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AdWords CTR Killing off my best words...
CTR is killing my best words

 1:38 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello All!

I have been lurking awhile, and thought I migth run something by you.

I recently joined adwords. My BEST keyword keeps getting killed cause of their stupid (imo) CTR rules. It seems to the point it is almost really just a scam.

I have a web site that deals with astrology. However, I get over 30 thousand visitors per day yet only just a few (around 20 to 30) actually purchase something. The reason for this is most folks want to read the free information, check the daily horoscopes etc etc.

Ok, so to make any type of ROI at all using PPC I need to focus the ad on just the birthchart. BUT lots of folks looking under horoscopes are not gonna buy a custom made horoscope (birthchart) because, well the majority of people looking for horoscopes are not interested buying one, they want to read one...

So this destroys my CTR and I can live with this. I would be more then happy to accept the low CTR but NOOOOOO Google has to keep wacking my words!

My question is how on earth do you get around this ( I think I am doomed on this issue though ) AND does overture do the same thing? I was considering trying overture.



Not gonna name my site cause I am here for help, not a cheap plug :)



 5:18 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi, Michael!

Welcome to the forums..

What reason does Google give for stopping your ad? Sounds sort of odd to me that they would do that.

Did your account run out?

Inquiring minds want to know.


 5:29 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

No, the problem is in the CTR requirements. You see, if your ad does not get over 5 clicks per 1000 impressions Googles software automatically disables that keyword.

I understand this (I supose saying it is a scam may be a bit harsh to google) because people would put ads for say... LaWebmasterWorlders everywhere hoping to get hits. Seeing an ad for laWebmasterWorlders when searching for horoscopes is not cool, and the CTR requirement would stop this.

HOWEVER an ad for Birthcharts (Custom horoscopes) under the keyword horscopes, astrology SHOULD be accepted.

I think the google system is new (adwords) and needs to be refined. IMO it's CTR is too constrictive. Perhaps if it were loosened up a bit, the CTR requirement lowered, that would be fair.

I understand the need for Google to keep out clutter ads, and I applaud it's effort. In fact google has been my only search engine choice for personal searching for a long time. I respect the lack of crap ads, and fluff on the home page.

I am just a bit frustrated with the ROI and adwords is all, not that adwords is a bad thing, but I think it has a bit of evolving to do before it becomes practical.


 5:43 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Now I'm interested in knowing why Google would disable an ad that is not making GOOGLE money but the customer is perfectly willing to keep running???

Googleguy....maybe you could give a hint?



 5:47 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think the ad words requirements are terrific and yours is a good example why. Ads under the very general search terms of "horoscopes" or "astrology" need to perform at the .5% level. Hardly any will. What you are wanting to sell is much more specialized. having an ad under astrology is a bit like having it under "books". What you are selling doesn't merit an ad under the general terms (in the eyes of the public).

Make your ad appear under more specialized terms like "custom horoscopes" or "birthcharts" and you are almost certainly going to be able to meet the CTR. AND, you'll get better clicks, AND the public will get better results, AND "big boys" won't be able to buy their way to the top of these terms because they won't be able to meet the CTR with their off-topic listings.


 5:54 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I personally don't think this warrants googleguy's attention or any modification to the google adwords select. Of course, googleguy might chime in ... We have been using adwords select and all it requires for an effective use is to target your ads appropriately. In this case, I suggest you include the words purchase, buy, etc. words so you are targeting your ads to only buyers of your product (as most are lookers only). It is perhaps unfair for Google to display your ad when they can't make money (remember this is an AD). Other option to pursue could be plain old Google Adwords (without the Select) which does not have CTR reqs.


 5:55 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ann, the reason is simple. Google disables ads that the public isn't interested in. Again, it is an example of how incredibly user-friendly Google is.

If a searcher wants good info on Moscow, it makes no sense for ads to show up about Nairobi, even if somebody wants to pay for the top Moscow ad. The public wants (and deserves) useful information. If something isn't useful in the public's eyes then Google stops running it and gives something else a chance that perhaps the public will appreciate.

Also, from Google's side, if ads don't get clicked, Google doesn't get $$$. They want ad words up there that will be clicked. It's win-win-win for everybody except rich spammers.
Another way to look at it, what you are suggesting would lead to all ad words ads for every search term to be sex ads. They'd pay for the top spots and not care about poor clickthroughs.


 6:09 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

MThiessen, use stop words.
Check your logs and see what keywords people are using.
After that, put the most obvious keywords in the exclusion list (i think "-" sign should do the trick).

That way your ad will not be displayed to people who are searching for free info and your ctr would jump up.


 7:22 am on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Been in this situation and I followed the suggestion above WITH success. Use the negative keywords with "-" and lock out words such as info, information, description plus a range of other keywords that will be specific to your service.

The other thing is to include keywords such as "purchase", "buy", "cheap", and "shop" that will target those individuals who are trying to wade through the huge amount of more fluffy information for some solid products to buy online.

Regards, Louis


 12:29 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)


I see that you have basically 2 problems -

1) Your website has poor conversion rate (0.1%) because most of the visitors are freeloaders.
2) Certain keywords get knocked off because of poor CTR.

Suggestions -

1) You have mentioned that your visitors are looking for free information and are not willing to pay for customized horoscope. One good way of keeping away such visitors is to include words like buy/purchase (as suggested by przero) or include the price itself within the adwords advertisement (For example - Custom horoscopes starting at $20 only). Those who click on your ad actually know that they will have to keep their credit cards ready.

However, this is not a very bright idea as it looks. You may loose buyers who may take a decision after visiting your website (instinctive buyers). Also, your CTR may take a hit.

Conversion rate of 0.1% is very low (30 sales per 30000 visitors). But remember that it is not Google's job to make sales. Google AdWords will get you targeted visitors. It is your website's job to make sales. Try changing your website design/presentation etc. If you have free content, try getting rid of it.Conversely, if you do not have free content, try adding some!

2) One surefire way of improving CTR is to make sure that the keyword is inserted in the TITLE and the BODY of your adwords advertisement. There is a good reason why Overture insists that you enter the keyword in title/body of the advertisement. Try this - and don't be surprised if you get 3% plus CTR !

Good Luck!



 5:12 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)


Thank you for all the replies. The most valuable reply was the one suggesting use of stop words. "-"

As for the suggestion of NOT useing the broad terms "astrology" and "horoscopes" I think this is not practical. Google is not a limitless supply of impressions. Astrology and horoscopes are very popular and to not use these is to focus myself to no-hits at all. (I tried this).

Custom made horoscopes IS RELEVANT to both those terms. However, possibly adding stop words to it may be the thing to bump up the CTR. Yes most of my visitors are indeed after freebees, but without advertising to you guys, I do offer a one year free horoscope with every purchase.

And don't get me wrong, CTR limits are good in so far as it keeps out NONE-RELEVANT ads, but something is wrong with the system if you have a perfectly relevant ad that keeps getting dropped for none-performance.

Again, in this business (been in it many years, since the internet was basically new to most folks, the days of the BBS's remember them? and commodore 64 was king) I know birthcharts are a hard sell. Even the best worded ads need to viewed by many people before a sale is made. I notice all the major competition for me is in and out of the search words astrology and horoscopes, doing a lot of re-wording and still struggling.

It is unfair and wrong to say that "It is working like it should and no remark from google in needed". When there is clearly a problem with the CTR being too low.

I do this for a living and my livelyhood depends on ROI not branding. ROI is hard to do with the CTR limit the way it stands.



 5:27 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why don't you put " ONE YEAR FREE HOROSCOPE* " in your ad? If you want the free loaders and are prepared to pay for their clicks and give them something, then perhaps you need to entice them more in your ad.


 5:45 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)


Another thing you can do is change your ad slightly after the certain keyword(s) get deleted. Adwords will re-activate ALL your keywords again. I have a few keywords that are similar to what you are talking about, and it works for me. Just change one letter in your ad, and your keywords will be back. The drawback to this is you have to be constantly changing your ad, especially if you go through 1,000 exposures pretty quickly. Luckily, it takes my keywords a week or so to get to 1,000, so I only have to change my ad once a week.


 7:01 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

all of this is good information to me as I have not been buying any ads....probably won't anytime soon, but I seem to be in the same business as MTHIESSEN....

anyway, I am for now, depending on serps and optimizing...:(



 7:12 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Interesting you should say that born2drv, I have tried that and it did up my CTR and it also made it a positive ROI (so far).

Fingers are crossed :)

BTW Very nice forum, tons of info here, keep up the good work :)


 8:16 pm on Aug 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Have you considered setting up a seperate site for the commercial horoscopes?


 1:24 am on Aug 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

if your ad does not get over 5 clicks per 1000 impressions Googles software automatically disables that keyword.

This is for ads that appear on Google. Ads that appear on Google partner sites require 10 clicks per 1000 impressions (1%). The percentages are rolling, not cumulative, so it's the last 1000 impressions that count (I have had ads with a cumulative 2% CTR dropped due to insuffient CTR).


 9:10 am on Aug 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Going back to one of the earlier comments, also look to expand (hugely) the number of terms you are appearing on. Check your logs, do brainstorming, get every combination and permutation of every phrase, pluralisation, alternate spelling, misspelling, the works. Having some drop out for low CTR will be a positive relief then, as your ROI starts to climb.

The other strand is derived from born2drvs comment about the ad content. Keep tweaking it, try to differentiate it.

As you are in a market with very strong time dependencies, maybe create a secondary campaign with an ad that rotates with the currently active birth sign, and lands up on a page on your site all about that birth sign.

That should do well drawing in people with a targetted interest in their own birth sign, it keeps feeding all year as the signs rotate, and then you can start all over again next year with known baseline figures, and see if you can tweak the effectiveness up


 4:19 pm on Aug 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

That should do well drawing in people with a targetted interest in their own birth sign, it keeps feeding all year as the signs rotate, and then you can start all over again next year with known baseline figures, and see if you can tweak the effectiveness up

Most excellent idea! Thank you.

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