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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

AdWords is Stealing From You (or you just don't know what you're doing)

I'm sometimes amazed that people will immediately jump to conclusions and pass blame without doing any real research or significant statistical sampling to arrive at their conclusions. In this post, I'm referring to people who present wild theories as fact in relation to AdWords. The majority of the time the people making these claims have very limited experience and it's obvious they have spent no time actually reading about the product they are using - AdWords. AdWords is marketing and why people think they should just be able to press the "make me money now" button and watch their bank accounts grow is beyond me.

This morning a thread at DP caught my eye - Google AdWords is Stealing from You!. You can head over and read the whole thread if you like, I'll just highlight some of the more "interesting" comments from the opening post. Comments from the post in bold.

"In case you were wondering why your campaign budget's always reach the specified max each day, here is the answer: IT IS BECAUSE YOU ARE BEING RIPPED OFF BY GOOGLE."

Here's the thing...not all my campaigns reach their max budget everyday. Actually, the majority don't. I guess that means I'm not being ripped off by AdWords:-)

"I have used adwords for 2 and a half years and was spending $65 per day which was always reached without fail. Then a funny thing happened. Due to a mix up with their new my client center, I was forced to open a new account with a different email address but using the same campaign, same keywords and same bids per click. I didn't transfer it but rather typed in the details again from scratch into the new account. I ran this for the last couple of days and my total costs for each day were around $7 as opposed to $65. This is even though the ads were sitting in the same position as the previous campaign. "

Lots of important details missing here but that's pretty normal for these types of posts. I don't expect the poster to actually present relevant details, they most likely don't even know what's relevant to the discussion and what's not.

Basically what I get from the above is the person created a new account and then recreated all the same ads/keywords and other account info. My assumption could be right or wrong...again, a lot of important details missing. After this new account went live they were only spending $7 vs $65 they had previously spent on a daily basis. Without any data or info my hunch would be the $7 represents what they spent on the search network (goes live quick) and the balance was spent on content ads. When you create a new account with new ads and everything else it can take awhile for everything to get approved and running and to this day there are still reports of additional delays with new AdWords accounts.

The person posting message thinks there's another reason for the drop in spend's because AdWords has been ripping him off for the past two and half years and this new account is showing the "real" data!

"As such, if you feel you are being overcharged, re-open a new account and type in your campaign details from scratch."

That's just all around bad advice.

"You will be both shocked and horrified with the outcome."

Probably, as you're going to start over and lose any good history that was associated with your account.

"And don't worry about their trying to tell you that longer term customers have better standing as it is a lie."

Wrap an extra layer of tin foil around the hat please...

"The only reason you are told this is they have suckered you in to believing that you really are receiving $65 worth (or whatever your max is) of clicks per day."

Anyone who is not validating numbers with their internal system is just foolish.

"Have a look back at your payment history to Google and ask yourself why it seems to have increased in cost gradually whilst business hasn't."

If that's what you're seeing it's because THE ACCOUNT IS BEING POORLY MANAGED.

"The answer is Google's click fraud."


"That's right they are stealing from you with a program designed to mislead you into believing you really are receiving that amount of traffic. As soon as you open another account, you will see how many clicks you really are receiving. "

That's so foolish and inaccurate I'm not ever sure how to respond. So I won't. Besides this:-)

"I am never going to keep open another campaign for more than two months with them and suggest you all consider doing the same. If you are skeptical, just try it for yourself."

See what I mean about misinterpreting data to arrive as inaccurate conclusions? Following that advice you would consistently be dealing with new account headaches...not to mention the never ending line of unique credit cards and other info you would need to produce to keep opening new accounts.

The bottom line, at least for me, is this: AdWords is working for tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people and companies. If it's not working for you check the variable you have the most control over - the person/people running your campaign(s). Hammers don't build houses, carpenters do. Wrenches don't fix cars, mechanics do. Stoves don't prepare meals, chefs do. AdWords doesn't make sales, marketers do.



At 1:57 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

What do people think? That they can just create an ad, choose some keywords and the's Payday!

I don't think so. Managing a PPC account can sometimes be a full time job! It has to be maintained and nurtured for growth. It's not something you set up on Monday and by Friday you've got 100 new customers. That takes time.

Everything worthwhile in life takes practice and effort.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger redflymarketing said...

Best post to date mate! By Far!

We get this all the time, we see it every day in forums (DP especially).

A bad workman always blames his tools.

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous John said...

I especially like the bit about the guy who manually transferred his account. Like you said, there's a lot of important details missing. But I'd wager a guess even farther then just content being turned off. Quality score is an issue, by transferring he lost his CTR history, etc. Account settings are another possibility with the account being set to Standard delivery instead of the preferred Accelerated delivery.

This was a good read. Thanks!

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the most important piece of info that was missing: did those original 7 sales/day come from AdWords in the first place? Were these repeats or first-time sales? Also, he was spending $65/day and was considering himself the PPC guru??? Someone should've told him to come back when he would be spending at least a G a day...

At 4:04 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I just assumed that his cost per click had fallen as he'd ditched his (almost certainly appalling) account history, since he said that his spend had fallen, whilst appearing in the same position.

If his cpc hasn't changed, he's getting far fewer clicks for the same cpc, and saying this is an improvement???

Clearly, as he said, I don't understand his point!

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm sure Google is not robbing people in the manners you discuss, but there is definitely something very wrong with Adwords.

Example: searches with ZERO ads and Google keeps telling me to pay more so my ad will display. This is blackmail, and nothing else. There are no competing ads, no auction, nobody else bidding...why souldn't the ads show for U$ 0.01???

Ripoff. Nothing else to say, but complete ripoff. Google's stock is already reflecting their lack of transparency and shady politics, they've abused their power for far too long now.

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think adwords was intended to be so complicated for the user. However if you are google, your job is to absolutely maximise revenue for google, not for your clients.

So complexity, innumerable ad models, no way to verify ad displays according to time or location, we have to take their word for it and keep paying up. It's not a rant, these are just facts.

If I pay for a display ad in a regional newspaper, I can buy a copy of that paper and verify that my ad has been included. It's simple and impossible to fake.

Adwords has a thousand different variations on a theme. Google is not dishonest, they just operate a mind-numbingly complex operation.

Jennifer's comment was spot on. Managing an adwords campaign is a full-time job requiring highly specialist skills. It is definitely not for the amateur.

Anything less than a $20,000 budget and a full-time IT manager and you will not be able to utilise the google adword campaign effectively. That's the honest truth and this blogger will just have to accept it.


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