Searching Beyond the Paid

Friday, August 19, 2011

Adwords Reps – A Love-Hate Relationship

Since the dawn of Adwords, PPC managers have had a love-hate relationship with their Adwords reps. In my own experience, I love having someone who can go to bat for me when I need help pushing ad copy through editorial, solving a billing problem, or increasing the capacity of my account.

On the other hand, I’m not so fond of the frequency at which reps change: just when I feel comfortable that my rep understands our clients, we’re assigned someone new. I also have been almost universally disappointed with the “optimizations” provided by Google. The only thing they’re optimizing is Google’s revenue.

Late last year, Google announced that they were switching up their account rep structure for agencies. Instead of one rep per agency, reps would be assigned by vertical. Personally, I’ve found this to be a pain – I can never remember who I’m supposed to contact about which client. Furthermore, vertical support is only available at a certain spend level: as far as I can tell, the minimum is at least $15,000 per month. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change for many advertisers.

To get support for clients below that budget level, we had to contact the generic Adwords support hotline. While I’ve always found the general support reps to be attentive and helpful, it’s still frustrating to have to re-explain a client’s business and goals over and over to a new person each time you call.

Just this week, though, I got an email from a rep who said he’d been assigned to our agency for this quarter, offering to discuss all of our clients. I agreed to a call, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. He had obviously taken the time to review our client campaigns, and beyond that, he had looked at their websites to get an idea of the client’s business. He had several optimization ideas I was impressed with, as well. While most of the ideas weren’t new features, he had suggestions for new ways to use the features that I hadn’t thought of or heard of. All in all, I was quite pleased, and have spent a chunk of time this week implementing many of his suggestions for testing.

But that’s just me. In a recent PPC Chat, PPC’ers weighed in on the usefulness of Adwords reps. The overwhelming sentiment was that reps are only marginally helpful, and often are just trying to make more money for Google. I have to say that I’ve found this to be truer of the vertical reps than the agency rep I talked to this week. PPC Chatters also said they find it much more helpful to ask other PPC’ers via Twitter or online forums for help, rather than going to Google.

What’s your take? Is Adwords Support as marginal as ever, or is it getting better? Share the good, the bad, and the ugly in the comments!



  • The transition to a new account team was certainly a pain. It took so much time to get them on board with company goals and objectives. Its taken me three months to get our new team to give optimization advice other than "Increase your budget for the Display Network".

    One big thing I noticed is that our calls are much more formal now. They're all call-in and they only last 25 minutes. I used to be able to set up a time, get a call, and chat for an hour about really specific things with in the account. Just not the same level of in depth collaboration.

    By Blogger Michelle M., at 8:36 AM EDT  

  • Hey Michelle, thanks for your comment. It's interesting to see your perspective from the in-house side. 25 minutes isn't enough to do much at all, is it?

    By Blogger Melissa, at 8:52 AM EDT  

  • Definitely not. If we had only 2-3 campaigns, then maybe that would be enough. But there are too many different groups of settings within our account for 25 minutes. Lower budget campaigns get ignored by our team. (Go figure.)

    By Blogger Michelle M., at 8:59 AM EDT  

  • Generally find them a total pain, and queries are passed from person to person or dept to dept without clear resolution.

    In fairness I had a good one a few weeks back who had obviously put some time into looking at the account, but after the first chat we had direct agency support removed for that account (and many many others)! Google cutbacks...

    By Blogger Joel Lumsden, at 10:08 AM EDT  

  • Yikes Joel, that sucks! I wonder if that will happen to us too? Hmm...

    By Blogger Melissa, at 10:52 AM EDT  

  • I find with engine reps you get what you pit
    in. In my experience they can be very salesy, but with my verticle reps I try to give them as much information as I can when they get assigned, and then setup bi weekly calls.
    Then if you ask for what you want, I generally fond they don't have the time to sell
    in YouTube again.

    By Blogger Paul Maddock, at 10:58 AM EDT  

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