I know you may find this hard to believe but a while back I called Google and was actually able to talk to a live person. This is the first time in around 25 years that I actually called Google…and they answered!
Before I tell you why I called Google let me give you the back story.
At the time I was promoting my live “Complete” seminar in London. I wanted to do some display advertising on the event website.
I was ready to run my ads with 12 different, massive campaigns. I basically copied the same ads to all 12 campaigns. It takes around 24 hours to get your ads approved so I placed the ads and waited, and waited, and waited…they were not approved.
The reason given for non-approval was “misrepresentation.” I was shocked.
Now I am very, very specific when it comes to my website and take pains to ensure they are following all of Googles guidelines. I make sure I have my contact information and everything else required, so this idea of misrepresentation kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It felt like they were calling me a liar!
I went back over my website with a fine-tooth comb. After all, maybe I got caught up in the hype and went over the edge somewhere. Maybe I pushed the envelope just a little bit too much. In times like that I’m okay to take the blame. I went over the entire website line by line trying to find where I went wrong. I couldn’t find anything.
I looked at my marketing strategy. This was not a free event. I was charging one pound (this was in London) for people to attend.
When they clicked the “£1” button they were taken to the bottom of the page where they were given choices. They could purchase for £1 or choose from three other options:
Thinking the problem must be with my ads I made some changes and resubmitted them. They were all disapproved again and then again after even more changes. I had a couple of choices—I could keep guessing what was wrong and face the possibility of more rejections, or I could try to contact Google. I decided to try and contact Google.
I found their contact information and called them. It was a bit strange to call them because I had never needed to call them before this.
As can be expected I was bounced from one person to the next until I ended up with a nice gentleman. I told him I was calling because my ads were getting rejected. I told him about my ads being rejected and that I tried changing them, but they were still getting rejected so I decided instead of me messing around with them I figured it would be best just to call them and see what I could do in order to get them approved.
He put me on hold for a couple of minutes as he pulled up and looked into my account. He came back and said the issue was not my ads but instead it was my website. This shocked me.
He said the offer was for £1 but when you click on the button to purchase you see three other options along with the £1 option.
I explained that I did offer a £1 purchase, but I also included upgrade options. He said he understood that, but he didn’t like the fact that there were other options thus, they felt, we were misrepresenting the offer. He felt they should be able to purchase for £1.
I’m thinking to myself, “what are you talking about? This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” I calmed myself, which at this point, was very, very difficult for me. At first, I started to argue a little bit because it just sounded so crazy. But by literally the fourth or fifth word out of my mouth I stopped myself.
I realized that first of all, it’s not this guy’s fault. He’s following what he believes are the guidelines, and no matter what I say, it wasn’t going to change the end result. Let me repeat that.
So why waste my time and energy arguing with someone about something that is not their fault. I sat back and I listened to him and then reiterated everything back to him to make sure that I understood it correctly. He told me I understood him correctly.
And then he said, “that’s the first thing.” “The FIRST thing?” I replied? “What do you mean by the first thing?”
Well, he said, “you have a call-to-action multiple times throughout the sales letter.” I always have a call-to-action multiple times in a sales letter. That is what you always do in a direct response sales letter! “Well,”, he replied, “I think you’re asking people too many times to click.”
I really had to restrain myself after his next statement which was, “it’s best if you only ask a person to click one time.”
Here’s what I wanted to say, “Dude, you know nothing about marketing. You have to ask for the order. I’ve tested this multiple times in the last 20 years. I know exactly how many times you should ask for a person to purchase what you have on a website. And it’s not once and it’s not twice. In fact, we could have a whole conversation about this because the fact is it’s actually between nine to 12 times that you should ask a person to do what you want them to do on a sales letter.”
But instead of opening my mouth in protest I took a deep breath and put myself under control. The fact is I just had to let it go…let it go!
I’m glad I called. Now I had my answer. Never in my wildest marketing nightmares would I have come up with anything close to this.
I said, “If I make these changes, I should get these ads approved.” And he said, “Yes.”
So, I made a modified page that I only used for the Google ads. This page has only one option when you click to make the purchase. But once they clicked the button, they were taken to an upsell page which offered them the other options. After I implemented these changes, my ads were approved. Google was happy, and I was somewhat happy.
During my conversation with him, the gentleman made a statement that I found very interesting. In the process of him telling me what was wrong with my website. He said something very subtle. He said, “our algorithm caught it.” I didn’t say anything at that point, but my mind jumped on that statement.
Why? Because in order for an algorithm to catch it, the algorithm has to be able to read my website.
The algorithm has to be able to have enough intelligence in order to recognize that at the top of the page, it says £1 but at the bottom of the page, there are multiple options. It has to be intelligent enough in order to come to that conclusion. It’s not just a scanning the page to see the words on the page, it’s actually reading the page.
It’s not just doing a basic scan; it’s doing something on an entirely different level. I’ve seen a lot of technology, and I try to keep up with various forms of technology. I’ve heard some crazy stuff that people were doing over at the gaming company, Zynga.
I’ve heard some crazy stuff that Facebook is doing, but to hear this individual actually tell me that my website and my ads were rejected because of an algorithm, an artificial intelligence bot that scanned my website and found it to be not correct… well it just kind of blew my mind that Google has this this type of technology.
I can understand Google using this in order to make its life easier. We all know it would be very difficult for Google to have a live person look at every single one of these ads and sites. I’m sure there is a certain level of account where a person looks at them but that’s beside the point. The point that shocked me is that there was AI (artificial intelligence) that could do this.
So, what is the lesson for this article? First of all, a robot will screw you every single time. That’s the first thing, but the big lesson is that Google is in control if you’re using their platform.
You can gripe and you can moan but the fact is that at the end of the day, Google is the one that’s in control. Google itself is
the one that’s going to determine whether your ads get run or not run on their system. If you want to advertise on Google, which is literally 70% of all website traffic on the internet, then you need to follow their directions.
Your opinion doesn’t matter in this particular situation—shut up and just simply eat it. Because that is the only choice you have. That’s exactly what I did. I shut up and listened. And then made the changes necessary in order to make my ads work. Was I happy? No, I wasn’t really happy in any way, shape, or form, but I knew I had no choice and did what they asked.
My ads were now approved. If I write good ads, they will drive traffic to my website. If they are not good ads, I won’t get the traffic, but then it was in my control.
So, follow the system, don’t try to game the system, go with the flow, know the rules, and actually play by the rules when you’re working with Google because that’s the only option that you have.