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Thanks for your input......
Oh and here's a good read from CNN Money...
[edited by: WW_MemberName at 10:16 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2006]
My Google Adwords traffic dropped by 70%, totally unexpected, all at once on august 10th. Since then, I have promoting more expencive items on my site to make up the difference. And, I pay over quarter of a million dollars a year in Google adverting. My account rep. is a total idiot. I have been doing my own Adwords testing to see what works, with what I have left from my traffic.
I know! I love how our Google rep loves to talk to us like we are bunch of newbs..
I probably know more about the system than they do. lol
"Google is the new Microsoft and then some," says Mark Stevens, CEO of MSCO (msco.com), a marketing firm in White Plains, N.Y. "Google poses a threat to more companies in more industries than anyone else in history."
Numerous software publishers have been threatened by Google's habit of releasing freeware that competes with their products. Google makes no apologies for crushing small competitors. "This company is organized to be disruptive," CEO Eric Schmidt said in a telephone interview with FSB.
[edited by: Web_speed at 1:50 am (utc) on Sep. 8, 2006]
I do affiliate marketing. I have been hit really bad by Google, believe me. I tried Msn, no luck. I am going to give Yahoo a second chance. Google Adwords has been my main source of traffic and income for over 4 years. And I have done really well with them until august.
So, after weeks of frustration, I decided to change products i advertise, which offer higher commission payouts to compensate for my traffic loss. You know the old saying " If you can't fight them - join them"....
Even with a big corporate client, we noticed something when adding in more keywords. To buy their own brand name [company name] on any match type and send the traffic to their homepage, no affiliates or anything like that, had a minimum bid 10X that of a generic keyword related to what they sell. This doesn't seem to happen across the board, cause brand terms for other clients have not been hit with this.
We're still not talking a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. The min CPCs on the generic terms are mostly only a few cents but when there are potentially 25,000 - 50,000 clicks a month that could come from brand searches, that is potentially a sizable expenditure and there is no more relevant page on the Internet.
Just because it is a large company with a relatively large budget doesn't mean that they don't take notice of things like this.
What a change during the last 48 hours.
58 search clicks today from 78,000 keywords!
Now all my keywords are active with a simple check box change - no more search network for me. Not worth even thinking about active/inactive keywords anymore.
Waiting for the last shoe to drop - penalties on the content network.
I'm convinced that the days of cheap Google traffic are over. As an advertiser who depends on low cost Google traffic, things just continue to get worse and worse for me. Here are some snippets of my results over the past two months:
Impressions - 8,596,920
Clicks - 155,803
CTR - 1.81%
cost/click - $0.051
Impressions - 3,115,442
Clicks - 52,722
CTR - 1.69%
cost/click - $0.055
Impressions - 4,204,036
Clicks - 76,740
CTR - 1.83%
cost/click - $0.065
Impressions - 1,190,617
Clicks - 41,291
CTR - 3.47%
cost/click - $0.065
Impressions - 524,793
Clicks - 17,979
CTR - 3.43%
cost/click - $0.069
I'm pretty sure I could get the traffic back if I doubled my bids, but then I wouldn't make any money. I suspect these rate increases are having a major effect across the industry as "direct sellers" are forced out and replaced with advertisers who can afford to build brands over the long run. It would be interesting to know if the largest Google advertisers have somehow been exempted from these rate increases.
As an publisher who uses Adsense (rather than sell unmarked "natural" listings like my competitors do), I was clearly caught up in the landing page quality algo. I completed redesigned my site with input from Google with no beneficial effect as yet.
Yet, I concluded I could live with half as much Google traffic and still make money. Yet September arrives with yet another change that we're told have nothing to do with landing page quality. I'm forced to conclude that Google doesn't want to sell cheap keywords any longer.
As a computer industry veteran, I saw PC Magazine rate increases on that scale. At the time, PC Mag held a commanding position in the marketplace (like Google) so moving our budgets to PC World or Byte didn't save the day. The industry changed. Small companies who depended on cheap (high ROI) advertising, were forced out. A handful of large companies who could afford low ROI advertising survived. I suspect this is the beginning of that trend here.
Then after July 17th, the inactive keyword problem hit. We had to raise the floor of many of our top keywords to $1.00, making it tough to make money.
Then the September massacre has hit, and our remaining keyword remained active, our CPC remained about the same, but our impressions have dropped to unheard of levels. All this at the same time trying to get a handle on the quality of traffic from Overture. Now that Google traffic’s is diminishing, the Overture traffic is becoming more critical to our success, and so far, “things” are not lookin to good. (more on that later…)
So the bottom line, I'm perplexed by the actions at Google. We have been adding content and such in hopes of improving our landing page score, planning on re-launching the site with another URL. Others have indicated that this has helped. We are in the affiliate marketing field, have beed told by Google that they are “Not too impressed with sites that pass users to parent sites” (a direct quote). So maybe Google is trying to kill affiliate marketing, maybe trying to kill the “little” people out there doing affiliate marketing.
So my POA (plan of attach..) More content, re launch the entire new site with new Google account and hope that the CPC of critical keywords come down to profitable levels.
Thanks for your input….
[edited by: WW_MemberName at 3:09 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2006]
For me, I'm blown away that I can get the amount of traffic I do for only $0.17 cpc. I manage AdWords accounts for a bunch of clients and they are all willing to pay $0.50 to $5 per click, plus pay for my time on top of that. So to me, $0.17 is a bargain.
But I can certainly empathize with your dillema. I've had several ideas that I thought were worth a million bucks if I could have got good traffic at that $0.17 cpc, but for those industries the traffic just wasn't there at the price.
Even on my $0.17 project, this has risen from $0.10 a couple of years ago. And I'm assuming as more of the local advertisers move in, as the surveys seem to indicate every month, eventually that price too will rise.
Fortunately for us, as the cpc rose so did our repeat visitors and our organic traffic. So all together it works - for us.
These raises in minimum bids do not only affect those looking for the cheap clicks under 10 cents. Hundreds of my keywords that were previously raised to a minimum bid of 0.38 are inactive today, asking for 0.45. And keywords that were set to 0.50 are now inactive with a minimum of 0.55
It seems that everyday I am raising these minimums and my ROI is shrinking and shrinking. I have increased my campaigns at YSM and MSN and am happy with them, but it will still be alot of traffic to lose when I have to move away from Google.
I can't believe how much time I now have to spend checking campaigns and adjusting prices keyword by keyword. And with all the "fraudulent" clicks I receive, raises bids everyday is getting harder and harder to swallow.
I am really looking forward to microsoft's rise in the PPC market, and the release of the new YSM.
Extremely frustrating to listen to you advertisors complaining during the times my per click keeps falling..
Frustrating because I know you guys/gals are paying more..I know I'm getting less .. so that leaves me with irratating knowledge that "someone" is making more.. which is frustrating because I know my traffic is as on target as it can possibly be
Google is a middle man.
What do middle men do?
Play both sides against the middle.
It's right there up there next to the oldest profession.
We need more profit? Hedge both sides.
Google "gave" 78% to publishers (average), I bet you that number is changing right now.
[edited by: Khensu at 7:05 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2006]
Why can't MSN and Y deliver visitors?
It ain't me that has all their eggs in one basket - it's the whole darn search community.
The next time the GDP takes a dip I'll say Google did it (I may not be too far off).
My advice to google is to eliminate the landing page quality checks. And eliminate uncertainty that they have introduced to advertising. I cannot think of any time in history that advertising has been so unpredictable.
The situation is mind-boggling as least, confusing at best. Are they really concerned about quality or profit? Hard to tell, but profit seems to be in the lead. I imagine that they either completely know what they are doing and don’t care about missed revenue, or the 20% to 40% rise in CPC covers missed clicks. Either way, they have so much money that the short term is not a big concern to them.
I've throttled back all ad spending with them as it's hard to tell how the changes with effect us. But it clear the 30% to 40% rise in advertising cost is not good for the little guy. Maybe in the near future, keyword, clicks and impressions will return…
[edited by: WW_MemberName at 2:28 am (utc) on Sep. 11, 2006]
Assume 7 of ten advertisers are willing to pay $0.80 on average
Assume 3 of ten advertisers are willing to pay $0.10
Assume 1 of ten clicks go to the group of 3 advertisers willing to pay $0.10, and the other 9 clicks go to the 7 advertisers paying $0.80
If Google can price those three advertisers out of the market, then on that tenth click they make $0.80 as opposed to $0.10.
What's better for Google:
1)making [(9 x $0.80) + (1 x $0.10)] = $7.30; or
2)making (10 x $0.80) = $8.00?
Right or not, Google is getting rid of you to make more money. I don't fault Google for this, it's their search engine and I'll bet a dollar against a penny that they're sure they're going to get a neutral or positive user experience out of it (as measured by AdWords CTR, AdWords overall CTR, # searches/searcher, etc).
Ironically, a lot of us started businesses using AdWords because we thought it would be a firmer foundation to have a commercial relationship with the traffic supplier.
I don't think it's possible to herd enough AdWords buyers into kind of a buyers union. Maybe the FTC will take an interest at some point and force Google to be more open about the algos,
[excuse me while I act like I really know what I'm talking about]
But let's realize why Google is trying to also control the quality of the user experience. Think about it like this:
- You search for a widget that you want to buy. Up comes 4 or 5 ads. - You click on an ad that seems appropriate.
- You go to their site and purchase their widget at a reasonable price.
- The advertiser is happy. Google is happy.
- You are happy. You repeat this process frequently.
- Everybody is happy. Ad rates go up because more advertisers are willing to pay more. If all advertisers provide the users with a good experience, then Google lets them fight it out based on CPC.
Now on the other hand, imagine this. Your search brings up 50 ads. 45 of the ads are affiliate ads for slow pages loaded with flashing ads, pop-ups & scams. Maybe you try a couple different ads, but eventually you give up out of frustration and grab the yellow pages. You are less likely to click on those ads in the future.
Google is trying to train the users. If you are doing research look at the left side (organic). If you want to spend money look at the right side (AdWords). Right now users are like mice in a lab. If the user typically gets a piece of cheese when they push that button, they are going to pussh that button all day long.
This situation is only going to get worse. I'm talking to businesses everyday that didn't want to advertise on Google a year ago because it was too expensive. Now they are just about begging me to help them do it because they know they must. Their customers are telling them that they couldn't find them on Google, and often they are talking about the right side of the page.
I told a client just last week that I didn't think it made any sense for him to pay more than $1 per click because even if he was willing to pay an average CPC of $2 it looked like he'd only get about 20% more traffic. It was something like $100 per day for 100 clicks or $240 per day for 120 clicks. HE TOLD ME IT WAS WORTH IT!
That is what you guys are up against.
If the only way your business model works is for you to get $0.05 or $0.10 clicks from Google, you better find a difference business model. It's only going to get worse.
Forget the FTC. Forget a buyers union. Whine if you want to. Pull down your ads and complain to everyone you know. But it won't help.
So we are just about done, and I say good riddance. What company that is dependent on advertising for its revenue works so hard to alienate its advertisers? Google.
Yep, I get the distinct feeling google doesn't want me advertising with them. Slowly outpricing me so that in the end I will say "oh, I just can't afford adwords anymore.", rather than, "google kicked me out of adwords with no explanation, beware."
I too am just about done. I am still pulling in about 1000 visitors a day through adwords, but the results I'm getting elsewhere are showing me that there is life beyond adwords. Google has taught me a powerful lesson about the value of diversification... I am beginning to feel more and more secure with my multiple traffic streams and decreasing dependence on G. Thank you google.