Google AdWords Support – Help or Hindrance?
Working for a small agency is great. We have some great niche clients that allow us to really sink our teeth into all of the new products and tools Google can throw at us.
The only downside of being a smaller agency is that our clients’ PPC budgets are large but not large enough to secure the top level of support from Google that I have been lucky enough to experience when working with big name brands with very large budgets.
When I started in this industry some 8 years ago our agency had a dedicated account manager that we could turn to for all of our problems on new and old accounts. A keyword query here, an ad approval there. Nothing was too much trouble.
Oh, how times have changed…
AdWords support for small agencies
Now, as an official Google Partner, we do have a dedicated account manager. Great! Well actually they can only help with new accounts. Hmm… Not so great.
Google has provided a solution though, for existing accounts we have a team of specialists on hand in the form of the Google Support team. Imagine that, a whole team of specialists sat in call centres around the UK, Ireland and the World just waiting to answer our call and come to the rescue. If only real life was like the superhero comic books…
For me this simply isn’t the case. I see the Google Support Team as more of a hindrance than a help and try never to call them. Why is that? Well, let me tell you about the last few calls that I have made to the Google Support Team/Specialists/Superheroes and you might understand.
I don’t often have to call the support team as I have pretty much seen everything in the time I have been working with AdWords and, if it is something I haven’t seen then the huge number of blog and forum posts available can usually get us back on the right track. However there are some instances when only a call to a specialist will do… or so I thought.
Support call #1 – Google Shopping campaigns
In this first scenario a client had moved to from PLA to Shopping campaigns – way before the deadline for forced migration – and things were going swimmingly until one day everything pretty much stopped. I tried everything I could to determine what the issue was, checked all of the settings, looked for known issues online and I simply couldn’t resolve the situation myself. So, I took a deep breath and dialled a specialist.
I ran through all of the details with the agent and made it clear that there was only one campaign running and that it was targeting all products through the feed. There was some toing and froing over email as the agent reviewed all of the account details to determine what the issue was. The advice I was provided? Set the campaign to high priority.
As it turned out whatever the issue was resolved itself within a few hours but I wasn’t happy with the advice I had been given as I knew it was incorrect.
To make sure I wasn’t going to make myself look stupid I double checked Google’s help pages. They tell us that the priority is set to ‘low’ as a default on all campaigns and that we should look to change this to ‘medium’ or ‘high’ when the same product is included in more than one campaign and we don’t necessarily want bid price to be the determining factor in which campaign serves which product in the SERPs.
As this is the case why would a Google agent be telling me this will solve the problem of my one and only Shopping campaign?
I decided to ask the powers that be:
— Google AdWords (@adwords) August 22, 2014
And lo and behold they confirmed what I knew all along.
Customer service 101
What is disappointing that Google doesn’t seem to be tackling the issues head on. I didn’t receive a response to my next tweet:
@adwords As I thought, so I wonder why one of your advisers told me to set my one and only shopping campaign to high to improve performance?
— Lisa Weaver (@wylekit) August 22, 2014
Maybe this is an isolated incident I hear you cry. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
Support call #2 – tracking issues
Not long after the first issue I had to call the specialists at Google again with regards to a tracking issue we were seeing with a (different) client’s Shopping campaign. Conversions were being recorded in AdWords but absolutely no data was pulling through into Google Analytics and we couldn’t determine where the issue was.
The client’s feed management company had run all of their checks and said there was nothing wrong at their end so it must be something to do with Google.
I called the team and explained, in depth, the issues that we were experiencing. The agent came back to me to advise that the client needed to upgrade to Universal Analytics in order for this issue to be resolved.
I queried this, as at no point did they refer to having reviewed the feed and I was sure this was where the error was, but they simply told me that this was the only solution. Now, we have a number of ecommerce clients, all of which use the Shopping campaigns and not all of them have upgraded to UA, none of them were experiencing the same issue. This started alarm bells ringing, but surely Google couldn’t be wrong a second time.
After further investigation we determined that there was in-fact a tiny formatting issue with the feed that was preventing the data pulling into GA, nothing to do with needing to upgrade to Universal Analytics at all.
This one’s for the little guy
While I was pleased that we had resolved the issue it was with a tinge of sadness that the service Google provides to smaller agencies and standalone clients really doesn’t appear to be at the level that it should be.
I am lucky that I have been doing this for long enough to trust my instincts and challenge what the ‘experts’ tell me but for those PPC execs and account managers that are still relatively new to the game it’s a different kettle of fish.
With all of the money that Google generates through its paid search platform you would think that they would really be focussed on providing a quality service to the teams of people out there that manage accounts. We shouldn’t have to ‘Google’ our problems and questions to trawl through blog posts and forums to find the answers we are looking for, we should be confident about calling the support team and that they will give us the right answer first time.
Surely that isn’t too much to ask?
Have you had trouble with Google’s AdWords support team? Tell us about your customer service experience in the comments below.