The Invisible Metric

Your time and attention are finite resources… don’t blow them.

As a PPC pro.. (and one with enough interest in the topic to read my blog) you probably like solving problems.

If you see a low CTR ad…. An impression-less ad group… a keyword with a sudden jump in CPC… you probably want to dive in, diagnose and fix.

And fair enough – you’re diligent… that’s one of the reasons why you’re good at your job.

But as you race between ways to husband your ad spend, there’s another resource to consider…

It’s the metric you don’t see in your account, but overrides all others.

Your attention.


Just as we ruthlessly avoid spending budget in the wrong places… we should be just as intentional about where we spend our time, and our focus. 


One of the things that means is that we shouldn’t try to fix a problem just because it’s there… Not before applying the ‘will this move the needle?’ filter. 

Some issues will, and some won’t. Some declines affect the bottom line, some don’t. To be effective, we have to be efficient. 

That practice of checking the cost-benefit filter before rushing to action is one of the most important to hone.



• Does this issue affect a high proportion of spend… 

Does it affect a high proportion of (current or immediately attainable) conversions?

But also ask:

Does it have an acceptably-quick fix?

Is there something more important for me to be doing with this account?


Obviously, don’t spend too long asking those questions 🙂


How does this advice tie in with the rise of automation in Google Ads? 


Automation poses the ongoing question of how much of your time and attention can and should be replaced by automated decision-making…. and the answer is evolving. 


There’s a range of opinions about here we are on the scale now – which reflects the wide range of experiences and success advertisers have with automation, and the rapidly changing landscape – but the general view (and mine) is that right now, broad automation of campaign management is far from optimal. 


Manual still trumps automated in the early days of your campaign; any time when your conversion data is sparse, and frankly, most of the time even when you do have the data and the volume. 


Then of course, even when you are comfortable and successful with automated bidding, there are countless ongoing decisions around targeting, budgets, messaging, landing pages… 


All of these require your focussed attention and action (the quality of which is what differentiates you from both the amateur and the machine. In the end, it’s the biggest determinant of your success).


You can be sure that issues, anomalies and declines will crop up in various places.


Your attention meanwhile (just like your budget) is a finite resource… 

Spend it wisely.

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