Published: 14 November 2016

Let’s be clear. I love working with Adwords. I love how I can get detailed, near-instant results on virtually anything I give it, and then easily adapt my strategy based on whats working, and what isn’t. Adwords is perfect for testing new keywords and even inspiring your future content choices. It’s an immensely satisfying tool to use.

That being said, there are a few things in the world of Google’s PPC that can – from time to time – drive me a little up the wall. If you’ve ever worked with Adwords, read on. You may share my pain…

1. Users Clicking on Irrelevant Search Terms, Despite Negatives

When I spend an hour or so looking through Search Terms, I begin to understand what Nietzsche meant when he said: "If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you"

Yes, I get that Negative Keywords are a thing. I know that if I’m setting up a campaign based around “fences”, I can pre-emptively make sure my ads don’t display when people are searching for sword-fighting gear, or someone to sell their van full of stolen goods to.

I know that there are always going to be topical crossovers, and that I can take steps to make sure my ads are being seen by the right people. But even after taking those steps, some things pop up that no-one would be able to predict.

So occasionally when browsing my Search Terms, I inevitably start to hope that one of those pesky meteors NASA keeps detecting will actually hit us and bring about a fiery obliteration


I ask you: What kind of person searches for “Kanye West Tour”, and then clicks my ad clearly stating the words “3 Day Sightseeing Tour – Experience Scotland at its Finest”?

Dear clicker, why did you click that? It’s clearly not what you want. Kanye West isn’t going to perform Jesus Walks while you stare at Loch Ness. You owe me 62 pence, you cretin.

2. The Cult Around It

Not too long ago I attended a talk at a Digital Marketing event that was generally excellent, except for one minor thing that irked me. Like many SEOs and PPC Experts, the speaker started to add a bit of ‘theatricality’ to the job description. He said: “People say we’re scientists. We’re not, because scientists know how the universe works. We don’t. Google isn’t telling us its secrets. We’re experimenting in the darkness. That makes us Alchemists!”

That’s weird. When I looked you up on LinkedIn, I could’ve sworn your LinkedIn title was “PPC Specialist”, and not “Elemental Warlock of the 9th Pillar”

We’re Digital Marketers. Let’s leave out the robe and wizard hat, shall we?

3. Standard Delivery vs Accelerated Delivery

It seems to me that Adwords has two modes:

“Hmm? £170 daily budget? Ok yeah I might do £90. I’m a bit tired today” mode, and “HOLY **** ENGAGE WARP DRIVE BATTLESTATIONS ALL YOUR BUDGET IS GONE BEFORE 11AM” mode.

Again, I know that there are ways around this, but do I really have to put in all this effort to get Adwords to actually spend what I tell it to spend? I’m offering you £70 a day, Google! Why am I the one who has to work hard for you to take it? 

4. Remembering That I Have to Babysit Bing Too

Bing. The unwanted, forgotten twin that lives in the basement.


Nothing dulls the satisfaction I get from setting up new campaigns, than remembering that I have to repeat the whole process again in Bing.

No-one begins a PPC campaign with Bing. Unless you’re preparing a seminar on how great Bing is for PPC.

5. Display Advertising Works

As a lover of Content Marketing – aiming to cultivate genuine interest to drive action – I can think of nothing more repulsive than 150kb, 4 frame-per-second, ruler-shaped gifs being shoved in a user’s face whilst they’re trying to read a page they actually want to read. Upon receiving my Display Advertising certification from Google, I actually felt dirty.

I’m a total snob about this, true. But at least I can grit my teeth and admit that, for all of its ugliness… It works

… But that just makes me hate it even more.

And while I’m on the subject – I hate Facebook’s 20% text limit in image ads. What if I’m a sign-maker or calligrapher? I can’t show off my product.



6. The Guilt I Feel From Following Edward Snowden on Twitter



Yeahhhhhh. I facilitate giving Google tens of thousands of pounds. I’m a terrible person : (

Phew. It’s good to get things off your chest eh? For all my ranting and raving I really do love working in Digital Marketing.

I swear.

Right now I’m excited about How Voice Search is Changing Everything, and thinking about the obstacles Virtual Reality faces in becoming a mainstream platform. Thanks for reading!

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