I’m going to let you in on a little secret. While the majority of these calls are not worth your time, you’re most likely screening one or two that will actually help you truly transform your business. The best part? These calls will cost you nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
This may be a good time to let you know that I was once the person responsible for making these crazy phone calls. As an Account Manager on the AdWords team at Google, I helped thousands of businesses better understand their digital advertising (for free). This post will highlight what to expect after getting in touch with your Google AdWords Account Manager, and the tips and tricks you can use to make the best use of your time with them.
Let’s dive in.
Is this really Google?
Hands down, the most common question I would get from advertisers was, “Is this really Google?” To be honest, it’s really the best first question you can ask. You wouldn’t randomly expose sensitive bank account information to a stranger on the phone, and you should be equally as careful with your AdWords account data
There are two really good ways for your Account Manager to prove they are who they say they are. The first way is to ask them to confirm your unique Customer ID (CID) number. You can find this number on the top right hand side of your AdWords dashboard.
Okay Google, how can you help me?
Now that you know the person you’re talking to actually works for Google, we can dig into the meat and potatoes of the phone call. A typical call with an Account Manager will last for a strict hour, no more and no less, and will cover three specific sections: review, build and optimize. Let’s dig a little deeper into these.
Expect to spend the first 30 minutes of your call chatting about your business, your goals for AdWords and reviewing the existing data in your account.
The advertisers that get the most value out of these conversations all take a similar approach to this section of the call. Here are some things they all have in common:
- They take notes: Make sure you take notes throughout the call. This will help you review the results from the changes you made during your next meeting.
- They ask questions: Dig into why some campaigns are performing well and others are performing terribly. This will help spark ideas for the optimization section of the call.
- They follow up later: Be sure to get your Manager’s contact information within the first five minutes of your conversation. Most people don’t take advantage of a follow-up call, but it is the best way to see the results from your optimization efforts.
It’s important to note that Google Account Managers work with advertisers at varying skill levels. This means they will try to get a feel for your savviness within the first few minutes of the call. The best way to avoid this little dance is to simply explain the improvements to your account you’re trying to achieve during the conversation.
Once your Manager has a good understanding of your business and what you’re trying to accomplish with AdWords, you can begin to work together to optimize your campaigns. This is the most valuable time you will spend with your Manager — I would highly recommend spending at least 20 minutes optimizing.
Your Manager will have some suggestions on what needs to be tweaked, so don’t freak out if you come to the conversation with little direction. If you want a little more control over the call, below is a cheat sheet of things you should have them walk you through. These areas, when optimized, will help you save money and see a better ROI over time.
- Auction Insights Report
- Bid Adjustment via Device
- Bid Adjustment via Location
- Bid Adjustment via Day of the Week
- Keywords Page / Bid Optimization
- Conversion Tracking
The location of the Search Terms and Auction Insights report.
Listen to the optimization suggestions your Manager gives you, but don’t take their word as gospel. Not all Managers are created equal, even at Google. I highly suggest asking as many questions as you can before making any change in your account.
Understand why they are making the suggestion and have them sell you on why it’s the best fit for your business.
The dirty little secret most Managers won’t tell you upfront is that they can rebuild any of your campaigns from the ground up to help increase performance. For free. Take advantage of this! It’s a good use of the last five minutes of your call, and is basically risk-free if you follow the instructions below:
- Select the worst-performing campaign in your account
- Tell your Manager that you want them to re-build that campaign for you
- Discuss potential new strategies with your Manager
- Take notes to outline the proposed changes
- Tell the Manager you do not want the campaign to go live without your approval
It will take a couple of days for your Manager to build your new campaign from scratch, so it’s important to schedule a time to follow up. Make sure you have them walk you through the changes made. If everything looks good, pause the original campaign and enable the new campaign.
Run the new campaign for a four week test or until you achieve statistical significance. Once the test is over, compare your baseline metrics with your old campaign and continue using the campaign with the best performance.
What about those betas?
The coolest perk to take advantage of during your conversation with your Account Manager is gaining access to AdWords beta testing programs before everyone else.
Betas are new AdWords features that are not available to the public and are tested with a very small number of advertisers.
Various ad extensions, Gmail ads, and others have gone through some version of the beta program.
There are a few boxes you need to check off to gain access to new betas:
- Make sure you stay in contact with your Account Manager
- Tell them you are interested in experimenting with new betas
- Give them a reason why your business is a good fit for the specific beta you’re interested in exploring
- Have a “healthy” test budget to spend on the beta
While there is no hard number that indicates a “healthy” test budget, $500-$1000 in spend per day should get you through the threshold. Also note that some betas have firm restrictions that you must meet to gain access, such as vertical limitations or a minimum spend required. Work with your Account Manager to ensure a mutually beneficial fit.
What if I don’t get a call from a Manager?
Although working with a dedicated Account Manager is beneficial for all the reasons mentioned above, you shouldn’t freak out if you don’t get a call from Google. At the end of the day, there aren’t enough Account Managers to cover the entire playing field of AdWords advertisers.
Good news is, you’re not totally out of luck. Google has a team of Managers that are responsible for handling inbound account inquiries, optimization requests and all of the other things mentioned in this post. You can contact them at 1-866-2Google, but be warned, wait times can creep into the 15-20 minute range during busy times of the day.
Let’s do this
Now that you have a clearer understanding of your relationship between your business, your ads and your Google support team, it’s time to get on the phone and start getting some of those burning questions answered. Remember, as your campaigns grow over time, you want to exhaust Google’s resources to optimize your ad dollars.