It was just, you put money in, you get money out. I’m not seeing that anymore. I’m not seeing that.

[01:23:12] Ashley Schweigert: It’s sad because the broad targeting is not going to do it.

[01:23:15] Matt Bailey: No. And, and I could manage it, I could, I could specifically go to long tail keywords, now you’re, Google’s telling you there’s not enough volume on long tail keywords, and what was that when they started shutting that down? So, it, it’s taking away more and more management capability from you. I, from what I’m seeing, I’m like, how is this, it’s nowhere near as effective as it was 10, 15 years ago.

But what it’s done for this, my friend here, as we started looking at sustainability of a marketing campaign, it’s forced us to go look and evaluate other options because it’s not affordable to focus on that long tail term. It’s nowhere near affordable if we want to go broad.

[01:23:57] Ashley Schweigert: No.

[01:23:57] Matt Bailey: That is completely insane. So…

[01:24:00] Ashley Schweigert: It, it’s, the example of the, the, the mailer.

[01:24:02] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:24:02] Ashley Schweigert: Are you going to send it to everybody or are you going to send it to your target audience?

[01:24:05] Matt Bailey: So now it’s forced us to look at more affordable, sustainable options to sell this product. And Google’s not one of them.

[01:24:14] Ashley Schweigert: No. So, I kind of feel like they’re shooting themselves in the foot a little bit.

[01:24:19] Matt Bailey: Not as long as people keep setting up accounts, keep looking at that optimization score, keep following the recommendations because it’s Google. For some reason, advice from a Google rep, Google giving you an optimization score, saying, “Hey, you can increase your optimization score by opening up your ads to the search network.” People inherently trust Google.

[01:24:42] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, they do, blindly.

[01:24:44] Matt Bailey: And they trust it, there was just a survey done, I’ll have to put it in the show notes, about people’s trust of Google and the trust in the search results. So, because of that trust…

[01:24:52] Ashley Schweigert: Or even trust in the site.

[01:24:53] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:24:54] Ashley Schweigert: Your fake news.

[01:24:56] Matt Bailey: People are going to do what they say.

[01:24:58] Ashley Schweigert: Yep.

[01:24:58] Matt Bailey: Because it’s Google then, and they’re “helping me.” And, and we’ve seen it before, people get a bit of advice from a Google rep, it’s like Bible.

[01:25:07] Ashley Schweigert: That’s why, just as a society, we need to start using critical thinking.

[01:25:10] Matt Bailey: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

[01:25:12] Ashley Schweigert: You have to be a critical thinker in today’s world.

[01:25:14] Matt Bailey: And unfortunately, yeah, you’re going to have to, as a business owner, educate yourself as to what goes into setting up and running a campaign on Google. You can’t just take Google’s word for it. You’ve got to go look, buy some books, uh, you know, I, I, I’ll list a couple in the show notes of, of books, articles that will give you the experience and advice about what to look for in these campaigns, and how, you know, click-through rates, and how to evaluate profitability, you’re going to have to educate yourself. You just can’t blindly throw money at Google and expect it to come back.

[01:25:50] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah. And just like too, like, I know you and I were talking about, like, how to hire an agency, how to look to see who you’re using, really knows what they’re doing, because I mean, you can get people that are, that are like me, that are just listening to the Google rep, right? Like, you want to be able to make sure that you trust the people that are managing your campaigns…

[01:26:10] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:26:10] Ashley Schweigert: …because, I do understand, like, those business owners that don’t have the time to necessarily get in here and read all these articles and really understand it, too. I mean, I think that we’re talking about click-through rate, I’m, I’m sure I’m getting people that don’t understand what I’m talking about. Right?

I mean, it’s, you know, it’s very common, like, so, that’s how you do want to make sure that you’re asking the right questions and that you do, um, have like a basic understanding so you can make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of.

[01:26:39] Matt Bailey: Or the big question, it’s simple big questions. What’s the most important thing I should be looking at?

[01:26:44] Ashley Schweigert: That’s perfect.

[01:26:45] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[01:26:46] Ashley Schweigert: You’ll know right there.

[01:26:48] Matt Bailey: Yeah. What’s, what should I be looking at when, and even those basic reports, I get people asking, I don’t understand this, what should I be looking at? And so, if you don’t know what you should be looking at…

[01:26:56] Ashley Schweigert: Or, you know what, open up the campaign yourself, I had this happen, um, and this is, you know, this isn’t going to be a problem moving forward, but broad match modifier in AdWords, the type of keyword that it will say, it will say broad, but it’s not broad.

[01:27:13] Matt Bailey: No.

[01:27:13] Ashley Schweigert: It’s a broad match modifier. And I actually had a client, I couldn’t understand why they were asking me, like why, why they were saying, and I found out later that was because there was like another agency trying to get the account. So, they were saying that it was a broad keyword, which they really didn’t know that that wasn’t a broad keyword, ‘cause they didn’t understand keyword matching. They were reading what was beside it.

[01:27:36] Matt Bailey: Yep. Yep.

[01:27:37] Ashley Schweigert: And, right? See? These are the things that you have to be able to understand, or you’re going to be bamboozled, you know, unfortunately, and yes, I went through it and I, you know, walk, have them walk you through it. Have them show you things.

[01:27:50] Matt Bailey: Right. Right.

[01:27:50] Ashley Schweigert: We have Zoom, you don’t have to go in person, have them walk you through it. And then ask a, ask a question, right?

[01:27:57] Matt Bailey: You just don’t want to turn on your camera.

[01:27:59] Ashley Schweigert: Yeah, you know, I know, you guys are lucky that you’re seeing me right now for those who are viewing this, because yeah, I usually am that person that will hide.

[01:28:08] Matt Bailey: Wow. Well, Ashley, hey, thank you so much for coming in. I mean, it was just an hour rant against Google for some of the stuff that’s going on here.

[01:28:17] Ashley Schweigert: I have so much more, too, I could get into all of this, but I will shut up.

[01:28:19] Matt Bailey: I know we could go into a lot of different areas. My goodness. Listener, I, I hope you’ve been able to follow this, and I hope it’s been helpful to you to understand some of the limitations and, and the training wheels that Google is putting on you.

[01:28:34] Ashley Schweigert: Right.

[01:28:34] Matt Bailey: Uh, especially if you’re setting up a new account. Uh, do some research, we’ll put a lot of resources in the show notes for this one, because this is such a, a critical area of business development and marketing, that man, if you don’t know what you’re putting money into, it can be taken advantage very quickly, and unfortunately, it’s one of the biggest companies in the world, and people inherently trust what they say, so, uh, let’s be a little bit more skeptical and, uh, Ashley, thanks for your advice and thanks for bringing, uh, the topic here today.

[01:29:08] Ashley Schweigert: Absolutely. Thank you.

[01:29:09] Matt Bailey: Alright. Dear listener, thanks again for tuning into another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup and be sure to, to pass this along to anyone you know that might be frustrated, uh, with Google Ads, uh, and as always, give us a review, let us know that you appreciate the content, or if you have any ideas of what you’d like us to cover. We’d appreciate it. Thanks again. See you next time.

Featured Guest:

Ashley Schweigert

Ashley Schweigert

Marketing Communications Consultant

LinkedIn profile: Ashley G. Schweigert | LinkedIn

Website: Marcom Content by Ashley

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