New Adwords “Feature”…


You may not be seeing this yet as it’s still in Beta, but one of my larger Adwords accounts is often involved in Google’s Beta testing, and we’ve been running with a new feature the last few weeks which I think you should be aware of.

As I’ve said before, any Adwords campaign should be very narrowly targeted, and should have at least 2-3 ads per adgroup, to allow for testing of layout, wording etc to optimise your ads. What Google has done is jump in and automatically create additional ads for us when it thinks it can do better than what we’ve currently got.

The new feature is called Ad Suggestions, though the default is less of a suggestion and more of an implementation, so unless you specifically decline the suggestion, it will automatically be added to your campaign 14 days later.

Now there are a couple of things here. Firstly, this is really interesting in terms of the structure of the ads Google is suggesting. They obviously have access to millions of dollars of ads so know what works, and should be applying that to these suggestions. After all, if more people click on the ad, they make more money. Secondly, you will remember I always warn against any automation, especially when it comes to Google, and this is no different. But here’s where I depart from my usually sane advice.

In the last 3 months or so, I haven’t declined a single ad suggestion from Google. And I don’t intend to for at least another month. Why? Well, I want to see what happens. Can Google beat me at Adwords? And if so, how are they doing it? Because if they come up with a super performing ad, I’m going to use that elsewhere and see if I can replicate it, and then I’ll bring it to you so you can do the same. It’ll probably cost me a bit, but in the long term if all goes well, I should get that back and a whole lot more.

So how are these Suggested Ads doing so far? Results are mixed, as you’d expect. In one adgroup for example, I had two ads and Google added another two. The click through rate for one of them is well below my original ads, but the conversion rate is about the same (conversion = they buy something after clicking on the ad). The second Google ad has the same click through rate as my ads, but the conversion rate is about 50% higher. This second ad is really interesting because I wouldn’t have put this particular ad in this adgroup – it targets a different group of people – but it’s going to a tailored landing page I created for this group, which is working really well.

My next step is to remove some more of the ads I’m currently running to see what Google suggests, as it’ll only suggest ads where you have less than 3 running it seems. I’ll only remove the poorer performing ads, as I would anyway, and then wait for Google to do its thing.

So what do you need to do? Nothing at this stage, apart from check if Google is including you in the Beta, but it’s unlikely unless you have quite a high value account. But when you login to Adwords, you’ll often see messages at the top right of the screen. Make sure you read them so you don’t get caught by any automated additions or other changes. Most of the time you’ll want to prevent these changes, but occasionally you’ll want to see where it leads, like I’m doing now. Just tread carefully.