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AWA-Why is G$ trying to destroy my campaign?
9% CTR and still "in trial" and slowed
brizad




msg:1157805
 7:55 pm on Dec 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oh I really used to like G before they turned into G$. For the last month or so many of my KW have been getting put "on hold" or "in trial" even though they have CTR's above G$'s purported 0.5% CTR requirement.

When I have contacted customer support I get a canned answer. This is the back on forth about my best KW.

I ask why they are going against their stated policies and I got back from them: "Keywords slightly below the minimum threshold are placed under evaluation
status ('in trial') until we're statistically confident their CTR is well
below or above 0.5%."

So I wrote back:
1372 impressions, 120 clicks, 8.7% CTR. This is 17.4 times beyond the 0.5% CTR that you stated. How much more information is needed until Google is "statistically confident" that 8.7% is above 0.5%?

Then they sent back: <paraphrased>
"One needs a 0.5% CTR on Google's site alone to determine relevancy. The relevancy of partner and content sites are not included in the CTR threshold"

So I told them this CTR is for Google search alone not content sites. No Answer..........

Anyway, it all feels like BS to me but it makes no sense. I used to have almost 300 KW's now I'm down to about 10 and half of those are in trial. So this has pretty well knocked my business down about 80%. Obviously G$ is making less money from me so I don't understand the logic of it.

Just to ad insult to injury...Now it is almost impossible to try new KWs because if they don't get a high CTR (as most new KWs don't) then my account is slowed.

As far as I can tell an 8.7% CTR is more than 0.5%. I did go to public school but I am pretty confident in my math. --Maybe they add differently at the montesori schools that Larry and Sergi went to ;-)

I guess it is time to just cancel this account and make a new one but I fear the same thing will happen again.

[edited by: eWhisper at 1:32 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2004]
[edit reason] See TOS #9 - No Email Quotes [/edit]

 

Tigrou




msg:1157806
 8:35 pm on Dec 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi brizad,

I can tell you the answer but you aren't going to like it.

Basically there are THREE (not TWO) levels of advertising that you can get with AdWords
1) content - being on webmasters sites
2) network sites - these are other SEs or major content providers that show google ads
3) google SERPs

Google lets you opt out of content, and tracks content in its little area.

BUT the 8.7% is a mix of the network sites AND google itself (2+3). So you've had results of less than .5% on GOOGLE, while getting results of higher than 7.4% on network partners.

Considering they've broken their SE to get increased AdWords sales (e.g. Sandbox), it is pretty stupid that they don't give us the clarity on the actually Google SERPS only...ESPECIALLY considering that not only are they throwing away money today, but they are (obviously) p1ssing off potential evangalists/future heavy investors.

As you can guess, I'm in the same boat as you. I'd spend $5K a month more if they could give me this clarity.

The only trick here is to get some people on different IPs to click on your ads in google and hope that knocks up the CTR.

Stupid, Google. Stupid.

brizad




msg:1157807
 10:50 pm on Dec 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Tigrou, thanks for that clarification. It's a shame that the billion dollar behemouth can't find someone to explaing this to their paying customers. Like you said "stupid." I'm trying to give them money but they just don't want it I guess. I suppose that the bean counters at Mountain View have a grand scheme that we mere mortals can't understand.

To me, Adwords is getting as bad as Overture>>>ie: Sure it's your company but we know better than you.

Hopefully I'm not being too melodramatic when I say that I am looking forward to seeing what MS Search comes up with in their PPC model.

Sign me frustrated....

PPCBidder




msg:1157808
 1:10 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

The 0.5% minimum clickthrough rate (CTR) requirement considers your keyword performance on the Google search engine alone.

This seems to be the common cop-out answer that is regularly provided to justify and explain away the situation. Personally, I don't believe it. With all of these massively high CTR yet disabled keywords that people are reporting lately (myself included), it seems very unlikely that the majority do not manage a 0.5% Google CTR.

Prior to the "In Trial" changes how many threads/complaints did you see like this? - almost zero.

Since we as advertisers cannot pinpoint the actual G CTR number though, there is nothing we can do to factually refute the claim. It all seems very convienient.

veroxii




msg:1157809
 2:48 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's an idea:

In your Campaign Settings, uncheck BOTH content and search. This will disable AOL and the likes on the search network, but will only leave google searches.

Try this for a day (if you can afford it), and see what your CTR is. If it's still 8% or whatever, then the "0.5% on Google alone" excuse doesn't hold any water.

-V

PPCBidder




msg:1157810
 3:10 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a decent idea but once you realize which terms these are it is too late to test them. The only way to do this would be to use a fresh term you suspect would follow the pattern.

(unless you have multiple accounts)

veroxii




msg:1157811
 3:43 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe always start off your new campaigns this way? Then after a week of being decent, add the search partners. Then if everything is still running fine, add the content sites if you want.

-V

AdWordsAdvisor




msg:1157812
 8:36 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to ad insult to injury...Now it is almost impossible to try new KWs because if they don't get a high CTR (as most new KWs don't) then my account is slowed.

Actually, this has not been my experience. After a few thousand hours working with AdWords I'd venture to say that most well chosen keywords, which also bring up a well written and highly related ad, get a CTR in the range from acceptable to excellent, right from the outset.

I guess it is time to just cancel this account and make a new one but I fear the same thing will happen again.

Quite likely, you're correct. It is not the newness of the account that'll make the difference. It is the quality of the keywords themselves, and how they're used that matters. For example:

* A specific and targeted keyword that brings up an ad about the very same thing as the keywords is likely to easily meet the CTR standard - which, by the way, is much less than half of average.

* On the other hand a very specific keyword like 'handmade organic limpet food' which brings up an ad for something different, say for 'Quality Starfish Cleaner', will likely get a low CTR.

Just as an experiment, I'd like to suggest creating a new Ad Group about one unique thing that you have to offer - whether a product or a service. Make the ad crisp, professional, and compelling in some way. Then carefully choose maybe a dozen or so multiple-word keywords that accurately and specifically describe that exact same thing.

Set it running, and I'll bet you'll see a good CTR, right out of the gate. ;)

AWA

brizad




msg:1157813
 10:26 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

AWA thanks for checking in on this thread. Here are my comments to your comments.

Just to ad insult to injury...Now it is almost impossible to try new KWs because if they don't get a high CTR (as most new KWs don't) then my account is slowed.

Actually, this has not been my experience. After a few thousand hours working with AdWords I'd venture to say that most well chosen keywords, which also bring up a well written and highly related ad, get a CTR in the range from acceptable to excellent, right from the outset.

And that's the rub, to find a "well chosen keyword" you usually have to sift through a bunch of junk. Sure it's easy to find the obvious KWs that everyone bids on and the prices are sky high, but the money is in finding less obvious KWs with lower prices and higher ROI.

* A specific and targeted keyword that brings up an ad about the very same thing as the keywords is likely to easily meet the CTR standard - which, by the way, is much less than half of average.

Again, good in theory but more difficult in practice. I play in a HIGHLY competitive market and being an affiliate, I cannot afford to pay $10-20 per click that would get me a top position with the **obvious high CTR** KWs. The actual companies themselves that own the product and will make tens of thousands of dollars for a sale can pay those prices but not an affiliate. I (we) have to try to search for the less obvious/costly KWs which (apparenty) is not compatible with the new G.


* On the other hand a very specific keyword like 'handmade organic limpet food' which brings up an ad for something different, say for 'Quality Starfish Cleaner', will likely get a low CTR.

My ads/kws are highly targeted, hence the 8%-9% CTRs. Still that doesn't seem to be enough for the big G. They still put my KWs in trial or on hold.


Just as an experiment, I'd like to suggest creating a new Ad Group about one unique thing that you have to offer - whether a product or a service. Make the ad crisp, professional, and compelling in some way. Then carefully choose maybe a dozen or so multiple-word keywords that accurately and specifically describe that exact same thing.

Again, been there done that. Even when I "carefully choose maybe a dozen or so multiple-word keywords that accurately and specifically describe that exact same thing", you never know which ones of those will get high or low CTRs until you try it. At this point, when I do this and say get 1 KW with only a 0.2% CTR, my whole account is slowed. That is why I said that maybe this account is just doomed and marked for death. It seems like it's been blackballed or something. I can hardly even try to *find* good KWs because anytime I try a KW that happens to underperform, the account is slowed.

I completely understand Gs logic with wanting relevant ads. That makes perfect sense. From my experience though, the system needs some tweaks. The most obvious would be to just slow the *exact KW* (and only that KW) that is underperforming and NOT the whole account. Doesn't that sound more logical? As it is now you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater and both Gs revenue and your customer's business suffer.

Also it seems like G needs to consider the actual CTR not just the portion that happens on Gs own search engine. If we are paying for ALL clicks, then ALL clicks should count in our favor. Don't you think? On the other hand maybe G would like to just give us those clicks that don't count toward the CTR for free ;-)

AWA seriously thanks for your help with us here on WebmasterWorld. I appreciate your service and help to us. Let me just make this note, not directed at you personally but to illustrate a point...

Did you ever see the movie "Back To School" with Rodney Dangerfield? There is a scene when he is in business class and the professor is spouting out all of this theoretical business practices, procedures, ethics, etc. from a book. Rodney's character has been very successful in the *real business world* for years and was a multi-millionaire. He pointed out all the real world issues and reasons why the professor's theories and lofty business school principles were just theoretical fairy tales in a book that didn't relate to how real business operates.

That is the feeling I get from dealing with G lately (and Overture all the time.) "This is the way that we have prophesized that our system will work. It works this way and it is good. We are the benevolent company looking out for your best interests and we know what is best for you. Don't question us, it's for your own good."

I really hope that the big G is smarter than that and is listening to the real world issues/problems from its customers. That's why you're here right AWA? If not, it is destined to go down like so many others. I hope Gs recovers soon from it's recent stumbles.

AdWordsAdvisor




msg:1157814
 11:57 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Brizad, thanks for your thoughtful and well-stated 'comments on my comments'.

Sometimes when I contemplate posting something that I know may be seen as a bit controversial, and decide to write it anyway, I wonder whether I'll get 'stung' in the reply - and I really appreciate it that you've avoided that path, however strongly you might feel. And I do understand that you feel strongly, btw. So, thanks for that. ;)

All your points are well taken, and I'll make sure this thread is seen by the right folks. I can really appreciate the "Back To School" example, too, and it is sort of my passion to avoid that scenario - by making sure that I've understood what advertisers need by listening to them, and then passing on their verbatim comments to lots of interested folks who are decision makers.

And, yes, you are correct. That is the reason I'm here.

And, with all that said, I wish you the best of success with your advertising - and sorry that it's been rocky for you recently.

AWA

Tigrou




msg:1157815
 1:03 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

veroxii, I had no idea you could uncheck search AND content. You're a genius (or perhaps just read the instructions...unlike me :-). Not sure that it would make a difference as my terms tend to have 3% to 8% CTR. Unless there is massive clickfraud on partner networks, I can't imagine that it'll make that much of a difference.

Houndstooth




msg:1157816
 1:20 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can definitely relate to what's being said here. I've been having the same issues lately with keywords being slowed - no matter how targeted, no matter what the bid, no matter how high the CTR.

I'm running highly targeted, highly optimized campaigns in an agency-style format, at $100k+ per month spend at upwards of 10x ROI. So I think I know the nuances of targeting, and I'm definitely having a tough time with G's canned responses to this issue.

I've got very targeted words running at 7-8% CTR and they are currently slowed. I'm not a math genius, but only so many advertisers can even run at that rate on a keyword. How could I possibly not make the cut? I totally agree with brizad that it doesn't make sense that there would be this much of a disconnect between search partners and Google itself, if that's indeed the issue.

Somehow, Google seems to be putting in some new formulas and is inadvertently getting in the way of the free market system.

brizad




msg:1157817
 3:17 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm running highly targeted, highly optimized campaigns in an agency-style format, at $100k+ per month spend at upwards of 10x ROI. So I think I know the nuances of targeting, and I'm definitely having a tough time with G's canned responses to this issue.

Wow! I guess if they're doing that to your account then my little account doesn't have a chance. Unless...

AWA said:
All your points are well taken, and I'll make sure this thread is seen by the right folks. I can really appreciate the "Back To School" example, too, and it is sort of my passion to avoid that scenario - by making sure that I've understood what advertisers need by listening to them, and then passing on their verbatim comments to lots of interested folks who are decision makers.

I hope this comes to pass and some changes will be made. AWA thanks for bumping this up to the "right folks." We're all here to improve right? :-)

Tigrou




msg:1157818
 2:31 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

AWA, your answers are appreciated. On risk of sounding like an unseasonable Grinch, your answers to Brizad are interesting but not helpful in my case (and others).

It sounds like brizad wants the opportunity to experiment in trying 2,3,4+ keyword combos to hit his niches.

I'm interested in why (it seems) one can't properly bid on generic words.

Say I have a site "Guide to Widgets". It has a nice pyramid structure of content with dozens (or hundreds) of pages. I can bid on keyword combos to drive people to specific pages.

BUT, I don't always want to do that. I want to bid on the generic term "widgets" because I want to draw people to the homepage and let decide which of the content items interest them. After all, that is one of the purposes of a Guide.

Inevitably, even though I get a CTR of 3% to 8% on search (no content), my ads slow then fade away. I'll have to find the time to test out veroxii's theory, but I don't figure it'll make much difference. As Houndstooth said, the math just doesn't work. (It does work only if G's partners have a LOT of clickfraud that isn't being caught).

The thing I find REALLY weird is that it isn't a competitive situation. These generic terms have few advertisers. Random check of one of them now revealed only 2 advertisers.

So why sit on this? The only answers I can come up with is:
a) an oversight / technical glitch that can be fixed
b) tactical choice by Google to sell only on more specific terms. A side effect of this tactic is, of course, that the more specific the search term, the more an advertiser will pay.

Some clarity would be appreciated.

So, festively, round up those Whos in Googleville, hold hands and sing a happy song to us. I'm bracing for my Grinch heart grow three sizes.

gopi




msg:1157819
 4:26 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> my ads slow then fade away

I expirence the same ...My keywords get a good ctr (>3%) and are normal (no "on hold/trail") but for some reason the account gets slowed often ... Increasing the budget or CPC seems to have no effect.

Either Google should base their CTR quality metric across the entire search netowork or atleast provide a column for google only CTR ...

Without proper metrics how google expects the advertisers to fine tune their campaign?

ADefWebserver




msg:1157820
 5:12 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think what everyone is trying to say is that the system used to work great for us. I ran a great campain for 6 months, then I went to my uncle's company and was planing on bringing on his 60+ clients who could spend $1000 a month each.

Then this account slowing thing started and everything that worked before went out the window. The campains I have now only have 10 keywords. That is the only way I can keep the Google admin screen from screaming at me that it's the end of the world:)

So far simply upping the bids has solved a lot of the problem, BUT I am simply afraid to add any more keywords because I will get the dreaded "account slowed" message. I'm almost afraid to log into the Google admin because I'll see that stupid message that says "you're a failure, click here and pay $5 for your stupidity" :)

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