This will be a different blog post. It’s still about digital or analog marketing. PaperMess prefers to reflect phenomena where these two live in symbiosis – but the case here lands in something of an opposite relationship. Read the story of when Google blew us away.

One of the advantages of digital marketing is, we have learned, that there are built-in opportunities to measure the result – attention. If you buy an advertisement in a newspaper, you can see that it is there, but not how many potential customers who have seen it. Properly designed, you can measure how many people who have seen a digital ad. It is digital marketing’s main USP.

Newspaper ad

In 2022, a partner and I opened a site that sells blind-zone stickers to motorhome owners. available in 11 languages – the most important in Europe. You must have these stickers when driving a motorhome in France that weighs more than 3.5 tonnes. Our decals are reusable meaning that the motorhome owner avoids a permanent sticker that gets dirty at the edges and leaves unsightly adhesive residues. In April 2022, we made an article ad in a Swedish motorhome magazine and sales in the web shop took off from that.

GOOGLE’s fraud

In the fall of 2023, we decided to test Google ADs – formerly Ad-words. GOOGLE had an offer where you could buy exposure for SEK 4,000 to get additional exposure for the same amount – for free. One of the conditions was to reach SEK 4,000. within 60 days. We decided to test the offer and started advertising on July 24th, 2023. So that meant we needed to reach 4,000 by September 22nd.

The whole thing ticked along smoothly, and Google took money from the credit card in batches – until September 10th, 12 days before D-day – note! The clicks had by that moment cost SEK 3,380 and suddenly everything takes a strange two-week vacation. The charging curve was stone dead – drum roll – past September 22nd. This is not something we note until much later – more precisely 73 days and SEK 5960 later. Then we realized that we would not get the 4,000 kroner on the other side of September 22. We stopped the advertising and I started trying to get in touch with Google. Then the clicks had cost us almost 10,000 SEK.

GOOGLE’s lika a black hole i the sky

I have since then, spent 25-30 hours trying to get in touch with the great black hole – sorry, Google. Phonecall (ha-ha-ha), email, fill in forms, report errors. At one point I reached some kind of help desk where a completely terrified Dane answered. He got out of the conversation by saying he was going to send a link to a ”Trouble Shooting Tool”. I asked him to wait on the phone while I was troubleshooting – I was still in shock of having made contact with a human being. Anton Leth could not stay on the line, because he was alone for the day with the task of sending Troubleshooting links. His email signature said the name was Anton and Anton seems to be destined for Barcelona. It is of course practical. Send Troubleshooting links, you can do it from anywhere – why not do it from sunny Barcelona.

In total

Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions from this story. However, we (Anglesmorts Online) will not buy any more advertising from Google – instead, it will be analogue newspaper advertising. We also tried to get Entercard to pursue our case against Google – that’s what a card company should do when it comes to card fraud. Entercard then relies on us not fulfilling the condition of spending SEK 4,000 within 60 days. Which is correct. Practically!

In my opinion clearly see the advantages of digital advertising and have never really been able to take the concern about a company’s special position very seriously. Until now. Google is a far too dominant company for it to be healthy. If they also add pure horse-trading manners, behave like pigs and make themselves completely untraceable – then it starts to get really nasty.

Until the next PaperMess – be well!

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