For about a year, my kids relentlessly asked for a dog, and my wife and I finally agreed to go look and get more information. Our plan was to see what kinds of dogs were available and how much they cost so that we’d be ready to buy one after we move into a bigger apartment. Before my wife left, we reviewed the 1-step plan together one last time: Step 1. Do not buy a dog.

As you probably guessed, my wife did not follow our simple plan… Nope, she came home with a red Shih-Poo puppy!

After several weeks with Oliver, I began to see some strong similarities between buying a puppy and launching a new Google Ads campaign. I know it might sound strange to compare a cute and cuddly little furball with a cold and emotionless ad network, but it’s true. And when you keep these similarities in mind, you’ll approach Google Ads with a mindset for success.

Let’s start with the most tangible similarity…

how buying a puppy is a lot like launching google ads

1. Expect Poop In Your House

The fact is, no puppy was ever born potty trained. That means you’re inevitably going to have accidents in your house no matter how careful you are.

I’ve been told by experts and other experienced dog owners that Oliver has done an amazing job with his potty training, yet each week I find a little surprise on my rug… I can’t get mad though. I just have to clean it up and continue to reinforce good potty training habits.

Luckily, with Google Ads, you’re not going to find any smelly surprises on your rug. However, you should still expect a lot of your initial keywords and ads will stink! The first 3 or more months are what we call the “Testing & Optimizing” phase in Google Ads. During this phase, the goal is to quickly weed out the poor-performing keywords, ads, and targeting options so that you can allocate more of your budget to the top-performing combinations.

Using optimization tactics, you’ll eventually “train” your Google Ads campaigns so that you no longer find “surprises.” Like potty training a puppy, this doesn’t happen overnight, so you must accept that it’s going to take several months of work before you can reap the rewards.

And that brings us to the next similarity…

2. Clear Your Calendar

The day after my wife brought Oliver home, there was a clear change in our family schedule. In fact, we had to cancel several previously-scheduled plans because we couldn’t leave a puppy all alone by himself. Plus, we now have to plan Oliver’s meals each day, visits to the vet for vaccinations, extra trips to the pet store, and of course, dog walks…

It’s like having another baby!

When you launch a new Google Ads campaign, you’ll also want to clear your calendar to make time for the “Testing & Optimization” phase I mentioned above. This is a critical phase that requires a lot more time and attention than an “adult” or mature campaign. New Google Ads campaigns really are just like puppies in that they need continual oversight.

In other words, launching a campaign without proper oversight is like leaving a puppy alone in your house. When you return it may look like a tornado hit your house!

At this point, I hope I haven’t scared you away from buying a puppy or launching Google Ads…

The truth is that the benefits outweigh all the potential issues I’ve addressed in this article. Plus, you don’t have to attempt dog ownership or Google Ads all by yourself. That leads us to similarity number 3.

3. Get Expert Help

I grew up with dogs and cats, so I know enough to be dangerous. But more importantly, I know what I don’t know and that’s when I seek expert advice from vets, trainers, and other experienced dog owners.

As an example, I would have thought a bigger cage with more room to move around would be best for my Oliver. I mean, who would want to be crammed into a tiny cage that’s only big enough to turn around?

Well, it turns out, the size of a cage plays an important role in potty training and if the cage is too big the dog will just relieve himself in a corner of the cage instead of crying to be let outside. Once this was explained to me by an expert it made sense, but I never would have guessed it myself. I would have purchased a large crate thinking I was helping my dog and later I’d wonder why I was having such a hard time with potty training.

But knowledge about crates is second nature to an experienced dog owner, just like knowledge about Google Ads is second nature to a Google Ads expert.

There are countless similar examples of how doing what feels like the right thing will ultimately hurt the performance of your ad campaign. For example, taking advice from Google Ads reps sounds like a great idea, right? Who else knows Google Ads better than the employees of Google?

Well, unfortunately, you can’t blindly take the advice of Google Ads reps because their interests are not aligned with your business. Google Ads reps are trying to make more money for Google, not you. Asking Google for help is like me asking a Purina sales rep which dog food is best for my Oliver. We all know that the sales rep is biased and is going to try to sell me on Purina regardless of whether or not it’s right for my dog.

Keep that in mind the next time you’re seeking expert advice to improve your campaigns.

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