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Monday, July 30, 2007

AdWords Experiment Update #1: Democratic Debate Search Trends

Part of the reason for my CNN YouTube Presidential Debate AdWords Experiment is to answer this question, posed in a comment to the Democratic Candidates Miss a YouTube Debate Opportunity post:
But the question remains, how many people seriously search for the debate after it is over?
Recall that the Democratic Debate was on 7/23 and note the Google Hot Trends data for that day for the keyword phrase democratic debate:

democratic debate search trends

Now, a week later, that search phrase doesn't register on Google's Hot Trends service. So, I'm running an AdWords experiment to measure the search impressions in an ad campaign to see if that trend continues. It does appear that people do continue to search for information about the debate. I started the test ad campaign yesterday ~6pm. For the 6 hours from then until midnight, here's the impression data from the Google AdWords campaign for the top few searches:

democratic debate adwords impressions

I should point out that the content network is turned off for this campaign and the budget is set sufficiently high so that the impression data from this ad campaign reflects all searches on Google and its search network (which could include some parked domains). The geographic region for the AdWords campaign is limited to the United States and Canada so this search volume is lower than all searches across the globe. I'll provide more details on the keyword list once the advertising test has concluded. Note that these top searches are all exact matches. For a variety of reasons, I tend to use all 3 match types in a single ad group.

Now, 430 searches in 6 hours (~72 searches per hour) is not a massive amount. However, that was on a weekend and does not count all the variations of searches that include that phrase. The day of the debate, though, and the following morning, there must have been thousands of searches on that precise phrase. Why didn't the candidates advertise then? Why are most still not following the keyword search trends and buying these keywords via AdWords? Here's a recent snapshot of the AdWords sponsored links for a democratic debate search (that link includes "adtest=on" so as not to influence the AdWords impressions count):

democratic debate google ads
When I grabbed that screenshot, there was actually a YouTube ad across the top in the blue - no yellow. So, only 4 ads but only 1 of those is from a presidential candidate, Barack Obama. Well done, then, by the Obama campaign team. Where are the others? I wonder how successful the Obama AdWords campaign is considering the lack of competition it faces.

I'll have more data soon, when Monday is over. That should be interesting - a full day's worth of AdWords data from what's often the biggest search volume day of the week. Hopefully, I've managed to make my ads compelling enough to have a decent quality score but not compelling enough to generate too many clicks. More on that in the next update...

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