How to Destroy a Google Ads account

Published at Aug 16, 2022

#Google Ads#PPC [pay per click] for busy people
How to Destroy a Google Ads account

How to Destroy a Google Ads account

PPC Sins

OR HOW TO GO FROM 18.9X ROAS TO 1.5X ROAS. OUCH.

“Everything ends”
as all good things in life often do.

Sometimes clients decide to part ways with you for reasons such as price, and/or promises. This time, a client decided to part ways because she wanted to partner with an award-winning agency.
The award-winning agency made some promises that weren’t feasible. One of the promises was an insane amount of ROAS [more on that later].
That said, I added the email of the new account manager in order for him to start working on the account.
Fun fact, they never removed me from the account nor did they reduce my account access. This gave me a first-row seat in the destruction that soon followed.

Let’s talk numbers
When I handed the account over, Peak ROAS was somewhere around 18.9X while the monthly average ROAS was somewhere around 9X.
The new PPC account specialist managed to reduce ROAS to 1.5X. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted and I had to know what went wrong.

PPC sin #1

REDUCING THE BUDGET OF THE WINNING CAMPAIGNS.

I still don’t know why he did that. The campaigns were generating a good enough ROAS while also regularly competing for the Absolute Top position.
Mind you, he did have the budget.

Solution

Don’t take away budget from winning campaigns.

PPC sin #2

INCREASED BID ADJUSTMENTS FOR WEBSITE VISITORS ON THE BRAND CAMPAIGN

Logic dictates that you pay as little as possible for returning visitors unless there are data to suggest otherwise. I would probably understand bid adjustments for cart abandoners but not for website visitors. That said, Brand campaigns are a metric that reflects the efficiency of your marketing efforts [online and offline].

Solution

Don’t touch your brand campaigns unless someone is bidding against your search terms and/or there was an SEO disaster you can’t fix in time.

PPC sin #3

MESSING WITH PERFORMANCE MAX CAMPAIGNS

Well, this is an issue, but most people don’t understand it since PMAX campaigns are a relatively new thing.
PMAX campaigns takes somewhere around 2 days in order to get approved. The thing is that it can take somewhere around 8 weeks in order to really leave the learning phase. This means that PMAX campaigns are extremely sensitive to changes and the results will fluctuate greatly.

Solution

Give PMAX campaigns time to run and consider slowly adding asset groups over time.

PPC sin #4

MESSING WITH ADS THAT WORK

Ads that generate revenue should not be messed with. If you want to try new ad copies, then you are free to run an experiment. That is the reason experiments exist in Google Ads in the first place.
That said, the new PPC specialist changed winning ads with ad copy that proved to be inferior.

Solution

Either create new ads or run an experiment for a limited amount of time.

PPC sin #5

NETWORK CHANGES

It is no big secret that if you want to control the performance of a campaign, you avoid choosing the ‘Search Partners Network’ and the ‘Display Network’. That way, you know where your ads are being served.
That said, the new PPC specialist opted for all networks. On all the campaigns. Funny thing is that it wasn’t an auto-apply recommendation, it was a conscious choice.

Solution

You should avoid running search campaigns on ‘Search Partners Network’ and the ‘Display Network’ unless you like to gamble with the profitability of your campaigns.

PPC sin #6

PLACEMENT EXCLUSION LIST

It is no big secret that the Display network has some bad actors behaving in ways that hurt all of us. We try to manage it with placement exclusion lists and a vigorous pruning of all the placements that act suspiciously.
That said, the new PPC specialist didn’t create placement exclusion lists let alone manage and maintain them. Nor did he connect the one I had created with the new campaigns.

Solution

Go to Tools & Settings > Shared library > Placement exclusion lists and either created one for the ground up, update the current ones, and/or connect them to your campaigns.

PPC sin #7

NEGATIVE LISTS

Negative lists are a thing that every PPC specialist creates, manages, and maintains. It is a task that is vital to the success of all search campaigns, no matter the budget or the point in the funnel. There are things that people need to be aware of, such as conflicting negative keywords with existing campaigns and objectives, but usually, most PPC specialists manage that quite well.
Except for this one. He managed to exclude variations of the client’s brand name. The worst part is that he added variations as broad match instead of exact match. That really helped reduce traffic by a good degree.

Solution

If you want to exclude keywords and phrases, you should consider creating separate negative keyword lists in order to avoid conflicts with your current campaigns.

PPC sin #8

CHANGING ATTRIBUTION MODELS [ACCOUNT]

Honestly, I had trouble choosing which sin was worse between this and PPC sin 4.
Attribution models help you understand how your ads behave over time. With that, you can optimize your bids in order to improve your CPA and/or ROAS.
The problem is that if you are using smart bidding strategies [I mean who isn’t], changes in attribution modeling will directly impact your campaigns’ performance.
Needless to say, the PPC specialist changed the conversion action [Purchases] as it was nothing.

Solution

If you are adamant about changing attribution settings on your conversion actions, you should at least have a look at the attribution section of Google Ads.
Navigate to Tools & Settings > Measurement > Attribution and you will find the overview section. Here you can test the current attribution settings compared to others.
Go to the Model comparison, change the lookback window to 90 days, choose the dimension you want [choose campaigns for now] and proceed to compare the results from the comparison.

TIP

If the attribution model comparison doesn’t greatly favor one attribution model compared to another, I would stick with the one the account is currently using.

Epilogue

This is a cautionary tale about what not to do when landing / receiving a Google Ads account that is performing well.

If you want to know more about Google Ads audits, then visit the following link

Google Ads Audit guide & free [Notion & Google Sheets] template

Top posts in Google Ads

How to audit Google Ads campaigns

How to audit Performance Max campaigns

How to audit Search campaigns

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