Why shouldn’t you trust every Google Recommendation?

In the age of auto applied & machine learning, the Recommendation section of Google Ads has become a test of loyalty. 



So why shouldn’t you trust every Google Recommendation?  

I mean, they even capitalize Recommendation, so it has to be important… and trustworthy.



Now I’m not saying that every Recommendation is bad advice or that most of them will hurt performance.  Every Recommendation can be an idea to at least consider and debate internally to come up with an answer on whether to apply it or not.  Having moments to analyze the account from another perspective is always beneficial.

The real question to ask before applying a Recommendation is whether or not the goals of the Recommendation align with the goals of the account. 



I work with multiple clients who have a specialty or offer a special product or service that targets specific audiences within a broader market.  A great example of this is a law firm that only wants to promote a select group of legal services instead of all of them.

In an effort to only target search queries specifically related to the selected legal areas we would be utilizing phrase and exact match keywords.  This would keep our ads showing only for search queries mentioning the legal areas we’re promoting.

And then you get a Recommendation from Google that you should change all your keywords to broad match, removing your current keywords and the data.



Now I am someone who hates a spoiler but SPOILER ALERT if you change all your keywords to broad match you will begin showing ads for search queries with ANY mention of ‘law’.



And wasted spend is something you want to avoid.  

It’s clear the goal of Google’s Recommendation did not align with the goal of the account.  Google wants your ads showing for as many search queries as possible because that’s how Google gets paid the most.  It may not benefit a local law firm with two areas of legal expertise to show for search queries like “free legal advice” and “law firm”, but it does benefit Google.

Another Recommendation Red Flag is that most Recommendations are given to every account, regardless of goals or budgets. 


I have seen accounts that spend $500/month get the same “Raise Your Budgets & Get More Conversions” Recommendation as an account that spends $50,000/month.

Does Google always want you to spend more?


Does that mean you can always spend more?


“Spend more money, show your ads more often and to more users, and get more conversions.  Oh, and if you change all your keywords to broad match you’ll be able to show your ads more often and to more users.”



Again, I don’t want to say that every Recommendation is evil and will end up costing you or your client a year’s worth of ad spend in a month.



But I am saying that you will frequently encounter Recommendations that do not align with your account’s goals, and that if all of the Recommendations are (auto) applied you will likely see performance drop off.