Richard Cotton's Posts



Google moves into Behavioural advertising

We’ve already seen demographic targeting for some time on Google’s content network but now they are taking a step further and offering behaviour-based advertising. By tracking your surfing habits, they will be able to display adverts based on your interests rather than the content of the page that you are reading. This area of advertising has been getting a fair amount of press recently due to Phorm, who have had trouble launching their service due to questions of legality. Opponents have claimed that the analysis of web users’ browsing habits is an invasion of privacy and the Information Commissioner’s Office has backed this up to an extent by declaring that “Phorm would only be legal under UK law if it were an opt-in service”.

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The Problem with Google’s Broad (Advanced) Match Keywords

I just read a very interesting blog post from the Rimm-Kaufman Group about the changes that Google had made to Broad match keywords and the resulting effects. In the article they point out how the performance of broad match terms has gone down and that they have been noticing some troubling incidences where the broad match ads have been appearing when better and more closely matching keywords (and therefore adverts) have been available.

They believe that this started happening with the change to a ‘1st page bid’ rather than a minimum bid, Google is ignoring/not seeing some of the more exact terms with lower bids and is instead posting the broad match adverts. This idea certainly tallies with what I have been seeing in my analytics; looking at the actual search queries for broad match terms has thrown up example after example where there was a better matching keyword and ad group for the search. The result of this is that we, the advertisers, do not get the most suitable advert appearing for the viewer, Google have less relevant search results and that in turn will make the search less efficient for the consumer.

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Google Adwords Editor 7.0 Released (& Bug Found)

I recently installed the new Adwords Editor 7.0 and thought I’d share my thoughts and first experiences of it with you. Although there is plenty to like about the upgrade, there is also one big problem that you need to keep your eye on. First the pros;

First page bid estimates: AdWords Editor now uses first page bid estimates for your keywords. Minimum cost-per-click (CPC) bids are no longer used.

Keyword Quality Score: The Keywords tab now displays the Quality Score for your keywords.

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Google’s ploy to boost search traffic & Interflora sue M&S for brand bidding

There have been a couple of interesting developments in paid search in the last week. The first was that Google are planning to run their own ads linking to Google search results for a variety of high value keywords such as credit cards – and they are going to run them on the content network. They will only be advertising on head keywords rather than long tail but I have some misgivings about this move. Although I can believe that this could be a useful source of traffic, I certainly don’t think that it would be as productive as regular search. I doubt very much whether the traffic would be of as high a quality as someone who was initially resolved to look for the high value item under their own head of steam so I would be concerned about paying regular search CPC for these less intent-driven searchers.

I would be very surprised if the clicks converted at levels on a par with regular search.

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Have Google Adwords Shot Themselves In The Foot?

Sometimes being able to see things in fine detail is unpleasant- particularly when it comes in the form of a sudden revelation.

Every now and then you get that kind of shock in PPC data, when the serene progress of an account has to be re-evaluated in an instant because of a new discovery. This is exactly what happened to me when I took a look at the affect of Google’s new Adwords transparency on some of our PPC campaigns.

As you’re probably aware, Google places ads in three places- its own results page, the results page of its search partners (Google Product Search, Google Groups, Earthlink, compuserve, shopping.com, AT&T Worldnet, and search sites such as AOL and Ask.com) and on its content network. Previously, Google bundled together its own results page with the other search sites like Ask.com, allowing you to separate out the data from the content network if you wanted to.

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