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Transcript: Google Campaign Explanations SUCK!
Previously, Google have said they want to provide advertisers with explanations as to what’s going on within their campaign. If a campaign, for example, goes from 300 clicks one week down to 200 clicks the next week, ideally, Google want to be able to tell you exactly why that has happened. Google have released a feature in beta called “Campaign Explanations,” where they hope to do just that.
“Campaign Explanations” are currently in beta, and Google are rolling this out to accounts in North America, and they hope to be able to inform advertisers what is changing in their campaigns from week to week. In this video, we’re going to review this feature and see if it’s even useful to advertisers, whether it gets things right or wrong, and see what it looks like as well, and take a bit of a deep dive into the system itself. You will learn all of that and more coming up.
Hey, guys, Darren Taylor of thebigmarketer.com here. My job is to make you a PPC expert. Now, if you’re new to the channel, I’m a consultant and trainer specializing in Google Ads. If that sounds of interest to you, you should consider subscribing to the channel. In this video, we are taking a close look at Google’s new feature currently in beta testing called “Campaign Explanations,” where Google hopes to tell us, as advertisers, why your campaign metrics change week to week or month to month.
Google describes this feature as, with explanations, you can get clear insights into large changes in your Google Ads account performance. When you see significant fluctuation in performance for research campaign or an ad group, explanations help you quickly find out why things have changed. There you have it. You heard it there from Google.
If you’re running a campaign where results are pretty consistent, don’t expect to see explanations in your accounts. However, if you do see results start to fluctuate, then expect Google, if you’ve opted into this beta, that they will tell you exactly why your results have fluctuated week to week. As you can imagine, this would be a huge feature for advertisers like myself and like you, because, of course, a big part of being a PPC expert is diagnosing your campaigns, understanding why performance has changed, diving into the data and really understanding what on earth is going on in your campaigns.
If Google can just tell you what’s going on, that’s going to be huge. The whole point you’d be watching this video is because you want to understand whether or not the suggestions that Google makes for your campaigns within this campaign explanation tool are even valid, whether or not they work for your campaigns or whether they even make sense.
You’re about to find out. Before I go into that, if you like what you’re hearing so far, please hit the “Like” button below. Question of the day. Have you been opted into this explanations tool, and if you have, let me know in the comments if you are seeing any good explanations from Google and whether or not it’s saving you time from diagnosing your campaigns.
To see if you’re opted into this feature or not, when you navigate to your campaigns or your ad groups, you may notice some of the metrics in your reporting you will see in your dashboard will be highlighted in blue. For example, your clicks or your spend in terms of your cost could be highlighted in blue. When it’s highlighted in blue, it means it’s a clickable link. When you click the link within those metrics, Google will explain the fluctuations and the reasons for changes within those metrics.
You’ll see a screenshot of it here in the panel of what it will look like when Google starts to tell you what is happening within your campaigns. The good thing about this is, you don’t need to turn on the comparison in your date ranges when looking at the data. Google will take the date ranges you’ve put already and do a lookback window based on those date ranges, to explain the fluctuations within your campaigns.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example of a campaign that has this feature enabled and see if Google gets the explanation right when it looks at this campaign data. In this example, this shows the campaign received 11 more clicks than the previous 7 days the campaign ran, which equates to a 12% increase in clicks week to week. A pretty obvious observation in the campaign, it showed an increase in clicks from one week to the other. Let’s have a look at their explanation and see if they get the reason behind that increase in traffic.
Google identifies two things that contributed to that change in an increase in clicks week to week. The first of which is that the budget restricted the campaign impressions by 36%. Essentially, the budget restricted how often the ads showed for this particular campaign, meaning that the impressions dropped 36%. That is a way that the campaign is restricted, but it doesn’t actually explain the increase in results.
Let’s take a look at the second reason Google gave. The second reason Google provided is that the click-through rates improved 16% week to week. That is a good explanation in terms of understanding what contributes to increased traffic. Of course, the click-through rate does generate more traffic if it increases, because, of course, you get a bigger share of the clicks from the search results page, from your competitors, and indeed the organic searches as well.
Improving your click-through rate would ideally contribute to a higher volume of clicks. That first explanation is just saying what’s happened, it’s not actually telling me how it contributed to an increase in clicks. Lowering impression share doesn’t increase clicks, generally speaking. I think that’s a pretty poor understanding of the campaign. Let’s take a look at what really happened in that campaign.
The reason for the fluctuation is essentially that I paused a number of underperforming ad groups in that particular campaign, meaning all the budget went towards the ad group that was working, and generating leads and sales. Incidentally, that ad group I left live, that was contributing to all the leads and sales, was at a lower cost as well. The clicks were actually cheaper in that ad group, but the clients also asked me to cut the budget in the campaign as well simultaneously as I made those changes too. I did reduce the budget. The impression share did drop as a result of me doing that, but that doesn’t explain why there was an increase in clicks.
Now, the increase in clicks, of course, from my point of view, comes from the fact that I’m now spending the budget we have on keywords that come at a lower cost and a higher click-through rates, and that is why we saw an increase in clicks. If you look at both of the reasons Google gave for the explanation of that increase in clicks from week to week, they’re completely utterly wrong.
As you can hear from my explanation, it’s pretty complex understanding changes in a campaign and what has happened. For Google to think they can automatically do this and cut out the middleman of optimizing a campaign and understanding what’s going on, I think they’re mistaken. At this early stage, looking at this beta test that they’re doing for this particular tool to find out whether or not campaign changes have had an impact and how things are moving, I think Google have missed the mark with this one. It’s not explaining specifically what’s gone on within a campaign to improve or reduce the results week to week, I think it’s a pretty weak tool.
As you could hear from my explanation of what happened in the campaign, you can clearly see that explaining why campaign metrics change week to week, it’s pretty complex. It’s not necessarily something that’s straightforward, and Google guessing and estimating what has happened week to week, it’s pretty misleading. The two reasons they gave in this particular example were pretty weak. They didn’t actually explain why the metrics changed. They just said what happened in the campaign, so it didn’t really give an explanation really in all accounts.
When looking at this example I gave you and comparing it to other campaigns I manage as well, I can resoundingly say this feature Google are using doesn’t work. It’s not working, but I will say this, I always say this, because I believe it, and that is, never bet against Google. I think in the very long term in Google Ads, they might get this feature right. They are way, way off at the moment. I’m sure, when you look at your accounts that might be opted into this, you will see that your explanations aren’t exactly clear either, but, as I said, never bet against Google.
Thank you guys so much for watching this video. If you liked it, leave a “Like” below, and let me know in the comments question of the day. If you are opted into this feature, let me know how it’s worked for you and whether or not you’re happy with the explanations Google are giving you for your account performance. More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across the channel, and I see you guys on my next video.