I'm David Rothwell, the Google AdWords Money Expert. Learn how a laid-off IT Manager accidentally created a work-from-home digital marketing agency selling products and services for world-wide businesses AMA

David Rothwell
May 14, 2018

I have 13 years Digital Commerce consulting, management and coaching experience with Google AdWords, Google Merchant Center and Google Shopping. 

I only get paid when my world-wide clients make money on a commission-only “share of the profits created” basis, instead of the typical Agency model of a percentage of monthly ad spend. This game-changing profit-center strategy means everyone wins, from customers, suppliers, payment processors to shipping companies. 

My unique engineering approach stems from over twenty years in the IT Industry including Olivetti and Hewlett-Packard, and managing European IT, Telecoms and support for KLA-Tencor Corporation.I'm published on Amazon. Ask me anything!



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What is the significance of Impression share metric?
May 20, 11:58PM EDT1
What is the benefit of using broad matches with negative keywords, instead of exact match keywords by themselves?
May 20, 11:43PM EDT0
What, in your opinion, will change the face of digital marketing in coming times and why?
May 20, 3:15PM EDT0
What is the most important factor in determining your ad position?
May 20, 2:43PM EDT0
How long should advertisers wait after creating a new display campaign before analyzing its performance?
May 18, 2:12PM EDT0

You can analyze the performance of any campaign type as soon as you like. It all depends on how many impressions, clicks and conversions you’re getting before there’s enough actionable data for optimisations. I like to see at least 100 clicks before I do anything.

A 30 day period is ideal to make optimisations. Every day of the week is different, and there’s only four Mondays, Tuesdays etc in a month. Weekends often behave differently too.

I was running a lead gen campaign with very large amounts of impressions, clicks and conversions (around 1,000 a week) and this made tests and management decisions rapid. I could even see behavioural changes by the hour of the day.

May 19, 4:24AM EDT0
May 18, 1:39PM EDT0

Visit my website to learn more about the World's only Google AdWords £20k Challenge - make up to £20k in 30 days, no sale no charge, commission-only, no percentage of ad spend, no minimum budget, no contract. Then come back here and AMA about it :-) 

May 18, 1:08PM EDT0
What are some things you can do using the Google AdWords API, and would you recommend using it?
May 18, 10:29AM EDT0

This is one I can’t fully answer as I’m not a programmer. However I have worked with programmers who understand how the API works and can use it effectively. So yes I recommend it because it should give you access to all the parameters inside the campaigns that you need to be able to work with. I do not know whether everything you can do online is accessible by the API.

I’ve said for many years that AdWords campaigns are really nothing more than rows and columns in an excel spreadsheet, and excel used in conjunction with AdWords Editor can do most things you need to do fast, in bulk, and at a high level.

The API is the next step for you once you have developed and tested known workflows which take care of campaign management and optimisation which are outside the scope of Google’s bid and budget management, and ad delivery – which as I have said elsewhere in this AMA you should trust and use where you have sufficient conversion volume for it to work effectively.

The other thing about the API is that it can change and anything you have built using it may need to be adapted or could even be rendered useless.

May 18, 11:54AM EDT0
Why shouldn’t you ever let a Google rep “optimize your ad campaigns”?
May 18, 6:16AM EDT0

That’s a brilliant question! Google is always pitching their technical support and trying to intervene with their advertisers. It’s one way for them to sell more clicks, but although it should be well-intentioned and help advertisers become more successful, it’s intrinsically doomed to failure in most cases. It can also help Google spread its own bad reputation and the perception that AdWords “doesn’t work” (there’s more about that in this AMA).

I’ve often heard advertisers say that things didn’t imrove or got worse once a Google rep had intervened, or their recommendations were followed. And I’ve found that the quality of support varies drastically from country to country. Here in the UK, although it’s rare I need their help, I’ve found their support to be of a high standard and usually any problems are quickly and effectively resolved. The same does not seem to be the case in the USA.

There’s several big problems with Google rep support and their campaign recommendations: (1) they personally have never spent a dime of their own money on AdWords advertising so there’s never anything at stake for them (2) although they will know more than the average advertiser, their knowledge is not deep enough to fully understand the implications of what they recommend (3) they only work with the campaigns (like most agencies) and not in strategic partnership with your business so they understand how it works, how you make money, and the actual value to you of the clicks you’re buying so you can safely buy more.

May 18, 11:54AM EDT0
Why is it recommended to separate Display Network campaigns from Search Network campaigns?
May 18, 5:33AM EDT0

These two networks are fundamentally different, with different audiences, ad delivery destinations and completely different performance.

Search is straightforward – your ads show only on Google search properties like Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.com.au etc. Ads only show for related user searches here, triggered by your choice of keywords and match types, and other targeting options like devices which it is always advisable to separate.

By looking in your Search Terms report you can see precisely what terms people actually type, with typos and everything. It’s a hugely valuable source of extra keywords to bid on, and negative keywords to suppress ad visibility when not appropriate.

People are aware of your products and services, maybe even your brand, and asking to see your ad. You should ALWAYS be bidding on your own brand name to measure your brand visibility. Clicks and conversions will be cheap, so do not be put off doing this if you already rank well. So if you have what they want you absolutely need to show up here to get a chance of serving them an offer they may like and ultimately buy.

There are 65,000 searches a second (www.internetlivestats.com), but Search only works when people are looking, so if they aren’t, Search actually doesn’t work. You can tell this from your Impressions, which is when your ad is displayed for a related user search. This is influenced by all sorts of factors in your campaign, including bids, budgets and Impression Share as described in the post below. A small number of impressions means not many people looking. The more there are, the bigger potential to sell, and a more competitive market.

If people aren’t looking, you can turn to the Display Network which is at an earlier stage of people’s awareness. In the early days and for many years, Google always had this network opted in whenever you created a new campaign. It was naughty of them but they got away with it for a long time and in the process really learned a lot about their own platform at the expense of advertisers. It was the classic first thing to look for when auditing campaigns.

Your ads show on other websites which are opted in to Google Display Network, and publishers earn revenue from ad clicks just like Google does.

This is *interruption marketing* and it’s way less effective. There’s a wide range of targeting options which advertisers often get wrong, so your ads will show on completely inappropriate websites, sometimes on mobiles and even in apps and games. It’s all too easy to show up in the wrong place and either be ignored or clicked on with no chance of interesting your visitor with what you have.

Display network can generate very large numbers of impressions but usually has a very low CTR. Campaigns can be keyword targeted, or trigger on the content of the page, or even targeted at specific websites or audience demographics.  

You can mine the ad placement report to see where they are showing, and exclude inappropriate ones similar to using search terms as negatives. This is also where remarketing (or retargeting) campaigns will show your ads, and you will be following users around and stalking them as they move around from website to website. It’s often offensive after a while so you need to cap frequencies so you don’t upset people. That said, you can always test Display to see if it works, as it often can particularly in lead generation for professional services providers.

Final word on Display – it can be very fickle and Google changes the parameters of it all the time. Successful campaigns can start to fail without you doing anything.

It’s important to realise that these ads are hostage to the website publisher, and sometimes show up in “remainder” space they have left over on their pages. That can change at their whim, particularly if they then sell that space to another advertising network.

Now you can realise why it’s so important to have these campaign types separate.

I’ve often found that Display and Remarketing do not work *at all* in ecommerce and even Google Shopping. In a very recent and perverse move Google is reverting to it’s previous behaviour and has announced a “new” campaign type for Shopping which bundles in the Dynamic Remarketing function which is the equivalent of Display for text ads which are keyword-based. I’m convinced this is a bad move for advertisers which will earn more money for Google but not necessarily their merchants.

May 18, 6:19AM EDT0
How are budgets related to campaign and account spending levels?
May 17, 11:06PM EDT0

Budgets are critical. When you start you will have a limited budget which will throttle your ad delivery and lose Impression Share (budget), that is your ad visibility. You will also have reduced bids and standard delivery to spread your budget out during the day, also reducing Impression Share (rank). Both these important metrics are columns you can select in your view.

Limited budgets means you will only be eligible for lower-priced ad auctions, not all of them. When profitable, that is not a good thing. By tracking your sales conversions and revenue, you can see when you get to break even (you earn back what you spend) where ROAS Return on Ad Spend is 1.0 or 100%. At that point you can afford to increase your budget and bids to increase your Impression Share.

Where you want to get to is ROAS >1.0 and 100% Impression Share for as many keywords as possible, with 0% loss of Impression Share for budget. This is very achievable if you know your numbers and always track revenue.

Watch this great Youtube explanation of the ad auction by Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8qQXLby4PY

Last edited @ May 18, 5:44AM EDT.
May 18, 5:41AM EDT0
Do you currently work with a team or are you working on your own?
May 15, 8:21PM EDT0

I believe in “Eliminate, Automate, Delegate”, so I work as smart and as process-driven as possible. This means I am not currently a bottleneck in my business. Should I become that I would recruit help from my associates or new people interested in what I do. When I need to get something done, I create a process and system for it so I only need to do the thing once and can then just run the process without having to think about in the future. There’s some excellent free or low-cost resources that really help collaboration like Google calendar, Google keep, trello.com, dropbox, AdWords Editor, TheBrain.com, skype or zoom, LinkedIn etc.

May 16, 1:16PM EDT0
Being in the business for so long, how do you manage to continue learning new trends especially since you have to do this all on your own?
May 15, 4:47PM EDT0

I’m not entirely on my own, I have other associates when I need them. But my natural curiosity means I soak new things up all the time without really having to try. It’s also very important to focus and specialise (“Focus means being able to say ‘No’ – Steve Jobs). That way you can start to ignore all the less important stuff.

May 16, 1:10PM EDT0
Now that you’re working from home, would you ever consider working in an actual office in the future?
May 15, 2:37PM EDT0

If it was for someone else that thought gives me the horrors! Because people can collaborate the world over very easily with technology these days I see little point in an office now. Read the excellent book “Rework” for more on that https://www.amazon.com/Rework-Jason-Fried/dp/0307463745/

May 16, 1:08PM EDT0
How do you manage your time especially since you’re working from home?
May 15, 7:38AM EDT0

You do have to be very disciplined and make use of various approaches and tools. I use Google Calendar to block my time, and Google Keep for note taking and content compilation. I recommend Dan Kennedy’s excellent book on time management on amazon at https://www.amazon.com/B-S-Time-Management-Entrepreneurs-Productivity/dp/1599186152/

May 16, 1:04PM EDT0
What are some benefits of working from home compared to working in a physical office?
May 14, 8:38PM EDT0

The flexibility is great meaning I can come and go entirely around my own schedule. I have been the work from home “house husband” for many years now, and I don’t mind working odd hours or at the weekend. Also, with world-wide clients in different timezones this flexibility works well.

May 16, 12:58PM EDT0
What are some inexpensive ways to promote a startup using Google Ads?
May 14, 7:42PM EDT0

Please see my answer on “minimum investment”.

May 16, 12:53PM EDT0
Is written content very important when one wants to rank in Google?
May 14, 7:40PM EDT0

That’s an SEO question which I think I have answered.

May 16, 12:51PM EDT0

Are there certain kinds of businesses that benefit more from Google Adwords than others?

May 14, 1:49PM EDT0

Please see my other comments about who I work with and some case study info.

AdWords can work for many businesses as long as they know their numbers, track everything and measure it. This can often mean changing some elements of their sales process, which often they are not inclined to do. In those cases I cannot work with them, because I refuse to spend their money without knowing how much comes back in return.

eCommerce campaigns work best with barcoded products which are makes and models. General purpose products like clothing are much more challenging.

May 16, 12:50PM EDT0

I will have more answers soon, bear with me and keep asking these great questions :-) 

May 14, 12:13PM EDT0
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