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Monday, January 29, 2007

PPCmoz: Update to Click Fraud Isolation Strategy

I said I'd write more of these PPCmoz-style posts. In Click Fraud Minimization Strategies, I included some tactics to isolate click fraud. Based on some feedback, I need to clarify how this can be accomplished for a Google AdWords account. Note that this strategy is more important than I had initially anticipated, since Google is unapologetically perpetrating distribution fraud. This is the click fraud isolation strategy for Google AdWords I described:
  1. Create 3 new campaigns: Google only, search network only, content network only
  2. Move ad group experiencing click fraud activity to Google only campaign
  3. Copy ad group to search network only and content network only campaign
  4. Set very low budgets and/or low bids for the 2 network campaigns
  5. Use separate tracking URLs for the 3 ad groups
The point that needs clarification is how to create a "search network only" campaign. I advocate separating search engine advertising from contextual advertising. That's pretty straightforward. Separating Google search ads from Google network search ads is a little more involved. When editing campaign settings in an AdWords account, here are the network distribution choices:

google ad network distribution preferences
Notice that the "Search network" checkbox is indented. The primary choices are "Google search" and "Content network" distribution. This is, essentially, search engine advertising and contextual advertising. You cannot, however, choose "Search network" on its own. The search engine advertising distribution options are:
  • Google search
  • Google search + Search network
So, how can you isolate ads on the Search network? Create two campaigns with the above settings. For the campaign that is opted into the Search network, set the bids much lower than the pure Google search campaign. Because the ad groups contained in the campaigns are identical (same keywords, ad text, landing pages), the ranking of ads on Google properties will come down to CPC and CTR. Unless CTR varies widely, it will come down to CPC. So, if the CPCs are much lower for the "Google search + Search network" campaign, the "Google search" ads will outrank them and will be displayed for Google searches. In effect, then, you have a separate ad campaign for the Search network.

If you want more details on this click fraud (or distribution fraud) isolation strategy, see my answers here and here.

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Anonymous Mike said...

Very interesting idea. I am not yet sure as to how big of a problem click fraud is on Google's search network but I am very interesting in testing it.

Your idea of separating it out is good and could definitely work. What I especially like about it is that it might help make you much more competitive on Google and be able to bid significantly more.

Mon Jan 29, 10:42:00 AM EST  
Blogger Richard said...

Yeah, Mike, it's partially about peace of mind. With this sort of a strategy, I can bid high on Google with good confidence in the quality of the traffic and I'm not exposing my clients to a high risk of click fraud from the "search" partners.

If you do experiment with click fraud (or distribution fraud which IMHO is a bigger problem), check for referrals from:

If you find clicks from these sites (that power parked domains), evaluate the resulting visit on your site. I find these parked domains that are carried on the Search network behave as if the clicks came from the Content network. IOW, they're just browsing.

BTW, I've found your experiments to be quite interesting such as your test of new Google ads.

Mon Jan 29, 12:37:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Souley said...

What a shame. Google is going down.

Mon Jan 29, 01:27:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Interesting Concept. However aren't you penalizing yourself with duplicate keywords? Although, only the keywords on the "Google Search Only" campaign will be triggered . You will technically have duplicate keywords and Google frowns on this.

Tue Mar 10, 07:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

There are cases where duplicate keywords are necessary. For instance, you will have duplicate keywords in an AdWords account if you have separate campaigns for:

1) Search vs Content
2) Different Geographic Regions

This is a similar situation.

Tue Mar 10, 10:20:00 PM EDT  

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