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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

AdWords Ad Quality Change

You may notice a change in your impression and or click counts in the coming weeks, even if you're not making a lot of changes to your campaign. A recent post on the Inside AdWords blog explains ad quality changes that are starting to roll out over the coming weeks and the potential they have to impact an advertisers impression and click counts.

According to Nick, Product Manager for Google's ongoing ads quality initiatives;

"Starting today, and over the coming weeks, we'll be implementing an ads quality change designed to show fewer ads on queries for which our users might prefer not to see them and more ads on queries for which ads are useful. The impact of this change will vary from advertiser to advertiser, so we wanted to give you a heads-up and suggest that you keep an eye on your keyword performance over the next few weeks.

If you notice a decline in impressions or clicks on some of your keywords, you may wish to ensure that your most important terms are each specifically entered as keywords in their own right, rather than relying on broad or phrase match to include them. Or, if you notice an unwanted increase in impressions or clicks for some keywords, consider adding negative keywords to more finely tune your targeting."

Should be interesting to see the effect this change on various popular keywords and phrases and overall traffic levels for advertisers. I know I'll be watching my campaigns very closely.

Read the full post: AdWords quality and you.

AdWords Bid Tool Conflicts With Position Preference Tool

Found via the Search Engine Roundtable a WebmasterWorld thread talks about an issue users will encounter if they are using AdWords Position Preference in conjunction with Edit Max CPCs tool. Users in this situation have noticed that their bids are not updating.

The WebmasterWorld member says he asked his AdWords representative who indicated that this was "indeed a technical problem" with the Google AdWords system.

I'm not using position preference so I've never personally encountered the issue.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

adCenter Affiliate Program

adCenter should have an affiliate program at some point, don't you think?

I know right now it's probably not needed. The program is still beta and invite only (outside of a few open signup periods) there are plenty of people looking for invites and others who are directly or indirectly promoting the program. After the program is open to the public though that will change. Of course in the early months there will be a lot of new people signing up trying to get in before keyword costs start climbing to the levels of the other big players in the PPC market. That will only last so long though, then new signups may start to level off.

AdWords has an affiliate program...although quite frankly I think it requires far too much action from the user to take place before the affiliate is paid. I get someone to sign up, create ads, build keyword lists, etc, etc & spend $100 within the timeframe and I get $20? No thanks. I can make double that with other affiliate programs and the requirements to get paid involve having people fill out a form - no outlay of $.

I think adCenter could easily come up with an affiliate model that's more competitive than Google's recent offering. Keep it simple and pay the affiliates fair market value - something Google isn't doing. How about $5 at the start of a campaign (you collect that already) and xx% of the first 30 days spend?

AdWords Support FAQ

I try and spend some time each day making my rounds in the various webmaster/internet marketing forums that have discussions surround the AdWords program.

A somewhat common complaint/issue is people feeling like they are not getting a quick/sufficient answer from Google's support team. Comments like "I e-mailed AdWords support 15 minutes ago and no one has responded" are commonplace.

Recently there was a post a on the AdWords blog I thought was worth a mention - AdWords support -- making it simple and effective. The post covers a range of topics from response time to the best way to initiate contact.

If you have had or are having issues with AdWords support give it a read. It will only take a few minutes and may help get your issue resolved.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Spyware - Click-Fraud Connection -- and Yahoo's Role Revisited

The title says it all and Benjamin Edelman did a great piece on it. Head over here to check it out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You had me at "copy and paste keywords".

April 18, 2006 AdCenter Update.

Received via e-mail this morning;

"We’ve got a new release scheduled for 4/18/06 to help make your adCenter experience easier. Once again, adCenter client feedback helped drive these changes, which include:

"Keywords: You’ll be able to copy and paste a list of keywords instead of typing them manually.

Parameters: The parameter naming convention will be changed so as to be more intuitive. {param1} will be labeled Destination URL, and params 2 and 3 will be labeled Dynamic Text.

Billing Statements: View your billing statement as a PDF file for easier download and printing.

Hear from Us, or Not: Go to your settings page to opt-in or –out to receive adCenter marketing materials.

Please note that MSN adCenter will be unavailable during this update on the afternoon of April 18. This should not affect your existing data or campaigns, which will remain live during this time. However, you won’t be able to access your account or its features while we update adCenter, so we encourage you to make any needed immediate changes to your account beforehand."

You had me at "copy and paste keywords". That's been the primary reason my AdCenter account is still 2% the size of my AdWords account.

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).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

AdWords Adds Position Preference Feature

Via the SEW blog, AdWords adds position preference feature that allows AdWords users more control over where (in terms of position) their ads are displayed.

Take note of this paragraph:

"It's important to understand that the feature doesn't guarantee or spot or helps get you a better chance at one. Instead, think of it as "opt out" for positions you don't want. If you'd prefer only to show in certain positions, this lets you opt-out of showing up in other spots. You'll still only show up in your preferred spots if Google's ad ranking system decides you meet the right criteria for that."

Read the full story at SEW, then pop into the forums for ongoing discussion.

Personally, I don't have any need for this feature. Maybe I will in the future...who knows what tomorrow will bring. Without having actually seen it, my guess is it will benefit smaller advertisers more so than companies/people with a higher level of AdWords/PPC sophistication.

AdWords Bid Management Functionality Coming Soon?

Via the Search Engine Roundtable...looks like AdWords advertisers may soon have access to bid management tools through their standard AdWords interface.

I knew I had been holding off on jumping in bed with any 3rd party solutions for a reason...

Keep an eye on the settings tab in your AdWords account and the Inside AdWords blog for further updates.

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