Hey there. It’s one of your favourite DSA Global interns here, Justs Matuzevics, only this time around – fully AdWords certified!
It’s done. I am officially certified! It was not easy. It was extremely frustrating, in fact, but we will touch on that subject a little bit later. For now, I am just glad it’s done and I don’t have to battle Google test composers any more.
Having finished the AdWords course, thanks to my amazing teacher Gemma, I now understand why good AdWords management does not come cheap. I too would ask quite a steep price for my knowledge and insight in arguably the most influential tool Google has ever released. To be fair, only half of that would be for my knowledge and experience. The other half would be compensation for having to go through one of the most frustrating learning experiences I have encountered in my entire twenty eight years of existence.
I still stand by my conclusions and opinions that I wrote in my previous article. AdWords is an amazing tool and is packed with features that are essential to any business who wants to make the most out of their potential. However, all this functionality comes at a price – its complex, convoluted and unintuitive. What’s worse, it seems like each of the functionalities has been developed by a team of mutually unconnected teams. Managing your campaigns is a breeze as long as you don’t expect everything to work by the same rules and share the same ease of access.
AdWords platform has been made with the client in mind, that much is painfully clear. The “output” of AdWords is fabulous – it encompasses so much under just one roof that it’s hard to believe it’s real. But when it comes to “input” – grey hairline, bloodshot eyes and never ending torrent of muffled cursing ensues.
I have lost count how many times Gemma had to answer my questions with “Because it’s Google”. What first seemed to be a few oversights here or there, turned out to be a recurring theme. This issue kept popping up in more advanced aspects of AdWords campaign management as well, not just the beginner areas where most people expect things to be pretty straight forward. Precious few things in AdWords management interface followed the same rules. Nearly every new function or feature had to be learned as if for the first time.
AdWords is a very segregated ecosystem. Very rarely could I apply deduction, intuition and experience from use of other features. While drag-and-drop functionality might work in one area, it’s not even a thing in any other part of AdWords. While highlighting and copying some things with a ctrl+c and then pasting them with ctrl+v might work in one page of the interface, its usefulness is entirely forgotten in the next. Speaking of keywords, “inconsistency” springs to mind.
Then I learned something truly fascinating. There are people out there that agree with me! Shocker, I know, but it’s true. Through cunning magic of Google AdWords API, people have created their own versions of AdWords management tools. Made it more logical, intuitive and in my opinion, much more straight forward. There are AdWords campaign managers out there who have never used the default AdWords user interface, other than to learn, pass the tests and become certified. When I asked why this is even a thing, why doesn’t Google listen to some feedback and streamline their own interface, I was told that it’s mostly due to the fact that Google is ever-changing. How many times have you, dear reader, visited your favourite YouTube channel and found that, lo and behold, the entire page has changed! Brief panic and burst of anger later you realize that you don’t own YouTube (sadly), that it is Google’s prerogative to change their own product in any way they deem it necessary.
This way of thinking permeates throughout Google and all of its many facets of business. AdWords is no different, except there is just one crucial difference. While the YouTube interface is updated with the end-user in mind, AdWords, however, is not. The many pieces and parts in the YouTube interface do not hold a candle to all the options, functions and tweaks you can do in AdWords. Thus entirely overhauling all of the AdWords interface could potentially be very disastrous.
For one, nearly every AdWords manager who has come to grips with their system would have their world flipped upside down overnight. New options, new interface, new functions. Imagine driving an automatic all your life and suddenly discovering that some scoundrel has taken your car to the mechanic overnight and rebuilt the gearbox to manual. Torches and pitchforks get distributed to the mob and world ends in most cases.
This has led to a very fragmented evolution of AdWords interface. Gradually, one tool at a time, it is getting better. Too slow or too quick, that is up for debate, but it is changing.
We have established that using AdWords can be a pain, at least at first. I trust when I have gone through the motions a few hundred more times, I will know no other way of doing it. It will all make sense. What makes none of the aforementioned sense though, is the certification test itself.
The final test is my most frustrating two hours in recent memory. For those who have never taken on this test, it’s quite straight forward really. It’s a multiple choice 100 question test that must be finished within 2 hours. For those who have studied, it’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, right? Wrong! It’s not your knowledge of AdWords that is being tested here. It’s your wit and cunning! I found myself re-reading the question countless times to understand what is being asked of me. The questions are formulated in such a way that leaves a lot for interpretation. There are quite a few questions, where more than one answer is legitimately accurate, but you must use your crystal ball to deduct which of these did the test composer really mean.
I learned after a few of these, that the key to answering them correctly is to go through the process in your mind and the correct answer is the one that is true FIRST in said process. At least I think so. We will never know, because in true Google awkward fashion they never tell you which questions you got right and which you got wrong. They never show you which of the answers were incorrect and why. I passed with 84% yet I will never know which of the 100 questions were the ones that I got utterly wrong. This, I find, proves my opinion more than anything. Google tests are not there to test your skills and better them if failed. They are there for you to be asked “catch 22” questions revolving around the AdWords theme.
“If Mary has a little lamb and southern wind is turquoise colour, how many Thais does it take to change a light-bulb?
I don’t know Google, I really don’t know. But what I do know is that long-tail keywords are often overlooked as unnecessary yet they provide one the best ROI keyword strategies, since long-tail keywords are very specific which means that people who will see your ad through a long-tail keyword will be more likely to click on it.
Now I see, why during our classes, Gemma kept repeating one word more than any others – relevance. The holy grail of Google.
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