Focus on your goals, not Google’s

by Jim February 12, 2020

Following up on a story from a couple of weeks ago where a client damaged their ad campaigns by following advice from Google. A simple reverse of those elements has seen us claw back returns but it goes to show that you shouldn’t be reliant on their ad revenue.

What I learned

  • Going against Google’s advice can be beneficial
  • Google acts in their own best interests
  • Scatter-gunning money is not the solution
  • Don’t be reliant on Google income


Hey, welcome back Rankers, how`re you going? I wanted to do a follow up on a story from a couple of weeks ago. Now if you just have a look, this is a Google Ads campaign and all we`re looking at here at the moment is desktop. And you can see there we`ve had 17% fewer clicks, 17% less cost, slightly higher cost per click, bounce rate, eCommerce conversion rate up 125%, pretty good, revenue up 100%. Now it`s only a small sample size, it`s only for a couple of weeks, something like that, and all we did to double that revenue was reverse what Google recommended. So this is the client where Google rang them up and said, `Oh, you`ve got to change all these things.` And the client went, `Well gosh if Google says we have to do it, we should do it.` Don`t do it if you are using an agency or don`t do it if you have your own returns set up, what you want to see as a return from Google.

Don’t believe everything Google says

Now if we then go and have a look at the mobile, because that last one was desktop, you can see that orange line, which is what Google did. That orange line there is that they threw a heap of money on mobile. Now the problem with this site on mobile, well there`s many because of the complex nature of what they sell, and we know that and we`re making compensations for that. Because in a business you`ve got to make a call about are you going to revamp the whole site and spend thousands and thousands and thousands on infrastructure or are you going to leave that for later? And maybe right now double down and get a better return on the money that you are actually investing in your advertising.

So that`s what we chose to do in this situation. Google came along and said, `You know what? What you need to do is optimise and get more clicks.` We were optimising to get more conversions. So you can see here that our revenue is still down on the previous period and that`s because the campaign hasn`t fully recovered so the AI campaigns and those sorts of things. Overall, the revenue is up and the costs are down, but on mobile it`s still struggling. However, even though it`s 26% down on revenue, it`s a 50% better return than the money that Google threw at it.

Eggs and baskets

Google rewards agencies like us for spending more of your money. I like to work with clients to get a better return on their money. Having this idea that it`s an agency`s job to get their client to spend more money, I mean I know of people spending 20, 30, $40,000 a month on Google Ads and some of them are doing really good returns on that, some of them are doing 1000% return on that, which is great. My question is, is what proportion does that represent of your overall revenue of your business? Because as we`ve discussed before when Google breaks, and it does, there`ll be a bug, you`ll be blamed for something that you haven`t done, something will go wrong in your merchant feed, whatever it might be, bang that revenue`s cut off. And if you`re a retailer that`s geared up with stock and staff and everything else, that can be a real problem if all of a sudden half your traffic disappears overnight.

So what we like to do is basically try to make yourself as bulletproof from Google as possible. Build your brand, obviously, and then work on understanding what you are willing to spend on Google for what sort of return. So that`s what we look at with our clients, and that can be different for different categories, different industries, different pricing structures, all those sorts of things. But work out what that is for your business. Hopefully, that`s helpful.

Now just a heads up that I’ll be hosting a workshop once more at this year’s Retail Global conference on the Gold Coast. It’s on from May 27-29. The workshop is based on my upcoming book, “Get Stuffed Google! – Increasing Sales before Traffic” and is a must for any eCommerce retailers looking to put sales growth before the whims of Google. We have a discount code available; so don’t forget to offer it to your clients and prospects! The code is: STEWART100

That’s it for now. Thanks, and we`ll see you next week. Bye.

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