by Daniela Araujo
Nick Lewis worked as a Relationship Manager for Google AdWords from 2006-2009. He led a team of three Account Managers serving as the primary point of contact for 30 agencies representing more than 1000 clients. His team managed more than $40M in annual advertising spending with Google. Currently, Nick is providing phone consultation for clients who need help with AdWords. For more information about his services visit TheAdWordsOptimizer.com. Nick kindly agreed to share some of his AdWords knowledge and to discuss Google’s recent changes to AdWords support that impact small to mid-sized advertisers.
TMMPDX: Tell us about your role as Relationship Manager for Google AdWords and more specifically, about your work with Google AdWords customers.
NL: I was a Relationship Manager on the Google National Agency Team in San Francisco for almost two years. In that role I led a team of three as we supported the efforts of around 30 mid-sized SEMs on the west coast. Our work varied significantly depending on the SEM with which we were working. For some SEMs, we focused our efforts on capacity-building and training within their organization, really helping their staff understand the nuances of AdWords–Quality Score, structure, strategy, etc. For these clients we would provide web and phone-based trainings to make sure that they knew everything necessary to support their clients. For other SEMs, we served as an extra set of hands helping their teams implement account optimizations, create new accounts, create media plans, etc. For our most savvy SEMs, we worked more as partners and would strategize together on ways in which AdWords could provide solutions for their clients. We wore a lot of different hats but in general, it was our job to make sure our SEMs had the knowledge and resources necessary to help their clients find success.
TMMPDX: You and your team were supporting about 30 SEM agencies. How many clients did the agencies have and what industry had the largest ad spend?
NL: The agencies I worked with had anywhere from 10-40 clients. Most averaged around 20. Usually a few flagship accounts and then a handful of smaller accounts. These clients were from all industries, but the majority came from B2C, Retail and B2B. We worked with a handful of very large high-end drug rehab clinics, so the majority of our ad spend came from Healthcare.
TMMPDX: What were the most common questions and concerns of your clients?
NL: The most common questions I received were related to Quality Score, optimal account structure, policies, and new products or features. Essentially – topics that can’t be easily researched online. Google does a fairly good job of sharing information but they keep information on these topics in relatively short supply. I would be on the phone with clients most every day helping them better understand how to set up and manage their accounts in an effort to maximize their efficiency and ROI.
The concerns tended to be around the same topics. When people felt they were being kept in the dark about upcoming policy changes or about topics that might cost their clients money, they naturally became concerned. It was my job to provide as much information as possible in order to assuage those concerns and help their clients make intelligent decisions.
TMMPDX: In what ways is Google AdWords account optimization more challenging today than it was in the past? What factors have contributed to this change?
NL: For quite a long time there were two types of AdWords users: the expert and the amateur. The experts would continuously “optimize” their accounts while the amateurs would set and forget their accounts. As Google continues to release more Help Center articles and YouTube videos and as more SEMs publish their own best practices, the gap between experts and amateurs has begun to close a bit. The AdWords marketplace is now more competitive and crowded and the old optimization strategies no longer have the same dramatic effect as they did in the past. Whereas before, adjusting bids to increase ad rank or tweaking your ad copy to test different messages might have been sufficient and would have shown huge returns, now they represent the minimum efforts necessary to even compete in some markets. So paradoxically, optimizing your account has actually become more challenging because optimizing your account has become easier for the masses.
TMMPDX: In the past Google provided phone support for any advertiser. However, phone support is now only available to advertisers with very large budgets. What advice do you have for smaller advertisers who need help with account optimization?
NL: A lot of the information you need to run a successful AdWords campaign is available online – you just need to dedicate time to finding it. The Adwords Help Center is obviously a great place to start. You can also find some great videos on YouTube that were created by Google and also some pretty good videos by various SEMs and other third parties. Go after the basics first–account structure, keyword lists, ad copy, and basic optimization techniques. Once you have a good handle on those, you can get into the nuanced topics more.
There are also an increasing number of very affordable options for those looking to outsource a bit of the work or get help from experts. For example, right now I’m working as an independent consultant specializing in AdWords. For as little as $150 I provide phone consultations for clients in which I review their account in depth and provide a detailed analysis and list of recommended changes. My goal is to have my clients understand the theory behind AdWords by the end of each call so that they feel empowered to manage their accounts on their own. This is a simple and cost-effective way to make significant improvements to your account. I also help clients with one-time optimizations and individual projects. So for those account owners who aren’t interested in shelling out for expensive monthly management, this is an attractive option.
I think that as Google continues to shift its service model away from smaller advertisers, you’ll see more and more service structures such as mine pop up to fill the void. Outside of that however, small AdWords users are going to have to start educating themselves and take ownership of their own account success.
Category: Google Gossip