I find this disgusting, but it takes two to tango.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the biggest conflict of interest in the PPC world right now… one that very few Google advertisers know about. 

Let me explain…

Google has a program where agencies are allowed to call themselves “Google partners.”

But, that program – like any deal with any devil – comes at a cost.

The most insidious of these is that the agency has to “optimise” accounts according to Google’s guidelines.

Why is this a problem?

These “guidelines” are designed to suck the money out of your wallet

I’ve been writing about this for the best part of 10 years: Google is NOT your friend.

I wish they were. I wish Google took the view that, the more advertisers succeed, the more money Google will make long-term. 

But they don’t. Instead, they’re focused on getting advertisers to spend as much as possible.

I think it’s dumb. But, given it’s been going on for 10 years, I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

So how does Google do this?

  • It gives advertisers terrible advice – advice it calls “recommendations.” (And phone calls from “strategists” who are nothing more than commission salespeople.)
  • It takes away options that would allow advertisers to opt-out of low-quality traffic. 
  • And, bit-by-bit, it’s reduced the control you have over your keywords…to the point where exact and phrase match are now just versions of broad match.
  • But, perhaps worst of all, if someone creates a Google Ads account, the default settings are set to what’s best for Google – and terrible for the advertiser.

That’s why, when we professionals create campaigns, the first thing we do is change the settings. We change the bid option, the location options (the best setting is hidden), the ad settings…

We dump that rubbish.

Or, at least, we do if we’re independent. 

Why Google “Partners” shouldn’t be trusted

As an independent, I work for my clients. End of story. No conflict of interest.

For those in the belly of the beast… it’s a different story.

You see, they love to trade off their status as “Google partners.”

(BTW, being a “partner” means you get to call yourself a “partner,” you don’t get any special inside track – but it sounds impressive.)

And Google knows this. And is making them dance for their suppers.

Google tells them, if they don’t set their client’s accounts to Google’s preferred settings, Google will take away their partner status.

Yes, the very same “preferred” settings that, for the last 14 years, PPC insiders have always opted out of.

When this was introduced (I first heard about it last year), a few agencies walked away from the partner program.

I think that shows integrity.

But most have stayed. They know the price is that they have to act against their clients’ best interests, but stayed anyway.

I think that’s shoddy.

And they can complain as much as they want. They can accuse Google of being unreasonable. But, as I said, it takes two to tango…

Steve Gibson

Categories: google