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Google Adwords – They Are Not Practicing What They Preach


The purpose of this blog post is to ask the question: How is it that Google, who has set the standard for creating PPC best practices from Quality Score methodologies to keyword selection, can honestly propose their infamous "optimization option" that promotes broad match and mediocre campaign structure and organization that has done nothing but double or triple the spend for their advertisers and leave a bad taste in their mouths from the experience. Can you say Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde? Jekyllandhyde_cover300_cop_2

So Who Benefits from This?
Well, obviously Google (keeps the ol’ stock price up there) and I would think Search Agencies/consultants also benefit as their # 1 job would be to re-organize the structures and provide a new "realized" strategy to put their business goals back in the black. But is that a necessary evil for Google to bank on promoting "Production-Line" level PPC? I don’t know, but it brings up one hell of a discussion on "hubba, hubba who do you trust?"

My Personal Take:
I have seen many of these optimization recommendations and frankly I simply laughed at all of the following attributes which all leads to poor Quality Score. I keep going back and forth on the idea that they want to train people how to get the best results from Adwords, yet they have investors who want to see growth. It appears to me that this is just a necessary cycle to keep fresh new money coming in as well as keeping them engaged to continue spending. C’mon, this is all about good business. But have they gone too far with this? I think so. Here is why they are the king of the double standard:

  • Poor Campaign/adgroup structures
  • Very Broad Keyword Selection (all head terms, no long tails)
  • Keyword Matching (all broad)
  • Ads (didn’t provide much Call-to-action)
  • Cost per click? (top $$$/position)
  • Little to no negatives

What’s your experience with this (Reader’s Response)
So I ask everyone reading this post to think and answer the following questions:

  1. Have you been a victim of this in the past?
  2. Have you had to tell a client to ignore this?
  3. What is Google’s motive other than $$$
  4. Should the agencies/consultants just keep quiet and let Google continue this?
  5. Why doesn’t Yahoo and MSN force this down their advertisers throats more?

Thanks and look forward to your responses.

Filed under: Google Adwords

5 Responses to "Google Adwords – They Are Not Practicing What They Preach"

  1. I wish I had kept the ads that Google sent as part of its personalized “Adword Optimization” offer last year, an offer I received, with astonishment, when Google telephoned me out of the blue (!) to find out why I had pulled the plug on a campaign that was a dud (my fault). The campaign was for a portrait and event photographer, and many of the ads they came up with included the offer of “Free shipping and handling.” Taking a picture involves no shipping and handling. I had expected a thoughtful, well researched, ready to throw the switch, campaign and what I got was of no use. Rather than experiment with it, I trashed the while thing. I’m only guessing, but I suspect these are fill-in-the-blanks campaigns that are pumped out the door after passing through a few filters and a cursory look-over by someone who just graduated from college and has never been in business. I’m inclined to think it is a sign that Google is experiencing customer churn: after a period of rapid growth, many less-sophisticated campaigners have exhausted their experimental budgets without success and have given up trying to figure out how to make it work. If nothing else, this suggests there is a lot of opportunity for those who really do know how to work the levers to get the intended result.

  2. SearchCap: The Day In Search, January 17, 2008

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web….

  3. Jen Walker says:

    I actually had a good experience with the optimization my Google rep provided me. The ad copy left a little to be desired, but her use of negative keywords and focus on exact and phrase matches instead of broad was excellent. She had mentioned that she ran a report to see what the exact search queries were that were converting for my broad match keywords and then she used those as her choices for new phrase & exact match stuff. I wasn’t able to find this report on my own in the Google reporting though – it would be nice if I could find it and refine the rest of my campaign that way too. I’m seeing good results!

  4. Greg Meyers says:

    Jen, thanks for commenting. Sounds like you lucked out with that Google Rep. The only reason why I even wrote this article is because I have seen firsthand poorly “non-quality score” recommendations and have never seen a successful optimization plan that didn’t 2x-3x increase costs and force the advertiser out of the PPC game. Also, are you using conversion tracking and/or a 3rd party analytics package to track each and every click to make sure they are profitable for you?

  5. I had a bad experience with the Google Campaign Optimization. For weeks, I was very curious about this service, so I decided to try it. I wasn’t expecting stellar results, I was more curiuos as to what Google would recommend for one of my campaigns. However, I was very surprised how poorly the campaign performed after the optimization was complete, but what do you expect when the client review only lasts 5 minutes. I spoke with my Google rep for about 5 minutes, and that was all the information he needed to complete the (un)optimization of my campaign. My conversion rate decreased, cost-per-acquisition increase and Quality Score was greatly affected. I had to reset my account settings and revert back to my old ads.

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