002: Manually Automated – Optimizing Bidding in Paid Search Campaigns with Rachael Howle (Office Hours)
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Learn the differences between paid search campaigns with a manual bidding strategy vs an automated (or smart) bidding strategy as we discuss the best methods you can use to optimize your ad spend. Rachael Howle is the Head of Paid Search at Optidge and shares her knowledge and experience utilizing manual bidding strategies and how and when to switch campaigns to automated bidding in Google Ads.
Key Points + Topics
- [1:04] Rachael got her start at the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Kinesiology and Health with a specialization in health promotion. This led to a job at a retirement community’s marketing department, where she was mentored by a woman who opened her eyes to the wide world of marketing. She later took Danny’s PPC and SEO courses in the Master’s course at the University of Houston. In these classes, she fell in love with analytics and optimization. Ultimately, she joined the Optidge team upon graduating and has grown to champion the Paid Search Department.
- [6:52] Manual bidding strategy gives you a lot of control over what you’re bidding on and where you want your money to be spent. Automated bidding utilizes Google’s platform, and you no longer have to go in and manually update keyword bids. It doesn’t control your total daily budget. Google is using its access to even more customer data than even marketers have access to in order to optimize bidding for a given campaign.
- [8:55] There are a few different automated bidding strategies or goals:
- Maximize Clicks
- Target Impression Share
- Target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA)
- Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)
- Maximize Conversions
- Maximize Conversion Value
- [9:52] When our goal is to maximize leads, we have seen great success moving to a Maximize Conversions bid strategy. Before we shift to this automated bidding strategy, we evaluate our “manual bidding” campaigns, looking for certain markers (Ex: 30 conversions within 30 days). If a campaign shows an impression (market) share loss due to budget constraints, Max Conversions is a good strategic move.
- [17:28] There is now a big push from Google to shift to automated bidding. Not everyone is aware of or has access to agencies that manage digital ad campaigns. Google wants to make it easier for those businesses to generate leads for their companies.
- [20:44] There remains a need for human touch with these campaigns. It’s beneficial to have a team constantly looking at your campaigns and ensuring that Google isn’t taking liberties and putting all of your budget on one search term that might not end up converting. It saves things from being lost under the rug. The automation is only part of it; it’s only a tool. You still need to have the master craftsman.
- [22:55] One of the most significant benefits of utilizing an agency to manage your paid search campaigns is the back-end setup and conversion tracking. We ensure that the leads we’re generating truly convert, and then we funnel those conversions back into the Google campaigns to capitalize off that data.
- [24:24] Manual bidding is certainly still worthwhile. When launching a new campaign, we will almost always start with manual bids. It’s important to start where you have control and can choose which keywords you want to focus on and others that might be more top-of-funnel on which you’d like to bid down. You have to teach the machines and AI what’s good and bad. Then you can transition your manual bids to automated strategies.
Guest + Episode Links
Danny Gavin 00:35
Hello everyone. I’m so excited to be here today with Rachael Howle. Rachael is the Head of Paid Search at Optidge. She develops the campaign strategies and analyzes data to optimize Google and Microsoft ad campaigns. Rachael’s fiery passion for helping clients succeed shows up in everything she does. She has a Masters in Marketing from the University of Houston. That’s how I know Rachael, with a certificate in Digital Marketing Management. So welcome, Racahel. How are?
Rachael Howle 01:05
I’m doing really well. How are you?
Danny Gavin 01:07
Good i’m doing really great. I’m so excited for today. All right, so let’s jump right in. So first of all, Rachael, why don’t you tell everyone like how you got into digital marketing? I think that’s important.
Rachael Howle 01:18
Sure so as you mentioned, I went to get my Masters in Marketing from University of Houston and I was getting a certificate in Digital Marketing Management. And with that I was required to take a certain amount of digital marketing courses, one of which was Danny’s PPC and SEO course.
Rachael Howle 01:39
And this course was really insightful for me because it was one of the most tangible courses that I took, and so we were actively working on real life clients, doing work for them.ran a short campaign and I just really fell in love with the analytics and optimization opportunities, things like that. So really decided in that class that I wanted to pursue digital marketing as a career.
Danny Gavin 02:08
Yeah, it’s amazing and it’s so cool where you can actually, right? You go to get a degree and you take classes and you never know like what you’ll run into. And here you found this class that you’re like, wow, this is amazing. That’s what I want to move forward in. And I’m so glad you did. So that’s really cool.
Danny Gavin 02:26
Let’s talk a little bit. You know, obviously you work for Optidge, but you wanna talk a little bit about, you know, as when you decided that you wanted to go into this arena. And started to look for a job. How is that experience?
Rachael Howle 02:41
It was stressful. I would say. It was stressful in the sense of I just, I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to land. And I think that the more jobs you apply for, the more you kind of you redraw applications and you narrow down, OK, maybe this is more of what I want to do versus this, you know, broader job title because there’s a lot of like marketing manager where you’re dabbling in a lot of different areas.
Rachael Howle 03:05
But fortunately for me because this opportunity was presented to me really before I had graduated. I didn’t do a lot of actively applying. It was more just kind of monitoring the different channels of, you know, what jobs are out there and it’s something, what’s interesting, apply. I did interview at a different agency that was very large and that was my first interaction with an agency, and it’s just interesting. I’m, I think I found the right place for myself being in a smaller agency and I really like having the ability to work with the different departments very easily versus the agency I was interviewing was just a bit more siloed because there was such a large, a large agency.
Danny Gavin 03:52
Yeah, I hear that a lot. People who work at very large agencies, they don’t have the opportunity necessarily to learn about the other departments or work with them. So I’m sure that’s a huge and it’s a nice thing to be able to work in a smaller environment and have relationships with people and know what’s going on. That’s really cool.
Danny Gavin 04:10
And one thing that we forgot to talk about is your background. So like where were you coming from before digital marketing, before you’re doing your degree?
Rachael Howle 04:15
Yes. So I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in kinesiology and health with the specialization of health promotion. And that was basically a blend of marketing, public health and communication, and really like what I was dreaming. In undergrad I really wanted to work for the CDC, developing essentially marketing campaigns that, you know, influence people’s health, their decisions that they make about their health. So when I graduated with that, I ended up working at a retirement community and worked in their lifestyles department, which works closely with their marketing department, which is my first time that I really got to interact with, you know, a marketing department in the real world.
Rachael Howle 05:05
There is a lady there who she just kind of took me underneath her wing and was always open to chatting about career opportunities and giving advice. And you know, she just really gave me a positive impression with marketing in general and then ultimately found the marketing program at University of Houston, and just by the comment of a friend, I thought that I was too late to apply for the semester coming up. She’s like I’m pretty sure they’re still taking applications. So I applied and with like 2 weeks within two weeks I was enrolled and going to be starting classes in a month, so.
Danny Gavin 05:40
Wow so it moved really quickly. But that’s awesome that you had that mentor in your previous job who kind of opened up the world of marketing to you and kind of led to where you are today.
Danny Gavin 05:50
So I know like in digital marketing people come from many different backgrounds. So obviously you have a unique background with the connection of like health, science, kinesiology. So when you when you look at where you are today, how do you feel like that foundation which wasn’t a digital marketing, like how did it help you with your success today?
Rachael Howle 06:07
I would say in a few different ways. One, it makes me appreciate what I have because I was really lacking like analytics and numbers and I think I didn’t know that I needed that to be fulfilled. And so, to go from a job where you just really weren’t analyzing or just involved in numbers in any sense, it was really gratifying to have a new job where I was constantly immersed in analytics and data and things like that. And then that’s probably really the biggest, the biggest thing that I appreciate just from that transition over.
Danny Gavin 06:44
And I think that’s an amazing segue to what we’re about to talk today about, right? So we’re here today to talk about the change when it comes to digital ad campaigns and how for a very long time it was all about manual bidding and manual optimizations and changes. Can you share with us the definition and the difference between manual bid strategies and automated bid strategies?
Rachael Howle 07:09
Sure. So a manual bid strategy is where? You can place specific parameters on keywords, demographics, your ads with placement, you want things like that. It’s a very, you have a lot of control over what you’re bidding on, where you want your budget to be spent, things like that, and you are actively telling Google those little details.
Rachael Howle 07:38
An automated strategy Google claims that it takes the heavy lifting out of running a campaign and so they end with an automated strategy. You’re no longer having to go in and manually update keyword bids. Google takes care of that for you it. So it has a lot more control from that aspect it does not control your daily budget to an extent it takes a little bit of liberty there, but I mean as far as your overall budget, it cannot control that, but just it really automates what you’re bidding on as far as search terms and things like that.
Danny Gavin 08:19
Cool so if we were like to take an example, if let’s say I am a travel agent and I am embedding on two keywords Vermont hiking and hiking maps. In a manual bid world, I could say ooh, Vermont hiking. That’s very specific. I wanna spend 10$ a click on that while on hiking maps. That’s kind of general, right? Maybe I only wanna spend a dollar on that.
Danny Gavin 08:44
While in the world of automated bidding, if I have both of those keywords, no longer am I telling Google I want to spend more here, it’s more like it’s up to Google, right? Google has all these keywords. It’s going to figure out based on which one actually generates conversions, where should I spend more money and spend less money.
Danny Gavin 09:02
So now that we understand a little bit more of what automated bid strategies are, what are the different types of automated bid strategies that Google offers?
Rachael Howle 09:10
So there are a handful of automated strategies. You have maximized clicks, you have target impression share. You have target CPA, target ROAS and Maximize Conversions. And then lastly you have maximized conversion value. And then within each of those there are some slight variations.
Rachael Howle 09:33
So for example with maximize conversions you can set a target cost per acquisition and say hey Google I only want to spend $50 per lead and then with maximized conversion value you can set a target return on ad spend where you’re saying like hey, please bring in this X amount, return this percentage back with our conversions.
Danny Gavin 09:57
And I know you deal a lot with lead generation. So when it comes to like lead generation is there a recommended automated bid strategy that one you know should use?
Rachael Howle 10:08
Absolutely so I would say that we have a really had great success moving to maximize conversions that is 9 times out of 10 where we evolve to when we go from manual to an automated bid strategy and we look for certain marks in our campaigns prior to making that change. So the we’re looking to have at least 30 conversions within 30 days approximately. And then also sometimes we’re looking at our loss due to budget and if we’ve lost about 15 to 25 % of our search impression share due to budget maximize conversion conversions is a good bid strategy to move to.
Rachael Howle 10:53
So that’s where we’ve really settled. But we of course have experimented with other types of automated strategies you know the Maximize conversion value like you mentioned. We’re doing regeneration, so that’s a bit trickier. However, there’s still a place for it with lead gen. Even in the cases with clients where we really have no idea what form lead could what the potential revenue that could be, we still assign it a certain value in Google ads and say, hey Google, this is our top priority conversion. If you can generate this for us, then that’s absolutely what you should prioritize. And then from there, we track many other types of conversions and will tear down the value associated with them to tell Google that they’re a lower priority, but they’re still a part of the funnel.
Rachael Howle 11:49
We have one client that has a really long funnel for converting a lead into. And ultimate purchase and it’s completely lead gen. However, there is a very just bottom of the funnel conversion that we really want to get and we were on maximize conversions for quite a while with those campaigns. However, we had added in the conversion values tearing those out and telling Google what our priorities were while we were in maximize conversions. And basically that allowed all of the conversions that we generated while we were just in maximized conversions setting.
Rachael Howle 12:27
Google could learn from that and we eventually evolved to maximize conversion value and we saw in that bottom that ultimate conversion that we were looking for. And so that one isn’t always, we don’t always move to that, but we have seen success in certain situations like that where there are a lot of conversions and we really want to track all of them. But we do have like the ultimate goal that we want people to accomplish.
Danny Gavin 12:56
Yeah, and I think that’s so refreshing because I remember like doing Google ad campaigns 10 years ago and it was like you could only like really choose like 1 main conversion, right? And so you have to figure it out, you know?
Danny Gavin 13:08
So like if you’re a pure ecommerce website, you know, then I know it’s the purchase, right? But when it’s a little bit, OK, I’ve got these phone calls, these forms. Like which one should I choose? Should I group them all together? Like now you can look at all of them. But like you said, by strategically adding values, if you don’t have the real values, you can like mold it into like that perfect right recipe, right? And then really let Google understand which conversions to focus on and which ones are more important. Like if it’s gonna go out and buy conversions, I’d rather you get those guys than these. But if you can only find those number twos, that’s better than the number three.
Rachael Howle 13:45
Absolutely. And then I think that the other thing that we consider fairly frequently is that clients come to us with certain terms or phrases or even just their brand name and say, hey, we need to absolutely own these terms. And so oftentimes we will use target impression share and you can change that from just top of page to absolute top of page where you’re showing at the very top and get really aggressive with those terms.
Rachael Howle 14:16
And so in some situations that has proven to be successful. However in other situations you know in that case Google is literally just looking at what it needs to do to get you to the top. Sometimes that is not what you really need and. You want to consider moving to a strategy that has that takes in more data points in its consideration with your bids.
Rachael Howle 14:44
And so we had a client, a SaaS client, a software as a service and they were we were being really aggressive with a couple of different terms and it just ultimately was not generating the conversions that justified that aggressive of a strategy and so we moved to a maximize conversion bid strategy where Google takes into account a bit more data points on the back end and we saw a lift in conversions with that evolution.
Danny Gavin 15:16
I like to say that target impression share is only, it was only created for those CEO’s who are really particular about every time they open up Google, they want to see their name all the way at the top. Now, does that make sense? Not always, but at least for those guys they have. You know, there’s a there’s something for you.
Rachael Howle 15:35
So when I was going through the different automated bid strategies, the one that I did not speak about was maximized clicks. And this is something that we have just never really dabbled with until more recently when we’ve had some clients where we’ve consistently seen spend in different demographics that do not make sense for that client.
Rachael Howle 15:57
So for example like an 18 to 24 age range when you’re targeting you know older adults and it just no 18 to 24 year old would be converting there and so apparently you can still use many different demographic fit adjustments on a maximize clicks conversion, so I could still bid heavily down on that younger age range when I have a much older target audience. And so my coworker just did an experiment where she used the maximize clicks conversion strategy or bid strategy and it did not prove to be successful. She just got a bunch of clicks and it was a great CP or it was good click through rate, it was a good just all of the data look great, but there were no conversions. So what does that get you?
Rachael Howle 16:47
So she went back to a manual bid strategy and then is moving to a different automated bid strategy after giving it some time. But that’s the first time we’ve ever tested it.
Rachael Howle 16:57
And so I have a client where it’s a similar circumstance where there’s just a certain demographic where it just does not make sense for Google to target them whatsoever. And so as of today, I’ve just changed it to maximize clicks and we will see if we can generate some conversions over the next couple of weeks with that bid strategy and while incorporating demographic bit adjustments.
Danny Gavin 17:21
And what I love about it is this is a perfect example of being in the business for five years, but still having these exciting things that you can test and try. And you know, like every new client, every new campaign is another, like conquest of climbing a mountain.
Danny Gavin 17:37
And there’s a big push from Google and just in general to focus a lot more on automation and AI. So especially now, how much you love data, let’s talk about this. So why don’t you tell everyone, just like the changes like the past five years you’ve been working in kind of this change from manual to automation.
Rachael Howle 17:58
Sure. So when I started working in Google ads, we had so much control, I mean just down to the price that you were willing to bid on a single click. You could, you could manage that, connect down to the scent almost and you could fine tune your ad groups to where you would bid on one specific phrase and you would pay this much for that phrase and you it was just very granular and then.
Rachael Howle 18:27
Over the past five years, we’ve slowly lost that control and so it has now evolved to where you could have theory. Just turn on a campaign and Google will take advantage of everything from your keyword bids to your you know when it needs to be bidding up for certain audiences or time of days, things like that. So it’s almost done a one eighty very quickly.
Danny Gavin 18:54
So why do you think Google is going in this direction? Why is it so important for them to try to make things as automated as possible?
Rachael Howle 19:00
So there are a few big reasons that Google touts for these changes. One is that it’s easier, right? And it makes it more manageable. Not everyone has access or even knows that their agencies that can manage them campaigns like this. And so if you are a small business and need to run these campaigns for yourself, then Google’s intention is to make it very easy for you to generate leads for your company.
Rachael Howle 19:30
Secondly, you get access through these automated bid strategies to a different a bunch of different additional contextual points that Google has access to, right? So me looking at the Google ad screen I can see, you know, aged gender demographics. But Google is collecting all of this data in the background about user behavior and things like that and can make more intelligent decisions of when you should be bidding up or bidding down. And by you, I mean Google will be doing that for you, bidding up for bidding down and therefore is in theory using your budget in a wiser way because it sees more than you do.
Danny Gavin 20:12
Interesting so basically, you know, for your second point you’re basically saying that, you know, Google has a lot more data than like we do, and therefore technically, if we allow them to pull all the different levers, they can do a really good job. That sounds awesome. Sounds like you have to have a little bit of trust and faith in Google, but it sounds a little bit scary on the agency side, right?
Danny Gavin 20:32
So you’re basically saying, ooh, Google is starting to do all these things without. So, you know what, why would you still need an agency? What’s required if a lot of the things that are being done are going to be automated?
Rachael Howle 20:43
So there is, you know, I guess everything that I just said. And then there’s the reality of what that comes with. And there is definitely the need for human touch with these campaigns. It’s good to have somebody you know from an agency or have a team constantly looking at your campaigns, making sure that Google’s not taking liberties, like bidding 200$ for one search term that it feels is just the best search term. And then to see that it doesn’t convert any spent, you know, a significant amount of money on just a single click really.
Rachael Howle 21:20
And that’s a huge benefit of having, again, a team where people are looking at that and that doesn’t get tossed under the rug. And we have the tools and the strategies to adjust for that and monitor that over the course of the campaign.
Danny Gavin 21:38
So it sounds like there’s certain things that Google automates, right? But if you don’t have the right person pulling the levers, pushing Google in the right direction then Google can really go off.
Danny Gavin 21:50
And I think I’ve seen it before like with some of you know I think it’s called like smart campaigns right where it’s like you know a local business can go you know put their budget say what they do and then just like hope that things happen. And that’s like a good example where kind of like you let Google do everything on its own. Often those sort of campaigns don’t really do too well. But in this. in our case where we’re talking about you know large and technical Google ad campaigns, that automation’s there, but it’s only a part of it. It’s still just like another tool. You still need to have that master craftsman who’s putting everything together.
Rachael Howle 22:26
Exactly, exactly. And I would say that there’s called the service level, right, that’s just in the Google ads platform, right. Like we are toggling things such as budget. We are managing the organization of the campaigns to ensure that the budget is being sent to the proper places. We can see where. We need to adjust because other areas are receiving too much budget. We are ensuring that search terms, the search terms that we’re showing for are appropriate and you know, have a good potential of generating leads or they are generating leads and we need to drive more of those leads. But then and I would say that this is the biggest benefit of having an agency, there’s all of the back end conversion tracking and really ensuring that, you know, anyone can see that you’re generating leads.
Rachael Howle 23:18
But on the other hand, who’s ensuring that those leads actually convert? What’s the revenue associated with those leads? Can you funnel that information back into Google ads to better inform your campaigns? And again, that’s really taking advantage of the automated aspect of Google, but it’s a very manual process of working with the sales teams and getting that information, making sure you’re funneling back into the account and again. To better informing Google in its decision making.
Danny Gavin 23:49
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s like a topic for a whole, another topic for another conversation of like how you know, running Google ads is only half the equation, right? What happens to the leads afterwards and finding a way to look at that, analyze it and then bring it back into the campaign. And that’s once again that’s where an individual or an agency who works on the campaign is going to be able to add so much more value.
Danny Gavin 24:13
So automated bidding or automated campaigns sounds pretty exciting and enticing. So does it still make sense to do manual bidding where you set up a campaign and you have your keywords and you actually say, OK, this keyword I want to be $2 and this keyword I want $4. Does it make sense to do manual bidding anymore?
Rachael Howle 24:35
Absolutely, and there are a couple of different scenarios that pop in the mind. Just an obvious answer. One, to use manual bidding number one is when you are just launching a campaign and this is, it’s just important to start out where you have control. You really can tell Google, hey these keywords I want to bid X amount, but maybe there are some other, say top of funnel keywords that you’re not willing to spend. You know 10 dollars a click and so you want to bid. Put on those, you also get insight into and I mean you would get this with an automated bid strategy too, but when you’re seeing the age ranges or the household income or demographics, you’re able to manually adjust the demographic bids that you’re saying, hey, this age range is. We should be bidding up for them because they’re converting really well and having that control in so many different ways is important because in order to move into automated bidding, you want to achieve a high number of conversions in a short amount of time.
Rachael Howle 25:42
There is you know, I would say that 30 conversions and 30 days is kind of the statement that people will make of when you want to start considering moving into an automated bid strategy and. Just as your campaign gets started, you having the control right away. It can be more efficient with how you use your budget and help generate those conversions quicker. So you can then move into the automated bid strategy.
Rachael Howle 26:09
So that’s the 1st way that you would use a manual bid strategy.
Rachael Howle 26:13
The second and this is would say a little bit more stressful way is when you move into an automated bid strategy and you’re not seeing the success that you’re hoping to and. You can test different automated bid strategies and sometimes it’s just you need to go back to square one and you need to get that control back. And so we’ve taken campaigns off of different bid strategies or automated bid strategies and move them back to manual and gotten that control back, really just worked at that granular level that we need and to better control cost per clicks and where a budget is being spent. And have then been able to move those campaigns back into automated bid strategies and seeing success from them.
Danny Gavin 27:04
Yeah, and that like brings up so many powerful points. Like number one it sounds like you’re recommending that in every scenario, it’s good to start off with manual bidding first. And then second of all, like as I think in marketing in general, like, you know, if someone said that something, you know works for my business, even if you’re in the same industry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to work for someone else’s business. So same thing with here, right? Like it could be that automatic bidding campaigns and strategies work really well for one campaign or one business, but for someone else it doesn’t. So you kind of have to try it, right?
Rachael Howle 27:38
Absolutely. It’s definitely worth testing, but it’s worth testing when your campaigns are ready for them to be testing rather than just jump right into them. So again, the 30 conversions and 30 days, that’s probably a really conservative estimate. I wouldn’t say really conservative. It is conservative because we have moved to automated bidding with fewer than 30 conversions in 30 days and seeing success, but we’re still looking at maybe the past 60 days have we received. 30 to 40, maybe 50 conversions like you’re just shy of that thirty conversion and 30 days. Time frame, and again, it’s just being conscious of when it’s the right time to move.
Danny Gavin 28:23
And I think it’s important to remind people like when we talk about automated strategies and AI, you know, there’s this concept of you have to teach the machine and the computer like what’s good and what’s bad. And therefore if I can create a situation through manual bidding and creating a campaign to show like what’s good and what’s bad. Google is going to be able to take that information and be successful a lot quicker.
Danny Gavin 28:48
However, if you just start off with Google, like totally being automated and doing everything that it needs to, you know it may go around the world 10 times before it figures out what’s right or wrong. And therefore it’s kind of like, we’re not saying that automated is bad, but it’s like if I want the automated to work better I have to feed it the right info and through those manual bids first we actually help the AI and automation go quicker.
Rachael Howle 29:17
Danny Gavin 29:19
So is there ever a scenario where it’s like the manual bidding is going so well that you don’t want to switch it?
Rachael Howle 29:27
Absolutely It’s difficult to make that decision because you know that you have the control. It’s really nice because you can still maybe exclude different audiences or demographics that are just underperforming for whatever reason. They’re just not getting a CPA that you’re wanting and it’s really hard to give up that control just knowing that Google can spend. Across anyone everything and just do what it wants with your budget. However, I don’t think that it’s good practice or best practice as an agency to hold on to manual bidding as a crutch.
Rachael Howle 30:07
It’s important to lean into what Google offers because, you know, it’s just important to evolve with the platform and it has proven so far as we lean into these changes to be successful for many clients. And it’s still nice to have that crutch. You can always go back to manual reset yourself and try again.
Danny Gavin 30:31
So it sounds like in digital marketing in general, but specifically when it comes to Google ads, that you have to be open to change, right? If you’re, if you’re stuck with how you were used to doing things five years ago, you might not be able to do a good job anymore. I know that we’ve spoken about in the past, but like, you know, when you’re looking to hire people and you know, people are talking about strategies that were like from three, four five years ago. I know that like, that really bothers us, right?
Rachael Howle 30:59
Yeah it just thinks that it’s not a stagnant field. And if you’re in digital marketing and you’re passionate about it, I think that’s probably a number one reason of why you like it so much like for myself. Because I want to speak for everyone, but what I really like about it is that it’s constantly evolving and there’s constantly a challenge that I’ve been working in Google ads for all going on five years now. And they’re still you’re uncovering different ways that you can be importing conversions to report on revenue and things like that are just there’s so many ways to I guess, dive deeper rather than go wider.
Rachael Howle 31:40
And so when you’re hiring and fighting, people speak to, just really, you know, strategies that are a few years old. I guess it’s concerning as a team lead, I want everyone on my team to be excited about the change. Willing to learn about the change. Digging in to learn more about the opportunities with Google ads. And so that’s important to stay up to date.
Danny Gavin 32:06
Because it’s changing so much, you gotta keep your eye out on it. And I always like to tell people, you know, part of your day should just be, you know, twenty thirty minutes every morning. Just see what’s going on and just being involved in the conversation. It makes you stay up to date and to be a lot more successful.
Danny Gavin 32:25
I’d love to go into like a case study or just an example. Do you have a good example of an automated bidding strategy that you’ve done that has like done really well? Would love to know.
Rachael Howle 32:35
So I would say that almost all of our, I don’t want to say all but it’s very close to all of our accounts have had a successful had some version of a successful automated strategy. Some of them are absolutely just take off running. We have a client who’s in the energy sector and we just very quickly on the manual bidding strategy generated a large number of leads but then once we switched to automated bidding, it just really took off and has been so successful and that’s just over the course of about three months.
Rachael Howle 33:15
So you’ll see campaigns that have just really taken off like that. One of my favorite automated strategy, just kind of, I guess stories or anecdotes would be we have a client who’s a lawyer and the leads that we are generating for him were the highest quality when they were generated via chat. Not forms, not phone calls, and just chat. And so our we are having issues with integrating the chat. And so for a while we were just tracking people who clicked on the chat. So it wasn’t very insightful. It was difficult to say that these campaigns were really. The reason for the lift in quality chart conversions. But ultimately we were able to figure out how to finally pull in a conversion that had like we received an email right, so we got a contact and we can say that those were quality leads, however, when we were in. So because we have that email, conversion we ended up making that our primary conversion and because the clicks were not very insightful, that became a secondary conversion and basically we threw that out the window.
Rachael Howle 34:30
However, because we received a much fewer number of actual email received conversions, it actually made more sense to, on an automated bidding strategy, have the clicks as the primary conversion, but we reported on the email, conversions if that makes sense. And because we were able to generate so many more conversions, if you will, via clicks, it drove a higher number of email conversions than it did when we were fully optimizing on generating emails via chat.
Danny Gavin 35:06
That is amazing and like blows my mind, right? And just like reword it would be you were optimizing on a higher funnel conversion right? Just people clicking on a chat button? But by using that data you were actually able to generate more lower funnel conversions of people actually reaching out than if you would have been focusing on the lower funnel in the 1st place.
Danny Gavin 35:32
A similar example to that would be an ecommerce right? Instead of optimizing on purchases, you optimize on the add to carts and by optimizing the add to carts you actually get more purchases. That is so cool, but that’s like such a creative way of looking at it and it’s cool because moving into that automated bid strategy, you switched it up. But through that you were like, it’s like a double win. That’s so cool.
Rachael Howle 35:58
Yes, absolutely. But I would say that if you are looking for an agency, it’s really important that it is communicated to you that you’re not just getting clicks reported, you’re actually measuring the leads that are coming in with that.
Danny Gavin 36:12
Yeah, we find that a lot, right, agent, not all agencies, but there are some agencies that don’t even set up. Conversions and they don’t set up. Ok, what is that final goal? They’ll just say look how many times your ad showed up, or look how many times people clicked on the ad. You know sometimes that can be valuable in a branding perspective.
Danny Gavin 36:34
But most businesses when they go in are looking to do Google ads or Microsoft ads, it’s because they want actual actions to occur. And yes, very important to make sure that that’s what you’re getting when you’re paying for that.
Rachael Howle 36:48
Absolutely, and I would still argue that there’s a place for conversion tracking if you’re doing a branded strategy. Don’t think that you should ever just be optimizing on clicks, even if you’re just looking for a brand lift.
Danny Gavin 36:59
I’ll definitely agree with you on that is the right, that is the right decision, the right set up all the time. Wonderful.
Danny Gavin 37:07
Well, Rachel, thank you so much for coming today. Before we end our chat, we like to do this with all of our guests, but it’s like the lightning round. We just want to see what you’re into, what you’re interested in, and any good recommendations for our listeners.
Danny Gavin 37:19
So let’s talk about your top books that you have been involved in, you know, reading. I know you always tell me about like that stack of books that’s next to your bed. So what are the top you recommend?
Rachael Howle 37:33
Oh boy, I’m glad you’re asking about books and not TV shows, because then I would be hard pressed. So I recently read a book called ‘We Had a Little Real Estate Problem’ and it was really interesting. I I’ve lived in a couple places where Native American influence is pretty, it’s high, and this book just gives you through the lens of comedy in the history of Native Americans involved in comedy. Just kind of the history of Native Americans in general and it was very eye opening book.
Rachael Howle 38:05
After that is on a totally different note. It was ‘Project Hail Mary’. It’s bit of a sci-fi and I’m not a sci-fi reader but that is a it’s been a great book really enjoyed that.
Danny Gavin 38:22
Wonderful thank you for those recommendations. So how can people get in touch with you if they’re interested in learning more about Google ads or just your transition and being so successful in the digital marketing world?
Rachael Howle 38:36
Well I would say if you’re interested in learning more about marketing then you could always reach out to me either through the Optidge website or on LinkedIn. Rachael Howle. And you can always email Optidge.com.
Danny Gavin 38:49
Wonderful. Thank you so much.Such an insightful conversation today and hope to have you back soon.
Danny Gavin 38:56
Thank you for listening to the digital Marketing Mentor podcast. Be sure to check us out online at thedmmentor.com and at TheDMMentor on Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts for more marketing mentor magic. See you next time.
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