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Friday, April 07, 2006

Minimum AdWords Bids Skyrocket

Yesterday a number of people in various webmaster (WMW - DP) forums started reporting huge increases in the minimum bid associated with many of their keywords. People reported minimum bids going from $0.05 to $5.00 overnight as well as other significant increases. For example, etr3 at DP said:

"Sometime yesterday (April 5th), I had my best (most traffic) keywords increase in minimum bid anywhere from 5-20x. This is across 600+ adgroups (in hundreds of campaigns across 10 linked adwords accounts - using "my client center"). We're talking thousands of keywords - and huge jumps - they used to be minimum bids of ~$0.10. Now they've jumped anywhere from $0.50 to $5.00 - overnight."

AdWordsAdvisor at WMW responded saying, in part;

"Speaking specifically to increased minimum bids for some advertisers in the past few days, this increase may well be due to ongoing changes in the algo concerned with the landing page quality for AdWords ads. As many will recall, landing page quality has been included in one's Quality Score since December of last year, and the algorithm does certainly evolve.

My best advice to those who are seeing a 'sudden' increase in minimum bids would be review your landing pages in light of these guidelines.

Having done so, if you feel that your landing page quality is already very high, then I'd advise contacting AdWords support and having them take a look, as suggested earlier in the thread by Armi."

While I didn't see any significant jumps in the minimum bids associated with keywords in my accounts a "test" I've been running has started to provide evidence that landing page can and does have a direct impact on the actual CPC an advertiser is charged.

I picked one of my active ad groups last month to start testing with. Before the test this ad group contained 25 keywords (max CPC $0.10) and 2 ads that each pointed to highly relevant pages within the target site. Over the course March, and 5 million collective impressions, the average CPC associated with each ad was $0.08.

Starting on April 1 I introduced two ads to the ad group that pointed to less relevant (a registration page for example) pages within the site. So far in April, about 1/2 million impression in, the two original ads with relevant landing pages have been averaging $0.06 & $0.07 CPC. The newer ads, which are identical to the other ads except for the destination url, have been averaging $0.09 & $.10 CPC.

Google has been saying "the landing page counts" for awhile. Until this month, I hadn't really seen any evidence to support it. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say I just had not tested it for myself.

Seems to me that Google started placing a higher emphasis on the landing page over the last few days. If you're one of the unlucky ones who has seen minimum bids jump dramatically recently it might be time to reevaluate your landing page(s).

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