AdWords and Black Tuesday. Some Pretty Graphs

26 comments

Graywolf - of this parish - churlishly refused to let me have a look at his AdWords account when he first posted about the Quality Score changes.

To make up for this he's posted on his own blog with some graphs pertaining to traffic, CPC and profit: Profits Murdered By Google Adwords

So what happened? Well I increased my bid, my thinking was with less competition I might get more conversions and afford to be able to pay more (Although tripling the price overnight is clearly excessive). In an effort to regain my lower price I made some changes to increase the “user experience” the customers now started meandering all over the site without purpose, they lost the plot. To make an analogy I paid triple price for my farm animals and threw open the fence and let them wander off into the sunset. Gee thanks Google, I have to say improving the user experience pretty much sucked!

Comments

Never have navigation on

Never have navigation on landing pages. No matter what Google Reps say.

Marketing Sherpa did studies and found that your conversion actually goes up if you don't allow people a chance to be "lookie lous", they either buy or bail..making it a 50-50 chance.

Ditto...

...repeat with the gates shut.

SB

*gets wound up*

I don't mean this as a bash on Graywolf or anyone else, but to Google only.

The people who are Google Ad reps are phone jockeys, not e-commerce experts.

Frankly, they don't know jack diddley anything about this industry other than how to use Google's CMS to make changes to ads. I doubt any of them even have a blog of their own, much less web sites that sell things with specialized carts etc. These people have never had to optimize a site in Google for anything, or know how to read a web metric for organic search.

I doubt any of them could optimize a site for the term "451GackDiddleyCrap".

So what does Google do? Give their clueless phone jocks more authority to remove sites on a whim.

Nice work, Google. That makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I believe from my own

I believe from my own conversations with the reps and from a bit of reading at other sites and blogs; that the changes are due to user group feedback. If so, 451GackDiddleyCrap, minimalist navigation constructs, and hard sell site-types do not mean squat. It's the votes from user experiences and not the AdWords buyer ROI that count. The New AdWorld Order, I guess.

black tuesday

the first of many more, an event or a direction? If it works for G$$G you can brace for more of the same.

didn't the sandbox drive you all to PPC?

Didn't the "sandbox" drive you all to PPC? And wasn't that a short-term Google market manipulation, too?

I am reminded of the kids on the block who own the ball, and keep changing the rules of the game in their favor. How long before you tell them to keep their stupid ball and stay home?

The answer is in the audience, not the webmasters. Webmasters are Google pawns.Gee, if only we knew someone who could influence people....you know, a marketer or somethin'.

>It's the votes from user

>It's the votes from user experiences and not the AdWords buyer ROI that count.

I don't understand how you can you have one without the other.

If the 'user experience' is bad, your conversion goes down because people bail.

Is the coversion rate no longer an applicable metric from which to judge 'user experience'?

>It's the votes from user

>It's the votes from user experiences and not the AdWords buyer ROI that count.

>>>I don't understand how you can you have one without the other.

Totally agree. It does however seem they have something else in mind.

>If the 'user experience' is

>If the 'user experience' is bad, your conversion goes down because people bail.

>Is the coversion rate no longer an applicable metric from which to judge 'user experience'?

Just the opposite in some cases. It's possible to make landing pages A legitimate "answer" to what they were seeking when they searched but not THE answer they wanted. Without breaching any standards of conduct dictated by the SEs or even advertisers, user experience can be toned down to bland-and-unattractive or even ramped up to too-much-information-and-overwhelming and it will have the effect of herding the users to the nearest exit. If that exit is, say, a good contextual ad then the conversions will go up.

Now I'm really confused

Quote:
Just the opposite in some cases. It's possible to make landing pages A legitimate "answer" to what they were seeking when they searched but not THE answer they wanted.

But if it's not the answer they wanted, why did they purchase? I woudl think if you have a site where users land on a page and purchase from that page, they are satisfied.

>it's not the answer they

>it's not the answer they wanted, why did they purchase?

A#1 reason (IMO): They really didn't know HOW to search in the first place, so they asked the wrong question or one that was too broad. SEO/Ms know, statistically speaking, what they really wanted.

#2: They were already motivated to buy when they came to the web, they just wanted to find the damn button and get it on order. The first page they hit that looks like it will do the job (within their personal comfort zone, whatever that might be) gets the order.

>threw open the fence and let them wander off into the sunset.

But that's the real point. A great user experience is not necessarily in the selling site's best interest when it comes to conversions --buyers are easily distracted by shiny objects.

Send in the legal beagle

Google is stepping into discriminatory practices at this stage and without clear guidelines and communication, putting someone like GrayWolf out of business by unfair practices is a wide open door for lawsuits IMO.

This is a far cry from someone getting dropped in the search engine as that's supposedly all automatic scoring based on content, popularity, etc. and a change in the system may obviously alter the results.

However, this is supposedly an advertising medium where people bid for position based on what the market will bear and suddenly Google is telling people that we're going to put you out of business by not letting you advertise if WE DONT LIKE YOUR WEB PAGE.

Excuse me?

Now the internet fashion police are dictating who can earn a living by manipulating a fair market price?

Not letting a site advertise whatsoever for breaking very specific (ie. NOT VAGUE) guidelines makes sense and is a reasonable way to manage the situation. Jacking up the market value of the ads because you break the guidelines is bordering on blackmail.

Do you think newspapers care what your business looks like when you place an ad?

Hell no, they take your money, smile and wink.

However, if your business gets a bunch of complaints about FRAUD and DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES then they may stop taking your ads, which is reasonable.

I'm no lawyer but Google should tread lightly as tortious interference with a business probably wouldn't be to hard to prove based on how AdWords is currently decimating some online businesses instead of letting the marketplace adjust itself which is how bad businesses are supposed to disappear.

you always bait me, Bill

Just kidding. But you do prompt me to post:

Quote:
Do you think newspapers care what your business looks like when you place an ad? Hell no, they take your money, smile and wink.

Phone directories have and continue to interfere with ad design and content. I've had it out more than once with a foot soldier that wanted to remove a URL (while competitors in the space had them included), insisted on changing colors (with no exlanation offered), and once even re-arranged ad layout after the fact. I won that arguement but only after preparing court papers that made a clear case why my ad was superior to their version (got a year's display ad for free). Even now, years later, at renewal time someone in their credit department tries to apply my renewal towards a "past due balance" for that freebie year.

In many ways the publisher competes with you and they do care, they do play their own agendas, and they they will cheat if they think they can get away with it. In Google's case, I think the conflict is egregious.

Nothing Illegal

There is nothing illegal going on. This has been a part of advertising forever. Companies have a right to sell advertising to who they want for what they want.

nothing illegal

MrTurner I agree the activity of choosing what to advertise is not illegal. In my case, they violated their own contract (made edits after the sign-off). The way they worked to control what went into the ads revealed an agenda, but the foot soldier clearly only did what he was being told to do (without understanding the agenda). Naturally I fought the process, but understood it was someone's agenda and I was simply acting competitively as I must.

I think the larger argument here is that Google has an unfair advantage in this "market", and Google claims to be objective, so is enjoying a bit of a honeymoon period with regulator types like state attorneys. If Google's actions can be shown to have an apparent anticompetitive agenda, or appear to manipulate the market or interfere with competitors, that could end the honeymoon, right? We don't have to have a Certified Seal of Monopoly before recognizing an unfair advantage.

Penalized

OK, do you think for minute if a paper or magazine tried to charge a certain class of clients something other than the posted rate that it wouldn't hit the fan?

I don't buy it for a minute and see it as a DECEPTIVE PRACTICE on the part of Google to make people think it's a fair marketplace and then penalize specific people, which is discriminatory.

I would also call it "bait-and-switch" as Google shows you what amount you can expect to pay when you bid on a term and then SHAZZAM! you get slapped upside the head with extortion to pay more than you originally agreed to pay or you can't play in their sandbox.

When you get into claims of tortious interference with a business the action doesn't have to be illegal, it can simply be something that suddenly interferes with your ability to do business, like pricing you out of the market like they did Graywolf while letting others enjoy the old prices, that's creating an unfair playing field which is randomly applied.

In some states those tortious intereference claims are filed all the time for things MUCH LESS damaging than this and you let a judge or jury sort it out.

You would think after all the click fraud stink they'd be kissing advertisers asses but instead continue to poke the angry bear.

I'm just waiting to see who fires the first shots in this new war on Google.

For the record

For the record I don't know what all of the competitors on the keywords I spoke about in the article are now paying, but I do know some are paying between $0.30 and $0.40 which is slightly higher than I was paying before I was priced out of the game.

extortion & discriminatory practices

I agree. Don't know the legalities of a case like this, much less any case regarding legalities since I'm not a lawyer, but something ain't right.

>breaking very specific (ie. NOT VAGUE) guidelines

...and pay more to stay.

Similar to a luxury apartment building telling a family "We just feel that you don't fit into the type of people we want in this building. You'll have to pay $2000 more in rent if you want to stay. But, you can stay if you pay that much."

...two months later...

"Oh so I see that you can afford to stay. Well, now you're going to have to pay $4000 more"

Was it because they played loud music? Rude? Dirty and messy? Or was it because they were from a different background than those of the other tentants?

Different scenario but more along the same lines. What is quality? Is it because the people on my site have purple skin and Google believes that it is in their users' best interest not to see purple people?

If it is a keyword specific situation all they have to do is say: rejected. Those keywords don't reflect your site well enough. If it is a landing page issue then say sorry this page was rejected because it is an affiliate site or you don't have enough content. Fix it and re-submit.

And they call the general web user, people who love Google and thought Google loved back, incompetent.

traction

I've been in and out all day today, but noticed referrals are way up on that article over 1500 and climbing. I haven't had a chance to digg through the log files yet but looks like the article is getting traction somewhere ...

sadly

msgraph, sadly such discriminatory practices were the rule before they made specific laws prohibiting deiscrimination in housing. And employment. And acces to public spaces, etc. Sans those laws, it was indeed routine to discriminate (and stillis in many ways).

Hey Bill they do charge more for ads depending on who you are. The classified ad business is full of such... individual people can place an ad for free, businesses have to pay, bikes and cars are low cost, boat ads are expensive, job wanted is free, employee wanted is expensive, etc.

true john

>it was indeed routine to discriminate

True John. In most cases those discriminatory practices were performed when the parties in question were seeking out housing. However, in this case it is like the parties in question acquire the housing but after a couple months the property owners realize the family is of certain color, creed, or whatever and say, "Oh so you are that kind, well we're going to make things really bad so that you decide to move out". Pre-approval is one thing or post-approval is another.

Google seems to be getting away with a lot of things these days. Maybe it is because we have lawmakers, senators, etc thinking that the Internet is a bunch of tubes and the Internet can be sent on Friday only to be delivered on Monday.

Going back to the incompetence issue. What would happen if a Nike official said "We would make more money if the majority of the world were not a bunch of fat asses who only buy our hats and t-shirts instead of buying our expensive running shoes because they are couch potatoes". A company would be recognized more if they stated that they would initiate programs to reduce obesity instead of just labeling people as fat asses; or incompetent in Google's case. Sorry if these last two paragraphs are off topic for this thread but I think it is an important aspect to all of these cases in regards to what Google has become: Everyone except us are stupid and we are going to take advantage of you.

Bad point John

Although they do charge those people different rates, the rates are plainly posted and not arbitrarily applied. In the case of AdWords you get charged one rate, then a higher rate, and they just keep jacking with you until you either go away broke or pay the extortion.

At least with the paper you know where you stand.

apples and oranges

John charging one rates for cars, boats and help wanted ads has some logic behind it. Charging one guy $0.50 for used car ad, another guy $5.00 and a third $10 gets icky. It gets even more icky if they are all selling a 2004 toyota camry.

price gouging

isn't illegal. You can charge van drivers more than car drivers if you want to, not illegal. Price gouging laws only go into effect during calamities. Of course with a free market and a lot of gas stations it would be foolish to undertake such a policy, business would suffer.

Remember the geek mantra: "if its not expressly illegal, we do it". Its short term for those who play fast and loose as there is always a price to pay sooner or later (check with the pharm, gambling crowd), if enough people are harmed or pissed off, someone will find a law and you will pay. Just ask Martha ;)

calamities

What AdWords is doing to advertisers is a calamity, point?

almost

Quote:
John charging one rates for cars, boats and help wanted ads has some logic behind it. Charging one guy $0.50 for used car ad, another guy $5.00 and a third $10 gets icky. It gets even more icky if they are all selling a 2004 toyota camry.

I agree about the Camry. My first visit to LA I was like, "What's with all the Camry's?"

But the rest... how about saying it's $0.50 for me, and $5 for you, because our landing pages are of different "quality". If I claim it's objective, based on a metric, is it that different from telling grandpa that while he may think he's not a business, because he sells 40 antique shop tools per month he has to pay the business rate? It doesn't really have anything to do with being a business or not.

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