It’s been a busy past few months for Google Ads updates. The tech giant has been making several tweaks to various aspects of its platform in an overall attempt to make the product more accessible to businesses looking to advertise.
To add to these technical changes, Google has released its new Insights page from beta.
For the most part, any tool or feature that provides insights through data is generally a welcomed asset. But with Google these days, it is important to take a closer look. In this post, I’m going to discuss the overall pros and cons of the Google Ads Insights page, and then walk you through how to use it. This way, you can decide whether it’s right for your business.
The Insights page is the latest beta-tested offering from Google that essentially curates custom insights based on your business account. The idea behind the tool is to deliver relevant trends and opportunities unique to the advertiser’s business.
Keep up with changing consumer behavior
It works by using your account’s performance history, campaign settings, and trends across Google to automatically generate insights and recommendations for your business. According to Google, this is a tool to help marketers and advertisers keep up with the rapidly changing consumer behavior that was set off by the pandemic.
Get ahead of competitors
In a way, this tool doesn’t just allow you to keep up with consumers, but also to get ahead of competitors. For example, Google notes that “searches for ‘curbside pickup’ increased by over 3000%” during the pandemic. Businesses who were relevant to this query would have been able to capitalize by targeting these keywords before the competition caught on to the trend.
Great for scaling
To the individual marketer (or agency), the tool itself is certainly an added bonus—particularly for those who are looking for ways to scale their account and increase their return on ad spend.
There is a flipside to the page that comes into play from my perspective. Now obviously not every person advertising or using Google Ads will frequently use this tool but let’s say that a vast majority do.
With everyone using it, can you really get ahead?
If all of these competitors are using the tool and increasing their spend towards “trending terms,” then the party that will benefit the most would be Google. It’s in every business’s best interest to increase revenue wherever possible, but it seems Google has been blurring the lines between “helping you grow your business” and helping their bottom line for quite some time now.
Push toward more spending
This may seem like a cynical perspective but I feel it is necessary to point out that although many of Google’s recommendations may be helpful, most of them will try to persuade you to spend more money.
Not the best fit for every account
Finally, while search trends provide a great deal of opportunity from an advertising perspective, some industries will derive more value from the Insights page than others.
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The Google Ads Insights page is conveniently located in the main menu of your Google Ads account under the recommendations tab:
From a broad-strokes point of view, these Insights can be intriguing. To see the changes in trends, particularly those within your account, is pretty valuable. Prior to this tool being available you would have to analyze campaign information and compare it to a third party tool, but now can receive this information at a glance.
From the start, you are presented with a broad overview of trends that you show ads for as well as suggested trends for your business. You can get a deeper look into the report by selecting “View Trend Details” in the bottom right of the window:
Here you will be presented with some specific insights in addition to recommendations from Google:
If you select “View” in the recommendations section, you can see what Google is proposing specifically:
As with any auto-generated recommendations from Google, I suggest you always review and determine whether these changes should be made. You may find some that would be worth implementing while others not so much.
If you select “View Trend Details” on the “suggested tends for your business” window, you will be taken to a report that looks like this:
This is where you will be able to view general trends that are related to your business but not necessarily your current ad spend. Due to the fact that this report is a much broader generalization of your business, I found this report to be much less helpful or relevant to the clients I manage. Depending on your industry, however, this report may show much more relevant data or at least trends that may be worth capitalizing on.
As with many auto-generated recommendation tools released by Google to help marketers grow their business, there are some great advantages and some not-so-great.
Insights are truly unique to each account
If you manage several accounts you will see how much variation there is in the information you receive, depending upon which business you are viewing. The data and trends truly reflect the individual businesses and the history of the ad accounts themselves.
Insights are readily available
As mentioned above, the fact that this information is readily available within your account is valuable enough. You don’t have to use the Insights page if you don’t wish to but it is always there to inspect.
Recommendations aren’t necessarily optimizations
The page may give you some ideas or show trends that may be worth capitalizing on, but for an experienced marketer, they will likely find many of the trends and recommendations generally unhelpful.
Some accounts don’t have them
I have also found that not every Google Ad account will have active trends and insights. For some businesses you will be shown this window:
This makes sense because there may not be a surge in search volume for every industry and every vertical. This means the data you receive from this page is pretty reliable. I would certainly recommend viewing the Insights page every time you are going through an account and making optimizations.
The beauty of paid search is that it is constantly evolving. There are search terms that will consistently provide volume every month but in many cases new queries emerge as information and trends develop.
With constant changes to the platform (particularly to keyword match types) any additional information or data that can be analyzed is welcome in my opinion. Google has been pushing more and more automation in search over the past few years and although some of it has been helpful, much of it has taken the high level of control that marketers had to make decisions and fine-tune campaigns. The Insights page is a refreshing addition to the platform that isn’t a dramatic change that will upset any applecarts.
Brett McHale is the founder of Empiric Marketing, a digital marketing agency dedicated to scaling startups through paid search and social.
See other posts by Brett McHale
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