Rain Man is a great movie.
It’s also where I first learned about card counting, which has a lesson in it that applies to Google ads…
The lesson comes when Tom Cruise’s Charlie explains to Dustin Hoffman’s Raymond that “When there’s lots of 10’s left, 10’s and picture cards, then it’s good for us.”
Accordingly, Charlie explains to Raymond that “And you’re gonna bet one…. One if it’s bad. Two if it’s good. ”
What Charlie is saying here is that if you’re counting cards properly, sometimes the odds will be in your favor and you should bet double. And when the odds are against you, stop betting.
Using this simple system, the Rain Man brothers win a huge amount of money at the casino…
So what the heck does this have to do with Google ads?
Well, just like blackjack, when you’re playing the Google AdWords game, you’re playing against a rival (your fellow advertisers).
And just like a card counter, you want to bet “two if it’s good” when the odds are in your favor.
The way to do that is to carefully count every conversion, so you know exactly when the odds are in your favor (and when they’re not).
For instance, when you’re running a Google ad campaign, you need to “count” every time that a conversion happens for a given search, including whether your ad generates a phone call to your office.
(99% of advertisers don’t track phone calls, which is a huge problem…)
Over time, you’ll realize that certain scenarios are good. For instance, searches for “drunk driving arrest” during the day might convert very well into retained clients.
In that case, you might want to double your bet for that type of search. Or as Charlie says, “two if it’s good.”
But searches for “drunk driving arrest” at 1 AM might be bad (because drunk people won’t remember making the call the next day). So you’d want to bet low by bidding very low (or not at all). Or as Charlie says, “one if it’s bad.”
Plus, you can gain a HUGE advantage if you’re “counting cards” and your competitor isn’t. Continuing our example, let’s say that you and your competitor are both bidding for “drunk driving arrest” searches. However, you are only bidding those searches during the day. Moreover, you’re bidding double for those searches…
That means that you’re basically guaranteed to be #1 for those searches during the day, and your competitor will be #2.
Meanwhile, at night, you won’t be bidding for those searches. That means that your competitor will be the only one that’s bidding for those bad searches. So even though your competitor thinks she is bidding for those searches throughout the entire day, because you’re “counting cards” and adjusting your bets accordingly, she is effectively bidding for those searches only after-hours.
Happily, this metaphor only goes so far Specifically, Tom and Dustin’s characters get kicked out of that Vegas casino in Rain Main for counting cards…
Meanwhile, Google AdWords won’t kick you out if you “count cards” when bidding for ads! So start “counting”!
If you want some help “counting cards” with Google ads, schedule some time with me to chat here: