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For me conversion rate is measured based on how many clicks subscribe for a free trial. The subscription is simple, just an email and name.
Historically I've gotten about a 10% conversion rate. This has over the past year fallen dramatically.
I've tested, I've tried different landing pages, different ads, etc... Nothing has helped.
Long story short, I seemed to hit the sweet spot a few weeks ago with a key word phrase group. I was getting good CTR and fantastic conversion rates (upwards of 50%). Feeling good, I left the campaign untouched and enjoyed the great ROI. Last week, however, the clicks stopped and the CTR dropped down to zero. I increased my bids to get more exposure, the CTR went up but ROI now sucks. Where I was getting 50% before now I'm getting 1%.
What gives? I'm pulling my hair out over this but something just doesn't smell right.
I also don't understand what there is to crack down on. We have a subscription based service that provides a 2-week trial. I'm not an affiliate, I'm the website owner. Why would Google be cracking down on what is just normal straightforward business practice?
If they were coming from Content, then run a placement report and see if you can spot which site(s) were providing them - something may have changed with that site - they could have more ads competing, or gotten rid of adsense, or changed their layout - any number of things.
If they were coming from search - do you still see your ads on the first page of Google when you search on one of your keywords? Do you have any new competitors?
Have you checked your quality scores? Have they dropped recently?
There are a number of reports you can run to see how things may have changed:
Run the Impression Share Report [adwords.google.com] to see what share of the total possible impressions your ads are getting, and if they're low, whether it's because of budget or rank.
Run the Placement Performance Report [adwords.google.com] to see the sites on the Content Network where your ad has run, and how they've performed.
You need to figure out WHERE your clicks were coming from first, so you can figure out how to get them back.
I've been getting conversions from both so have been using both. I've had problems in the past with bad clicks when I use all countries so I have specifically limited searches to Europe and the US and have gotten good response on Content from that.
"If they were coming from Content, then run a placement report and see if you can spot which site(s) were providing them - something may have changed with that site - they could have more ads competing, or gotten rid of adsense, or changed their layout - any number of things."
That's what is weird. The clicks completely stopped on both the content and from Google even though the impressions stayed the same.
"If they were coming from search - do you still see your ads on the first page of Google when you search on one of your keywords? Do you have any new competitors?"
I'm a bit limited here. I'm currently living in a country that I have blocked so I can't see my ads at all.
"Have you checked your quality scores? Have they dropped recently?"
This is also a bit of a problem since I have changed all my ads over the past year and lost quality score as a result even though my ads are now better optimized. Thus, I can't really get a good comparison with what I was doing a year ago.
I'm going to run the reports you mentioned and see what I come up with. Thanks. That's a huge help.