Google Begins to Engage with Agencies

Not too long ago, I remember facing a surreal and frankly embarrassing situation. I had a client who was an owner operator, a small business owner working directly with consumers in his local area. He had some questions regarding his AdWords campaign, in particular with regards to the budget. It became apparent that these questions were being driven by his Google rep. That’s right. His rep. He had the name and phone number of someone at Google who had reached out to him with ideas on how to optimize (read: spend more in) his campaign. What made this most awkward was that at the time, the agency I worked for did not have a Google rep. We had requested one by filling in the application online and were waiting to see if we were deemed worthy to have a rep. Meanwhile, our friend the owner operator was bombarding us with questions that had been raised by his rep.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the playing field has shifted. Google is now making much more of an effort to work with and through agencies than they have ever previously made. I can’t speculate on why there has been a change, only that it is a welcome one. Of course, the agency mandate is often different to the Google mandate. Our focus should be on program outcomes and yield, while Google’s focus needs to remain on selling more media. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all get along.

Case in point: This week I was invited to participate on the panel at the Google Engage event in Toronto. The audience was over 300 SEM experts and the theme was on how to get these experts to move more small and medium businesses onto the AdWords platform. The questions they posed were in keeping with the theme, in particular around new business and managing expectations. This panel session was then followed by advanced AdWords sessions.

I was not only impressed by the organization and content of the event, it was a refreshing experience to realize that at last Google has come round to the idea of working in partnership with agencies. This is a symbiotic relationship that is in everyone’s interests to build – Google, the agencies and our clients.

Check out pictures of the event.

Nasser Sahlool, Director of Client Strategy

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