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Sudden increase of CPC recently?

My campaigns are full of inactive keywords.

6:37 pm on Apr 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I didn't review my campaigns since last week, I remember a campaign with arround 1000 keyword in which I had about 150 "inactive for search".
Today I have 750 "inactive for search"!

Does anybody get any similar to this recently?

4:15 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

fischermx - no the email sounded as if it was "their system" that did the scanning. There was no indication that the changes were made after any sort of manual interaction with my site.

I'd post the reply here, but I think Google prohibits us from doing that in the T's and C's.

11:13 am on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One of our Google Reps said that that high CTR kws should not have been affected by any algo change. It's only supposed to hit poorly performing kws. He then went on to look at the account and agree with us saying that it appeared to be a technical error. That's two people on the phone now that have agreed with us. I know this doesn't mean much but surely others must be getting the same line.

I spoke to a large breakdown cover company today and their own brand name had been made inactive and pushed right up in price to re activate.

Other friends in the industry are saying the same. I don't mean to be melodramatic here, but something is not right.

12:41 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The email I received struck me as ambiguous as to whether or not there was a manual review. Part of the email spoke to an automated performance monitor that works throughout the day. Another part of the email says there is no one method of measuring the quality of the landing page or website and that on a case-by-case basis Google evaluates the content,structure, and navigation of a website. To me "case-by-case" seems to indicate some level of manual review.

I previously didn't understand that the entire website was being evaluated as opposed to only the landing page.

But having said that, its not clear to me why my website has been worthy for years, and now its not worthy :(

1:02 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would count on any official statement by Google about what's changed - any if there is it will be as vague as, well every other things they ever tell you :)

This is a move to raise CPC prices - nothing else. They'll either find that people are willing (out of necessity) to pay these higher prices or that advertisers' will take their money elsewhere. I wouldn't expect Google to change anything anytime soon.

1:11 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

we're not counting on anything. The fact is that Google has penalized some of our best perfroming keywords and we are in line with their policies concerning editorial guidlines. We might not have the most original business model in the world, but it works and people come back.

I hear what you are saying about not holding our breath, but all the Google people say it looks like there is a problem and that they will get back to us. That, at the moment, is all we can hope for.

1:21 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Until AWA posts here or Google sends me an e-mail saying they have a potential problem, I'm assuming nothing will change, and act accordingly.
1:38 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's only supposed to hit poorly performing kws.

Like those with CTRS less than 30%, right?

Had my first unprofitable day in recent memory yesterday. It takes a certain sustained volume of searches to pull in sales. That can't happen under the current scenario where many of the best performing keywords are untouchable.

While I raised a few bids, my spend was 1/2 of a normal day too. That couldn't have helped Google. Popular items that people buy every day were either turning up no Adwords results or the typical junk that bids on everything (and somehow makes a profit?).

Noticed searchers can still buy 'cadavers' and 'explosives' if they want to try it auction style. Just picked those two off the top of my head and there they were. But reasonably priced consumer goods with no gimmicks attached, you may be out of luck, searcher.

Have to make some hard decisions soon. Anyone else?


1:56 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is crunch time for me.

For those of us in at the beginning who would have thought things could turn so sour. You follow all the rules and then one day Google decides to take the ball away and play their own game! I really don't understand it.

Many of us are affected and surely Google can see that the last few days have not been as profitable as they could have been.

OK - I have heard many Google reps say that key thing is to ensure the ads in search are of a good quality for their visitors. If this is the case come out and say it - block the poor pages BUT don't ask for mickey mouse bid amounts and confuse the whole issue. The current scenario of high minimum bids mixed in with quality score leaves everyone in the dark. Google need to be more specific and state why a page is poor if this is their objection.

We are all playing a guessing game and AWA you really need to come back to this forum with some specifics. We have all read the guidelines, it is time to state in balck and white why this has happened especially as Google Reps are saying its looks like there is a problem.

I can only pray this mess is corrected asap.

2:08 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Even adwords reps are saying "looks like a technical problem", well ... it is!
A human mind can't see any sense on this move.
2:21 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I, too, have just received an email from adwords rep that the problem has been escalated to technical specialist.

At least they are admitting to a PROBLEM and not just give a canned response. Is everyone experience a widespread problem to all campaigns? I am only having this problem with one campaign.

AdCenter must be loving this as a migration from Adwords is inevitable.


2:27 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Having a problem with one campaign is even stranger than all campaigns. Also it isstrange that some people have had their min bids lowered to realistic levels.

My advice is to sit tight for a little while longer!

2:44 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My ads go to my affiliate web site, where I strive to produce more information and comparison of products than what the e-commerce site provides. Last night I changed one of my ads to go directly to the e-commerce site rather than my site. This morning the minimum prices for most of my keywords for that ad dropped back to where they had been.

Google says they want affiliates to produce their own landing pages with quality content, and now they want us to go directly to the e-commerce sites. Well, which is it?

3:04 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Interesting data point. I tallied all the campaigns and ads for the month of november that are essentially un-changed today and the total cost for CT's. Lets say that was $800.00 in november.

If in April, those same campaigns had the same CT's at the now elevated kwd rates, I will (or would) be spending $4,300.00 based on the last 30 days cost per click.

That is an enormous increase. Not quality, landing page this, or relevance that, etc. It is just a plain old "Google needs more cash" because they are in the quarter to quarter reporting race, even though they say they are not.

Also, the last 4 weeks conversions have been equivalent to the FIRST 4 weeks when I started to use google. Shifting more to MSN, and looking at post cards (good retention).

3:29 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quantam Goose,

My findings are exactly the same - CPC prices for my industry are up over 60% in the last 30 days compared to
Nov 05 - Jan 06.

3:50 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi everyone. I'm joining this forum because I am also losing all my traffic and wanted to join the discussion.

After cursing Google for the past couple days, I'm now ready to take a look at what I can do to get my ads running again. (without raising my bids to the unreasonable minimums.) Like many of you my "disabled" keywords were performing with very high CTRs, most of the keywords are in the adcopy of the ads, and the keywords are also found on my landing pages and are relevent to my content and services. So if this is all about a Quality Score then I'm led to believe that it is my site that has failed to impress Google.

Since I can't meet Google's minimum bids I have resolved to improve my site's quality score. So my question now is:

If I make significant changes to my site all with the aim of increasing the "quality", when will Google come back and scan the site for this measure again? If I have to wait a month or more I'm gonna go broke! (and that is assuming the quality score would even increase!)

And just as a side note: I first noticed the increased minimum bids on the 5th. For some important keywords I decided to raise my bid and get my ads showing again. However on the 6th, the very same keywords were again "disabled" and the minimum bid was even higher!?

I have to agree with many others here... if the bids are going to skyrocket suddenly like this there needs to be more transparency. Google says our options are to either raise the bid, or optimize. But what exactly needs to be optimized? They're going to have to give more detail on a case by case level. I used to hate Overture's picky human editing, now I long for it.

4:06 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

koncept - you have summed it up exactly as it is.

OK there are sites that don't impress Google - but there are ways and means of communicating this to us!

I really believe if you don't sell a product or at least give excellent reviews Google doesn't want to know you. Though when I hear on this thread that actual ecommerce sites are seeing higher minimum clicks I put my hand up and say that what message Google is sending - it isn't very clear!

4:47 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A quick question, are you bidding on terms that are not in the landing page?
I'm cleaning my campaigns and analizing on of them, I noticed that the crazy bids keywords I realize that near 90% of them does not have my main keywords.
In the normal bid keywords, all of them have my main keyword. May be they just setup a tighter check on this recently?
4:54 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google responded to my e-mails saying that my affiliate site lacks a quality page score. They don't see any value in it, therefore I must be put out of business.
Did they compare my information to what they can find on the e-commerce site? Probably not, they saw the information mine provided and just assumed they'd find it on the e-commerce site.

Google continues its war on affiliates, which just forces me to advertise directly to the e-commerce site. Odd. But in that rarefied air at the Googleplex, they can look down their noses at us. They don't want our money, we're not big enough players for them to be concerned with us.

7:03 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

kempozone - any word from your AdWords rep who said the issue looked like a technical problem on their end?

I'm still holding out that this was a mistake on their part, and not some backhanded way to not-so-subtley put us out of business.

7:03 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Strange things continues.
I went and decided to cleanup my campaigns for inactive keywords that didn't perform very well anyway.
So, after analysing and raise same bids from $0.10 to $0.20, I deleted all my inactive keywords, that was like an hour ago.
Now, I log in again and I have one inactive keyword already, with 32 impressions and 1 click gives a CTR of near 3%, well, now they ask me $0.40.
Why,why,why? It goes beyond my comprehension.
7:30 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


still waiting for response....

I really don't care too much about it as it only affects one campaign. I am also using AdCenter to supplement the lost traffic, however.


10:00 pm on Apr 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Did they really say this or is this your intrepretation?

"Google responded to my e-mails saying that my affiliate site lacks a quality page score. They don't see any value in it, therefore I must be put out of business."

I wonder if one removes affiliate links as an experiment - minimum bids will lower?

4:18 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm a Google investor and have been following this story with some interest. It seems that this CPC issue has only occured in the last week or so - somebody at the Yahoo message board brought it to my attention only now.

My question is whether this increase in CPC has happened prior to last week and March 31st or whether it seems to be a reaction to bad numbers between January 1 and March 31. If it's been going on all quarter I'd better get "long" for earnings release; but if it's only been happening recently I'd be almost certain that the results from Q1 were disappointing.

Thanks for any responses - it's a real help to me.

5:24 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This happened on April 5 2006, As if a
Really stupid algo switch was flipped --
And, it seems to have happened to ALOT
of people.

For me, it happened in (very successful) campaigns
that have been running for over a year, some for over
2 years with Very little changes to them.

The k/w's & ads affected were Highly Targetted to the
landing page. There would be Very Little I could do to "increase quality".

For the campaigns affected, I will be taking my advertising money to Yahoo.

If they did this because of bad performance in Q1,
then they better fire their Financial Wizards, cause
they have just LOST a Bundle of Advertising $'s.

They have KILLED Numerous Very Targeted Ads from
what I can tell be reading these posts.

And, If they think Companies are going step up and fill Affiliate Ad's shoes they are Badly mistaken.

Smart Companies know they are getting a Great deal
in Affiliate advertising. And, many of these companies don't have the Experience in advertising
that is handed to them by affiliates.

[edited by: manx at 5:32 am (utc) on April 8, 2006]

5:28 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The increase in minimum bids has been going on since they implemented it, in August 2005. (is that right?) BUT the sudden, widespread, outrageous minimum bids is definitely something new, at least for me. It hit my campaigns suddenly on April 5th and to an even further degree on April 6th. So yes, it is something new. (hence this thread).

My traffic is far less than half what it used to be, and my spend is also less than half.

I no longer think this was a cash grab because I think they'll actually take a loss for it. I now think they are truly trying to optimize their ad serving for users and I'm working hard on my site to hopefully gain a better quality score. However, I do think that they acted rather savagely and left too many questions unanswered in the process. I am definitely looking around for new traffic sources now and putting more effort into SEO.

Google - I used to love you but you broke my heart! :)

5:33 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Excellent! Thanks for the clarification - now that I know it definitely seems to have happened on April 5th I can be pretty sure that the previous quarter may have sucked and the extra revenue won't be hitting the books on their earnings release April 20th.

That, coupled up with the massive stock sales and evidence of fraud out there pretty much seals the deal on Q1 06 - I think I'll go "short" into earnings.

[edited by: Woz at 10:29 am (utc) on April 8, 2006]
[edit reason] No Self URLs please, see TOS#13 [/edit]

10:51 am on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've been hit too. Now 300 adgroups have zero impressions.

One thing I have noticed is that the largest increase is always the same but it is in two tiers.


1. 0.10 to 4.50, or 0.75 to 4.50

2. 0.10 to 2.25, or 0.75 to 2.25

(hypothetical figures used to avoid TOS problems)

Maybe if they really don't want your site they stick it up to the maximum. Else they stick it up half way. Make sense?

12:01 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well I have just emailed the rep I have dealt with over the last few years to see I can get to the bottom of exactly what is going on. I trust he will give me a straight answer and avoid giving me the template response if you know what I mean!
1:52 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just curious,

Of all the people experiencing the issues, how many are affiliates and how many are actual merchants?

I manage several accounts, my merchant accounts have been unaffected, but a couple of the affiliate accounts got hit.

So, instead of a technical issue, is it really another wave of elimination of affiliate ads?

I would be curious to hear from those who have been affected - affiliate or merchant?

2:08 pm on Apr 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This 229 message thread spans 8 pages: 229

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