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Google Interference In Account Management

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

I answer a lot of questions here, now it's time for me to pose a question. Have any other SEMs experienced the issue of Google employees actively, and aggressively interfering in account management?

 

I know it is within their legal right to do so, but I find this "channel conflict" to be very troubling. I have experienced this in a minor form in the past -- Google alerting clients they need to talk to Google about "account management", but this situation seems "over the top" to me.

 

As background, I have an OUTSTANDING relationship with Google, this situation is an outlier. I have spoken to their support reps almost daily for 18 months and have many friends there; both the quality and content of Google's support is uniformly terrific.

 

This situation: I designed a campaign for an attorney, it is a beauty and runs in a major US city. Performance is off-the-charts great and the client is spending $100/day. I optimize it several times a week and pay close attention to all the kpi's. The underlying website and landing pages are strong. We use all available ad extension types, including even the new messaging extensions which are starting to work. The client has proactively offered quotes for my new website, so thrilled with the way it's rocking the practice.

 

So earlier this week, in steps a Google employee, with a google.com email address, who sends the attorney an email stating that they campaign is deeply flawed and he needs to review the account. Three explicit claims are made stating the lawyer is overpaying for clicks, the quality scores are bad, and there are not enough impressions.

 

I challenged all three claims as untrue (quality scores are good, who pays $13 for dui clicks in a major us city? and impressions are fine/bad impressions were filtered out) and the Google guy responds with a snarky email WITH CHARTS directed to my client, trying to prove me wrong.

 

As a Google partner, how do i compete with Google trying to destroy my credibility? I find this absolutely outrageous.

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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Steve B
November 2016

Google Interference In Account Management

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Do you use an MCC?

 

I'd like to think that Googlers would notice this and stay away. We use an MCC for our hundreds of clients and Google directly contacting clients is rare, perhaps 2-3 times per year. But when they do, the problem is similar, and it just confuses the client when Google says their managed account is no good. 

 

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Google Interference In Account Management

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Wow, that's quite surprising. My Google rep has been great so far and hasn't been pushy like yours, but my Bing rep has been acting like this recently. He kept trying to push us to increase our budgets and cpcs on our non-seasonal campaigns (I work for a seasonal company), which is not what I want to focus on. I talked with him today and explained the situation and he was much more reasonable afterwords. 

 

Maybe the rep is trying to accumulate more on the holiday season, but that doesn't make sense for a legal firm. 

 

 

Have you explained this situation with your employer? If you are the PPC manager, then you should be the one that Google reps contact with optimization suggestions (even though you're probably not the account owner).

Google Interference In Account Management

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Google optimization specialists are assigned periodically to accounts (usually new ones). The rep calls / contacts the account owner. The practice is to let your clients know that a Rep might contact, and educate them to  reply  that the account is managed by an agency, and no help needed. Once they do so, the Rep will no longer  intervene. 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Google Interference In Account Management

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
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Yeah Moshe, I have seen what you describe over the years, especially the past two years.  I don't have any problem with THAT. 

 

THIS is different.  The Google employee cited three specific problems with the account, and used them on the (non-technical) client to challenge my assertions and destroy my credibility.  I maintain that the CPC's, Quality Score, and Impressions are just fine -- better than most campaigns, as a matter of fact.  The Google rep is using tools and information that i don't even have access to, in an attempt to prove me wrong in front of the client, and that destroys my credibility with the client. Despite his access to internal tools, I also have developed internal campaign analysis tools which shows that the sales rep is actually W-R-O-N-G. 

 

This is a showcase account and there is nothing wrong with it.  Quite the contrary.  The Google rep simply wants the client to spend more per day.  If he changes the campaign, performance is very likely to decline.  And what is he doing jumping in front of me like this, in the first place? It is different than what I have seen them do in the past. 

 

I am developing the opinion that Google has a major "channel conflict" issue with "Google partner" managed accounts which should be addressed. If I had the opportunity to present my objection internally, I would go as far as traveling to Mountain View at my own expense to present what this looks like from MY side.

Google Interference In Account Management

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Yeah, that doesn't surprise me that {the other company} acts like that.  I frequently rave to clients about how great Google behaves. It all comes back to their corporate motto, "don't be evil" which seems to have become imbedded in the corporate DNA.  But Google is a very large company now. 

 

I do not have an employer - I operate a micro ('boutique') PPC agency. Every smallest detail of every campaign runs through me on a daily basis (actually, at least 14 hours a day).  I look at our many clients as "my employer" - they are the constituency i am serving. 

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Steve B
November 2016

Google Interference In Account Management

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Do you use an MCC?

 

I'd like to think that Googlers would notice this and stay away. We use an MCC for our hundreds of clients and Google directly contacting clients is rare, perhaps 2-3 times per year. But when they do, the problem is similar, and it just confuses the client when Google says their managed account is no good. 

 

Google Interference In Account Management

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Rob,  Yes of course i use a MCC - I have a long list of client accounts in there.  My Corporation is a Google Partner.

 

I have not seen this behavior before - this is new.  Usually it only comes up maybe 2-3 times a year, but never in this aggressive, confrontive, and damaging form.  And the rep's boss, within the Google sales organization, is DEFENDING this conduct.  I told them, I plan to escalate this further up within Google, and their attitude is like, "well go right ahead".  

 

They did not just "contact" our client - the sales rep aggressively disputed my defense of our performance and the quality of the campaign.  He used internal Google charts in an attempt to prove me wrong.  Not just with me, but emailing it to the client in an attempt to "win the argument" about their assertions of why the rep needs to jump in front of this and manage the account.  I have better analysis to prove the Google sales rep wrong; but you know how those things go.  

 

I escalated it yesterday with a long, polite call into Google; but nothing was done.  In fact, the rep became more aggressive today.

 

I have never once seen a violation of Google's "don't be evil" in 15+ years.  This is the first time they have behaved in such a fashion.  It's "un-Google-ish". I feel like I'm dealing with you-know-who, here.

Google Interference In Account Management

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

Personally, I wouldn't pursue this any further. There can be a real disconnect between how Google handles your complaint internally and how they respond to you. In other words, you are unlikely to hear anything other than "it has been resolved".

 

Google Interference In Account Management

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

To Google's credit, they have escalated and scheduled a call with me tomorrow.  

 

I will take your advice beyond that, you have a lot more stripes than I do, in terms of dealing with them.  I have access to Google at the executive team level but I'm not going to use it.  I will just let the chips fall where they may. 

 

The main reason I chose to aggressively sell AdWords and promote it to businesses is, I'm quite fond of Google.  If they start acting like a typical large tech company, I would shift onto some other emphasis rather quickly.  

 

As I told Google today, there is no dispute with Google that I can "win".  I would simply fold my cards. Even a minor sales team employee could mess up my Google business, big-time.

Google Interference In Account Management

[ Edited ]
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Getting closer to resolving this.  I just sent Google my analysis of the campaign -- it has an excellent quality score distribution, there are a few keywords for legal niches my client wants to advertise to which are low volume/ctr, so they will never have QS above 5; but the chart of QS versus # of keywords is impressively good.  There is absolutely no issue with search volume.  And we are paying only $16/click in a highly competitive battleground for criminal law legal clicks in a major US city, while holding average ad position 1.8.  This campaign is quite healthy, contrary to Google's sales email. 

 

There rep was comparing the cost of legal clicks nationwide, including rural and small town areas, in an attempt to persuade my client that he is overpaying for clicks.  A non sequitur argument.  And he was claiming impression volume is low; which is just not true.  We do screen out a lot of low-quality impressions with an extensive negative keyword list; but there is plenty of impression volume and we are buying are (budget) quota of high quality clicks daily.  

 

Seems that Google did not have my MCC marked as an Agency account, leaving it open for meddling by lightly trained agents, who will even jump in front of the agency and try to discredit them (with the client in the loop) with repeated emails. I have never seen this before, it is a new Google behavior. 

 

Hope to get it resolved on the call today.