Podcast 4 – Google AdWords Tips & Tricks

Show Notes:

In this episode we discuss Google AdWords tips and tricks with Brad Geddes, a man who has been doing pay per click longer than Google themselves! He is author of the only Advanced book on Google AdWords, and is also the only Google endorsed trainer of the Advanced Google AdWords courses in the USA.

You can find Brad at his very popular pay per click blog BGTheory.com, and also learn about the great Google AdWords Tools he has available on his CertifiedKnowledge.org website to help you get more bang for your pay per click buck, and do it in significantly less time.

Here are some additional links we speak about in the show:

1. Brad mentions his free pay per click calendar tool that helps you manage all your different campaign management activities.

2. The Link to the presentation Brad did at SES Chicago on the relative importance of bid management to improve campaign results.

Philip: Welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Secrets podcast where we give you proven online marketing advice for small businesses and I’m your host Philip Shaw.  I’m absolutely thrilled to have this week’s guest on the show.

As you know this show is all about speaking with the world’s best experts and today I have someone who quite possibly knows more about Google Adwords than Google themselves.  That’s half tongue in cheek but half serious.  He’s the only Google endorsed trainer of the Advanced Google Adwords course in the U.S.

I had the pleasure of doing his course in Los Angeles last year and I was blown away by his knowledge.  What really impressed me was all the questions that were being fired throughout the two days, he didn’t hesitate once, he just reeled off the answer and nailed it first time which was pretty impressive.  So, welcome Mr. Brad Geddes.

Brad:                     Thank you Philip, great to be on the show.

Philip:                    Yeah, great to have you.  All the way from Chicago?

Brad:                     Yes.

Philip:                    So, I’d like to start off, why are you so passionate about pay per click, how did you get involved in the pay per click world?  I know you’ve been involved for a very long time.  Why do you do what you do?

Brad:                     I got involved in pay per click a while back in the days of goto.com which is now Yahoo search marketing which is about to be Ad Center depending on where you live.  I did a lot of SEO back in the 90s and SEO takes some work as we all know, and pay per click gave you such rapid feedback.  Such an easy way to test things and of course back then it was a penny a click so it was a lot cheaper to do massive testing with, but it’s very easy to do.

Ad copy testing, landing page testing, usability design, and get some rapid feedback and it’s so measurable that it’s very simple to figure out what makes money, what doesn’t and then find those areas that are making you revenue and then really hammer them hard with pay per click.

Philip:                    Right, right, and you’ve also just released an advanced Google Adwords book.  I see that’s going pretty well.  You’re averaging a five star review in Amazon which is awesome.  How have you found that experience?

Brad:                     Writing a book took a long time.  It was a little more work than I thought it was.  It was fun and since the book’s been out, it’s been selling actually very well.  It came out about six months ago and it’s been a pretty big success so far, I’m happy with it.

Philip:                    That’s great.  It’s in the top sellers for advertising which is quite remarkable I think for such a niche book and considering it’s also an advanced book.

Brad:                     Yeah.  The publishers, actually everyone who’s been involved has been pretty impressed that it has stayed I believe in the top ten advertising books in Amazon for almost six months now.

Philip:                    We’ve got two of the books in our office and to all the listeners I’d encourage you to go out and get one.  It’s probably the best forty bucks you’ll ever spend in terms of improving your knowledge.  So Brad, these courses you’ve doing for a while, from your profile I see you’ve had 5000 or so students pass through your courses.  You obviously see a huge amount of questions coming your way.  What do you think is the biggest misconception or the biggest problem that people have with using Adwords?

Brad:                     The biggest problem people have, there’s probably two biggest problems.  One is not putting correct measurement in place.  That is, not using some conversion tracking, some analytics, some way of measuring what’s happening, and then number two is having a strategy of what you’re going to do.  Most people just kind of log into an account and they go here, they go there, they don’t really have a strategy of what to do on a day by day basis to keep growing the accounts.  Adwords is so overwhelming if you don’t have a strategy it’s easy to get lost.  Those are probably the two biggest mistakes.

Philip:                    Yeah, I see both of those absolutely with almost every client that we start dealing with.  I think the first one is easier to solve.  You can research about conversion tracking, you can research a bit about Google analytics and you can get your measuring underway, but I think the second one is probably even harder.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of guidance from Google on the structure and how to divide your time up in a week or a month or whatever it is.

Brad:                     I agree and that’s actually something I’m sort of working, in fact.  We have something we developed, we actually launched for free a little while ago.  I don’t even know if you’re aware of this, we put together a reporting calendar for free that people can download.  They can add it to Outlook or email, and then on a daily basis it will pop up with, here’s what you should do today. So, you can easily customize it for what you need to do but it gives people a starting place.

Philip:                    That sounds fantastic.  Can you expand on that? I suppose the most challenging thing for Google’s perspective in terms of providing this sort of advice is everyone has such different needs and different complexity of their campaigns and different amounts of – different time available to manage.  How do you get around that and provide some structure for a whole range of users?

Brad:                     All we really did was we looked at what someone who spends about ten to maybe fifty grand a month, what they really should do on a daily basis.  We looked at all the reports in Google and then took a calendar and started looking at this and said okay if we could only manage an account an hour to two hours a day, cause most people in that spend range also run a business, Adwords is not their entire life.  What will they have to do and how do we organize this?

So, I really sat down and wrote down like fifty tasks or something, reduced them down and started messing with the calendar until it was all done.  So, if you spend more you have to add a few more tasks and there was like some instructions on our download page which can get this to where you might add just one task in certain days.  Also even if you’re running a test, if you run a test most tests are run across thirty days.  Take a calendar and just put in an entry, hey in thirty days now let’s check on how the test did.  So, just kind of forgetting where things are.

So, it was a bit of a challenge but then we took each day and wrote something out and actually put in instructions on how you create these reports, how you save the reports and then put it up online.  It’s something that – it’s a starting place.  If you spend less money and don’t do as much testing, delete a couple of items.  If you’re spending more money or have more Ad groups then go ahead and duplicate some items, but it’s a very solid starting place for most accounts to start with, to go to.

Philip:                    That sounds fantastic.  Where can people get that?

Brad:                     If you go to www.certifiedknowledge.org, and if you look on our sidebar it’s the free reporting calendar.  It’s also a just dash free dash reporting dash calendar under certifiedknowledge.org but either place.

Philip:                    Great.  I’ll add that in the show notes as well listeners so you can find the link.  So Brad, let’s start – let’s look at two different scenarios: a smaller account and a larger account and just talk about the problems and a couple of tips and mistakes that people make.  So, let’s assume you’ve got an advertiser who’s spending a couple of thousand dollars a month, so sort of on the lower side and they’re getting a taste for it, they’re getting familiar with the terminology, with click through rates and quality scores and that sort of thing.  What are the common problems or opportunities or areas that these types of really small advertisers should be focusing on.

Brad:                     Sure.  If you’re spending two to five grand a month the very first thing to do until you understand it is turn off the content network.  I don’t want to say it’s a bad thing the content network, it’s just very different and if you’re brand new to this turn it off so your budget goes more to search.

Philip:                    Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.  It really frustrates me that Google turn that on by default.

Brad:                     Yes, and content network so everyone knows it’s when you’re looking at a web page – you didn’t do a search, you’re looking at a page maybe to your local newspaper sites and you see Ads by Google on it.  You didn’t do a search but there are ads there based upon the article, that’s the content network.  So, the display possibilities far outreach search, but it’s such a different interaction and experience.  It needs to be treated differently and so until you get used to Adwords just turn it off.

Philip:                    Right, so that’s – listeners that’s in the campaign settings under the network options.  You actually have to tick or click a drop down box and then turn it off and say search only.

Brad:                     Correct.

Philip:                    I hate to think how many millions of dollars that default tick option actually earns Google which probably the reason they don’t turn it off.

Brad:                     Yeah, it makes sense from their standpoint and it works.  Content works when done correctly.

Philip:                    Absolutely.

Brad:                     It’s just – it’s a matter of it’s so different, don’t start there.  Start research, get your – understand how Adwords really works then go over there.

Philip:                    Okay.  So, let’s assume we’ve now turned off the display network or the old content network, we’re now focusing on search.  What other things should they be focusing on?

Brad:                     Organization is probably number one.  Look at how your key words to ad copy relationships what they look like.  Most people take unrelated key words and put them all in an ad group and the ad copy is not quite what someone searched for.  Well, then they’re not going to click on the ad or if they do they had the wrong impression of what the service is.  So that ad copy to key relationship, so important.  I think it’s always worth noting, the only part of an account that a searcher ever sees is the ad copy.  They don’t know key words and match types and content network.  Searchers don’t know what that is.  They don’t have to know.  They just know the ad.

Philip:                    Yes.

Brad:                     This organization from the ad standpoint first.  It makes it easier to choose key words.

Philip:                    Yeah, the tip that I try to give people spending a couple of grand a month is structure your ad groups around a common two word phrase key word.  So, I’m sure you see it all the time as well but within ad groups you often see a huge range of key words that don’t actually relate to each other and obviously that has massive problems; quality score and all that sort of stuff.  So, if you’re a courier service maybe you structure your ad group just around express deliveries or express courier and make sure that that two word phrase is in every single key word within that one ad group.  What do you think of that?

Brad:                     For starting out I think it’s a great way.  Once you get more used to it you can deviate from that but when you start out I think it’s a great way to sort of limit yourself when you’re starting out.

Philip:                    We do a little bit of Adwords training as well and looking for a simple rule to give people because you can talk about the theory of structure but it really helps to have some solid rules to build around I think.

Brad:                     I completely agree. And then the next part is – the next part is to talk about those match types.  I don’t think enough people know what match types are and broad match key words can match to a lot of different things.  So, each key word has a match type just I guess let listeners know.  You have exact match, phrase match, broad match and expanded broad match or modified broad match.  Broad match is default which means you can match the similar words.  So an example I actually saw this morning was – the key word was wedding cakes and they were being matched to How To Create Endora Cupcake.  Endora is a cartoon in the United States just so you know.  So, wedding cakes and Endora cupcakes are not related items yet that’s what they’re being shown for.

Philip:                    Yeah, so the broad match – they turned the dial on that algorithm a couple of years ago didn’t they and they just made it incredibly broad.

Brad:                     Yes, it’s way too broad.  Modified broad match is nicer but if you’re just starting out, start with more probably phrase match, exact match.  Play with modified broad match a little bit but do not start out with broad match at all.

Philip:                    This may sound a little bit cynical but I think there’s someone sitting there in Google with their finger on the dial looking at their revenue numbers and saying, we need a little bit more revenue and expand the algorithm a little bit to trigger more ads.

Brad:                     Their revenue numbers just came out and it was either twenty three or thirty two, I forget which percent, higher than previous quarter.

Philip:                    Yeah, I think twenty three.  They’re doing…

Brad:                     Twenty three percent.

Philip:                    They’re doing okay.

Brad:                     Yeah, they’re doing okay.

Philip:                    So, that’s another little rule I give to users as well that are spending on the lower – on the smaller side.  Just stay away from broad match entirely until you’re really familiar, you know Google Adwords is profitable, you’re familiar with structure and you now want to start.  It’s obviously a great way to add more volume to you clicks but I’d say unless you’re spending more than maybe, I don’t know, three thousand, four thousand a month, just don’t even consider broad match.  Would you agree with that or would you have a different level?

Brad:                     I would probably even do higher.  I would say if you’re breaking into three, four, five grand, maybe play with modified broad match which is that plus sign in front of a word instead of the straight broad match.  I don’t touch broad match from probably at least ten thousand in spends.

Philip:                    Wow, okay.  Listeners there’s a great – if you just google Google Adword learning centre there are some really good videos and training there specifically around match types.  So, I would encourage you if you’re not totally familiar with match types check out that video.  Was there anything else, any other tips for this type of advertiser Brad?

Brad:                     Sure. The last big mistake is sending all traffic to the homepage.

Philip:                    Yeah.  You probably see that one a lot too.

Brad:                     If someone searched for wedding cakes, make sure they go to the wedding cakes page not the homepage of your bakery.  So whatever someone is searching for make sure the page they end up at next is the page that corresponds to the ad copy and the key words.  If they have to search again, a lot of people hit the back button and that is a waste of money.

Philip:                    Excellent.  Right.  So those are some really good tips.  That’s exactly what I would have talked about.  I think we see those all the time.  Broad match, content network or sending them to your homepage, not measuring if they’re getting conversions and then getting upset that Google Adwords doesn’t work.  As good as Google Adwords is obviously it’s only as good as your web site.  So we get clients calling up saying look they want to get into Google Adwords but actually turn some down because the quality of their web sites is just not good enough.  Do you have any thoughts there?

Brad:                     Yeah.  Whenever I hear someone who says, “We got ten thousand clicks over the last six months and not one has converted,” it’s not the Adwords account because even the worst click, the worst keyword will occasionally get a conversion.  It’s the web site then.  A bad web site will hurt you more than anything you can get wrong in Adwords will and so really I agree with you.  If the web site is bad, you need to restructure stuff first.  Making a decent looking web site is not that hard to do especially for small businesses relying on phone calls, not that hard to do to make a decent web site.  But if it’s a web site that looks like it was made ten years ago or made in FrontPage by your brother in law’s son, then you probably need to start over.

Philip:                    And what do you think about creating specific one page landing pages?  Let’s assume your web site is just not that great but focusing on creating single page landing pages specifically built for pay per click?

Brad:                     I guess there are two thoughts there.  If it’s a single page landing page which is about your business, hours of operation and some robust information line there’s nothing wrong with that.  If it’s – if you’re an affiliate or you’re trying to collect email addresses you’re going to have quality score issues.  So, if you’re a small legitimate business and you’ve got a phone number and a map and stuff on there not a problem.  If you’re in lead gen you need a little bit more than a single page.

Philip:                    Okay, excellent.  Well, those are some great tips.  So, let’s get into the next level of advertiser maybe who’s spending nearing ten K a month or so.  They’re familiar with all the terms and they want to – Google Adwords is profitable but they want to get more bang for their buck.  They want to reduce the number of hours they’re focusing on the campaign, what would you suggest?

Brad:                     When someone starts getting into that range, one of the first things I start looking at is impression share numbers and why you’re losing a impression share.  So, Google has got a couple of numbers that will tell you the percentage of times your ad was eligibly shown and why it wasn’t.  Was it a budget issue or was it a rank issue.  If your Adwords is profitable and it’s just a budget issue then you can raise your budget and keep getting the same profit numbers.

Now, that’s not the case for most advertisers who have budget caps of some sorts, but if you’re constantly hitting your budget and that’s where you’re not getting more clicks and more impressions, then you’re probably overbidding on your current key words.  So it’s an easy way to see that.  If we had our budget every single day we probably could lower our key words CPCs ten, twenty percent across the board and get more clicks and still maintain the same budget.  So, that’s something you need to also look at for that spend.

If you’re losing it because of rank that means it’s probably either your bid is too low or your quality score is too low, and in that range is when quality score is something you should really start to focus on some because a poor quality score will really have you overcharge for clicks compared to what you should be paying on.

Philip:                    Right.  Maybe we can expand a little bit on quality score.  It’s just – it’s something that I see across a range of sophistication or different client types that people just don’t know.  They’re either not really aware of it or they’re aware of it but actually don’t fully understand it.  Could you talk a little bit about quality score and how would you explain the importance of it and how to handle it?

Brad:                     So, what quality score really is, it’s Google’s automated opinion of how good of a user experience someone will have when they click on your ad and they see your ad copy.  That being said, it’s a one to ten number, one being the lowest, ten being the best which is held at the keyword level inside of an account.  So, every keyword has a quality score.

The major factor of the quality score is click through rate.  It is click through rate normalized by position though.  So someone in position one who’s got more clicks is not going to inherently get a better quality score than someone in position four or five.  So, it’s click through rate modified, tempered by position, relevance of key words to the add copy.  Relevance of keywords to like the landing page.  So, this is where that organization we talked about earlier is also so important because if you have words that are unrelated to the ad copy you’re going to have a lower quality score.  So that’s where that relationship and that account structure not only helps click through rates, it helps the quality score as well.

Finally the landing page is the last component of quality score; landing page and landing page load time.  Landing page load time should never be an issue.   If you ever see that a problem in your account you need to fix something else with your hosting provider first or see your web master.  Those are major components; click through rate, relevance and your web site.

Philip:                    How do people know their quality score?

Brad:                     So, if you go into your account there is the customized columns button in your account because quality score is hidden by default.  If you click on that customized columns button, then a whole array of options will show up, click on the one that’s called quality score.  You have to be looking at key words to see it.  It won’t be shown on other screens, only key words screens.  Save it, now you’ll see the quality score for each keyword inside your accounts.   So then look for keywords that have decent spend.

So, quality score one keyword, if it’s spent ten cents ever it probably doesn’t matter.  A keyword with a quality score of five that spent $3,000 the six months then you probably won’t save yourself quite a bit of money if you were to work on that key words quality score.  So, find those areas of opportunity, but the first rule of actually improving quality score is assuming the landing page is not the problem.  Assuming you look at the quality score and you can hover over the quality score icon and it will bring up a wizard that shows you what your quality score is, one to ten number and why it’s low.

So, if there’s a landing page problem you have to fix the landing page first.  If it’s not a landing page problem the first thing to think about is could you have a better ad copy with that key word.  If yes and usually the answer is you probably could, take that low quality keyword, move it to new ad group, write a better ad copy for it.  It’s really that the first step and often even the second step of working on quality scores for keywords.

Philip:                    Right, and I think the landing page quality score element with that component of quality score relative to your landing pages is one of the biggest misconceptions right.  It’s either fine or it’s bad and once it’s fine…

Brad:                     Yeah, there’s no degrees of landing page.

Philip:                    So one this keyword says, “Yup your landing page is okay,” there’s no point of actually working on that page anymore.

Brad:                     For quality score purposes.

Philip:                    Yes.

Brad:                     For conversion purposes, always, but for quality score purposes no reason to work on the landing page, it’s good or bad.

Philip:                    Quality score can be very frustrating even for us managing campaigns, seeing what you consider to be an inexplicable reason why a quality score could be so different.  For example just making a word from singular to plural can halve your quality score and I’ve seen some really bizarre things that, to be honest, I can’t really explain.  Do you see that?

Brad:                     I have too and – yes I’ve seen them too and I’ve even brought them to Google.  They get confused sometimes because quality score has got like a hundred plus components written by engineers and so even most people who work on the average customer support don’t really know every single thing about quality score by any means.  So, sometimes singular versus plurals usually it’s a wholesale versus resale thing when they’re really different or wholesale versus our retail but not always the case.

One example I had recently is I wrote an ad copy for the book I wrote and I was just driving over traffic for the book and I had an ad copy that said something like read our testimonials or something about testimonials because we had huge testimonials for it. I looked at this and went wow, what is going on.

Brad:                     Okay.  Yeah, so I wrote the ad copy.  The ad copy has something like, “Read testimonials about our books,” could be a lot of good testimonials and as soon as I made this my quality score was three.  I was looking at this like duh.  This was an account with a really, really good history.  There was no reason this should have been a three.  The ad copies when they run for a little bit had great click through rates and so I started doing some research.  One place I love is Google sets.  It’s a labs.google.com/sets, where you can just search for Google sets.  It gives you synonyms and related words so like they’re latent semantic indexing.

So, I was wondering is there a word in my ad copy that’s kind of dragging down my quality score.  So, I started doing some research and Google does not understand the word testimonials very well.  Something like the keyword was advanced Google Adwords, the ad copy was, “Read advanced Google Adwords, Read testimonials from the experts,” or something.  I changed the one word testimonials to review, quality score went to a ten.  That’s all I did because Google didn’t understand that word.  That’s where sometimes quality score is frustrating because Google’s systems don’t always understand what you’re really talking about.

Philip:                    Well I’m glad to hear that you still get a little bit frustrated with quality score.

Brad:                     I think everybody does.

Philip:                    Okay.  Any other tips on this level of – we’ve covered impression share and quality score.  Any other tips?

Brad:                     If you look at impression share and there’s not a lot of impressions left.  I mean that’s when modified broad match and starting to get into content network is a good place.  At that level of spend if you’re going to get into the content network, I actually wouldn’t just ignore the content network, I do search first and then go to content network later on.  So, remarketing is a way essentially where you can put a cookie on your web site and if someone visits your site and you place a cookie on their computer or Google does it for you, it’s actually pretty easy to do.

Then let’s say someone does not buy from you, they leave, well you can then make campaigns that are just set up to add some people who left your web site, who were abandoned shoppers to try to bring them back again.  So, for that spend range, if you’re not quite ready to venture into content network but you’re looking to maybe just increase conversion rates, then remarketing is a good place to get your feet wet in the content network and try to regain some of those abandoned shoppers.

Philip:                    Right.  Yeah, that’s a great strategy.  So, Brad a little bit about the content network or the display network as it’s now called. Can that work for every type of business?  Are there any certain types of businesses that you’d recommend trying that?

Brad:                     Lead gen it’s fantastic for.  Really the content network, if lead gen companies, education companies and so forth who are bidding on a straight return on investment basis, that is their only goal, they have to measure it closely.  A lot of them do incredibly well, a lot of them – some of them don’t.  If your other obvious goal of generating more demand for your business because often content network reaches someone at the top of the buying funnel.  They’re not going to buy right away.  They may buy depending on what your business type is.  They may not buy for a month or two months so if you’re looking to increase more demand content is great for that.

Where it’s not good and where Adwords is just really hard for are really low margin businesses.  I saw one business who they really sell individual nails and screws.  You can go on their site and buy a nail for 35 cents.  You know what, something like Adwords is going to be really hard for them to use.  You have to have some decent margins and some higher order values to use that with, but overall content marketing if you think a bit more of a newspaper, then maybe even on television, where you’re bringing people into the funnel originally, give them something away for free first, maybe a white paper download, a free trial even of your sites, and then you’re measuring on the search side that the content network creates more demand for my products.  That’s a good way of also measuring the content network.

I believe – overall stats from what I’ve seen, about 50% of businesses who do just as well on content and search but 25% content is much, much better than search.  At 25% it’s worse than search.  So, for 75% of business, it’s definitely worth trying.

Philip:                    Excellent, great.  Any other points, maybe one more tip for the advertiser spending upwards of seven, eight K a month?

Brad:                     If you’re spending that range a month you also need to ad copy testing on a regular basis.  I mean that’s something – ad copy testing, landing page testing, at that spend level it will take you a little bit of time to get the data, so even if you’re only doing one or two tests every month but you’re continuously figuring out if I do this ad copy line with a different call to action or a different USP, is that going to help more than my old one.  At that spend range you should be doing at least one if not three or four ad copy tests a months and hopefully at least one landing page test a month.

Philip:                    Do you mean four ad groups, at least four ad groups?

Brad:                     Yeah four – at least four ad groups yes.

Philip:                    Agreed.  You did a presentation at a conference and I think it was covered on Webmaster Radio about the different areas that you can focus on within account management and which area provides the biggest bang for your buck.  Can you recap that just fairly briefly.

Brad:                     You’re talking about bid – that’s was a bid management presentation right?

Philip:                    Yes.  It was showing that bid management is not the biggest focus that a lot of people think it should be right?

Brad:                     Yeah.  So, bid management, even at $10,000 a month is probably not necessary.  Sorry, automated bid management.  Manual bid management definitely is still, but if you look at where you can improve accounts, if you make decent bids even in say a spreadsheet program each month, and you went to a bid management system, maybe it will decrease your clicks 20% let’s say, and I’m kind of making up some numbers here.  But that’s every month all it’s going to do is maybe decrease your overall click cost, just find some extra spots.

Now, if you were instead to find an ad copy or a landing page that had a 1% better conversion rate, the value you’re going to get out of that ad copy or landing page test far exceeds the efficiencies of bid management at that spend level.  That’s why testing is so important.  Adding even things like negative keywords to keep your ad from showing which if someone types in a certain word which if you use any kind of broad match you must use negative.  So that will either have the same efficiencies as bid management.

So, some people think we’ve got a bid management system, everything’s good, we’re done now we can leave Adwords alone.  Not true at all cause you can do some testing, even just simple AB testing.  Some things like some negative keyword research, looking at a search query reports, another really good report to look at, shows you what someone actually searched for regardless of what keyword was triggered.  So even if you have search terms.  Earlier on those are much better places to spend time and money on those things than bid management ad even at ten grand spend level.

Philip:                    I think it was an excellent presentation.  I think it was David Szetela right who was interviewing you on Webmaster Radio.  You can either find I ton the Webmaster Radio web site.  You can just search for Brad or I imagine it’s on your blog as well.  I’ll provide the link in the show notes so people can get a hold of that presentation.

Brad:                     Yeah.  The presentation was originally at a conference when I was on a panel of bid management companies.  So it went over okay at the time.  Actually the audience loved it, the panelists hated it of course, but yeah we redid it I think on Webmaster Radio so PPC Rockstars is a David Szetela show.

Philip:                    I think one of the biggest issues or criticisms of Google is their perceived lack of support or struggling to get answers to the questions that they’re facing.  I know that you’ve developed a new business or a product or an online service around support forums, online training, all that sort of stuff.  Can you talk a little bit about that.  I think it’s – I know a fair bit about it, I think it’s a great tool that’s going to have a big impact on the market.  Can you tell us a little bit about it.

Brad:                     Sure.  So, we developed a set of tools in training for that certifiedknowledge.org, and essentially when we looked at businesses, if you’re not spending probably 50 grand a month, there are some exceptions, you can’t get a good answer from Google, it just doesn’t happen.  Even in the five or ten thousand spend range most tools are too expensive.  So, we realized that there is such an unsupported marketplace here and we have a lot of experience, I have a lot of experience actually building big tool sets.  So, we went out and built a system where we have probably 90 lessons right now on the site.  Probably 70 of them are on video formats.

Tools are built around trying to make it so you can manage a decent sized Adwords account in about an hour a day.   For a small account maybe three hours a week.  That was sort of our goal with the tools just to shave off that time so you can still manage it well but you can also run your business.  Then we also have a forum system, a community system cause there’s a lot of people out there who are good at what they do and sometimes when it’s about sales call closing and so forth, well you know that better than I do.  So, leveraging kind of the wisdom of crowds in certain areas where you can get feedback from other members or do some tests with other members and so forth.

So, we launched it three months ago and we’ve been actually very happy with the results we’ve had so far and our members so far love it.  So, we’ve been very happy with even the feedback we’ve gotten from our own members of how much time it’s saving them and the efficiencies they’re gaining from using it.

Philip:                    Well, I think it’s a fantastic tool.  I’ve been using it a bit myself and I’d strongly encourage people to check it out.  If you save two hours a month you’re going to get pay back on your spend.  So, yeah strongly recommend it.  It’s www.certifiedknowledge.org.  I know you know Google Adwords inside out and I wondered if you were the Google Adwords product manager what you would do differently, what sort of changes would you make or what additional functionality would you roll out?

Brad:                     Actually I think the first thing I would do is before I rolled out functionality I would do more testing with a range of accounts.  So, Google made a big change to the reporting infrastructure a while – actually not too long ago, and they removed a lot of functionality actually that used to be there.  It’s not that they meant to remove it cause I talked to the guys who actually rolled this out, and they did not realize how advertisers were using some of the reports.  So, I think I would just have first off more conversations with a lot of spend ranges and spend levels before I made changes.  That would definitely be one.

Two is visibility into the search network.  That right now is probably the weakness of advertisers is not – you can’t control the search network like you can content.  Content you have amazing control.  Search you have a lot of control.  Search network which is Google search partners such as Ask.com, AOL, so forth, it’s an all or nothing proposal.

Philip:                    So, in Australia that’s probably not too critical for us.  Google has a 90% market share so for us it’s Google or die.

Brad:                     Okay.  For us it’s a big deal cause there are still a good 15% to 20% market share that’s not Yahoo and Microsoft but isn’t Google either and that’s where it’s really gnawing for the stakes. So, I think the next would be how do you get better support and the people who do not have an Adwords rep.  Right now most people don’t have a rep.  Unless you spend probably at least 50 grand a month, there are exceptions of course, you don’t have one.  Your options are to write in to a helpline and get a low level CSR response or you use Adwords forums and I think there this big opportunity lost on their side as people get sort of frustrated with Adwords on the small spends and leave because there is not any support at that level.  That’s something that – and a lot of people at Google know it’s an issue but that’s something that more needs to happen with.

Also I think Google – to me Google’s biggest weakness has always been cross product integration.  They rolled out location targeting in 2003 and I believe it was 2006 before they integrated Google maps to location targeting which makes a lot of sense.  You can see where you’re actually targeting.  Right now they have Google docs but you can’t export reports to Google docs  You have Google voice but you can’t integrate Google voice call tracking back into Adwords reports.  I think Google’s real weakness has always been taking all these different assets they have and leveraging them in a single place.  That’s always been a big issue of theirs.

Philip:                    Right.

Brad:                     So, I think – I really think they just need someone who actually knows all Google’s products, who sits down and says how can we make these work together.  Take Google notebooks, stick it into Adwords interface so you can keep notes in the interface.  Really simple things.

Philip:                    Agreed.  Good.  Yeah, makes sense.  I’d like to close just talking about all the fuss and hype that’s happening in the market at the moment around Facebook and particularly the Facebook advertising.  Have you – well I know you’ve been using – experimenting with Facebook advertising.  Do you see it as a massive threat to Google, does it work well for you?

Brad:                     You know what, that sort of depends on the business type.  For businesses that could do like those – do you guys have 2 am infomercials.

Philip:                    Yeah, yeah.

Brad:                     Okay.  So, infomercial type offers, diet offers, weight loss offers, miracle cures, work fantastic on Facebook.  They work great.  Great for that kind of product.  For the small business for the local farmer, for actually a lot businesses, it’s not great yet.

Brad:                     Small business, if you’re a plumber, you’re local accountant, even an e-commerce store, a small e-commerce store, Facebook, I have not seen someone do great on Facebook then from a direct revenue standpoint.  If you look at using Facebook to create fan bases, no one has still really showed that Facebook fans equate to revenue yet.  In fact the latest study I saw actually showed that if someone follows you on Twitter there’s like a 37% chance they’ll actually visit your web site.  If they’re a fan of you on Facebook there’s an 18% chance they’ll even visit your web site.

So Facebook and Bing, just actually a big deal of integrating Facebook into Bing results, then it actually might start to pick it up a little bit.  But if you’re not a very direct response, can run a commercial in the middle of prime time at 2 am, I would test a little bit because there’s so much an audience, I would test it, but I wouldn’t rely on it.  What have you found with Facebook?

Philip:                    Yeah, we’ve had mixed results.  For some clients – most clients trying to get them from Facebook to their web site, the lead, not profitable.  Yes there is some success in getting them to become fans but your point I couldn’t agree more.  To become a fan it’s just a click of the mouse and I think because of that lack of friction, the value behind a fan is incredibly low.  So, I think if your goal is to build up a lot of fans, it’s probably a very good way to do that but in terms of direct revenue I have yet to see really good results for an ROI perspective.

Brad:                     Yeah.  I’ve seen them for weight loss products.  College education leads, fantastic.  So there is a market there but you need to be careful with it.

Philip:                    I mean the targeting aspect is obviously very exciting, I guess is behind this – the hype around it all, everyone it talking about it, talking about the next big thing.  So, if you’re selling wedding dresses in Sydney for example, you could target just engaged females in Sydney on Facebook.  So that demographic targeting is obviously massively exciting.  It’s still very early days and I’d love to see some case studies.  Perhaps it will be a subject for a future show.

Brad:                     Definitely and I can – in fact if you want I can introduce you to probably the two people who are the best of Facebook that I know of.

Philip:                    I’d love to…

Brad:                     The people who are excellent on Facebook.   I’m okay at it but it’s because I haven’t found enough revenue yet so I haven’t spent a lot more time there.

Philip:                    I was actually being on the Facebook webinar conference the last two weeks or so and one of their sessions was on B to B, using Facebook for B to B.  There was, I think it was Cisco, Intel and another really large corporate.  The question – a lot of it was around how successful it is for engagement and interaction with the brand and all this sort of stuff but when the question came to specific ROI they had no idea.

Brad:                     Facebook even removed their conversion tracking system recently.

Philip:                    Wow.

Brad:                     So, they had a conversion tracking system, they actually took it down.  So, if you’re going to try Facebook, and most people use Google Analytics these days.  That’s almost an assumption for 90% of businesses, you can use the url builder tool that Google Analytics to build your Facebook urls to at least track goals that way.  That’s an easy way to track them to see what’s happening.  Intel’s a tough one cause Intel doesn’t really measure direct revenue right.  Their goal is to increase awareness of the Intel brand so that you buy from an Intel powered machine through a third party.  It’s not like – you don’t go to Intel and buy something.

Philip:                    Absolutely yeah.

Brad:                     But you can decide to buy this laptop over that laptop because it’s got Intel inside.  So, Intel has always had weird measurement techniques for that reason.

Philip:                    I mean I’m really fascinated by the opportunities of Facebook but it’s still very, very early days.  We don’t do too much but we’re starting to dabble more and more but it will be interesting to talk to some more experts about it.

Brad:                     Yeah.  I find more success on LinkedIn personally.

Philip:                    Yeah.

Brad:                     I like LinkedIn, it’s more the audience.  Someone is on Facebook they’re socializing and it’s often with friends and family and so not in a B to B awareness thing, if you are a B to B marketer.  Linked In, they’re business people socializing with business people about business, and so business has to do pretty well there.  So, I’m a much bigger fan of LinkedIn and I’ve been quite a bit actual LinkedIn recently more than Facebook.  Their targeting is not very good.  I mean their targeting is not near what Facebook has, but the audience is a higher educated wealthier audience which often is a better demographic to sell to anyway.

Philip:                    Absolutely.  I’ve been blown away by the response of LinkedIn through the LinkedIn network.  I’ve used my network to do the research for conference.  In fact I think you responded to one of my questions and I was just blown away by the depth, the time that people put into the responses.  It seems to be a very engaged community and I think that’s also another topic for a future podcast.  Anyway Brad, we could go on speaking about this sort of stuff forever and I know you’re an incredibly busy guy.  I think it’s in the evening, Friday evening your time so you’re probably hanging out for a beer or two.  So, I’d really like to thank you for giving up so much of your time and so freely of all of your knowledge.

Brad:                     Well, thank you Phil.  That was good to see how everything is going down in Australia and hopefully we’ll have to speak again and see how Adwords and definitely how Facebook is starting to go in that market.

Philip:                    Absolutely.  Where can – can we just recap.  Where can people find you on the web?

Brad:                     Certifiedknowledge.org, easiest place.

Philip:                    And you’ve got a pretty high profile pay per click blog as well right?

Brad:                     BG — that stands for Brad Geddes – theory dot com.  I have a blog there, usually one to two posts a week recently.  So, it’s a lot of in depth information in that blog.

Philip:                    Great.  Thanks so much again Brad.

Brad:                     Thank you Philip.

By Philip Shaw