eCommerce Podcast

Our podcast is raw, honest and damn right insightful, as we chat to some of the best minds in eCommerce

Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 64:
Mike Rhodes:
The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads to Grow Your eCommerce Store

Calling all PPCers – this is an absolutely ESSENTIAL episode if you’re running Google Ads!!

This week we’re joined by none other than Mike Rhodes, the CEO and Founder of world-leading and award-winning agency WebSavvy, and author of bestselling book ‘The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords’.

His agency has successfully managed over $100m in Ad spend and they’re not slowing down, so take note in this episode as Mike shares his top strategies for managing Google Ad campaigns and how to optimise them for success. 

eCom@One Presents:

Mike Rhodes

Mike is the CEO and Founder of WebSavvy, a world-leading agency based in Australia, as well as Founder of AgencySavvy, a community created specifically for agency owners who want to grow their businesses. Mike is also the author of the world’s bestselling book on Google Ads: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords’ with Perry Marshall. 

Mike’s passion for Google Ads didn’t start in the most conventional of ways – ever since he was a child he dreamt of being a helicopter pilot and that’s what he pursued until later realising it wasn’t quite the dream he’d been imagining. After dipping into digital marketing for a bit, it wasn’t until he watched a talk with Perry Marshall in 2004 about Google Ads everything started to fall into place and his career took off from there.

He founded his agency WebSavvy in 2006 and in this episode, Mike shares what led to its global success, from hiring the right people, to coming up with winning strategies to get his client’s big results. We also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of manual and Smart Shopping on Google and what strategies work best for both, as well as the top things to address when facing a failing Ad account to turn it’s results around.

Join us on this episode for some fantastic tips to get your Google Ad accounts in the best shape possible, as well as some insights into what the future could look like for PPC.

Topics Covered:

01:38 – How Mike scaled his agency to become one of the best in the world

03:22 – Mike’s tips for hiring and maintaining a high employee retention rate

07:51 – Where Mike found his passion for Google Ads

12:50 – Where eCommerce stores should be focussing their Ad spend

16:14 – Go-to strategies for Google Smart Shopping

20:07 – How to stand out from competitors with Smart Shopping

26:44 – Tips for structuring manual campaigns

30:34 – Scripts to run on Shopping campaigns

32:54 – Best ways to turn around a failing Ad account

39:38 – Where Mike sees Google Ads going in the next 2 years

44:35 – Book recommendation

 

Richard Hill:
Hi there I'm Richard Hill, the host eCom@One. Welcome to our 64th episode. In this episode, I speak with Mike Rhodes, CEO and founder of WebSavvy and AgencySavvy. Mike literally wrote the book on our words with his most recent book launching being the ultimate guide to Google Ads in its sixth edition. Mike is someone I really respect and personally I've learned so much from over the years. Mike and his team manage over a 100 million in ad spend for clients. This whole episode is an absolute gold mine. If you're running Google Ads, then listen up.

Richard Hill:
We talk about how Mike scaled his agency to one of the top agencies worldwide. And of course, we go deep on really scaling ad words for eCommerce stores. Mike's opinion on Google smart shopping and a new shopping hybrid method that both Mike and my team are working on. Three key leavers to adjust to really scale. Specifics to look for in a faulting ad account. And of course, we go deep on shopping ads. If you enjoy this episode, please make sure you subscribe. So you're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Now let's head over to this fantastic episode. How are you doing Mike? Are you okay?

Mike Rhodes:
I am marvellous mate. Great to be here. Richard, thanks for having me on mate.

Richard Hill:
No problem. Well, I was saying to Mike before we jumped on, Mike, somebody I've personally been learning from, for I think a good sort of half a dozen years or more, a lot of the guys in the agency, plough through a lot of Mike's training, he's very well known in the agency world and also very well known in the PPC and ad words world. So really, really, really appreciate you coming on and sharing your knowledge. So I think it'd be great for the listeners to really understand how you've managed to scale your business into one of the top agencies in the world.

Mike Rhodes:
Wow. A whole lot of luck I think is probably the main element there, frankly. And a bloody amazing team. And those two things combined. The first guy I hired was with me for nine years before he went off to create a VR business. Five of the other six people that have been with me for seven years plus are still here. So that longevity makes your life much easier as a business owner obviously, a very understanding wife. Some incredible clients and a technical term, a shit ton of hard work. Yeah, a lot of luck. Great team, great clients.

Mike Rhodes:
And somebody once told me that the secret to business, I'm like, "Oh, go on then." The secret to business, this is not Richard Branson's guaranteed way to become a millionaire, is it? Because I know that one, that's always good, but we can do that at the end if you like. A guaranteed way to become a millionaire, if you want it. But yeah, the secret to business is just stay in the ring, he said. That you're going to get knocked over a ton of times. You're getting up, stay in the ring. Longevity and just still playing the game, you will get there over the journey. We look at people that are successful and we forget that we're just looking at the last two pages of the book. We forget all of the work, the overnight success, that's a decade in the making.

Richard Hill:
I love it. Stay in the ring, I'll remember that one. I think this is it. Isn't it? The reality is we only see the highlights on social media don't we-

Mike Rhodes:
Absolutely, the best 5% of someone's life. Probably not a true reflection of what's going on.

Richard Hill:
Absolutely. So going back, you said about team and hiring, obviously you've had some great hires and guys that have been with you a long, long time. I think guys that are listening in to the episode eCommerce Store Owners, they may be got 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 people, obviously all different stores list them. And what will be some of your tips and things that have really helped people hire and retain, I think is the trick, isn't it?

Mike Rhodes:
Well on the hiring side, find people that are good at hiring. I don't think I'm particularly good at hiring. I think I got lucky in the early days. My GM now does a fantastic job with my head of Google and Facebook. I haven't been involved in hiring for the last wee while. And that's great because I don't think I'm particularly good at it. I rock up and don't bring a notepad to write down the answers and ask a bunch of random questions. And now there's a process to it, which is a much better way to do it apparently. On the retention side, this is going to sound really trite, but I think you just got to really care about your team.

Mike Rhodes:
You've got to give a damn and what matters to them. Another mentor once said to me, think of them as volunteers, because they're volunteers, they volunteer to come back the next day. Sure, you pay them a bit in exchange for that time, but every single day that they walk out that door, you're hoping that they come back, they're volunteering to come back the next day. So treat them as such. Don't treat them as pieces that get moved around the chess board or just a number on a spreadsheet. Ultimately, yes, the business has to be profitable.

Mike Rhodes:
You can't give away the farm, but you can be generous. You can be flexible. You can understand what really matters to them. I mean, career progression plan was not a phrase that was ever in my lexicon, but apparently that's really important, I had to learn that. And values I think for me, it all really boils down to values, if it's a good values fit. So we got very, very clear on our values four, five years ago as a business.

Mike Rhodes:
And that was pretty transformational because that now is baked into everything that we do, obviously the hiring process, but also then your quarterly reviews, bonuses, our shout-outs in our team meeting every Tuesday morning are all based around people demonstrating business values. So if you've got people whose natural values are aligned with the business values, and really aligned with your personal values, because that's generally where the values of the business come from, right? It's the person who started the thing. It sort of becomes an extension of them. So if those things are aligned, you're going to go pretty well.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, I think core values. I think you're just saying so many companies that I, especially the smaller ones that are getting started, maybe skip that piece and then they-

Mike Rhodes:
Well, you do at the start. Don't you?

Richard Hill:
Yeah. And I think it's done right. Actually, if you want to scale, you've got to get people on board the train and to get people on board the train, they've got to, that core values fit. So spending time with your team, thrashing them out and discussing them. And I love the fact that you say on your Tuesday stand up meeting, you're sort of praising people, I remember referring back to the core values of bringing them back in [inaudible 00:06:54]

Mike Rhodes:
That's not led by me, that's them giving shout outs to other team members. So it's not coming from me. It's not coming from the top, to the point now where I don't have to be in that Tuesday meeting every week, which is fantastic because they're running it. And you might've only been here for eight weeks and you might find yourself running that meeting because we take it in turns to run that meeting. We were chatting before we started about EOS and traction. So we've taken elements of that, which we haven't adhered to it fanatically, but we've actually just done the people analyser just this last week as a group going through and looking at those values and then scoring people. I know that, but-

Richard Hill:
We haven't done that bit yet. We discussed it internally. We're like, "We were just uncomfortable giving people a score."

Mike Rhodes:
Well, we've used that internally as a management team so far. It hasn't got any further than that yet. And it probably will because we're pretty big on transparency. So we'll see.

Richard Hill:
Okay. Right. Ad-Words. Have you ever done a podcast without talking about Ad-Words?

Mike Rhodes:
Yes-ish, not very often.

Richard Hill:
So how did it all start? Where did the passion come from? Obviously you've been doing this quite a while. How did it begin and sort of, I'm really intrigued personally how you did the stories of the... Well actually-

Mike Rhodes:
Well, I grew up wanting to do something completely different. I grew up wanting to be a helicopter pilot. I think I saw something on TV when I was about six years old and went, "Mom, that," Yeah, this guy hanging out the side of a helicopter flying around New Zealand, apparently it was. I since went back and found that show. I always wanted to do that. So I actually flew not too far away from you, actually over Blackpool Tower out of Preston airport. I flew a [inaudible 00:08:47] before I drove a car. I studied aeronautical engineering at university before I dropped out after a term in half an hour.

Mike Rhodes:
And I actually learned to fly when I was 20 years old in Hawaii, of all places. I somehow found myself in Hawaii for a summer with a working holiday visa, I should add. And I saw all of these helicopters flying around and went [inaudible 00:09:06]. Why not now? So I got the yellow pages out, because that's how old I am. I called every single helicopter company in Honolulu, and got myself a job the next day, basically sweeping out the hanger and computerizing this little four person helicopter company.

Mike Rhodes:
And I went, "Computers are good. They're going to be big. It's the future." Like, "Let me help you with this and I'll do it for free." Huh, what? Well, in exchange for you to teach me how to fly and a little bit of beer money. And they said, "Yeah. Okay, go on then. Well, we'll do that." So I learned to fly flying around Maui and Molokai and Honolulu, it was amazing. And very quickly after that, actually I ended up getting a job for Lord Hanson, good mates with the Queen down in Blackbushe Airport, just outside of Heathrow.

Mike Rhodes:
And very quickly realized that every single one of our pilots couldn't wait to retire. And I thought, "This is not an industry I want to be in where everybody wants to leave. I don't want to spend the rest of my life being a glorified taxi driver," which is how they referred to themselves. So I decided in my mid-twenties, this wasn't the path. So up sticks and went snowboarding in New Zealand for three weeks. Stayed for three years, started my first business there, built that up, sold it, moved to Sydney about 20 years ago, good Lord. And just started consulting with businesses. I'd built one business at this point. It was quite successful, but I thought I was God's gift to businesses. And the thing that had helped me build that business was a book called The E Myth by Michael Gerber.

Mike Rhodes:
And then when I got to Sydney, I discovered there was this thing called an E Myth coach, an E Myth consultant. And I ended up flying to California at two days notice, a month after 9/11 to go train with Gerber and his team. And that was my MBA in small business. I've always loved helping small businesses grow. And then, and I sucked at selling myself into that because it was mindset and systems and team, and then we'll get to lead generation, but I just need more customers, mate. When do we get to the bit where you get me more customers? Well, that's module five. It's Gerber. It's a system. There are seven modules and that's module five. Can we just buy module five? No, sorry. I said, get out. Oh, okay. I sucked at selling it because they just wanted more leads, more customers. And then I saw this guy, Perry Marshall speak in 2004.

Mike Rhodes:
His first time here in Australia, talking about this thing called Google AdWords as it was called back then. And I just went, "Oh my God, this is what they all want and need. I'm doing that, because that's going to solve the problem." I love helping businesses grow, but I'm clearly sucking at what I'm doing here. Sorry Gerber, I'm going to stop paying you a fortune. And I went back to my mastermind hair on fire. One of the guys in the mastermind said, "Don't bloody consult to me. I'll give you half my business. Come on, let's do this together. Let's go." We sold a 100 grand's worth of stuff in three and a half weeks and I went, "Ooh, this works. Okay."

Mike Rhodes:
And that was really the start of the agency. I was a bit slow. For every 10 people I would go and talk to and oh my God, this thing's amazing, nine would say, "Mate, I don't bloody care how it works, just do it for me. Would you?" I was a little slow to take that on board, but that's basically how the agency started and I started doing it for people back in 2006.

Richard Hill:
I love it. I love it. So sort of a-

Mike Rhodes:
Probably a longer answer than you were hoping for there.

Richard Hill:
No, we will edit it's okay. Yeah, that's sort of one client leads into two clients leads to what is today.

Mike Rhodes:
It was a case of beer and a round a golf and then a little bit of cash. And I think my first client was about 390 bucks a month or something, crazy. I still have, my second ever client is still with us, a wonderful Melbourne company.

Richard Hill:
That's fantastic, isn't it? That's a great story.

Mike Rhodes:
And it's still growing.

Richard Hill:
So when we look at term ads, different platforms, different types of ads. So when we talk about Google, we've got some different options, but when we think of a eCommerce store, quite often they've got ads running on whether it's YouTube ads, shopping ads, search ads, Facebook ads. Where do you think that sort of most eCommerce stores should focus? Or is there a sort of split that you see commonly? I mean, I know it's a bit about it depends answer, but would you say it is a sort of common split and when the guys that are listed.

Mike Rhodes:
It varies by location I find, whenever I speak in the states, which I used to love doing in the before time. I would find so many retailers that might be spending a 100 grand a month on Facebook, but they had never tried Google shopping. Or they've tried Google once they melded the credit card and then given up and run away and said, this thing doesn't work. So I think most businesses can benefit from testing a few different things, brand search campaign, just to make sure that you show up, that's kind of a given. Remarketing campaign if you're an e-Comm retailer, then having remarketing and dynamic remarketing you're should be doing that. A lot of businesses don't get round to doing YouTube because they just find it difficult to create videos. Yeah, fair enough. But if you can create a video, there is so much traffic available there.

Mike Rhodes:
I still don't know how Facebook campaigns work. My head of Facebook's a genius he's world class. He's built an amazing team from scratch over the journey, which is now a large chunk of the business. So that should be part of the mix. Yeah. It should be tested. Every business is different. It obviously matters who your audience is, and where they are. And are they looking for the products and services you sell or you're selling something that's completely new that people don't know about, but once they find it, they go, "Oh my God, I've got to have that." In which case, maybe interruption marketing works better for you. Facebook, Google display, YouTube, or maybe you've got tens of thousands of people searching for the stuff that you sell every week, in which case get on search and shopping first, but really yeah. Test them all.

Richard Hill:
Awesome. Yeah. No, I love it. I think that's the thing. I think a lot of people, it's quite bizarre when I think when we speak to clients, I think you're saying a similar thing where they go, "Oh yeah, we spent a 100 grand on here, but we don't do that." It's like, well, surely if you're doing a 100 grand on this, what's a couple of grand to test this. Or, you know, a couple of 100 dollars or 5%, 10% of your span to test different areas because that's where usually you find, oh, actually, well, that a 100 grand is now 200 grand because we do a 50K here, 50K here, this is just on spend maybe next time, double the business sort of thing. Yeah.

Mike Rhodes:
We do tend to get a little bit stuck in our way of thinking. And we've heard a story from someone in a mastermind or we read a blog. I mean, we've just decided that that thing doesn't work, but you don't really know until you try, I mean, take a cue from your competitors. Are your competitors running, Google shopping ads? Are you competitors running YouTube? It doesn't mean that you should follow your competitors blindly. Absolutely not, but it's there signposts they're clues as to what might work.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. So you've touched on, or you mentioned shopping, shopping is a topic that shopping out as a topic we've covered quite a lot and something that we are super passionate about here at the agency and on the podcast. So I'd love to delve into shopping a bit. So what would be your sort of... I think things have changed quite a lot personally, this last sort of 18 months with smart shopping and different things. What would you say are some of the go-to things, strategies that you're working on at the moment that are working in shopping?

Mike Rhodes:
I really pushed back against smart shopping back in the '80s, as you remember, it was called goal optimized shopping campaigns. It's just the world's worst name. Our rep push pretty hard on a couple of accounts black Friday last year. And we moved some products for a few clients over to start shopping and lo and behold, we have seen some really, really good results. Not all the time. Obviously. I think if you go back two, three years, I think we worked out, it was around about sort of 25% of the time smart shopping was worth keeping on. Sometimes it would work really well for three, four months and then fall off a cliff. Those were the fun days. Other times it just wouldn't work at all. We just wouldn't hit targets at all. And then sometimes it works, but it really wasn't that great.

Mike Rhodes:
I think the thing that's made the difference for me is target ROAS. The bidding model behind shopping just works so much better than it did a couple of years ago and a machine Google obviously is the biggest and best AI company, at least outside of China. And they are putting the power of deep mind and all of that lovely AI stuff to work. And it's very, very good. At least for the time being while before Apple block everything and while we still have third party cookies, right?

Richard Hill:
Follow the goalposts-

Mike Rhodes:
Smart shopping generally works very, very well. But if you're brand new to Google, then I think you should spend the time to learn how to do it the old school way. To collect the data that you really need when you're starting out to see, are the right people seeing my products? Because as I'm guessing, your listeners know better than the vast majority of podcasts that I'm on. We don't get to use keywords with shopping campaigns. We don't get to say, "Hey, people that are searching for this, show them my products," You're up leaving it up to Google to make that match.

Mike Rhodes:
And you really want to know, especially in the early days, are my products attracting the right people? Do I need to do some work on my product feed to educate Google as to who the right people are.

Richard Hill:
So we're saying now that smart shopping has definitely moved on, just even in this short, what is maybe 18 months, 12 months really moved on a lot better than it was, you're personally seen a lot more success. So do you tend to run smart shopping campaigns for clients and manual campaigns as well? So you're doing some hybrid.

Mike Rhodes:
Yeah. Most of the time it's going to be hybrid. Some are smarter shopping only, which surprises me, especially where we were a year ago. And then some will be manual only where we just either haven't tested smart shopping yet for them because things are going so well. You know, when things are going really well, you just don't want to Chuck a spanner in the mix. Right. Because Google seems to rust long-term data. I mean, I'm sure you've seen the same accounts I have where you look at the setup and you just go, this is appalling. This should not be working.

Mike Rhodes:
And everything's 10 out of 10 quality score. The thing is printing money. And you're just like, I'm not touching that. I'm not going near it because back in the day when I was younger and my ego was bigger, like, oh, this is rubbish. Oh, I'll do it the right way. And then boom, do that once or twice. And then you go, oh, okay. I'll be a little bit more careful.

Richard Hill:
Maybe we'll just take it steady. Okay, so we've got this hybrid model. We've got smart or we've got manual. So maybe just stay on smart for a second. So what things can somebody implement over and above just to standard smart campaigns maybe are there things specifically that they really want to drill into the feed and make sure the feed has got this, this, this, this, this, no doubt you've looked at a 1000 feeds over the years and there's the obvious things, but what would you say feed wise that is to really get like a 10 out of 10 or high score or for smart, specifically, what would you say.

Mike Rhodes:
Even before we get to the feed, let's talk about going to make difference between you and another retailer. Because I get asked this all the time where we're all using the same black box. What makes the difference? Surely we're all going to get the same result. Well, not necessarily, right? So the quality of the data that you give the machine and the quality of the feed that the creative, the products themselves, that's going to make a huge difference. So when I say data, I really mean tracking. So if you are handing all of the power over to the machine and you're using a tool like target ROAS, target Return On Ad Spend, sorry for the acronyms, but I figure your audience is pretty Chloe. So we should be good. And you really need to make sure your conversion tracking site, you need to know that yes, it's passing through the right revenue amounts.

Mike Rhodes:
It is tracking the right conversions. I'm a big fan of using Google Ads, conversion tracking rather than Google analytics. Because I think that if an ad has played a part in that journey over 30 days, then the ad should get some credit for it. Maybe we don't need to go into attribution, but if you use Google analytics, which is the easy, lazy way to track things, you're going to miss a really about a third of your sales data that you can pass back into Google Ads, which will improve things.

Mike Rhodes:
So getting your tracking sorted out is absolutely the first thing. And then yes, move on to product feed as you said. Product type is such an underused part of feeds because it's always been optional. Yeah. Google product category used to be mandatory. Now it's optional, but people kind of seem to remember all that was important once I should probably look after that, Google don't really care about that one.

Mike Rhodes:
Product type is well worth doing. Custom labels so that you can move products around in your accounts so that you can have a campaign that only targets those five products. Because some labels really, really useful for that. Getting caught, getting some extra data in there like cogs. So if you can get cogs into feed cost of goods, then that opens up a few extra fields inside the interface so that you can start to see gross profit inside the interface at the point where you're making decisions. Now, most decisions around bidding these days are going to be made for you. So we don't need to fiddle with bid adjustments the way we used to, but it's still very useful to understand that. So using custom label for product margin. Yeah, because someone was just asking my group this morning, like how should I structure shopping campaigns?

Mike Rhodes:
And there's a lot of different answers to that questions, right. But I think a nice, easy way to get your head around it is just profit margin. Even if that's as simple as high, medium and low. Because you're going to bid those campaigns at a certain amount, we want it to be profitable. So I think starting there and then Andreas I always forget the name of his business. I think it's Crealytics. He's in Europe. He's done some brilliant research. Absolutely fantastic guy. Very, very smart works for some of the best brands. One of the best Google shopping people there is out there. I don't know if you've had him on the podcast, but he is an actually genius. He's done some amazing research around the impact of price. And you would have seen it in Google Merchant Center. Right. You know, all of those price comparisons, there's still a large chunk of blue there.

Mike Rhodes:
There's still like most of your products. It says I can't find a comparison for even if you sell products that everybody else sells. Oh, well, let's come back and talk about GMC in a second. But he's done some great work that shows if you're just a little bit more expensive, than the other people in your market, you're going to get a fraction of the impressions that they are. That scares me a bit because that implies if you're a little bit cheaper, then you're going to get the lion's share and winner takes most, that becomes a race to the bottom.

Mike Rhodes:
And I don't like discounting. But if there are maybe a couple of loss leaders and you know, they're loss leaders and you know your numbers, and you can attract a lot of people to your store by giving up a little bit of margin on a few products and that can be useful.

Richard Hill:
I like it. A lot of things there, I think product feed. So we've got the product type, which, I mean the amount, I'd probably look at two new feeds a week. I would say ish in probably 85%. There's maybe one product type if you're lucky.

Mike Rhodes:
Maybe or it's not used is it. Most of the time it's just not used at all. Sometimes it'll be labelled a product category, probably the cross. But it's such a great opportunity to define your own taxonomy. And again, give Google more signals. Just on the point of signals to customer match list, it's a stupid name, but they've just opened that up so that there used to be a requirement there that you had to have spent 50 grand lifetime in your Google Ads account and everything had to be tickety-boo for the last 90 days. Otherwise you couldn't use it at the recent event, what three, four weeks ago. They said those limits are gone. So everybody now can upload an email list essentially.

Mike Rhodes:
So if you've got a list of prospects, if you've got a list of past customers, get those loaded up, let the machines see that data because that will then get taken into account with all of that smart bidding.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. No, that's some fantastic tips there. I think more those stack together. I mean, the cost of goods, pulling that through, pulling margin through if you can get at it, that's usually the challenge with some of those, isn't it? It's getting that pulled through if it's not in there initially-

Mike Rhodes:
Sometimes you're reliant on your clients dev who's part-time and two months behind and then you've got a massive list and it can be tricky sometimes to-

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Okay, I've got it. It'll go on the list, but it needs to be on the priority list. Yeah. Okay, that's some fantastic bits on the smart side. So on the manual side then, so we've built out a better feed. We've got better product data coming in, on the smart side, obviously, and on the manual side as well, but when we're structuring the campaigns and building out the manual campaigns, what sort of tips would you give for that?

Mike Rhodes:
Here's the main tip would be have more than one campaign. Let's start with the basics, don't just think of it as, oh, I've done shopping. Tick that off I've got one. Martin, I always forget his surname Rottinger. I think it was the YouTube video that blew us all away.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, keywords [crosstalk 00:27:20].

Mike Rhodes:
Yeah.

Richard Hill:
I remember seeing that for the first time. I was like, "Oh my God."

Mike Rhodes:
I don't know anybody that didn't watch that multiple times.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, I remember.

Mike Rhodes:
I was like, "Oh my god, this guy's a frigging genius." And this is back in 2014. That strategy still works, but it's starting to break down, like the guys are telling me that the campaign priority isn't being respected as much anymore that negatives even sometimes, and not being respected even on manual, which is really disappointing. I don't have any firm data to give you on that. That's kind of pretty anecdotal at the moment. Some agencies having members have said similar things to me privately, so yeah.

Mike Rhodes:
At a minimum let's say brand, non-brand you need to treat those two groups separately. After that well, go watch Martin's video and figure out what makes sense for you. I've seen some crazy stuff where people are trying to automatically move products from one campaign to another based on current performance. So you look at the actual rowers, not just your product margin and the predicted performance, but what actual performance.

Mike Rhodes:
And this thing we thought was going to be a three, but it's running at six or to pick it up and move it into this campaign over here. Fred's tool optimizer will actually do a reasonable job at doing that. Most businesses don't need to go to that level though. You know, titles, we didn't talk about titles before. Probably the single biggest thing you can do to your product feed is understand the search queries that people are finding you by, and make sure that your titles do a good job of matching that intent. There's so much that can be done. And you see a lot of feeds and it's better than it was two, three years ago. I think there's a better understanding, but most people still have that perception of yes, but this is how I want it to display on my store.

Mike Rhodes:
So that's the title I'm going to use? They don't realize that. Well, we can have a different title that we give to Google and a different one that we give to Facebook and a different one that we give to Amazon. If you want to, it doesn't have to be the same thing that's displayed on the site. That alone may just make someone just say, Oh my God, you can do that.

Richard Hill:
That's a weekly conversation for us. Yeah. So we take the feed and then we manipulate the feed and we changed the... what you can do that. Where we can do it. And then we push it back in. So then we have to-

Mike Rhodes:
I don't need to change it ever again?

Richard Hill:
We don't have to go on the website and change all the titles. No, we can do like a find and replace and add.

Mike Rhodes:
I'm constantly amazed by how blown away people are by little things that you can do with automation, whether it's script or even using auto rules in an account. This was not very long ago. I won't mention names because it's really embarrassing to the person involved and not a team member. This was a client, but they had somebody going into the office, every Friday night and every Monday morning and pausing things. It was like, we can do that. You know, automatically you don't need to be pressing the button every Friday night. Like they were literally driving back to the office at 10 o'clock on a Friday night to pull things and it's like, please don't do that anymore.

Richard Hill:
So you mentioned the word scripts, if you're running shopping campaigns what will be maybe one or two scripts that you would run or what would you be your advice on that? There's one or two.

Mike Rhodes:
We had a really cool one a while back. So obviously if you've got a product feed and that product shows as out of stock, then Google's automatically going to stop running your shopping ads for that. We had a search campaign that was trying to sync up with that, but most of the traffic was going to category pages on the website. So our amazing Deb Charlene, she is absolutely brilliant, wrote a script that basically got the URL from the ad group, visited the page, looked at the various products on that category page. Counted the number of products and the number of products that were out of stock of those, because on the category page. And you might have 12 products and seven of them say out of stock.

Mike Rhodes:
And once we hit a certain threshold for that percentage, then it would pause the out group. I thought that was really clever, and I didn't come up with it, which makes it even better.

Richard Hill:
Similar to the sort of sizing of a product. If you're selling a size seven brown, Nike, I think you buy a brand, Nike maybe. But if you search for that particular product, but you've only got the size seven insight and you haven't got the four or five, six, eight, nine, 10, 11. You might not want to show it because you've only got one or two or three in stock that are certain sizes rather than the whole. Yeah that's smart. I'm not ahead of that one. That's a very smart one. Yeah.

Mike Rhodes:
I was impressed. We do a lot of work with DataFeedWatch. I really liked the guys at DataFeedWatch, Jack and the team. They've done some training with us and the team over the journey really good product. That's another thing I think we should add to that list of things to do is not necessarily pick the free app when you go to your Shopify store and figure out how to start getting data into Google Merchant Center. Something like DataFeedWatch is well worth the dollar a day that it's going to cost you.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. We've got a great episode with DataFeedWatch. The number of escapes me, but we'll take it up in the show notes, but about episode 30-ish, I believe somewhere there. But yeah, we've found fantastic coming to where a massive fan of DataFeedWatch as well. That a 100% recommend.

Mike Rhodes:
Awesome.

Richard Hill:
Okay. So, right. So you're taking accounts on, you're looking at various eCom stores on a weekly, daily, weekly basis, depending on how busy you are and what's going on. Obviously you've seen a lot of accounts over the years, hundreds, thousands. How do you usually sort of turn things around when things are failing? What are the reasons why most accounts are normally failing or is there some sort of regular patterns you see, and how, and what do you sort of do when you go into those accounts? What are some of the specifics that you can go in quite quick and look at specific things and change?

Mike Rhodes:
Whoa, good question. For me, I'll go back to fundamentals, go back to first principles. And the first thing you want to understand is why have results changed? Is it that less people are searching for this? Obviously that's virtually impossible with smart shopping, of course, but for regular shopping campaigns for your search campaigns, just getting that back to basics. Okay, results have changed, but what powers that result if we're talking about search campaign? Cost per lead, well that's cost and the number of leads. So which one of those has changed? Has our average CPC changed? Has impression changed? So the same number of people are searching, but we've just got our ads in front of a lot less of those. So I built a data studio tool that will do a lot of that analysis for you, agencies having members get it for free.

Mike Rhodes:
We still don't have a sales page for it. It's exclusive to agencies that we members at the moment, but all of the training videos I did for that are on our YouTube channel. So that'll give you a sort of a good idea of what it can do. It's the wonderful thing with data studio is you can embed videos in the actual report. And once I found that out, I'm like, oh, I can do, I can do my whole audit process in the one tool. So one page for training and then one page for data, the next page for training on the next topic, then a page of data on that topic. So training data, training data, training data. So it's 20 pages of training with 20 pages of your data in that tool agencies. Every member loves it. So starting to diagnose the problem by pulling it apart a few different ways and looking for that, I think there's really only three levers.

Mike Rhodes:
Well, let's add data to this, but bidding, targeting and messaging, those are the three main levers that we all have to play with in an account. So you pull it back to basics. Bidding these days probably smart bidding, but what's changed there. Did we change targets has the average CPC changed what's happening there with our targeting, as somebody edited a new nag and that's killed things. So somebody messed with the product feed it gets harder right when you've got a team and you've got multiple people working on the account, you need a good system for those things, but breaking it down into those component pieces, has the messaging changed on the website? I mean, how many times have you had a client that said, "Oh no, no, we changed websites yesterday." Did you need to know that?

Richard Hill:
Yeah, it was like 300 404s, or 5,000 404s.

Mike Rhodes:
Yeah. And whole new product ideas and-

Richard Hill:
301's, what's the 301's.

Mike Rhodes:
Yeah, it would have been useful to know that. Yeah. So that's baked into now our quarterly business reviews, any changes to the website coming up that we need to know about? Anything you think we don't need to know about?

Richard Hill:
Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it? I know we've had some fun and games recently. [crosstalk 00:36:21].

Mike Rhodes:
Well, and I can understand it. From their point of view, I actually drew this out on a whiteboard a while back for somebody of, you think about, so there's the business, right? With all these different components, ops, finance, admin, HR, sales and marketing within that, you've got all the different types of marketing. You got PI, you've got above the line, you've got over the top and then digital. And then within digital, we've got Facebook, we've got Google, got organic and email and some other bits and pieces, right? In their world they're spending all of their time at the top. And it's a triangle that points down with a teeny tiny little bit of time set aside to worry about this geeky thing called Google Ads.

Mike Rhodes:
Our pyramid is completely the opposite of that. We spent all of our time down on that bottom layer and occasionally we'll have a conversation with them about the business itself. What are the goals what's changing? So recognizing that in their world, they're incredibly busy. They're wearing 12 hats. They're running around like a headless chook. Yeah, they might not realize that changing the entire website was an important thing to let you know. Most of the time they do, but it's understandable when they don't.

Richard Hill:
If you're listening now, I would pause and maybe rewind 90 seconds because when you're having that dialogue with your agency or with your guy, lady in the business, that's running your ads, just that dialogue between the teams to let them understand what is going on the business. What's coming up? What's changed? Oh, we've got a whole new range. We're actually ditching that range. Hang on a minute. That was 80% of the revenue why we did, oh, we can't get it anymore. We've lost the relationship with it. Right. Okay. That's major news. That's majorly going to affect, what's going to happen with the revenue. So we need to understand that.

Mike Rhodes:
And you're dead right. That's often one of the biggest reasons why that ROAS has changed or why revenue has changed is because the best selling products are now out of stock. And nobody's noticed because it's buried in a feed.

Richard Hill:
That's so common.

Mike Rhodes:
[inaudible 00:38:15] percent of that feed.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. So, so common, we've got a client that sells the PlayStation®5 and from what I understand, getting stock is a nightmare. So when he gets stock, he obviously goes crazy, like extra a 100 grand or whatever it may be. And then they come out of stock like, "Yeah, they're out of stock." You know, it is what it is, but understanding that, if you didn't know that you think this is some major issue at the top level and without digging in and looking at the product level.

Mike Rhodes:
And I would imagine to the business owners listening to this five minutes of the conversation, they are just banging their head against the wall right now going, "You idiots, that's so bloody obvious." But yet we've both known many agencies along the journey and I've probably made this mistake myself earlier on in my career, where we forget to talk about the business, about the business goals, about those bigger things that are going on inside the business. We are buried in the tech because that's where we feel most at home and playing with dividend tables and needing spread sheets maybe. And we sometimes forget to have those conversations. So yeah, as you said, we got to break down those silos and everybody just needs to talk more often.

Richard Hill:
Yeah, 100%. I think if you're not speaking to your guy, your team, your agency, then there's a lot of problems that no doubt will arise. So I think you need to nip that in the bud. So crystal ball time, if we were looking maybe a couple of years into the future, where do you see some of the things going on the PPC side?

Mike Rhodes:
We will have less control and Twitter will keep blowing up and will all be bitching and whinging about it, but there'll be nothing we can do about it. Put performance max, right? This new campaign tide. I really don't want to try it. I really want to stick my head in the sand and be an ostrich and go, "It's going to be shit." That is exactly the opposite of what Perry and I have been teaching for 15 years, mixing search and display and you should mix it all together, the machine will figure it out. Will it though? Because the machine has shown time and time again, that it isn't always brilliant at that, but we'll test it. We've got some clients that are super aggressive and love trying the new things, which is wonderful. And then we've got clients at the other end of the scale that are more conservative.

Mike Rhodes:
And go, "We don't want to touch a beater until you know it's going to do well for us." So we'll test it. And maybe we'll have a chat in a few months time and talk about that. Did it work? I think yeah, the AI genie is well and truly out of the bottle, Google are never going backwards on that. If you read, I was doing a webinar this morning, I was trying a couple of screenshots of some of Google's sites and they actually have a page that's pretty much titled, this is what we believe or something along those lines. And it literally says on this page, extremely hard, if not impossible for a human to do when they're talking about their smart bidding models. So they're basically saying the engineers at Google are patting us on the head and going, "Ah, little humans. It's a bit complicated. Just let us do it for you."

Richard Hill:
Good luck.

Mike Rhodes:
Just give us a credit card and get out of your way, that's basically what Google wants, right? It's just like, "What's your URL, what's your credit card number? We'll do everything in between." I hope we don't get to that world anytime soon. I hope that the amazing community that this is, and we've got some phenomenal people, right? I mean, I'm sure you've had many of them on the podcast, but guys like Brad Geddes and Fred Vallaeys, Kirk Williams, that have all been around a long time and continually gently nudging. I won't say fighting for, but gently nudging people at Google in the right direction. I've had some standup arguments with people at Google here and at Singapore.

Mike Rhodes:
And usually it's more civil than that, but hopefully they do continue to listen to us as a community. And they recognize that data is a really important part of the piece and you can't keep hiding it all and calling it insignificant and expecting us all to be really happy with that. We need that data to go back to our clients and prove value. We want to use that data for other things. We're not saying we should own all the data, but we should be able to use it, right? So I think the automation is going to continue. I think the AI is going to continue. I think we're probably going to continue to lose a little bit of control over the journey.

Mike Rhodes:
I don't think keywords will go away, but I think we'll see some changes, more changes to match type. I hope something like negative keywords doesn't go away, but you look at smart shopping, you can kind of start to see the writing on the wall. On the messaging side, I strongly suspect in two years, we'll be in an RSA only world on the search side and maybe an RDA only world on the display side.

Mike Rhodes:
So, sorry responsive search ads rather than expanded text ads. I'm pretty sure that will happen at some point just because again, they're patting us on the head and saying, "Get out of the way little humans, you don't know what you're doing." YouTube and display, maybe less changes there, but again, probably more simplification to the audience side of things. We've seen the loss of custom affinity and custom intent and all of that being merged into custom audiences. I wasn't very happy about that, but again, there's no point in bitching and whinging, right? The simplification of remarketing audiences, we used to be very, very granular with that. I wrote an article five years ago, it's on Brian Dice's blog, digital marketer.com, super granular, that's how we ran things for years. It's called the remarketing grid.

Mike Rhodes:
If you feel nostalgic, and you want to go read it, but these days, the machine understands recency, the machine understands the different behaviours that everybody's made on your side, which products did they hover over? What were the value of those products? What got added to the cart and what didn't, how long they were looking at each of those products. The machine knows all of that. At least again, at this point in time before a few changes happen over the next 12 months. So it's going to be an interesting journey, right? It's going to keep on changing and the pace is probably only going to accelerate.

Richard Hill:
So I think a year from now, we'll get you back on, we'll have a regroup on the machine and how it's been working for us.

Mike Rhodes:
Sounds great. I'm up for that.

Richard Hill:
I always like to end every episode on a book recommendation. Now, obviously you have a lot of books out there and you have your sort of most recent books. I think we'll do a two pronged end to the episode, if it's okay with you. So tell us a bit about the book. I know it's the sixth edition of the Ultimate Guide to Google Ads.

Mike Rhodes:
Here's one I just [inaudible 00:44:53] in front of my desk, Richard, thank you for asking. It is the sixth edition. I was very lucky. Brian and Perry did the first three without me, and then got me involved eight years ago to write the technical bit of the book. But yes, we're told that's the best selling book on Google Ads in the world, which is rather lovely. It makes my mum very proud. That's good. Best book. Well, I'll give you a couple of different answers to that. I'll give you the books that changed my life, which was CASHFLOW Quadrant by Kiyosaki and the E Myth by Michael Gerber.

Mike Rhodes:
A mate handed me those two as I was starting my first business, 22 years ago, those two books changed how I thought about business and money forever. I can't remember how I used to think about business and money, that's how much they changed me. And then book recommendations these days, usually whatever book I'm reading is one of my favourite books of all time.

Mike Rhodes:
I get so into a book, but actually yesterday I did get a new book arrive. Michael Lewis is just one of my all time favourite non-fiction authors. The guy's a bloody genius like Liar's Poker, Flash Boys, The Big Short, Moneyball, that's all him. A whole bunch of them got turned into movies, but they are absolutely cracking books and his new book, The Premonition, which is all about the pandemic, but it's a beautiful story with some amazing characters told about the pandemic. Yeah, he is an absolute brilliant writer, so if you want to go have a good read, a non-fiction read, Michael Lewis is my-

Richard Hill:
Yeah, we will take that up and we'll get it on the list though. Thanks, Mike. It's been an absolute blast having you on. I really appreciate you sparing the time. Oh, the guys that are listening want to find out more about you and getting contact. What's the best way to do that?

Mike Rhodes:
The best way to find me is through the website. So websavvy.com.au, because we're down here in Melbourne, Australia. So W-E-B-S-A-V-V-Y. I'm sure that'll be in the show notes somewhere. There's forms and stuff on there. Yeah, send me that question. I love helping businesses grow. My personal email is mike@websavvy.com.au. That probably means I'll get more spam now, but send me a question. If you have a question, if you're running this stuff and you'd like a second pair of eyes on it, and a second opinion, I'm more than happy to take a look or just continue this conversation and answer a couple of questions.

Mike Rhodes:
If you like the training side of things, if you want to learn more and you want your team to learn more, then yep, we teach a few 100 agencies how to do what we do. And that's over at agencysavvy.com. I've discovered I'm a teacher across the journey. I absolutely love teaching. I could never give that part up. So yeah, whatever floats your boat. I'm not massively active on the socials. I tend to try and turn off when I go home and go and play with my kids.

Richard Hill:
Yeah. Fantastic. Well, thanks Mike.

Mike Rhodes:
Go find me on Twitter.

Richard Hill:
I can definitely give it the eCom@One sign off in terms of the training, as I said at the beginning, we use the AgencySavvy training here at our agency, so I know it's a fantastic resource, so I would definitely recommend that myself. Well, thanks Mike. We'll get you booked in for 12 months time and we'll see what we're up to.

Mike Rhodes:
It's a date.

Richard Hill:
Fantastic. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the eCom@One eCommerce podcast. If you enjoyed today's show, please hit subscribe and don't forget to sign up to our eCommerce newsletter, that leaves a review on iTunes. This podcast has been brought to you by our team here at eCom@One, the eCommerce Marketing Agency.

 

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