Google is giving advertisers less information on their campaigns as they want you to use AI instead. However, it will never understand the nuances and seasonality of the ski industry.


When I first used Google in 2001, it was a clean, user-friendly search engine with a ‘Do No Evil’ motto.

It grew to dominate because it was so easy to use and gave good results. Now it delivers 92% of search results in the UK.

[In most industries that level of dominance would be stopped, but let’s not worry about that right now.]


Initially there were no paid results on Google. Then you might recall they appeared only on the right-hand-side of the organic results.

Two results at the top of the page and at the bottom were then added. Then four at the top. Then the side results removed.

Now almost everything that appears ‘above the fold’ is either an advert or the Knowledge Graph.

Organic results

It seems quaint, but ads on Google used to be coloured differently to make it clear they were paid for. Now most users can’t tell the difference.

You can spend hours (and large amounts of money) perfecting your SEO, but position #1 in organic will still only be position #5 for most competitive search phrases.

[You can of course still achieve position ‘zero’ by harnessing featured snippets, although then you’ll be part of the 66% of searches that don’t even lead to a click.]

Reduced Google Analytics data

At the same time as promoting paid results over organic, Google has also diminished Analytics data.

It seems quaint now, but Google once allowed users to view all the keyword phrases that led to organic clicks to their website.

This was changed to ‘protect privacy’. And while you can still deduce high volume organic keywords from landing pages, the change meant that if you wanted to be sure you were getting traffic from certain keyword phrases, you needed to have a paid search campaign for them.

Reduced Google Ads data

More recently, Google has started cutting back on the data available within Google Ads, also for ‘privacy reasons’.

Where once you could establish exactly which search phrase had led to a Click or Conversion, this information has now been removed (you could say ‘redacted’).

It means that no longer can you say that can drill down from Campaign to Adgroup to Keyword level to establish ROI.

Reduced Google Ads functionality

In addition to this, Google have also recently announced that they are reducing the ability of users to target their ads, by removing the option to ‘Phrase Match’ keywords.

This might be too high a level of detail for most readers, but ‘Phrase Match’ meant that you could target any phrase where the words fell in the same order.

So for example the Phrase Match term ‘chalet in courchevel’ would only throw up ads for a search for say ‘catered chalet in courchevel’ or ‘chalet in courchevel france’.

Google have their arguments for why this is better, but if your Campaigns, Adgroups and Keywords are well structured, you will not have found this to be a problem.

Instead, Google’s new algorithm will inevitably put your Ads in front of users with a completely different intent from your Keyword phrase, reducing your CTR

I recently saw an example of this for one of my clients when the ‘Phrase Match’ keyword ‘tignes chalets self catering’ delivered a click to a search for ‘tignes catered chalet’.

It’s easy for anyone working in the ski industry to understand immediately why this is a waste of resources (the client had to pay for the click) that also does not deliver what the user is looking for.

Why AI is not the solution

But that’s because AI is ‘artificial intelligence’. One supposes it will learn, but how long will it take to learn the nuances and seasonality of the ski industry?

What might work for selling widgets, does not necessarily work for selling a ski holiday or ski hire.

Your Google account manager won’t help either

And be very careful about following the advice of your ‘Google Account Manager’.

I have no doubt that Google consultants based in Bangalore are well-trained and understand how Google Ads works, but most have never seen snow (and know so little about skiing, they regularly pronounce it as ‘skying’).

They will suggest your automate your account with a Target CPA, ignoring the fact that the CPA varies throughout the year depending on seasonality.

Don’t automate. Use a professional instead.

So here ends my rant on Google Ads. It’s undoubtedly still useful, but bear in mind that Google wants to automate your account whether it’s good for your business or not.

If you want to get the most out of any Google Ads campaign, make sure you employ an experienced professional to manage your account.