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Google Taking Advantage of 2008 Elections with Extremely High CPC’s

I have been fortunate enough to be working on paid search campaigns for U.S. Politicians and when I saw the CPC’s for very generalized Political type keywords asking for a min $10.00 CPC (see below) the first thing that came to mind was "Google knows this and they want to eat up as much campaign funds as possible". I mean c’mon. $10 for the phrase match "2008 senator’s election" In fact, when you add this keyword to the Google Traffic Guess-timator, it doesn’t even generate enough traffic to give you any data. Also, these keywords are "State" geo-targeted. Something just tells me that the gloves are off, and this is just another sneaky tactic to steal from the politician’s wallet. I guess it has to go somewhere right? Is Google putting themselves up there with TV & Radio now?


Google’s Take (in my opinion):
They know these campaigns will not last forever. In fact they will only last for a few months and in some cases State Geo targeted. So in order for them to take advantage of this, they need to put a "premium" on PPC for all political campaigns. Why? Their not dumb. They know these candidates have millions of dollars $$$ to spend right now and also have seen dramastic growth every year, as PPC is becoming more and more of the campaign money is being allocated to Internet marketing. I just find it ridiculous that even their own Adwords tools which cannot even give any traffic and monetary value on a keyword but can automatically attribute a $10 min CPC just to get that keyword active. Does this make sense? It does to me if you don’t drink the Cool-aid.

So how do "WE" SemGeeks deal with this?
Due to a previous experience with a previous client, the only thing you can do is to make sure the keyword selection, Ads and Landing pages as relevant and keyword rich as possible. Then, bite your tongue and increase the bid to $10.00 as Google wants and simply wait it out and let Google collect enough history and hopefully good CTR% for it to settle down. The key is accumulate click and CTR% history and typically Google will "ease" back and decide to lower your CPC.

In Conclusion:
In Star Wars, Obi-wan said to Anakin "... And don’t forget, she’s a politician, and they’re *not* to be trusted." Well, in this case maybe it’s Google that cannot be trusted. My other piece of the strategy would be to put more money in Yahoo. They don’t charge you $10 CPCs and it allows you to keep the costs down. Putting more money $$$ into Google Content and Site targeting is another valid option to the search network follies..

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5 Responses to "Google Taking Advantage of 2008 Elections with Extremely High CPC’s"

  1. Dave Davis says:

    Greg, I think you are a little off here. The reason your bids are high is because the quality score is poor. You know that.
    I just set up a test campaign in one of my accounts using the same keywords, relevant ads and a relevant landing page on politics related site of mine. Minimum bids are all in the 8cent-24cent range.

  2. Greg Meyers says:

    Hey Dave, thanks for the comments and for taking the time to create a test campaign for this. I agree with you, but there’s a little more to the story and I should of added it to the post, and that’s my fault. The example I provided was just one of many where the keywords were deactivated to $5 – $10 min CPC. In some instances adgroups had a very relevant setup. Moreover, I also did not structure this campaign as I came in to fix what Google’s Optimizer Team provided. But even after I “tweaked” and made everything more relevant I still saw the CPC problem.
    After that, the main difference I am seeing is that this PPC account was just created and there was zero history behind it. I can assume your test campaign was within an account with plenty of history. Maybe that is playing a factor?
    I also think that since these political PPC campaigns are not made accumulate significant amounts of history that would ease the CPCs, this could be an industry-wide problem, especially if these political candidates trust Google’s Optimizing Team.

  3. SearchCap: The Day In Search, January 18, 2008

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

  4. Tiger says:

    This has nothing to do with the elections. I saw these kinds of “reactivation” prices that jumped from $0.10 CPC to $10 or even $50 in 24 hours, all on niche terms.
    They can’t say it was quality because the links were going directly to original content about each topic. Yet they STILL raise the minumum bid over 10,000%. In many cases, there weren’t even any other bidders on the term.
    They say the remedy is to “increase relevance” or “raise your maximum bid”. You can’t increase relevance any more than an original article specifically about a topic, from a quality site that receives thousands of visitors per day.
    Example: Let’s say you have a site with hundreds of recipes including 10 different “Sugar Cookie Recipies” and you bid on the that specific keyword and link it DIRECTLY to the page with all of those recipes. And let’s say you aren’t even selling anything; the information is free and you are only bidding to drive traffic and let people know about the site. So it is a complete loss for you from a marketing standpoint.
    You place your bid at $0.10 and start getting some impressions, (though not a ton of clicks of course because it isn’t a major keyword), 24 hours later they say your ad is deactivated and you need to raise your bid to $10.00. You’re kidding me right?
    This is a GLOBAL policy and has been seen in topics like specific Recipes, Tech products, Gifts, Fitness, Fashion, & Skin Care just to name a few.

  5. Meredith says:

    We saw existing keyword CPC’s jump to $5-$10 as well and were told by our rep that Google made a change to their algorithm on/around January 16th.
    Here’s what our rep told us to do: Run a Google keyword report (for a few days time frame) and then sort by Min CPC. For any keywords that have $10 or $5 dollar min
    CPC, you can try isolating them in there own ad group and writing ad copy (without DKI) that uses that keyword multiple times (once in the title and as many times in the ad copy as possible, and maybe at the end of the display URL as well).
    There were no guarantees this would work and it may not explain the issue you’re having. It seems that it still relates back to a quality score issue.

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