So you’re managing your own Google Ads account, or at least want to be actively involved and learn from your Google Ads manager, right?
Maybe you’re the kind of person who wants to receive all the email notifications and the reports, so you can keep an eye on the situation and ask questions if needed.
Maybe once a week you even like to log into the account and have a quick look around to see what’s going on.
And then two Google Ads recommendations catch your attention:
- The infamous “Limited By Budget” campaign status
- Pesky notifications saying your optimisation score dropped
Panic at the disco ensues.
Pinky promise though, there is no reason to reenact Spongebob and Patrick’s panicked run right here. What you’re seeing is Google subtly trying to get you to spend more money. Which, let’s be honest, it’s their job, so let’s not hold it against them.
Here’s what you need to know about these two Google Ads recommendations before you make any hasty decisions.
‘Limited by budget’ notification – what it means to you
That red alert there simply means your campaign could spend a lot more money than it currently does. They even have that tiny graph icon that shows you how many more clicks you will get by increasing the budget.
Makes sense to spend more, right?
Hold your horses.
There are always more factors to take into consideration, like:
- Is this the best campaign to increase the budget on?
- What is the goal of this campaign? Is the same goal the business is focusing on in the short term?
- Is the campaign achieving good results as it is, whatever results means to your business?
- Do you even have more budget to spend?
If the answer to any of the above is no, ignore the status column. Don’t get tempted into doing something against your best interest!
‘Your optimisation score dropped’ notification – what it means to you
In recent years, Google introduced a column called Optimisation Score, linked to a tab called Recommendations. The whole point of this is for Google to suggest improvements to some of your campaigns, based on what they’re seeing in your account.
You’re forgiven for thinking it’s nice of Google to help you out like that.
There are some pretty huge pitfalls you have to be aware of before, again, you start approving their recommendations.
The goal of these recommendations is to get you to spend more money.
Now we’ve got this out of the way, let’s look at the most likely recommendations you will see and what they really mean.
- “Expand the reach of your campaign” using broad match keywords. Which is also an extremely easy way to spend a lot more money on searches that are not as relevant to you, unless you’re a pro at this and know how to reduce the risk to a minimum.
- “You may miss out on conversions from an expected future traffic increase”. So their solution is to get you to spend more money now 🤷🏼♀️
- “Your ads aren’t as prominent as they could be if you used XYZ extensions”. For context, extensions are those additional bits of information you see below the ad itself, that are supposed to give the user more useful information. Just because extensions are available, though, doesn’t mean they’re relevant to your business. The most likely to apply across the board are: phone number extensions; sitelink extensions, which let you add links to multiple relevant pages on your website; structured snippet extensions, which let you make a quick list of your services.
- “Show your ads more often to people searching for what your business offers”. When you review this list of keywords, more often than not you’ll realise they are not actually relevant to your business; but Google doesn’t know any better. Don’t just click on Apply All, review the list accurately first.
- “Get more clicks on your responsive search ads by improving your headlines and descriptions”. This is one of the few sensible recommendations you’re going to find. We have never found an instance where Google was wrong on that.
The 100% optimisation score syndrome is real.
Don’t get sucked into the insanity. One of our campaigns right here brought in over $50k worth of business despite apparently having an appalling optimisation score of 47%.
If you dismiss a recommendation, your optimisation score will still go up.
This is the ultimate proof you shouldn’t be too worried about the score in that column. As long as you always keep the goal of the campaign in mind, and review every recommendation carefully, there is no reason to feel the campaign is not doing as well as it should.
The quality of your traffic and the enquiries that you get off the back of running the campaign speak for themselves.
No need to panic and no need to follow Google Ads recommendations blindly.
If your campaign is performing the way you want it to and it’s limited by budget, check if you’re able to spend more, and if so, go ahead and increase the daily budget. Otherwise, don’t go anywhere near the budget column and ignore the alert.
Have a look through the recommendations and evaluate whether those suggestions make any sense to your business. If not — dismiss all!