It would be hard to say with a straight face that AdWords isn’t evolving. Lately, I’ve seen a big amount of experienced advertisers looking for help in dealing with all the new features AdWords have made available.
It made me think. At White Shark Media, we manage AdWords accounts for small to mid-sized business. The playing field has become less and less even for new advertisers. If you have no experience with AdWords and you’re creating your first campaigns in 2013, you are bound to be in for a tough learning curve in order to compete on equal grounds with more experienced competitors.
Back in the day, you could more easily compete in the Advertising industry. All you really had to do was to find some keywords, set them up in Exact Match and Phrase Match, bid accordingly and write better ads than your competitors.
Yes, I’m simplifying it a bit, but allow me to explain. The amount of things you now need to be knowledgeable of in order to have successful AdWords campaigns are:
- AdWords Ad Extensions (8 widely available)
- AdWords Match Types (4)
- Negative Keyword Lists
- AdWords Remarketing for Search
- Product Listing Ads
- Bid Adjustments
- Mobile preferred ads
- Increased Quality Score factors (i.e. Landing Pages)
Advertisers with a track record will have an immense advantage in having had the time to already implement many of these features. And more importantly, they already know what’s working for them.
New advertisers will come to the AdWords platform and wonder why their campaigns aren’t looking as good as their competitors:
- Why don’t we have those cool social annotations from Google+?
- Why don’t we have a map next to our ad?
- How can they manage to pay so much for high positions (retargeting for search can be one possible answer).
So on and so forth. To hit the ground, in order to run with a new AdWords campaign you need to know at least how to implement many of these factors. Furthermore, it is of utter importance to be testing the things you implement.
The entry-level knowledge you need in order to compete has increased 10 fold.
Taking a Knife To A Gunfight
When entering the AdWords universe you better make sure to get some professional help. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a hard situation.
You can best compare it to taking a knife to a gunfight. Unless you’re Rambo, you will lose big time and fast. The worst part about AdWords is that if you don’t have any experience you might not even be aware that you’re losing.
There is a type of frog that won’t notice you’re boiling it if you gradually increase the temperature (I read it – haven’t tried it). New AdWords advertisers might think they’re doing well in terms of getting clicks and seeing decent rankings with their AdWords ads, but behind the scenes you’re slowly being dried up for money. And at some point in time, you’ll stop to realize that you’re in too deep, and you’ll most likely just quit and never come back.
Professional Help Is More Crucial Than Ever for SMBs
Small and mid-sized businesses are the ones that are hit the hardest by this predicament. They are also the ones who have the hardest time finding a Search agency that is actually reputable.
One way Google is trying to help with this is by introducing the Google AdWords Premium Partnership. To me, an AdWords Premium Partnership would list some of the best Search agencies in the world.
However, that’s not the case. This is not to say that the agencies on the Premium Partner list are bad – not at all. I have the outmost respect for them, but I’m noticing the ones who were left out.
Agencies like Portent, PPC Associates and ROI Revolution are all very competent search agencies and should definitely make it to a premium list. They are not on the list though.
The list is mainly comprised of big agencies who have the capabilities to market Google’s product to 1000 SMBs. Google has therefore essentially created a green light for these companies, so SMBs will have an easier time entering the AdWords platform.
Only time will tell whether this move will be successful or not, but it’s an interesting concept from Google, and I like the idea that they have realized the current AdWords Certified Partner program doesn’t suffice.
Better Education for New Advertisers
One of the good things we’ve seen lately from Google is a higher focus on education when it comes to their AdWords product. I’m a big fan of their new Help Center. It’s well-designed and it seems like they have really put thought behind it.
Of course, they will never be able to provide you with the holy grail of AdWords training and one could argue if they really should. The AdWords platform is more than just knowing the secrets behind the algorithm that determines Quality Score.
Even if you get perfect 10/10 Quality Scores, you still need to write engaging ad copies that will make users click on your ads while providing them with the mindset they need to buy your product when they land on your website.
AdWords is more than just knowing the platform. After you get to know everything about the AdWords platform you still need to be a marketer. You need to know your customers and what ticks them off.
No, AdWords is no longer easy. There are no more 5-cent keywords or easy AdSense arbitrage schemes. Hard work, excellent marketing and amazing websites is the only the way for you to grow to the top of the AdWords throne.