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Are You Flying Blind With Google Placement Targeting?

When Google upgraded their Site Targeting to the newly named Placement Targeting, they made some impressive upgrades, including the most influential which is the option of CPC or CPM. However, even with this change, Google makes it very clear that "Your ads will continue to compete with other placement-targeted and keyword-targeted ads in the Google Network." This sentence, which is a direct quote from the link below, does not make me feel any better. Let me explain.

> Find out what has changed with Google Placement Targeting

When you are in the Campaign Summary >> Placements Tab, you cannot do the following:

  1. See the position where your placement Ad is located.
  2. Edit CPC or CPM for each site in your placement targeting adgroup to improve visibility
  3. See how much competition is actually taking place. (ads in rotation?)
  4. Make intelligent decisions on how to optimize. (Google says Ads or increase Bids)
  5. Run an Impression Share Report to see where you are vs. competitors.

To elaborate on #3 above, when you are in the help section within Adwords account and want to know why you can’t see your placement targeted ad, this specific example on Dynamic ad performance definitely rubs me the wrong way.

Remember that ads are served
dynamically, based on campaign budgets, the number of
placement-targeted and keyword-targeted ads competing for each site,
the Quality Scores of those ads, and other competitive factors. Your ad
simply may not be showing at the moment you look at the page…

The Google Love vs. Hate Relationship:
Google makes is rather easy to pick apart their service offerings, because they open the doors to what is going on more than any other engine. However, it’s very frustrating to constantly try and make sense of the vagueness of your PPC spending on the engine.

When I see "obvious holes" in this placement targeting service, I often think that this is intentional. Google is a thriving business and a major part of our daily lives. They are always concerned with both increasing the revenues, as well as protecting the pipeline for improvements , PR and stock price.

In conclusion:
The bottom line here is that it’s very difficult to commit to a percentage of your PPC budget on placement targeting when you cannot see the competition, evaluate the impression share or edit bids on individual sites, etc… If you cannot see these metrics, you are simply flying blind. 

Filed under: Google Adwords

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