Google Ads customer service has plummeted to an unacceptable all-time low, according to search marketers.
From incorrect account suspensions to uncomfortable sales calls “aggressively” pushing automation to confusion over the platform’s own products, advertisers have told Search Engine Land that they are exasperated by the lack of help offered by their reps.
And the problem only seems to be getting worse.
A ‘brutal’ process
Mike Kelley, Chief Marketing Officer at Sylvan Learning, has been working in marketing for almost 20 years. He got in touch with Search Engine Land after trying to trying to purchase YouTube reservation ads – only to be told by his Google rep that they had never heard of them. He explained:
- “I have been trying to purchase these ads for three months – surely it cannot be this hard?”
- “I’ve called in over a dozen times – they tell me someone will call back, but they never do. They don’t respond to emails either. The whole process has been brutal.”
No one on their team seems to understand what Instant Reserve even is or have an understanding of YouTube ads, Kelley said, adding this is “an all-time low for Google Ads customer service”:
- “I actually reached out to two agencies that spend $100,000 a month with Google for help, and used their resources and contacts. But even they have had no response to this query.”
- “Recently, I posted a job on Upwork that pays a reward of $500 for anyone that can get us access and set up Instant Reserve TV ads for our account. This project is ongoing.”
Justin Lincoln, Digital Advertising Manager at Closed Loop, reported a similar experience.
Google announced in December that advertisers could opt out of the Search Network temporarily. To do this, they would need to talk to their rep. But when Lincoln contacted his rep, the person did not know anything about this and could not help.
Puzzled by the response, Lincoln sent his Google rep a link to Search Engine Land’s article to prove that there had been an update temporarily allowing marketers to opt out of the Search Network.
Despite this evidence, the rep maintained that this wasn’t the case, but assured that they would escalate the issue to their manager. However, it would later transpire that even senior staff had not been informed of the update, despite the offer’s limited run until the end of February.
It wasn’t until a different representative intervened that the confirmation surfaced: Google had updated its rules to permit advertisers to opt out of the Search Network. However, the rep confessed this crucial information was not widely known among the team, highlighting a communication gap within Google’s support structure. Lincoln told us:
- “I was able to speak with another Google rep. They confirmed that my other rep just needed to look up the update in MOA – I assume this is where they house their processes.”
- “She also mentioned that the update likely hadn’t been widely dispersed yet, which was probably why my main rep hadn’t heard of it. I will be reaching out to my original rep shortly to see if he can find it.”
- “Overall, I am a little disappointed since this is holding us up from testing Performance Max for a client.”
‘We have no one to talk to’
Menachem Ani, founder of JXT Group, said a lot has changed in terms of Google support over the past decade. While acknowledging that Google agency reps were once “very helpful,” he admitted there was a steep decline in customer service quality following the restructuring of agency teams by Google last April.
The result of those changes? His agency had no dedicated agency-level rep.
Instead, individual reps started getting assigned to specific accounts, resulting in many being left with no support. The level of customer service has been impacted so badly by the changes, Ani has claimed that the accounts with reps aren’t necessarily in a better position than those with no support. He explained:
- “Reps can no longer help with some of the things they were able to help with in the past. For example, we have a client whose account was suspended – but our reps can’t do anything to help us.”
- “While I believe that Google’s intentions are good, the reality is that many accounts get suspended incorrectly with no recourse.”
- “We’ve been working to get a client account reinstated for over four weeks. We know the account is a legitimate business and that the suspension is a mistake, therefore, we appealed the suspension only to receive automated responses that the appeal was denied.”
- “It’s not very helpful at all and we have no one to talk to.”
‘Ludacris scare tactics’
CEO of Marketing Labs, Matt Janaway, told Search Engine that he’s had several ongoing issues with his Google rep.
When he recently asked for some insight to explain a “random $90 click” on a campaign, the rep could not provide an answer. They also couldn’t shed any light on a sudden reduction in ROI that had impacted another campaign. Janaway called the lack of help from Google frustrating.
However, when it comes to his Google Ads rep, the biggest issue he’s been struggling with is the persistent unwanted calls urging him to adopt more automated features. He elaborated:
- “We get calls daily from reps that have been assigned to our client accounts. It’s very convoluted and when we don’t engage – because we can’t possibly engage them all – they try to go directly to our clients instead!”
- “This happens regularly. And the scare tactics they use are quite ludicrous.”
- “They also contact my personal mobile phone number which isn’t on the account at all other than for 2FA purposes – which must be breaking GDPR.”
- “These calls often happen before and after working hours, too.”
Is AI the solution?
Complicating matters further, amid what appears to be an unprecedented surge of complaints about customer service, Google is planning a major restructuring of its ad sales unit, putting a staggering 30,000 jobs at risk.
The cutbacks have convinced some marketers that Google is planning to quietly phase out support. But Google Ads liaison officer Ginny Marvin said this is not the case, explaining that Google Ads is aware of the ongoing negative feedback from advertisers and hinted that big improvements are on the horizon, with AI set to lead the way.
In another nod to the possibility that Google Ads support may become an AI-powered feature in the future, a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land:
- “This is an area where we are experimenting with AI as an additional component to enhance the customer experience.”
- “We have also made significant improvements to our Ads Help Center content, which helps customers self-resolve issues more quickly and reliably.”
While it seems that Google will heavily rely on AI to address marketers’ concerns, the company has not confirmed a specific timeline for the rollout of these improvements.
So what can marketers do when they are unsatisfied with the customer service delivered by their Google rep? The Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land:
- “We do strive to provide the best experience for our customers when they engage with our sales and support teams.”
- “But if we miss the mark, we encourage customers to provide feedback through our Ads Help Center so we can make improvements.”
Delayed responses (and, in some case, the complete lack of responses) from Google reps remain a concern for search marketers.
Google told us that while response times can vary based on volume and complexity, your rep should respond to you “quickly.” If you find that this is not the case, report your experience to Google.
Regarding more specific issues like unfair account suspensions, the spokesperson stressed that advertisers should appeal any decisions they believe to be unfair through the Help Center.
“There has been no change to this process,” the spokesperson added. “Our customer support representatives are not involved in submitting these appeals on behalf of a customer, or reviewing/deciding the outcome.”
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Keeping Google in the loop
If you aren’t satisfied with the level of customer service your rep is delivering, Google advised filing an official complaint when necessary through the Help Center. The spokesperson explained that the feedback is necessary to “improve our sales and support processes, as we strive to provide a top-tier customer experience.”
However, Team Lead SEA / Amazon at The Reach Group, Georgi Zayakov, said this might not be a solution that would work for all marketers. The constant phone calls from Google reps trying to force automated solutions onto his clients has been shocking, he said.
The reps have allegedly been so “aggressive”, phone calls have almost become offensive. Despite this, he admitted that he is unlikely to file a complaint:
- “I recently submitted some negative responses in a survey, but given the fact that I try to be as nice as possible to their reps, I will probably never proactively write a complaint.”
- “And this holds true for most of PPC professionals. We don’t want to get the reps in trouble, even if our experience with them has considerably worsened.”
- “I think that we are also afraid that a particular rep will see our feedback and this will damage further collaboration.”
Although Zayakov’s concerns are understandable, Google’s commitment to improving support through automation could mean they become obsolete sooner rather than later.
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