Adwords Broad Matching: When a visit is not a visit

Don’t want to pay for a search phrase containing the word “visit”?  No problem, just add it to the Adwords campaign negative keyword list.

Then Google will happily sell you clicks on the keyword “visits” instead.

Google is more than happy to offer “broad” keyword matching to increase the inventory of searches available for click & sale, but when it comes specifying keywords you don’t want to pay for, Google insists you be very specific. And able to deliver very poor spelling.

Peek Behind The Keyword Curtain

Just discovering what search phrases Google is selling you can be challenging, and is undoubtedly out of reach for the vast majority of Adwords buyers. Neither Google’s Adwords reporting, nor Analytics product – even with “ad tracking” switched on – will reveal the actual search phrases that were sold to you.

The only reporting Google offers is a carbon copy of the keywords you chose, which Google by default broadly matches against what users actually type into the search engine in order to display your ad and sell you the resultant click.

Instead, you need to scrape the referrer headers from your web server logs to determine what search terms you have been paying for. Which, of course, we do.

The Broad Match

One of the phrases we buy advertisements on is “website monitoring” – certainly a reasonable fit for our target audience. Imagine, then, our surprise at discovering that the following happy searcher was delivered to our website. For a modest fee, of course.

The usefulness of Google’s broad matching abilities have been discussed at length.  We know that the vast majority of advertisers have little idea of what keywords they are ultimately paying for, given the on-by-default nature of “broad matching”.

Even putting this substantial issue aside it is reasonable to expect that one can explicitly choose not to pay for irrelevant searches; for visitors with zero value.

Instead we find that our campaign negative keyword list grows daily, with such delights as “survailance”, “surveilance” and an ever increasing number of spelling variations. Each time because we’ve paid Google to deliver a worthless visit to our website.

Filed under: Google Adwords,Marketing,Sales Process — Jules @ 11:32 am - December 17, 2008 :: Comments Off

AdWords: Google Continues to Take Out The Trash

Courtesy of the Google AdWords Help Center:

Even if you have a high quality ad, if advertisers below you are not bidding very much, your actual CPC may not be high enough to qualify your ad to appear in a top position.

With this new formula, instead of considering your actual CPC, we’ll consider your maximum CPC bid, which you control. This means that your ad’s eligibility to be promoted is no longer dependent on the bids of advertisers below you.

This announcement indicates that Google remains keen to eliminate the long-tail approach to gaining cheap traffic, widely used by so-called (albeit misnamed) arbitrageurs in the SEM industry.

Until this change is implemented, advertisers can continue to place low quality ads in the top positions by bidding on keywords with little competition – generally lengthy, specific phrases.

Like most changes they make, this should be a win for Google and their users – higher prices for their ad inventory and / or better quality ads presented to the users.

Filed under: Google Adwords,Marketing — Jules @ 9:09 am - August 21, 2007 :: Comments Off

Why You Should Limit Customer Choice

I’m confronted with the purchase of a new laptop, and am wracked with indecision. A common problem, perhaps? It’s easy to see why: With such a bewildering array of options available I simply can’t be bothered – or don’t have sufficient information – to make the choice.

12, 14, 15, 17 inch screens. 2, 3 4kg weights, battery life options, processors, RAM, all the other specs that I’m not interested in studying. It’s all there. For me to decide.

Intel Core Duo T2250 vs Intel Core 2 Duo 5500? Even stating CPU clock speed has become passé. In the good old days we had MHz and GHz.

I don’t even particularly want to use a laptop, but upcoming travel engagements dictate it as a necessity.

We constrained Wormly users’ choices.

optionsAnd it did a world of good. Until quite recently, Wormly customers were presented with pricing for every nuance of the services we offer, and they could use as much or as little as they liked.

It seemed a brilliant idea at the time, to offer no more and no less than what they needed (wanted?), and to make sure they don’t have to pay for stuff they can’t use.

Brilliant, except that it ignored a fundamental principle: That customers rarely know what they want.

All they know is that they have a problem – and it’s up to you to present the right solution. By splicing up our services into 4 distinct product offerings that appeal to 4 unique customer profiles, we’ve drastically simplified the buying process and – quite unsurprisingly – substantially improved our lead conversions.

Is it easy to buy your product?

Filed under: Marketing,Sales Process,Web 2.0 — Jules @ 8:45 am - April 19, 2007 :: Comments Off

Never Offline

A blog hosted by James Peterson, director of insights @ Wormly

On a semi-regular basis James will be trying to demonstrate that website infrastructure really is an exciting topic, and that your users really do care about the uptime & speed of your website.