Interview with Rob Peck, Google Adwords Expert on Future of Google Adwords in India

Rob Peck 03M

I had an opportunity to interview Rob Peck (LinkedIn), Director of Client Services of O3M Directional Marketing. Rob is one of the most prominent Google Adwords expert and have trained several in his company in his career. Rob relocated from Miami to Chennai for 3 months…6 years ago and he is still in Chennai. What keeps him? The amazing growth of Internet in India! From local search to ecommerce to education, the web is enabling India to create and exchange information and products faster than ever.  In his role as a Director of Client Services at 03M Directional Marketing, Rob leverage his 10+ years of digital marketing experience to get India online and keep them productive.

With O3M, Rob is proud to:

  • Have been crowned the “Customer Satisfaction” award winner by Google India four years in a row.
  • Fulfill outsourced advertising packages for over 150,000 campaigns globally.
  • Support 500+ direct clients in the Indian market.
  • Deliver a mix of expertise, creativity, and ingenuity; enabling clients to achieve their online goals.

Rob is Google Certified in Search, Display, Mobile, Video, Shopping, Analytics, Mobile Web Design, and Digital Sales.

Inspired by the growth of the company, Rob is a digital marketing in India evangelist; eager to spread the word to whomever will listen.

So here are few questions that I raised for which Rob Peck, the Google Adwords Expert responded patiently:

1.Sorav Jain: Google Adwords – How to get it right? What phases you plan your Google Adwords?

Rob Peck: It all starts with a great website and product or service. AdWords is a wonderful tool to place your business in front of a targeted audience, but ultimately businesses need to effectively showcase a competitive and unique offering. Once that (the hard part!) is in line, then it’s all about understanding your customer’s buying cycle and using the right AdWords product at the right time. Generally this looks like Display and YouTube for initial awareness, Search and Gmail Sponsored Promotions for acquisition, and then off to cross channel remarketing (display, search, and YouTube) to bring home the sale.

2. Sorav Jain: What is most cost effective of all display or search?

Rob Peck: This depends on the objective. All things being equal, search is more cost effective for leads/sales whereas display is more cost effective for visibility and branding. That is speaking broadly, it really depends on the client and their unique needs.

3. Sorav Jain: How would you suggest to allocate budgets for Google Adwords campaign from B2C and B2B perspective?

Rob Peck: Our SMB clients generally determine their own marketing budgets. In the Indian market this means we have campaigns running with budgets anywhere and everywhere between Rs. 5,000/month up to in excess of Rs. 10 Lakh/month.

As a rule of thumb, I like to see at least 1/3 of a company’s total marketing budget going to digital. At least! Some clients let us know their expected number of leads/sales and we work our way backwards.

If I have to throw a number out, generally we like to see a three month pilot budget of around RS. 150,000, and then lock in an ongoing budget based on the results of the pilot. Most of all, it should be a budget the client the client is comfortable with. Generally a great digital marketing campaign can take two to three months to really hit full steam, so clients need to be prepared for that.

4. Sorav Jain: How effective are Gmail ads?

Rob Peck: Gmail Sponsored Promotions are working great for clients. With effective creative and targeting pairs we are seeing open, click thru, and conversions rates well above what we see on the usual old MailChimp campaigns. In particular, the form fill GSP ads are performing very strong. ?Plus, with GSP we don’t have to worry about list cleaning, CAN-Spam compliance and all that other fun stuff.

5. Sorav Jain: When it comes to conversion optimization, what measures do you suggest from ad copy, bidding and landing page perspective?

Rob Peck: Conversion optimization is fundamentally about having a strong testing plan and, most importantly, sticking to it.

The levers are well defined – for example on the search term side all you have is: keyword, match type, and negative keywords. From there it’s about making incremental data driven adjustments, A/B tests, best practices, and a gut feeling based on experience to put the pieces together.

One note — it’s important when optimizing to not do too much at the same time. Often I see strong junior analysts make adjustments to search terms, scheduling, ad copy, bidding, and budgeting all in one go. Even if the campaign improves, it’s difficult to find out what worked.

If I had to list out the metrics that matter most while optimizing I would stick to click thru rate, quality score, conversion rate, and cost per conversion.

6. Sorav Jain: How crucial it is to have a fair split between Google Ads and Facebook Ads?

Rob Peck: A fair split between Google AdWords and FB Ads budgets is crucial. Informed consumers are taking research-driven decisions that consider multiple touch points. ?The days of a “one click to conversion” sales path are largely over. It’s important to look at multiple attribution models (first click, last click, linear, etc…) to identify the role each touch point plays in a conversion. Even as a consumer I see this – if I come across a restaurant where the food looks great on the website, but they are missing from Facebook, Twitter and Zomato, I might not give them a chance. Smart brands are with customers on every step of the journey.

Generally for a very narrow or well defined audience (i.e. employees of company XYZ) I’ll budget more for Facebook. If the focus is demand oriented — looking for sales whoever the consumer may be, I’ll lean towards Google.

7. Sorav Jain: Do you draw any parallels between Social Media ads and Google Ads? If yes, how do you draw a connect?

Rob Peck: From an optimization perspective there are strong parallels between social ads and Google Ads – ultimately there is a message and customer, with the goal of selling the customer on that message at the lowest cost possible. More tactically, social ads are about who someone is whereas search ads are about what someone is looking for. The division is disappearing quickly though – running a Facebook Ads video ad and a YouTube TrueView ad using in-market or affinity targeting is strikingly similar.

8. Sorav Jain: What are the possibilities of automation in Google Adwords? How to do you drive them?

Rob Peck: I love automation! Anything that makes us more scalable and cost competitive is a welcome development. Many analysts need to adjust their mentality regarding automation — it’s not about replacing you, it’s about making you more efficient. Automation in our office is a mix of features of the platform (i.e. conversion optimizer) third party tools (i.e. HootSuite), internally developed systems (used for our search campaigns and reporting), and cobbled together mixes of basic scripting, Google Sheets, and Gmail.

9. Sorav Jain: A/B split tests – which tools do you suggest?

Rob Peck: As far as the ads themselves this is largely about a clean and organized account structure. Make sure that experiments get a fair chance – each test needs statistically significant data before drawing a conclusion. For websites we are betting heavily on Google Optimize and the results thus-far are very promising.

Google and Facebook reporting both go a very long way, so I don’t suggest getting too heavy into 3rd party tools until there is a clear need for them with defined requirements.

10. Sorav Jain: What are some of the most important tools required to set Google Adwords?

Rob Peck: More so than the actual tools used, it’s about the output. Ads and a website that do your product justice and speak to your unique audience, well researched targeting (keywords, placements, etc…), and an overall marketing mix that makes sense.

The biggest thing here is to make sure too much data doesn’t make you narrow minded. Always make sure to look up towards the bigger picture. Often I’ll see analysts hyper focused on optimizing keywords in a very granular manner instead of looking for whole new sets of keywords.

Regarding actual tools, at the very least, Google Analytics and AdWords conversion tracking are a must.

11. Sorav Jain: When you recommend keywords research where is your focus usually on? Broad, exact?

Rob Peck: For both keyword research and actual campaigns I generally like to start with broad match ?to understand the opportunity, and then narrow my way down based on the data. Of course, when starting with broad match make sure to have a basic negative keyword list (“free”, “jobs”, etc…) to minimize obviously unwanted traffic.

12. Sorav Jain: What according to you is future of Google Adwords in India?

Rob Peck: I foresee continual growth and expansion in two areas:

For the unorganized and micro business sector: Features like click-to-call and click-to-message are opening up opportunities for businesses who don’t do well with email leads. Additionally, basic website development is getting easier and easier which is lowering the barrier to entry for new advertisers.

For large businesses and corporates I expect to see budgets go up drastically. Digital is no longer unchartered territory for Indian advertisers; it’s proven and offers more data than traditional advertising. With the value being there, budgets will continue to shift from offline to online.

13. Sorav Jain: Any predictable trends for Google Adwords?

Rob Peck: Outside the usual predictions of continual mobile growth and more rich media (due to data in India getting cheaper and faster), my AdWords predictions is that you are going to see interesting, and perhaps groundbreaking, native advertising options. Voice, AR/VR, and even self driving cars are already here or on the near horizon. How do these benefit my clients? Can I buy display ads in VR experiences? When someone asks their self driving car to take them to a restaurant, can I bid so the car drives to my client’s place? How do I get a client to the top of Google Home or Alexa for “best hotel in Chennai?” during a voice search?


That’s some interesting insights from Rob Peck!

May you have any questions for Rob Peck, Join my Digital Marketing Question and Answers community! He is one of the active members of the community and would love to answer your relevant and fresh questions. You can also raise the questions in the comment section below.

  • benedictg

    The master has spoken.. Great interview Sorav.

  • Amol Tolbande

    Looking for many more to come sorav sir

  • Well written post and thanks for amazing insights!

  • Haritha-Brinoksolutions
    Hi htis is a nice blog about google ad words expert india its a amazing information insights