Meet the Mashies: Michael,
Ads Director

Season 2 episode 5 | March 4, 2021

Meet the Mashies: Michael, Ads Director

March 4, 2021

Let’s meet Mash Media’s Google Ads director and ask him how the heck Google Ads actually work, and who is clicking on them?
Audio Transcript
Announcer: You’re listening to “Mash Pod,” a weekly digital marketing podcast brought to you by Mash Media.

Bec: All right. So this week on the podcast, we have Michael Simonsen. He’s our Digital Marketing Manager for Google Ads and Facebook ads here at Mash Media. Hey, Michael, how are you?

Michael: Hey, Bec. Good. Yourself?

Bec: Not too bad. Thanks. So I wanted to ask you a bit about Google Ads. It’s changed so much since, you know, 10 years ago when I sort of first started managing them. And I’ve had a bit of a break. So just for people that don’t know what it is, what are Google Ads?

Michael: So Google Ads, really, it’s an online advertising platform developed by Google where advertisers bid to display sort of brief advertisements offering products or services on top of a Google search.

Bec: So those are those links at the top of the search engine results page.

Michael: Yeah, the ones that are referenced as sponsored, they’re the actual ads that are actually up there. So these are people that have paid to actually have their ad appear on the top of that search, correct.

Bec: Yeah, so that’s pretty good real estate. I have always told my friends what I do for a living, and they sort of look at me when I tell them about how Google Ads work. And they’re like, “Oh, I would never click on a Google Ad.” So I guess the other question is, how many people are clicking on them? Do people click on them?

Michael: They definitely do. Generally, people to click on the Google Ads are those that have an immediate need for a product or service. So they might be someone that’s decided they need blinds, for example. So they’ll do a search for blinds, they’ll see an ad for blinds, and they’ll click on it because they want it, they want to talk to someone now. Those people that might be researching. So say, again, someone that’s thinking about blinds, not sure what type of blinds, what colors, what fabric, they’ll generally look at the organic listings. So we find most people that are doing research will look at organic. Those that are looking to buy and looking to buy now will click on ads.

Bec: Yeah, so I guess the ones that look at organic listings that are doing the research, they still don’t know what they want. So they’re gonna look at a whole bunch of different companies and pages to see to compare maybe.

Michael: Yeah, and they tend not to click on ads as much. Generally, though, again, organic, because they don’t want to see a promotion or a sale because they’re not really sure yet what they want, where the Google Ads generally have a pretty strong call to action where they seem to get a free measurement quote, or whatever, depending on the product or service. So, again, if we’re using blinds as an example, often it will take, you know, a blinds page that has particular blinds you want or a page that gives you a different selection of blinds and then recommends to fill out a form or make a phone call to get a quote. So if people aren’t really sure what they want, they tend to spend more time organically than what they do on the actual ads.

Bec: Yeah, so they don’t want to get too excited seeing a sale. They don’t know what they want yet.

Michael: Well, that’s right. They almost feel pressured. It’s like, “Oh, there’s a sale and I don’t want to miss out. There’s a 20% discount or a 30% discount.” So people leave those ones because, yeah, they don’t want to have that sort of, oh, you know, whatever, if I don’t do something now, I’ll miss out sort of thing feelings, especially if they’re not quite sure what they want. And depending on what they’re buying too, if there’s other people involved. So say, for example, they’re in a family home, they’ve got a partner, they might have kids involved as well, young adult. So it might not necessarily be just their decision, they might need to get buy-in from the people as well. So for them to start organizing quotes and that sort of stuff without getting buy-in might not gonna have a very happy family life.

Bec: I mean, imagine coming home and it’s like, “Hang on, you bought fluorescent blue blinds for the entire house?”

Michael: Yeah, but they’re on sale!

Bec: It was definitely on sale. It was a great price, you should have seen it.

Michael: Yeah, I got a really good deal, haha.

Bec: Totally. So you’ve been mentioning a blinds company. But who else would they be suited to? Like, what kind of business…?

Michael: Look, anyone that has a business that has a website that wants to be found on Google. So, obviously, organic listings are deemed based around the keywords, phrases, and Google’s algorithms. So if you’re not appearing on the front page of Google, no one’s really gonna find out what you’re doing, what product or service you have. So that’s where the ads come in. So if you’re offering a particular product or service, and you want people to know that you’re offering this particular product or service and want them to go to your website to see it and ideally buy it, that’s where the ads come in.

Bec: Well, I was just about to say, you know, when we’re talking to prospects and stuff like that, you know, they want us to do SEO on their website, and they want it done yesterday. But, I mean, it doesn’t work that way. I mean, SEO is a long game, as you know. So we do like to offer Google Ads in the interim to make sure they get that instant traffic. But is it really that instant? I mean, how does it all work?

Michael: Yeah, so once you set up a campaign, it obviously goes to a process through Google to be approved. But generally, campaigns once they’re set up, they can be live in about 24 hours. The ad will actually appear on top of Google searches, obviously, depending on how they’re kind of set up, of course. But generally, yeah, your ad’s gonna be pretty much within about 24 hours.

Bec: Yeah, that’s really cool. And I guess, it’s a really great return on investment to the advertiser as well. So what is the best way to measure success? I know they do conversion tracking. Do you wanna talk a bit about that?

Michael: Yeah. So conversion tracking or lead tracking is really necessary. And you really need to be specific as to what you’re tracking. So what we do or what I do is make sure that it’s either a form submission or a phone call. So it has to be contact. Some people like to track events as conversions. I don’t personally. So someone, for example, watching a video isn’t necessarily a lead, it’s an action. So you really need to think long and hard about what you’re looking to track as far as a conversion.

But as I say, I look at it very much so that it’s a phone call. And that phone call has to go for a certain duration as well. Because, you know, people might be phoned up by telemarketers trying to sell them goods, for example. And obviously, they’re gonna hang up. So those calls are short. So generally, 30 seconds is usually the minimum that we structure. So generally, if someone’s on the phone, you’re on a phone call for 30 seconds, that person is giving you their name, their address, their details because they’re interested in a product or service and you’re providing them with some sort of quote, we generally track it that way.

And obviously, with the form submissions as well, that’s always important. Some people don’t have time that they can call you, especially during business hours. So that’s where a form submission can be really helpful. And having that on your website is very, very important. Because you can fill out the details, fill out what you’re after, and then the business will contact you with an arrangement to actually do a quote.

Bec: Yup, that’s really great. I love the form process myself because I really hate, especially at the beginning of the buying cycle, I don’t want to get on the phone to someone because I don’t really know what I want yet. So I’d rather just then get back to me sort of in an orderly fashion and then I can sort of say, okay, well, who’s actually paying attention? Who’s got the best customer service? Because you sort of look for that, too, not just the product itself.

Michael: Yeah. Well, that’s right. And it’s a good way of sort of, yeah, feeling out if the business that you’re dealing with is actually seeing your business as important by the way they respond to your request for a quote or request for someone to come out and do a measure or what have you. Because, yeah, that’s your first experience with the business. And you’re in a good position to then gauge what your sale experience will be with that business as well.

Bec: Yeah. And it’s all about…there’s a paper trail too, like, if you fill out a form, it goes into their database, they have a record of you contacting them, you know, as far as technology goes. If it goes right, of course. No, that’s great. So yeah, I guess tracking would probably be one of the most important elements of a campaign, then.

Michael: Yeah, yeah. And as well, too, it really helps with managing the campaign or sort of elaborating more on that. If by obtaining the data on what keywords and phrases that you’ve got in the campaign are generating form submissions and phone calls, or leads, or conversions, then you can determine what keywords and phrases aren’t working. So with Google Ads, you’re obviously paying per click. So if you find certain phrases and keywords, you’re getting clicks but they’re not actually generating leads, you can look to get rid of them or replace them. Because you don’t want to have clicks coming in that aren’t necessarily converting. So you want to make sure that as much as possible, that you’re targeting those keywords and phrases that are actually generating the leads or conversions.

Bec: Well, that’s really interesting. So it’s not just about the keywords that are generating leads, it’s the ones that just aren’t and they’re dead. So that must wreck the stats a little bit, if you’re paying a lot for a keyword not converting.

Michael: Yeah, definitely. And that’s part of managing the campaign. And campaign management can be very, very time-consuming and it is very analytical. You really need to look at the data frequently to see what keywords are working and what aren’t. And it’s not just about replacing those, but it’s also seeing if a certain phrase might come up that is not relevant.

So, for example, we referred to blinds before. So if we’re talking about, say, a company that sell blinds. If someone’s looking for someone to clean blinds, you want to have cleaning or clean up as a negative keyword. So if someone’s looking for a blind cleaner, you don’t want your ad to come up and then they click on it to buy blinds. They’ve already got blinds, they just they’re dirty and they want them cleaned. So your negative word is cleaner, so make sure that if someone is searching for someone to clean their blinds that your ad doesn’t come up, so you don’t get clicked on it and it doesn’t cost you money.

Bec: Yeah, that’s really good. Because yes…

Michael: There’s a lot of analysis that’s involved in setting it up. But when you initially start a campaign, it’s just really a case of being patient because really, you need time for this information to start coming through. So until you see these keywords and phrases coming up in the search data when you do the analysis of the campaign, you don’t know what to negative out or what to remove as far as a keyword phrase. So that’s where you’ve got to sort of manage your expectation. Because it really can take, you know, three to six months before a campaign is really starting to have that real quality of refinement to be able to be generating a good return on investment.

Bec: So it’s a bit of a work in progress.

Michael: Yes, yes. So as much as you can get the ads up there very, very quickly, you’ve also got to be very conscious that you don’t want to…it can take some time to really refine the campaign to get the best value for money out of it.

Bec: Yeah. Well, continuous improvement is what we’re all about. I know we’ve come across clients that have in the past managed their account themselves, which is always a lot of fun to clean up. What issues…like if someone’s doing that, if one of our listeners is thinking, “I don’t need an agency to help me with this,” and which is fine, some people don’t, what kind of issues could be lurking in the account that they have no idea is causing such a bad conversion rate?

Michael: Well, again, it’s probably what we touched on just before there, having the wrong keywords and phrases or having the ads coming up in areas that are not relevant as referenced before with cleaners when it comes to blinds. It’s not knowing that information and not be able to react or respond to it. So you could be saving money, yes, you’re saving money, you’re not paying agency fees. But you might be spending a lot more money on your clicks without realizing that you’re getting all these wasted clicks. So that can be sometimes the trade-off.

As well, Google Ads is evolving, Google’s forever changing, changing its structure requirements, its methodologies. And if you’re not on top of all the dynamic changes that Google is bringing in place all the time through their network and through their AdWords portal, then you miss out. And, you know, there’s different features as far as conversion tracking, as far as activity tracking, retargeting, there’s all these different features. And if you’re not aware of them, you’re really…well, you’re potentially missing out on leads. As well, as we know how time-consuming it can be doing Google Ads. So what we say to or what I suggest to a lot of people that are doing it themselves, it’s not just the money that you’re saving, that you may see that you’re saving on not using an agency, but how much is your time worth? So if you’re sitting down doing Google Ads and you’re not actually working in your business, what is the real cost of that?

Bec: Yeah, that’s a really good point. If you’re sort of budgeting a couple of hours a day to try and learn it, which is a great endeavor, but you’re also wasting time too. I mean, you’ve got to get out there and sell. You got to do what you do best.

Michael: Yeah. And if you’re managing your business and managing staff and those types of things, it can be really tricky to spend quality time on fixing up your Google Ads when you’ve got other…you’re managing people, you’re managing clients, you’ve got all these other issues to juggle.

Bec: Yeah, it’d be pretty frustrating. So what is one of your favorite things about working with Google Ads?

Michael: I suppose just seeing clients get some really good outcomes, you know, taking over an account or creating an account. You know, they’ve got a website, we get things going. And then over a period of time, as the campaign sort of gets refined and making changes and tweaks and just watching, you know, the inquiries, the phone calls, the leads, and obviously, having conversations with these clients, they’re really happy. The phone’s ringing, there’s emails coming through with these quotes, and life is good. They don’t need to worry about where the business is coming from. They know that they’re paying a fee, their ads are working because the phone’s ringing and there’s emails coming through with leads. So that’s a good thing. And when the clients are happy, then life is good.

Bec: Yeah, that’s all we really want out of it. We want a happy client that can just get on with their job so that we can go…

Michael: Well, they don’t have to worry about advertising. It’s one less thing for them to worry about. If the leads are coming in, then they’re just gonna worry about the selling and the servicing of the client. So yeah, again, it’s just one less thing they have to worry about.

Bec: Yeah. And I guess with the world opening up a little bit again, they’ve got more of an opportunity to service more people.

Michael: Yeah. Look, it’s really interesting with coronavirus. Some businesses through what we’ve responded to over the last 12 months are having the biggest or the largest increase in revenue for the life of the business. And some of those businesses have been operating 20, 30 years. Where others took a very different approach and really downsized their business and reduced their advertising because they were worried about what this pandemic was going to bring. I guess with people not traveling overseas and restricted traveling to this day, people are spending a lot more money at home, whether it be relations, clothing, products, services because they’re at home now. So they’re spending at home. They’re not spending overseas. The money is staying in Australia. So the companies that have really continued to stay the course over this sort of pandemic have actually…yeah, their revenue has increased substantially. So I’m really happy with those sort of accounts that have done well, and yeah, really getting really positive feedback. The only scary part about that is that, obviously, once the borders open up and international travels opens up is trying to keep that revenue high. [inaudible 00:15:30]

Bec: Well, that’s really good. And you’re right. I mean, if you’re stuck at home and you’re looking at your home every day, you’re gonna say things you want to change.

Michael: Yeah. So again, you feel like…blinds is an example. People might be, I know we sort of touched on it before, but people are, you know, if they’re not traveling overseas now for holidays, they’re spending money on an outdoor blinds. They might be spending money on, you know, an outdoor setting, barbecue because they’re staying at home. So all of a sudden, the blind space is getting outdoor blinds, the furniture store is selling outdoor furniture, the barbecue place has just sold a barbecue. You know, there’s all these sales that may not have necessarily taken place because they were going to spend that money overseas.

Bec: Yeah. So interesting. All right. Thank you so much, Michael, for coming on the show today.

Michael: Thank you.

Bec: And I think it’s your first time on the podcast, isn’t it?

Michael: Yes, it is.

Bec: Well, well. Let’s hope it’s not your last.

Michael: Well, thanks, Bec.

Bec: Well, thanks for listening this week, guys. And yes, that was Michael Simonsen, our Google Ads manager talking to you about the importance of instant traffic and leads. Yeah, if you’ve got any questions about Google Ads or Facebook Ads even, give us a bell or send us an email on And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcasts wherever you get your podcasts.