How to stop advertisers from wasting their money

Many Google search advertisers are running their campaigns terribly (this unfortunately includes businesses which let Google itself run things). But you, dear reader, are managing your campaign carefully, so why should you worry?

Here’s a very good reason: Google search advertising is an auction, and these other advertisers push the costs up for everyone, sometimes dramatically. Imagine a conventional auction where bidders who didn’t really want the product kept raising their hands and pushing up the price.

So what can we do about it? We’ve found that a quick email or phone call can result in a win-win.

For example, in one of our campaigns, things shouldn’t have been too competitive. Yet the estimated top-of-page bid was very high. Why was this? When we investigated, the top two advertisers were promoting irrelevant services, and dragging the costs up for everyone. We guessed they were appearing because they’d just specified some very general ‘broad match’ keywords. Google’s algorithms, which have no knowledge of the market, had started to show the ads on loads of searches which weren’t right, and the advertiser clearly wasn’t monitoring what was happening – or they’d have stopped wasting their money.

So we thought: “Why not call the advertisers and let them know?” And the result was really encouraging. In both cases, they were open to listening to our observation, and we offered to send them a quick email to confirm what we’d said and to explain how to ensure they didn’t appear for those searches in future. What we did was to send them details of how to see what actual search terms they were appearing for, and how to make all unwanted ones into ‘negative keywords’.

The result was that both ads stopped appearing, leaving the search to our client and a (relevant) competitor. And the cost per click fell dramatically.

Remember, it’s not in Google’s interest to stop advertisers from wasting their money.