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An Ex-Google Employee on How to Get the Most From Your AdWords Account Manager

If you’re marketing your business with Google AdWords, chances are good that you receive 100 calls a week from people telling you how they can transform your business by managing your AdWords account.

You’ve probably received so many of these calls that you’ve thought about smashing your phone into a million pieces, flying to Tahiti and forgetting this whole advertising thing ever happened.

giphy

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. While the majority of these calls are not worth your time, you’re most likely screening one or two that will actually help you truly transform your business. The best part? These calls will cost you nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

This may be a good time to let you know that I was once the person responsible for making these crazy phone calls. As an Account Manager on the AdWords team at Google, I helped thousands of businesses better understand their digital advertising (for free). This post will highlight what to expect after getting in touch with your Google AdWords Account Manager, and the tips and tricks you can use to make the best use of your time with them.

Let’s dive in.

Is this really Google?

Hands down, the most common question I would get from advertisers was, “Is this really Google?” To be honest, it’s really the best first question you can ask. You wouldn’t randomly expose sensitive bank account information to a stranger on the phone, and you should be equally as careful with your AdWords account data

There are two really good ways for your Account Manager to prove they are who they say they are. The first way is to ask them to confirm your unique Customer ID (CID) number. You can find this number on the top right hand side of your AdWords dashboard.

CIDScreenShot

The second way to confirm that your Account Manager actually works at Google is to have them send you an email from their corporate email account. All emails from Google employees will come from a “xyz123@google.com” email address.

Okay Google, how can you help me?

Now that you know the person you’re talking to actually works for Google, we can dig into the meat and potatoes of the phone call. A typical call with an Account Manager will last for a strict hour, no more and no less, and will cover three specific sections: review, build and optimize. Let’s dig a little deeper into these.

1. Review

Expect to spend the first 30 minutes of your call chatting about your business, your goals for AdWords and reviewing the existing data in your account.

The advertisers that get the most value out of these conversations all take a similar approach to this section of the call. Here are some things they all have in common:

  • They take notes: Make sure you take notes throughout the call. This will help you review the results from the changes you made during your next meeting.
  • They ask questions: Dig into why some campaigns are performing well and others are performing terribly. This will help spark ideas for the optimization section of the call.
  • They follow up later: Be sure to get your Manager’s contact information within the first five minutes of your conversation. Most people don’t take advantage of a follow-up call, but it is the best way to see the results from your optimization efforts.

It’s important to note that Google Account Managers work with advertisers at varying skill levels. This means they will try to get a feel for your savviness within the first few minutes of the call. The best way to avoid this little dance is to simply explain the improvements to your account you’re trying to achieve during the conversation.

Most Managers have good lie detectors, so don’t ask for advanced tools and beta access if you don’t know how to enable Sitelinks or adjust your mobile bids.

2. Optimize

Once your Manager has a good understanding of your business and what you’re trying to accomplish with AdWords, you can begin to work together to optimize your campaigns. This is the most valuable time you will spend with your Manager — I would highly recommend spending at least 20 minutes optimizing.

Your Manager will have some suggestions on what needs to be tweaked, so don’t freak out if you come to the conversation with little direction. If you want a little more control over the call, below is a cheat sheet of things you should have them walk you through. These areas, when optimized, will help you save money and see a better ROI over time.

  • Search Terms Report
  • Auction Insights Report
  • Bid Adjustment via Device
  • Bid Adjustment via Location
  • Bid Adjustment via Day of the Week
  • Keywords Page / Bid Optimization
  • Conversion Tracking
SearchTermsScreenShot
The location of the Search Terms and Auction Insights report.

Listen to the optimization suggestions your Manager gives you, but don’t take their word as gospel. Not all Managers are created equal, even at Google. I highly suggest asking as many questions as you can before making any change in your account.

Understand why they are making the suggestion and have them sell you on why it’s the best fit for your business.

3. Build

The dirty little secret most Managers won’t tell you upfront is that they can rebuild any of your campaigns from the ground up to help increase performance. For free. Take advantage of this! It’s a good use of the last five minutes of your call, and is basically risk-free if you follow the instructions below:

  • Select the worst-performing campaign in your account
  • Tell your Manager that you want them to re-build that campaign for you
  • Discuss potential new strategies with your Manager
  • Take notes to outline the proposed changes
  • Tell the Manager you do not want the campaign to go live without your approval

It will take a couple of days for your Manager to build your new campaign from scratch, so it’s important to schedule a time to follow up. Make sure you have them walk you through the changes made. If everything looks good, pause the original campaign and enable the new campaign.

DisplayScreenShot

Run the new campaign for a four week test or until you achieve statistical significance. Once the test is over, compare your baseline metrics with your old campaign and continue using the campaign with the best performance.

What about those betas?

The coolest perk to take advantage of during your conversation with your Account Manager is gaining access to AdWords beta testing programs before everyone else.

Betas are new AdWords features that are not available to the public and are tested with a very small number of advertisers.

Various ad extensions, Gmail ads, and others have gone through some version of the beta program.

There are a few boxes you need to check off to gain access to new betas:

  • Make sure you stay in contact with your Account Manager
  • Tell them you are interested in experimenting with new betas
  • Give them a reason why your business is a good fit for the specific beta you’re interested in exploring
  • Have a “healthy” test budget to spend on the beta

While there is no hard number that indicates a “healthy” test budget, $500-$1000 in spend per day should get you through the threshold. Also note that some betas have firm restrictions that you must meet to gain access, such as vertical limitations or a minimum spend required. Work with your Account Manager to ensure a mutually beneficial fit.

What if I don’t get a call from a Manager?

Although working with a dedicated Account Manager is beneficial for all the reasons mentioned above, you shouldn’t freak out if you don’t get a call from Google. At the end of the day, there aren’t enough Account Managers to cover the entire playing field of AdWords advertisers.

Good news is, you’re not totally out of luck. Google has a team of Managers that are responsible for handling inbound account inquiries, optimization requests and all of the other things mentioned in this post. You can contact them at 1-866-2Google, but be warned, wait times can creep into the 15-20 minute range during busy times of the day.

Let’s do this

Now that you have a clearer understanding of your relationship between your business, your ads and your Google support team, it’s time to get on the phone and start getting some of those burning questions answered. Remember, as your campaigns grow over time, you want to exhaust Google’s resources to optimize your ad dollars.

If you have stories to share about your AdWords Manager or have questions about advertising with Adwords, feel free to tee me up in the comments below!


About Dan Pratt
Dan Pratt is the co-founder and COO of adHawk (Techstars ‘15), a tool that helps to simplify and automate online ad management across platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Prior to founding adHawk, he worked on the Accelerated Growth team at Google, helping startups assess, refine and grow their digital advertising. He’s an expert in all forms of paid advertising and has been honing his marketing and sales skills since selling homemade pizza from his desk in third grade.
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  • Interesting Article and Good Explanation with Funny Images.
    Users like me will definitely come back to your blog and read the entire article twice.

    A small help can you please provide me how much I need to spend if my website is generating 300000 Indian Rupee in a year.

    • Hey Aaron,

      We would be glad to help you out! Are you currently spending on AdWords? Shoot us an email marketing@tryadhawk.com

      Todd

  • Hi Dan, I am very green and very new to this type of marketing and advertising. thank you so much for this input for I am right in the middle of dealing with google to create my campaign for my business. Your article has been a real eye opener as to the questions I should be asking as well as a great conformation of my own thoughts as to what should be done..so in short Thanks…
    Rayko

    • Dan Pratt

      Hi Rayko! Thanks a ton for the note. Let me know if you run into any issues or have any additional questions, more than happy to dig in a littler deeper where needed.

  • Eran

    Hi Dan. Interesting article – and not having a shot at you personally – but in the 10+ years I have been running AdWords accounts at the agency level, I have NEVER dealt with a Google Account Rep who (1) knew more about running adwords than me, (2) was even 1/4 as good at running adwords as me & my colleagues & (3) was not focused on just getting us to spend more money, even if there was little or no chance of it improving our lead numbers and lowering our CPL costs, etc. Unless those of us in Australia just get much less capable ad reps than those of you in the USA, I would never trust a Google rep to build high converting, low CPL campaigns for me or to provide really good quality advice.

    YOU might be the exception to rule (when you worked at Google), but my and my various colleagues (now all at different agencies, etc.) have found the ad reps google gives us over the years to be terrible. Of little or no help/value…

    • The headline got me for this article and I instantly had the exact same thoughts as you Eran!

      I’m in Aus as well and have had much the same experience working with Google account managers over the past 8 years or so :(

      • Yikes! Not sure what’s going on in Aus market, but I can give you a little more information as to how Account Managers are incentivized and hopefully clear things up. AMs are not rewarded when they get AdWords clients to spend more money. Google’s reasoning behind this is if you convince a client to spend more money just to spend more money, they are more likely to stop spending in the near term because the ROI isn’t there. Google’s endgame is to keep you spending on AdWords as long as possible, that’s where the real money is. Because of this, Account Managers are incentivized by the positive impact their suggestions make in the account. Suggestions that lead to a dip in performance can make for an unpleasant review with your manager.

        That being said, not all strategists are created equal (I think I mentioned this in my post, but probably should have drilled down into it more. You make get a little unlucky and be assigned to one that is earlier on in their AdWords journey. My suggestion here would be to drill them with questions and really dig into the reasoning behind their suggestions. I had that happen to me all the time, and often won the respect from the client. Getting drilled with questions is par for the course of the AM.

    • Same with me. I have found the Google AdWords reps to be clueless, in fact before I figured out that they’re clueless I used to follow their recommendations, which have never helped a campaign. I know far more about AdWords.

    • Same here Eran. In the 5+ years I’ve been at my current organization, I’ve gone through 8-10 different different Google Account Managers. When introduced, most had been with Google for less than a year, and only 2 were any good, and they both moved onto other teams, thus giving me the impression that AM is only an entry level position.

  • Jim

    Honestly I’ve received so many of these calls over the years and every single time, the result was terrible. I know you might say I’m to blame – I probably didn’t give the rep the right info, or wasn’t clear on my goals, etc. But the reality is all these reps seem to want to get you to do is spend more money, which is very easy to do, but there is no way they understand the nuances of your business and keywords after an hour, when your PPC manager is in there day in and day out tweaking while knowing your business.

    They run some tools like keyword planner, put a bunch of ad groups together that are so broad and often irrelevant it looks like they didn’t even spend a minute on your website looking at what you actually do, throw in some extraordinarily generic ad copy that is sure to excite nobody, and say you’ve got yourself a campaign.

    I hear the same complaint from nearly everyone I speak to – many people I work with have even given up on Adwords altogether after a rep gave them “free setup” or a “free audit” that cost them so much wasted money, they eventually pulled the plug.

    I’ve often wondered why they even offer this, since in my experience it so often fails that it seems like they lose more customers than then stand to gain. But what do I know, Google must be doing something right.

    Every couple years, I’d let them give it a shot to see if they came up with something I missed, or could somehow outperform the current campaigns. Then I’d go back to telling them to please stop wasting my time until they wore me down enough to try it again, with the same results.

    So if anyone offers you free advice, take it with a huge grain of salt.

  • Concur with most of the comments here. My typical conversations with my Adwords rep goes something like this, I ask “can you help me with x, y, z problem” to which they reply “it is an algorithm thing” which is then shortly followed up by the sage advice of “you should turn on all automation and up your bids”.

    Combine that with the issue of reps being rotated out every few months and we have not really had any productive relationships with any of our Adwords reps. You seem like a pretty cool dude Dan and we would have loved to have worked with you, but it would seem, at least in our experience, that many (most?) of the Adwords Reps are nowhere near as knowledgeable, skilled, or helpful as what what was described in the article.

    Here is hoping for improvement!

  • thanks for your info. i m also new in this adwords world. you give a good startup to me.

  • Solid solid outline. We supplement organic local SEO with Adwords campaigns but its not necessarily our bread and butter. This is a good way to leverage Google to actually help improve campaigns for our clients!

  • Are They in Any kind awarded by The spend, or change in spend?

    I have never heard about an adwords account manager not awarded by raising The spend, which is problematic for the results of their work…

  • Just so you know, they are not incentivized by raising your spend. They are there to help.
    I’ve gotten some decent advice regarding day-parting and adjusting bids by device to help with conversion rate. You just have to be sure to question them along the way.

  • A guy from Google is helping me re do my Google Ads. I’m quite nervous about this as I thought my Campaigns were doing well. They always came up top in searches on the Ad Preview and Diagnosis and always above my competitor. I had set up campaigns that targeted my local area. I need to reach people overseas that are coming to my area and also once they are here. I had set up a mix of keywords. Some included the name of my town and some didn’t. Most keywords with my home town name had low volume but a few were OK. I found that even the one’s with low volume still got triggered sometimes. I figured that overseas people that searched using the name of my town would see the ads anyway because my town was a targeted location. I had manually set Max cpc for each keyword so I was quite happy.

    When the guy from Google first contacted me he said he was 110% sure that only people in my home town could see the adds. I was quite surprised but later questioned this as I didn’t think he was right? Somewhere along the line he changed this to not everyone in my hometown would see the ad if they didn’t use the same broad keywords. However, I’m constantly checking on Ad Preview and Diagnosis for both my county’s Google domain with my hometown as Location and my oversea market with Australia as the Location. I was confident that I had the right mix of keywords to always come out on top. Then he said that my keywords were competing with each other making me pay more. He also said I didn’t have any ads targeting mobile devices.

    Despite not thinking he was correct with certain suggestions he does seem very confident and some things he said did make sense. There is a strong likelihood my keywords are competing with others and having mobile targeted ads made sense. So I’m left concerned that my keywords are competing with each other but not fully trusting what this Google guy says either.

    So he has set up six new campaigns for me. Three Campaigns are targeted at my home town with keywords that don’t include my hometown. The other 3 targeted at Australia and New Zealand with my home town as an excluded location with the keywords including my hometown. He’s then set up multiple keywords and ads for each ad group. Within each ad group there are ads that target mobile devices. He’s used similar wording to ads that I had previously created to match keywords. However, he’s also included ads in each ad group that are relevant to my overall products and not specific to the keyword search. The same Max cpc has been set for each keyword that was set for my original campaigns.

    I’m not sure how long I need to wait but I’m quite nervous about what he’s done. The campaigns have only just been enabled. When I use Ad Preview and diagnosis I now find that my ads do not always come up above my competitor. The ads that are lower are always the more general ads that are not so specific to the search term. I understand that over time Google will work out which ad is getting the most clicks and serve these more. However, in the meantime I have lost the consistent number one ranking I had.

    I have also noticed that all the ads in the campaigns targeted to Australia and New Zealand are not showing at all. If I use Ad Preview and Diagnosis with domain set at http://www.google.com.au and Location as Australia then the ads being triggered are the ones within campaigns targeting my home town. So this is exactly what I had set up before anyway. The only difference this time is none of the ads that target my home location contain keywords with my home town location.

    Under my original campaigns ads were triggered by keywords that included my hometown. Now as far as I can tell none of the keywords that include my hometown are triggering the ads. Does this really matter? I don’t know? As long as ads are being triggered because my hometown is a targeted location I don’t suppose it does? Which leaves me wondering why this Google guy insisted I needed to create campaigns that targeted Australia and New Zealand. These campaigns are not triggering any ads! Pretty much all the keywords that include my home town are showing a status with low volume search. There’s one keyword that is showing as eligible but when you hover over it says it’s not showing. This same keyword triggered an ad that got a click last week under my original campaign. So why is it not triggering an ad now?

    So this guy at Google tells me I need to wait 3 weeks to see how well the campaigns are performing. He is confident these campaigns are set up better than the ones I had set up.

    Am I wrong to worry? Is it likely that his new campaigns will start performing better even though they are not currently ranking as well as mine were?

    I guess my biggest concern is whether to wait for Google to work it out regarding ad serve? Or should I immediately pause all the ads that are not closely linked to the keyword search query as they are quite obviously not ranking so high?

    The Google guy said he’s spent 3 1/2 hours setting up my campaigns and was therefore confident he’d done a good job. I was slightly amused at this comment as I have spent hours and hours working on my Google Adwords and thoroughly checking with Ad Preview and Diagnosis and constantly tweaking Max cpc for each keyword.

    Thanks in advance for any advice offered.

  • thanks for your post.
    i am new in addwords.
    this post help me to know more about addwords.

  • BT

    Couldn’t agree more with most of the comments here. Adwords reps have one solution for 90% of problems – “bid up”. It’s got to the point where it’s embarrassing and almost completely useless. Having conducted over 200 recommended Google rep Adwords strategies, or more, over the last 5-6 years, there has been less than 2% that have been worth the effort. Cannot imagine how much money has been wasted. As for the betas – ehhhh. That is the carrot that is dangled to assist you to waste more money.

    Would love to find a rep that actually demonstrates they want to improve ROI instead of one that claims “you have to look at the lifetime value of your customer” while we rape and pillage you with no logic or reason.

    The fact that your post doesn’t even address what really is the BIGGEST PROBLEM with Google reps, makes me question why I even spent the time reading it.

  • Interesting article , I had my google account manager calling me a few days ago. I wished i had came across your blog much earlier, it would certainly have helped me alot.

  • This blog help to beginners how to handle adwords..having more information about adwords will be better for learning people. thankyou…

  • Funny, that you should mention about the Google Account Managers being really Google. In India, the division that works with agencies (I lead one in Mumbai) is a process that’s outsourced to Genpact (a business unit within GE). So even though they have an email which says xxx@google.com, there are times when even they have to get back to us on certain matters. They definitely do add value, however I would not rely only on them to keep optimizing my ads.

    PS – I’d rather spend that much time on optimizing my page with Unbounce :)

  • Is there a way to opt out of these “helpful” calls? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that setting somewhere before, but now I can’t find it. I would really love to opt out.

  • Guys I have a question from you all, how to find who is accessing my google ad planner account?

  • Add words is good to test the market. If it clicks and CTR looks promising then I advise to convert the campaign to SEO for long term benefit.

  • I have had my ad disabled because according to Google it violates some sort of privacy policy when phoning I had the customer service rep on the other end had any fix something so I fix something and phone five text different times and then they told me to send it for review I have done this now five times over the course of three weeks have had talk to manager say they’re gonna call me back and still there saying my ad violates privacy policy but I fixed whatever they said I had to fix five different times I’ve called five different times so I guess my money isn’t valuable enough for them to actually care enough to actually do anything or if there people don’t know what’s wrong with my site how am I supposed to figure it out