Profits Murdered By Google Adwords

There’s been quite a bit of noise in the SEM space about some of the recent changes made by the Google Adwords Quality Score. I thought it might be interesting to take a more in depth look at some of my site statistics.

The following data is from one domain that was running three different adwords campaigns. The domain has existed since late 2003, and has been running adwords since early 2004. About 90% of this site’s traffic came from the adwords program. Here is a shot of the traffic for July 2006. The black bar is July 11th the date of the quality score change, the red line is July 15th when I pulled the plug on the campaigns.

adwords-quality-1

The graph shows that trying to stay within my budget I was getting less clicks and less traffic (duh!). When I changed my landing page there was minimal increase in average time on site and number of pages viewed. My original landing page had a zen-like brevity to it,consisting of the following elements a top graphical banner, a product description, a product image, and a “buy button”. The page was an island with no way in or out to other parts of the site. After speaking with some Adwords reps on the phone it was suggested I “improve the user experience” some suggestions were add alternative navigation, add more information and customer testimonials. So I took the main website template and set the landing page inside of it. I lengthened the product description, and added some reviews. After calling and requesting a re-review nothing changed. I called again and was given little or no help. Here’s a look at average CPC and profit for the same time period The blue line represents the division between profit and loss:

adwords-cpc-1

adwords-profit

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!

I have yet to hear of anyone who requested a re-review have their prices lowered and adjusted down. So stop hoping for a miracle and stop the hemorrhaging. Move on and try something different, you may learn something if you don’t think like an engineer …

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