My “Watch-Your-Butt-with-Google” Rant… If You’ve Heard This All Before, Read it Again…
Once again, I cannot over-emphasize how confiscatory Google’s approach to customers is. It is NOTHING like a partnership or trusted agreement or fiduciary relationship. It is an all-out power grab (like the tax department when your state or province is nearly bankrupt and they’ll grab ANY money they can get for ANY reason).
Be VERY careful on the phone with Google. Every rep has a hidden agenda! Be especially careful with the alarmist claims they use to get you on the phone.
Be WARY whenever automated changes are made to your account. Google is getting grabby on that front.
Be careful to keep ad testing. It matters greatly, and Google wants to take that away from you. This is the advertiser’s equivalent of Free Speech (which is more threatened now than any time in the last 50 years).
Google reps are trained to believe that they know what’s good for you. They’re trained to look down on maverick advertisers who maintain their independence, and even feel sorry for you because you don’t listen to the advice they are offering. DO NOT FALL FOR IT.
Be careful with smart bidding. It's not that smart. Seasonality, lapses in data, site downtime -- they all can really hurt you with smart bidding. Phone calls may matter to you. Lifetime value may matter to you. Revenue and average order value certainly matter to you. Conversion-based bidding fails hard in all those regards, and revenue-based bidding is far from being perfected.
Be careful when it comes to attribution. Google's by default changing it on you. You need to know what a conversion means. Did Google change the definition of a conversion on you? You can only compare apples to apples, and that's one major issue if it has changed.
Remember, Google Ads (AdWords) conversions are only one way of looking at success; Google Analytics offers many other views, and all are valid, and you should probably look at success via several views. Google Analytics is as powerful as ever these days.
You are dealing with all of the ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES of a technocracy. Google Ads is a complex civilization run by a combination of robots and bureaucrats.
First mover advantage with new ad features once had large benefits, like with getting access to, and adopting betas. There are times that's still true, like with expanded ad copy fields, but overall that's far less true today. You need to focus on the regions we’ve discovered give you the most control.
Google has taken the wide, long-term view on this, and in many ways control matters more than money (spend) at this point to Google.
Agencies were once judged on the amount of spend they governed; now they're judged on adoption rates of Google's most central (and often most nefarious) features, like smart bidding, ad rotation, attribution, and who writes copy.
Google has been buying AI companies the way a No-Carbs Dieter consumes potato chips and cheesecake on their cheat day. AI is tremendously hard to pull off (especially in advertising!!!!) but Google has tremendously upped their game in the last 3 years and serious AI advantages are available to you when you properly test Responsive Ad technology.
If you have never used Google Ads, or you abandoned Google Ads for Facebook a long time ago, you may want to come back to Google Ads because of the power of AI and Responsive Ad technology.
It is incredibly powerful when you use it correctly.