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Monday, August 27, 2007

Google AdWords Bidding Warning

In "Did Google Kill the SEO Star?"I mentioned an upcoming change to the ad ranking formula for top spots. This "improved" top ad placement formula is now in effect. A respected colleague urges caution. Now, more than ever, it's critical to have a sound keyword bidding strategy for Google AdWords in place. Note that Google now has a help section dedicated to this new top ad position formula change. The most significant change is the creation of a new minimum bid which will not be published like the minimum bid for search. Pay close attention to the "How is the minimum price for top ad placement determined?" help page which reads:
First, your ad must pass our high quality threshold for eligibility to appear in top spots. If your ad is shown in a top spot, its price will be determined by the auction, but subject to a minimum price for top positions. This minimum price varies based on the quality of each ad per search query. For this reason, our system doesn't display the minimum price.
Time to buy Google stock (ticker: GOOG), eh? Companies that have had extremely high bids in place, confident they'd never actually be paying them, are going to boost Google's top line.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, come on now! Do you really think Google would ever consider "squeezing" as much money as they can out of their advertisers?

In fact, they actually address your "concerns":
"Is this change just a way to charge advertisers more?

No way. Google aims to ensure that users get the best search results possible. In this vein, we've made a change to the top ad placement formula to improve the quality of our ad results, and to give you more control over achieving top ad placement.

Only ads that surpass our high quality requirements can appear in top positions above Google search results. This ensures that users see the most relevant ads each time they search on Google. The result of maintaining high quality ads is good for us and good for you, as you're more likely to get business from users who find what they're looking for."

You see, they are concerned about the "quality" of your ad!
[sarcasm off]

Seriously, how does one run an advertising campaign with Google when you cannot simply "bid" for the spots you want, but have to rely on Google's assessment about the "quality" of your ad? This all sounds very murky -- and I thought search advertising was supposed to be direct and targeted?

Google wants "relevant" ads for their users? But by Google's own admissions, most of their users are NOT searching to buy something when they use Google search -- only a small percentage of Google search is "commercial." How do they determine what is "relevant" and "quality" advertising to show these non-commercial searchers?

Wed Aug 29, 01:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Right. The problem is that "quality" is very subjective. Can AdsBot-Google measure quality? If a Googlemployee manually looks at an ad, how accurate is their assessment of the "quality" of an ad? The concept of quality-based ads is a good one. It doesn't necessarily work that well in practice.

Thu Aug 30, 05:05:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Rose Sylvia said...

@ anonymous: Google wants "relevant" ads for their users? But by Google's own admissions, most of their users are NOT searching to buy something when they use Google search -- only a small percentage of Google search is "commercial."

When expanded broad match first sent spending through the roof I tested opting out of the Google search partner network and quickly found out that the search partner network converted much better and had a far higher ROI than

Sat Sep 08, 09:54:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Rose Sylvia said...

Although I've never seen them admit it anywhere, Google tested minimum bids during the holiday season last year. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that those who are currently over-reliant on traffic from Google AdWords diversify NOW or you may have a very lean holiday sales season.

Sun Oct 07, 12:28:00 PM EDT  

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