Nearly every other time I talk to a small business about Adwords advertising, they mention things that either don't add up from a marketing perspective, or reporting methods that are designed to obfuscate the true cost of their advertising versus the cost of managing their advertising.
A typical example might be a customer who is paying a fixed monthly fee to an agency, say £500 for example, but isn't informed of exactly how much of that is spent monthly on clicks, and how much is management fee.
Click numbers, the cost of those clicks, and the amount of time spent managing an online advertising account on a monthly basis can vary massively depending on how you go about targeting your ads.
You could set up 1 ad to appear for one very specific term, and then show that as an example of an ad for a customer - e.g. "pet shop Glenrothes". That'll cost you about 20p a click, has hardly any competition, and around 30 people type that in every month - so total cost if they all click your ad is £6/month.
If that's all your advertising campaign consists of, and you don't get reports that split out ad cost and management fee, your agency just made £494. Additionally, it probably didn't take much management to keep that ad running.
Your agency should understand your market and be targeting all sorts of relevant search terms with a variety of ads to ensure you're attracting qualified traffic at whichever stage of the buying process you want.
The example above is a bit on the extreme side, but it's really important that at the very least you get a monthly report showing you the traffic your ads have generated, and how much the ads cost you.
A good agency will be transparent about how your budget is spent, and you won't mind paying a management fee because they'll be actively monitoring your traffic, click thru rates, ROI and effectiveness and testing new ads, looking for opportunities and suggesting new advertising ideas.
Because I'm listed as a contact for quite a few clients, I get the occasional adwords sales phone call, and listen to a lot of stuff that blatantly violates Google's third party policy (which applies to anyone who sells Google AdWords).
Here are a few of the salient points (those I've heard violated most often in bold):
Third parties should at minimum provide advertisers with monthly data on AdWords costs, clicks and impressions at the account level.e.g.
Mark's Pet Shop – AdWords report for July
Third parties may not engage in unclear, deceptive or harassing sales practices, including:
- Not spending a client's media budget in the agreed upon media, or deceptively diverting spend destined for AdWords inventory to other media.
- Claiming an ability to offer preferential discounts in the AdWords auction or to purchase keywords in bulk.
- Claiming to have an exemption from the AdWords auction.
- Implying that AdWords costs are based on the number of keywords selected and the budgets set.
- Suggesting to clients that Google sells AdWords for fixed prices (not through an auction or CPA process) when in fact they are not sold for fixed prices.
- Purposefully not using AdWords features that were agreed to with a client. For example, not using local geo-targeting when the client has asked you to target the ads locally.
- Advertising for or having other people take Google AdWords Certification Programme exams on your behalf.
- Harassing advertisers to use your services by, for example, cold-calling potential advertisers repeatedly, not respecting an advertiser's marketing or email opt-out preferences or putting undue pressure on them to sign up or stay with your agency.
Third parties may not misrepresent their relationship to Google, including:
- Claiming to be contacting advertisers on behalf of Google.
- Claiming to be Google.
- Claiming a third-party programme status with Google – for example, a Google Partner or AdWords Premier SMB Partner (unless so authorised by Google).
- Claiming or implying that you have a special working relationship or partnership with Google.
- Claiming that Google gives you a discount or special pricing.
- Claiming that Google gives you access to special ad positions.
To sum up: if you don't get reports about the impressions, clicks, and cost of your ads, or if your agency claims to have a unique discount or special pricing only available to them, or attempts to blend account management pricing into an opaque overall monthly fee - they're probably not a good choice.
This wee issue has been mildy annoying me for a good year or so now, so I figured I'd just write a wee bit to help you sort it out.
Every time one of your news articles is published on your site without a lead image - i.e. it's just text, then whenever it is shared on social media such as Facebook or LinkedIn, this image appears next to it:
Here it is on Facebook:
and making an appearance on LinkedIn:
It looks like a test image left over from site development. The numbers 625 & 374 are the dimensions of the image in pixels.
It's happening because there's a bit of code in your site that calls this as pic as the default 'open graph' image - open graph being Facebook's site markup of choice to help them determine which image goes with the content on the page:
So when no specific image is defined by your content management system, it defaults to this.
It's offputting, not good for your brand, and looks rubbish, so here's a fix.
Just download this image which has the exact same dimensions and filename as the offending one:
Then upload it to your server to thecourier.co.uk/media/courier/resource/temp/and overwrite the old one.
Then your brand will show alongside every text based news article and I can find something else trivial to get annoyed by.
P.S. Ideally you should change the code and upload a default image that's at least 1200x630 pixels, but this is a decent workaround for now...