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Enforced CTR requirement costing me sales
Beyond frustrated.

 11:03 pm on Oct 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a very simple question, for anyone (AWA maybe?), can enlighten.

Why is the 1.5% CTR rate requirement an enforced thing, rather than an option or simple guideline/suggestion?

My case in point being ... I was running a successful (successful meaning profitable) campaign. I made hundreds of dollars my first few days, in sales. My CTR rate was low, but hey, those clicks were converting to sales for me, and that's what it's supposed to be all about, right? Success for the customer?

Then my two main keywords that were bringing IN the sales started getting slowed or disabled. Lots of impressions, but not enough clicks to make Google happy. Mind you, they made ME happy because they were selling my product. Now, as of the past few days, my sales have steadily dropped to a big ole ZERO per day. Nothing else changed other than Google disallowing my main two keywords.

I've tried every suggestion they have offered. I've done everything but move mountains to get it back to where it was. It's very apparent to me that the success of the campaign was dependent on those two keywords (considered too broad by Google).

Bottom line, I've had very high CTRs on some of my campaigns, and very non-converting results. As a Google customer, I really could care less what CTR I have showing on my Google account. I care what kind of profit and results I get from my sales.

Google, as much as I love them, has put up a block wall between myself, and the financial success of my campaign.

It wasn't broken, (ie: it was making me money) ... so why do they insist on "fixing" it?

Is this a frustration for anyone else? Is there ANY way around this, besides making ad group after ad group, and playing musical chairs with my keywords over and over?


Terra Incognita

 11:49 pm on Oct 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

You appear to be an excellent candidate for Overture. No such problems there, but if you had such suprisingly good conversions from broad keywords imagine what you can achieve if you create only slightly more targeting keyword combinations or keyword groups. Test some. Try something new.


 2:24 am on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very interesting point. I always look for high CTR so I can compete and keep my costs down.

I think this is a mixed blessing - the enforcement of CTR keeps the relevance high for the ads. And while you're making money from low CTR ads, this policy also keeps people with obscenely deep pockets from advertising in your niche and preventing you from competing. I don't want to compete with MS or nike or whatever for ads in my non-software non-sneaker related industry.


 6:41 am on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Why is the 1.5% CTR rate requirement an enforced thing

Because Google want to maintain quality - if they show ads that people only rarely click on ( are not relevant ) sooner or later searchers will learn to ignore the ads.

I don't think there is any specific limit incidentally, it appears to depend on the keyword.


 10:51 am on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)


Welcome to webmasterworld. You may want to ask Google to help (if you spend enough with them the will be happy). An other alternative is to hire a professional PPC company to either take over the campaign management or just make improvements in your campaign.

Our experience is that virtually any campaign can be made profitable given the right approach.

Tropical Island

 12:00 pm on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why is the 1.5% CTR rate requirement an enforced thing, rather than an option or simple guideline/suggestion?

I had to go into the Google guidelines to confirm it as I did not think the minimum requirement was 1.5% - it's .5% or 5 clicks out of every 1000 impressions for the first posistion on Google Search Engine not the partner network.

Here is the actual wording:

Account performance:
Each account is evaluated after every 1,000 ad impressions are delivered on Google. If the CTR for your account falls below a minimum required CTR (which varies by ad position but is 0.5% for the top spot and slightly reduced for each subsequent position), we'll only show your ads occasionally on your underperforming keywords. (The status of each of your keywords will be clearly indicated in your keyword reports.)

You need to use negative keywords to refine your general terms to exactly what you want or use more specific keywords.

We have tried to maintain ads for general terms that are profitable for us however as the terms have dual meanings and the majority of the searches are for the meaning that we don't need we have been unable to keep the terms up - frustrating however it's better than Google allowing non-relevant terms into our other keywords.

Keep working on it and you'll find the right path to success.


 5:09 pm on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

It wasn't broken, (ie: it was making me money) ... so why do they insist on "fixing" it?

If you were the only AdWords advertizer on the planet, then this question would make sense. But you're not alone. Your campaign with the low CTR wasted inventory for everybody else. Clearly that did need to get fixed. As has been mentioned, you can fix it yourself by making your ads more specific.


 5:34 pm on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)


That's google's word. If you can't meet the minimum CTR, then your ad isn't relevant enough to what searchers are looking for. IMO - That's G's take on the minimum CTR reason.


 10:42 pm on Oct 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank you all for your input, it's much appreciated.

I stand corrected on the 1.5%, blonde moment, I was aware that it is .05%.

I understand, too, the relevancy issue. What I still maintain, and perhaps this is simply unique to my particular campaign, is this particular policy is working against my sales. I see it fairly plainly, the results of the keywords being removed.

Your campaign with the low CTR wasted inventory for everybody else.

I'm not sure I understand this, since there is only one other ad showing up under this search term result. Maybe this is where I'm getting lost somewhere.

My ad copy itself is effective, and it is targeted in the way that anyone typing in the broad keyword is very passionate about the subject. In other words, the word alone (at least in this case), would illicit interest. The ad converts to sales. (I have created different ad groups, with other test-copy, with less results).

As for relevancy and using too broad keywords, let me see if I can provide a fake mock-up example.

An example of an unsuccessful and non-targeted campaign would be:

AllPosters.com - Using ONLY the term "James Dean" to sell James Dean posters, rather than using "James Dean posters", obviously much more targeted. I can see, in this instance, that this is untargeted.

An example that is similar to my own would be:

An ebook that gives great tips and strategies on playing Monopoly. Using the keyword of ONLY Monopoly brings in sales, but not a high enough CTR. But because it IS a more highly search term, again, sales are up. Now, using the keyword "Monopoly tips" or "Monopoly strategies" brings a somewhat higher CTR, but the terms are searched on so little, that sales are down. This example being somewhat niche, like my own (not related to Monopoly lol), there aren't a whole lot of negative keywords that I can think of that can be used. Obviously the word -free or -budget, etc .. but I'm a little lost on whatever else can be used in my own particular campaign.

My broad keyword is targeted enough that it brings me sales, but keeps getting kicked out due to a low CTR. I want to add that I have hundreds of keywords, not only these, but my highest sales results have been using the broad, and not the more targeted.

Another thing I want to mention is last week, I had a keyword search term that was listed as strong. This week it's listed as at risk. That has actually happened with a few. Is it not possible that simply for the sake of timing, as a general rule, sometimes phrases are more searched on, other times, they are not? What could have been "at risk" last week, could easily be listed "strong" or at least moderate this week.

You may want to ask Google to help (if you spend enough with them the will be happy)

Yes, I have contacted them for support. As helpful as they have tried to be, unfortunately, they aren't the answers I've been looking for other than the usual tips of creating new ad groups with slowed keywords, and the warning that they will be slowed again more quickly, if not searched on more, etc.

I am considering Overture. I see that their signup system is down at the moment, but I will try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

What I also don't get is that there are people continually showing up as advertising a similar product using the very broad keyword I wish to use, all the time, over the past month. How are they doing this and I'm not able to, when the product is almost exactly the same, and they are almost the only other result listed?

I'm here to learn, so I appreciate your input. Thank you for the welcome.

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