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Navigating Google Ads, Meta Trends, and UGC Magic for Business Success

In Conversation with Daniel Gillen

For this episode of E-Coffee with Experts, Ranmay Rath interviewed Daniel Gillen, Managing Director at CATO MARKETING LIMITED, a digital marketing agency located in Manchester, United Kingdom. Delve into the realm of digital marketing mastery as Daniel shares invaluable insights on budget-friendly Google Ads strategies, explores groundbreaking innovations in Meta Ads, and imparts expert tips for fostering business growth. Daniel also shares his insights into how AI has transformed the role of marketing agencies, empowering them to focus on strategic decision-making and holistic marketing strategies. Tune in to unlock the secrets of digital marketing mastery with actionable tips and industry expertise!

In the realm of digital marketing, AI is the driving force that reshapes industries and elevates businesses to new heights.

Daniel Gillen

Hey, hi, everyone. Welcome to E-Coffee with Experts. This is Ranmay, your host for today’s episode. And today we have Daniel, who is the Managing Director at CATO MARKETING LIMITED with us. Welcome, Daniel.

Thank you. It’s good to be here.

Great. Daniel, before we move forward and pick your brains, why don’t you talk us through your journey this far and what CATO MARKETING is all about? How did you establish it? What are your core offerings? And we’ll take it forward from there.

Okay, yeah. I used to have a boring office job back in the UK in a town called Burnley in the Northwest. My office used to overlook a graveyard every day and it used to rain every day and I didn’t like it. One day I told my boss I was going to move to Greece and live in the sun and I’ll do my job remotely from Greece. My boss said, That’s not allowed. He said, At a push, maybe you could go down to London, but any further than that, then it’s not allowed. I founded my company, I quit my job. Eventually, I moved to Greece and I live in Greece in the sunshine. Ever since then, I’ve been working online helping companies in the USA, Canada, UK, and Europe, building my team. I’m just doing what I did as a job, but instead of for one company, for multiple companies, and eventually branching out into other areas as well. Our core offering is Search, so Google Ads, SEO. Then over the last couple of years, we’ve been pushing out into social as well. Meta ads, and TikTok ads, and we enjoy those because they allow you to be creative.

We have a video editor on the team as well now, so we’re even creating UGC content. And it’s so much more fun to create a Facebook ad, video, headline, and all that, rather than a Google ad, which is just a headline of text in the description.

Great, Daniel. As a Google partner with as much experience in digital marketing as you have, would you like to elaborate on some of the strategies or techniques for optimizing Google ad campaigns in today’s competitive environment?

Yeah. I’d suggest the most important thing is you have to be aware that your interests and Google’s interests don’t always align. There are a lot of campaign structures and settings within Google ads that will get you to spend a lot of money, but not necessarily get you results. You have to be aware of all the ways Google, I hope I don’t get in trouble with Google, but let’s say might try and be trickier to get you to spend money in areas you don’t want. So case in point, in all search campaigns, you never want display extension enabled. You never want to search for partners. You rarely want people in or interested in you. You want people actually in the locations you’re targeting. So Google has all these little settings that a novice ad creator might not notice that would waste your spend. They, of course, have a new campaign type called Performance Max. Now, Performance Max can be very good, but you have to keep an eye on it. Because if you don’t keep an eye on it and you don’t look at it critically, it can look like it’s doing well, but it’s not doing a whole lot.

And not that it can’t do well, sometimes it’s just amazing. But yeah, the most important thing in running Google ads is just being aware of all the places where your money can leak and making sure you’re spending on what you want to spend on. Absolutely.

Talking about spending, Daniel, there is this category of small businesses or mid-sized businesses that have limited budgets. And as marketers, everyone wants to market themselves. And what is your advice to these businesses with limited budgets, if they approach marketers or if they have their in-house marketing team, what strategies do you recommend for them to compete effectively for the top position or the highly ranked or all those high volume keywords in Google Ads against their larger competitors with bigger budgets?

If somebody has a tight budget, I would probably suggest they try to perform max because it’s probably their best chance. Realistically, the best thing they should do is create a manual search campaign, possibly a dynamic search campaign, really analytically go through the keywords, and make sure they’re getting the right traffic from the right people from the right places. It’s going to the right page on the website. The click-through rate is good and just keep their spending laser-focused on these high-priority terms. But probably they won’t have the skill set to do that. So if they were to enable to do that manual build that’s laser-targeted, PMax is probably the next best thing.

Brilliant. And with the growing emphasis on quality score and ad relevance, what techniques can these businesses employ to improve the performance of their ad campaigns and lower their cost per click as well?

Think the most important thing you can do is the Google platform is always changing. So a major development over the last couple of years was you could attach images to your search campaigns. Google is now facing that back out again, and instead, you can attach your logo and business name. But a lot of times as an agency, when we’re looking at a client’s account, maybe we’ve just taken over or we’re pitching to take it over, we’ll look into it and they might not have a business logo uploaded, they might not have a business name. Maybe they don’t have an image attached. Maybe even it’s an expanded text ad from three years ago and not even a responsive search ad. If Google is giving you a field you can fill, whether it’s an image, whether it’s a headline, whether it’s a business name, whatever it is, you want to fill it. Because if you don’t fill it, your ad will look smaller than the one against you. So make use of every field Google gives you. Make use of every field in Google My Business, because he who has the most fields filled out will have a better ranking ad often.

Not always, but it helps.

Moving on taking an extension to our topic of budgets. And then the context of keeping advertising costs low, what are the budgeting and cost control techniques you recommend to run those Google ads more effectively and more profitably?

Yeah, so one of the disadvantages of running a PMax campaign, a Performance Max, is all your budget is just going into one big black box and you don’t know how it is spent. So if you want to keep control and costs and be sure you’re getting a solid return on your money, it can be good to do a manual, mostly search campaign build where you have a campaign on these keywords, you have a campaign on these keywords. Maybe you have this campaign that’s targeted in the US, you have this campaign in the UK. And that way you can say, okay, exactly, 10 pounds a day is going here, 10 pounds a day is going there, 20 pounds a day is doing there. Whereas if you just do what a lot of people do and have a performance max campaign aimed at the whole world or four countries or something, you have no idea what your money has been spent on. Sometimes Google, you have a budget of 30 pounds a day and Google might spend 20 pounds on a single click. Having that manual control does allow you to have more visibility of costs and keep on top of costs.

What do you feel about the strategies to continuously refresh ad creatives and strategies to maintain engagement and prevent ad burnout? Because a lot of advertisers face fatigue and audience saturation issues.

But yeah, on Meta and TikTok, that’s a big deal. It’s beneficial in Meta ads and TikTok ads to not super regularly, but fairly regularly. Fresh and will be creative, upload new videos, upload new images, put new headlines, because you might have one person seeing your ad like 90 times before they can vote. And if they’re seeing the same ad every single time, they’ll quickly tie up and it won’t work. But some people think that applies to Google as well. And I would suggest with Google ads, especially search ads, ad fatigue isn’t a thing. I wouldn’t worry about it so much. So social is a big deal. Google, not as much. Almost none at all.

Taking forward for meta ads, we see that this has been a revolution actually, and then the last couple of years. What are some of the innovative approaches for businesses to target and engage their audiences on these platforms? And then how do they measure the true impact, success, failure, whatever, of the meta ad campaigns?

Okay, so what is great about meta ads is they allow you to be creative. It allows you to try new fun ideas that your competitors aren’t doing or haven’t thought about. One of my favorite ones is using you and monetizing their reviews and using them as your ad creators. For example, you may persuade or bribe your customers to leave you a testimonial video that they’ll then allow you to run as an ad. While everybody else is running a 30-second boring brand video, you have a customer saying, Oh, I bought this product and it’s amazing, or I subscribed to the service and it’s changed my life. That, because it’s authentic, will perform very well. I’m a big fan of using that. And if you can’t get that, maybe you don’t have customers yet or whenever, what you can do what’s called UGC content, user-generated content. You can hire a UGC actor or an influencer, make a nice video, edit it together, and run that. User-based content is king. In terms of measuring outcome, Meta is usually pretty good for measuring outcome. They have the Meta Conversions API now. So if you were in a Shopify store, you can connect Shopify to Meta.

So you can see all the transactions driven by Meta in Shopify. So you know how much revenue you’re getting from your spending. If you’re doing lead gen, it can be a little tricky. Meta has lead formats now built into the Meta platform. So the leads themselves convert within Meta. So you have full visibility of those. So it’s not like now you have to run meta ads and just be like, Okay, we’ve reached a million people. Hopefully, that led to some sales. You should be able to track concrete actions, be it revenue or leads or something like that.

You picked up a very interesting topic, viewer-generated content. The videos have gained popularity in recent years. What are some tricks that you would like to share about the bar of UGC videos?

It’s not as hard to get an influencer as people might think. There are websites like Collabster.com. Even Fiverr has a fantastic network. I like Facebook. You can go to Facebook and type in beauty influencer groups or fashion influencer groups, and you’ll find groups there with hundreds of people all offering to make influencer-style videos for very cheap. There are tons of places to find influencers. You have to spend a huge amount of money and you can get good creative. Funnily enough though, I’ve found that approximately 50% of influencer videos don’t out very good, and then they were 50 % turned out good. And there’s no way to tell in advance if it’s going to be good or not. You pay a maximum of $100, $200 per video, which means your cost for a good video is $200 to $400, which isn’t bad. Yeah, it’s still very accessible to most companies.

Brilliant. And then what is your take on AI, Daniel? How do you guys use it at Cato? And what do you think is the future of AI? Where are we headed?

Yeah. So it’s really interesting. The big question is, will AI replace marketing agencies? I think in a way already has. When I worked at my old office job 12 years ago, our company had a network of maybe 10 e-commerce sites, and there was a ratio of Google Ads professionals to sites about one-to-one, perhaps even more one-to-one. We had 12 people doing Google Ads for 12 sites, and some of those people had assistants. Now, two people, even one person could probably do that work for us, because you have conversions, you have bidding strategies, maximize conversions, you have smart campaigns, and you have performance max. Just doesn’t require the day-to-day manual adjustments that it did before. We find these agencies, AI forces us. Instead of being like, Oh, we’ll be the person who’ll go into your account and make all these minute adjustments every day, it’s more like we’re going to be the people at the top with you advising and helping you build a holistic marketing strategy that involves Google ads, involves Meta ads, involves SEO. And so I think it forces us high up the decision chain. It empowers us to be more powerful, but it certainly changes us in a very significant way.

Absolutely. It does. It has created a lot of shifts in terms of how organizations used to operate, both agencies and direct brands for that matter. Earlier people were about their jobs, especially content people and stuff. But now it has only turned out to be a weapon in the army if used properly. And ones who have become more tech-savvy, have landed up at higher paying jobs versus getting laid off. We never know in terms of if used properly, this is going to be a shot in the arm of the industry that we all are in. Agreed, Daniel. I’m in a brilliant conversation. But before we let you go, I’d like to play a quick rapid-fire with you. I hope you’re game for it.

Yeah, sounds fun.

Great. What was your last Google search, Daniel?

It was a suspension repair company in San Antonio. I was helping a client and he had a really bad website and he was a suspension repair person. I did a Google search on Screenshare to show him his competitors and how much better their websites were than his and how they were showing at the top of Google to convince him that before we even worked together on his ads, he would have to upgrade his website.

No, all work. All right, great. Who was Daniel as a child? How would your friends, your neighbors, and your family look at you?

I was withdrawn but interior-focused. I think I used to like to read. I used to like to think. I had friends, but I wasn’t the most social person. I like to study the world and I still do. Sometimes my favorite bit of the day is reading a good book or something, or something like that.

Lovely. Let’s say if we were to make a movie on you, Daniel, what genre would it be?

Good question. I recently became a volunteer firefighter, so maybe that would suit an action in a way. However, in reality, it’s not always that exciting.

All right. Okay, so since you did spend your early days or quite a lot of time in the UK, are you a soccer fan?

Yeah, I like Burnley Football Club.

Okay, Burnley. I was about to ask that. All right, perfect. The last one, Daniel, we are not going to grill you any further. What did you do with your first paycheck? First paycheck of your life?

I think I bought some T-shirt and some perfume and maybe a belt.

Okay, lovely. Great. Yeah, lovely. Daniel, it was a brilliant conversation, and I’m sure our audiences would have benefited a lot from what they heard in terms of the insights you shared. Thank you so much for taking your time and doing it with us here. We appreciate it, man.

Thank you.



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