Note from the author: This was originally a LinkedIn post I wrote all the way back in 2019, but the content in it is about as relevant to 2023 now and in the future as it’s ever been. Google Ads has changed quite a bit with the interface feeling much more like Facebook Ads and the client reporting tools being much better than ever. Nowadays, they’ve even gotten rid of a few match types and have pushed responsive ads more and more, along with using broad match combined with their automated targeting. I don’t necessarily agree with the push, but it is what it is, and as a digital marketer, you need to adapt to the changes! 

I also really like the improvements made to Keyword Planner and its forecasting and the more interesting color scheme altogether. However, most of the principles outlined here are practically the same, with the exception to the changes made with exact match keywords, the addition of a third headline for ads, and expanded character limits. Like with the other LinkedIn reposts, I’ve enhanced this one and used Grammarly to give it a nice polish. Enjoy! – Roberto Severino, Atlanta Digital Marketing Professional & Web Development Enthusiast

I’ve been learning about digital marketing for a couple of months now, but being able to get hands-on with the tool has been the best part of the experience yet. I’ve been gaining much more confidence in myself and my abilities while also having desires to expand, find more people to work and keep developing and growing.

There’s a distinction between reading about something and doing it. A lot of people would call the latter learning-by-doing, the learning curve or active learning. In economics, this describes how productivity increases as people continue to practice and hone their skills in a particular skill.

It’s fascinating to me how much problem solving is involved when you’re managing a Paid Search account with a large budget like I’ve been doing. This is ground zero when it comes to how much I can truly learn. On a small scale, I played around with Adwords before, but it wasn’t until I was able to get my hands on a real account.

Here, I could get as dirty as I wanted within reason. There are still costs to watch out for and limitations on what I can do, and I’m also not allowed to get into the private business details of what I’m doing for one of my clients, but I’ll just go over some key points I’ve been able to uncover just from working with this account alone.

When I first got my hands on this account, my client was getting what I would call “junk traffic.” Garbage traffic which had nothing to do with what he wanted. With just a few simple changes, this problem was nearly eliminated overnight. I have found a lot of being able to manage an Adwords account effectively is remembering a lot of simple rules and limitations people often forget when they are working with these accounts.

Here, I’ll name a couple of ones which drive me up the wall:

  • Using broad match for every single keyword. I call this one of the ultimate account killers. It’s just another way for Google to make more money off the unsuspecting and naive. Broad match modified, phrase match and even exact match are much better options for controlling what kind of traffic you want to garner for your site.
  • Focusing only on clicks and not conversions. I do agree having a good click-through-rate can be an important factor, especially when examining what components make up the quality score. What’s not okay to me is not paying attention to whether these ads are converting or not. You could have all the clicks in the world, but if no one’s taking the actions you want on your site, what’s the point at the end of the day?
  • Lack of organization within an account. This one should be a no-brainer, but a lot of people make mistakes with regards to organizing the accounts correctly. Like with many things, there’s a certain hierarchy which should be followed. Campaign structure should usually go like this: Campaign name –> Ad groups —> Ads –> Keywords. You get the point, but one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning is how effectively organizing the ad groups thematically can be. The landing pages don’t need to have all the keywords you choose for the ads and ad groups you create. The important thing is whether the content is relevant to whatever ad you write, which is also a significant factor going into the quality score.

There are more I can probably think of, but these are the main three, and I’m constantly reminding myself how remembering some of these basics can be when fixing someone’s account. I think it will get easier over time as I continue to work on more accounts. Many of these concepts start becoming second nature when put into practice. There will be ups and downs and in-depth problem solving you need to do when a problem arises.

It’s like playing one of those Sudoku puzzles on hard mode. It takes a lot of concentration and attention to detail to sometimes uncover what the problem might be. Sometimes the issue stems from one of those seemingly simple mistakes I’ve mentioned. I think that’s what I love most about working with Adwords and helping people with it. I like being able to explain difficult concepts to others in a way they can understand.

Learning by doing has helped me retain a lot of the information I’ve learned from countless hours of courses on these concepts. The hands-on approach helped me piece all the ideas together into something much more coherent than the bits and bobs I get from reading articles. I think all these learning approaches are important, but working on a live account is what helps everything stick.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to explain this to other people in real life, whether it be a future interviewer or employer or a complete novice needing help with their account. Whatever happens, I am grateful for getting into this field and experimenting with it as much as possible. I’m now taking the same approach to exploring the world of Facebook advertising. So far, I have found their interface to be very similar to Adwords though it comes with its interesting features like the Facebook Pixel and some specific metrics like reach and deliverability. Very fascinating all around!