Andrew Seidman
By Andrew Seidman | Uncategorized | November 6, 2013

A Thousand Ways to Say, “Spend More Money”

We get a fair amount of new accounts that were originally structured (or restructured) by Google employees.  Not all Google employees are created equally– they are people too, and while some do a great job, others less so.   You can tell if a Google employee has done a restructure because the campaigns will be marked with Google’s signature “OPT” (presumably for “optimized”).   I took over one such account earlier this year in which I found quite a few areas for improvement over the Google employee’s original optimization.

Once I started making changes in the account, a Google representative reached out and scheduled a call with me to discuss some possible new strategies.  I was excited to hear about new ways to optimize the account, so I eagerly scheduled the call and was looking forward to hear the Google point of view.  However, my conversation with the Googler was less “here’s what you can do to optimize the account” and more “here are a bunch of different ways you can spend more money”.  Now, I could read between the lines and see what the Googler was actually asking me, but there were a lot of traps that a small or medium sized business owner can fall into.

Google has a lot of different ways to ask you to spend money.  Before I walk you through some of the most common, let me first say this — spending more money is not inherently bad.  Many businesses would benefit greatly by opening up their pocketbooks and investing more readily in their Google AdWords accounts.   Let me also say that you can set your maximum daily budget so that no matter your bid structure you won’t exceed your budget (we do this with all of our clients).

With that said, here are some ways Google can ask you to spend more money:

  • Increase your bid prices.  This is the most direct way of saying “spend more”.  Instead of spending $1.50 per click, wouldn’t you rather show up higher and spend $2.00 per click?
  • Expand your Keywords / Add new Keywords.  This is slightly more clever.  You’re not increasing the price, you’re just adding more words, right?  Well, the more words you advertise, the faster you spend money with Google.  If you had a $10/day budget, you could spend all $10 on one expensive click on one keyword, or you could spend $1 for one click on each of 10 keywords.  But, if you have a $10 Max CPC on one keyword, then you add 10 more words, even if those words are $1 per click you’re still doubling your spend.
  • Add Sitelinks!  Sitelinks are the partitioning of your website into multiple links that feature in your ad.  For example, if you sell sporting goods for all sports, a sitelink for your ad might look like “Shop at Mike’s Sporting Goods” with links to “Basketball, Football, Baseball” etc. below, all pointing to the specific part of your website for each sport.  The net result of adding sitelinks is an increase in clickthrough rate.  In short, sitelinks make people click, which makes Google happy (given that they’re getting paid per click).  Now, sitelinks aren’t necessarily bad – if you have a high conversion rate, or a really good cost-per-conversion (the sign of an optimized account), you want all the clicks you can get.  However, if your account isn’t in great shape, sitelinks can drain you of money in a hurry.  In the past, sitelinks weren’t really mandatory.  While they would increase your CTR, and that CTR would directly affect your Quality Score and Ad Rank, the existence of sitelinks wasn’t explicitly included in the Ad Rank formula.  No longer– now, you need sitelinks to help your Ad Rank, which means you need an optimized account in a hurry.

There are lots of other ways for Google to ask you to spend more.  Anything that expands the scope of your account will probably require more money.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing– sometimes you need to spend money to make money.  But, more than anything, you need actual optimization.

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