Let’s say you’re a large multinational operation with branches spread all over New Zealand and each and every branch manager is keen to get started with their own Google AdWords advertising campaign – all sending traffic to their part of the one website.   In a number of ways this is all good news.  However in a similar volume of reasons this could be the start of a massive headache for all – unless it is managed properly.

So with the goal of wanting to remove any undue stress from a Branch Managers life –here’s my take on the good – and not so good – parts of the opportunities that lay ahead.

So let’s tackle the good stuff first.

OK by getting this far there’s obviously some widespread belief that online advertising could well do some good.   This in itself is a major achievement.  I have been involved in situations where half of a national group are keen – a third is not and the rest are have no opinion at all.  Unfortunately in most situations like these the default status of doing nothing tends to get the vote.   It can be a lot easier to say why something shouldn’t be done than why it should.  Fortunately that hurdle has been passed.

Which leaves the final test of actually putting some money behind the idea.   And like the saying goes – talk is cheap.  Nothing tends to clarify the mind as much as allocating some hard earned marketing budget into an “idea”.   Once a group has collectively reached this stage  – especially one that spans the country – then they are a few rungs ahead of the competition.

So this leaves what may been seen as the easiest part, getting the job done and buying some Google Advertising.   This is where it all could unravel into a complicated and expensive mess.

Some see the next obvious step being for each location to set up their own Google AdWords account and begin to manage their own budget and ads.   The Google advertising system would make this a breeze to do.  Non technical people will have an account, some keywords, a few ads displaying and a credit card sending money to Google in less than 15 minutes.

And all of it will be the WRONG choice for a situation like this. Here are four reasons why this is the case. 

Reason #1.  Broad match keywords = Bidding Confusion

Before I start let me tell you that this reason is probably the most complex of the four to get your head around.  But the effort is worthwhile.  Once you understand this one then you will see why a distributed AdWords Account solution is such a problem.

OK let’s start.  Google allows you five different ways to bid on the terms prospects use when using their search engine in.  For sake of simplicity I’m just going to cover two here – exact match and broad match.  So if you have the exact match keyword of “Auckland Flower Shop” and someone types the search term “Auckland Flower Shop” and then your ad would show. And conversely if you had an exact match keyword of  “Flower Shop” without the Auckland part then the ad would not show.

Follow so far?

OK now let’s deal with the second option – broad match.   This is the type that Google has you pick by default when setting up a new account.  Most newbie AdWords advertisers have accounts full of this match type of keyword.

A broad match keyword of “Flower Shop” will show your ad for these search terms “Flower Shop Auckland”, “Flower Store, “Flower Shop Wellington” and even “Flower and Vegetable Shop”.   Think of it as Google’s way of stretching the meaning of your broad keyword to ensure your ad is shown to as many people who are searching.

Now if you are an Auckland Flower store then using this match type in your advertising account then the first two search terms are worth their click cost.  The other two – “Flower Shop Wellington” and even “Flower and Vegetable Shop”- are a waste of your money.

Now if you have a dozen flower shops around the country all running their own Google advertising within their own accounts and all using the broad match term of “Flower Shop” then you can just imagine the confusion.    The Auckland shop could be displaying advertising for the search term “Wellington Flower Shop” and the Hamilton store could have their advertising showing for those typing in “Auckland Flower Shop”.  And every store could have their ads shown for “Flower and Vegetable Shop” when none of them sell vegetables.

Fixing all this mess is made a lot easier by gathering all the keywords together into the one Google advertising account and diligently using the correct keyword match type to ensure the most relevant store’s advertising  is shown for each searcher.

Reason #2  You are only allowed to advertise your domain once for each search result.

Google makes available about 10 places for paid advertising next to its search results.    The less scrupulous advertiser may think that by setting up 10 different advertising accounts they could place ads in each space and block out their competitors.  Not so fast.   Google only allows one advert to be shown for each website domain for any one keyword result.

And in situations like I mentioned before – where multiple accounts are trying to bid on the same keyword and sending clicks through to the same web domain – guess which ad Google decides is the best one to show?

 The one that makes Google the most money.

So by bidding as separate entities for the same keyword each advertiser from the same domain is effectively bidding against themselves and by doing so increasing their advertising costs.  Not so smart.

Reason #3 Negative keywords taking longer to surface

Earlier I told you about the different match types Google lets you use mentioning two of the five that are available.  This time I need to cover one of the three left – negative match.  This is a keyword that you want to ensure your ads don’t display for.

So using the last example of the flower shop the term “Flower and Vegetable Shop” fits into this category.   In this list could also be terms like –“setting up a flower shop”, “flower shop signs”, “flower shop jobs” – all relevant search terms but highly irrelevant to a normal flower shop wanting to sell flowers.

Most new Google AdWords advertising accounts don’t have any negative keywords in them.   People just don’t think of them when starting out.  Later on – if the advertiser actually takes the time to look into their account to – they are added as they come to surface in the actual click reports Google provides.  Which is the issue – they take time to surface.    The more clicks you are buying the faster these details come to hand and therefore the quicker the account becomes optimised for the right types of keywords.

Final Reason #4 – Spreading your Google Account Love too thinly

Providing relevant advertising to searchers is a key goal for Google.  The more relevant your advertising is in the eyes of Google the greater the benefits they will provide you.  (And for “benefits” think “cheaper bid prices”.)

 You can find out how “relevant” your advertising is in the eyes of Google by looking at the Quality Score they have allocated to each of your keywords.   This is a value between 0-10  that is based on the relevance to the searcher of your ads, keywords and landing page

From what we have been told and seen, Quality Score, is also attributed at a Google Account level too.    So if you own an account that delivers a steady stream of high quality (in Google’s eyes) advertising  then some Google love in the form of rising Quality Scores for your keywords will come your way.     And obviously the more advertising you buy and properly optimise, the greater your chances of building an account like this.

So there you have it.  Four reasons why setting up an AdWords account for each and every branch is not the best way ahead and how the one properly managed Google AdWords account by a central source, will do this job so much better for all.