I've been running adwords for around a decade. Today was the first time we tried for, and received what Google calls a "curtesy credit". The circumstances behind it:
All of our campaigns are regional and reflect the needs of local businesses. On that basis all the campaigns are carefully set up to be regional on a geographic basis. We also limit outside phrases to those that are very specifically geo oriented. In other words if we are using adwords on behalf of a Washington DC based Widget service company...if someone in Des Moines Iowas searches for Washington DC widget service our ads will or should show up...even though the geo territory is limited around the Washington DC region.
Around a week ago, as a result of ever increasing adwords costs and as part of a consistent process I'm trying to prune costs. Much of that involves negative keywords and tighter campaigns.
Much of the effort toward negative keywords and tighter campaigns is a result of google ever expanding its presentation of broad phrase keywords in an enormous manner.
Over time our adwords costs simply continue to rise. Ignore the Press "stuff" that comes out every quarter wherein google's ever increasing revenues go up up up. Often the financial press will state that average CPC (cost per click) costs are decreasing. That is hocus pocus bs press. Google is dramatically increasing its advertising revenues and generating infinitely more ads paid for by an ever increasing volume of advertisers.
Our own CPC costs have skyrocketed over time.
The situation that generated the billing surge and request for a "rebate" ///what they call a "curtesy credit" involved the following.
I was pruning the geo reach of a campaign. The particular campaign has an extensive geo reach that basically exceeds where the business gets customers from. Its extensive. It expands into areas wherein our competitors have a far more appropriate geo reach. So essentially I was eliminating the spread of our ads in US counties that are simply WAY WAY far away.
The existing campaign had a basic radius that is extensive.
After cutting out a few far reaching counties I saved the campaign. Here is what I missed; The default for a campaign reverts to the largest, most expansive approach that can be made. Its a pro google default. Its definitely not in the interest of the advertiser.
That was almost 10 days ago. The actual intent and action was to reduce the geo reach of the campaign. The default turned this little regional campaign into a world wide campaign.
Needless to say, clicks exploded. We caught the problem yesterday. We caught it via automatic billing. We were hit with a draw on our CC account just a couple of days after the most recent one....and immeasurably faster than what normally occurs.
I looked at the campaigns today and noticed that one had exploded in costs. I forgot that it was the one I had trimmed. Started to parse through it, first via keywords and saw explosions on terms that shouldn't have occurred.
Called into Google adwords customer service and chose the "billing department". We started parsing through the data. I was pretty irate. With about a decade of experience on this campaign, plus running programs for similar verticals I know the keyword patterns very well.
The customer service rep ultimately looked at settings for the campaign and noted that the geo section was set for world wide. It also had these relatively "far flung" geo areas that were restricted. We could go back to the change history and noted the addition of "far flung areas" to the campaign....while simultaneously the change history noted the overall campaign had been altered from a tight radius to WORLD WIDE.
That change to WORLD WIDE was a result of a default change. I missed it that day. I don't even know if there is a signal that alerts you to a change in the default change.
Admittedly I was ugly and accusatory on the phone. In practice the default change had the COMPLETE impact of negating what was the clear intent.
So I was looking for some BIG CREDITS.
Google is pretty slick in this regard. The customer service rep "told me" she had to meet with the "finance group" to see if they'll approve what google calls a "curtesy credit". I was demanding a rebate. She wouldn't accept that language.
I'm sure there is legalese around this use of verbiage. Anyway the process of "meeting with the finance group" reminded me of the process of buying a car, and having a sales person leave you to "supposedly go back and discuss something with management". That is a complete BS line in the car business...and I have the strong sensation that her "meeting with the finance group" was similarly bogus.
She got back to me and told me there was a preliminary approval for the "curtesy credit". She kept telling me it was typically about 1/2 of the expense.
Then we went through billing by day by campaign. She kept telling me it was going to be 1/2 the total. Basically she gave me a credit for the entire billing for that campaign for the affected period. A few bucks more. Plus figure in the actual clicks in the targeted region....and the credit was for everything...and a few bucks. Of course she posited everything as I should be grateful for her efforts and the fact that she came up with a total that was roughly double to what she set expectations for.
Now there has to be some clever legalese or "weasling lawyering" behind the entire process. The grant of a "curtesy credit" comes with an email and some acknowledgement that its a ONE TIME EVENT and you can't get another one. OH BOY does that wreak of lawerism.
Anyway we should see the credit tomorrow. We'll see.
Meanwhile the customer service person was tremendously patient and curteous and put up with my ranting, raving, accusations, anger, and blustering. (that stuff almost never works with anyone). But maybe it got the size of the credit she offered bigger than if I had been less angry--who knows.
Once she came up with a total credit, she put me on hold to supposedly get the total approved by "finance". I tend to think she was filing her nails. (Its all part of the game). The credit was "approved" within moments.
My experience now, on several fronts with Google is to beware the DEFAULTS that google sets. They are ALWAYS google favorable. They can be for including your gmail account in google's latest scheme to include everyone in the world of Google...or alternatively to reset your account to something that is incredibly Google favorable and completely inappropriate for your own interests.
These guys are WAY WAY WAY to big and powerful. ---> which takes me back to what is going on with the European efforts to battle the Google monopoly. GO EUROPE. KEEP SMACKING GOOGLE UPSIDE THE HEAD!!!!
Hopefully we'll see if the credit comes through tomorrow.