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Google's 3Rd Quarter Overall Adwords Experience Is Way Different Than Ours. How About You?

adwords impressions everywhere more advertisers lots of irrelevant ads

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#1 earlpearl


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:57 PM

Google's 3rd quarter financials just came out.   (July 1-Sept 30/2013)   


Their revenues skyrocketed.  Their profits went way up, their cash went way up.   (Its good to be the king)  ;)


Boy their overall adwords experience is way different than what I'm seeing for our accts.


Google's cost per click income is down.   But their revenues are way up from clicks.  WAY UP    Duh--that means more people are clicking.


But our accts have totally different experiences:


We see cpc going up per quarter.  Up from last quarter.  Up from same quarter 1 year ago.  We have seen that same trend....year after year.


what is overwhelmingly astounding is the growth in impressions year to year.   I isolated one campaign over the years, looking at it quarter by quarter.  I know I haven't made substantial changes in a way that would generate tremendously more impressions on their own....unless demand went way up.   The campaign is regional in nature, and includes exact match and broad match phrases.


One campaign that hasn't seen many changes in it over many years:


Impressions:  2008  a range of about 6,000 impressions/qrt

                      2009  a range of about 9-12, 000 impressions/quarter

                      2010  a range of about 11-13,000 impressions/quarter

                      2011  a range of about  9-11,000 impressions/quarter

                      2012 a range of about  13-16,000 impressions/quarter

                      2013 a range of about  18-20,000 impressions/quarter


Basically without us having added phrases and not having changed the geo region google has increased showing our ads by a magnitude of about 3 times from 5 years ago.


Quarter to quarter our clicks haven't changed much.  Our average position hasn't changed much over the years  ranging from 1.2 to 1.6.  In total our clicks on this campaign have ranged between 500+ to 900+ per quarter.  not crazy changes at all.


Our ppc has gone up about 40%.   Our real competitors haven't changed a lot.  We have generally pushed bids up not down.  Our quality scores have been consistent.


What I've seen is lots lots lots more ads running against our ads for the same words.  Its a thin market with only a few competitors. What I've seen dramatically different are lots more actual businesses with less relevant phrases showing again and again and again.  


Do they want to show in phrases that are highly irrelevant.  I don't know.  But I know it doesn't make us happy to have our ads shown for probably highly irrelevant topics.   I don't see many clicks on crappy phrases and I know that kind of stuff doesn't pull much from the smb.   


We see the same thing for every campaign for every smb.  Impressions go up.  CPC inches up.  We really haven't seen huge variations on clicks.   


In the great mass, it seems to me google is getting more advertisers, running more ads, its certainly making many changes (a lot of which are subtle) to boost clicks:   


The biggest thing we've seen undoubtedly is that they run our ads humongous amounts more than they used to;   humoungous.  It doesn't do anything for us...(except it probably nibbles at our costs).  We see tons more highly irrelevant ads running on our highest value keyword phrases.


Google is a revenue machine.   But our own experience is that cpc keeps going up...quarter after quarter...and its gone up the most and most severely since 2011.   


That is one slick monopoly.



#2 bobbb


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:20 PM

Any way of knowing if all those "more" clicks have anything to do with the fact that often backgrounds for the top 3 are such that is is hard to distinguish what is an ad or not. Right now on a flat screen I see it clearly but on my laptop it is hard to tell unless the screen is square to my eyes... And it is hardly ever that


Can you tell if your Adword was in the top 3 or on the right?

Do they want to show in phrases that are highly irrelevant.  I don't know.  But I know it doesn't make us happy to have our ads shown for probably highly irrelevant topics

I'm sure this stuff with the eye trick and the colour is researched and I bet heavily.

This is borderline false advertising.

There was a thread here about the NY DA going after "false" testimonials in blogs where I questioned whether they have nothing else better to do.

Here is something better to do if they have the balz.


I just wish that some smart slick shark of a lawyer could read this and smell blood.

Edited by bobbb, 17 October 2013 - 06:41 PM.

#3 earlpearl


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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:56 PM

Bobb:   We haven't gotten substantially more or less clicks from adwords over time.  Its just that google shows our ads dramatically more.  In this one example they are showing our ads over 3 times as often today as they did 5 years ago.  


I see the same circumstance on all our accounts.   The numbers or times our ads are shown is increasing by a lot.   We are not getting substantially more (or less clicks).


In conjunction with that I see lots more advertisers.   These are thin topics so a lot of these ads are largely irrelevant.  


On the other hand we aren't getting substantially more or less clicks.  Just assume we had about 10% clicks when google was showing our ads around 6000 times/quarter back in 2008. (about 600 clicks on ads)  We likely are getting around 600 clicks on ads now while google is showing our ads around 20,000 times per quarter.


We are the recipients of the converse of that on phrases that are highly germaine to our business.  We see full lists of 10 ads, and in our case they are typically a waste of time and irrelevant to the search term.    


Conversely again.   Think how irrelevant our ads must be on the 14,000 extra times they are shown a quarter more than 2008 when they got roughly the same volume of clicks.   Basically nobody is clicking on our ads those extra 14,000 times...but they push up the costs of ads that do receive clicks and sit above our ads.


By the way Bobb:  It has been written about and discussed among webmasters (at least in the little worlds I inhabit with regard to the change in tint or coloration that google uses to distinguish ads.   At various times they have reduced the tint.  Then they make it more visible.  They have been doing this on and off for years in my experience.   I bet they have great data on what level of tint generates the most clicks on ads for them  :D


Anyway, what spurred me to look at this today was that google published its 3rd quarter 2013 financial report.  It was a bang up quarter with big increases in total revenues and total profits.   meanwhile google and the media referenced that their average cost per click is lower.


I think that cost per click reporting is totally misleading.  I believe they are adding new advertisers galore...and generating more clicks and in our case as a long time advertiser on a bunch of sites I just see CPC's going up...going up ....going up.    And it has nothing to do with our actual real competition in adwords.

#4 glyn


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:49 AM

Hoa about all those scrapers increasing the impressions!

#5 bobbb


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:55 AM

I only brought that up because you mentioned "But their revenues are way up from clicks.  WAY UP    Duh--that means more people are clicking" so I wondered how many of those clicks are people hitting 1 to 3 thinking it is the most relevant results G has to offer and not paid ads. It is obviously the most "relevant result$" from G's point of view.

I only recently bought a laptop so I only recently "saw" what effect the shading does. At some angles I can't tell the difference between organic and paid... and on the laptop I am always at an angle. Need to try a tablet.

Not sure if it is law or anything but in the newspaper print world I notice that when a advertisement is presented in a way as to look like an article, they clearly indicate "paid advertisement".

It's deceitful and it brings in the money.


"do no evil"

#6 glyn


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:43 AM

This has been so for a good 12 months - possibly more. The colour shade was of course deliberately set to ensure that this would happen. On my right monitor which is old, Ads look like all the other ads, on my old Compaq only when you tilt the screen backwards will you get to see the shaded difference.


However, the fact is that 99% of the people that go online don't even know/care about the difference between paid and non-paid ads. 0.9% consider themselves savvy because they say "those are the paid ads right", and 1% of us get frustrated with it because we were there from the start when traffic was free.



#7 bobbb


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 10:06 AM

I wonder how many people would click an ad if it were obviously in their face that this was an ad. I'm sure Google knows their revenue would decrease and deliberately cloak this.


If it's deliberate it's click fraud. Something none of us are allowed to do. (their rules)


Fraud is our rules (the law of the land). The people that pay are the ones being scammed.


Chuck Finley and the EU: Here is your case. Properly presented this is illegal.

Edited by bobbb, 18 October 2013 - 10:07 AM.

#8 earlpearl


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:08 PM

Hoa about all those scrapers increasing the impressions!

Is it scrapers?   How would I know?   


I don't know all the places google is showing those ads...but its not on main terms at all.  Its an expansion of use of broad phrase into all sorts of "garbage".  When these ads show (and we overwhelmingly never get clicks on them...they do drive up the costs for those that do get clicks.

#9 earlpearl


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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:28 PM

I pulled the results for this campaign for the last quarter.  Its the bottom of the page.  The information is assembled by clicking on the keywords that are shown and then details for keywords.   


But google doesn't show all the info.  Via this detailed report it is only giving us info on about 6,000 impressions of 18,000 times these ads popped up:


In other words google showed the ads 12,000 times and doesn't tell us anything about what terms it shows the ads against.  Its only giving us detailed info on about 6,000 impressions in which there were clicks on it about 747 times.   That is a lot of clicks and a high click through rate.  And its costing us.


What google is giving us detail on are the twice as many times it shows the ads...against what terms they are showing.  It is telling us though that its charging a lot per click on that other data.  


of the 6 k impressions on which they are giving us data about 25% of the impressions are for a critical term.  Another 12% or so are for a term we run against a competitor.   Then for slightly less than 10% each there are 2 relatively important terms with different geo characteristics.  One is highly competitive with high cp clicks.  One is dramatically non -competitive with very low costs per clicks.  The terms are extremely similar in a general sense though with different geo terms.  Frankly that last info is valuable and insightful.  Additionally the number of times a competitor's term shows is something we compare against the number of times are own name shows.  


That is also great info.  It gives us a sense of brand recognition.     But its lousy IMHO that google is running these ads roughly 12,000 times without them telling us anything about what search terms they are run against.  And frankly google is charging us a lot when they do run these ads against these unknown terms.


Now over time there has been a rough consistency as to the 6k or so impressions that show up every quarter going back to 2008.  Sometimes higher sometimes lower.  It gives us a sense of true demand.  Its more work for us to determine this as google obfuscates the data.  

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