Lately, Google has been trying creative ways to maintain its profits by sneaking in forced default opt-in distribution networks and settings which show your ads for more search quires than even before. Showing your ads more often might sound like a good thing right? The only catch is although some of these quires may be relevant, many may be much less relevant to your keywords creating higher impressions and lower CTR.
To the uneducated and inexperienced, this could hurt their campaigns’ profitability if they don’t know what they are getting into. The new push does benefit companies with large budgets who “just can’t get enough” traffic or their goals are more branding/impression based. For smaller budgets trying to keep cost-per-conversion down and ROI up, watch out!
The key, as it has been since the beginning with AdWords, is knowing what clicks you are paying for by organizing your campaigns and adgroups tightly. Google AdWords world authority Perry Marshall recently covered this in an email newsletter. This article goes over some anecdotal evidence which begs the question “Is Broad Match the new Content Network?”
I have reprinted the Marshall’s newsletter here.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to increase my overall
search campaign CTR (which is +3%!) by continuously pausing the high
impression- low CTR keywords from my campaigns. I figured: OK, take out
the dogs that are not a good match for my market, and shoot for 6%, just
to see if I can do it.
What I have found is, I can't do it, no matter how many .5% or less high
impression keywords I cut.
I am still in the 3-4% range.
My theory: Broad Match Keywords are the cause.
Since Google is loosening it's standards, our broad match keywords are
showing up more and more to the unwashed masses, where they are less
relevant, in order for them to keep their click income up. It's like they
are taking our search keyword campaigns, and throwing them into the
The more keywords you have in a broad match long tail, the easier it is
for Google to justify doing this.
I am going to pause my broad keywords completely in some of my campaigns
to test it.
Any other theories???
I think that is a very sound theory actually. I should blog about this.... I
can't think of any other explanation.
Broad match in a separate ad group. Makes a lot of sense actually.....
Early test results show that we were right. CTR is soaring on the exact
and phrase match words. Some broad match keywords have a very high CTR,
while the rest tank.
Google Broad Match = The new Content Network-rebranded, since they weren't
able to make that fly the way they intended to.
Here's to the poor unsuspecting fools out there who are making Google rich.
Talk to you later today...
So let me explain.
The big advertising spenders are spending less with Google. But Google can
still hit their revenue targets by making adjustments to their ad formula.
The best way for them to do this is with BROAD MATCH keywords. All they have
to do is tweak a number somewhere in their engine and ads will show up more
easily for terms that don't match.
So for example let's say you sell red wagons.
Smart advertisers bid on
[red wagon] (exact match only)
"red wagon" (ad shows only for queries that contain this phrase)
red wagon (ad could show for "red toyota station wagon" or any number of
other unrelated searches)
Then they watch conversion rates and adjust bids accordingly, to make sure
their ROI is solid.
Most people just bid on
red wagon (broad match)
And they get all those kinds of traffic mixed together.
So if Google lowers the quality threshold to get more exposures and clicks,
they win and you lose.
I'm telling you, you've got to follow my system and you've got to sleep with
one eye open.
Now... let me tell you what this means for Google.
AdGooRoo.com monitors millions of search engine results and they are noting
a 54% growth in Google's "first page advertisers" - see
http://www.adgooroo.com/blog/ for their full report. They very well may be
poised for a record quarter for Q4 2008. That's what I'm predicting.
In any case, Google very much has control of their destiny. But you'd better
make sure you're on top of your conversion numbers!
About Managing your Ad Campaigns...
For years I've been saying, managing Google campaigns is one of the hardest
things to outsource. It looks like it would be easy, but those Google ads
are sooooo close to your customers, it's so intimately intertwined with your
core marketing mission, it is VERY difficult to outsource this. The only way
to learn to play this game like a true expert is to learn on your own dime.
I got word from another Roundtable member, Jeff Hughes - he went through my
very first Bobsled Run in 2005:
He says, "We are currently spending over $200,000/month per month profitably
within just Adwords. We easily spend $50,000 per week."
Jeff has really cracked the code on PPC management and he teamed up with
Glenn Livingston to form a PPC management company. They are the first
company that I've ever been willing to publicly endorse for doing this
absolutely mission-critical job for you.
If you think you're too busy to master AdWords, think again. But if you HAVE
achieved a level of mastery (that is a requirement by the way) and now you
wish to have experts take over the controls, refine what you are doing and
keep an eye on the meter for you, I suggest you schedule an interview with
P.S.: If you closely monitor YOUR AdWords campaigns and have observations /
experiences about recent Quality Score and Broad Match thresholds, post your
comments on my blog at