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Transcript – Google Ads Recommendations Tab Explained
In this video, we are going to explore the recommendations tab in Google ads in a lot of detail. When you click on a campaign in Google ads, you will notice at the very top of the screen, you will see what’s called a recommendation score. In this video, we’re going to dive in and look at the most common recommendations Google makes on this particular page and you will learn why having an optimization score out of 100 isn’t necessarily what you should be aiming for. We’re going to take a look at all of that, and more in this video coming up.
Hey guys, Darren Taylor of the Bigmarketer.com here, and my job is to make you a better marketer. Now, if that sounds up your street, you should consider subscribing to this channel. In this video, we’re diving into the recommendations tab in Google ads and understanding what some of these recommendations actually are and what they mean and whether or not you should put them into practice. In this particular video, we’re going to look at the five most common recommendations Google makes for campaigns, for search campaigns, in particular.
Let’s start off with the very first recommendation Google often makes. Google often asks you to show up on their partner sites to increase your overall reach. You’ll see this recommendation if you’ve set a campaign up to appear with your ads on Google only.
Now, Google have a number of networks and partner sites that they work with, and of course, those sites aren’t actually Google search. What can happen sometimes is the quality of traffic from those websites is often not as good as on Google directly, which is understandable. Google recommending that you appear on partner sites can be a bit of an issue.
Now, for me, I prefer using data and logic to make decisions in Google ads. By automatically opting into the partner sites, it’s not necessarily doing that because if the traffic quality is lower, your campaign performance is going to suffer, so that’s the reason not to appear on partner sites, but there are some circumstances where it makes sense to increase your overall reach and appear on partner websites.
For example, if you’ve got a campaign where you’ve maximized the budget, set everything to the top limit, you’ve really pushed the boundaries, but you’re not opted into the partner network then it makes sense to opt into it to test to see if you can get additional conversions that are comfortable for you in terms of your overall cost per conversion. It’s a good thing to do to increase the overall reach of your campaigns in the later stages once you’ve pushed every other lever you can in order to increase your campaign performance, but if you have a new campaign and you want to start to hit the ground running, and you want to make sure you maximize that campaign first, I would say don’t go on to the partner site networks. Ignore this recommendation if you fit that category.
Another recommendation Google often makes is that you should use optimized ad rotation. Now, all this means is, if you’ve set your campaigns to optimize and rotate your ads indefinitely, then Google will recommend that you use their algorithms in order for them to decide which one of your ads they should serve to which users performing searches that trigger your ads on Google, which sounds like it’s a logical thing to do, right? Well, not all the ways because from experience, I have set campaigns up from the very beginning using rotating ads by Google’s choice by letting Google optimize the rotation of my ads.
Now, I look at the calls to action and the kind of promotions I put in my ads and I think to myself, “This doesn’t seem right. People will definitely resonate with another particular message on one ad than the other,” but Google kept serving the other ad more often. Even with very little data, the campaign had only been live for a matter of days, so I reverted back to my own choice, which is to rotate indefinitely so Google doesn’t get to choose which one of my ads is showing.
Well, you know what happens next. Google, of course, made a worse decision than I did and the ad that I thought would perform better when rotated indefinitely and evenly with the other ad actually performed better from a click-through rate and the conversion rate perspective. It’s not always something you should do. When should you use this recommendation?
Again, let Google get more data. The more data Google has, the better their algorithms are at determining which ad it should show in favor of another one. If you’ve just started a new campaign, quite often, what I would do is I would rotate indefinitely and see what kind of data I’m getting before letting Google loose because Google claims they can make great decisions with very little data, but from my experience, they don’t.
Don’t rule this option out altogether, make sure you’ve got enough data behind you, maybe let the campaign run for a week or two, and then you can switch to let Google optimize your ad performance as well because it has more data points than you have in your account, so it makes sense to let Google do this as well.
Google will also ask you, if you haven’t already, to create dynamic search ads. Now, a dynamic search ad essentially allows you a landing page for your ads to be chosen by Google based on a crawl of your website. It will look for the most relevant pages across your sites to serve to users based on your ads and keywords. The idea being that Google will find the most relevant page and the user will hit the most relevant page when they perform the search to trigger the ads. It sounds like a good idea, again, like a lot of Google’s recommendations, because you’re technically going to serve the most relevant page on your website to the user.
Now, that’s not always the case. If you have a really small website with very limited service pages, or you provide a single service, or you’ve created a dedicated landing page for paid search in order to maximize your conversions, then don’t use dynamic ads because you can select a better page than Google could. If you’re confident and you can prove with data that the page you’ve created will convert better than any other page on your website, maybe you’ve looked at your Google Analytics, but either way, if you know for sure from conversions and traffic you’re getting that a particular page is performing, then create an ad with that specific final URL, because otherwise, Google might change page and it might choose a different page to the one you prefer and in that scenario, you’re going to miss out on conversions.
If you have a website where you have a ton of inventory, a ton of pages, a ton of services and it can be quite labor-intensive to create ads specifically for each of those pages, then dynamic search ads will be a great idea, because otherwise, it would take too long to set the campaigns up. Actually, Google could probably select the right kind of page for the user.
I would steer clear of this option as a recommendation unless you have a complex and large offering on your websites because then it makes sense to use dynamic search ads. Staying on the subject of ads and the recommendations Google makes, one of the other things they often suggest is that you should try and use responsive search ads. Now, I’ve done a video on responsive search ads in the past, so if you haven’t seen that video, I’ve linked that up for you in the description below to check that out.
In reality, a responsive search ad is a tool that allows Google to optimize ads based on multiple choices of headlines and descriptions. In ideal world, Google will algorithmically determine which combination of headlines and descriptions will provide the best results for the best users on the best devices, and again, this all sounds really positive and really something you should be doing.
However, from my experience, I found that responsive search ads often have a lower click-through rate than my usual regular expanded text ads. Again, I’ve made a video about this, so be sure to check that one out and you will get a good understanding of the data I’ve used and the things I’ve looked at for that particular scenario. Should you abandon responsive search ads altogether? Well, not necessarily. If you can test responsive search ads, and I would advise you definitely test responsive search ads in line with your other expanded text ads in your campaign, if it’s working for you, then definitely go ahead and do it. Put those changes into place, go all-in on responsive search ads, but if they’re not working for you, don’t just use them because Google recommends you should because otherwise, you’re wasting your budget.
Finally, if you’re collecting conversion data in your Google Ads account, it’s very, very likely Google will recommend a Target CPA bidding strategy. Now, like the last point, I also made a video about this too, so be sure to check that one out in the description as well. Ultimately, Target CPA allows Google to algorithmically determine when to show your ads and who to show your ads to and adjust the bids accordingly in order to make sure your conversions meet a certain cost criteria, they stay within a certain cost range.
Now, this again sounds like a great recommendation to make, but ultimately, it depends on how many conversions your account is getting. If you’re running a campaign with low conversions in terms of the volume you’re getting, maybe you’re getting 10 conversions a month, maybe even 20 a month, that isn’t much data for Google to work with.
As much as they claim that they can optimize your campaign better than manual CPC by using Target CPA, it doesn’t always work like that because there’s so little data in order for Google to make the right decisions. You end up either staying on par with manual CPC or your cost-per-conversions just keep going up. That’s something to take into consideration as well. It’s worth testing for a period of time, but you’ll notice as well, with the optimization scores in the recommendations tab, this particular recommendation has usually got the biggest percentage in terms of the positive impact on your optimization score. It seems like something you really need to do, but you shouldn’t always do it. Before you do it, have a look at how many conversions you’re getting. If you’re getting a ton of conversions and it’s still on manual CPC, then yes, it makes sense to move over to a Target CPA strategy.
If on the other hand, you aren’t getting many conversions, then you should stay where you are on manual CPC for now, or maybe even try some of the other strategies as well, if they fit your criteria. I’ve linked some of those up in the description for you as well.
There you have it, they are the five most common recommendations I’ve seen Google Ads make within the recommendations tab. You’ve now got the understanding as to whether you should listen to them or not. Don’t just listen to Google because Google says so. Test, learn, implement, and change and repeat and make sure that you’re doing things that benefit your business not Google’s business.
Thanks for watching this video. If you liked it, please leave a like below. Let me know in the comments if you’re confused by any recommendations you’ve been given by Google, I’ll be more than happy to help you out down there. I pretty much respond to every single comment I get, so hit me up down there below. Don’t forget to check out the other content on my channel, and more important than that, don’t forget to subscribe, and I’ll see you guys on my next video.