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Massive change in impressions

7:38 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I've noticed a massive change in number of impressions on my account. I target UK only and search only.

The following are figures for 1-8 July
Year - Clicks - Imps - CTR - Pos
2010 - 334 - 53,600 - 0.62% - 3.7
2009 - 603 - 10,652 - 5.66% - 4.1

Anyone else noticing similar?


8:01 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Did you increase your bid(s) amount(s) in this account since July 2009?

Do you have a lot of ad groups with broad match keywords?

Do you update the negative keywords list(s) for this account regularly?

Maybe your ads are showing up on the keywords or phrases page results that you do not want them to show up.
3:29 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I would take a look at the search query report and see what keywords are actually being used to trigger your ads.

Some trend could be triggering it that you'll need to add to your negatives.

Heck, I've seen this happen just on fluke things like a New York Times crossword puzzle clue.
3:43 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Agree with everyone above, it's likely a broad match issue. Check your Search Query report.
4:06 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


Thanks for the suggestions.

Have they recently made changes to the way "Broad Match" is applied? The reason I ask is because I have not knowingly done anything that could have caused a step change in impressions.


8:29 pm on Jul 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If they did, how would we know?

They don't have to make changes to see a huge impression change though - nor do you. All it takes is some trend suddenly taking off that marginally sounds like some keyword of yours. Broad match is pretty broad. I'd be willing to bet the answer lies in the Search Query Report.

Suppose I sold some security software that prevented kids from being contacted by online predators. And I had a bunch of keywords that contained the word "predators" even if I wasn't using the word by itself. Or it could even be included in my product name.

And now all of a sudden, there's a SciFi/monster movie called Predators and everyone's searching for reviews, showtimes, cast lists, soundtracks - whatever. Even if they don't click on my ads, my impressions for all my internet "predators" keywords are suddenly through the roof. And my CTR goes down, and that probably doesn't help my QS too much. Or, even worse, I haven't written my ad to be as spot on specific as I could, so now I'm getting a lot of clicks for people looking for movie information, and as soon as they see my landing page, they fly off. But I've paid for the click.

The trick is to catch these things early, so you can take necessary measures (with negatives, using phrase match, etc) *before* it gets out of hand.
2:20 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Nice post netmeg. Hissingsid, you should set up alerts for yourself to make sure you catch any spike in impressions in the future.
5:27 pm on Jul 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I think that Broad Match is the issue. Although there was a spike in impressions this did not produce a similar spike in clicks. Clicks remained the same and the CTR fell to a fraction of a percent.

I'm tweaking my keywords and bids as my figures show that leads sent by broad match don't convert as well as others.

Thanks for all of your help.


7:08 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You are spot on with the broad match issue. netmeg is right, rin a search query report and you should be able to identify the spike pretty quickly. Its not only limited to "catchy" words, many times google will squeak a few keywords that have poor relevance. Those are the best keywords to add as negatives, but you all know that stuff anyway. Good luck.
1:16 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have broad match turned off again! I never liked it much before but thought I'd give it another go recently.

However, one of the broad match queries I had was completely different to my search terms - it didn't use any of the words in my 'match' and it also in no way had any connection to what I was trying to sell.

I didn't have time to trawl through the thousands of other useless queries but did notice that google was trying to use up my budget as quick as it could.

Could this mainly be due to the recession.

This is the time of year (in terms of low sales) whereby a large number of adwords spenders stop / reduce their campaigns.

What with the recession cutting deep into sales, I suspect this has been exacerbated and you've simply stepped in to take their increasingly vacant positions, hence the spike in impressions.

As the results become less relevant to the search query the CTR falls through the floor - just be thankful that those searchers aren't clicking on the link otherwise your costs will soar while conversion rates do not!
2:03 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

webdevfv, you sound like a good candidate for the new broad match modifier, if you are located in a country where it's available.

Read about it here. I'd give it a try before you give up on broad match entirely:

[adwords.google.com ]
3:45 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The new broad match modifier or whatever they call it (I call it broad match plus) is now available every where since Wednesday. I've tried it and results are promising.
8:47 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

netmeg - I've not heard of it but will take a look. Thanks
9:33 am on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just taken a look and I must say that I haven't been keeping my on the ball as I always thought that with broad match the terms (or lengthened version of word, i.e. plural) should appear in the query anyway, although not in any order and could include/exclude other words too!

Wonder how many others are paying google loads of dosh for results that they were not anticipating.

How long before they change the rules on exact match to include other words unless you put a squiggle in there somewhere?

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