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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Free Keyword Tool

I'm a Wortracker fan and heard today they're now offering a free version Wordtracker. Of course it's features are very limited but still a nice freebie.

Somewhat related...Yahoo is planning to release a new keyword tool this year with api support.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

AdWords Search Engine

Just a little pet project I'm working on - my AdWords Search Engine built using Google coop.

Basically what I'm doing is putting together a Google search engine that only searches sites/site sections and pages that I include. Everything I add is related to AdWords and comes from sites and or pages that I have found helpful.

I've only been working on it for a few days but plan to update it often. Next time you need to find something related to AdWords give it a spin, I've found it helpful in eliminating some clutter vs a standard Google search.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Down with manual ad approval!

Just a minor rant - I'm more than aggravated with the editorial review process used by some PPC engines.

While I can understand the perceived need, I can't understand the lack of trust assigned to established advertisers. After I get X number of ads manually approved why not set the account to "auto approve", then do some back checking or respond to reports of policy violations?

The dominate player in the industry, AdWords, will let ads run right away on the search network. If they can do it why can't/won't the other big players? I'm just amazed that at this point in the game there are still times when advertisers have to wait for days to get ads reviewed/approved. Honestly, I just don't see the need.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Who gets the penny?

I've been doing some 1 cent per click AdWords testing lately and as the clicks started piling up via the content network I started to wonder...who's getting my penny? Theoretically we're talking millions/billions of clicks a year across the content network at a penny a piece. That's more than a couple bucks when it's all said and done.

How do you think Google's splitting pennies with publishers?

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Google AdWords auto activating the content network

Can't validate this myself but it's been reported by a DP member that the content network is being "auto activated" in his account without his permission.

See: Google is automatically activating Content Network in Campaigns - AdWords

"Today I astonished that one of my campaign has got huge number of impressions .. and when i saw the summary tap for that particular ad group, i came to know that most of impressions from CONTENT NETWORK."

The poster claims to have received a response from the AdWords team indicating that this is indeed happening:

"Please note that this is due to a technical issue affecting some AdWords accounts over the last two days. We are aware of this issue and our engineers are currently working to solve the problem. They hope to reach a resolution shortly. Let me assure you that once our engineers have resolved the issue, we will credit your account for any inappropriate traffic that you have received."

I checked my account yesterday and again today and I'm not having this issue. Content network is on where it should be and off where it should be. If you have a few minutes might not be a bad idea to check your account(s) to make sure this isn't happening to you, and if it is, contact AdWords support to get the credit/refund process going.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Advertisers Throw Away Money, Blame AdWords

I see this as good news.

"Yet Shmuel Gniwisch, founder of online jeweler, got a conversion rate of less than half a percent for the $750,000 worth of ads he placed through Google during November and December, a key selling season for retailers.

For every 300 people who clicked on an ad, only one actually purchased something, Gniwisch said.

"You couldn't get a worse performance," he said. "

Every time I see one of these articles it amazes me. You burn through 750K in two months getting a pathetic conversion rate all along then talk about it when it's over like it was Google's fault. I worked in direct mail for almost a decade and we didn't blame the post office when a mailing tanked - we blamed the copywriters, designers, product marketers and everyone else but we didn't blame the delivery channel. Just like every other form of marketing a lot of elements come into play in relation to making or breaking a campaign. Maybe it was the ad copy, landing page(s), keyword selection/matching options or a combination of all of the above that produced those pathetic results. It's too bad all we get from this story is the "AdWords sucks" line instead of the complete picture.

I bet a lot of these advertisers would tell you AdWords doesn't work too even though it's their keyword matching that's causing potential issues...unless of course they are giving away "free diamonds".

Oh, when I said I see this as good news I meant that I'm always happy when people with too much money and not enough sense drop off the keyword map and stop driving up keyword prices to the point where they make no sense for any advertiser.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

AdWords is actual work (just ask seomoz)

A recent Seomoz post, AdWords is giving me a headache, caught my attention this morning.

Here's the quote that reminded me of a past PPC Discussions post:

"What am I supposed to do, check the campaigns a couple of times each day in order to see if the ads are still visible? Not only is that going to throw off my impressions, but I (obviously) have other things to work on than to devote a good chunk of my week making sure AdWords is doing its job."

The short, and often unfortunate answer to that question Rebecca is yes, you'll need to practically live in your AdWords account if you want to achieve decent results.

The reality today is that AdWords (or PPC management in general) is a complex marketing platform that requires the attention of a professional if you're looking for decent results. Despite what Google would lead you to believe AdWords is not a marketing platform that anyone can pick up in a few minutes and be successful with. A few years back that wasn't the case. The rules that governed the system were pretty straightforward and the competition was light. It's just the opposite today. The rules are complex and ever changing and the competition is fierce. I also think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of complexity - 5 years from now we'll yearn for the simple PPC management days of 2007:-)

I loved Rebecca's post and hope it serves as a reminder to everyone that if you decide to self manage make sure that at minimum you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals before you hand over the credit card number. If you're a company looking to dive into PPC either hire a dedicated internal resource or hire a professional PPC company or consultant to manage your campaigns. Good PPC managers will cost justify themselves in no time. Always remember that when it comes to AdWords Google is in the business of making money and they are more than happy to take yours while you're figuring out AdWords isn't as easy as you may have thought.

Now in case you missed the linkup at the top, go read Rebecca's post and the comments - it's good stuff.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

AdWords Service Adjustment

Just noticed a "AdWords Service Adjustment" in my AdWords account in the billing section. I've seen plenty of "Click Quality" adjustments but this is my first service adjustment. It's for over $400 too!

When you mouse over the question mark next to it here's what it tells you a service adjustment is:

"A credit applied to your account indicating promotional credits, courtesy credits, and other similar billing adjustments. "

I'm not aware of any promotional credits or billing adjustments to this account...maybe I received some courtesy credits? I'm sure this isn't new, it's just new to me.

I found this in the AdWords help center: service adjustment.


PPC Discussions is 1

Well, almost 1. I made the first post here 1/6/06.

Thanks to everyone who made the last year fly by. I've never really considered myself to be much of a blogger but have had a blast posting and reading and am looking forward to a lot more of the same during year 2.


Google Newspaper Ads Test Results

I logged in this morning and took a look at the "final" results for the Google newspaper ad test we participated in. A couple things really jumped out at me;

1. In the grand scheme of things the overall traffic delivered via our ad was low - less than 1,000 visitors total.

2. Visitors who arrived at the site via the newspaper ad generated 70% fewer page views than visitors who arrive via PPC channels.

3. Visitors who arrived at the site via the newspaper ad spent 30% less time on the site than PPC traffic.

4. Visitors who arrived at the site via the newspaper ad registered at the site at a rate almost identical (just a touch lower) to those who arrive via PPC.

So overall the newspaper test delivered a small set of visitors who had metrics that were below average when compared to PPC traffic.

This was free test so it was more about peaking in at the potential than making a dollar. I will say that based on the results form the test the newspaper ads would have to be pretty inexpensive for this model to work in certain markets, and, tracking results at the level in which PPC managers are accustomed too isn't there - or it least it wasn't there for me.

I think overall there is potential for this program - pricing, trackability and ease of setup/scheduling will be three of the biggest issues from what I can tell. That said, if there really is an interface for newspaper ads that I didn't get to see, well, that would change everything. I am looking forward to more testing - free or otherwise - with this service when possible.

Oh yea, here's the pdf that shows our ad. It's the chefs ad in the lower right.


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