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Top-of-Funnel Marketing Why It's Risky in Google Ads
19th December 2022 • The Google Ads Podcast • Solutions 8
00:00:00 00:17:37

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John explains why Top-of-Funnel (ToFu) marketing is risky in Google Ads, and how advertisers and Google Ads agencies can work around this challenge.

In this episode, John also shares different ways you can structure your Top-of-Funnel campaigns so that you get the most leads for your buck without risking your entire budget.

Watch this video now to learn more about:

- Areas to check on your account before running Top-of-Funnel (ToFu) marketing

- The campaign types that work well for ToFu marketing

- Benefits of having an “exploratory” budget

- Measuring ToFu marketing results


PS: This video is from an internal Solutions 8 training. We’re sharing everything with you, our dear subscribers, to show our gratitude for the overwhelming support you’ve given us. We value you and your growth with Google Ads. 🖤💚🤍


Related videos:

🚀 Building a Marketable Brand & Running Campaigns for a Brand That Lasts: https://youtu.be/4RmoQck-PS4

🧲 Top-of-the-Funnel Marketing for Successful Lead Generation Ads | Lead Generation 101 Part 5​​: https://youtu.be/1cjecotLcmw

The Bottom-Up Funnel by Solutions 8: https://youtu.be/PJVL2Fq7x0k


0:00 Intro

0:40 Top-of-Funnel Marketing: Why It's Risky in Google Ads

5:43 The best top-of-funnel audiences

8:16 How to get higher-quality leads

12:09 Applying top-of-funnel marketing for local lead generation brands

17:30 The importance of measuring the bottom funnel results



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Transcripts

John:

We are in a horrible, horrible, horrible position for top of funnel.

John:

As a performance driven agency, we are responsible for sales for roaz,

John:

and then they have to fight the client that the direct and organic is also

John:

because of us that Google is not tracking, especially top of funnel.

John:

But what we have to do is get very, very, very good at explaining that

John:

top of the funnel is not RO as driven.

John:

If you need to look at anything first, look at your overall m e r or your overall

John:

media efficiency ratio, all cash out.

John:

Then second, look at your Google Ads account as a whole.

John:

Top of the funnel is, Extremely risky for us.

John:

We're a performance-driven agency.

John:

As a performance-driven agency, we are responsible for sales for roaz

John:

and then have to fight the client that the direct and organic is also because

John:

of us that Google is not tracking, especially top of funnel cuz the sales.

John:

Pipeline's too long and they don't wanna spend money on brand.

John:

We are in a horrible, horrible, horrible position for top of funnel.

John:

Facebook has done a really good job at educating all their clients

John:

that a one x return is fantastic.

John:

That's gold.

John:

That's amazing.

John:

If you, me, at one X, that's amazing.

John:

Bad marketers inside of Google who convinced all the clients that five

John:

x is fairly good because they were going after the brand name and,

John:

that's How did Facebook do that?

John:

Yeah.

John:

Facebook, and that's always been Regina.

John:

the reason why Facebook has done that is because every single

John:

Facebook marketer has said the same thing since the beginning of time.

John:

Because no one's been able to get a five x return on Facebook.

John:

Not consistently.

John:

Not normally.

John:

It's never happened before Google.

John:

It happens every single time.

John:

All I have to do is launch a DSA campaign, turns into brand.

John:

All I have to do is launch 10 different brand campaigns with 10

John:

different match types and audiences.

John:

Still all brand.

John:

Facebook does all the awareness.

John:

Google scoops up all the conversions for bad marketers

John:

that are just assuming brand was.

John:

And they don't look at the bigger picture.

John:

They don't look at the mer, they don't look at the overall roaz of the company.

John:

They don't look at the actual amount of sales or a conversion path.

John:

They don't investigate it.

John:

So if you could track a one x return on Facebook yeah, you're breaking even.

John:

Your cost of acquiring a new customer is zero.

John:

You are getting free customers.

John:

How many free customers would you like tomorrow?

John:

Mr.

John:

And Mrs.

John:

Business owner, and they've done that because that's been the norm.

John:

And then the Google people are like, wow, Facebook's doing great.

John:

As long as we just building a brand name.

John:

I can 10 x everything.

John:

So we just had a huge push in the industry on both sides, on Facebook and Google.

John:

That one X is good on Facebook, five on Google's normal and.

John:

The people that run both at the same time find out they have a three x return.

John:

And so they use their baseline for everything in life.

John:

Well, if you can gimme a three x return like I'm getting now, well, yeah.

John:

One X return on Facebook and an eight x return on Google does averaging out

John:

a three because one's going after cold, one's going after your brand traffic.

John:

You can see.

John:

Yeah.

John:

It explains what people are coming into five.

John:

Absolutely.

John:

it's exactly right.

John:

So you have bad marketers that are positioning their, stealing of other

John:

channels, traffic as their own, and now that's just the normal.

John:

inside of each channel, like that should just happen.

John:

Bigger companies know that smaller companies don't, but to go top of funnel,

John:

you have to be able to prepare your client for what they're going to be expecting.

John:

I forget who was, but someone came up with a strategy, I think

John:

two or three weeks ago to have.

John:

Budget, that's normal.

John:

And then exploratory budget.

John:

Does anybody remember who did that?

John:

I wanna make sure I give them proper credit for that.

John:

What does it me?

John:

feel like that was all of us, to be honest.

John:

I feel like we kind of brainstormed that.

John:

Oh, I might have just been the one to say it.

John:

. Okay.

John:

it was Caden's idea who was the first one to speak up.

John:

So now was your idea ? And by the way, that was a terrible idea.

John:

No, I'm kidding.

John:

I'm giving you Craig.

John:

Cause it was awesome.

John:

It was a smart idea.

John:

what we found out was some clients.

John:

I tried that a couple times.

John:

Some clients didn't really buy it.

John:

But I think it is a good way of speaking to them by saying, Hey, if

John:

we can have an overall roaz on an account, we're gonna go top of funnel.

John:

It's gonna look horrible.

John:

Don't shut it off cuz it's gonna kill the bomb of the funnel.

John:

But if we have the top of funnel, here's some things that we should do.

John:

I think and if anybody wants to fight me on this, happy to do so., display is our

John:

last channel to run I can't make run.

John:

I know people have cracked that code.

John:

I've never been able to do it.

John:

It just is too fatty of a network with absent kids game,

John:

even if we get rid of those.

John:

But when we're talking about building the brand, the most important thing you can

John:

do is run top of funnel brand awareness.

John:

Adds to a cold audience that is affinity and in market.

John:

So your two audiences for top of funnel, and we'll, talk about your

John:

question here in Regina in a minute.

John:

the audiences most often for top of funnel is gonna be in affinity and

John:

in market of Google's audiences.

John:

, I've been using this.

John:

Now it's not set in stone, it's just what I've, my experience has been, and we

John:

should test everything, but two audiences that we should always include is Google's

John:

own affinity and in market topics.

John:

A p i next year make sure that that's kind of the only thing that we.

John:

We can run, don't know just yet, but top of funnel audiences, affinity

John:

in market I think are the best.

John:

Why?

John:

Because Google actually tracks those people most often because it's a known

John:

audience that Google's monitoring.

John:

Without them having to jump through a special hoop in order for Google

John:

to keep an eye on them, it means it doesn't have to like visit website.

John:

Now they're marketing.

John:

Google has an audience that it knows it's the same people that Google said

John:

like, Hey, we think you're pregnant.

John:

Like they were telling the people that they're pregnant before

John:

they knew they were pregnant.

John:

That is what those engines are built off of.

John:

It's a self-learning monitoring system that predicts the point of success.

John:

So why wouldn't that be top of funnel?

John:

It's gonna be cheap.

John:

It's gonna be less expensive than doing inbound search at broad match.

John:

It's gonna be less expensive than using dsk because these

John:

audiences are much more plentiful.

John:

our CPMs are lower and our cpbs are usually lower with those audiences.

John:

Why?

John:

I don't know.

John:

I think it's just cuz they're so plentiful that Google's just.

John:

Loving on these people slowly and less intrusively.

John:

So it's costing us less.

John:

But the in markets and affinities I still think are relevant enough

John:

that you're going to generate that brand awareness on overall m e r.

John:

Now here's the bad is of those audiences, YouTube and discovery,

John:

I like better than display.

John:

GSPs fatty inside of discovery, but still less fatty than display.

John:

But I think the discovery in YouTube are our biggest low hanging fruits.

John:

I hear from a lot of clients that are in some.

John:

Nice, good circles asking me, Hey, we, were on YouTube.

John:

I know of these five companies, they spent a hundred million dollars a year

John:

on this and it's been working well.

John:

It seems to be YouTube and discovery is, the area that we should stick into.

John:

We've been testing 'em more and more.

John:

We've already proven YouTube works.

John:

I'm now getting into discovery.

John:

But what we have to do is get very, very, very good at at explaining that

John:

top of the funnel is not roaz driven.

John:

If you need to look at anything first, look at your overall m e r or

John:

your overall media efficiency ratio.

John:

All cash in, all cash out.

John:

Then second, look at your Google Ads account as a whole, and we can,

John:

front load that by having good Bob on the funnel type of campaigns.

John:

So the.

John:

Discover YouTube in market Infinity, that is going to be the audience targeting

John:

and that's gonna be the channel.

John:

Now, the offer and it's gonna sound kind of funny, is it's gonna be kind of

John:

like what we're doing in Solutions eight.

John:

I've been trying to apply my teachings to our own business and

John:

we've never Had higher quality or more plentiful leaflet than this.

John:

It's not gonna be right for every business, , it's not necessarily

John:

product awareness, it's more company and brand awareness.

John:

That top of the funnel is awkward.

John:

It's not conversion driven and it's not ro as focused or even click the rate

John:

focus, it's simply just brand awareness.

John:

And that's, that's the problem.

John:

Problem that is, gonna be very, very hard to measure.

John:

. But the way that we would measure it, Is exactly how I how I'm sharing with you

John:

my first go round anyway, with how I can measure it instead of just Google before

John:

I look at the back end of the website.

John:

What I mean by that is when I was running Performance Max, I was getting

John:

a $280 cost per acquisition when I'm running Feed only and YouTube.

John:

My one feed only campaign is now $125 cost per acquisition, it was cut by 60%.

John:

C p.

John:

One of the reasons is I'm remarketing all the traffic.

John:

I'm driving to the site.

John:

Is it all mine?

John:

No, there's Facebook in there.

John:

There's mine in there.

John:

What's happening to the overall m e r over 60% increase This client here.

John:

If I called him and said, Hey, I have $180 cost requisition and I

John:

need to be a one 20, he's gonna look at his sales essentially

John:

doubling and say, I don't care.

John:

Keep going.

John:

And when we talked to him on Wednesday, that's what he did.

John:

, he looked and said, all right, sounds good.

John:

Let's keep going.

John:

Be a little bit looser with your heavy KPIs and look at making

John:

sure everything like the client may not know what they need.

John:

that's a known fact.

John:

The client may not know exactly what they need and we can find

John:

the good and bad and then weigh the options in front of the client.

John:

Hey, your CPA's a little high, but you doubled your business.

John:

Well, that's okay for me.

John:

Let's keep going.

John:

Let's see if we can optimize down the cpa.

John:

I'm doubling my business.

John:

That's okay.

John:

But just know that if you can measure the bottom of the funnel,

John:

it'll allow you to earn more top of funnel in building that brand.

John:

The only thing that we're trying to do is try to get more people to the site that we

John:

can take credit for for those purchases.

John:

And that's what top of funnel is.

John:

It spawns more inbound brand searches.

John:

That's how you track it.

John:

If you can recapture or spawn more IM or or track more inbound

John:

branded searches, that is gonna be a good way to prove that model.

John:

. If you run more YouTube, you have to spend more on search branded to see

John:

is that also an increasing trend line?

John:

what will that do if you see that your CPA is staying about the same between

John:

a very high cpa, YouTube at a very low CPA brand, you've just increased.

John:

The volume for the same price.

John:

And then look at the m e r.

John:

That should hold true if your brand spends going up and your YouTube spends going

John:

up and your CPAs staying the same and the conversion are staying the same way.

John:

You can say, well, you're just robing organic and direct.

John:

Okay.

John:

Look at your overall m e r.

John:

Is your media efficiency ratio staying the same with the volumes going up?

John:

Yes.

John:

Case proven it's closed.

John:

I'm gonna pause there.

John:

I'm gonna answer Regina's questions.

John:

How do we talk to clients about an exploratory budget?

John:

I haven't heard this said yet.

John:

So ideal was saying like, Hey, do you have $2,000 a month in ad spend?

John:

Yes.

John:

What if we can spend 1500 of that for a three days return?

John:

But then we have spend 500 of that.

John:

For a zero Roaz just starting to generate that awareness.

John:

Zero roaz.

John:

Instead of Google Up, we'll look at So we have to look at, that's kind of a.

John:

Wait a segment off amount of money that is going to not have a RO as dedicated to

John:

it, like your YouTubes and your, discovery campaigns, all of those campaigns.

John:

But then on the flip side, you're gonna have a campaign that's gonna

John:

be high ro as direct response.

John:

would you apply type of funnel with the lead gen SaaS, local power

John:

directors, plumbing, et cetera.

John:

And the issues involved around it with lead forms, just focus on awareness and

John:

those clickthrough metrics, et cetera.

John:

Top of funnel.

John:

my question here is why would you wanna run top of funnel to a plumber?

John:

So, like, let's say that you have a certain, industry and they're

John:

like, okay, they're very local focused, but they want more clients.

John:

And their main issue, let's say, is they just don't have the volume

John:

on the search network anymore.

John:

Like, there's not people actively searching for that service in the.

John:

. Is there a top of funnel or I guess a thing that you can do in order

John:

to increase that volume overall?

John:

Is this specifically for plumber or is that just an example?

John:

Just an example.

John:

Like any local type lead generation account.

John:

Okay.

John:

A local lead generation is hard because I don't have a need for a plumber right

John:

now and nothing would convince me I do.

John:

Right.

John:

that's the part that I don't think that, like, you can have the best rotor, Rooter.

John:

I've known about them for 10 years.

John:

Never called them.

John:

I never needed them.

John:

I think that's like for local, that's service-based driven.

John:

That might be an area where Google is should not play in my opinion.

John:

Open, be challenged on that.

John:

You can spend a whole bunch of money with brand awareness, but don't.

John:

Anything to take place rather than, oh yeah, I heard about your ad, few months

John:

ago and I decided to give you guys a call.

John:

Like, is that data reflective?

John:

I don't think so.

John:

I guess a better comparison of a top of funnel would be how it does in

John:

comparison to like competitors per se.

John:

Meaning that like you have a certain slice of the pie that's.

John:

The amount of people that will, let's say get a plumber in

John:

the area, but they're debating between you versus another person.

John:

Do you think there's any space for you to essentially try to prove yourself

John:

as like the number one plumber in the area, or is it kind of just.

John:

One of those things where you just lean on reviews and then just go for

John:

bottom of funnel as much as possible.

John:

This is not a glitch.

John:

I'm interrupting the video you're watching because I need to remind

John:

you that I'm always looking for people to join our team.

John:

So if you're passionate about Google Ads and you wanna work with the best

John:

Google Ads agency on the planet, please go to so late.com/apply.

John:

Speaking of working with the best Google Ads agency on the planet, if you're

John:

having trouble with Google Ads and you want professional, That's what we do.

John:

You can go to so late.com, that's s o l eight.com to apply for your

John:

free, no obligation action plan.

John:

And if I've given you any level of value at all, maybe think about giving me a

John:

thumbs up and subscribe to our channel.

John:

That's how we juice the YouTube algorithm, so they actually know

John:

that I know what I'm talking about.

John:

If you have questions, comments, concerns, or confessions,

John:

hit me blowing the comments.

John:

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

John:

When you say competitive, could you repeat that part?

John:

I wasn't, following you there.

John:

Yeah, so like, let's say that there's like two plumbers in an area and you got one

John:

plumber that is newer in the marketplace, and then another one that's established.

John:

And so when people go online, they look at, you know, reviews or they look at

John:

just general knowledge of like, you just had wrote a router, you know that, so

John:

you're gonna go to that company instead.

John:

Is there, I guess any place for competitive branding

John:

in local campaigns for.

John:

I'm sorry, in like local type of companies, what's

John:

competitor branding mean?

John:

Meaning like saying like, Hey, our reviews are higher than like,

John:

so-and-so company kind of deal.

John:

Obviously it'd be a better worded than that, but something of that nature.

John:

Yeah, no, and that's, the part too.

John:

I think that there's absolutely always a place for that.

John:

That's why people run radio and TV and, billboard ads.

John:

Like you can't track a row as to that at all.

John:

You'll never be able to, it's.

John:

Impossible.

John:

Do you have the budget and are you big enough?

John:

And would the client agree that yes, always being top of mind, top dead

John:

center to my geographical audience is worthwhile for me to spend that

John:

exploratory, expendable budget on?

John:

Absolutely.

John:

Our job is to, I guess what I would say is not necessarily convince

John:

them our , job is to be able to do that the most effectively.

John:

And I think that that's where like the YouTube and discovery

John:

would make sense, where it's like, hey, case study before and after.

John:

Like see how they're used to have their couch floating in their living

John:

room and now look at it after they called emergency plumber For sure.

John:

Like those type of things are, absolutely needed.

John:

But if the client has got a $5,000 per month campaign, No.

John:

But if we say, Hey, we wanna spend 30 grand and we can only hit

John:

$10,000 of inbound traffic, what do we do with the other 20 grand?

John:

Oh yeah.

John:

I mean, YouTube and discovery for sure.

John:

it's gonna generate traffic when that person's ready.

John:

We're just not gonna run a YouTube a, it makes sense, pipe bursts really.

John:

And that's the part that I think that for like a local, it's

John:

gonna be very, very difficult.

John:

It's just traditional marketing on a digital channel really.

John:

So you'd pretty much just go back to the old rule of thumb, just tracking c p a

John:

change based off top of funnel awareness over whatever the bind period is.

John:

generally speaking, obviously just max out bottom of funnel

John:

first, which makes sense and.

John:

Test out top of funnel if they have extra budget to spend and then to gauge that.

John:

You look at overall, just seeing like over the next year your CPAs are

John:

slowly dropping or the average CPA is pacing lower than it was previously

John:

because of that awareness or whatever.

John:

It's all gonna come down to exactly how you measure it.

John:

If we're not measuring it by leads, because again, remember we only have

John:

90 days to convert that person 30 days on YouTube if they watch an ad.

John:

So just by sheer virtue of not being able to track a person after a month

John:

we'll never be able to measure it.

John:

And if you said, should we do this in the client's skip.

John:

Give us $10,000 a month and not care what happens to that

John:

within Google Ads all day long.

John:

Like, yes, that's an absolutely good idea.

John:

It's never a bad idea to become a household brand name in a local area.

John:

It's always a good idea.

John:

If you were gonna say, well, I need a hundred x row eyes on that.

John:

Never, never run it.

John:

that's, they're a hundred percent ROAS on it.

John:

That's, the bad part about that.

John:

Now, for sas for sure, cuz that's not gonna be local.

John:

You can generate, you know, case city use, case pain points,

John:

experiences goals in life status.

John:

Like, Hey, what if your company had this tool that can automate

John:

every report to everybody ever?

John:

Here's how we did that for.

John:

That's very top of funnel.

John:

very good use case, very good value first as to how this works and what it, what

John:

it, what it will allow a person to do.

John:

That's for sure when you're talking about other people that have had success.

John:

And you could also be that person too, for like sas.

John:

Yeah.

John:

And that actually can have a good C P C and then a good cost per

John:

digital market used to do something called C P P cost per pixel.

John:

And you say, what was the cost per pixel?

John:

And people were like, well, what the hell is that?

John:

And he goes, that's the amount of money that it costs us to get

John:

that person into our remarking list to then see what the CPA is.

John:

It was actually b.

John:

It wasn't just a visit, like it was actually like a person that was in the

John:

list that was matched and ready to go.

John:

So if you ran a top funnel campaign and your list now is a thousand match

John:

users, what is your cost per match user?

John:

And then that is, how you add that to your total after.

John:

Well also that people googled the brand name and that was a $7 conversion grade.

John:

You have an $8 26 cent CPA on that campaign.

John:

So you can do it that way where you can measure it, measure it that way.

John:

But again, after you max out uh, nationwide, direct response

John:

amount, SaaS, then you move up.

John:

Maybe not, maybe it's just too competitive at the bottom of the funnel to force

John:

you to go up, if that makes sense.

John:

But I think for, local specifically, I don't know how to measure local.

John:

Especially when they have a brick and mortar that's outside of Google, that

John:

gets in the realm of, you understand this is good, but we can't track it.

John:

Right?

John:

Yes.

John:

Okay.

John:

And it's not a good answer.

John:

if someone put the screws to me and said, John, what did that give you?

John:

I couldn't tell 'em.

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