Monday, May 15, 2006

Understanding Adwords - Part VII: Content Searches Beware!

Let me tell you a story about when I first started affiliate marketing. One of the very first campaigns I tried dealt with PSP downloading services. I got my links, went into GoogleAds and started a campaign. This was about the fourth campaign that I had tried and with the three previous, I was not getting any clicks with 0.05 per keyword. With this one, I thought, I would be adventurous and set my bid price to 0.30 per keyword! I was feeling really good about this plan! I even set my maximum daily budget to $15. And away I went!

The first few days, nothing really happened that was too extraordinary. I got about 10 clicks per day through google searches. $3 per sales. Then one afternoon I went to check my account and it showed about 500,000 impressions and 50 clicks (and I had reached my max for the day.) WOW! I must have found a winning strategy! So I checked my daily sales. Hmmm...well, they say that some products get a sale for 1 in every 100 clicks.

The next day I changed my maximum daily budget to $30! Sure enough, at the end of the day I had over 1,000,000 impressions and 100 clicks! DOUBLE WOW! I'm rich! sales. Maybe this was just a fluke day! One more day!

On the third day, again, 1,000,000 impressions and 100 clicks! And STILL NO SALES! At this point, I had over 250 clicks and not one single sale. So I paused the campaign and did some study: I went to a variety of web forums and told my story and everyone told me: SHUT OFF THE CONTENT SEARCHES! Further digging brought me two conclusions:

1) Click Fraud - Yes, it exists and I do honestly believe some of this mess was caused by this.

2) Content Searches provide low quality clicks

So what to do? I have two suggestions:

1) Disable Content Search completely from your campaigns. At least at the beginning until you become more familiar and advanced at GoogleAds.

2) Change the max bid price explicitly for content searches. This one I am still up in the air about. Right now, I set my max bid price on content searches to 0.03 per click. Believe it or not, I do get clicks and impressions from this. I have yet to determine if they clicks have any quality to them at all. Then again, it doesn't come at much cost.

In summary, I spent over $75 just to learn that content searches can really bite you in the rear if you are not careful. This is another instance where Perry Marshall's eBook would have saved me time and money on this stupid campaign (the lesson learned here cost me 150% more than the price of the eBook...again, it is money well spent if you plan on trying to learn Adwords).