Google Ads is constantly changing and improving its algorithm. This is a good thing because you want a system that manages quite a big chunk of your advertising money to be as ‘smart’ and as efficient as possible. But are all those changes in your best interest as advertiser?
Well, we want to believe that is the case. However, at the same time, we would be naive if we where to assume that in everything Google does there are no ‘ulterior motives’ to benefit… Google, of course.
So, let’s review one of the latest changes in Google Ads and try to analyse the probable reasons behind it, how it will affect your advertising spending, and what to do to minimise any negative effects.
Recently Google has announced that from now on, in the search terms report – the actual terms users write in Google search before your ads appeared – it will not include the data for all the clicks that happened. Now, Google Ads will only show you search queries “that have been searched by a significant number of users”.
This news caused a big wave of complaints from digital marketeers all over the world. Firstly, on average, accounts tend to have at least 20 to 30% of clicks that came from one impression only. This means that this change will potentially make at least 20% or more of your clicks invisible to you, i.e. a significant part of your ads spend. Secondly, Google never explained how it will determine if “a number of users that search with the some term” is significant enough to report it or not. There is no information on that so far, despite all the public discontent.
Google offers as an excuse that this change has been made due to privacy reasons. But it was never possible to link a search term to an exact user or IP, so this reason does not seem to be very convincing to the marketeers.
This change obliges us to trust Google´s automatisation, believe that the algorithm will know exactly how to act on each of the terms, and will perfectly understand whether each one of them is desirable to your business or not. And while we would all like to believe that Google Ads’ algorithm is already very good at it, we know that is still not the case.
If you ever tried to pull automated keyword suggestions from your website in Google Ads, you know what we mean. Yes, of course, Google Ads will suggest several very relevant keyword options, some of which you might not even have thought of yourself. But at the same time, approximately half of the suggestions you’ll get won’t make much sense to your business – for instance, synonyms that are not really relevant, or keywords originating from one word you have on your page somewhere in the middle of some sentence, the problem being that that word alone has nothing to do with what you want to sell.
So, do we really believe that the system ‘knows better’? We don’t, not yet at least. Before, we had more control over this situation, so we could act on it if something went wrong, since Google Ads reported each search term that cost you each cent of your budget, and thus using negative keywords you could block the ones that were not making sense. Now, with a significant part of the search queries hidden from us, we can easily be spending money on less relevant terms, over and over again, and not even know it.
But we don’t want you to think that is all doom and gloom. With time the algorithms will continue to get better, and at Clarity we have a tip for you on how to minimise the effect this change will have on your account.
Yes, you need to continue looking through your search terms and adding what does not make sense to you to the negative keywords. But from now on, this alone might not be enough. You need to widen your negative keyword research. Yes, you’ve heard it right – we are suggesting that you not only do a keyword research before launching a campaign, but also do a dedicated negative keyword research. To do it, go to the Keyword Planner and insert a broad term that describes your product or service. In this case, you don’t need to be specific, the broader the term, the more ideas of terms related, but irrelevant, you will get. Make sure you look through all of the keyword ideas and make a list of terms that are NOT relevant. Then simply add those terms to your negative keywords list. And, voilà, you’ve just helped Google Ads´ AI to learn a little bit more about your business, and blocked potentially thousands of impressions of your ads on less relevant terms that you would never even know about. Of course, this does not solve the problem entirely, but for now, this is as good as it gets in your attempt to better grow your negative keyword list.
Google Ads continues to push more and more automatisation into the system, taking away more and more control from advertisers. Unfortunately, in most cases, these automated features are introduced pretty prematurely, before they actually achieved the necessary level of ‘intelligence’. So, going back to Google’s ‘ulterior motives’, most likely, rolling out automatisation features on such a big scale will help Google Ads' machine learning to learn and develop quicker and better. But, in this case, guess who will end up paying for this? Yes, advertisers, whose budgets might not be used optimally until the algorithm becomes smarter.
For more information, bespoke strategies and efficient digital marketing solutions, just contact the Clarity’s girls through email@example.com or visit our website at yourdigitalclarity.com.