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Google Display URL Policy Change
ppcbuyers




msg:3833494
 10:18 pm on Jan 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mod's note:

This post originally contained a copy of an email, which our TOS forbid. (No emails, no exceptions.)

The email purported to be from Google AdWords, and stated that they will no longer be allowing display URLs from multiple domains within a single ad group, supposedly in the name of improving user experience. The email asked advertisers to make changes by the end of February.

This would be a significant and disruptive policy change if it is true but we have not yet been able to confirm if it is genuine.

I personally have not received a copy of the email, and I am not seeing any announcements about it either in my Client Center or within individual client accounts.

Can anyone out there help us verify that this is really from Google?

[edited by: buckworks at 11:07 pm (utc) on Jan. 25, 2009]
[edit reason] Paraphrased email excerpt. [/edit]

 

Sujan




msg:3833722
 10:41 am on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

Source?

koncept




msg:3833883
 7:21 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

This will really put a damper on some of my ad testing efforts.

Kobayashi




msg:3833930
 7:57 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

I got the same email few days ago from my account rep but for some reason it did not include the last two sentances.

buckworks




msg:3834368
 10:35 pm on Jan 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Having edited the opening post to conform to our TOS (No emails, no exceptions!) I'll take off my mod's hat and make a personal comment:

The proposed change makes zero sense the way it was worded because it would have zero effect on the user experience. The sheer illogicality of the request makes me suspicious, and I will not believe it is for real until I see it announced within my AdWords account.

Kobayashi




msg:3834534
 6:44 am on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

The email I got about it began with a statement that the reason I was being given advance notice was that they noticed my account may be impacted by this policy change so I imagine that not only was advance notice only sent to those with account managers but only to those accounts that they determine will be impacted by it. I suspect a more general notice will be forthcoming before the end of February if that is when they will start disapproving ads for such.

This is just a guess as to why they may be doing this but when you have two ads for different landing pages within an adgroup running in rotation the quality score of any one keyword appears to be averaged between the two ads and thus higher then it should be when the worse ad is showing and lower than it should be when the better ad is showing. Now I realize this could still occur with two ads from the same domain if the landing pages are different but I suspect the domain is a key part of this quality score and thus eliminating it as a factor would help reduce this problem.

[edited by: Kobayashi at 6:47 am (utc) on Jan. 26, 2009]

netmeg




msg:3837532
 5:18 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I dunno; personally I can't think of a situation where I'd have different urls in a single ad group, but maybe that's just me.

buckworks




msg:3837607
 6:23 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Testing how one display URL performs compared to another is one of many ways to improve the effectiveness of your ads.

netmeg




msg:3837620
 6:44 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

My understanding is that Google said different display urls at the domain level weren't allowed.

i.e. you can still do:

example.com/BigRedWidget
example.com/BigGreenWidget

but you can't do

example.com/BigRedWidget
example2.com/BigRedWidget

in the same ad group.

buckworks




msg:3837625
 6:48 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, and they are not doing anyone any favors by making it harder for advertisers to determine whether example.com or example2.com is more attractive to consumers.

buckworks




msg:3837658
 7:17 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I still haven't seen any mention of this change from official sources, by the way.

ryanfromaustin




msg:3837705
 7:53 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Our account manager contacted me regarding this issue and confirmed that it is indeed going to happen. Here is the rationale:

* There was a recent policy change regarding display URL's that made total sense - the display URL has to match the landing page. Without this policy in effect, I could post ads with URL's pointing to my site but with the display URL of a competitor. Not too fair.

* To circumvent this, some advertisers created ads that had a display URL and a destination URL that pointed to a site they did not own. They then just pointed their keyword-level URL's to their own landing page.

This policy simply enforces that advertisers own the domains they are advertising on and allows user to know that they are going to the the site they think they are going to. However, this policy will NOT affect subdomains or directories. In other words, under the new policy, if you own "xyz.com," the all of the following would be fine to use in the same ad group:

xyz.com
subdomain.xyz.com
xyz.com/somekeyword

However, you cannot have xyz.com and xyz2.com in the same ad group.

buckworks




msg:3837713
 8:02 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

That is very different from saying that an advertiser will not be allowed to test Example.com against Example1.com in the same ad group.

I want to see this from an official source!

netmeg




msg:3837719
 8:20 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

However, you cannot have xyz.com and xyz2.com in the same ad group.

That is very different from saying that an advertiser will not be allowed to test Example.com against Example1.com in the same ad group.

How is that different?

I want to see this from an official source!

I haven't seen it posted on the official AdWords blog, and we can't quote emails or post links here, but you'll find something about it on ewhisper's blog, if you consider him to be authoritative.

AdWordsAdvisor




msg:3837725
 8:30 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I want to see this from an official source!

I can confirm that there is a change coming up, the intent of which is to make sure users are sent to the site to which they expect to be sent.

That said, I am so far behind in general (which, by the way, also accounts for my less than sterling attendence in the forum the past week and more) that I am not yet up-to-speed on the details.

I will look into it and post again later. To set reasonable expectations, it is not likely to be earlier than late in the day tomorrow (Friday) - just looking at what I've got to get done before I can even start digging into it.

My apology for not having a concise answer, right now.

AWA

Kobayashi




msg:3837734
 8:41 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I can confirm that there is a change coming up, the intent of which is to make sure users are sent to the site to which they expect to be sent.

If that is the intent, limiting the number of domains within an adgroup as a way of achieving this seems a bit much when you could simply just verify the display domain and final destination domain (whether it be at the ad or keyword level) go to the same domain when an ad or keyword level URL is added or edited and test any ads submitted before this policy went into effect - which I thought your company was already doing anyway.

[edited by: Kobayashi at 8:47 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2009]

buckworks




msg:3837752
 9:12 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

How is that different?

The first few paragraphs of what ryanfromaustin reported do not trouble me at all. Having the display domain match the landing page is what should have been happening all along.

Making sure the landing page domain matches the display URL is one thing, and that's the part that is very different from saying that advertisers will no longer be allowed to use the same ad group to test the performance of Example.com (with a landing page on Example.com) against Example1.com (with a landing page on Example1.com). There may be technical reasons for that aspect of the change, but there is not much logic from a marketing point of view.

If Google has to take that particular step backwards in order to fix a different problem, then that's what they need to do, but it needs to be made clear.

To circumvent this, some advertisers created ads that had a display URL and a destination URL that pointed to a site they did not own. They then just pointed their keyword-level URL's to their own landing page.

Google needs to do a better job of evaluating landing URLs used at the individual keyword level, not just to make sure the domains match, but also for assessing the quality score for a particular keyword/landing page combination. That's a different discussion, though.

Horatio




msg:3837754
 9:14 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

It goes farther than some here are stating.
I have 2 url's. I own both of them. My Ecom platform is one the first. The second url relates to some of our products better. Before, we would use the second url as the display url. We would even send the click to the second url. It would then redirect to the correct site. Google told us we could not do this anymore.

jkwilson78




msg:3838635
 10:14 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Making sure the landing page domain matches the display URL is one thing, and that's the part that is very different from saying that advertisers will no longer be allowed to use the same ad group to test the performance of Example.com (with a landing page on Example.com) against Example1.com (with a landing page on Example1.com). There may be technical reasons for that aspect of the change, but there is not much logic from a marketing point of view.

I get what you are saying...makes complete sense...which is why I fear that this will not be allowed....because it makes sense :-)

One of the single best ways to improve CTR and conversion rates is to test different domain names. It is amazing what only changing a domain name can do.

Now instead of taking the common sense approach and also checking that the keyword level domain matches that of the ads, they are just eliminating (or making it much more difficult) to perform a very valuable and valid test.

I think this is a case of too many big brainedd folks at Google over analyzing a problem with a much simpler solution.

Chico_Loco




msg:3838901
 1:13 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not exactly the next Einstein, but I fail to see the logic here at all. What if I actually own many domains (or at least two) that do the same thing and want to test which one actually performs better... I'd use a single ad group with the same keywords and use the different domains, then track conversions, ROI, etc. on the domains based off the ad traffic.

With this, each needs to be segregated into a different ad group. If you're trying to make sure that people get to the place as advertised, then having the display domain match the destination domain is the way to go - and that's been done already (right?)

Man... sometimes I think we're going backwards!

skibum




msg:3839232
 6:52 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

The first few paragraphs of what ryanfromaustin reported do not trouble me at all. Having the display domain match the landing page is what should have been happening all along.

I thought it always the policy that display domain had to match landing page domain. For a while they gave a little flexibility. Clients would sometimes have msn.webmasterworld.com and google.webmasterworld.com and yahoo.webmasterworld.com all being 3 distinct businesses and while it was technically in violation of the Google policies they would let us slide with using MSN.com google.com and yahoo.com as the display URLs. A year or two ago we have to give each of the businesses its own top level domain so that all three businesses could show if they used the same keywords.

wedouglas




msg:3839379
 11:15 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think that the main reason for allowing only one display url per adgroup is that you could fool their reviewers by setting keyword URL's that match one display URL, but not the other. I can only assume that they review per ad, not per adgroup.

I know I have accidentally left keywords active with keyword URL's that didn't match the new ad.

Also, a lot of people use 3rd party tracking. So reviewing keyword URL's would be a pain, finding that most are just instant redirects, i.e. linksynergy or whatever.

swa66




msg:3839589
 7:48 am on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

From a publisher's viewpoint: is this finally the start of Google doing something on the discrepancy between displayed URL and actual URL ?

If so: go on, there is far more ground to cover before the scummy advertisers are exposed.

Kobayashi




msg:3839823
 7:42 pm on Feb 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think that the main reason for allowing only one display url per adgroup is that you could fool their reviewers by setting keyword URL's that match one display URL, but not the other. I can only assume that they review per ad, not per adgroup.

Perhaps but the point is this is a drastic way to achieve it. I mean why don't they just have their software automatically compare the final destination tld of the ad to the same of any keyword level URLs when added or edited?

Also, a lot of people use 3rd party tracking. So reviewing keyword URL's would be a pain, finding that most are just instant redirects, i.e. linksynergy or whatever.

Unlike manually checking for content, comparing the tld of a final destination URL (at ad or keyword level) is the same as that of the ads is ideally suited for an automated script so no further labor should be required no matter what kind of URLs were used.

[edited by: Kobayashi at 7:44 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2009]

Chico_Loco




msg:3840286
 1:50 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Unlike manually checking for content, comparing the tld of a final destination URL (at ad or keyword level) is the same as that of the ads is ideally suited for an automated script so no further labor should be required no matter what kind of URLs were used.

Except that each time you test the URL you will skew the data recorded by the 3rd party tracking system (it's not really an ad click).

Kobayashi




msg:3840602
 7:54 pm on Feb 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well there is no reason why it could do not be done at the same time the quality score bot periodically arrives so it would not create any additional requests.

BTW, if you don't already use a 3rd party tracking system that enables you to filter out data by user agent you may want to look into it as I beleive Google adds such data to their requests.

rustybrick




msg:3854230
 8:14 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is happening this coming week. See Google's official post at [adwords.blogspot.com...]

mortgagemax




msg:3854318
 9:48 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would like to thank Google for the big 3 full days advance notice including the weekend. Should we pause or delete the other ads? Will they delete them? How will Google determine which ad will run?

Dlocks




msg:3854390
 11:32 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would like to thank Google for the big 3 full days advance notice including the weekend.
I also received the e-mail with the notification today (friday) in the evening.

So zero office days advance notice. I must say, that is ridiculous. Or perhaps I have missed an e-mail regarding this policy change. Ifso, then I take my words back.

As an affiliate I have a couple of adgroups running where I'm split testing different top-level domains from different vendors. So now they ask me to duplicate those campaigns. And because of the keyword limit for an Adwords account that limit is now reached faster. An I already have two accounts...

[edited by: Dlocks at 11:46 pm (utc) on Feb. 20, 2009]

skaye




msg:3855149
 4:37 am on Feb 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Should we pause or delete the other ads? Will they delete them? How will Google determine which ad will run?

Hello- I am new round here. I imagine the adverts that don"t comply with the new policy will simply cease to work. It will deactivate the ad. Thats what happened to me last time there was a policy change.

This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >
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