Posted by & filed under PPCChat.

During this week’s PPCChat discussion, host Julie F Bacchini revisited PPC myths that are still out there and how PPCers might go about finally busting them.

Q1: What do you think the biggest myth in PPC is right now? Or what myth do you hear about the most?

Or optimisation score. @Pete_Bowen

I am so looking forward to everyone’s answers and in this format where you can share longer answers! @NeptuneMoon

I keep hearing that broad match has gotten so much better, “it’s not the old broad match” and so on. Most people agree with that, some don’t. @bloomarty

That AI will make things easier/take jobs. @runnerkik

That everyone can and should freelance or start an agency tomorrow. If you can not do basic research… things only get harder. The other myth is you get 80% margins. @duanebrown

The biggest myths I feel like I am still combatting are:

  1.  that you can somehow buy your way into gaming the system
  2. anything Google is currently recommending – particularly broad match
  3. worries about quality score
  4. that PPC is really easy to do @NeptuneMoon

Adding to @duanebrown is that you can start an agency without any experience and hire a bunch of freelancers from Cheapistan. @Pete_Bowen

@bloomarty It is not the “old broad match” but it also isn’t what Google is selling to all advertisers. For some, it does work well (high volume, ecommerce) but it is absolutely not a one size fits all solution like it is pushed. @NeptuneMoon

QS myths never die… as a whole, the industry has the same QS knowledge as in 2010. Even the most basic stuff, like keyword QS not being used in the auction is news to many. @bloomarty

1) Thinking quality score and ad strength are important. 2) Thinking that you should be able to get a certain roas just by putting in the number without thinking about market strategy (e.g. positioning, market saturation, landing pages, keyword refinement, testing bids, testing assets, etc etc etc etc etc.) @MicheleJaeger1

Controversial take: ROAS. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. that and impression share. I hope to NEVER explain impression share ever again. @JuliaVyse

@JuliaVyse I wanted to say that too, but was too scared. Thank you! I completely agree. @MicheleJaeger1

Some people still think Google ads is just a play pause game after creating campaigns. @mr_govindsingh

@NeptuneMoon I believe that broad match is only “getting worse” in the sense that it allows for more and more queries to match. @bloomarty

@JuliaVyse ROAS is completely oversimplified – it’s not actually just sales divided by Google ads click cost…@NeptuneMoon

This only comes from people who have never spoken to them before. That you should listen to Google reps and that they give good advice. @james

I just lost a pitch to someone who made promises about spend this much = get that much. I’m salty, and I’m HAPPY to come and rescue them once things take a turn. @JuliaVyse

@bloomarty Well, broad match is certainly better for Google… as for how good it is for advertisers? Much debate to be had there. @NeptuneMoon

The reason that everyone believes it’s getting better is actually Smart Bidding. All the data about broad match delivering great results are actually about Smart Bidding having free reign and filtering out the right queries. @bloomarty

These days, the biggest “myth” is a carryover reality from days of old:
Google is an inexpensive platform to acquire the lowest-hanging fruit. It used to be. With recent news of “reserve pricing” (Google inflating baseline costs), the aggressive push towards automation this year, and gradual loosening of targeting, there is an inevitable rising of the “floor” price to participate. That said, there are growth opportunities into more TOF inventory, but again, the price of admission (and cost to realize success) has been ratcheting upwards over time. @teabeeshell

Ooohh! How about that we can guarantee any kind of results? @NeptuneMoon

@JuliaVyse  I can’t even keep those promises with current clients, we predict and goal set but nothing is a guarantee. @runnerkik

@JuliaVyse When they come back it’s usually a much better start anyway. @bloomarty

@runnerkik I said exactly that to them! In a pitch sitch, I can’t see their data, so it’s a non-starter. And even when we’re NDA’d and ready to go, Google can change everything tomorrow. Random acts of Zuckerberg mean my only promise is that we’ll do everything we can to grow their business. @JuliaVyse

@JuliaVyse – Can you explain what you mean by “ROAS. It doesn’t mean what you think it means” a bit more? @teabeeshell

@NeptuneMoon I’m pretty sure they went in with a formula and set expectations based on that. @JuliaVyse

@teabeeshell sure! My retail clients are storefronts, plus ecom. So when we’re calculating what we currently know of ROAS, is based on the value of what you get out of investing in media. In some cases we can put a price on an item and take it from there, but in many cases you need a repeat visit to buy. Plus you need to cover all your costs creating an shipping the item, which does not work item by item. it works on total sales. a sales cycle any longer than one click and you’re into hypotheticals. blend those with organic conversions and you’ve got a right mess. @JuliaVyse

Myth: That Google cares about the advertiser. They are a publicly traded company and their management has a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value. @robert_brady

@JuliaVyse – Why not pivot to CAC, which works well within any ecomm ecosystem? If you focus on acquisition costs, you eliminate the need to calculate this (agreed, particularly muddy) metric as a KPI. Pair that with a 60d LTV, and you know the buying thresholds to preserve a desired, ultimate margin from any investment. @teabeeshell

@teabeeshell I have clients who can’t get to that level of detail same with MER. @runnerkik

@teabeeshell that’s not a bad idea to begin with. But this client is very new to the space and definitely doesn’t have a solid LTV. The thresholds on major appliances are very limited, with a likely 6-10 year gap between purchases, and that’s for someone constantly renovating properties. baby steps. @JuliaVyse

That all you need is a website to be doing PPC. @TheMarketingAnu

Q2: How do you combat PPC myths when clients or stakeholders bring them up?

Before you can combat PPC myths, the client/stakeholder needs to trust you. So first, build trust. Then you can educate.@robert_brady

I’ve got some standard answers written and I try pre-empt problems. @Pete_Bowen

I start with active listening, and when we discuss, I like to point specifically to the goals we’ve set out to meet. Like, you want to set a certain IS as a goal (puke emoji) okay, I can do that. what value does that bring to your business? what is your new, much larger, budget, and what will this accomplish. That usually leads to a pretty good convo about next steps and education. @JuliaVyse

I always try to listen, figure out what’s behind their bringing up that particular myth and then educate as to why it is, in fact, a myth. @NeptuneMoon

At this point, in my intro calls with the client, before we sign anything, I very clearly explain my take on Google, and which things I disagree with (e.g. quality score, google reps, etc.). I also say I look at ROAS more holistically (though we certainly use in platform metrics like roas and all the others, minus optimization score LOL) to evaluate and optimize in account performance. So far that’s been a pretty good filter, so the issues don’t come up as much in the relationship. However, a few people have been like “I’m so on board with your strategy” and then down the line go back to being focused on vanity metrics, and sometimes it’s just not the right fit. @MicheleJaeger1

@MicheleJaeger1 Ugh the vanity metrics! That’s right up there with “I was googling last night and didn’t see our ad at all” @NeptuneMoon

I find myself using the phrase “in my experience” a lot, which works for the right person! @MicheleJaeger1

I also remind clients that their interests and an ad platform’s interests can NEVER be 100% aligned. And that it is my job to get the best performance we can manage with this as the baseline. I will be their ally and keep up with all the platform tomfoolery and make sure their accounts are taking advantage of all the good and avoiding as much of the bad from the platforms as we possibly can. @NeptuneMoon

Talk it through… find out where they heard it from and or why do they think what they think 50% of our job some days is client education and training clients on your POV of the world and marketing. @duanebrown

I do think there is value in talking up front about how you do things/what your PPC philosophy is too. That can set a good foundation. @NeptuneMoon

@NeptuneMoon Agreed, it helps to raise issues and myths up front rather than deal with them later. @Pete_Bowen

@Pete_Bowen I think it also helps uncover early their ideas about how PPC works and their sources of information. That can help you understand them better and manage them better. @NeptuneMoon

I take the approach of listening, and asking, What sources help you form this opinion? Can you share them? More often then not, they cannot produce reliable, accurate sources to back up claims/ideas. In a gentle way, this helps them come to the realization that the opinions are either misguided or fueled by emotion/legacy thinking. It’s a mental model shift, a re-learning. For clients with an appetite to learn, this should be a natural evolution. @teabeeshell

It is HARD and I agree with the trust and a willingness to listen.  When that isn’t in place it’s not an ideal client for me. @runnerkik

I should add I just left an agency with a lot of clients like this and am looking really proud to say that. There was a client that outright said they are “unwilling to learn” @runnerkik

Education is so crucial – I also try to steer them to trustworthy sources and provide 3rd party validation. @revaminkoff

Education!! last time someone came to me saying they wanted to do PPC – but obviously didn’t have anything else in place – I refused to go ahead with a starting to bid project without first doing a training project! @TheMarketingAnu

Q3: What myth(s) do you think platforms put out there? Are these myths more difficult to bust?

Broad. Match. Just let the machine decide. We are 100% brand safe due to our proprietary. @JuliaVyse

That they care about advertisers. @NeptuneMoon

But also that they have actual artificial intelligence powering their platforms. They have machine learning. BIG DIFFERENCE. This one became gospel almost immediately and has been tough to dispel as people are fascinated and intrigued by the concept of true AI. @NeptuneMoon

Julie nailed it. They don’t have AI, they have machine learning. @robert_brady

Myths related to Quality Score are no accident. Google is careful not to clear up how the ad auction works. QS is part of Google’s marketing strategy and that wouldn’t work if Google were transparent about it. @bloomarty

Some years ago I saw an ad by Google for Google Ads. It featured a very happy lady who was using Google Ads for her coffee shop. It’s impossible to run profitable Google Ads when you’re selling coffee.  @Pete_Bowen

That support exists and the reps are there in your best interest as an advertiser and that they care about privacy. @runnerkik

That support reps can actually help you. They’re sales reps, straight up. @robert_brady

The numbers in the platform looking at you. pmax are accurate. @runnerkik

The stuff coming out of the current Google antitrust trial is shedding light on some things that I’m sure Google had hoped to keep hidden. Particularly the admission by Jerry Dischler (our favourite presenter at GML!) that Google will just goose auction prices when they need to hit revenue targets. They are having to say the quiet parts out loud at this trial. @NeptuneMoon

I second the Broad Match, Machine Learning, PMax, Just Let Us Match To Wherever language coming out of Google (and soon Bing – and Meta with their own equivalent) @runnerkik

Not a singular myth, but the generalizations about some change improving things by X% on average. It’s hard to argue with data when the distinction between this case right here and all advertisers, in general, is dismissed. Maybe someone else would benefit from these AARs, but not this account, not in this case. @bloomarty

There is recent news about Google (artificially) raising auction costs. Technically, this is “fair” to do – any company can set any price that the market will bear. My issue stems from the fact that they promote the auction as the basis for their ad-buying ecosystem. That’s always been “democratic” in a sense. This news suggests they introduce an cost-inflating factor (their own margin) that influences the auction in (I think) an undisclosed way. The ultimate consequence is continued, eroding trust of Google, at least in this matter. @teabeeshell

 @bloomarty I think treating search advertising as being “one strategy fits all” falls into what you’re talking about too. All the comms from Google always take the perspective that whatever they are talking about will have universal positive results for all account, regardless of size, volume or industry. And that’s just flat-out not true, as we all know. But their power as a monster corporation gives their words such power and heft and influence. @NeptuneMoon

@teabeeshell That has probably been going on for a long time. While most people used to suspect Google manipulating QS to increase revenue (never made sense), Google always had minimum bid thresholds to circumvent the second price auction. @bloomarty

@NeptuneMoon and they probably believe it themselves, because from their point of view only these averages matter. @bloomarty

@bloomarty It is always a question of “who is in the room” or “who is being asked” because they talk a lot at their events about “listening to advertiser feedback” and they certainly don’t mean all advertisers! @NeptuneMoon

@bloomarty – I agree. It feels particularly pernicious more recently, where THAT has been the lever pulled that helps Google overall hit a quarterly revenue goal. In so many other ecosystems, that would not be tolerated. But, perhaps because of its dominance, advertisers have no choice by to abide. @teabeeshell

@bloomarty do you happen to have a link to that article about Google inflating prices? I’ve certainly been seeing that trend in my accounts. @teabeeshell

@teabeeshell @bloomarty This is where the second antitrust case will get interesting as it is all about Google’s complete control over all aspects of the advertising ecosystem. @NeptuneMoon

@MicheleJaeger1 – It’s from the testimony of Jerry Dischler, VP advertising products, during the trial. @teabeeshell

spend more for better performance @TheMarketingAnu

Q4: If you had to choose one myth you could wipe from existence, what would it be and why?

That anyone can do our job…@duanebrown

That AARs can do our job. @bloomarty

I will go with a classic… that everything on the internet is both cheap and easy and anyone can do it with some light googling. @NeptuneMoon

That our job is to buy, rather than plan, strategize, and optimize. @JuliaVyse

That AI can do our job. @revaminkoff

I’d wipe out the notion that “any” keyword phrase can be owned. In the face of reality (costs), we have to get more creative than the most representative, straightforward product/benefit description. This is where the value of a PPC / SEO expertise comes to light. @teabeeshell

All of the above! @TheMarketingAnu

PPCChat Participants

Related Links

Stop wasted ad spend with Karooya

Stop the wasted ad spend. Get more conversions from the same ad budget.

Our customers save over $16 Million per year on Google and Amazon Ads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.