UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#40: Top Google PPC Tips from Andy Janaitis of PPC Pitbulls

In this episode, Karin and Alison, co-founders of UMAI Marketing, are joined by Andy Janaitis, Founder and Chief Strategist of PPC Pitbulls. PPC Pitbulls is an agency that works with small businesses in the eCommerce space, helping them build authentic customer relationships and increase sales online.

Andy shares his background on how he started the agency and his passion for serving purpose-driven, passionate founders with a product they believe in. Tune in to learn more about Andy and his journey in eCommerce marketing, as well as some top tips for running Google Ads.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to improve your eCommerce marketing strategy!¬†

Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:59 Р3:22] Meet Andy, founder of PPC Pitbulls 
[3:30 – 6:13] Why smaller brands are the perfect fit for this PPC agency
[6:15 – 10:05] When is the right time to start running Google Ads?
[10:07 – 12:50] What benchmarks should a young brand have before they start Google Ads
[12:51 – 15:26] What should be your Google Ad starting budget?
[15:27 – 21:22] DIYing your own Google Ads
[21:23 Р24:35] Andy’s top tips on optimizing your campaigns
[24:36 Р27:08] Andy’s journey in PPC marketing CPG brands
[27:09 Р28:10] Closing and how you can reach PPC Pitbulls! 

 

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Join UMAI’s Facebook Group: CORE 

#40: Top Google PPC Tips from Andy Janaitis of PPC Pitbulls 

 

Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
 
Karin Samelson: [0:19]
And I’m Karen.
 
Alison Smith: [0:20]
And we love growing CPG brands.
 
Karin Samelson: [0:23]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing, and creators of the Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
 
Alison Smith: [0:33]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
 
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
 
Karin Samelson: [0:59]
Welcome to the UMAI Social Circle, where we talk consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Karin and Alison, co-founders of UMAI Marketing, and we’re being joined by Andy Janaitis, Founder and Chief Strategist of PPC Pitbulls, where he works with passionate product people to build authentic customer relationships and more sales online. Thanks for joining us, Andy. How are you?
 
Andy Janaitis: [1:25]
I’m doing great. Thank you for having me.
 
Karin Samelson: [1:27]
Yeah, thank you for coming. We had the opportunity of being on Andy’s podcast and it was so much fun that we had to have him join us and meet all of you. So thanks again, Andy, for joining us. Well, we’d love to start by just learning a little bit more about you, so if you could share your background on how you came to be the founder of PPC Pitbulls.
 
Andy Janaitis: [1:49]
Definitely. I started off more in the digital space, but a little bit outside of the marketing world, more as a software developer and product engineer for a number of years. And then 2020, right before the pandemic, I had had been known that I wanted to start my own business. And after years of working in the agency space and specifically working with a lot of larger companies, a lot of corporate entities, both government and non-government, really knew that wanted to go a different route and work with some of the smaller businesses that I had touched with in my career but hadn’t gotten a whole lot of time with.
 
So that’s exactly what I did. I worked with a colleague at the time and we both, we tried a few different things out and ultimately settled in on Google Ads. A Google Ads niche agency, focused in the eCommerce space. Really just found, after having worked with a couple different types of businesses, that we really, really enjoyed serving the small business, passionate founder, typically purpose-driven, who has a product that they’re really, really passionate about.
And yeah, it’s just been a great journey since then. We didn’t know at the time that the pandemic was right about to hit, and I also had my son, my first son, right about the same time so it was a crazy couple years there. But yeah, now we’re just getting settled in and finding our stride in the eCommerce marketing world here.
 
Alison Smith: [3:22]
That’s awesome, yeah. I wish we all knew about the pandemic hitting. A lot of us would’ve made a lot of different choices, right. But yeah, I want to ask you more about why you like the smaller brands. Is it because the founders are involved, or tell us why?
 
Andy Janaitis: [3:42]
Yeah. I mean, and the short answer is it’s just a little bit more fun. When we started out, we said that we always wanted to make sure that we had this have-a-beer rule, so we don’t want to be working with anybody that I wouldn’t want to go and have a beer with and just hang out with for a little while.
 
But I think a more technical answer, it’s always great to work with somebody who has the passion. So from a marketing perspective it’s great that, hey, when we need to start pulling out why is your product special, what it is that we need to use to develop a relationship with a customer and let them know what’s so great about this product, it’s great when there’s an easy answer there. When somebody is quick to tell you, “Hey, this is my story and this is why I put blood, sweat and tears into this product.”
 
And then on top of that, it’s nice just working with these businesses that people can make decisions. I had a background working in some more corporate areas where it was, hey, we can come up with the best idea in the world, but it’s got to go through seven layers of hierarchy and approval and all these different things. Yeah, it’s just really refreshing, and we love working with founders where we can bring an interesting concept to the table and they can execute on it and we can find some impact right away.
 
Alison Smith: [4:53]
I mean, I completely agree with everything that you just said. Working one-on-one with founders is so nice, not only because they’re able to really guide you in their mission. But because of the decision-making, especially if you’re in the paid media space, there’s been a lot of huge changes over the past two years and you have to pivot super quickly. And I can’t imagine working for a super large corporation where you can’t just make those quick pivots, so that’s cool to hear.
 
Andy Janaitis: [5:33]
Definitely. And I’m sure it’s probably very similar with the types of clients you serve as well, that it helps to have a little bit of a mission focus, I feel like, where it’s easy, or not easy, but certainly there’s a playbook out there for succeeding in Google Ads or Facebook ads for some of these massive conglomerates with giant budgets, where there’s just a whole different goal set. But it’s really cool to work with some of these mom-and-pop shops or smaller founders, where it’s you’re helping them to succeed and helping them to compete with the big guys.
 
Karen Samelson: [6:05]
And on that note, we have a lot of people that come to us and they’re like, “Okay, what marketing levers should we be pulling? When, why, how?” From your perspective, how do these brands know when Google Ads will start working for them? When should they start?
 
Andy Janaitis: [6:24]
We look at a couple of key components, and a lot of this is probably similar to both components from your CORE 3 program, and I love that concept of like, hey, it’s a simple group of levers that you can pull right off the bat. I think what we look at are, one, do you have a website set up? Are you selling your products on a site that’s ready to drive conversions? People hit the site, do they actually get through the checkout process without a lot of friction? Some of the real basic stuff that you’d actually be surprised how often isn’t set up or you all probably aren’t that surprised, I’m sure. Things like having good, solid automated email flow set up, making sure that you are getting the most out of each individual customer relationship and the ability to build that ongoing relationship.
 
And then, as we go beyond that, make sure that we’re measuring when people hit the website and measuring customer behavior so we understand that, hey, if a purchase came through, where did that come from. It’s amazing, a lot of our work is running initial audits where we sit down and look through all of the marketing efforts that our clients or prospective clients are doing. And one of the first questions we’ll always say is, “Okay. Well, what channel is your most successful right now? Where are most of your purchases coming from?” And oftentimes people don’t necessarily have an answer to that.
 
So I think that’s one of those first things, where you’ve got to be measuring what’s happening on your website, understanding where purchases are coming through, and having some purchases too. I always tell people not to let Google Ads, or probably similar with Facebook ads, just¬ß be your first purchase that comes through the door. You just stood up a Shopify site and, “Let’s just turn on a bunch of spend and see what happens.” It always makes sense to, whatever it takes, to go ahead and get some purchases coming through first to test that all those things are set up, that everything’s working properly. So those are some of the main components that we want to have in place.
 
And I’d say maybe more from a technical perspective, a lot of that is getting everything set up. The big thing to underlie all that too is understanding what your goals are, or having a goal. Don’t just listen to a podcast and say, “Hey, Google Ads is great. It sounds like we can make some money there. Let’s go ahead and turn it on. Let’s start spending some money.” It’s really important to understand, if you’re running ads today or if you’re doing other work, organic work, email work, what is it about Google Ads that’s going to be different from that, and how can that add to those channels and help to work alongside them? Why would you use one channel over the other? Understanding a lot of those different nuanced takes and not just, “Hey, let’s flip the switch and look for profits.” I think that’s really important.
 
Alison Smith: [9:15]
Yeah, absolutely. Everyone wants to be omnichannel, but there’s definitely a time and a place. And I like that you’re asking brands to understand and realize their goals before they just … And also their time and their commitment, before they do something like that themselves.
 
But I want to take it back to what you were saying about certain web and KPIs that you look for before you start running PPC for brands. And we’re the exact same. We won’t work with a brand, with paid media, paid social, if they don’t have a converting website. Because what’s the point? You’re just throwing money at a wall and seeing if it sticks and it likely won’t, it’s a lose-lose for everyone. So curious, when you are talking to brands that are looking to use your services, if you have any thresholds or numbers, like conversion rates, that you expect a brand to have before they should start running Google Ads.
 
Andy Janaitis: [10:23]
I’d say it’s probably a little bit less about an exact number. We can definitely look industry by industry, look at different benchmarks. Typically, if we’re in the two to three to 5% conversion rate, depending on what type of products you’re selling, what your average order values are, that’s great. We can always look at where you need to be in there.
 
But I think probably more important is just looking at some of the lower hanging fruits. We’re not necessarily the agency that’s going to come in and do a full conversion rate optimization. We’re going to redesign your whole site and figure out all the nuanced places where you could be dropping a half a percent or a quarter of a percent here or there. But there are some basic things that we know, and we always talk about them, in terms of low-hanging fruits.
 
So things like, make it very easy for somebody to make a purchase. It’d be great if nobody has to create an account before they have to go through your checkout process. That’s something we see a lot of time. Something as simple as that could be a very simple way to increase your conversion rate. Same thing with, if you have, especially in some of the purpose-driven products that we like to work with, there’s some education involved. Why is this snack food going to cost me probably double what I could get at the grocery store, because it’s organic and it’s better for you and there’s a million different reasons why, but that doesn’t necessarily shine just in the picture of the product.
 
So making sure that your website has all of that information. And the same way that you would help a customer who comes into your store. If you were trying to sell them in person, think of your website as the same thing. How are we getting somebody from walking in the front door, pulling up your website for the first time, to take all the education that they need, and ultimately getting all the way down to the bottom and being comfortable making a purchase and being able to do that without a whole lot of friction.
 
Karin Samelson: [12:20]
Yeah. I mean, we try and make it as simple as possible saying, “Hey, until you’re making X number of dollars a month in eCommerce revenue, then you can’t start paid social with us.” But I like how you are saying, “Hey, if you have consistent sales, organic sales, if you are set up for success for your customers to go through the customer journey, your email automations, all of that’s up and running, you have these goals set out, then you could absolutely start.” So what is your opinion on a good starting budget for these smaller brands?
 
Andy Janaitis: [12:56]
Definitely. It’s like one of the first questions we always get, and of course the very probably not great to hear answer is going to be, it depends. But the real factors that we look for, you got to make sure … Because we’re really going to pitch automated techniques and everything is really leaning into Google Ads, automation and machine learning algorithms, so we need to make sure that we’re feeding enough data back into that. And what that means is making sure that we’re getting enough purchases.
 
Typically, we’re looking for at least 30 to 50 … A big enough budget that our Google Ads can drive 30 to 50 purchases per month. That can be a good starting point to bring back. And you can go through some calculations, it can get a little bit more complex if you’re going to run multiple campaigns and different things.
 
But ultimately, and depending on what your goals are in terms of ROAS, but the way we really like to think about that is, hey, if we’re going to look for 30 to 50 purchases, just for ease of calculation, say your average order value is $100. So if you want 50 purchases at $100, you’re looking at a revenue of, what’s that, come out to $5,000. So if we’re looking for a starting ROAS, oftentimes that’s maybe a 2X to a 2X ROAS, so that can bring you back to your starting budget. So you’re looking for, we want to generate about $5,000 in revenue, maybe we have a 2X ROAS as our initial starting target. That’s going to say that, hey, your initial investment there should be about $2500 in that first month.
 
I would say, depending on where people are coming from and where their targets are, that’s how I would calculate it if I’m working with somebody and understand all the different nuances. If somebody’s listening to this podcast and they say, “Hey, what is the minimum? Where can I start?” Typically, I’ll just throw out, if you start around 1,500 to 2,00 a month in ad spend, that’ll be enough to start to get an idea if things are going to work or not and whether or not you’re going to be able to pull some purchases out. I wouldn’t start much lower than that. And certainly, for larger brands that are really looking to get into it and really make a push, you’re probably going to be starting a little bit higher than that, but that’s about where I would start.
 
Alison Smith: [15:12]
That budget is probably, I mean, like you said, it’s the biggest question you get asked. It’s the same for us as well. But I love how you just broke it down, goal, AOV, that’s how you figure it out.
 
My question is, so people who are brands who maybe are DIY-ing and have 1,500 to $2,000 a month to spend on their own, what are some top tips? What should they start with first in terms of keyword, shopping, all of that?
 
Andy Janaitis: [15:47]
Definitely. The beauty of Google Ads today, with a lot of the different automated approaches, is it’s gotten a lot simpler to run certain things. Now it’s important to understand the strategy and understand what you’re doing. So I do caution people, if you’re very familiar with, say, Facebook ads and you’ve been doing different types of marketing approaches and you want to dip your toes into Google Ads, then go for it. That might be an option. But if you’ve never run any ads and you don’t understand what the basics of the ad platform are, you probably want to get some help or at least read through some good trainings and figure out what you need to be doing before you jump in and spend a lot of money because that can be a big portion of your spend.
 
But as far as, for simplicity, so once you’ve gone through those phases and you kind of understand what’s happening and you know what your goals are, you’re all set up, I think the first thing is making sure that you are getting a good measurement signal. So making sure that your website is set up. Shopify luckily makes this really easy, there’s a couple of apps. The Google channel app is a super simple way just to get your Shopify site to report conversions over to your Google Ads campaign.
 
We’re going to want to focus on shopping campaigns, so when you search for something on Google, that top little carousel there with the individual product images you can click through to, in order to do that, you need to feed your product data, your images, your headlines, descriptions, all that, from your website into the Google ecosystem. That goes over to Merchant Center. So getting some of those basic piping things set up is definitely the first step. Make sure that you’re tracking conversions and you have all your product data fed to Merchant Center.
 
And then from there it’s always, start simple. What we like to do is run Performance Max, which is Google Ads’ main campaign type, that’s going to run both those shopping carousel ads as well as search ads. So that’s just in the standard headlines and descriptions that you see in your search feed. And then we typically will also run what’s called branded search.
 
And that can be great for a lot of brands where, especially once you start to reach some level of popularity where somebody may be bidding against your search terms, that will help. It’s a defensive play where we’re making sure that when a customer is coming, they’re searching for your particular product, they’re going to find their way right to your website. They’re not going to end up on one of your competitor’s sites who’s selling either a similar product. Or oftentimes we even see resellers sometimes will be undercutting the prices that you have on your own website and showing up in those search terms. In that way it can turn back what you could be doing on Google Ads.
 
Alison Smith: [18:39]
Yeah, I will say the most frustrating thing is when … And we don’t do Google Ads, that’s where Andy comes in if you’re ever needing them, but when you know go to Google and you type in your client’s name and another brand is bidding on their brand name, it’s like, ugh.
 
Andy Janaitis: [19:00]
Definitely.
 
Alison Smith: [19:01]
It’s so dirty, but it’s so good.
 
Andy Janaitis: [19:02]
Yeah. Well, it’s funny. And then people will come and say, “Oh, well, perfect. So should I be doing the same thing against my competitor? Should I run search ads on my competitor’s terms?” And typically we don’t even suggest to do that because it can get really expensive. The nice thing is-
 
Alison Smith: [19:17]
It’s like a bid war.
 
Andy Janaitis: [19:18]
Yeah. And the nice thing is, Google, if you’re running for your actual campaign or your actual brand name, Google is going to give you that search for a lot cheaper than your competitors are going to have to pay for the same search, because the quality of your match to the search query is actually taken into account. So we always say, “That’s a great reason why you should always run your own brand search campaigns, because you’re going to be able to defend your competitors and you’re going to be able to do it pretty cheaply.” It’s only a couple cents a click because they’re coming through to what’s ultimately a really good match for the search intent that the customer was displaying.
 
But on the opposite side of it, we always say, “Don’t go out there and think that you’re going to go ahead and bid on all your competitor terms, because oftentimes you’re going to be paying a lot more than your competitors are going to be paying for those same terms.” And typically, it’s not very easy to find profitability, especially as you’re starting out and you have a smaller budget, that’s not the best spend of your budget.
 
Alison Smith: [20:17]
That is a great tip. I did not know that. So just to break it down for anyone who’s not super familiar with what we’re talking about or PPC. If your brand name is, we’ll say UMAI Marketing, you can bid on the keyword “UMAI,” “UMAI Marketing,” you can extend it as well. That’s what Andy is talking about. So bidding for when someone Googles “UMAI Marketing,” that you show up first. It’s going to be an ad, a sponsored ad, but you show up first before anyone else. Is that right, Andy?
 
Andy Janaitis: [20:50]
Exactly, yep. And it’s a simple test to take. If you want to go to Google right now, type in your exact brand name and see if any competitors are bidding against it. Oftentimes you’ll find that they may be, especially locally, if you have the type of product where it’s a local chocolate company or something like that and you start saying your brand name, you might find some competitors that are bidding right against it.
 
Karin Samelson: [21:15]
So once you have your ads running for a little while and you’re getting some results in and you’re ready to optimize, what would be some top tips on optimization? Where would you start?
 
Andy Janaitis: [21:28]
Definitely. I always look to simplify and really understand what it is we’re trying to get done. The first thing to do is to look at the campaigns you’re running, look at the assets that you’re running. The nice thing in Google, you can go in and say, hey, rather than say, “This is exactly what I want my ad to say, this is the exact headline and this is the exact text that I want under that headline,” you can say, “Hey, here’s up to 15 headlines and here’s up to four descriptions that go under those.” And then Google will mix and match those. That’s what we would call assets. Same way as you can provide a bunch of different images, a bunch of different videos, and all of those assets get mixed and matched together.
 
This is where you’re going to want understand, “Okay, well what are my goals? What is my target ROAS?” ROAS being return on ad spend or essentially the revenue that you’re getting from your Google Ads, divided by the spend that you put in to get it. You want to look at your account and say, “Okay, starting at the campaign level or getting down to the ad group level or getting all the way down to the individual asset level, let me first look at areas where I’m not hitting my target.” This is why it’s important to know your target. But if I look at my account and I’m running three campaigns and two of them are above my target and one of them is below my target, then perfect. Your easy optimization is to either fix whatever’s going on with that bad campaign or to turn it off and really focus your budget into the two campaigns that are working.
 
Or you may find that, “Hey, that brand search campaign is really driving a ton of traffic and we’re getting a bunch of purchases out of that, but when I remove that from my results, I’m not really seeing good results elsewhere in the account.” And that’s where you may say, “Hey, if I just look at the account level, perfect, I’m hitting the goal that I set out for. But 90% of that traffic is people who are searching for my brand name to begin with so I don’t want to be spending that money on that.”
 
But again, that’s where you really just need to understand, before you can get to that level, you need to understand what your goal is, what you’re looking for. And then just start looking at the account, start at the campaign level and drill down level by level until you start to see what’s performing well, what isn’t performing well. Turn off what’s not performing well, and roll some additional budget into what is performing well. I’d say, obviously that’s broad and probably a little bit general.
 
Another big technical point is to really lean into the automated strategies, so make sure that you’re utilizing … In Google Ads it’s called Max Conversion value or Target ROAS bidding strategy. And what that’s going to do is basically allow, rather than say, “Hey, I want to bid exactly $3 per click,” you’re going to be telling Google, “Hey, Google, you can go out there and spend as much or as little per click as you want, but here’s my daily budget and here’s what my target is. So go ahead and optimize, based on what you know about the customer, what you know about my assets, and figure that out.”
 
Karin Samelson: [24:25]
Nice. Making it kind of easy for us. We love when that happens.
 
Andy Janaitis: [24:30]
Yeah.
 
Karin Samelson: [24:31]
Cool. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for these awesome tips. We also did want to share that Andy is a part of our Consumer Goods Growth Course, primarily to really dive into the social advertising aspect of it. So we’d love to just get your feedback on how you’re enjoying the course and anything else you’d like to share there.
 
Andy Janaitis: [24:56]
Definitely. Yeah, so we’ve been in the Growth Course for a while now, and I found it really, really valuable. As Alison mentioned, we’re really focused on Google Ads, and that’s our bailiwick. We look at digital marketing much more broadly from a strategic standpoint, but as far as implementation goes, we don’t do a ton of Facebook ads. So what we used this as a course to make sure that we understood, from a company-wide perspective, as much as we needed to know about Facebook ads to really be able to guide our customers. Was that the right decision for them, is that not the right decision? To the extent that we implement it. We typically would probably work with some great partners like UMAI to get that work done.
 
But yeah, it’s been great to … As a training tool that we use internally to make sure that everyone on the team is up to speed and understands the basics. I think what’s been great about it is it goes really from this super high strategic direction, what’s your goal? What are you going to be doing? What are you trying to get done? And gets all the way down deep into the tactics of, hey, this is exactly how you set up your Facebook account and make sure that you’re running your Facebook and Instagram ads properly. So that’s what we’ve really enjoyed getting out of it.
 
Alison Smith: [26:14]
That is great to hear. And speaking of training, if you’re a brand wanting to learn more about DIY-ing or training your marketing team on Google Ads, Andy is actually going to be hosting our next upcoming Grad Chat, which is our video series. It’s a training video series so that you can expand your marketing knowledge, continue to train your team on all marketing levers, all business levers. It’s for members who are inside of the Growth Course, so we’re super excited about that. And if you guys are interested in learning more or training your team on Google PPC, feel free to DM us and we’ll share with you how to get in.
 
But yeah, excited about that, Andy, and thank you so much for the time and all the value here. This is super awesome. Let’s close this out, and if you would like to leave the audience with how they can reach out to you, where they can find you, all that good stuff.
 
Andy Janaitis: [27:17]
Yeah, thank you for giving me the opportunity there. You can always find me on LinkedIn. I’m always there, posting content on a daily basis. Usually tips and tricks around digital marketing, broadly for eCommerce companies and specifically for Google Ads.
 
Or come on over to ppcpitbulls.com. You can book a free strategy session, that’s a 30-minute session with myself. We’ll get to know you, get to know your unique business goals, and ultimately see if there’s a good fit for us to work together. And even if there isn’t, you’ll definitely leave with some good insights as to the best next step for you to take in your digital marketing journey.
 
Karin Samelson: [27:56]
Awesome, Andy, that’s so generous. A 30-minute strategy session. If you all don’t take him up on that, you’re crazy. Awesome.
 
Andy Janaitis: [28:04]
Come on out.
 
Karin Samelson: [28:06]
Awesome, Andy. Well, thanks for your time. We can’t wait to chat soon.
 
Andy Janaitis: [28:10]
Definitely. Thank you so much for having me.
 
Karin Samelson: [28:13]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle, you all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. And while you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM @umaimarketing on Instagram if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.
 
Alison Smith: [28:32]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass, where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at umaimarketing.com/masterclass. And we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.
 
 

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