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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AdWords Won't Issue Refund?

I've been involved in a conversation with a commenter on this blog called webtrack about his issues with AdWords continuing to deliver ads when campaigns have been paused.

The quick version of the story is this; his campaign(s) were paused yet continued to accrue impressions, clicks and charges. I've seen the e-mail trail that validates this issue. Google has continually stated the "account will be credited" - which is webtrack's issue. He claims that Google is refusing to refund the charges (approx $1,500) and will only issue a credit to his AdWords account.

I've always been cool with credits - I plan on spending the $$$ with AdWords anyway. I'm having a hard time though understanding why, if it's true, Google would be unable/unwilling to just flat out refund the $$$ if that's what the customer wanted?

I have read Google's AdWords program terms, specifically section 5 - Payments. The important part from that section reads:

"Refunds (if any) are at the discretion of Google and only in the form of advertising credit for Google Properties."

Surely that can't apply when the AdWords system malfunctions and causes additional charges to accrue?

So is all this just a big misunderstanding or will AdWords really not issue a true refund if that's what the customer wants?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Introducing YahooPete

YahooSara popped in the DP forums today to introduce a new community rep for Yahoo, YahooPete.

YahooSara posted;

"To help grow our involvement on the boards even more, I’ve recruited a colleague of mine to serve as a new rep for the boards, YahooPete. He will have more time to dedicate to issues specifically about Yahoo! Search Marketing, while I start to focus more on threads about the Yahoo! Publisher Network (doing both took quite a bit of time, and this is only a part of what I do for Yahoo!). I’m still around though, so you may see me chime in from time to time."

Full post.

Welcome to forum circuit YahooPete, I'm looking forward to seeing your insights at DP and elsewhere.

My first and ongoing question...when is the Yahoo Editor being released;-) An off line tool that among other things allows for mass edits/additions makes search marketers happy:-) I'll even volunteer for the beta!


Transparency Coming to the AdWords Content Network

I picked this up via Search Engine Land this morning - Google AdWords to share list of URLs where advertiser's ads are appearing. In short, in the coming months Google plans to show AdWords users the content network URLs where their ad is appearing.

The article is primarily about Quigo, a relatively small player in the contextual ads market at this time. Here are a few exerts from the article;

"Although Quigo remains a small competitor, with less than 10 percent of the contextual ad business, its growing success has apparently persuaded Google, which is accustomed to calling the shots in all aspects of its business, that it has to change the way it sells the sponsored link ads in the future. "

Although I highly doubt it was Quigo that convinced Google to change their model I'm still glad that it's changing.

The article gives a summary of contextual advertising currently works with Yahoo/Google;

"Here is how this contextual advertising has traditionally worked: Google and Yahoo post ads on hundreds of thousands of Web sites, but both operate as blind networks — they do not tell advertisers which sites their contextual ads run on. Instead, the advertisers buy keywords for ads across Google and Yahoo’s vast networks of Web sites, including the home pages of big media companies and the smallest of bloggers.

It would be akin to an advertiser buying space on 100 national television programs, but not being told when the ads ran. Google and Yahoo argue that because advertisers only pay when the ads are clicked on, that more specific information is irrelevant."

Later in the article Kim Malone from Google says;

"In the next few months, Google’s advertiser reports will begin listing the sites where each ad runs, Ms. Malone said. She added that advertisers on the Google networks would soon be able to bid on contextual ads on particular Web sites rather than simply buying keywords that appeared across Google’s entire network. "

I think AdWords advertisers got a hint that this this was coming with last week's announcement, Test CPC Site Targeting.

I see this as a great move for Google and it's quality publishers. More transparency in the content network will, at least in my opinion, get more advertisers to use it, and, should in the long term help weed out the less than desirable sites. When AdWords users can essentially build their own content network by hand picking all the sites they want to run on they will be able to better control the ROI generated via the content network. Better control will translate into bigger spends on the sites that are working and complete exclusion from the sites that are not.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

AdWords Editor Version 3.0

Wow, I missed the news about a new version of AdWords Editor (3.0) being released this week - time to upgrade!

Here's the info:

Version 3.0

New features:

-Site targeting: AdWords Editor now provides full support for site-targeted campaigns.
-Negative sites: Add or edit
negative sites for keyword- and site-targeted campaigns.
-Edit while you wait: If you manage multiple accounts with AdWords Editor, edit another account while your changes post.
-Count your selection: The status bar now displays the number of rows you've selected in the data view.
-Pause or resume ads, keywords, and sites: Use the Status menu in the edit panel to change the status of selected items.

Updated features:

-Export to HTML: Your HTML export will show or hide deleted campaigns, depending on how you've configured your preferences. The HTML export is ideal for showing your account to someone who doesn't use AdWords Editor.
-Export to CSV: In addition to account, campaign, and ad group snapshots, you can now export custom views. The
CSV export is ideal for spreadsheets or other applications that can read structured data files.
-Paste to multiple ad groups: Select multiple destination ad groups via the Edit menu > Paste Special.

I'm really looking forward to checking out the "edit while you wait" feature. No more using a separate PC to post huge updates:-)

Here are the official release notes:

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Quality Score updates are live

Official Post.

"Today, we began rolling out improvements to the Quality Score algorithm, which will update the Quality Score for keywords in your account over the next 3 to 4 days. As I mentioned last week, the goal of this change is to improve the quality of ads that we serve to our users by making it easier for high quality ads to enter the auction while also discouraging low quality ads. In addition, this change improves our ability to set minimum bids for keywords where we have limited data. As a result, you may see the minimum bid for your keywords increase or decrease based on the updated algorithm."

Let's hope this roll out goes a little smother than last weeks' fiasco.

I found some other coverage on this update as well:

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It wasn't a quality score update, but it's fixed

Last week the AdWords forums and blogs were buzzing with complaints about increased minimum bids for keywords that should not have seen an increase. These increases showed up at the same time the new quality score column was added to AdWords accounts, and, right on the heels of the announcement that an update to the Quality Score calculation update was coming soon.

Many people, myself included, assumed that the jump in minimum bids was due to the new quality score update, and that there was an issue with the update itself. According to a blog post yesterday the issue with the increased minimum bids was completely unrelated to the quality score update that's coming this week, it was a "technical issue".

According to the post:

"Last Friday, during a routine infrastructure update, we experienced a technical issue that significantly increased the minimum bids for some keywords. Because the maximum CPC for these keywords was not changed, a number of impacted keywords became inactive for search, resulting in fewer leads for some advertisers. This technical issue was completely unrelated to the Quality Score updates that we have planned for later this week."

Hot damn - that means you just might get the chance to relive high minimum bids this week if you have low quality keywords/ads/landing pages;-)

Here's one advertiser who has his fingers crossed....please, please let the actual quality score update this week go a little smoother that last week's "technical issue".

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Yahoo Search Marketing Account Limits

I don't post much about YSM...honestly I've only tinkered in Panama but am planning to ramp up some activity with them in March/April.

Anyway, SonicReducer posted a short thread that lists YSM account limits that I'm sure some people (myself included) will find helpful. The account limits are;

Max Keywords per account: 100,000
Max Campaigns per account: 20
Max Ad Groups per campaign: 1,000
Max Keywords per ad group: 1,000

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Quality Score Update - It's Broken?

Figured this was worth a post of it's own. According to a DP forum member Google has acknowledged that this quality score update has it's problems and "high performing, good quality keywords" have extremely high minimum bids when that should not be the case.

"I just had a reply from Google about poor quality score for good quality keywords this was the reply:

Unfortunately, due to a technical issue, you may notice that the minimum bids for some of your keywords increased dramatically, despite them being high performing, good quality keywords. This is a temporary issue that our engineers are aware of and they are working to resolve it as soon as possible. I am sorry for any inconvenience."

Anyone else get the same message?

Here's the thread where it was pointed out.

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AdWords Quality Score Column is Here

How's this quality score update / new info treating you?

I'm just starting to go through some of my accounts....lots to look at. At first glance I'm not seeing any major changes in bid prices, and the minor ones I am seeing are positive. While I don't have the exact number my early look at my accounts leads me to think I have more active keywords today than I did yesterday...which is a good sign. A lot of long tail keywords with very little activity are active today as well. I haven't seen any $5 or $10 minimum bids in any account I've checked either.

That said, I am seeing some surprises - primarily with keywords that have a "great" quality score. What's surprising to see if that a number of my keywords where I'm almost asking for a "poor" quality score seem to have a "great" quality score. I just ran through 500 keywords that all have a "great" quality score. They are all part of one ad group, the words/phrases are not used in the ad copy and they don't appear anywhere on the landing page - not in the text, title, metas, url...not anywhere. Interesting huh?

I'll post more in coming days as I have a chance to do some more analysis and read about the impact the changes are having on others. Below are some links to discussions/comments/articles I've found this morning on this issue:

Digital Point - Quality Score Column.

***Not seeing much buzz yet...will update as more surfaces. If you know of a good discussion on the subject feel free to drop the url in via a comment.***

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Pause your keywords, sites and ad creatives (finally!)

Via the AdWords blog:

"As of today, all AdWords advertisers can pause and resume keywords (for keyword-targeted campaigns), sites (for site-targeted campaigns), and ad creatives."

A nice update indeed...should come in handy. Feedback at DP so far is all positive. Some comments include:

ewan - "They should of implemented this a long time ago."

aeiouy - "Oh that is awesome."

seodelhi - "Yes, this is great. It was long needed, now hopefully my paused ads will preserve their history while I try some new ads."

Now if I only I could pause ad groups based on conditionals using the standard AdWords tools...


Thursday, February 15, 2007

AdWords Continuing to Deliver (and Charge) Paused Campaigns

There's a thread going in DP where an AdWords user has reported that despite the pausing of his campaigns they continue to accrue impressions, clicks and charges.

"I paused the campaign at 3:43 PM yesterday. According to my stats I only received 25 impressions yesterday 0 clicks. Today I checked my account and have been charged for over 3000 impressions that supposedly happened today, BUT my campaign had been paused for more than 17 hours!!! "

A new member has also just posted in thread indicating the same is happening to him (or her).

"Glad to see it's not just me.I have 2 campaign's that have been paused since 12th February and are still racking up about $15 to $20 per day in clicks! (seems to be ignoring daily budget as well)"

The original poster has received a response from AdWords support and they acknowledge the problem. I'd suggest double checking your paused accounts and notifying AdWords support if it appears this issue is effecting any of your paused campaigns.

"Thank you for your email. I'm sorry to hear that you've had trouble with your Google AdWords campaign. I understand your paused campaigns are accruing clicks and impressions. Our engineers are currently working to solve the problem and hope to reach a resolution shortly. We appreciate you for your patience.

Once this issue has been resolved by the engineers, please be assured that any applicable credits will be automatically processed."


How to Cancel an AdWords Account

Received via e-mail;

"I need to make sure my adwords account is completely cancelled and that I wont get charged anymore. I will never need to access this account again. what is the best way to cancel my adwords account?"

1. Log into your AdWords account.

2. Click the "My Account" tab.

3. Click the "Account Preferences" tab.

4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link that says "cancel this account".

Then follow the prompts until you complete everything.

There you go, AdWords account cancelled.


Another Round of Quality Score Updates

Via the AdWords Blog:

"We're constantly working on ways to improve our Quality Score evaluation and provide you with more information about the Quality Score for your keywords. Over the next week, we'll be releasing two changes focusing on transparency and quality, which I've outlined below:"

Transparency is always good right?

"Transparency - Later this week, we're releasing an optional Quality Score column that shows the minimum bid for all of the keywords within an ad group as well as a Great, OK, or Poor quality label for your keyword. "

Three levels of quality...why not just give us the numeric quality rating? Vague ratings like "great" and "poor" may help some but I really can't see this being overly useful. I know my QS sucks (poor) when I have a high minimum bid, and I know my QS is great (great) when I have a low minimum bid. I guess "ok" could be of some value because at least you know while your keyword may be active there's room for improvement.

"Quality - Next week, we're launching improvements to the Quality Score algorithm that sets minimum bids for keywords in order to improve the quality of ads that we serve to our users. These changes should make it easier for high quality ads to enter the auction while also discouraging low quality ads."

It'll be interesting to see what this update considers "low quality" ads. Could this be the end of "find anything at eBay" ads?

"First, we're improving the way that we set minimum bids for keywords where we have limited data. For example, if the system does not have any data on a keyword, we'll try to assign that keyword a lower initial minimum bid until we have enough data to make a more accurate assessment of the Quality Score for that keyword in your account."

Thumbs up here. I use a lot of long tail keywords and from time to time they get hit with high min bids right from the get-go even though I'm doing everything right in terms of keywords/ads/landing pages. The min bids eventually come down to reality - hopefully this change will eliminate this adjustment period for long tail low volume keywords.

"Second, we're improving the Quality Score algorithm to make it more accurate in predicting the quality of all ads. This will improve the overall quality of ads that we serve by lowering minimum bids for high quality ads and raising minimum bids for low quality ads. We expect that the higher minimum bids for low quality ads will reduce the number of low quality ads we show to our users."

This will be interesting to watch. In my opinion the AdWords system has historically been almost worthless when it comes to predicting anything relating to impressions, clicks, prices or bids. Maybe this change won't follow that pattern.

Here's the full post, I only commented on certain sections.

Usually after quality score related updates start rolling out the forums start buzzing with all sorts of feedback. I'll keep my eyes open for anything interesting and will get something posted as feedback starts to surface.

If you're an AdWords user...good luck, hopefully these changes will be positive for you:-)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Google Checkout Gets Even More Annoying (can we opt out?)

When Google Checkout first came out and I found out that advertisers who accepted Google checkout on their site would get a cool little logo in their AdWords ads I thought "great, better get on this quick to get some additional sales." Problem is, from what I've seen all you get from having the little Google shopping cart icon in your ads is more clicks...which at least in the accounts I've seen have not lead to increased conversions like I thought it would. As I started making the rounds this morning in the SEM blogs/forums I read I came across this at the Google Checkout blog:

"An important part of Google Checkout since we launched last summer has been helping users find convenient, secure places to shop through tight integration with AdWords, the advertisements on our search results pages. Merchants who decide to offer Google Checkout as a checkout option on their sites are identified by a shopping cart when their ads are displayed on Google. Today we're updating the shopping cart with a better image:"

Go check out the "better image".

Sorry, but the only people that win here are Google. Those checkout images do not lead to increased conversions, just increased clicks.

Advertisers that accept Google Checkout should be able to opt out of including this image in their ads. Can they?

More coverage:

Google Checkout Button on Take Over Page Real Estate
Google Ads Getting New Google Checkout Badges
New incentive for using Google Checkout.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Stop adCenter e-mail notifications

In one of my accounts everything is paused right now while I work through some issues. Despite that, I received between 50 - 75 editorial status e-mails this weekend, and, they are still flowing in this morning.

If there's a review of my account going on that's cool...but there has to be a way some of this info can be summarized before it's sent. It's just not realistic to expect your customers to wade through e-mail after e-mail after e-mail...

Is there any way to "opt out" of editorial related e-mails from adCenter?


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Panama and AdWords not playing nice together

Came across this a little earlier today:

"It turns out a system glitch due to a bulk submission I’ve made turned off the account, but now comes the best…Customer support cannot turn the account back on. Supposedly it is a known bug on the new Panama platform and a ticket had to be submitted to the tech group, who I was told would “get to this matter as soon as they can.” Great - here I am loosing out on a couple of thousand visitors per day and someone over at Yahoo needs to manually flip a switch to get my account back online. "

Whole accounts lost with no hope of recovery...yikes, that's no good for anyone.

Anyone else seeing this?

I've done very, very little with Panama so far so this has not happened to me...and unless Yahoo debunks sempunch's post I think I'll continue to hold off on Panama until the kinks get worked out. Kind of like upgrading to Windows me when service pack 1 is released:-)


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