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I got keywords 'On hold' after 1 impression

 2:45 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I created a new adgroup today and added about 1800 keywords, after one hour I went to check it, some of the keywords were marked as 'On hold' or 'In Trial' in spite of 1 impression or 10 impression, why does google do this?

Anybody has this experiences?



 3:22 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes. Sometimes, I submit bunch of keywords. After a while,(from half an hour to few days) some of them in trial, some of them on hold, some of them disabled. I cannot figure out why. I checked them, compared to other key words, they didn't have the more or less impressions, higher or lower CTR, higher or lower average position, longer or shorter in word, more or less related to the product, nothing to do with trademark...

But there is one thing I found out about 'disabled' words, on the search result page of those disabled key words there are much fewer ads. I'm trying to figure out how to be one of those few advertisers cause these are the real valuable words that can attain better position with less price and less competition.


 3:36 am on Feb 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

I also found that the 'keyword insertion' feature not working in an adgroup if there are any 'on hold' or 'in trial' keywords in the adgroup,
and this would cause the adgroup's CTR worse, finally more and more keywords get on hold or even disabled.

That is very bad.

I have no idea how to figure out it yet.


 12:32 am on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I created a new adgroup today and added about 1800 keywords, after one hour I went to check it, some of the keywords were marked as 'On hold' or 'In Trial' in spite of 1 impression or 10 impression, why does google do this?


I pointed this out in another thread recently. Google now judges keywords not simply on your experience with them, but those of other advertisers who have used them. So if the keywords/phrases were used in the past for irrelevant ads, you start out at a disadvantage.

I just now created a campaign and the very best keyword went immediately to "Hold". Now, I have never used anything remotely close to this phrase in any campaign before. Other advertisers must have had bad luck with this phrase, so I don't get a chance. Just because their ads stunk or were misleading, I suffer.

Fair? No way and I think Google should rethink this policy.

When you submit a keyword, we predict its CTR based on data such as the performance of your account and other accounts with the same or similar keywords



 12:56 am on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here is a bunch of info from the AdWords FAQ, that I hope will help shed a more detailed light on this subjet:

When does a keyword enter in trial status?

What is the AdWords keyword status column?

keyword evaluation flow

Three keyword evaluation Examples



 6:29 pm on Feb 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

AWA, good work - to put all the links together.

But patient2all is absolutelly right:

Fair? No way and I think Google should rethink this policy.

This is the most crazy rule I have ever seen! We are still seeing here the messages, that users have problem with the On Hold, On Trial mess.

Still again and again.

Uff, I am so upset, I have to start the new thread about it:



 1:51 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

AWA your second link [adwords.google.com...] states "There are a limited number of in trial keywords per account". I guess my limit is 0. I have 100 keywords, 95 are on hold, the rest are normal.

Some of my on hold keywords have registered a 50% CTR before being put on hold. Many have registered more than 5%, but they are now on hold, and not even on trial. According to the bidding, there is no competition for these keywords.

This can't be right. I'm all in favor of disabling keywords with less than 0.5% CTR, but that is not what is happening here. This has wasted my time to the point that I'm going to set all my keywords at $.05 and try to forget that I have AdWords running for this site. There's nothing else I can do...


 2:05 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have 100 keywords, 95 are on hold, the rest are normal.


The "rest" are normal - 5, some "rest"! I wish I had your optimistic attitude! You know, don't look at the glass as being 95% empty, look at it as 5% full....

Have you already used the other matching options with the "hold" keywords? In effect, they become different keywords then and get a fresh start if you bracket or quote them. It buys you a little time anyway....

And I thought I had problems....



 2:11 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have similiar problems, I created a new ad group and found a list of keywords. Specially those two keywords where google predicted the most clicks havent been accepted. google told that I should change them because they might not get good results;))

Also when I wanted to increase the CPC from one keyword, google told suddenly they dont accept this because the URL where it directs to, is not starting with http (which is not true).
Sometimes I am surprised what is going on there.



 3:00 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

The "rest" are normal - 5, some "rest"! I wish I had your optimistic attitude!

Believe me, there's not too much optimism left...

I've played around with the different matching options, but most of my keyword phrases are quoted because my target keywords mean different things if they are not in the right order. i.e. "user agent" <> "agent user". (That's kind of funny if you think about it.)

AWA are you reading this? A temporary solution to making keywords go back to normal is to make them less-relevant. Is this the end result that Google is after? I don't think so, but you're not offering alternatives...


 3:15 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the back-to-back posts but in the past hour, without making any changes to my account, I've had 4 keywords go from on hold to in trial, and my most-coveted phrase (with a 14% CTR) has gone off hold and is now normal.

I still have 90 out of 100 keywords on hold while they have little or no competition, but at least I'm getting some clicks again.


 6:11 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes I am seeing the same. I have a keyword that is 11% CTR and is seriously important to the campaign. It just went on-hold which basically is putting the whole campaign in jeopardy.


 6:14 pm on Feb 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

From one of AWA's links:
On hold: Your account's in trial keyword limit has been reached, and these additional keywords are slightly below the minimum threshold. As more space becomes available, these keywords will move into in trial status and start showing ads...

To me this doesn't make sense because I have no keywords in trial. Just hold or normal. It is affecting the campaign dramatically.


 3:49 pm on Feb 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I got keywords 'On hold' after 1 impression

Oh, happy man! The whole one impression!

I tried to add a phrase today (two words, broad match) and even before adding the phrase the TRAFICK ESTIMATOR told me it has ON HOLD statuts.

I know, it is broad match, but look here (msg 12) [webmasterworld.com...]

I have described there the phrase (two words, broad match): Avg. CPC 0.06, CTR 19.3%, conversion rate: 3,45% (Fortunatelly I have started this campaign before they implemented the "great" On Trial-On Hold feature.)

So now, they do not allow me to publish my broad match phrase, because they thing it is not targeted enough. I know it is not targeted, but it should be my problem: not targeted ad usally means higher price.
But if you look at the example above you can see, that the broad match might work very well.

I would be very happy if they keep it just as easy at is was earlier: not targeted word and ad = higher price. The on hold, on trial feature brings nothing. But I am maybe preaching too much about it this weekend.


 11:33 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Go around and remove keywords that you don't want which are on trial, perhaps?


 11:53 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

remove keywords that you don't want which are on trial

DO NOT DO THIS. Especially not when you are starting the campaign!

Read here

my msg #40.


 11:57 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I think we need to avoid blanket statements.

You may wish to prioritize your keywords on the basis of the following points

- expected profit
- expected ROI
- expected CTR

If you have high profit, high roi, high CTR keywords which are on hold and low profit, low roi, low CTR keywords which are on trial, I think removing the latter from your campaign might be what Google is trying to prompt you to do.

I also think it will free up space for your on hold keywords to move into trial.

Also, if the new keywords are higher CTR, you will likely get more "on trial" keywords in the future.


 12:00 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

The system seems reasonable to me.

I wonder though - is it 0.5%? Or does it change if the CTR of the other ads are higher? Does it change if the CTR of the SERP is really high?

I think by not answering those questions or by not providing us with information about what the necessary CTR is, Google is just risking a lot of customer disatisfaction and anger.


 12:02 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have some on hold and in trial with 0 impressions. It does not make sense anymore!


 12:12 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

- expected profit
- expected ROI
- expected CTR

Expected, expected, expected - this is the core of the problem man! I may do my best to expect anything. But it happens very often that I expect one thing, and something very different show up!


 12:12 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I think a problem with the system is that there is always a disconnect between what the UI reports and what currently is really happening.

This has always been the case, however. Google should try to make this more clear, as well..


 12:13 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Expected, expected, expected - this is the core of the problem man! I may do my best to expect anything. But it happens very often that I expect one thing, and something very different show up!

Well, I think expertise at predicting the future is important to Google. They don't want to be a lab for keyword testing experiments.


 3:25 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know this is an old thread, but one thing I ran across just begged for a comment.

AWA wrote

keyword evaluation flow

Three keyword evaluation Examples


There's a contradiction between these pages (as of April 27). The "keyword evaluation flow" shows that once a keyword is in normal status, it can never change to any other status -- no arrow leaving that circle. But the examples explicitly state that a keyword can leave normal status -- which makes sense and which agrees with everything else I've read.

So the flow chart needs to be corrected. A picture may be worth 1000 words, but an incorrect or misleading picture is as bad as 1000 incorrect or misleading words.



 6:08 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

The On Hold system is definitely broken. On Monday, I created two accounts for two clients. I dropped about 900 starter KWs in both. Within seconds, every single KW in one account was put on hold. That's 900 KWs in a very unique market (devices for manufacturing of semiconductors). Even the name of the CEO was put on hold. There's no way that Google has stats on all of these KWs and can say these are low CTRs. Meanwhile, nearly all of the KWs in the other client's account are normal.


 7:02 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I believe this is definitely broken as well. After a large number of emails back and forth with my AdWords rep, I basically decided to ignore the problem, and move on to things I can control.

I say this because I have had keywords for new Ad Groups placed on hold, in trial, or even disabled immediately upon submitting them.

Even worse, I have seen keywords with very high CTRs disabled. Keywords that ran for months, even over a year, with a historic 4-5% CTR, and a current month 4-5% CTR getting disabled. When I queried my AW rep on this, he stated that it is automated, and there is nothing they can do about, and to not try re-submitting the keywords into the same or other groups.

I pushed him on why the keywords were disabled, despite the CTR that is 8-10x Google's stated cutoff, and he replied that my ad had a very high CTR on partner sites, but below their cutoff CTR on Google itself. This sounded improbable, and begs two questions:

1. If my CTR on Google itself is below 0.5%, then my CTR on partner sites would likely need to be significantly above the 4-5% CTR the Google interface is reporting to me. I would assume that Google gets most of it's traffic from Google itself, and not partners (this particular ad campaign is not AdSense enabled). So if my overall CTR is 4-5%, and my Google CTR is under 0.5%, then my partner CTR must have been in the 10-20+% CTR range to average out to 4-5%... Seems HIGHLY unlikely that the same ad would perform so well on partners, and so poorly on Google, when people are searching for the same keyword on different engines.

And, if it is, how are we supposed to tell this from the current AW interface? We can't - it is impossible. All I can see is that my ad got a healthy 4-5% CTR, well above Google's stated limit, and got arbitrarily/randomly/accidentally disabled.

2. If my ad did so well on partner sites, and so poorly on Google itself (to the tune that some of them I was buying 100-200 clicks/day per keyword), why shut the whole thing off? Why not keep showing it on the partner sites, and slow it on Google? Not sure why Google is tossing out the baby with the bathwater here... unless of course it is simply bugged and they don't know it, or don't care to admit it.

Even stranger, some of these keywords that were disabled only have 6-7 advertisers - not even a full page of ads. Leads me to believe that the system is bugged, and neither I nor my AW rep have any real way of telling what is going on.

Currently, the AW On Hold, In Trial, Disabled system is a mess. It is a giant black box for advertisers - and it appears to be for Google reps also. Hopefully it is something they will re-work soon, as it is easily one of the most un-Google like features of the system, and uniquely frustrating.


 8:00 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Need3lives - very good points.

This "feature" works against everybody - the advertiser, the user and against Google itself.

My only hope is, they will remove it quietly soon.


 6:39 am on Apr 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

I started a new campaign today, and every single keyword I added was put on hold. After reading through various posts on this it seems theres not much I can do about it.


 7:03 am on Apr 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

black box

Or you could say "black hole", Need3Lives. The inevitable result will be entire markets not being served by AdWords if all the most promising keywords go on hold or get disabled because some advertisers blew it.

Forgetting about fairness, it's just not practical to punish every advertiser because imitators couldn't make the cut. Just disable the less savvy whose own low CTR indicates their lack of ability at promoting those keywords.



 2:06 pm on Apr 30, 2005 (gmt 0)


dunno about it being a black hole. a black hole is an attractive force. this object is clearly repulsive.



 6:45 pm on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)


I was thinking in terms of software testing terminology. I guess the basic dictionary.com definition fits very well for Google's current system:

black box

1. A device or theoretical construct with known or specified performance characteristics but unknown or unspecified constituents and means of operation.
2. Something that is mysterious, especially as to function.

Oh, and to add injury to insult, I checked a new kw I added the other day. It is now disabled after getting 5 impressions, and 3 clicks. I guess a 60% CTR just doesn't cut it these days. And, definitely that 5 impressions was a large enough statistical sample.

Repulsive to say the least...

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