Google updates their ad serving platform on a frequent basis to keep it relevant to how people search. And now that Google has introduced machine learning and AI to help power how ads are delivered. This means the way Google Ads works is fluid and requires constant attention to see how your campaigns are affected.
These constant updates from Google make sense, after all, the majority of their revenue is from their ad platform. This means, pragmatically, they have to keep the tool working well and relevant to advertisers or risk ad dollars going elsewhere.
One of the things Google Ads is great at is producing lots of data. If you run your own campaigns, or work at an agency where you may work on many campaigns, there is no end to numbers to review.
Which gets us to a common misunderstanding regarding the role of a search analyst.
It stems from one of the powerful features of Google Ads: constant optimization. The data comes at you in almost real time, and with analysis, you can make updates to campaigns to ensure they are running at peak efficiency. After all, isn’t that what a search analyst is paid to do? To make changes?
Sometimes the best thing you can do for a Google Ads campaign is…. absolutely nothing.
I am not trying to be overly cute here, or purposefully obtuse. But the job of a search analyst is to think. The job is about making sense of the mountain of data, all the numbers, and to understand what is going on.
You need to know what numbers to look at when, and know what they all say. You need to know how to troubleshoot, and let the data guide you to the issues. The data tells a story, and you need to know how to convey that story to your client.
The issue is when the story becomes about what you changed and not why you changed it. Because then it teaches a client that the value you bring is the ability to change the campaign—to work the levers. They believe the value is about the number of changes, not the reason why things were changed.
Over time, it is then assumed if you are not making changes, that you are not doing anything. And to a degree, can you blame them? They are relying on you to be the expert, to run the campaigns for them. And the number of changes and updates is easy to wrap their heads around.
But sometimes the data tells you to leave things be. Maybe the new ad copy hasn’t been active long enough, or gathered enough data to make a decision. Maybe the device bid changes need to roll through the weekend before you can see the full effect.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for a Google Ads campaign is… absolutely nothing.
So how do you tell your client or your boss?
You need to make a subtle shift in how you present Google Ads updates. Don’t focus on what you changed, but share what data you focused on, why you focused on it, and what the data means. And if it resulted in a campaign update (adding negative terms, updating ad copy, creating a new SiteLink), then share that pragmatic outcome with them.
The value of a stockbroker isn’t that they can buy and sell stock. I can sign up to any number of sites that let me do that. The value of a stockbroker is that they understand my goals. They match my goals to the data, then they make decisions that result in actions.
The number of changes you make to a Google Ads campaign is not valuable. Your ability to understand goals and read the data is. And sometimes that data tells you to not make any changes, but to keep watching.