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Adwords/ Bing Advertising: Negative Keywords And Clicking Ads To Get Your Phone Number

good advice or not

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#1 earlpearl


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Posted 14 October 2016 - 11:56 AM

For those who use adwords or bing advertising, I just got off an "advise"/"help" session with an advertising "advisor".   In this case it was from Bing.  I'll take these all the time.  We advertise a lot, but I don't stay up to date on everything and I need to stay abreast of changes. 


As part of the review one of the items Bing focused on was using negative keywords to cut our spend.  We get the same advice from google and all the PPC consultants talk about it all the time.


I don't get it.   I know it can save money....but it doesn't save a lot.  Here is what occurs and how to combat it.


Per Bing or Google you can run reports on your keywords and you can find words or phrases that show up and get clicked.  Then you can add them as negative keywords and "ostensibly" your ads won't turn up for those words or phrases.


So take our local niche businesses.  They are all in the East in the US.   Regardless we'll get search terms and our ads will show up for EVERY FREAKING CITY in the US and CANADA regardless of where ever it is.   So over time I have added negative keywords for (by example), Tulsa, Tuscaloosa, Denver, San Antonio, Vancouver, Missoula, and a great many cities.


But more show up.  It is like whack-a-mole.  Knock down one and another shows up.  Its endless.  But they are invariably one of a kind.  Its endless.  


Okay.  I suppose I could get a list of every city west of the Mississippi, copy and enter them in the negative keywords list.  (ONE PER LINE).   That might solve it once and for all.     But its tedious and time consuming and it never ends up in large savings.


But they keep telling me to do this.


Now here is what NOBODY at Bing, Google, or a PPC expert ever tells you about advertising.   I only know this as I've now run 4 different campaigns wherein we listen to certain calls off of ADS....and in every case they run off of an adwords campaign.   


I've listened to 4 campaigns for 4 different businesses in 3 different cities.  Entirely different businesses.


NON CUSTOMERS search for your phone number.   They often find it through ads and they call.  It could be VENDORS, Sales people, neighbors, existing customers, ......ANYONE BUT NEW CUSTOMERS.   Its astonishing how many of them there are.  A LOT.  The only way I've learned this is through the campaigns wherein we listen to calls.


So ads enable NON customers to get your phone number.  A lot of it isn't through search.  Its through the EASY availability of ads at the top of the page.


Its frankly not easy for me to ISOLATE the search phrases.  At least not in Google.  I just went through an effort and I can't identify the search phrase and cost for a call that came in at a SPECIFIC TIME via one of those campaigns.  Google isn't telling me.  I'm going to search around some more to see if I can isolate it, and/or call into them.


Now here is a CREEPY (halloween reference) and WEASELY (EGOLian reference) about this if you are a small business and you use Google My business their current reports show "search terms" broken down by what we'll call "RECOVERY" and "DISCOVERY"  (not their terms).


Discovery being a name search or a name type search  ie service in your town or your exact or close name.

Recovery being a search for your service by type:  ie divorce attorney Washington DC, or Dog Walking Service Philadelphia....wherein there could be many such services.


I've looked at this report 3 times.  In each case RECOVERY terms are CRAZY WAY Higher than anything we see in current adwords impressions and anything we ever saw when all keywords were shown.


Then one goes back and takes a look at the "scam" google perpetuated on Dean Flowers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, wherein they more or less strong armed coerced the florist to advertise on its name so as not to lose business.   This Thread


I get this feeling that google/bing...but mostly google knows where it can make a lot of money --by pushing businesses to advertise on their name....and meanwhile is purposefully misguiding folks to spend time on a more than likely poor use of their time in trying to cut costs.     Frankly google creates the advertising MONSTER wherein all sorts of stupid irrelevant words show in your advertising....and then tells you to spend a lot of time eliminating those words....one at a time.


THE GAME IS RIGGED.   (to quote a nefarious hyena of a politician).   But the thought is accurate.  The game is rigged.




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Posted 14 October 2016 - 01:28 PM

Earl, don't you have your ads set up to only display to people in certain parts of the US?  That should prevent Tulsa from being a keyword for your ad.  Nobody in your area should be searching for your keyword with Tulsa as a keyword.   Unless searchers don't allow Google to know their location and Google allows your ads to appear for all of these people whereever they are searching.


Maybe you should be using a keyword white list... like [exact match].


You are probably doing all of these.


Early this year I decided to try Adwords again and gave it up because I didn't have enough control over the ads and Goliath competitors are so fierce that its hard to make a profit margin that I am willing to work for - or even have my employees work for. 

#3 earlpearl


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Posted 14 October 2016 - 03:25 PM

Earl, don't you have your ads set up to only display to people in certain parts of the US?    


Yes we do.   Regardless there is "leakage" and we get clicks from around the nation and the world.  Actually the cost side is relatively small.   I know I could divide and subdivide the accts so that it would be segregated by phrases;  ie one acct would include every time a search phrase is used with our geography and the ads would show...another acct would segregate phrases to our particular region.   The issue with stuff like that is the time investment to make every one of those changes is dramatically longer than the cost savings.   I monitor the costs on that slippage.


We use exact phrase....and we use broad phrase.   Honestly the time investment to rework everything is pretty extensive.  What are the savings?  Its in the realm of 2-3 sales per year.  I end up putting the time into the sales.


Its doable.  I just haven't put in the time and detail.   But what is never discussed is how advertising ends up being used by folks that simply want your phone number and aren't potential customers.  That is surprising and costs more than the leakage.   Its stunned me.


I'm currently working to reduce all those costs as they are larger than the leakage.


As to using it or not.   We use it because ultimately it is cost effective which is overall based on competition and the margin between the cost per click/ the volume of clicks and the revenue from each sale.   If there wasn't such a large margin between the cost per click and a sale we would switch or at least tighten up a great degree.

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