Maine Munchies Ad

Monday, February 25, 2008

Google AdWords Warning: Block MySpace Traffic

Google knows that its contextual advertising system doesn't work for MySpace traffic. From the latest Google 10-K (annual report):
The increase in cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues, as well as traffic acquisition costs as a percentage of advertising revenues, was primarily related to the performance of a few Google Network member web sites for which we are required to make guaranteed payments, including social networking traffic, which is not monetizing as well as expected. This more than offset the increase in the proportion of advertising revenues coming from our web sites rather than from our Google Network members’ web sites.
There's speculation that Google and Fox might try to terminate their advertising deal. I've been blocking traffic for clients who are opted into the Google AdWords content network. Why? The traffic is useless. Users of social networks are clearly blind to contextual ads. Here's an example that should make this clear: google adwords traffic

The CTR is, essentially, zero. Could you imagine paying for traffic on a CPM basis??!! Google knows the MySpace social network traffic is useless yet they're trying to convince advertisers to buy it on a CPM basis. Notice the text at the bottom of the "Will my ads show on MySpace?" help page:
If you'd like to target specifically, consider creating a placement-targeted campaign. With a placement-targeted campaign, you target individual sites rather than keywords to help determine where your ads can show.
No! Don't do it! Do NOT ever buy traffic via a placement-targeted campaign. Instead, for any keyword-targeted campaign that's opted into the content network, be sure to block via the site exclusion tool. Advertisers shouldn't have to pay for the fact that Google made a bad deal with Fox.

It's also pretty poor that Google, knowing full well that social networking is not a good fit for the AdWords contextual advertising system, is actively pushing advertisers to opt into this traffic. Via their special page dedicated to social networks on the Google AdWords content network:
Social networks are a powerful channel for reaching a variety of users on the web. You can select between CPM and CPC pricing. If the purpose of your placement-targeted campaign is to increase sales, leads, sign-ups, or other conversion-oriented metrics, you can select CPC bidding and pay when users click on your ads. If you want to maximize impressions and increase brand awareness among your target audience, you can select CPM bidding.
Wow! Think about that. Google is actively selling something they really don't believe in. Let them eat the cost of their mistake. I suggest:
  1. DO block via site exclusion.
  2. DO NOT target via placement targeting.
Related Posts:
Will MySpace Degrade the Quality of Google's Ad Network?
AdSense Failure: Social Networking Sites (MySpace + Facebook)

Tags: , , , , ,


Anonymous Darryl said...

Great post Richard. Advertisers should also block the following myspace subdomains too:

Sun Mar 16, 11:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rich said...

I had a terrible experience with google on myspace and google adwords customer service is the absolute worst. I got a huge number of impressions and many clicks over 2 days. Evey click had 100% bounce rate versus my normal 50% bounce rate which leads me to believe they were all accidental clicks. If you have a look at a myspace page, the advertisements are not called out so clearly as sponsored links because they have the same white background. I exchanged 3 emails with customer service asking for credit back but got the same bogus canned response. Does anyone the name/email of a Director of customer service at google?

Mon Mar 09, 10:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles, Rich. Your experience might be worth sharing with fellow AdWords advertisers. Post on the AdWords Help forum. Staff from Google participate, too, so they might be able to help you.

Mon Mar 09, 05:01:00 PM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home