An AdWords Agency – 2007 – December
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Archive for December, 2007

Adwords Triage Checklist

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, triage

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Bob and I are both Army veterans and one of the things they drill into your head starting in Basic Training and continuing on through the rest of your career is how to evaluate a casualty (FM 21-11 if you were curious). As I was evaluating a new account that had a fair amount of history I realized the same steps applied to an Adwords account.

Remember with your accounts, much like a casualty; don’t do too much until you figure out what is actually wrong!

Responsiveness – Are you generating impressions? Are people seeing your ads?

If your account doesn’t have a pulse start looking for problems with your bids, are they too low? Or maybe your keywords are too obscure. Also check your geographic settings maybe they’re too tight.

Breathing- Are you getting clicks?

Ok so you’re getting impressions but no clicks. Check your ad copy, is it any good? Are you running a price ad that is higher than the prices offered by your competition? What position are you coming in? If you’re not even on the front page you need to reevaluate your bidding.

Bleeding- Are you hemorrhaging money?

Are you getting too much traffic that isn’t converting? Do you have a rogue keyword spending all your money and not converting? Has the Content Network gone out of control? Does your landing page just suck? Figure out what the problem is and stop the fiscal blood flow while you regroup and re-strategize.

Shock- “I spent how much for one order!?!”

At the end of the day ROI is what matters most. Make sure you track your orders and your ad spend to make sure that you’re making your business money and not just helping Google’s stock prices. If your shock problem is of a more electrical nature, stop putting USB cords in your mouth… it’s bad for you.

Fractures- Are your links broken?

Getting clicks but no visits? We’ve seen this before on a site run on a content management system. The CMS went through an upgrade and changed the naming conventions for all of this client’s URLs. Once that goes into effect basically every link in your Adwords account is broken! They had no idea this change had happened, we were the ones that caught the error! Make sure your links work on a regular basis, especially if there has been recent site changes or upgrades.

Burns- Are you getting a disproportionate number of clicks from one area or ISP?

We don’t see this too often, but click fraud does happen. Google is smart enough to catch most of this stuff, but if your account takes a major turn for the worse that can’t be explained by the steps above you might be getting burned by a competitor or Adsense fraudster. Start investigating and looking for suspicious trends.

Head Injury- Is running a PPC campaign beyond your general mental capacity?

It’s ok and nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a reason Adwords Experts exist, and it’s that not everybody should manage an Adwords account… much like I shouldn’t wear spandex, change my own oil or sing in public.

Apply these steps to see what condition your Adwords are in, and if you’re stuck give us a call. We can rebuild it, we have the technology :)

*Just to point out the coincidence, in writing this article we realized that we both had essentially the same picture of ourselves in uniform even though they are 32 years apart. Bob and I are about the same age, same name on the uniform, the same rank, in the same pose with the same weapon… hell for all we know it might be the same serial number!

Is it time to revisit the Content Network?

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in content-network, google adwords conversion report, ROI

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

The Content Network isn’t always the best neighborhood to play in. It isn’t uncommon for novice Adwords advertisers to not even realize that they’re getting a huge percentage of their traffic from the Content Network until they look down and notice their watch is missing and their wallet is empty. Not to say that the Content Network can’t convert, it just has to be handled as a separate entity from regular Search.


As most people, know we have not been fans of the content network and for good reason. We had several new clients that came to us because of the damage that was being done by the content network. While we appreciated the business that this brought to us, we can think of much better ways to gain a client. Several clients saved thousands of dollars each month simply by turning off the Content Network with little impact on their revenue. There were conversions in the Content Network but the decision was either turn it off or try to guess where the abuse was coming from. Our decision was to turn it off if it did not meet the conversion cost goals of the client. We knew we were leaving potential conversions on the table but we also knew it was better for our client to not make those conversions.

Then in June 2007 Google responded to market pressure by releasing the “Placement Report” and professionals in the field immediately went to work using this new tool. The Placement Report allowed for the first time the ability to see where the traffic was coming from by using the site exclusion tool we could finally manage this traffic. In the first several months of the release of this we used this report to isolate and document some horrible things that were going on but we were not recommending a return to the content network for clients that had problems.

Our friends at Google are masters at the art of partial information and they did not disappoint us with this report. It tracks many clicks back to the specific URL your ad showed on but it also contains entries like “Domain Name” and “Error Pages,” and these are largely unmanageable. We find it interesting that these common entries are missing from the examples and documentation but this just comes with the territory. There is a substantial delay between the time the data is reported in Adwords and when it is available to this report so you have to wait for your data.

Because of this new information we have slowly begun to revisit the content network, especially for clients that lost a number of conversions when this was turned off in the account. Some clients lost lots of unprofitable conversions are showing some good early results but this has to be done slowly and carefully. The Content Network and the Search Network operate very differently and mixing the campaigns is a huge mistake. Bringing a content network campaign online is done differently than a search campaign.

If you would like to discuss how this might impact your Adwords strategy please contact us.