This PPC scam is a hoot

I’m in Milan at the moment and am reminded of this story…

In Italy, a civil servant buys a suit. He tells his tailor, “I want one pair of trousers and two jackets.”

When he goes to his job the next morning, he hangs the spare jacket on the back of his chair…and then leaves to go to his other job.

In the evening, he returns to the civil service office, collects his spare jacket and heads off home

It’s known as the “two jacket trick” and it’s a way Italians could collect two full-time paychecks without the inconvenience of actually doing two full-time jobs.

And, for reasons I don’t quite understand, this second jacket is known as a “giacca civetta” — an “owl jacket.”

In the PPC management world, there’s a version of this. It’s a way for agencies to look like they’re doing work when, in reality, they’re doing nothing.

You see, in Google Ads, there’s a section called “change history,” where you can see what changes have been made to the account.

If you look there and there are no changes, you can be pretty sure your PPC managers aren’t doing much.

So there are agencies — including a couple of “big name” ones — who use bid management software to regularly change bids by tiny amounts…

You look at the change history… wow, look at all the changes! These guys are really earning their corn!

When, in reality, it’s just some piece of software making minor random tweaks while they’re off working on someone else’s account.

So, if you’re paying someone to manage your PPC, check the change history. You should be seeing a lot more than a long list of bid changes.

All the best,

Steve Gibson