Google AdsPay Per Call

Quote of the Day: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
― Plutarch

What's up!

It's Leonidas Here,

Without a doubt, Google Ads can be one of the fastest and easiest way to convert your cash, into more cash.

Money in, money out, almost on auto-pilot once you find a couple offers, or eCommerce products, or sales funnels that work.

But on the flip-side, Google Ads is a money hungry beast that will EASILY burn through your cash, and give you nothing in return… even for seasoned Google Ads Professionals.

Whether it's through a lack of transparency, a reluctance to add basic features, not giving a damn about how much cash you spend, or Google Ads simply pretending to do everything in your best interest, Google Ads is Broken.

Updated: After further research into some of the topics below, I have found there are certain new solutions as Google Ads continues to update their platform.

Table of Contents

  1. Paying To Build A Negative Keyword List With Useless Clicks and Data
  2. Google Call-Only Ads (Now Call Ads) Not Generating Calls
  3. Google Ads Call Forwarding Details No Longer Available? (Updated)
  4. Being Charged For Multiple Clicks on The Same Search Query
  5. Google Shopping Ads Lack of Direct Keyword Targeting
  6. Google Sucks At Language Control
  7. YouTube Ads removing Video Targeting Results Information (Updated)
  8. Mobile Apps & Games Engineered To Burn Your Money
  9. Search Partners Black Box
  10. Customer Support Thinks The Client is an Idiot
  11. Conclusion

1. Paying To Build A Negative Keyword List With Useless Clicks and Data

Most marketers know that they are paying for data when using any marketing platform.

This is no different with Google Ads, you pay for clicks, and “Search Term” data, to figure out what keywords convert best for you.

But until you have ALREADY paid for that click, you won't be able to add it to your negative keywords list until you know about it.

Well Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) actually allows you to see many (but not all) of the search term queries that users type into their search engine, WITHOUT them clicking on it to burn your money.

Microsoft (Bing) Ads Flight Campaign: Many Search Queries are visible without having to pay for them, and you can quickly add them to your negative keywords list (ie. country names, brands, airport, etc)

Google instead, will happily get you to pay thousands of dollars to build your negative keywords list of useless keywords that should have been visible to you in the beginning.

Google Ads: I had to pay for all of these useless keywords: “how to call, cancellation, disputes, complaints, correo, fdn71?)

2. Call-Only Ads (Now Call Ads) Not Generating Calls

Call-Only Ads are probably the highest converting vertical on the planet for internet marketing.

You can easily get conversion rates anywhere from 20-40% as an affiliate marketer. Call Advertising on Google ads have consistently been immensely profitable for me.

But the downside is endless queries from other internet marketers who would ask “Why did I pay for 10 clicks, but only received 2-3 calls on Google Ads?”.

Google Ads DOES track call-times through the call-forwarding feature, so THEY KNOW when a call has ZERO seconds on it, and a caller didn't place the call.

Click to Call ratio on the higher end. Sometimes it can be as bad as 66% (meaning 34% of your budget is spent on absolutely nothing)

Official Google Representative Response:

About the Issue:

Regarding the charges that you would accrue, Google is Pay-per-click platform and thus we only charge you for clicks that you get on your ads and not the calls. This can even include clicks that were made on your ad yet did not result in an actual phone call.

Calls are a two click process. The first click will be on the ad, following which the number will be displayed on the dial pad. This is where the second click happens.
The second click, would be regarded as user behavior and we would be unable to govern user behavior. We would be charging you for clicks on the ad, the first click.
…awful.

 

3. Google Ads Call Forwarding Details No Longer Available?

In fact, Google broke the system even more in the end of 2018 by removing Call-Forwarding details (showing how long phone calls were), probably due to internet marketers complaining that actual calls were not being generated.

Couple this with immensily expensive phone calls for services such as Lawyers, Renovations, Dentists that can range in the 10-30$ per click.

Basically, Google Ads doesn't care if the click leads into a phone call.

Updated: You can view call-details in the new reporting system.

Top right of Google Ads Dashboard: Reports -> Predefined Reports -> Extensions -> Call Details

4. Being Charged For Multiple Clicks on The Same Search Query

So the person who clicked on your ad is dumb and doesn't realize right from the beginning that they are clicking on a call-only ad.

They click on the ad, it opens up their phone dialer… they are confused as to why they are not going to a website. They CLOSE the phone dialer, end up back on the Google search page… and what do they do?

They click on your ad again… and once again, no call… and you just paid $5-10 USD for NOTHING!

How do we measure this?

If click count for a search query is greater than the impression count.

Google Ads: People clicking on your ad more than once. Still getting charged for those clicks

What was Googles Customer Service Reply to this?

“Oh, they must have gone to another ad, and then back to yours, that's why you got charged twice”…

Right… In Microsoft Ads, you can be charged up to 3x for the same search query.

5. Google Shopping Ads Lack of Direct Keyword Targeting

I think every eCommerce marketer has a love/hate relationship with Google Shopping Ads.

Let's say you want to sell a product such as “Q Laser Cavitation Machine”, which was a niche that I was testing for June/July of 2019.

Well, Google Shopping won't allow you to target the very specific words that are relevant to your product. Instead they will show your ads on such gems as this:

Google Ads Shopping: I'm pretty sure “qqq” is slang for “cry, cry, cry”, plus other useless search terms for my product

Now example to me how “qqqqq” or “radio” is relevant to “Q Laser Cavitation Machine”. Furthermore, most of these queries are in spanish, instead of english.

I burned through atleast a couple thousand dollars on this ridiculous keyword matching system.

Basically, Google Shopping will take any random keywords from your product title, and use it as a keyword to sell your product – Broad Match at it's worst.

6. Google Ads Sucks At Language Control

I want to point out that in my above shopping ad campaigns, I selected only “English” in the campaign settings. Well clearly, Spanish (among other languages), is considered English for Google Ads…

Can I please get some English with my English-settings?

Furthermore, while running Call-Only ads in Search, WITH ENGLISH SETTINGS, I've had to add “numero, telefono, llama (spanish for number, telephone and call)” on multiple occasions because Google Ads doesn't quite understand the difference in languages.

7. YouTube Ads removing Video Targeting Results Information

YouTube Ads are now a $14 Billion dollar a year cash cow for Google.

But that comes at the expense for advertisers who have, for a LONG time, been trying to get more transparency and control on where their ads are showing.

Whether it is from big-name international brands such as Coke or KFC, or scammy internet marketers trying to sell you an Amazon / Shopify / Self-development course for $997 to $5000 USD (I have YouTube Premium so these B.S. Ads are blocked).

Well, once upon a time (before the Google Ads redesign), you could setup your targeting on YouTube ads, and once the data came in, you would start seeing the garbage videos that your ads were showing up on.

As of the Google Ads redesign from the start of 2019, you can now only see the CHANNELS where your ads are showing.

Doing a video search within the channel, reveals that most of the videos where you ads are showing, can be completely irrelevant to what you had intended to target, EVEN WITH strict keyword targeting.

YouTube Instream Ads: Keywords that I targetted for Valentines 2020 (Rose Bear product)

YouTube Instream Ads: The channels where my ads ended up showing… WORLDSTARHIPHOP, WrestleTalk, WWE…

So why did Google Ads remove the ability to see which videos your ads were showing on?

Probably because big-name brands were complaining that their ads were being shown on violent, dumb, video-game, or kids show videos.

Update: The new interface has allowed for granular analysis of the videos where your ads are showing.

To view Google Video ads placements, simply click on the channel, and select View Details for the videos where your commercial ended up showing.

Despite keyword targeting with “Rose Bears”, my content still ended up being displayed on these completely unrelated videos:

Rose Bears are somehow related to movie trailers according to YouTube & Google

8. Mobile Apps & Games Engineered To Burn Your Money

Now, it's safe to say, that if you've played around long enough with Google Ads, you've most likely tried running Google Display ads.

You setup some basic targeting; audience, device, demographics, maybe even keywords… then you add a couple images to your display ads, and launch…

The ads run for a couple hours, and once you check back, you've had almost 500 clicks on a mere $10-20 budget, but when you look at the metrics, there are zero conversions, and digging further into your analytics, the engagement rate is almost zero, and a bounce rate of pretty much 100%.

You call Google, to see what's up, and they just tell you that you need to spend more.

In reality, your ads ended up showing on such wonderful placements as:

Google Display Ads: The wonderful apps that generate you thousands of useless clicks

That's right, your ad is showing up on some of the dumbest apps out there… apps that are specifically built to engineer user clicks (by flashing your ads right next to critical buttons or moments).

I'm 100% sure that zero of these people clicked on my ad willingly.

Unless you are 100% aware on how to remove Mobile apps from your targeting, you will burn a LOT of your budget on useless clicks in the Google Ads Mobile Apps display network.

9. Search Partners Black Box

If you've watched any of my tutorial videos on Google Ads Pay Per Call in the last 8 years (has it been that long? wow), I've ALWAYS recommended disabling Search Partners.

Why? Because it's like a black box that you have absolutely no control of. Unlike Microsoft Ads, which gives you a LIST of websites that are gaming the Bing Ads search system…

Microsoft Ads Search Partners: Most Are Trash. Some are legit

With Google Ads, you are left with a simple metric on how much money you've wasted on “Search Partners”.

Now, Search Partners DO convert sometimes, and they DO include properties such as Google Maps and Gmail among others, BUT, you are also feeding your hard-earned dollars into other websites that are gaming the Google Search engine.

I would avoid Search Partners ALWAYS – It's just a black box.

Eventually, I discovered a way to find ALL of the search partners for both Google Ads & Microsoft Ads Here.

10. Customer Support Thinks The Client Is An Idiot

I've called Google Ads support many times over the years. Sometimes these experiences can be just painful.

As recently as February of 2020, I had one of my main e-commerce accounts automatically go in and out of the Under Review system.

If you've ever been in this phase, basically everything in your account is artificially paused, until an algorithmic review is done on the account, whether it's for billing issues, policy issues, or site content.

Then within 8-24 hours, the ads would resume, and I would be back in business… until I made another small change, such as adding a new keyword… at which point, the entire account would pause again and go “Under Review”.

This went on for atleast a month, and you can imagine the frustration of having your account paused senselessly.

So I called Google Ads support, and was on the phone for atleast 2 hours with an agent who simply said my account was “Under Review”…

“Well no sh*t, really?”

I told him the account was going “Under Review” constantly, but he just didn't understand… for 2 full hours… I even spoke to a manager-level agent, and he told me the same story… account under review… well that's what I've been saying for 2 hours…

They simply didn't understand that my account was stuck in this “Under Review” loop.

This whole process took about 3 hours in total after calling multiple times, to speak with different agents, to explain that the system was basically broken.

Eventually, after a week, the Google Ads IT guys got back to me, and the review process was fixed, thankfully.

 

11. Conclusion

As I started this post, Google Ads is still one of the best ways to convert cash into more cash. Money in, more money out.

But the Google Ads system can be painful as well, especially in those moments when it gives you nothing in return AND WILLINGLY spits out garbage, all the while Customer Service tells you that Google Ads is not wrong… that everything is according to how the technical team built it.

I believe that many of these frustrations in broken features is a top-level decision from the Google Ads team.

Why would Google not refund clicks that didn't lead into calls?

Why would they not filter languages better?

Why would they not allow keyword-targeting in Shopping Ads?

For those making hundreds of thousands in profit per day with Google Ads, these frustrations may just seem like nuances of using the system, but to someone who is deep in the mechanics… they are game breaking frustrations.

Ultimately, we have to play the game with the cards that we are dealt, and just suck it up with Google Ads.

 

Salut

Your Internet Marketing Buddy

Leonidas

 

P.S. Leave a comment below and share some other ways Google Ads is broken 🙂

 

8 Comments

  1. Hi, yes.. I tried to set up this business in Canada. I created a site autocalls.ca , and was ready to go. Prior to launching, I did some research .. and the dealbreaker for me was my client being charged even if the auto call ad was tapped on accidentally, or out of curiosity.. without even ringing the line! Ridicules.

    • I agree. This is very frustrating to see for these ghost taps. I’ve seen atleast $1000 burned already on such clicks.

      One of the ways I tried to mitigate them was to setup only certain hours (ie. between 8am to 10pm) because the cost/conversion at those times was appropriate, vs outside those hours, which saw more ghost taps and a 3x increase in cost/conversion.

      It’s not a definitive solution, but it’s worth testing for various niches.

      • Sorry to separate the messages but I can’t find any infos about SEO for Pay Per Call. Most if not all seem to promote these offers through Google Ads only.

        Yet I’m mainly a SEO marketer and I’ve had good success in LeadGen through SEO.

        Would you have any ressources, examples of sites, about SEO in this space ?

        Maybe SEO is not allowed for most offers ?

        Thanks

        • Hey Tom,

          I personally don’t bother with SEO since it takes too long to get up and running. You should build up a good google ads campaign that converts, before delving into long-term SEO.

          There is one youtube channel that focuses on pay per call/seo through website property creation. His revenues aren’t spectacular, but if that’s what you are looking for, then it’s there.

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