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So far Live PPC Ads has created 6 blog entries.

Why are You getting SPAMed by Google Ads Support?

Have you ever received an email from Google’s so-called “support” or “Customer Solutions” team? If you have an AdWords account, chances are you have seen them in your inbox before.

If you ignored and deleted these emails, consider yourself lucky! Because nothing good has ever come out of Google’s Support advice. I don’t know who’s running their support team now, but that person much have a hell of a lot of experience with email SPAM industry, ’cause these emails are becoming more and more alarming. Just now I received an email from a recent client saying that he received an email from Google notifying him that his ads are no longer showing (see the image above).

Even though I already finished the work with this client and got paid, I always try to extend a helping hand, even if I know I won’t be able to charge money for follow-up advice or a quick fix. I immediately logged in to his account and found the campaign I set up just a few days ago running perfectly well, generating traffic and impressions. No warnings in the account, ads are all approved and the keywords have high enough bids etc.

I smelled Google’s BS pretty much right away but wanted to confirm and make sure, ’cause I didn’t want to miss anything and leave the client with a broken campaign, so I asked him to forward me the email (see image above). When I saw the email, it was clear as day that Google won’t stop for anything to SPAM you with useless and now also alarming emails to get you to talk to their “support”.

I can’t believe that they’d send an email saying “Your ad isn’t showing anymore” knowing full well the campaign is running and everything is perfectly fine with the account. Now the client doesn’t know any of that, so he thinks something is not working. Most of my clients have little to no experience with Google Ads, so they are a perfect target for these types of Google SPAM emails. Why do they do it, you ask?

The answer is actually pretty simple, just like any SPAM they want your money. It’s not enough you’re already their client and spending money, they want to scare you into thinking that you are not getting good results, not enough traffic, low impressions, competitors are taking your leads and calls etc. Anything to get you to apply their recommendations. It still doesn’t sound that bad, however, if you take into account what recommendations they give out, you’ll know that everything they recommend is designed for one purpose only – to get you to spend ALL of your budget, as fast as possible, every single day. They’ll also tell you to spend MORE, ’cause why not, right? The more you spend, the more you get, the only problem is that you’ll get next to nothing following their recommendations.

It started a long time ago, they’ve implemented (not recommended) notes right in Google Ads. I’m sure you’ve seen them if you ever set up your own campaign. It’s things like Bid strategy when they say “Or, select a bid strategy directly (not recommended)” followed by “Setting bids manually may result in lower performance. Use Smart Bidding to help improve results by using more signals to optimize your bids.” Here’s a problem with that – they do not recommend you to choose a bid strategy directly, ’cause God forbid you’d want to select a Manual Bidding and turn off one of their default Rip Off auto strategies. When you actually select Manual bidding, they scare you into changing your mind by saying that you’d have “lower performance” … Well, your idea of performance and theirs are two different things – if you want to spend all of your budget on useless traffic from the unprofitable positions, go ahead and do it, you are on the same page with Google. However, if you want to maximize your ROI, ROAS, increase conversion rate and lower conversion cost you should never rely on Google’s auto bid strategies, ’cause regardless of their names, they all have one purpose – waste your money!

New and Improved “SCAM” from Google! Have You Tried Smart Local Campaigns in Google Ads?

Have you ever tried to run a smart local campaign in your Google Ads account? Maybe you’re a plumber or a dentist and just want to give your Google My Business a boost and generate some local leads. It’s a fairly new addition to Google Ads, they used to be called Express Google Ads and nobody really cared about them, ’cause they never worked.

When they merged Express with Google Ads and introduced those Smart Local Campaigns, I actually thought they were a good idea and tested them with a couple of local clients. I’ll be the first to admit, they worked quite well in the very beginning. The cost per click was much lower than in a search or call-only campaign, the engagement rate was on the level and calls were pouring in from local clients. It was such a beautiful and simple solution, the campaign would take minutes to set up if you’ve had your Google My Business account verified and linked to Google Ads, and wouldn’t require a lot of time for management and optimization.

Pretty soon things started to get worse and worse. First, the results started to decline in my existing smart campaigns, next, all of the new smart campaigns just wouldn’t generate any calls at all. There are only two mandatory campaign goals – either call your business or visit your business. 95% of my clients would use “call my business” goal, but there were no calls! The new smart campaign would generate hundreds of clicks, but no leads …

I’ve tried the local campaign for myself, www.liveppcads.com – Google Ads Freelancer – Call Now 323-682-3946, what could be easier, right? I’ve got a ton of different tracking and analytics metrics installed on my website, not usually available with my local clients. So I launched a smart local campaign to advertise my PPC advertising services in my local area in Los Angeles. Within hours I’ve spent several hundred dollars on traffic from all over the world and it was a complete and total junk or SPAM traffic. Users from India and Pakistan among other places would click on my ad and even called with 1 sec. call duration … This was clearly a waste of time and money, not a single user clicked on my ad from my actual 10-mile radius geo-targeting.

Naturally, I reached out to Google Support and after almost 2 hours of chatting they basically told me that the smart local campaigns do not have advanced location targeting, like a normal search campaign, so even if you set a radius of 10-miles around your business, you’ll still get a TON of traffic from all over the world. Now it’s not a new concept and if you check your account settings right now and it’s set to “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations (recommended)” instead of “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” rest assured you have been paying for traffic from other countries or locations outside of your actual geo-targeting. However, it never really was such a big deal, you’d still get at least 90-95% of the traffic from the correct geo-targeting. That’s not the case with Smart Local Campaigns – somehow they manage to generate 90-90% of traffic from outside of your geo-location targeting and there’s no way to turn that off, not directly in the Google Ads account. Google told me how to do it, but it’s a complete rip-off and a horrible pain in the butt process. I don’t want to even talk about it in this article, it may raise way too many ethical questions. If you want to know how to force your smart local campaign to use “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” shoot me an email and I’ll tell you.

Overall, Google is getting greedy, once such an ethical company, today is just another internet pirate trying to screw you out of every last penny in your account without a care in the world about the cost per call, lead or conversion.

It works well for me though, ’cause these days if you don’t have someone like me with 15+ years of experience running and optimizing Google Ads campaigns, you are most definitely wasting a lot of money. This “scam” is just one example if you don’t set up, manage or optimize your campaigns properly, you’ll be paying 5x or even 10x times more than you’d ever pay someone like me to do it right and do it for you.

How to Setup and Optimize AdWords Display Network Campaign?

It is not a secret that running any AdWords campaign requires a lot of knowledge, time and effort, but Display campaigns are in the league of their own. Most of the accounts that I manage include Search, Shopping or Call-Only campaign, along with Search and Display remarketing, but almost never a purely Display campaign.

It seems like regardless of the company, product or service, I could never get positive results and high enough ROI no matter what I’ve tried. Unfortunately, Google AdWords targeting doesn’t make it very easy to find the right placement for your ads and show them to relevant users.

In my last attempt, I set up a very straight forward display campaign to generate leads for my marketing business, I’ve selected very specific keywords, added interests and topics highly relevant to my service and set up geo targeting along with demo targeting to get in front of business owners on websites related to AdWords and PPC.

It didn’t take long to get my first clicks, but the results were less than worthless. First of all, the placement report analysis revealed that my ads showed up on the websites that had absolutely nothing to do with my service, keywords or interest targeting, they were all over the place, from adult websites to news and gossip websites. Not one placement that had impressions contained a single keyword from my keyword list or interest that I picked. What’s worse is that 99% of the clicks resulted in 100% bounce rate and 0 seconds on site, so the traffic and clicks that I’ve got were absolutely worthless and most likely weren’t even real users.

Naturally, I picked up the phone and called Google rep. They assured me that if I use keyword targeting, my ads would only show up on the pages that contain those keywords OR they could also be shown to users who recently searched for similar keywords. None of that was the case, ’cause all of my placements with impressions were completely random. I asked Google about 100% bounce rate and 0 seconds on site and they promised me that their sophisticated algorithms will determine invalid clicks and I won’t get charged for them, however, only 3% of all clicks were deemed invalid and I did get charged for the other 97% of useless clicks.

I didn’t want to give up, ’cause GDN clicks are anywhere from 10x to 20x times cheaper than my search network clicks and I couldn’t believe that there was no way for a GDN campaign to general clicks from real users and relevant placements. So I changed the strategy a little bit, I kept all of my keywords, geo and demo targeting, but instead of interests and auto placements, I picked websites and page placements manually that I knew were highly relevant to my service and to my marketing persona. The traffic volume did drop quite a bit, but the engagement rate improved instantly, now I could see that users who clicked on my banner ads actually stayed on my website long enough to read my marketing message. They visited several pages to check out the pricing for services that I offer and I’ve started to receive form leads and phone calls pretty much on the next day.

So to sum up, I can say that it is possible to set up and run a successful Display Campaign, but just like with Search campaign, you will have to spend a lot of time on the research and run your ads only on those websites that you select manually. Which is kind of similar to Express AdWords, if you let Google use all broad match keywords that they pick for you, chances are you’ll spend a lot of money on search terms that have nothing to do with your ads and end up throwing money away.

 

Google tried to stop click fraud and clickjacking

Everybody knows that any AdWords campaign will generate anywhere from 3% to 40% of invalid or fraudulent clicks, Google doesn’t charge us for those clicks, but it doesn’t really do anything to prevent those clickers from clicking our ads again … While it’s not ideal, it’s still better than nothing and there are great ways to prevent fraud clicks altogether and any Adwords Expert will be able to do it for you.

Here’s what Google has to say:

At Google we defend our ad systems from fraud using technology in a variety of ways. Often our investment in these defenses goes beyond protecting against only known threats. Our engineering and operations teams are continually working to identify new and emerging threats. Once a new ad fraud threat is found, we move quickly to defend our systems against it using a combination of technology, operations, and policy.

Recently we identified “Clickjacking” (aka UI Redress) as an emerging threat to cost-per-click display ads, and we’ve rolled out new defenses to protect advertisers against this threat. Clickjacking is a type of web attack where the appearance of a website is changed so that a victim does not realize they are taking an important action, in this case clicking on one or more ads. For example, a user may intend to click on a video play button or menu item, but instead clicks an invisible ad unit.

Moving quickly to thwart Clickjacking attempts 
Earlier this year when our operations team identified Clickjacking activity on our display network, they moved swiftly to terminate accounts, removing entities involved in or attempting to use this technique to trick users. Our engineering team worked in parallel to quickly release a filter to automatically exclude this type of invalid traffic across display ads.

This approach delivered a one-two punch to publishers who violated our policies: our operations team, which forms an early line of defense against invalid traffic, cleaned out publishers from our ad systems, while engineers built a new filter as a durable defense to protect against Clickjacking traffic.

Even as there are ongoing attempts to perpetrate this type of attack, our ongoing and proactive hunt for emerging types of invalid traffic has enabled us to move early and quickly to address Clickjacking threats on several occasions.

A combination of defenses
Our Clickjacking defenses operate at considerable scale, analyzing display ad placements across mobile and desktop platforms, evaluating a variety of characteristics. When our system detects a Clickjacking attempt, we zero-in on the traffic attributed to that placement, and remove it from upcoming payment reports to ensure that advertisers are not charged for those clicks.

This latest effort also is a great example of how our work against invalid traffic is at the intersection of technology, operations, and policy. Each piece plays a key role in keeping our ad systems clean and defended against ad fraud.

We’re proud of our work to protect our ad systems against emerging threats like Clickjacking, and we’ll continue to be vigilant as we fight the good fight against ad fraud.

New Merchant Center Feed Rules – Finally!

Finally an improvement from Google … After several recent failed attempts to make AdWords better, this new feature is actually going to make our job a little better. The biggest problem with feeds was always formatting and you’d have to do it manually in Excel or use third party tools, but now we can do it right in the GMC!

Here’s the article from AdWords Blog:

Finding the right customers on Google Shopping starts with your Merchant Center product feed: it contains all the information about the products you sell to help online shoppers find just what they’re looking for. But we know that creating and maintaining a complete and compliant data feed can be challenging. To make feed management easier, we’re excited to introduce Feed Rules, a self-service tool to help you transform your existing data from your inventory management systems into the format accepted by Google Shopping. Feed Rules helps you streamline your data feed uploads, whether you’re already running Shopping campaigns or you’re just getting started.

Use Feed Rules to set up and maintain your feed in Google Shopping format 
Feed Rules allows you to perform basic transformations of your existing product data — making it easier than ever to get your data feed up and running. You can export and submit your product data in your own format, and use different rules to transform it into product attributes and values that follow the Google Shopping feed specification, directly in Merchant Center:

  • Map your column headers to the attribute names supported by Google Shopping. For example, if you have an existing feed with the unsupported column header “main title”, you can set up a rule in Merchant Center to have it recognized as the supported attribute name, “title”.
  • Transform the values in your feed to values supported by Google Shopping. For example, to submit gender specifications for your products, you can transform the unsupported value “for women” in your existing feed to the supported value “female”.
  • Populate missing attribute values with a fixed value, or with different values based on conditional criteria. For example, if the “condition” attribute is missing and you’re only selling new products, you can set up a rule to have this attribute automatically set to “new”.

Once you specify new rules for a feed, all future uploads of this feed will be processed according to those rules.

Pay-per-Click for Small Business or PPC for SMB

PPC is a proven and working method to generate leads or sales for your small business. The concept is very simple, you pay for every click your ad receives from Google search, Bing , Yahoo search or banner ad.

It is safe to say that in this day and age if you’ve not in on PPC you are OUT, ’cause your competition is taking most of the leads. The professional set up of all of SMB accounts and campaigns does not take a long time, you can be up and running in as little as 3 days or a week. The hardest part is actual conversion optimization. It takes time and a lot of hard work, simply because you’re competing against at least a dozen of similar companies at any given time.

Let’s take a quick look at all the good and bad that comes with PPC marketing:

Good:

Quick results – your first accounts and campaign can be set up in as little as 3 days and from the moment you go live, you will start getting targeted traffic to your website.

Timing – you don’t have to run campaigns 24/7, if you only want to promote your service or product during Holidays, then all you have to do is to schedule your campaigns to run during specific time.

Stand Alone – Your PPC campaigns have nothing to do with your social media campaigns or SEO efforts, so feel free to experiment as much as you want!

Full Control – You control every single aspect of your campaign; from keywords to geo locations and times of day.

Bad:

Education – it will take months, if not years, for you to master the most basic and necessary strategies, control elements of your campaigns and chances are you will be losing a lot of money while you learn, so it’s much more cost efficient to hire a PPC specialist.

Time Consuming – running a successful and profitable AdWords campaign takes a lot of time, on avg. anywhere from 5 to 10 hours per week for just a handful of small campaigns in AdWords.

Costs – paid search campaigns can be very expensive, some keywords will only cost you $0.20-$0.40 per click, but others will be closer to $50-$90 per click! It is very important to manage your costs effectively and only pay for keywords that convert at or below your cost per acquisition.

Conclusion:

Every SMB must have online marketing, without PPC campaigns, your business is as good as dead and your competitors will rip all the benefits. Should you run your own campaigns and spend endless hours and countless dollars or hire a specialist is up to you!

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