These Ad Recommendations Are Mostly Bad For You But Good For Google
I’m so sick and tired of Google pushing these ad recommendations onto small to mid-sized businesses, that I wanted to try and warn as many people as I could. These ad suggestions that Google recommends you apply to your PPC campaigns are terrible and have proven to perform worse in most cases.
They are in Google’s best interest, not yours. Some of which was brought up in their antitrust lawsuit. So why do they keep doing it? Because they can.
Look, I’m not going to debate if should be allowed to pedal this nonsense on their own platform or not. I’m not a lawyer. But I don’t believe it’s ethical when you tell people that it is in their best interest when it obviously is not. Especially when Google’s search platform is almost a necessity today to compete in a lot of industries.
Double especially, when it was revealed in court that if you pay for Google ads, it will improve the clickthrough rate on those pages, which is a ranking factor in organic search results. Yes, you heard that right, buying keywords on Google Ads can help your PageRank in search results for those terms. Something they denied for years.
Don’t even get me started on their quality scoring lie. I’ve been saying for a long time that it doesn’t add up. That the quality of the ad is great, while their ad rating system says it’s not. The Google ad quality recommendations they want you to make have never improved the performance in my experience. I’ve tested it personally.
5 Google Ad Recommendations To Be Careful Of
- Adding more broad keywords across campaigns
- Using more branded keywords in your campaigns
- Raising budget to “maybe” get more leads & sales
- Trusting Google’s Performance Max AI
- Turning on auto-apply recommendations
Let’s go over each. What Google recommends you do to your ads and why it’s a bad suggestion from a PPC company who spends tens of thousands of dollars each month on my own ads, as well as, my client’s ad campaigns.
1. Add More Broad Keywords
Google recommends that you add more broad keywords across all of your ad campaigns. Suggesting that the less relevant the keyword focus, the better the campaign will perform because their AI will work its magic by casting a wide net and narrowing down more and more (on your dollar) until it finds the buyers.
An example of a broad match keyword is “marketing.” However, my goal is to convert leads for businesses needing help running Facebook ads. Yes, ads are a part of marketing, but I’ll burn through a lot of money before the AI finds the right people to show my advertisement to.
This is not to say broad keywords are bad, but they need to be used appropriately.
By the way, this is why professionals use more phrase match and exact match keywords right off the bat. They know how to find your buyers and decision-makers much faster and cheaper. Pay-per-click experts cut out a lot of the junk, spam, and people you can’t service.
Using a bunch of broad-match keywords in all of your Google ad campaigns is more of a beginner’s strategy to figure out who your audience is. Not a great recommendation for a company spending $10k per month for years.
So why would Google recommend this to my client? To take as much money as possible from them, banking on the fact that they will stick around hoping things will improve, and knowing PPC is a necessary evil to grow aggressively online.
When exact match and phrase match keywords were added, their ads converted better and for cheaper… like I said it would.
2. Use More Branded Keywords
Google recommended that my client add more branded keywords in their text ads. Knowing that they already dominated page one organically for their company name.
Why would Google suggest this when my client would get those clicks for free anyway from people who know who they are already and are actively searching for their business specifically?
The answer is that making money off what you were getting for free is an easy win. Makes Google’s platform look like it’s working great while it is actually killing your organic ranking for your brand. In this scenario, my clients went from being all over page one results to thinning out and letting the competition flood in.
The reason is simple. People see my client’s name and click on it because that is who they are looking for. If it wasn’t there in the paid section, they would have clicked on their company name in the free organic section. Maybe the map area if it’s a local search. Maybe their home page, contact page, or about page result that’s listed. Maybe one of their social profiles such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Or a PR article highlighting something new going on in your company.
This signals to Google that those other listings that once dominated page one are not as relevant anymore, so they start to drop down the rankings. And when one drops off page one, another one takes it place.
When your brand name is unique, no other company can use it in their ads because it’s copywritten or a registered trademark, which goes against Google’s policy. If someone is using your name in paid ads or webpages, you can flag it and it will be taken down.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t run a branded campaign. We just recommend you target your competitor’s names as the keywords instead, which is completely legal, within Google’s policy, and your competitors won’t even know that you are targeting them.
When we paused their Google-recommended strategy that sucked and launched our competitor-branded campaign that I mentioned above, their page-one domination came back.
3. Raise Your Budget
This is one of my most hated Google ad recommendations. They chose their words very carefully to mislead you and here is what they say… Raise your budget to “maybe” get more leads and “influence” more sales.
Sometimes the budget is limited so the potential is limited. But just throwing money at a situation won’t fix it.
First, you focus on figuring out your audience. Then, you figure out how to increase your conversion rate for that target audience. Next, you reduce wasted ad spend so you can get more conversions or sales with the same budget. Lastly, you can raise your budget incrementally and repeat.
Google wants you to skip all that and train their AI on your dollar.
We have managed many client accounts where Google recommended huge levels of ad spend increases to gain an “estimated” amount of clicks that never proportionately led to more sales or quality leads. Almost always, the cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition got way more expensive. When done the right way as I mentioned above, their PPC ROI improved.
I don’t want to brag, but the industry standard is $2:1, meaning for every dollar you spend, you get two dollars back. My agency, Tag Marketing, averages $25:1 on our Google Ad services.
4. Trust Google’s AI
Google wants you to just trust their algorithms and the Performance Max AI, but won’t reveal what the AI is trained to do or how it works. Is it trained in your best interest or Google’s?
Well, it was revealed in court recently that the platform is a tool for Google to make money, not so much Google’s customers because of their potential monopoly leaving businesses with no other viable choice.
Also, they decide what a conversion is, not you. Did you know that their “smart” goals can include someone spending only one minute on your website, or a person viewing more than one page, or even repeat calls from the same person, or contact form fill meant for general inquiries that are mostly junk…? The list goes on.
Google is pushing its users to go fully automated and trust them. Performance Max is their next step to accomplishing that.
Think about it. Google trains its AI and its AI recommends to you what it is told to. So trusting the AI is trusting Google, and they have a $300 Billion revenue goal to reach. Staying a monopoly and sucking as much money out of you as possible is all part of their strategy to reach that goal.
I’m not saying don’t advertise on Google nor spend time and effort optimizing your website. I’m just warning you that you have to watch out for your business and there ways to get a better result at a more affordable price. Diversifying your SEM and SEO strategies and marketing channels is key for long-term success in the digital world.
5. Turning On Auto-Apply Recommendations
Turning on Google Ads auto-apply recommendations is just lazy, and the cheap comes out expensive. They are counting on the fact that you don’t know what you are doing and will just accept any result that Google feeds you, or that you don’t want to spend the money hiring a PPC expert.
The truth is, you have to find a good PPC company offering honest services that won’t just do what Google is doing to you. When you find that agency, it will be worth the investment. They usually charge a fixed price to create and set up the ad campaign, as well as, charge an ongoing management fee that is usually a percentage of your Google ad spend.
You can see what we charge for PPC services here so you can get an idea of what you can expect.
Lots of those Google ad recommendations are junk and waste your budget without any proven performance increase for your industry, product, or services.
We have seen increasing service areas applied when they cannot even service those areas. Applying keywords for things that are completely unrelated to the company. We’ve even seen the wrong products and services being advertised that our client doesn’t sell.
I suggest you turn off auto-apply immediately. When the Google ad recommendations pop up, use the knowledge you just learned to decide whether or not to accept or deny each update individually. Don’t be afraid to take some of their ideas and apply them in your own way that benefits you.
Think of the Google platform as a toolbox that you can utilize. You don’t need all the tools in that box to get the job done, and you may need help or to purchase another tool that is best suited for the project.