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Adword Campaign - Traffic *WAY* down
...compared to 1 year ago.

 9:56 pm on Dec 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

9:54 pm on Dec. 2, 2007 (utc 0)

I decided to go back and review my Google AdWords statistics from exactly one year ago (thankfully I print all that stuff out and keep it).

Across many of my campaigns, traffic is down in a *massive* way. Case in point - I have one campaign who's traffic has fallen about 10,000%. I went from something like 38,000 impressions and hundreds of clicks, to just a couple hundred impressions and 4 clicks. The words all say quality score is either great or ok and the only thing I've changed it to *increase* the budget by 50% a month ago.

I called Google to ask about it and was told my niche (online dating) has become more competitive. Needless to say I was not very enthused with this response. Yes, competition is up and perhaps that could account for the fact that I needed to spend 50% more. I could even understand a 50% drop in traffic under the explanation of competition - but what I have experienced is massive and could only reflect a fundamental algo change. But if my quality scores are all great or ok, and I'm bidding a healthy bid, then what gives?

Any thoughts? After griping I finally got my "adwords specialist" to refer it for review, but I'm not exactly expecting a helpful response. I'm curious in the meantime, if fellow WebmasterWorld members might have any thoughts?




 12:00 am on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

But if my quality scores are all great or ok, and I'm bidding a healthy bid, then what gives?

Have your average positions maintained rank compared to last year? It's probably safe to say that the online dating industry hasn't declined since last year... but, if you're not getting exposed to as many searchers due to a lower position (even at a higher bid or budget), this might contribute to a drop in impressions and traffic.


 2:22 am on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hmm. That is an interesting point. In fact, my avg position has ... IMPROVED!

Nov 06: 5.4 avg pos,
Nov 07: 3.4 avg pos

FYI - I have the actual impression numbers in front of me now too:

Nov 06: 197,517 impressions (206 clicks)
Nov 07: 10,522 impressions (4 clicks)

...and this whil I'm paying $.30 per clicks whereas I was previously paying $.10 per click.


 7:19 am on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's strange. Are your targeting options the same as last year - especially with regards to Content Targeting & the Search Syndication Network? Do you have any budget constraints that might result in inconsistent delivery?


 7:31 am on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

you should also look at your impression share (although that statistics is not available for last year's data).
But it could be that although you have a good quality score, and a good position, your ad is only shown a fraction of the number of times it was shown last year.

in my experience, online dating is VERY competitive and you're probably up against competitors with bog budgets who are willing to burn some money to gain members.


 9:19 pm on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

We have the same problem. Same campaign, same cost-per-click, same keywords, same site, "great" quality scores, nearly the same ad positions and our traffic has dropped by half since the same time last year. I still haven't figured out why. If anything, more people are searching for our niche this year than last.

How do you find impressions share, though?


 11:44 pm on Dec 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Online dating is a pretty big niche. I say it's the competition. Average positions can be exceptionally misleading when they're aggregated.


 4:58 am on Dec 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

> "I say it's the competition."

Umm ... I went from 147 to 4. You mean to tell me you think competition has incresed nearly 30 fold in 12 months? Moreover, I've tripled my price during that same period of time. Meanwhile, my avg position has not really changed....

How on earth could that all be explained by competition?

My guess at the moment is that it must be related to content versus search networks or something? Maybe before my price would sufficient to be a part of the search network whereas now I'm just reconciled to content or somehting?


 5:04 am on Dec 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are you going direct to merchant? If so it could be that another affiliate is promoting the same site which can kill your traffic.

Also, if you are promoting adult dating you might notice that campaigns bring in lots of good traffic initially before G gives it the adult rating which seriously bottlenecks your traffic.

As for competition, it could still be a major factor all things aside. I work in your niche and have found there to be a huge increase in players using PPC for dating in the last year. I find that the margins are shrinking and it is becoming increasingly difficult to advertise dating with G unless I niche down even further.


 1:26 pm on Dec 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

How on earth could that all be explained by competition?

Let me expand on my answer:
- Your campaign is pretty small, the big players in dating will be getting 10,000+ clicks/day. So a variance from 206 to 4 isn't much of a change. Looking at that change as a percentage is misleading.
- Even though your average CPC is now $0.30, I suspect that is still below the sector average.
- Average position is misleading. Certain keywords disappearing off page 1 can make your total average position go up, even though you're getting less traffic. I would analyse your high traffic keywords individually and see what's happened to them.


 3:08 pm on Dec 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with beesticles. Check your biggest keywords and compare those to a year prior. Are you still seeing an improvement in avg position, CTR, etc? Are you/were you running on the content network? If so, are you running these as mirrored campaigns? Running the content and network traffic separately is the way to do it. Content network traffic will greatly skew the stats.


 1:33 pm on Dec 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi, i'm working with an online dating client since more than 1 year.
My client uses mostly content network, not too much Search. This year since August, content impressions has decreased in like 70% from 1.2M Imp to just 330k a day.
I've called several times to Google, and they said that there could have been changes on the content network. That's the only explanation they give me, and i think is the only thing might explain such a drop, if not, i dont understand why they are showing less impressions because they generate less clicks ergo less money.
If someone has another explanation for this impressions drop in the online dating market, will be highly appreciated by all of us i think.

[edited by: TeiraConsulting at 1:35 pm (utc) on Dec. 13, 2007]

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