Published: 04 July 2016
There is a sort of mythical quality about the interior design of Google’s offices. Occasionally you’ll see things publicised in print or online about the more outlandish aspects of their workspaces, with things like slides, sleep pods and ball pits. It’s fitting that Google, forever the online trendsetter, has lots of interior imitators, with all sorts of offices trying to ape that “easy-going, hip” appearance, sometimes with ball pits or arcade cabinets of their own.
I’ve worked in such places in the past, and always found that the seductive “hip and trendsetting” veneer quickly peeled away to reveal old ideals and practices in the way those businesses conducted themselves. The ball pit gathers dust. The arcade cabinet is unplugged for being too loud. No-one wants to play, for fear of appearing lax or irresponsible.
So when I took my first steps inside Google's London offices to study and take my Google Fundamentals Exam, I was a bit cynical in wondering if I would “see through the cracks” of their ultra-trendy offices as I had with my previous roles.
However, as a group of budding Google Partners and I made our way towards the “Town Hall”, it took about eight seconds for that doubt to fade away.
Google go all out on their office philosophy as well as their interior design, and their classrooms are full of the heady-excitement we used to feel when the teacher set up the TV and VCR at school.
As the lecture began, table groups were instructed to find 5 things in common with each other*, then introduce our tables to the room by speaking those 5 things into a plush, throwable Bluetooth mic-box that projected our voice through the sound system. Having spent four years teaching English in Japan, I know the value of making learning fun, and seeing this value expressed in a room full of adults was really special.
During our lecture the phrase of the day was: QUALITY SCORE.
This is the secret weapon of PPC, and one I’m glad to say that Sagittarius have been focusing on behind the scenes of all our campaigns. The importance of Ad Extensions was also stressed, as implementing these will increase your Quality Score if used correctly.
In fact, Ad Extensions will increase your click-through rate by 33% (a statistic given by Google themselves is gold dust to people like me, exemplified by my spontaneous drawing of an amazed bird-thing at hearing it).
After a full day of learning, it was time to take a quick break (amusingly, in a building that was all about helping people search, I had trouble finding the loo) and begin to take the hour-long exam that would put us on the path of becoming Google Accredited. The exam was surprisingly tricky, focusing on questions about methods, tricks and stats, but also presented us with hypothetical situations and asking us how best to act.
Here's an example:
Your campaign is consistently meeting its average daily budget. What should you do to maximise your budget throughout all hours of the day?
- Lower your bids
- Lower the daily budget amount
- Change the ad delivery method from “Accelerated” to “Standard”
- Increase the max CPC bid
Had a think about the answer?
In this case, the answer would be the third option. Standard delivery tries to show your ads throughout the entire day, to make sure that you don’t spend your whole budget in the morning and cause your ads to stop showing for the rest of the day.
Having managed and advised clients on PPC campaigns in the past, and with a notebook full of details from the day’s education, I managed to finish the exam with 12 minutes to spare and a triumphant PASS!
With the Fundamentals Exam out of the way, I’m now free to focus on other specialised modules and take more exams to become a fully-fledged Google Partner, an honour shared by some of my colleagues.
While I’m studying up, feel free to read on about why your own Google rankings may have dropped, or if you want to learn more about Google’s offices and what its like to visit and take the exam, give me a shout.
*We all checked Facebook that morning, we all got drenched, we all thought Batman V Superman was pants, we had all travelled outside Europe and we couldn’t think of a 5th.