Sneaky Google Ads Tricks to Put Money from Your Pocket into Google’s Pocket

Times are changing. PPC professionals are becoming just executioners of Google’s will. And it will get worse. This article covers sneaky Google Ads tactics which try to maximize your ad spend (and sometimes your true performance).  I’ll try to maintain this accurate and every time I find something problematic, I will add it to my hate-list. Here we go.

Budget - Head

#1 Super Loose Budgets

You can over your daily budget even 2 times when Google’s brain decides it wants to spend the money “so you won’t miss out on those valuable clicks” as stated in their help section. Wanna your wasted spend back? Too bad, you are out of luck!

Have you had your campaigns paused recently? Get ready for increased spend after you turn on your campaigns on. I’ve seen it many times. Usually, the extra spend yields no extra conversions.

Google Ads Budgets

Source: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6312?hl=en

#2 Universal App Campaigns on Mobile

Basically: “Give us your money and be quiet”. You can’t even separate your brand traffic from generic traffic. What if you don’t want to pay for brand traffic? Too bad, you gotta buy it anyway.

#3 Pushing Mobile into Everything

Mobile traffic just does not work for some businesses, ok?

#4 Mobile App Placements Getting Harder and Harder to Exclude

Because we can never get enough clicks from kids playing games, right? I just don’t understand why there is no clear option to exclude ALL APP TRAFFIC in campaign settings. Previously, there had been at least the trick with excluding “adsenseformobileapps.com” as placement. Well, that’s gone too these days. Now you have to exclude all app categories.

I was notified by Hana in the comment section that it’s still possible to exclude all apps with a “code name” negative placement called  “mobileappcategory::69500”:
App Exclusion

Nevertheless – I am still asking – why is it so difficult? Why should someone search for 1000 word manuals or these code names to perform such basic exclusion wanted by hundreds of thousands advertisers? Why isn’t there a simple button to exclude all app traffic on campaign or even on account level? I think you know the answer.

#5 Hiding Important Columns in the UI

I’ve never understood how it’s determined which columns are shown in the UI after you log in. For example, Cost or Clicks is frequently missing for me and I need to add it manually. Cost is the most important column I care about. How is it even possible it’s sometimes not shown be default? It should not be possible to even remove Cost column.

Or you go to Audiences and guess which column you have to add manually? “Targeting setting” to know whether you are on “Targeting” (targeting just your selected audience) or “Observation” (=targeting everybody).

#6 Bullshit Suggestions

Seems like “Optmization Score” will eventually have big impact and how Google treats PPC professionals. E. g. you will not be able to get your certification renewed if your accounts do not hit certain level. How nice. It does not matter that some suggestions simply do not make sense business wise but who cares.

I can never get enough totally irrelevant keyword or ad extension suggestions!

#7 Some Features On By Default

So you just started a new account. Automated extensions are on. Application of ad suggestions is automatically on.  Did you know? You have to opt out of those.

Do you even know how to turn off “Automated extensions”? It’s “super easy”. You just have to locate the smallest UI element possible and turn off all automated extensions one by one.

Automated Extensions

Where do you find ad suggestions (visible only in Account level settings)?:

Ad Suggestions

When you setup a new campaign, Search Partners are on, the same as Display Network (even though you opted for a search campaign):

New Campaign

 

#8 The Widest Possible Default Option Everywhere Possible

You’ve just created a new campaign. Guess which of the available location targeting options will be used by default?

  1. People in, or who show interest in your targeted locations
  2. People in or regularly in your targeted locations
  3. People searching for your targeted locations

Of course, it’s #1 because you certainly do not want “to miss out on those valuable clicks” when people from Pakistan (sorry, no offense to PK) look for American content, right?

#9 Hiding Important Configuration Options

Related to the point above, in order to see the location targeting options you have to make an extra click to even see the it while it’s one of the most important campaign settings out there. I really don’t understand this.

Locations

And only then you are able to see:

Locations clicked

Everybody stand up who forgot to setup the correct location targeting!

Stand Up

#10 Treating Users Like They Are All Idiots

So you are in the middle of your campaign setup and get to bidding. Guess which options is selected by default. “Maximize Conversions.” It should be rather called “Maximize Google’s revenue”.

What if you want to use the old good Max. CPC? Well, it’s “not recommended”. How does Google know what I want?

Bidding

#11 Pushing Automated Bidding too Hard

Many of my smaller accounts get a very few good conversions. Yet, Google Ads still suggest I should use Target CPA bidding – even if I just opened the account and there are 0 conversions. I don’t want to, ok? I know for a fact my audience could be anyone. Those people don’t share any common traits. Google can’t possible know who’d end up converting. When I turn on CPA in my smaller accounts, it usually does more bad than good. I don’t buy the fact the algorithm needs to learn for long time. It’s my money, ok, Google? Not yours. Make the learning period refundable if you trust your algorithms so bad.

Not to mention that you are treated like a criminal (=Google Ads Editor showing alerts) when you use Manual CPC, at least they sneakily try to sell you Enhanced CPC.

#12 New Account Managers Every Quarter Trying to “Help”

I can’t never appreciate enough when I get the same automatically generated suggestions over and over while the new account manager has no knowledge of my accounts. It would be easier if the support email just said “Can you please turn everything on?”. I would at least save some time on reading the email.

#13 Never Helping to Cut Garbage Out

However you ever seen a suggestion in the UI saying that you should decrease spend on something which is not clearly performing? I have not.

No no no

Conclusion

While Google Ads can really make business succeed, the increased pressure to spend more is getting out hand and it’s going to be only worse because advertisers don’t have that many choices of advertising networks anyway. We all have to stay on alert when new features are introduced.

What rants do you have on your mind? Share them in the comment section below!

Have I made a statement which is no longer true? Let me know and I’ll fix it.

Daniel

2 thoughts on “Sneaky Google Ads Tricks to Put Money from Your Pocket into Google’s Pocket

  1. Hello Daniel,
    There are still ways how to easily exclude mobile apps. The similar one to “adsenseformobileapps.com” is excluding “mobileappcategory::69500” 😉 There is another easy way using Google Ads Editor excluding mobile apps categories that also requires just a few clicks.
    I hope it helps!
    Hana

    1. Thanks Hana. I will update the article.

      But I’d still prefer to have one easy button to exclude all apps and games on mobile in stead of these undercover placement names.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *