Yes of course things change all the time, but this time G00gle is changing, and that is different. And its going to cost you. Unless you pay close attention.
Let me first put this into the proper context. I have been in the search engine business since 2001 and have been managing paid advertising accounts (search engine paid ads) since 2007. That’s 16 years or almost 6,000 days.
All this time, G00gle has never wanted contact with people like me, unless it was via an automated process of filling out a request form, which almost never received a reply and I don’t remember ever resolving a problem. What one learns in this business is to find a work-around, try-try again, or just live with it.
Now The Machine did start to send questionnaires sometime along the way; “How are G00gle Ads working for you?”. I filled a couple out and never heard anything back, so I stopped wasting my time. A couple years back, (that’s recent in my time-frame) I was contacted by a real human Account Strategist. Nice guy. Catchy name even. He answered a couple questions that had been on my list of “How the hell do you do this?” Even got a few resolved. And then he suddenly disappeared.
Anyway, a long time past and I was again contacted by an “Agency Account Strategist, Google Customer Solutions, Powered by TTEC”. So I again had unresolved issues and requested help with those. “Absolutely. Let me see what I can do. Lets schedule weekly meetings.” I was delighted to schedule a weekly support call with my new friend.
(I had jumped to a wrong conclusion). What I failed to note was in their title, “Strategist”, did not actually mean “Solutions”.
Our weekly meetings became weekly “nudge sessions” suggesting to employ G00gle’s newly released campaign types. They go by various names, but not unlike all marketing, you can buy a couple different Tesla models, but the undercarriage is essentially a battery and electric motor on wheels. These new campaigns are essentially Artificial Intelligence (AI), which G00gle prefers to call Machine Learning. In plain English, you click a button and The Machine does everything for you. You can now kick-back and sip your Mai Tai (while getting paid by clients to do nothing).
After a couple months of Nudgings, this old-timer realized that these new AI campaign types only result in higher costs in the long run. (Yes, you may see some short term improvement as I’ve detailed here)
What was a 30 day recommended “learning period” turned into 60 days on/about day 29. (because apparently we just had not got all the correct settings from the get-go). We watched (the client and I) as Cost/Conversion rose and no settings seemed to reverse that trend. “Just wait. It takes 60 days for the machine to learn. Then you’ll see how amazing the results can be.” they said.
Well we hit the rest button. We just could not continue to loose money waiting for the Machine Learning to find it’s Zen.
So my Agency-Account-Strategist-Google-Customer-Solutions-Powered-by-TTEC person was reassigned. They didn’t say why.
But don’t you know, a new Agency-Account-Strategist-Google-Customer-Solutions-Powered-by-TTEC person contacted me within days. “Can we schedule a time to meet?”
Now the Nudge was noticeably more aggressive. There was no more “Can I do anything for you?”. Now it has become, “I won’t force you to do anything, but would you go to this screen and click on that button that says…”. (Like that Tesla battery-thing) the button is always something to enable Google to do what it (wants)-er says is best for my client.
Now I feel for these Agency-Account-Strategist-Google-Customer-Solutions-Powered-by-persons, but have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? After living in the support-desert for more than a decade, I am now in Agency-Account-Strategist-Google-Customer-Solutions-Powered-by-avoidance mode. Who would have imagined?
(just my hunch having worked on Wall Street for 10 years) Is it about the earnings and share price? The Machine is in need of revenue – the economy being what it is – revenue is probably on the wane for the first time in 23 years. So if I were you, I’d keep very close eyes on your ad spend vs performance right now. Someone seems to be interested in doing what’s right for shareholder value over other values.
The Machine has some tricks up its sleeve…in 2 words – “Auto Apply”.