You are not alone. I am testing new advertising methods with different companies out of desperation.
I used to feel like a guru because for several years running I could take a little advertiser and in Google, I could put him on the same competitive level as someone 10 times bigger than him. Now I feel like Google is out of control. First I turned off Partner search when I started seeing what kinds of sites they allowed in the network. Next I turned my own Google search off. Now, out of desperation, I'm testing different content strategies (text, image and mobile).
I never did anything unethical. I just learned "hands on" what worked and didn't work in AdWords. I can't decide if Google is trying to put everyone (experts vs novice) on the same playing field by forcing expensive, short broad terms or if its all about money - forcing top bids across the board. I can't compete when I have to bid so much money on keywords that are too broad for me. I prefer the days when my longer keywords for less money still worked.
I'm spending more and more time (that I don't have) trying to AdWords work for all my clients...and it doesn't seem to be working anymore.
My agency reps are actually quite helpful except for my most successful AdWords accounts - the one page opt in's that Google seems to hate. I can get optimizations and suggestions for improvement for any account except those and ironically, those are the clients that spend the majority of the money I manage every month in Google. My other clients with traditional websites are fighting the system like I am and hold back on their spending because they continue to see a decline in conversions.
I respect your right to vent... but, personally, I'll take Google... and their Quality Score demands... and their ever-changing system... and their strict guidelines and willingness to unapologetically ban brazen violators... and their attempts, albeit imperfect, to distinguish advertisers focused on some definition of 'Quality' from those clearly not... over the alternative.
The stats show - more advertisers are spending far more money with Google and getting far more in return than any other Engine. This explains why these "Other" companies are desperately scrambling to mirror all that Google is doing...
Personally I can see it more from Google's point of view. I can see the following good reasons for the quality score:
Good business image management
If the guy with the coupon book wants to raise the reputation of the coupons in his book by requiring minimum standards from the stores he allows in, then I believe it's not only a good business move for him, but for the commerce community he serves in general. Don't forget that the more consumers find exactly what they are looking for and have an effective online purchase experience at the end of an Adwords ad, the more likely they are both to click on and buy from Adwords ads in the future.
There's also a strong element of bait-and-switch about some Adwords campaigns which the Quality Score helps to cut out. I'm referring to the customers who are selling widgets, but are bidding on 'widget cleaner'. They know that the traffic they get from that term will convert well, but at the end of the day, those people were looking for widget cleaner and you sold them widgets. That's a form of bait-and-switch, and it's cut out by requiring that to get cheap clicks for 'widget cleaner' you must actually be selling 'widget cleaner'.
Motivating Lazy Advertisers
Many companies moving from more traditional advertising formats start their Adwords with a single campaign. They write their ad in the form "My Company // Widgets and widget accessories // with free shipping" and then list every related keyword against it. Without Quality Score, they will do okay, and you will end up with people ending up a few clicks away from the product they searched for. A searcher will search for 'widget cleaner', end up at the companies website homepage, and have to navigate to find 'widget cleaner'. Not a good user experience, really bad for conversions, and wasting the time of a customer who just wants to check your price and model, then click the next ad and compare.
It says a lot to me that I cannot get a single 'GREAT' keyword on my small e commerce site ( what ever I do) while I have many 'Great' keywords for my INFORMATION website.
The QS is definitely NOT fully refined as yet. I followed the webmaster guidelines as best I could for my e commerce site but the KW simply won't become Great, whatever the CTR!
So I spend less money on G advertising for e commerce, more for information sites and switch money to affiliates sending me traffic for my e commerce site.
A little skewed distribution but I have no choice. Can't really change the URL of the webstore! and restart again.
|How DARE Google tell advertisers that they have to meet a "Quality" score. |
I don't have a problem with this in the least. Advertisers have to meet MY "quality" score before I"ll let their ads run on my website, even if they are paying me (through AdSense). Why shouldn't Google care as much about their brand (which is worth a heck of a lot more) than I do about mine?
|Why shouldn't Google care as much about their brand (which is worth a heck of a lot more) than I do about mine? |
The difference is that even assuming (and I dont) that the quality score was designed to vet quality and protect their brand, thats NOT what it actually does in practice.
What it does do is penalise perfectly good businesses, businesses which would appear to be doing everything google wants. That poor "quality" on googles part. Google Adwords is a poor quality product now. And I agree with heyday, why should my ad and landing page copy meet an arbitrary "score" as decided by an impersonal and innacurate algo which really can't make such decisions within a context it doesnt understand?
The really important test here is this - many of the ads and pages which fail the algo "quality score" tests would pass manual inspection, in terms of good relevant content, by any reasonable person, including adwords reps. Why introduce a system that widely penalises these sites, in ADDITION to bad sites and spammy sites?
In terms of "quality" it's flawed. In terms of googles profit figures however.....
EDIT- I don't advertise on adwords any more either, having used it since almost day one.
|The difference is that even assuming (and I dont) that the quality score was designed to vet quality and protect their brand, thats NOT what it actually does in practice. |
|Why introduce a system that widely penalises these sites, in ADDITION to bad sites and spammy sites? |
Removing "bad sites and spammy sites", which you seem to agree that they've done, absolutely vets quality and protects their brand - albeit imperfect...
I don't have a problem with the quality score "theory". I have a problem with how quality scores have bumped out the small businesses with low budgets and the older websites that don't have full time staff and a 100 grand to spend on building individual landing pages or devoting a full time person to their AdWords account.
I also have a problem with how the quality scores force my largest spending clients with one page opt in's to spend even more. They are not doing anything unethical. Their products are not unethical. But tons of individual landing pages doesn't suit their business model nor does it meet the demographics they are trying to target.
I also have a problem with spending $1000 in AdWords for a $1000 sale. It hasn't always been that way. It hasn't been that long ago that I could turn on AdWords, spend less than $100, get a few leads that converted to sales and then shut it down until I needed more leads.
Here's when it started for me... When Google implemented the new quality score and minimum bid...I had just switched from having my ads turned on 24/7 to just Mon-Fri during business hours. I expected for my costs to go down. Costs doubled. Does that make sense? I threw out a theory that the people getting hit with minimim bids were actually increasing their bids out of desperation which in turn increased my costs due to the way Google calculates bids. Google denied that but had no explanation for why my CTR's would increase, my traffic would go down slightly but my costs would double.
I don't have a problem with the quality score either.
However, it is currently a pile of horse feathers. As I've been saying for 5 months now (and telling Google) - I have 'Great' QS's with min bids of .04cents and with bids set at 20 to 30 cents but keyword indicator says QS too low.
I've given up totally on adwords after about 5 years.
I see you point. But I also see the point of the coupon book salesman (and his company), as well as the people who buy the coupon book.
If a lot of the companies advertising are crappy and unprofessional, then that makes the coupon book and all its other advertisers look bad as well. People will stop buying the coupon book because of their bad experiences, and they tell all their friends not to waste their money with the coupon book. All of a sudden, millions of copies of the coupon book are no longer being sold- the coupon book company loses money. The advertisers no longer get their ads in front of millions of people- they are losing their advertising money and stop advertising in the book, so the coupon book company loses even more money.
Finally, the coupon book shuts its doors- a loss for all the good advertisers as well as the loyal customers. This is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved (except perhaps for a few of the crappy advertisers who got a few short-term customers out of the deal).
I have more or less given up on adwords. They can set up their advertising network the way they want but I would say that the quality score process is pretty faulty.
I spent a great deal of time re-working a few sites and talking with adwords reps over several months pretty much to no avail. Even though most of my keywords show good and great in the QS column I'm paying 2-3 times what I used to per click and I get about 1/3 the traffic. 3 years of building great CTR/History/Etc.. means nothing now.
My account is still running but I spend about 25% what I used to spend and it's not really worth the hassle for the ROI.
I'm not seeing all this pain that some of you are.
I'm a VERY small budget advertiser, possibly the 'pop' side of a mom-and-pop (!), but I see AW generally working for me and in ways that I find not too perplexing. There are definitely elements of it that are broken, and that I've had to take up with AW support, but nothing critical even if very annoying at times.
I'm currently seeing a mild rise in some campaigns' cost-per-conversion as an expected-but-weird side-effect of the 1st June purge, but otherwise things are steady and have been for many many months.
It may be relevant that none of my advertising is to directly sell goods, but is all about widening my user base or about 'branding' or indirectly selling a service.
I do see your point and agree with you.....I think though the Google has tigtend the screws down a little too hard and regular advertisers with a good site are being qualified as poor quality....
I find it a bit hypocritical that on one hand Google would say, "We're here for our searchers, so it's important that our advertisers's sites be of good quality," but then when one isn't, they say, "Your site is not of good enough quality to advertise with us--however, if you increase your bid 400% or 500% then we'll let you advertise with us."
So I think it's all about the money. They have over half the market and they're willing to use that to squeeze as much money out of advertisers as they can. It's not about giving the searchers the best results possible like they claim.
We're managing $300M in annual Google spend for our advertiser clients, and they're for the most part saying Google is their best marketing channel, period.
Quality Score forces advertisers to evolve; if it's imperfect it's still much better than the old Yahoo alternative.
I'm not seeing the problems either, for the most part - I have some nit picky things about minimum bids changing ten times a day and synchronization issues with the AdWords Editor, but I have both large and small client accounts (depending on how you define large, and including a VERY small one for myself that would need a promotion to be mom and pop) and for years now, they've been plugging away just fine. The introduction of QS made no discernible difference across the board.
An extremely interesting thread - just the sort of thread that keeps me coming back to WebmasterWorld.
I've just quoted seven of the shorter posts (on both sides of the fence) in the Advertiser Feedback Report - and have also linked to the entire thread as well.
So, lot's of folks at Google will see your comments, verbatim.