Ok, buckle in because it’s time for a good, old fashioned rant. Before I begin, for the sake of this post I will refer to professionals who manage AdWords accounts for clients as agencies, mainly because what I’m about to say applies just as much to a solo consultant as it does to an agency that does not reach the size or status to have a dedicated AdWords rep.
Without further ado, let’s do this!
I have been in the PPC game for a long time. I have been in the marketing game in general for even longer. I have seen a lot. But the way AdWords treats agencies who manage PPC accounts for others drives me absolutely nuts. I was inspired to write this post because it is once again time for the quarterly changing of the guard in non-dedicated AdWords reps. Mostly, this passes without much fanfare. Generally it consists of receiving cheerful emails from the new rep, sometimes politely saying, “No thanks, I’ve got this” and sometimes scheduling calls. Overall, it does not impact what I do or how I do it.
But sometimes, I will end up with an overly enthusiastic or worse, overly aggressive rep on one of my client’s accounts and that is where I start to get seriously annoyed. When this happens, generally AggressoRep (TM) will start out with the usual intro emails and then if ignored or pushed off, will respond by emailing me and my client with all kinds of detailed “helpful suggestions” about how the client’s account could be managed better. And I end up answering all kinds of questions that were not previously in the client’s mind. And worse? Sometimes clients want to “try” what the AgressoRep is suggesting because “they work for AdWords so they really know what works.” This happens with long time and/or sophisticated clients, not just those who don’t fully get PPC or who don’t fully trust us yet.
You know what? Maybe there is a reason that we have not implemented Call Only Campaigns right now. Maybe we don’t have particular keywords or sets of keywords in our campaigns or negative lists because we have a solid CLIENT BUSINESS REASON not to. No, we don’t want to add a ton of broad match terms to “increase exposure” – thank you very much. I could go on citing more examples, but those of you who have encountered AggressoReps in the wild already know all too well what I’m talking about!
Listen, I get that AdWords has these reps for their own reasons. And, that on its face, having reps is for the most part, a good thing. But the continued failure to understand the agency/client dynamic by AdWords is ridiculous. It’s hard to not feel, as an agency that falls into this category, that AdWords not only does not understand us, but that they are actually borderline hostile toward agencies who manage AdWords accounts. I really hate to even type that, but I think it is important to at least consider the notion, publicly.
So AdWords, let me break it down for you, so that hopefully you might understand what agencies want, need and bring to the table (if you care to know)…
#1 Respect For Our Relationships With Our Clients
We work hard to find clients and retain our clients. Once we have a client on board with us, we work hard to do the best job we can for them to maximize their return on their AdWords investment. Clients come in all shapes, sizes, configurations and past PPC experience levels. We ask them for their trust to manage campaigns on their behalf. They hire us because they value the expertise and experience we bring to the initiative that they do not inherently have. They rely on us to act responsibly on their behalf.
When you have AgressoReps contact our clients directly, it undermines everything we have worked so hard to create between ourselves and our clients. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, it really is. I am sure I am not alone in having worked with clients who are coming off of or experienced in their past a very bad agency relationship. Getting that type of client (and there are sadly WAY too many out there) to really buy in to what we can do AND then trust us to execute it takes a tremendous amount of patience and work on our part. When we have achieved that goal state of partnership with our clients for their AdWords campaigns and you barge in with no knowledge of what has historically happened for the client in the PPC space, you are potentially putting at risk all that we have worked so hard to create. We do not appreciate this. At all.
#2 The Revolving Door Is Exhausting
I’m not saying that all AdWords reps are AggressoReps. In fact, many I have encountered are not. They are persistent, but usually don’t cross the line into aggressive territory. But having someone new assigned to our accounts every three months is tiresome. Even if you are interested in having a chat with a rep to see what they have to say about a particular client’s account or about what is happening at AdWords in general, who has the time to keep starting over every few months with someone who may or may not be worth our time to talk to? You clearly have the resources to employ lots and lots of reps. Why not consider having a better program for small or medium sized agencies? This would be a serious win-win scenario. You could have teams that work with PPC professionals who manage accounts for a wide variety of advertisers and agencies could get better quality support. That seems like such a no-brainer, that again it lends credence to the notion that you are not interested in helping agencies in this way.
#3 If You Took Better Care Of Us Your Revenue Would Increase
We work on behalf of clients in your platform and are making decisions and recommendations daily that impact how much advertisers spend with you. How we work and the results we produce for our clients are also directly responsible for what THEY think of the money they are spending in your platform. Our goals are largely aligned with yours, after all. We want to work with as many clients as possible, produce the best possible results for them through AdWords and maintain those relationships over the long term. All of these things are good not just for us, but also for you! When our clients are happy, they keep spending money in your platform! You could do a lot more to foster relationships with smaller agencies.
To AdWords’ credit, the Twitter team is really responsive to tweets. That is a step in the right direction, but more resources in this area would be better and smarter.
#4 Stop Assuming Accounts Not Part Of An MCC Are Not Professionally Managed
Not every agency uses the MCC for their accounts. I don’t know if this is part of what helps to create situations where AggressoReps are even in the picture? But if it is, you need to realize that professionally managed accounts are just different in their needs from advertiser managed accounts. Perhaps creating a place in the account profile set up where a user can be identified as the agency tasked with managing the account could differentiate non-MCC accounts as professionally managed versus advertiser managed?
So What Could Be Done?
If I were in charge of this program, I would start by treating agencies of all sizes as real potential partners or at the very least powerful ambassadors for your products. I understand that part of the reps’ job is to get advertisers to spend more in AdWords. And, I can’t really completely fault you for doing it. After all, Google is a mega-corporation with huge earnings pressure. But, you could be a lot smarter about how you do things, especially when it comes to agencies. If you help us, it only helps our clients, which in the end should certainly be our shared goal.
I’m sure others have some thoughts on this topic. I would love to hear them (and hopefully AdWords would too!). So, sound off in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@NeptuneMoon).