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Getting A Rebate Or A "curtesy Credit" From Google Adwords

adwords watch the detault credits one time events slick google attorneys

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#1 earlpearl

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 05:05 PM

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.  



#2 bobbb

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 07:19 PM

Good for you.

 

"The relative ease" with which you got your credit kind of suggests that many many others, without your experience, are being taken to the cleaners and are unaware. The analogy which comes to mind is the car industry. Do we settle for 200 million for the deaths of a few "nobodies" or do a recall at the cost of 1 billion?

 

It smells like that. But I may be wrong and they are of good conscious.

 

In this thread: http://www.cre8asite...-fool-me-twice/

we mentioned "the dirty little impressions secret that less than 10% of such ads are actually viewed by a human"

 

Is this part of your cost or is it only what was viewed by a human?


Edited by bobbb, 14 November 2014 - 07:29 PM.


#3 earlpearl

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:33 AM

Bobb:  I can't speak to anyone else's experience.   I did see that the credit came through.  Meanwhile billing for that acct was high yesterday even as we switched the acct back to a regional basis rather than the mistake.  I've got to go in today and double check.

 

Some parts of the process smelled BS ish.   The 2 elements about "needing initial approval" and how tough it is...and the subsequent approval...just smelled like the typical gibberish in a car dealer.   Cripes, our businesses and my personal business dealings have pulled that stunt countless times.

 

Labeling this "thing" a  "curtesy credit" is probably language developed by their legal staff.  The email that went out said the "curtesy credit" was a 1 time event.   Very legalistic.   (I used to negotiate big old commercial real estate leases and sales documents.  I've dealt with attorneys and complex tricky legalese language).

 

Meanwhile the big learning experience was that in making changes google's settings revert to a default...and that default is set to expand your campaign to maximum visibility which will only cost you a ton.

 

Watch them like a hawk and double check all your changes.



#4 bobbb

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:47 AM

Cripes, our businesses and my personal business dealings have pulled that stunt countless times.

:)



#5 earlpearl

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 10:51 AM

Just eyeballed charges and clicks for the last 7 days (it was off for 10 days in total).   It appears that about 10% of charges could be applied to clicks from our target region.  --> 90% from around the world.   

 

HUGE LESSON.  When making changes in a google adwords acct. or anything connected with google check EVERYTHING.   They will default to what is good for Google.  Not what you necessarily want or what is good for you.



#6 bobbb

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 11:05 AM

Above I asked "Is this part of your cost or is it only what was viewed by a human?"

 

Are you charged RPM for those ads not viewed by a human. ie ads at the bottom of a page but the user does not scroll down or bounces? I'm just curious.



#7 earlpearl

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 12:05 PM

Above I asked "Is this part of your cost or is it only what was viewed by a human?"

 

Are you charged RPM for those ads not viewed by a human. ie ads at the bottom of a page but the user does not scroll down or bounces? I'm just curious.

The business I referenced bids a lot for ads.  It often shows first or second on ads.  

 

Secondly for that smb I don't check specific ROI.   The ads primarily run with high organic rankings. We want the clicks, we want the leads, then we work on the sales.  Google driven Revenues through organic and adwords for that  smb are pretty or very high relative to adwords costs (which have been increasing at pretty high rates).   At this point I don't worry about ROI and I haven't bothered to look at ads that might be showing at the bottom of the page or essentially not seen by humans.

 

In sum:  I don't know.  and for that acct I haven't bothered to find out.



#8 earlpearl

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 06:22 PM

Just glancing at that smb and its adwords campaigns.  Its almost exactly 10 years old.  The first few months had very high cpc costs till we got them down.  Thereafter it took about 7 years for cpc costs to almost double.  In 3 years they've doubled, again.  I'm now spending considerable time to drive them down and cut on the margins.  That effort resulted in the mistake wherein I didn't check how a setting reverted to default from what it had been for about a decade.  Big lesson.

 

From an overall perspective as a business the adwords campaign was something we could relate to local newspaper and yellow page advertising.  We found it similarly effective and significantly less expansive than local print  (we are or were in an expensive print and yellow pages market).   With lower adwords costs we were relatively "winning".  Not now.  

 

When I see financial press comments on how average adwords cpc costs are dropping I attribute that to google feeding the financial press a bunch of hooey and irrelevant data.   The financial press eats up.  They are buffoons.



#9 EGOL

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 07:25 PM

When I see financial press comments on how average adwords cpc costs are  dropping I attribute that to google feeding the financial press a bunch of hooey and irrelevant data.   The financial press eats up.  They are buffoons.

lol.... this is why I read your stuff.  lol

 

Thanks for the entertainment.


Edited by EGOL, 16 November 2014 - 07:25 PM.


#10 earlpearl

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 12:41 PM

By the way:  Here is one line from the google email relative to the "courtesy credit"

 

 Please note, the credit can only be applied towards future advertising costs. Accepting this credit will mean that you won't be eligible for any additional courtesy credits in the future.

 

If there is a foul up beware.  Google legalese gives them an "out" to legally only give you a rebate once.

 

By the way.  The campaign is currently geographically on target.  It actually took 2 days for the google to wipe out the ads running around the world.  So we incurred some extra world wide expenses on the day we made the change and some more (but less) on the day after.  

 

Google is a smart company.  You might think their engineers are brilliant.  I happen to think they are very smart at taking money out of your pocket.  They are more clever than the tax collector, the local mafia or the local pickpocket.  Tread carefully. 



#11 bobbb

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 01:40 PM

Accepting this credit will mean that you won't be eligible for any additional courtesy credits in the future.

 

Conspiracy theory at work:
We'll hit you with this trick and credit you back if you can catch it..... and we'll hit you harder after 'cause now there is no more recourse. Yuk Yuk!
 


Edited by bobbb, 17 November 2014 - 01:41 PM.


#12 earlpearl

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:07 PM

I was looking at this account from an historical and business context and reading up on the "courtesy credit" topic.I don't see a lot of info on courtesy credits.  I guess its pretty rare.  it also appears that in certain cases, (rare--I haven't yet found a lot of context for this), granting courtesy credits is rare and tough and businesses can get pretty irate about the time and struggle. 

 

In our case it didn't take long.  I suspect there was a business evaluation behind it.  The acct is 10 years old.  Our monthly spend has skyrocketed relative to where it was years ago.   I don't have a lot of google adwords conversion or analytics attached to it.   That is purposeful.  They don't need to know our business.

 

In any case we had never applied for a credit.  There is an aggregate spend in the hundreds of thousands over the decade.   Spend has gone up.  A lot recently.   The situation that provoked our call was certainly extraordinary, and obviously out of context for every element of the campaign.  

 

If I were in their shoes I would have granted the credit quickly and easily also.  It was tiny compared to what we spend on an annual basis.  Secondly we have been an easy customer, never complaining before and never creating a problem.  

 

The spend has gone up so much on a monthly basis that now we are tightening up on it.  We have made virtually NO CHANGES...but the spend has increased dramatically.  Its the ominous aspect of the google bid adwords system.

 

Its very easy to make a mistake or an oversight and get overbilled.   Caution, caution, caution.

 

I'm a liberal user of adwords, but its use varies by business.  I use it dependent on the business circumstances and vary the approach.  Anyway an interesting experience.





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