Marketing & Media trends

More Articles


  • Listen to podcasts
  • Download BizTakeouts Mobi App
Advertise on Bizcommunity

Subscribe to industry newsletters

3 half-truths that Google tells their Google Ads customers

As a digital marketing agency, we understand that Google Ads is one of the most versatile digital marketing tools out there, and the potential is there to grow your business significantly. But, as a Google Ads agency that's been working with the product since 2012, we've seen through some of the half-truths Google's been selling lately.
Anyone can do Google Ads

Yes, anyone can do Google Ads; in the same way that anyone can represent themselves in court – it’s not recommended, and it’ll only work if you have some training before attempting it.

It is important to realise that Google Ads is a technical tool that you apply to marketing principles to drive specific results. Therefore, the outcome will only be as good as the input.

The recommendation

Complete a Google Ads training course online or in a classroom setting, where you can pick an expert’s brain about the right solution for your business. With time, practice and patience you’ll be able to grow your business with this remarkable product.

You have full control over your budget (Part 1)

To a certain extent, you do. You can set your daily budget to R100, but if Google’s algorithm believes that you’ll get better results on a specific day, your campaign can spend up to four times your daily budget.

Google defines this as Overdelivery:

“Overdelivery can help make up for days when traffic is slow, and your ads don't get as much exposure. Here's how: to make sure that you don't miss showing your ads on a popular day, Google might use more of your budget on some days and less on other days. When this happens, your total daily cost could be up to 2 times your average daily budget for Search campaigns and up to 4 times your daily budget for Smart campaigns*.”

To be fair, Google adds the following caveat on Overdelivery:

“However, our system makes sure that after an entire month of service, you're never charged more than your monthly charging limit -- the average number of days in a month (30.4) multiplied by your average daily budget.”

But, if you’ve only set up your campaign to run for 2 weeks, there is a high probability that Google will blow your budget in the first week.

The recommendation

Don’t use Google Ads Express, and create your campaigns with a start and an end date with a “Campaign Budget” instead of a Daily Budget. This will tell Google that you only have X budgeted for a 2-week period.

You Have Full Control Over Your Budget (Part 2)

In addition to Google’s Overdelivery policy, the Google Ads billing system has removed the option to make manual payments.

Manual Payments” is a payment setting in which you pay for your advertising costs before your ads run. Then, as your ads run, your costs are deducted from the payment you've made.

With this payment setting you could load R5,000, knowing that you’ll only spend R5,000.

With “Automatic Payments” you first accrue advertising costs, then have those costs automatically charged to your credit card. If you use this option, you’ll be charged 30 days after your last automatic charge or whenever your account reaches your payment threshold.

Here’s how this can be problematic

Let’s say you’ve budgeted R5,000 for the month and set your daily budget to R165 per day (5,000/30.4).

The first two weeks of the month, your advertising spend averages around the R165 per day mark, and your total spend amounts to R2,310. But, let’s imagine that in week three, there’s a sudden increase in the search volumes for your keywords.

Google decides that it will be beneficial to spend two to four times your daily budget because it will improve your campaign’s performance. Within week three, Google can spend two to four weeks’ worth of budget and continue running your ads until they reach the R5,000 threshold. Once they’ve reached the threshold, they can automatically deduct money from your credit card.

The recommendation

If possible, work with a Google Ads agency who will invoice you for your Google Ads budget. Larger agencies have a line of credit with Google, which gives them the option to load a fixed budget for your campaigns.

If it isn’t possible, set up a daily reminder to check your campaign spend and manage this manually.

Google Ads Express/Smart Campaigns works well for small businesses

If saving time is the goal for small businesses, then yes, Google Ads Express/Smart Campaigns works well for small businesses.

However, if getting leads and sales from your marketing budgets matters more, then these campaign types fall short.

Google Ads Express/Smart Campaigns accounts are campaign options driven by Google’s artificial intelligence (AI). In principle, it sounds great, because you can setup a campaign with a few clicks, and Google’s AI will do the heavy lifting.

But by choosing this option, you’ll be giving control to Google’s AI in the following ways:
  • Negative keywords – you’ll be unable to exclude certain keywords (like “jobs”, “free” and “tutorial”) when setting up your campaigns. In other words, you’ll likely have more job seekers calling your business than actual sales leads.
  • Ad scheduling – Your ads will run 24/7, which isn’t very beneficial if you have a limited budget. If you don’t set up ad scheduling, your ad budget might be spent by 10am thanks to 1am idle clickers.
  • Network placements – Your ads won’t only appear on Google Search, but also on the Display Network. Though neither of these networks are bad on their own, once they’re combined, it’s a spray-and-pray approach instead of a targeted, strategic marketing campaign.
The recommendation

When creating your Google Ads account, you’ll be given the option to “Switch to Expert Mode”. Select this option and create a Search or a Display campaign, depending on your business goals.

In summary: Should you avoid Google Ads completely?

The answer here is a resounding NO! Google Ads is a powerful marketing platform, and the best lead-generating tool available.

But like all tools you need to understand how to use it, which comes through training, practice and patience, or you need to employ a professional who knows how to use it.

If you need training, you can book a session or if you’d prefer letting an expert help, you can contact Starbright for a quote.

Don't miss BizTrendsLive!2020, a showcase of the biggest trends shaping our region!


Read more: Google Ads, Starbright