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November 18, 2016

Five questions that reveal exactly why your agency isn't making you money from Google Ads

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Published: 18 November 2016 + Updated June 2024

Want to know how to get more from your Google Ads?

We’ve spent years refining our approach to Google Ads. In that time, we’ve distilled hundreds of issues we see into five essential questions that will yield the most valuable insights.

Sam says: I’m psychic and I can prove it. Every business owner I have worked with has agreed with me that spending money where it will make money is the best way to spend money. That’s what you, a savvy business owner, thinks about spending money.

I know what you’re thinking: “GET OUT OF MY HEAD, SAM!!”

We’ve had the pleasure of fixing hundreds of Google AdWords accounts in our time and it amazes us how often we see money being spent where it doesn’t (and will never) return any dollars!

You can excuse the clients who have tried to do it themselves!

Sam says: It is the ones that have used an Search Marketing Agency *that* really grinds my gears. Grr!

Peter Griffin as a newscaster presenting - What really Grinds MY Gears!
Image: Imgur

Recently I was privy to an AdWords “report” from one of these agencies. Essentially it was a screenshot of a Google Analytics account, and nothing more. When pressed, the potential client said they didn’t have access to the AdWords account and that they “kinda” knew what the report was saying, but not really. I wanted to hug them tightly and sing Three Little Birds by Bob Marley.

Here’s how to spot if your agency is not spending your money where it is going to make you money:

1. You haven’t got access to your own AdWords account? Why not?

I’m calling out this dated practice, not only is it ineffectual, but it is rude and pretentious.

They don’t have a special formula, a unique technique, a rare strategy, or an exclusive arrangement with Google that magically benefits you, no matter what they tell you.

Our view is that it is your account, you pay our fees to be your agent (acting on your behalf) and you pay google for the ad-clicks... everything about that means (to us) that it is yours and you 100% get access.

2. Does your website have Tracking? Google Analytics?

I can’t believe that in 2016 I’m still harping on about this, but I’m still finding clients with no tracking installed on their site.

2024 update: This is STILL a think. Every time we see it we wonder how these agencies (a) get away with it and (b) sleep at night!

I feel like slamming my head against my keyboard, wer[o odfjbw vgjbdcjvbqa!

Knowing where your money is coming from allows you to spend more money where it is making you money. You should also upgrade your Google Analytics. Get in touch so we can show you how to get more out of your Analytics data.

word cloud about web projects

3. Does your Google Ads (AdWords) account have too many Keywords?

How can you tell?

Firstly, have several many years experience managing hundreds of AdWords accounts in a full time Account Management position.

Secondly, do you have one AdGroup with more than a handful of Keywords? If so, you have too many.
If not, what is your Keyword strategy? If you don’t know any Keyword strategies, it might be time to get in touch with someone that knows what they’re doing.

4. Is Your Google Ads (AdWords) Daily Budget is stretched too thin? Does it run out in the morning?

Not only do you provide the product, but you also provide installation and maintenance services, plus upgrades and add-on products, but like every business that isn’t Google, you have a limited budget for Google. Often the budgets people are working with will only cover one or two products/ services, but how do you choose? Are you hoping for the best, or do you have a tactical target on which to unleash your dollars?

5. Is the person “looking after” your business far-far-far away? 

This isn’t as common anymore, as Australians have begun to realise that “outsourcing” to other countries might be “cost effective” when it comes to the outgoing column in the Accounting Spreadsheet, but it is deficient when it comes to the “income” column. However, if you deal with an Account Manager in Australia that is between you and the person you’ve never even had contact with who is doing the actual work, well, you’re already dealing with inefficiencies. If you can’t see the inefficiencies, then you’re not paying attention to your business.

This is only the beginning when it comes to calling out the crap that has plagued the Australian Digital Marketing landscape in regards to AdWords management. I’ve worked in big agencies, small agencies and seen traditional marketing agencies bluff and blunder their way through AdWords. If any of the above resonates, you can do better.

Sam Fields

Read more posts by Sam


Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben Maden

One comment on “Five questions that reveal exactly why your agency isn't making you money from Google Ads”

  1. One of the greatest decisions I've made for my business was these guys, and since you have come on and taken my account things have never been better. Great work guys and great communication with Sam himself. Thank you for being reliable and I look forward to continuing working together.

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