Back in 1999, we beta tested for a new site called Google a soon-to-be-released advertising program – the modern day Google AdWords. At the time, it was really just testing brand keywords, product-based keywords, some really broad-based keywords (And I mean broad! think super broad – like “dog” or “moon” when your product was a collectible coin!) and ultimately some ad copy. Over the years, AdWords added features and options and continued to improve its user interface for the hands-on marketer really positioning itself as THE place to spend your ad dollars if you were the little guy working for a competitive advantage.
Fast forward to modern day marketing, where Google Adwords has made even the original PPC Search Engine Goto.com (renamed Overture before being acquired by Yahoo) non-existent and forced the likes of Yahoo search and Bing search to combine technologies in order to gain even a minuscule slice of the Search industry (at present – Google owns over 91% of the worldwide search market!). With this huge market share in the search industry, Google has had a gradual change over the years to keeping an eye on the promotion of the larger businesses. That’s not to say they have turned a blind eye on what got them there, but I challenge you to spend less than $10 million annually and have a direct contact that works for Google right here in the United States. Google is not a not-for-profit organization, and therefore, they need to focus their efforts on scale. So where am I going with this history of search lesson?
Over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed a huge trend in what I call dumbing down the Google interface. Yes, there are a lot more analytical tools and a lot more functionality, but at it’s core, Google Adwords is allowing you to actually do less and less. I’ve been screaming that Google thinks we’re stupid – as every change they make seems to limit the ability of the little guy to actually market. Changes have been as subtle as them automatically adding keywords, or automatically adding a dynamic creative image that they believe draws more attention to your ad – or simply to eliminating a number of settings check boxes. As these changes have continued, I’ve begun to realize it’s less about Google thinking we’re stupid, and more about Google thinking the majority of the marketers and their agencies are lazy. The changes being made should have a positive impact on your campaigns, but the fact that someone out there isn’t already making this effort and these changes tells me that the industry as a whole has gotten lazy, and therefore, Google needs to make the changes for you in order to grow your revenue. As these changes come out – I’m going to highlight the laziness in the industry – so feel free to subscribe to this blog and changes, and we’ll update them as we see them. But here’s the first one you need to be aware of that we received notice on last night:
Google AdWords Change Effective Date: April 29, 2018 – Automatically Apply Ad Suggestions
According to the notice, you’re going to start seeing ad suggestions on the recommendations page in your Adwords user interface. You’ll have the option to manually apply them, or dismiss them. HOWEVER – if you don’t do anything within 14 days of their notice, the ads that Google created for you, without any copyright review, legal review or even any idea of your brand positioning will AUTOMATICALLY BE ENABLED. While we understand that Google’s position is that you should be trying to improve your ad copy (which in turn generates more revenue for Google), we also don’t see how this should or could be legal. The ads will obviously be dynamically generated based on algorighm’s, but what happens if they post something that you can’t deliver – or worse yet, has been shut down due to litigation that they are unaware of. Who is liable now? Well – the reality of this situation is, only the lazy marketer will truly be affected by this – because if you’re not in your AdWords account daily, then you probably should be happy that they’re trying to make you better. That said, we’d like to see recommendations – but not have them go active until approved – so we’ll just watch how this plays out. But just know, at the end of April, Google may be looking to change your ad content, so keep a close eye.
Update April 5th, 2018 to Google AdWords Ad Suggestions auto apply. Google has now made it so you can disable this functionality. It is still the default for your account, so you’ll need to go into your account settings, and select the account settings tab (it’s not campaign specific) and click on the Ad suggestions option. From there, select the 2nd radio button that says “Don’t automatically apply ad suggestions”. You’ll still receive ad suggestions from Google – they just now won’t automatically apply after 14 days. What’s funny is they also NOW ask you why you chose to disable, and you can select from things like “I want more control” to “legal”, etc… So at least they got the message loud and clear!