The Google Adwords platform has grown tremendously in sophistication. Are you keeping up?
Glenn Schmelzle, Founder and VP of Lead Generation for Marketing What's New, is laser focused on helping B2B companies get the most out of Google Adwords. He sees marketers make the same mistakes over and over, and one of those is a lack of focus on content. By not creating quality content both in your ad itself and on your website, even the most thoughtful execution of an Adwords campaign will fall flat. He also encourages marketers to plan their content along the funnel, and consider where their ad falls along the buyers journey in order to inform content and calls-to-action.
By applying AI, Google continues to make significant changes to which advertising campaigns are accepted, how ads appear, who they appear for, and what the ad says. During the episode, Glenn fills us in on how the platform has evolved and big changes that are afoot for 2022. Some of these changes have introduced more complexity for the marketer, but also better performing ads through context and relevancy.
Glenn is the podcast host of The Funnel Reboot, a show that shares strategies from leading marketers.
The Google AdWords platform has changed tremendously since many of us were trained on it might have been, say, five years, ten, maybe even 15. So if you're a marketer that's running your campaigns in the old way, you might be holding back your performance. Today, my guest and I will talk about what's new with the Google AdWords platform, how it's evolved, and which features are most important to take advantage of. We also talk about common mistakes that B to B marketers make when setting up and running Google AdWords campaigns. And I also asked that tough question of should we be running Google AdWords at all? Is there enough benefit there? And what are some situations in which it's just not a good idea? Let's do this.
Welcome to Content Marketing engineered your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.
Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing Engineer. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, True Marketing. True is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit Truemarketing.com and now on with our podcast. Hey, everyone. I'm here today with Glenn Schmeze. He's the founder and vice President of Lead Generation for Marketing What's New, which is a B to B agency focused on Google advertising. He's also a podcast host of The Funnel Reboot. Welcome to the show, Glenn.
Thank you so much for having me. Wendy.
I'm thinking we're going to have a pretty interesting conversation today about Google advertising.
I hope so.
And here's why I say that, because a lot of marketers are feeling a bit jaded by this channel. I see people dropping out, people that are not feeling it's going well. So I'm wondering, is it still an effective marketing tactic? Is it on a decline? Like, what's your take of this channel?
Sure. I wish I could give a one word answer, but here goes short and sweet on recognizing that over the past decade, of course, there have been more entrance into the world of getting content distributed, more pay per click platform social platforms. Right. So Google is not the only game in town anymore on this paid media side, but it's still a very valuable channel and it does something that still the other platforms can only in a way brush up against. And that is they've got intent. They know when our audience is looking for something that relates to us and all the other things that we're trying. If we're trying Facebook or if we're trying another field out there, we are trying to grasp at that. Maybe we're inferring it from the content of the page that it's on, if it's like a display ad, but you really can't match when somebody goes to Google or speaks to their phone and says, I'm looking for this. Okay, so that's kind of the first part. The second part is that the relevancy of Google ads bound together and will be forever bound together with the content that someone has.
So the answer of is it right? For me, very much depends on what the company has done in terms of building their content so that it can be found. And let's remember that pay per click on Google is just the other side of the coin of Google organic. Right? So if I want to appear on Google, I need to give it content. And if we think of it as something like the amount of content that I have can be analogous to, let's say, the amount of fabric that I use if I were on a sailboat and I wanted to have sales and I wanted the wind to carry the boat. So if I only have a really small, scant amount of content, or it's maybe just reaching for headline terms and I'm not getting down into the nitty gritty of what people are looking for. That's like having a really small mass and a little toy boat and it's not going to move much, even if we're seeing Google blowing with organic wine. In that case, I'd say practically no. Like if you're not going down that road or haven't been building content, you have a long way to go to be able to get there.
The case should really stand and fall, though, on whether or not for every X amount of people that you bring to your content, whether or not you know that Y percent are going to become a marketing qualified lead. And if you have that piece of information and you can get that, whether it's coming from organic traffic or paid. But let's imagine that it's coming from organic and you know that you can predict with pretty good certainty what the average order value is that's going to come out of it. You just do the math backwards and that tells you how much that visitor to your site should be worth or that landed lead should be worth. And if you can see that you're only ever going to get so much on the organic side. But if you know how much that's worth and you can find inventory through Google Ads that will come out at that number or better, the answer is an unmitigated yes.
There you go. I like that mathematical way of looking at it. And it certainly provides a boost on top of organic. And so sometimes we tell companies, okay, organic takes time. It takes time for Google to come crawl your site to get momentum. And so if you need leads yesterday, then now we need to look to supplement while we're getting that organic engine going for sure. Yeah.
And you're pulling in the data to tell you whether or not that economics is actually going to work for your favor or if you're just not in the ballpark.
Sure. Okay. So, Glenn, I bet when you see marketers playing around in Google AdWords, there's a lot of mistakes that you're viewing. So what are some typical mistakes marketers are making when they go to set up maybe their first Google advertising campaign or maybe even their hundreds?
I think the main word that we need to bring up here is automation. Okay. So depending on who's listening to this, if they're thinking that Google ads looks the same way as it did in 2014, I've got news for you. The basics of what is there, the raw basics, the fact that you have the group of keywords and that those can point someone to an ad which will take them to a landing page. And those are together inside of a group like that hasn't changed, but pretty much everything else has. And Google has done this because they learned with artificial intelligence how to up the game the way that I think we were doing it before, including myself here with thinking that I will just input that information and I'll watch how much my bid is, and I'll see what the click is worth. We were doing it in an oversimplified way. It's like we were playing checkers on this board, and Google came along. And with AI, they're now playing chess. Right. And obviously, we're not going to win. Lately, we're not even playing the same game anymore. So if I can address this automation issue head on, I'm not saying that automation is by its very nature bad.
But the way Google is deploying this, remembering that they are a public company, is that they want to increase profit as much as possible for themselves. So the way that they have implemented automation is, all things being equal, how does Google completely exhaust its inventory of eyeballs? Okay, that's the game they're playing with AI. And on our side.
Every viewer shall have an ad.
Yeah. At the highest possible price. So that's fine. I've stepped on site at the casino, too. I understand how that works. Right? The house is in it for the house. I'm in it for me or for my client, if I'm speaking as an agency. So what I'm trying to do is find those areas where the automation can help, perhaps go into areas that I wouldn't have thought of if I'm still playing this really little kindergarten kind of game. So I do want to sometimes lean into that automation, but I have to be extremely selective on where I'm doing it. And I have to, at the very least, admit that all the knob turning and toggling that I could be doing manually still isn't going to get anywhere close to the speed with which the AI is doing this in a real time auction to get a real person to my website.
Okay, you mentioned earlier about not having strong content to back your ads. So to me, I think very specifically about the call to action. And it seems like that's another mistake marketers are making. It's just not having strong calls to action, whether that be the way it's written, the way it's displayed. So what are you seeing in that regard?
Let's think that every person that we're speaking to here is in a B to B situation and that the BDB buyer is taking their time to make a purchase. Not only are there multiple players, but there are multiple points in time at which they are going to go online and be somewhere that we could find them with our content. So to answer that question on CTA, I would say keep it simple in terms of understanding there is awareness and consideration and decision, or if you will, top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel, and use the platforms accordingly. So if you are imagining that Google ads with the intent is something that you can put in words where, okay, the person who's typing in these words is just trying to figure out what the problem is that they have versus the person who's asking that kind of question. They're probably already down to their short list or very close to setting the final list of consideration. So my calls to action for those two steps should absolutely be different. I shouldn't be, for example, up at the people who are just thinking about whether they have a problem and hitting them over the head with a demo.
No kidding, right?
Maybe save that for the people who are actually close to wanting to lose your company. Yeah, but have a call to action for those people higher up in the funnel so that you can have some kind of first party data on them. Maybe it's just an email address, or maybe you're just going to have to settle to get them on a retargeting list. But have that sense of you're moving from small commitment to high commitment CTAs, because that's the way that each one of us buys something. So, you know, just work that process backwards. And remember that the technical buyers, as you so well pointed out in your book, have a disdain for the type of interaction that comes too soon or that comes with too much of a commitment. So be wary of what you're asking for, because while you've got a field sitting in a database and you would love to have something in there, respect the person enough to not get that information, at least up front, and allow them in their own time to come to you.
So glad you reminded people of that. These salespeople, they're ready to call them right away. It's not going to work out well in most cases. You mentioned retargeting. And Glenn, I don't know if you read across this, but in our 2021 State of Marketing to Engineers research report, we did ask about Retargeting and we said, do you find this helpful or creepy, or do you have no opinion on this or whatever? And a full third of technical buyers find Retargeting creepy. That was pretty amusing. And I know there's been a lot of Privacy changes and so the landscape of Retargeting is changing as well. Could you speak a little bit to that?
Sure. So there have been both actors such as Apple, who have obviously the ability to influence how a good swath of people browse the Internet with Safari as well as mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. So when Apple speaks or when Apple does something as they did with their iOS 14.5, they are inhibiting the ability of a third party to retarget you. And that should probably be something that I think the people listening to this talk should be happy for, because there are many among our profession who are less scrupulous and who if these measures aren't put in place, they'll ruin it for all of us. And I think that your technical audience. While a third of them say that they have a disdain for Retargeting, what they really have a disdain for isn't just advertising. They have a disdain for bad advertising, for things that are poorly targeted, for things that let's say they've already made the first decision, but the marketer was too lazy to put their piece of data on an exclusion list. This is the kind of thing that if we do it properly, there is something to be said for getting that information.
But if I can kind of bring us back to that top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel. Just remember that Retargeting isn't the only thing that you can. It's not the only lever you can pull. I've seen email marketing that very much resembles Retargeting, but the way you brought them to it was they first signed up for maybe a PDF, and then you want to let them know about related content that other people who have gone down the same path that they have found interesting and they click through and they receive it. Nothing wrong there. Guess the other one that I would point out to would be more of this ABM type Retargeting, where you're trying to find a way for a company that you know is about to make an enterprise level decision and you're trying to reach them with information that would be helpful to them because they were in the throes of this very large decision, very risky decision. I've never heard people that receive Retargeting like that to complain about it because they're at this moment sweating and trying to figure out how they're going to be helped. So we're probably away from the all users list and the extended for the Max period of time that's laziness.
But I think that at least our numbers show that you can get to a marketing qualified lead or get maybe even down to a sales qualified lead and maybe shrink the time that you get there with these occasional offers that are put in front of people. That and frequency capped, too, I must mention, because you can't just hit them when they're doing Sudoku on their lunch break on the fifth time of seeing it in the same day. Right. It's like spice on food. It's a very powerful thing, but you got to use it in moderation.
Oh, like spice on food. Okay, that's a good one. Follow that away. Good. Well, what are some other ways in which we should treat technical buyers differently when it comes to Google advertising?
So let's again reel back not just from our PPC mindset, but let's even talk about the content first. This stat is, to my knowledge, still valid, but it's been well known for a number of years that a full one fifth of all the queries that Google receives on a daily basis have never been queried before.
Wow. Okay, so brand new query. No one in the world has thought to type this in before.
I'm glad you said type because typing we were.
Oh, yeah, I'm so old school.
Well, that's okay. We were looking, but it probably would have plateaued if we only stayed on fair. However, now that voice is here and now that all of us are habituated to just asking our phones a question that's just shot it into a new level, because now Google's voice recognition, I heard they've now got the accuracy of that down to 4.9% of like, that's the error rate. So 95.1% of all queries that you speak to your device in, it gets it. So that's habituated us to ask our phones because we know that most of the time it's going to grab what we said and give us an appropriate result.
I was going to say as a side note, when I dictate text messages, the accuracy level is nowhere near that. Or it could be I've sent some embarrassing texts.
Well, I mean, people might detect my Canadian accent or maybe they're detecting your Texas draw. So maybe they got a little bit of work on the dialect front. But plain old English, they're up around 95%.
But what that is changing is queries are now getting like to eight words, ten words, 20 words long. We're speaking whole sentences in natural language. We're not doing this kind of haiku like we would when we type pull out of and the and. And. So that's what I mean when I say so many of the queries are new. Getting back to content. When this kind of information is available and it can be found, the marketer is responsible to look around on their website and see anywhere within that, again, keyword terrain or coverage that they have, whether or not they're speaking about those contents. That's an important point. Google is also smart enough to understand synonyms so we can content ourselves that we don't have to stuff it with the actual words. They understand semantically what content is about.
Thank goodness we are past that keyword stuffing face.
You and me both if you have those kinds of things in place. There are newer ad units inside of Google ads that you can use. And again, I'm not suggesting that you just let them have your entire credit card amount, but that you can use them to start seeing these brand new queries with. So I'll send people to check out something called dynamic search ads, which all you need to provide Google with is a little bit of ad copy and some basic rules about which parts of your website or maybe even the list of URLs that you want it to go to with the campaigns that we do for our clients that involve these. And they're only, again, used kind of around the edges. We are finding new results that we never would have thought to go and make new do content about. But it's kind of showing us that blog post that we thought was kind of fringe and we just put up as a Lark that thing is getting a lot of attention. And how are people finding it and where are they going from there? The next pages they visit is on kind of a topic that could link to that, but we've never written content to fill in that gap.
Interesting. So utilizing pay per click intelligence to inform your content strategy.
All right. And is that more applicable for long tail terms? I would assume?
Yes. Because I think if any one of us are doing our jobs, we've probably thought of it's an 80 20 thing. Right? We've probably thought of the top 80%. But this bottom 20%, we're in a competitive world and companies more and more are doing their research online. Goodness knows, the last year and a half it hasn't been done at trade shows. So that kind of question that is out of left field. But that could hint at a company that is entering a buyer funnel that is now where marketers have to go to to continue to deliver to sales the quantity of leads that sales is expecting.
Yeah. Okay. Well, and we also see the behavior of the technical buyer that they're willing to dig on. They'd be more willing to go to page 15 of Google search results than stop at page one. That's how that mind works. And I think it's a little bit of not finding exactly what they were looking for for that very technical application complex problem, whatever it is. But it's also finding credible sources. And so presenting yourself in a credible way where they feel like this is data or information they can trust.
Yeah. I think I'd say for our technical audiences, it's important to try and meet in the middle. I don't think you and I are suggesting to listeners that they grab their entire knowledge base library, their support library, and then just like, Chuck it into a section of the website. It wasn't built for that. Right. It has a taxonomy that's probably meant for your internal help crew. But having said that, taking the spirit of that information and putting it there, you're 100% right. Someone will dig. And even if you have a low bid amount that you're putting on that kind of an ad, let's say you're, David, in a field of Goliath firms, a pay per click strategy can still make sense for you because it's going to raise that level of surety that you have that work to find that person who's looking for that one specific thing, that they will find it, and you'll be able to get data to tell you how well it's going. So I guess what I'm telling you is the worst case scenario is you pause it after a while. Right. But you're going to find out no matter what.
Yeah. I love that there's so much data. You can measure what's happening. You can test different things. How much testing do you do? Do you often run different ads or you test different audiences? Tell me about the types of.
So believe it or not, harkening. Back to what I was saying with AI, I think the number of tests that are needed to be done now is actually less interesting. Yeah. So back in the day, there's a phrase I'm going to see if I can remember it about the method with which you could test, and you can appreciate how it kind of gets really dense.
I know there's a lot of AB testing, right?
Yeah. But if you think about if you think about testing from like, everybody talks about changing the color of a button, but that's really a small thing. Whereas you can think about like, well, do I have an entire section of my website that gives technical information, or do I instead give sales pages? And the saying goes like this. It says, first test forests, then test trees, then test branches, then test leaves. I think that's kind of an important, but that is really involved. And what I'm saying is, and we used to follow practices like that. How do we get them onto the basic section of the website? And then are they on the right page? And then is that passage within the page? Good. And then our good old friend, the button color, is that right? But we've actually shortened a fair bit of that, at least in the ad world, because the algorithms seem to be able to pick up at least what are the more common ones. And if I can, this is another opportunity to talk about an ad format that if people don't already know it, they're going to become familiar.
It's called the responsive search Ad.
Okay. So if everybody thinks about a standard Google ad. You were used to seeing one or two headlines, and then you had a longer line of description and maybe a few more of them. But that's the basic headline, 30 characters, 30 characters, and then something like 90 characters. Well, they've taken that format, but and this is current. As of September 1 of 2021, Google has announced that the other ad format, responsive search ads, are going to be the only ad format that's going to be available come June of 2022. And how a responsive search ad is different. It doesn't change the 30 and 30 and 90. But what Google says is instead of you getting to say, Wendy, that you want headline A and then headline B and then description line C, what they want is they want you to give them an Alphabet soup of 15 different headlines and about four different descriptions. And they're going to put it in a big Mixmaster and they're going to decide who to show to when. Now, as you can appreciate, this is starting to really throw a wrench into our AB test plans.
Definitely Google is taking those over. Not, I guess, well.
You can get a little bit. There are some hacks. So, for example, I would suggest that if a person is trying that maybe they can run a set of these responsive search ads in one ad group, and then if they really want a different ad group, they can kind of take another ad group, maybe put a different set of messages. It's a fair bit of work. But like I said, what's really coming through here is that Google is saying there is no one best result. There is the best result for your visitor. Got it. And they're claiming that they know so much about that visitor that they would rather have control of those headlines because maybe headline L is the right one to show to a certain person, particular person on a certain day.
Yeah. I don't know if I should be excited or creeped out by this. It's intriguing, for sure.
But it's kicking out the Dabblers, and I don't want to leave anybody under a false sense of security. If you had thought, well, I did AdWords back in the day, maybe I can fuck my way through this. It's gotten more difficult in a few ways, but then again, it's gotten a little bit easier in that you don't have to log in every day. But what you do have to start doing is thinking more about how does an algorithm learn from what I'm trying to tell? It who I want to go after. So that's a completely different mindset than pay per click used to be. Actually, I like it because it's more capital and marketing. It's like the stuff we went to school for.
So if you're thinking strategically, you know your persona, you have strong copy, you come up with these variations, then Google is being a strategic partner to you and utilizing all of this data to show the right thing to the right person at the right place. It sounds fabulous. I think it'd be interesting to see because you have a lot of technical buyers that are ignoring Google ads as soon as they say, oh, it's an ad like, forget it, I'm putting my Blinders on. Right. But if things become more and more relevant like this, then I think Google's on to something people are more apt to click. And maybe this is a win win.
I don't know. Let's remember that Google has been given a good run for their money by Facebook. And so I take the good from this. I think that advertising is better because Google did in their own multinational company behemoth in their own way. They have their game and that relevancy is being delivered more. And I wouldn't want anybody to listen to this and think, I looked at it a few years ago and the results were kind of funky. I don't think it's for us. It definitely could deliver that important portion of your traffic from the number one website on the Internet that your content could be lying there waiting for.
Okay. All right. Well, if there's a marketer listening and they have some good AdWords running, they're not sure if they're doing well, what are some advice you have for them on troubleshooting or improving what they're doing today?
Let's start with education. And there's a wonderful group of people on the Internet that share information about this stuff. So first off, I would say don't suffer in silence. If you're looking, I can't possibly address all the check this and check that.
Of course not.
But if you do have a question about a particular thing and you are really giving it an attempt on your own, then go onto Twitter. Look for hashtags related to PPC. Go on to common places inside of any of your favorite social networks. Will have a pay per click group on it. Start asking questions. I am overjoyed often that there are people who were looking for something that is in my area that can help me. And they found the answer a few months back and they're more than happy to share it. So that's what I would say is when I would hear somebody say, well, I got a call from Google and a person over there told them to do the following. I would say that's the last thing that you should. Well, I mean, there's an inherent conflict of interest. Yeah, absolutely right. That's a sales rep you're talking to. That's the person whose training isn't in the platform, their training is in how to sell as much inventory on the platform as they can. So maybe hear what they have to say, but temper it with what you can find out from others on Reddit or Twitter or Quora or LinkedIn or wherever you want to go with people with whom you trust.
And would you recommend the certification classes or at least ongoing training on their site is pretty worthwhile.
So their training does provide a good explanation for what's inside of the platform. I find sometimes that it's job is to try and make sure that you look at all the new and shiny features. So instead, if I were going to send someone for a certification and this is an important time to do it, it would be Google Analytics certification. Because if you think of Google Ads as being a source of information that drains into a Basin, Google Analytics is that Basin. And you want to be. Of course, if you're a good marketer on top of what's happening on your website and we have Google Analytics for brand new platform, there's no better time to get certified on something because you're going to have to learn it anyway. It is not the same as the previous Google Analytics. So I would encourage somebody, if they're going to get any certification, to go get certified on Ga four.
Okay. All right. Well, last but not least, tell me a little bit about your agency and what you do for clients.
Sure. So for companies who have business to business products and they can say fairly well what the order value or typical purchase price is and can do that math that we talked about. If they're looking to get the cost of acquisition for the leads that they're bringing in to a level where it's net positive to the profit on that sale, we're an agency that handles lead generation campaigns on Google Ads and on other major platforms.
All right. Because I'm sure people are listening may think I can't. It's too much for me. I need help. And then others say I'm a one person marketer and that's all my company will let me be. And I'm doing the best that I can.
There's only so many hours in the day.
Exactly. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Great tips here. Very interesting to hear where the platform is moving next year so we can all be prepared and start writing better calls to action to make our Google Ads convert in a stronger way.
So I appreciate the opportunity, Wendy. And I'm really glad that you do this through your podcasting. Of course. I've also got a podcast where we share information on more of this stuff. So I would encourage anybody to just keep listening and filling their heads with this information. It's what makes us all better.
Remind us, what's the name of the podcast? Where can you find it?
Funnel, reboot, and it's available on Apple Podcasts and any other major platform.
Okay. And if people want to connect with you, Where's the best place to do that?
Thank you. I'm available on LinkedIn or if you wanted to find me on any of the major social channels, it's Kleen s. And I'm more than happy to talk with you and just answer a question. If we need to get on the phone and untink something that someone is having an issue with, I'd be glad to talk great.
Thank you so much for your time today, Glenn.
Thank you Wendy.
Thanks for joining me today on content marketing engineered for show notes including links to resources, visit Trueemarketing.com Podcasts While there you can subscribe to our blog in our newsletter and order a copy of my my book content Marketing Engineer also I would love your reviews on this podcast so please when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription Platform thanks.
Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.
TREW Marketing is a strategy-first content marketing agency serving B2B companies that target highly technical buyers. With deep experience in the design, embedded, measurement and automation, and software industries, TREW Marketing provides branding, marketing strategy, content development, and digital marketing services to help customers efficiently and effectively achieve business goals.