If you joined us for PPC Town Hall this week, you probably noticed that we look different! Everyone is combating Zoom fatigue, so we streamlined the show to be more visually engaging and appealing.
Joining us for the first new-look PPC Town Hall were two of the most insightful experts in paid search:
Ann Stanley is the Managing Director of the multi-award-winning agency Anicca Digital based in Leicester, England. You can tune in to Ann’s weekly webinars at 9 am GMT/UTC.
Gianpaolo Lorusso is the man behind the ADworld Experience series of events. As a courtesy to PPC Town Hall viewers, Gianpaolo is offering a 10% discount (use code optmyzr10) on the upcoming event in October and resources from previous editions.
As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.
Let’s dive into this week’s observations on Google’s initiatives during Q2 of 2020 — and we might even have an additional surprise for you at the end!
1. A shift in messaging is overdue.
With businesses reopening in the post-lockdown phase, COVID messaging is in need of a change in tone. Ann thinks now is a good time for brands to realign themselves.
“I do think some messages have been played out — how to do virtual conferences, how to spend your day on Zoom. People are getting fed up with that and it’s time for messaging to come out on the other side,” she noted.
“People are once again able to do things they weren’t able to do before; certain shops are reopening and we’re trying to get back to business. In the UK, our furlough grants have been very helpful in making sure a lot of people have salaries and are able to spend.”
2. E-commerce isn’t as simple as some people think.
With millions of consumers unable or unwilling to visit brick and mortar locations, small businesses and those dependent on tourism income are turning to e-commerce to plug revenue gaps.
But Gianpaolo has a word of caution for anyone who thinks setting up a Shopify store or listing on Amazon is the catch-all solution.
“In Italy, it’s been a couple of years now that almost everyone wants to get into e-commerce, even if they don’t need it,” he shared. “But starting an e-commerce operation is only the beginning; you cannot set up an online store and think you’re done.”
Gianpaolo recommends leveraging the power of search and other forms of paid advertising to get people to your online stores — a critical step that some businesses new to e-commerce may not account for.
3. Legitimate businesses welcome advertiser verification.
With Google already rolling out its mandatory advertiser verification program, businesses that use their paid advertising services will have 21 days from the moment they’re contacted to verify their identities.
Ann believes that legitimate businesses will universally welcome this move, and that it will help filter out some of the more unsavory players.
“I’m very much in favor of Google’s advertiser verification. I feel there are so many questionable agencies and other businesses that rip people off. I’ve been in this industry nearly 20 years now, and I’ve seen and heard so many stories about this,” she shared.
4. Google’s ad credits are here — and they’ll be useful.
It didn’t take too long after global lockdowns started to take effect for Google to announce that they would be disbursing millions of dollars in free ad credits to small businesses. While this move to prop up some of Google’s hardest-hit customers took some time, America and Europe are now seeing results.
“This week in Italy, we received the first COVID ad credits from Google, so they are coming to Europe as well. They are set in fixed amounts: €75, €210, €590 and probably €1000 (I haven’t seen this yet), depending on last year’s range of spend,” Gianpaolo told us.
“Anything helps to get out of this situation. Even if €1,000 can’t change your business landscape, it can still help. If you found something that was working, I suggest putting part of your credits back on that. Of course, you can also try something new.
“Personally, my approach to the situation has been not to stop campaigns, but to lower budgets and CPCs to the minimum possible. Spending a tenth of what you normally do is a good solution, especially in search.
“If someone is searching for something they are likely to convert — maybe not now, but at some point. Why lose those hyper-competitive slots if you can keep them while spending a fraction of what you spent before?”
5. Agencies want Google to rethink their partner program.
Google’s partner program has long been a source of contention with many agencies, especially those who focus on quality and results. With the program postponed to next year due to the pandemic, this offers Google a chance to bring requirements in line with agency realities.
“As an MCC owner, we’ve got so many accounts linked to us. We had to have 70 people take the exam in organizations that have nothing to do with us. I’m hoping Google will have second thoughts about the way they do these qualifications, because there’s no way we can oversee all the organizations we are linked to,” Ann said.
“The other thing I don’t like about the partner status is it’s based on volume and growth in spend. At a premium agency like ours, not every client is looking for massive growth. In some cases, the first thing we do with a new client is cut out a load of wasted spend. And then we get penalized for bringing the spend down while we’re trying to improve the quality and make more money for the client. Google’s program isn’t always aligned with client needs.”
Bonus: LinkedIn targeting is coming to Microsoft.
Towards the end of this week’s show, Gianpaolo had some interesting news and advice for users of Microsoft Advertising.
“Keep an eye on the Microsoft Audience Network. They’re integrating it with LinkedIn targeting options for B2B campaigns in their display network,” he told us.
“This is something I would try to test even more deeply when I have an occasion to do so. I think it’s probably the first time that Microsoft is a little bit ahead of Google in something. I’m happy they’re doing this, and I’d definitely do some testing on this.”
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Google has been active in rolling out initiatives to help businesses and the PPC industry ride the storm. And while some of those programs were hyped up to be a lot more than they turned out to be, there’s no doubt they’ve done more than most advertising platforms.
It will be interesting to see how they adapt and what new ideas they roll out as the landscape continues to morph based on restrictions and developments in different geographies.