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Adwords over the top

Some problems with Adwords cost effectiveness



1:56 am on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I hope GoogleGuy can reply to this but it is posted in an open forum as I wonder if others are having this problem.

My problem is that last time i checked my Adowrds campaogn management, Adwords was asking me to pay something like 80c and over per click for some terms, terms that are usually seem as fairly uncompetitive in most SE main indexes or PPC systems. The ads attract a very small amount of impressions and click throughs.. eg our most popular keyword campaign gets around 300 impressions and 5 click throughs a week.

Let me give you an example which is not exactly my terms but which are very close..

"Advertising Agency"

Now the minimum CPC for this is very high, but when we add the term say "Malaysia" to be "Advertising Agency Malaysia" the CPC does not go down at all, and in some cases **increases***

We have the ad running worldwide as a good proportion of potential customers are from the US and Europe looking to engage a local agency.

Now at 80c a click, (and of course only a small percentage of these are going to contact us, or even convert!) is more than the cost of my daily fried rice lunch with orange juice.

Almost the same ads on Overture are running around 10c per click and more frequently we have no competitors on the three word country phrases meaning we pay the minimum of 5c per click. On overture we are also getting far more clicks per campaign. Basically all our competition drops out when we add "Malaysia" or "Thailand", "singapore" or "china". On google however, we compete with those advertising for wider markets (eg: "advertising agencies" alone). This also makes for more general, less relevant and less targeted adword listings on google pages for these types of queries. Hardly good for the reinforcement of Google's "relevancy- based" branding. Curiously enough, Overture "SERPS's" on average, are much better refined and targeted for a given query. Growing pains for Google? - or a strategy to increase revenue, or just a sub-optimal min CPC calculation formulae?

The difference is with Overture adding a qualifying or limiting keyword like "Malaysia" actually reduces the CPC substantially. It also only lists those sites for that specific term - eg "advertising agencies malaysia" rather than mixing them up with sites that are paying for the phrase "advertising agencies" alone as well.

My point is with Google it does not.

Im not trying to cry unfair here, its an open market place for sure and I have the choice on running or not running ads, but the bottom line, is that 80c for a click, the campaigns are simply not cost effective, and i just cant continue with these ones.

What i am asking - Is there a key problem with the way Adwords calculates minimum clicks that makes it badly cost-ineffective for many advertisers and campaigns?

I underline again that the ads get very few impressions, meaning to me, that they are fairly unique terms with little competition. But we seem to be getting charged based on just some of the terms in the keyword list, rather than all of them as a whole?

Any comments, particularly on this problem as a whole and how it effects others?


1:59 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Agreed. Surely the more terms in a search phrase, the less likely it would be to that a user searches all of the words. The CPC should go down.

I feel it is a *HUGE* Google mistake as I have stopped most of my AdWords in favour of alternative methods. I used to use the original AdWords and found that to be very cost effective, this new way of forcing prices up is actually costing me more: The ads are very specific and have lists of negative keywords, thus getting between 10%-20% clickthrough on many of my campains.


2:27 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I fully agree - i only buy the "traditional" impressions sheme. The clickthroughs are very impressive - mostly around 10% and the more specific you plan the more clicks you'll get!

Only big bad thing is, google has no doubleclick controll or any technique that detects and removes contineous and double clicks! I emailed them and they answered very quick (around 36 hours) saying that they don't have such a "security feature" built in, but they would control it and take the concerns very serious.

I highly recommend to make a reload blocker. At the moment the clickthroughs can be descreased a lot!

I always register a "mydomain.com/google" url - a simple copy of the actual index page - to control the log entries for this page. I didn't compute the "real" chlickthrough rate, without known doublicates, but a quick check gives around 30% (!) doubled, tripled ... clicks!

Anyway, the chlickthroughs are fine and lead to some good traffic!


2:46 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

i'm not 100% sure but i think if you want your ads syndicated on AOL it is only Adwords Select, not the original program. I would like them to adress the "more specific - same price" problem as i see it a major problem for relevancy of ads and their brand as a whole. Im suprised more people havent noticed this, but my sample is very small, and in fairly un-competitive terms, so it may not a broad problem with those advertising in more competitive markets or more popular keywords. that's for sure where google will make the most money, but they need to protect relevancy of ads, as well as their mainstream database.


3:50 pm on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Are you using exact phrase matching, or phrase matching? See if this makes a difference. Using the [exact phrase matching] brackets may make a difference. If not, then this illustrates a problem for Google, as PPC rates will put them out of the ballpark for all but the largest budgets. At 80 cents per on an uncompetitive phrase, I hesitate to think what competitive terms might cost.

Update: This won't make a difference. It only effects which terms trigger a display of your ad. I also found, using a high priced term <mesothelioma> that adding words to a phrase does not necessarily lower the CPC. Strange, actually in many cases - the reverse.

1.mesothelioma - 11.80
2.mesothelioma info - 12.72
3.peritoneal mesothelioma - 12.23
4.pleural mesothelioma - 12.18

This is very strange, as it is impossible to believe that that #2,3 and 4 are MORE competitive than 1. When each, according to traffic estimator gets less than 1 click per day.

Interestingly enough.
mesothelioma attorney - 9.68
mesothelioma lawyer - .76

Playing Google Adwords Select surely is different than playing OV. Even with the automatic bid lowering, this needs a case by case review, AND word by word. ESPECIALLY since with a credit card on file, you may be subject to some really nasty surprises at the end of the month.
I for one do not know how I am going to "package" this for cleints and give good estimates on proposals. And I surely will not put the accounts on my credit card, as I have with OV.


1:19 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

hi bigjohn. Interesting response thanks. My experience entirely. We are using exact phrases with the square brackets. Not using them meant we didnt meet the minimum click through percentages as we are a niche rather than generalist service. We got a lot of exposures but very few click throughs.

Also very interesting was that it does depend on the extra word you add. We found this too, and cant work out any rhyme or reason to the connection between the type of word added and the increase/decrease on min CPC. Your lawyer example is a great example.

Perhaps lawman can come into this discussion and explain why lawyers are so cheap and attorneys are so expensive!

Curiouser and Curiouser..


1:21 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

bigjohn. are you specifiying a maximum daily charge for each campaign? That way no surpises.


3:15 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm glad that this topic has been brought up here in the forum. This is a REALLY annoying part of the Google Adwords Select program. The system just doesn't make any sense sometimes. Google usually does such a supurb job with everything that they do; however, this is a definate lapse IMHO.

Maybe we should start a petition to send in to the Googleplex. My clients would love to use Google Adwords Select, but currently the system is too costly and unpredictable.

One fact that Google should realize is that this PPC allocated money IS being spent, but at Overture instead.


4:24 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

agreed just trying.. As bigjohn says they are very different PPC models, (which may suit Google given Overture's patent suit).

But even given that, Im feeling more and more that Google is targeting very high spenders with general targets - makes sense in that the top 5% of your customers generally bring in the most to a massive proportion of most businesses revenue. However that it is at contra-purposes to Google's overall brand of relevant niche results.

On the other hand, I am open to Google explaining why these minimum CPC algos work why and how they do. There may be a quite reasonable explanation we havent cottoned onto yet. Or they just be targeting a defined market for Adwords that may not include guys like us!

I do find it confusing that as the champion for niche relevant content, Google seems to be discouraging it in their Ads side.

In my case, Google is missing out on revenue that would otherwise go to them, which continues to go to Overture, becuase OV's model makes more sense for us personally from a cost-effective measure.

I wonder if this is the case for how many other people? Just a few? many?

OV has upped their game considerably lately. As a very tiny customer who spends 20 to 50 Us a month, OV approved our new keywords last time in 3 hours on a weekend! Now thats great service, and strategically addresses one of their competitive disadvantages when ADWords initially launched. There ARE smart guys at Overture, whether they have Phd's or not :) It may just be the street smartness that comes from experience. And OV SERPs continue to improve in removing poorly related ads from their SERPS, and letting the niche home or small business guy "have a go". 'Fer god's sake Overture may start looking like the "friendly cute" PPC soon, and I have to say I am impressed at their efforts, almost as much at Google's brand and customer orientated efforts on their search engine side...


4:34 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member chiyo is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

sorry to go on.. but..

Google does state their minimum CPC is set "to be fair to users of the orginal Adwords program". That is about the only clue we have to how these are set (unlike OV where the min CPC is 5c and the auction method lets you know exactly how a ranking is acheived). Google's method is far less transparant and much more vague. I would love it to be more specific.

And I'm picking up that the original program is being phased out with all the suggestions from Google that Adwords customers should upgrade to Adwords Select. If that happens, what will be the basis for the minimum CPC?


4:51 am on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google's method is far less transparant and much more vague.

Chiyo - I think that just about sums up the difference between OV and Adwords. It just seems that Google has taken the worst of PPC and the worst of traditional searches, and created AdWords Select.

Unlike the vast majority on this board, I am a fan of PPC - maybe because cloaking, doorway pages, and keyword stuffing are new to me. But with AdWords select, I seem to get lots of (claimed) exposure, an occasional high-priced click, and little return.


3:00 pm on May 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>bigjohn. are you specifiying a maximum daily charge for each campaign?
No, actually that is per click. However, most of the terms return a <1 click per day - which again is seriously skewed from Overtures last month figures.