How Alphabet’s Layoffs Could Affect Your 2023 Google Ads Strategy

Google came in like a wrecking ball with its January 2023 workforce reduction. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, laid off 12,000 staffers as other Big Tech companies scaled back investments they made when they experienced accelerated growth during the pandemic.

The staff reduction lines up with the direction Google is reportedly headed: Heavier reliance on AI and resellers. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, mentioned AI three times in the email he sent to Googlers and posted to the company’s blog, The Keyword.

“I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI. To fully capture it, we’ll need to make some tough choices,” he wrote. Using the future tense when mentioning “tough choices” implies more restructuring is on the horizon.

Digital marketers will be consumed by changes at Google in 2023. While they migrate from Google Analytics to GA4, they’ll also need to rethink their Google Ads strategies. For better or worse, Google’s latest announcement will impact you regardless of your monthly spend.

Conversational AI

In recent years, Google Ads has been nudging advertisers toward embracing artificial intelligence. The platform leverages AI extensively to match advertisers’ assets with target prospects. The results can be mind blowing, but the AI also goes down unprofitable rabbit holes. Human intervention is still required.

Alphabet has invested billions in AI. The deafening hype surrounding ChatGPT upped the ante. Now Google is reportedly expediting the rollout of new AI capabilities. You can be sure these features are getting baked into Google’s own support services.

Conversational AI is a Google Cloud service that promises to streamline customer service with its chatbots, voice bots, and telephony helpdesks. A useful Google Ads chatbot would be welcome, but there will still be customers who prefer to talk to a real person. In some years, they’ll get over that.

Your Google Ads Rep

It’s very possible that your Google Ads representative was among those let go.

Over the past few years, Google has been increasingly encouraging advertisers to partner with approved resellers in its network, according to a Digiday report. Google Ads team members were fretting about layoffs as early as November 2022.

Google Ads reps get a bad rap, but I’ve only had positive experiences with them. Advertisers who find them unhelpful tend to have unreasonable expectations.

If your monthly Google Ads budget is minimal, the guidance you’re getting is basic but potentially invaluable. Google Ads reps assigned to the bottom tier lack the bandwidth for in-depth analysis. They still deliver quick wins by helping advertisers set up their conversion tracking and targeting so their campaigns can actually perform.

Google Ads campaigns have become increasingly foolproof in recent years. Working knowledge of Google Tag Manager is no longer necessary to track conversions reliably. Much of the hand holding Google reps do has been made redundant.

Smaller advertisers should consider hiring a freelancer or in-house ads manager to get the most out of Google Ads. The authorized Google resellers are likely out of their price range. Someone who understands how Google uses AI and your product’s audience will yield better results than most agencies.

How to Prepare

No matter the size of your spend, this should be top of mind in 2023. At the minimum, you should:

  • Consider hiring a freelancer, an in-house staffer or an agency to handle your Google Ads management
    • Ads managers with expertise in your niche yield the biggest ROI; agencies are hit or miss
  • Brush up on Google Ads’ AI applications and continue to follow updates
  • Start migrating Google Analytics to GA4 ASAP
  • Learn GA4’s AI capabilities as they’re announced
  • Consider partnering with a Google Ads reseller for enterprise-level requirements

If you need help navigating Google Ads in 2023 and beyond, send me a message below: